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west who seem to possess their eyesight and their common sense only to some such purpose. But if favoritism be capricious and excessive, so is its opposite. If there are persons to whom Mr. Carlyle is as an inspired prophet, there are others to whom his mannerisms are about the most satisfactory certificate that could be given as to his fitness for Bedlam. He may rate against "shams" until doomsday, but, in the judgment of these parties, of all the shams in this age of false pretension he is himself one of the greatest. Abstract from his writings, the good things he has purloined from a foreign tongue; and, with them, the disguises he has thrown over much ordinary thought by a most fantastic use of the tongue that should have been his own, and the residuum, we are told, will be all but worthless. His style is especially offensive to this class of critics. It is accounted as more befitting the taste of a scaramouch than that of a scholar; as better adapted to supply amusement to the laughter-loving crowds in Bartholomew Fair, than to find due acceptance in that awful domain-the world of letters.
We hardly need tell you, good reader, that we are not ourselves ambitious of being classed with either of these extremes. To us, the conclusion most obvious in this case is, that the man of whom judgments so much at issue have been formed, and formed so widely, cannot be an ordinary man. Even strong dislike implies the presence of some strong element calling it forth. Men may hate the powerful, the weak they neglect. Strong feeling is costly, and not usually expended upon trifles. Extravagant admiration, too, even when subject to large abatement, may suffice to indicate the presence of some real excellence. In all worship there is wisdom. For ourselves, we are disposed to take our place with that large class of thoughtful men in this country, found in grades from the highest almost to the lowest, who see in the genius of Mr. Carlyle a more remarkable combination both of the stronger and weaker elements of our age than in any other man among us. Believing thus much concerning him, we are disposed to think that we shall not be unprofitably employed in endeavoring to distinguish between the strength and weakness, and the good and bad in his leading speculations.
We should not, perhaps, have given ourselves to this service just now, had we not frequently found the grossest misconceptions prevalent, and in quarters where better information might have been expected, as to the position of Mr. Carlyle in reference to
some of the graver questions of the day, and especially in reference to Christianity. It is one peculiarity of his writings, that men of all shades in political and religious opinion may find passages in them which appear to harmonize to the full with their own favorite principles. We find him claimed, accordingly, by all parties in turn. Many simple-minded people read his denunciations against skepticism, and straightway conclude, not only that Mr. Carlyle is himself a believer, but that he is, of course, a believer in the Bible after the good old fashion. His writings, especially his later writings, may be said to be eminently religious in their tone; and their being earnestly religious in some sense, is taken as a sufficient guarantee of their being favorable to religion in the best sense. In the meanwhile, to say what sort of religion it is that Mr. Carlyle wishes to inculcate, would puzzle very many who have some knowledge of what he has written on that subject. Far be it from us to attempt to raise the odium theologicum against Mr. Carlyle, or to do him injustice in the smallest degree; but we think it due to interests which with us are far above all others, to attempt to determine the exact relation of this influential author to some of those social, philosophical, and religious questions which are so frequently the subject of discussion in his works. For any man to do thus much for himself, it would be necessary to read all that Mr. Carlyle has written, and to collate carefully as he reads-no trivial labor when an author's publications extend to more than a dozen substantial volumes. Apology for our present attempt we of course have none to offer, inasmuch as it is not to be supposed that a man who is himself so stern a hater of falsehood, can have the least wish that the public conception of him should be a false one. What that conception should be we hope to show, and this showing will be deduced, with the utmost candor we can bring to the investigation, from his own writings.
I. Every one is aware of the high place assigned in Mr. Carlyle's speculations to Faith -men are to believe, to have convictions, to become earnest, or there is no hope of them. Now this is a great truth. Every really Christian man-every man who regards existence as having a meaning, must say amen to it. Much, too, may be said, in vindication of Mr. Carlyle's wrath against a large class of formalist and conventionalist people who flatter themselves that they are great believers while they are not. Our neighbor,
en, and which they repeat; and in the utterances of that still older volume which is read so often in their hearing, there is a welling forth of thoughts, contritions, and aspirations, as from the chambers of the earnest and the mighty dead, fitted indeed to move the liv
these believing people are not. In the midst of all this, the great care of the older, is about good positions and good marriages for the younger; and the hearts of old and young are drifted on amidst a stream of inanities so pitiable as to seem as if devised, and stilted into prominence, by some laughing devil, for the purpose of putting mockery on the dread realities of our being. The great lament of our modern prophet accordingly is, that men through believing nothing, should have ceased to be masters over anything. Everywhere they are before him as carried away by things the most vulgar, or manifestly the most artificial and frivolous, if contrasted with the true end of existence.
