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ly, ardently; they admired, they wondered, they worshiped! They had not, as we moderns have foolishly attempted to do, explained everything; given to this and that some long scientific name, and then called it understanding nature ; and so ceased to wonder. Science is good, but the soul cannot live
such bread alone ! In child-like simplicity and faith primitive people looked upon all things ; they saw God in all things, and they bowed down and adored! And what grown child in England-take him from the House of Lords-would not instantly down upon his knees, if with all his science and logic, he was to look, for the first time in his life, upon the sun rising in all his majesty and glory in a clear eastern sky.' Do
you say, “these nations have now debased themselves by bowing before mere dead Matter."
Not to a much greater extent, I answer, than Christian nations. Christianity is far superior to any other religion ; it is exactly right; but a dead formulary named Christianity is just as dead a thing as a dead formulary named heathenism! And a spirit moved with devout admiration at God's works in India is just as acceptable to him as though found in England. The fact is we are not to proceed in this way to know man's spirituality. Do men-does a nation, modern or ancient, here or elsewhere, really feel that they are in God's universe ? Do they lay it to heart ihat God is in them and around them -here and every where-looking upon them from the heavens over their heads, from the earth beneath their feet? Is the deep fountain of their souls stirred with wonder, admiration and love? Find we such men, and whether in Scandinavia or in Great Britain ; whether in the first or the nineteeth century, I embrace them as true spiritual brothers. Leave the difference in original talent and advancement in science and civilization out of the question ; whenever or wherever you find a soul sincere, earnest, in love with nature; feeling the beauty, the poetry, the truthfulness of nature ; standing awe-stricken as in the presence of Omniscience, you find a high, noble existence! I demand that he shall be a true man, and not a sham of a man';—one that sees and feels the reality of things and not the superficial covering of things; and whether he be a Bunyan tinkering his ketiles, a Burns delving the carth or guaging barrels, a Quaker Fox cobbling shoes, a Mahomet changing religions, or a Crom
well changing dynasties, I care not, he is my brother! Such a soul is inspired in the highest sense of the term. The Memnon statue, which uttered sweetest music when touched with the mellow light of morning, is a true and beautiful symbol of every faithful prophet, poet and priest. Their light is in the insight of pure reason seeing the open secret” of the Universe ; and touched with this light they give forth music-utter truths in harmony with the eternal principles of nature : and hence the soul of every true man responds. Is not every man, till he becomes dead in the wrappage of forms, something of a poet—of a transcendentalist? Even so. Probably there never was a human heart that had not at times some touch of the poetical, the beautiful in nature. That emotion was a holy emotion; so far forth he was religious. From Job down to the present time man has looked through Nature up to God. As science has advanced, the heart, foolishly enough, has ceased to wonder, until man almost begins to think there is nothing to wonder at! He deceives himself with names and vainly supposes he sees through it all! Silly fool, he begins to think he could make just such a world. In fact he has actually attempted to make a man and a goose; and fancied he had succeeded with his goose, for it would digest! He collects some of God's elements, puts them together and calls it making a thing; and then wisely looks around to receive applause for his skill. Ancient people viewed Nature as she was-great, animated, wonderful, and reverently bowed before her. David, the Hebrew singer and poet, saw God in every thing; all Nature was alive to his pious soul, and he called upon mountain, river, tree, and fower, to praise God. “Let every thing that hath life praise him !" All nature was to David what it is !o every poctical, religious soul-an Æolian harp breathing the sweetest music, and inspiring the heart with devout rapture. He also, and he only, is the man after God's own heart who hears this music, who feels this rapture !