Richard Brown, is a sturdy "Westminster | forms of devotion to which these persons listAssembly" man. He believes, if you may credit his statement, in the most wonderful things ever believed concerning God or man. There is not a depth of fear or a force of aspiration in man which the articles of this man's creed should not move, giving to his life an energetic spiritualism such as no believing, if aught may move them. But moved er in any other creed has ever evinced. But Richard buys and sells, and counts the gain, all the week long, with as little apparent thought about the mysteries of existence, present or to come, as his brother Thomas, who carries on his traffic in the next street, and who has never pretended to give his thoughts to such high matters. It is true, Richard is careful to close his shop on Sundays, and may be seen in other trim, and in another place on that day. But on all other days he reads the news, smokes his pipe, and seems to be quite as considerate of his worldly enjoyments as his neighbors. Such is the tenor of his way; and keeping square with the world, and avoiding all such scandals as were wont to bring men into bishops' courts, you see about him the air of a person who feels that something like the whole duty of man has been in his case performed. Now Mr. Carlyle has no compliment to offer to the creedless soul of Thomas, who carries on his traffic in the next street; but to this Richard-to him he would speak in terms that are meant to burn as he utters them— "Out upon the man," we think we hear him say" out upon thee, be more, and do more than thy brother, or cease to pretend that thou believest more. It is bad enough to be faithless, to have no commerce with the godlike, but this lazy, slimy effort of thine, to thrust hypocrisy into the place of such commerce, if there be goodness in God's universe, this must be as a foulness to its nostrils."
So when our censor passes from these less polite sections of humanity, and fixes his gaze on the people who make another choice in tailoring and millinery, and are found in “circles" full of the "repectabilities," even here he is no less offended by the hollow, the factitious, by a world of seeming without reality. The creed of these people has come to them, as all their other conventional things have come, or as all their ordinary likings or dislikings have come. If the one-tenth of what they profess to believe amidst all their Sunday pageantries, were really believed, it would suffice to make those pageantries of very small account, and to give to their life a seriousness which at present finds little place even in their dreams. In those antique
Now the novelty here is, not that these things should be said, but that such a man should have said them. The preaching is not new, but the preacher in this case is not of a class given to make sermons. To assign a due precedence to the weightier, as compared with the lighter interests of existence, has not been a conspicuous virtue in our men of letters. Not a little in their doings, as all the world knows, has been quite as frothy as the most empty-headed and empty-hearted in the crowds about them could have desired. From the lips of a Wordsworth or a Southey, utterances of a deeper and graver meaning have been sometimes heard, but the apostle of the age from among men of this class is Mr. Carlyle. The great aim of his class has been to amuse, or to call forth admiration-his own aim is much higher. He labors to lay bare the depths and the heights of things, that men may see what their condition is, and what it should be. He paints ceaselessly, but his pictures are all so many appeals to the reason and the moral nature. He has little sympathy with our modern "methodism," but in his zeal in this direction, he is himself a very methodist-and greatly to his honor.
As we have said, his doctrine embraces nothing really new. His views in respect to the state of human nature, its obligations, interests, and destiny, are very much those of our old puritan teachers, and have been expounded in our own day by Hall and Chalmers, and all men of their class, times innu
merable. Of Chalmers it was eminently thus. In Scotland, he saw a people well-given to church-going or chapel-going, and zealous enough about creeds and church standards; but a people who needed to be admonished that creeds may exist as a lifeless orthodoxy, and that the best of forms may be without value, as being without power. He, too, felt that the great want of the age, and even of Scotland, was an earnest faith. To bring men truly to believe, what they nearly all professed to believe, was the great object of his life's hard labor. The place assigned by Mr. Carlyle to the religious element in man is stated in the following passage:
"It is well said, in every sense, that a man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him. A man's, or a nation of men's. By religion, I do not mean here the church-creed which he professes, the articles of faith which he will sign, and in words, or otherwise, assert; not this wholly, in many cases not this at all. We see men of all kinds of professed creeds attain to almost all degrees of worth or worthlessness under each or any of them. This is not what I call religion, this profession and assertion; which is often only a profession and assertion from the outworks of the man, from the mere argumentative region of him, if even so deep as that. But the thing a man does practically believe (and this is often enough without asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man does practically lay to heart, and know for certain, concerning his vital relations to this mysterious universe, and his duty and destiny there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively determines all the rest. That is his religion; or, it may be, his mere skepticism and no-religion: the manner it is in which he feels himself to be spiritually related to the unseen world or noworld; and I say, if you tell me what that is, you tell me to a very great extent what the man is, what the kind of things he will do is. Of a man or of a nation we inquire, therefore, first of all, what religion they had."-Hero Worship, pp. 3, 4.
On this topic, however, we think Mr. Carlyle greatly underrates the influence of the current beliefs of Christian men. In the case of the aforesaid Richard Brown, the creed professed does not appear to have wrought all the positive good that might have been expected from it. But it may be that, even on his defective temperament, it has prevented evil in a degree by no means inconsiderable; and that the direct good conferred by it is much greater than our haughty and superficial philosophy is at all If this same Richard, likely to discover. moreover, does not seem to be burdened with much anxious thought of a religious
nature, or to be the subject of any very fervent and refined aspirations, perhaps, without traveling far, he could introduce our philosopher to certain plain and pious people, in whom the faith which Richard professes has given existence to soul-conflicts and earnest spiritual breathings, in a degree that would be censured as excessive and morbid. Of the soul-history of some myriads-of many myriads of truly religious people in this country, we must suppose our author to be almost wholly ignorant. To his contemporaries he does not cede a tenth of the high qualities they possess in this respect; while towards certain sham religionists of remote times his charities are superabundant. The passage we are about to quote is from "Past and Present," and relates to the Abbot of St. Edmundsbury, and to the glebe-loving, feast-loving monks who did his bidding. It shows how discriminating and charitable Mr. Carlyle can be, when his humor inclines him that way.
"Jocelin, we see, is not without secularity. Our Dominus Abbas was intent enough on the divine offices; but then his account books? One of the things that strike us most, throughout, in Jocelin's Chronicle, and, indeed, in Eadmer's Anselm, and other old monastic books, written evidently by pious men, is this-that there is almost no mention whatever of 'personal religion' in them; that the whole gist of their thinking and speculation seems to be the privileges of our order,' strict exaction of our dues,' God's honor,' (meaning the honor of our saint,) and so forth. Is not this singular? A body of men set apart for perfecting and purifying their own souls, do not seem disturbed about that in any measure the Ideal' says nothing about its idea; says much about finding bed and board for itself! How is this?
"Why, for one thing, bed and board are a matter very apt to come to speech: it is much easier to speak of them than of ideas; and they are sometimes much more pressing with some! Nay, for another thing, may not this religious reticence, in these devout, good souls, be perhaps a merit and sign of health in them? Jocelin, Eadmer, and such religious men, have as yet nothing of Methodism; no doubt, or even root spection, an agonizing inquiry: their duties are of doubt. Religion is not a diseased self-introclear to them, the way of supreme good plain, indisputable, and they are traveling on it. Religion lies over them like an all-embracing heavenly canopy, like an atmosphere and life-element, which is not spoken of, which in all things is presupposed without speech. Is not serene or complete religion the highest aspect of human is the lowest and miserablest? Between which nature, as serene cant, or complete non-religion, two all manner of earnest methodisms, introspections, agonizing inquiries, never so morbid,
shall play their respective parts, not without approbation.”—pp. 80, 81.
serene or com
Now here is a candor which can see the signs of something like a plete religion," where, in fact, there is no sign of religion at all. Only allow a small portion of this charity exercised in favor of these stupid and worldly monks, to be exercised in favor of that somewhat dull and easy class of religionists among ourselves, towards whom Mr. Carlyle shows so little forbearance, and even these people would rise at once into a race of saints of the first water. Nor do we quite understand the fling at "Methodist introspections," except it be meant to say that, even in a nature like ours, the best condition of religion is that which makes the least demand on a man's cogitations or emotions-a doctrine not very consistent with the philosophy of the case, with the teaching of the Bible, or with the great drift of Mr. Carlyle's own writings. But so it is with our author. His contemporaries are of two classes-men whose professed faith is no faith, or men who believe only to become the victims of "a diseased self
introspection." Not to be in earnest, is to be pronounced "a sham," and to be in earnest, is to be written down a fanatic. We believe in the somewhat wide existence both of religious formalism and of religious extravagance; but between these there is something much better than either, which Mr. Carlyle does not see, and to which, accordingly, he has never done justice. In support of our statement on this point, take the following estimate of the religion of our own age, as compared with the very different estimate of the monkish religion at Edmundsbury, which, from all that appears, began and ended in a tissue of cares and struggles about "bed and board."