'Rather than imitate David, the professed ministers of God at this day try to make men devotional by thundering against all sects but their own; forcing their people to swallow a particular creed—some thirty-nine "articles of faith,” as they call them ; when probably not one in a hundred of their parishioners is capable of understanding these articles; or ever, any more than the Chinese or Mussulman, undertakes
by personal examination to try to understand what their teachers say about them. So narrowed and prejudiced has the mind of each religious sect become that it doubts whether there is any spirituality beyond the precincts of its own ecclesiastical forms. They turn their weapons of warfare against each other; accuse each other of error, perversion of Scripture, of being formal and dead ; (and, really one might say for the best of reasons if they only knew it.) The direct aim,-the absorbing subject with each sect, or the leaders of it, is to shape, by crampings and stretchings, sometimes with racks and thumbscrews-tropically at last by way of excommunication and cry of heresy, every mind to fit some preestablished creed; as unintelligible to common minds as the Shaster. Our curates and bishops consider their flocks in a thriving condition provided they are dumb before the shearer, and drive easily into the fold: whereas, if one having been sheared too close, shivers with cold, or bleats for greener pasturage, such an one must be warined and nourished by an ecclesiastical hounding, or die by starvation if it will continue to feed upon the same dry straw thrashed for the thousandth time. Spiritual leaders do not lead their flocks by still waters and into green pastures ;-give them the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby. They are made to digest, at least to swallow and ruminate, the tough beef of knotty logical points of theology ; doctrines which have been decided and rescinded some hundred times from Augustine down to Elizabeth. Hence, instead of burning hearts impressed with the infinite nature of duty, and crying out, “What shall we do to be saved ?” as in apostolic days, our houses of worship are filled with listless minds and unfeeling hearts. Would that thou wert either cold or hot! thou art neither, therefore I will spew thee out. Better than so, give me the wild savage, who, though uncultivated, rough, and looking through strangely diffractive media, sees a Great Spirit in the heavens above, in the silent forest, the brook, the flower, and every thing around him; and hears his voice sweetly whispering to him
in every breeze.' ' We have thus endeavored to exhibit the light in which Carlyle views certain things which bear upon our subject. Without much circumlocution, we saw no other way of doing this than the one the reader has seen ;-not by an attempt to imitate his style (this would be folly ;) but by giving some of
his thoughts in a very concise form and somewhat in his spirit and language. Those who have read his works will bear testimony to the veracity of our statements : we have certainly aimed to give a true view of the writer's thoughts, as far as our limits would permit. Extracts could have been made; but isolated passages from Carlyle would be very unsatisfactory as proof, for in this way any thing could be proved respecting him; the plan we have taken was more laborious, but better for our present purpose.
Having looked at the religious aspect of certain objects through Carlyle's medium, we think we can pretty confidently state what he is not, if we find it difficult to define what he is. Much of his writings would seem to show him a most sincere believer in a Divine Revelation, and a Christian of the truest, warmest heart. Other passages, together with the whole tenor and spirit of his thoughts in any way bearing upon what is usually termed religion, conclusively show that he is not what the Christian world generally would consider a true believer.
What then are Carlyle's religious sentiments ? Is he a Pantheist? Is he a Transcendentalist? Infidel ? Atheist ? Deist? Has he betaken himself to the mysticism of Plato? All these inquiries have been made. It would be easy to prove, by detached passages from his several works, that he is either or all of these ; and as easy, by the same process, to prove he is neither. The fact is, we cannot make a Pro• crustean bed of this sort, and then, by stretchings or clippings, make Carlyle fit it. Shall we call him a religious Eclectic? This is too indefinite for our purposes, although there would be truth in the term. Is he aiming to form a new sect? One would judge otherwise from reading him : certainly that he had no purposes of this kind. Yet indirectly this may be the result. Says the Review, quoted in the fore part of this article, "Good or bad, Mr. Carlyle's thoughts will be largely adopted within the next twenty years." This cannot apply less to his religious than to his political views.
In respect to the nature of God, of Christ, the Inspiration of the Scriptures, religious worship, the sanctions of the divine law, miracles, regeneration, and kindred topics, Carlyle most manifestly differs from the commonly received opinions. And his views upon these subjects are so expresscd, and artfully commingled with them is so much that is
true, forcible, sublime and beautiful, as to render him of all writers of all ages, the most fearfully dangerous to what has been considered Orthodox Christianity. After what has been said we are prepared somewhat more definitely to state his views upon these points.
The common, and the scriptural view of God in Christian communities is this viz. :--A person who governs, and not a principle working in Nature, or Nature itself ; a being of intellect, susceptibility and will ; separate from His physical creation, rather than identical with it. No:poetically, figuratively, or in any mysterious transcendental sense, a person, but in reality. He knows, he sees, he feels. He is the lawgiver, the ruler and the judge of His intelligent creatures. A Being who is pleased with the right, and offended with the wrong moral conduct of men. Now Carlyle often receives him as such, but only in a figure. To give force to his thoughts, poetical beauty to his beautiful expressions, Carlyle often endows his God with all the attributes of the Jehovah of the Jews. But his God is a principle ; an all-pervading, an all-mighty, infinite IT! Except for poetical, and rhetorical purposes nothing more. And in several instances we have found men in the ordinary labors of life, eating of this same spiritual food, ground for their consumption in certain mills for the purpose.
Of Carlyle's view of Christ, we have already spoken. He believes the Bible inspired in the same sense that the writings of Dante or Shakspeare are inspired. All thought that is true to Nature (and Carlyle means much by this) is inspired thought. Whenever a man's genius is beyond common, and uiters true, good, poetic thoughts, he says we call it etherial, heavenly, inspired; it is beyond us, we cannot fathom it and therefore we give it some supernatural quality.
All discussion upon what is termed the “Plenary Inspiration of the Bible," he considers folly, and trcais it with a degree of contempt. The soul of man is plenarily inspired, and this should suffice.'
He treats what he terms the “ logic proof of Christianity in the same way.
Reason* will see not only
* We hardly need say that Carlyle gives to what is termed the higher reason,' the same province in matters of Faith as Kant, Coleridge, &c.