"To begin with our highest spiritual function, with religion, we might ask, whither has religion now fled? Of churches and their establishments
we here say nothing, nor of the unhappy domains of unbelief, and how innumerable men, blinded in their minds, must live without God in the world; but taking the fairest side of the matter, we ask, what is the nature of that same religion, which still lingers in the hearts of the few who are called, and call themselves, specially the religious? Is it a healthy religion, vital, unconscious of itself; that shines forth spontaneously in doing of the work, or even in preaching of the word? Unhappily, no. Instead of heroic martyrconduct, and inspired and soul-inspiring eloquence, whereby religion itself were brought home to our living bosoms, to live and reign there,
we have Discourses on the Evidences,' endeav oring with the smallest result to make it probable that such a thing as religion exists. The most enthusiastic evangelicals do not preach a gospel, but keep describing how it should and might be preached: to awaken the sacred fire of faith, as by a sacred contagion, is not their endeavor; but at most, to describe how faith shows and acts, and scientifically distinguish true faith from false. Religion, like all else, is conscious of itself, listens to itself; it becomes less and less creative, vital; more and more mechanical. Considered as a whole, the Christian religion, of late ages, has been continually dissipating itself into metaphysics; and threatens now to disappear, as some rivers do, in deserts of barren sand."—Essays, iii. pp. 300, 301.
We do not say that there are no appeartion of this sort. But, as we read it, we are ances among us to warrant a little declamaconstrained to ask our zealous censor-And wherein consisted the “ heroic martyr conduct" of your monks of St. Edmundsbury? In fact, did that conduct ever rise higher than a somewhat piggish fight in defence of rich abbey lands, and of the good feed to be extracted from them? As to "Discourses on the Evidences," let there be an end to such discoursings as Mr. Carlyle and his friends are so often putting forth against the said evidences, and there may then be an end to such things in their favor. In the meantime, it is not unnatural that men who would fain put another gospel in the place of that of the New Testament, should be little pleased with efforts tending to demonstrate that this older gospel is a fixed and everlasting reality. With regard to metaphysics, these, physics, these, if we mistake not, constitute the Bible of Mr. Carlyle himself, and certainly of a large class of his admirers. Of such elements must the inward illumination of whose sufficiency they boast purely consist. These should not, therefore, be in ill repute in such quarters. As to the "soulinspiring eloquence" which brings religion "home to our living bosoms," we are not aware that the philosophy of the age has shown itself to be more potent to this end than its Christianity. Its right to throw Of course, stones remains to be made out. Mr. Carlyle is not ignorant of these considerations. He could readily marshal them all, and many more, in favor of the religion of be so disposed. our age, if sufficiently free from prejudice to Teufelsdröckh, from the "Everlasting no" to In the progress of his own the "Everlasting yea," we see a Fire-baptism"--a great spiritual change brought about by philosophy, which has its full counterpart,
and something more, in the change experi- | Advanced-Liberal or other, that the one end, enced by every mind which, in the "Evangel- essence, use of all religion past, present, and to ical" sense, is "born again;" the great differ- come, was this only: To keep that same Moral ence being, that for one instance in which ing; which certainly the Phantasms' and the Conscience or Inner Light of ours alive and shinthe lesser effect has been produced by philos-turbid media' were not essential for ! All religophy, the greater effect has been produced in a thousand instances by Christianity, and upon minds of a sort which your philosophy
can never reach.
If the mischief of all this ended with Mr. Carlyle, the circumference of the evil would be measurable enough. But it does not so end. Not a few among us, whose beards are only beginning to put on visibility, place an implicit faith in him. The natural effect follows. They learn to snuff at the 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 high-souled 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.
ion 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 Morrison's pill, which they have only to swallow fancy that their religion, too, should be a kind of 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 no-affairs, 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. 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 created nature it is not, was not, will not be. In not any such article been made. Non extat. 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 Makers' 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,