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without feeling how great and high this criticism is. The revolutions that impend over society are not now from ambition and rapacity, from impatience of one or another form of government, but from new modes of thinking, which shall recompose society after a new order, which shall animate labour by love and science, which shall destroy the value of many kinds of property, and replace all property within the dominion of reason and equity. There was never so great a thought labouring in the breasts of men, as now. It almost seems as if what was aforetime spoken fabulously and hieroglyphically, was now spoken plainly, the doctrine, namely, of the indwelling of the Creator in man. The spiritualist wishes this only, that the spiritual principle should be suffered to demonstrate itself to the end, in all possible applications to the state of man, without the admission of anything unspiritual—that is, anything positive, dogmatic, or personal. The excellence of this class consists in this, that they have believed; that, affirming the need of new and higher modes of living and action, they have abstained from the recommendation of low methods. The fault is that they have stopped at the intellectual perception; that their will is not yet inspired from the Fountain of Love. But whose fault is this and what a fault; and to what inquiry does it lead! We have come to that which is the spring of all power, of beauty, and virtue, of art and poetry; and who shall tell us according to what law its inspirations and its informations are given or withholden ?
I do not wish to be guilty of the narrowness and pedantry of inferring the tendency and genius of the Age from a few and insufficient facts or persons. Every age has a thousand sides and signs and tendencies: and it is only when surveyed from inferior points of view, that great varieties of character appear. Our time too is full of activity and performance. Is there not something comprehensive in the grasp of a society which to great mechanical invention, and the best institutions of property, adds the most daring theories; which explores the subtlest and most universal problems? At the manifest risk of repeating what every other Age has thought of itself, we might say, we think the Genius of this age more philosophical than any other has been, righter in its aims, truer, with less fear, less fable, less mixture of any sort.
But turn it how we will, as we ponder this meaning of the times, every new thought drives us to the deep fact, that the Time is the child of the Eternity. The main interest which any
aspects of the Times can have for us, is the great spirit which gazes through them, the light which they can shed on the wonderful questions, What we are; and Whither we tend. We do not wish to be deceived. Here we drift, like white sail across the wild ocean, now bright on the wave, now darkling in the trough of the sea :—but from what port did we sail? Who knows? Or to what port are we bound? Who knows? There is no one to tell us but such poor weather-tossed mariners as ourselves, whom we speak as we pass, or who have hoisted some signal, or floated to us some letter in a bottle from far. But what know they more than we? They also found themselves on this wondrous sea. No; from the older sailors, nothing. Over all their speaking-trumpets, the gray sea and the loud winds answer, Not in us; not in Time. Where then but in Ourselves, where but in that Thought through which we communicate with absolute nature, and are made aware that, whilst we shed the dust of which we are built, grain by grain, till it is all gone, the law which clothes us with humanity remains new ?-where, but in the intuitions which are vouchsafed us from within, shall we learn the Truth ? Faithless, faithless, we fancy that with the dust we depart and are not; and do not know that the law and the perception of the law are at last one; that only as much as the law enters us—becomes us, we are living men,-immortal with the immortality of this law. Underneath all these appearances, lies that which is, that which lives, that which causes. This ever renewing generation of appearances rests on a reality, and a reality that is alive.
To a true scholar the attraction of the aspects of nature, the departments of life, and the passages of his experience, is simply the information they yield him of this supreme nature which lurks within all. That reality, that causing force, is moral. The Moral Sentiment is but its other name. It makes by its presence or absence, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, genius or depravation. As the granite comes to the surface, and towers into the highest mountains, and, if we dig down, we find it below the superficial strata, so in all the details of our domestic or civil life, is hidden the elemental reality, which ever and anon comes to the surface, and forms the grand men, who are the leaders and examples, rather than the companions of the race. The granite is curiously concealed under a thousand formations and surfaces ; under fertile soils, and grasses, and flowers; under well-manured, arable fields, and large towns and cities; but it makes the foundation of these, and is always indicating its presence by slight but sure signs. So it is with the Life of our life ; so close does that also hide. I read it in glad and in weeping eyes: I read it in the pride and in the humility of people: it is recognised in every bargain and in every complaisance, in every criticism, and in all praise : it is voted for at elections; it wins the cause with juries ; it rides the stormy eloquence of the senate, sole victor; histories are written of it, holidays decreed to it; statues, tombs, churches, built to its honour; yet men seem to fear and to shun it, when it comes barely to view in our immediate neighbourhood.
For that reality let us stand; that let us serve, and for that speak. Only as far as that shines through them, are these times or any times worth consideration. I wish to speak of the politics, education, business, and religion around us, without ceremony or false deference. You will absolve me from the charge of flippancy, or malignity, or the desire to say smart things at the expense of whomsoever, when you see that reality is all we prize, and that we are bound on our entrance into nature to speak for that. Let it not be recorded in our own memories, that in this moment of the Eternity, when we who were named by our names, flitted across the light, we were afraid of any fact, or disgraced the fair Day by a pusillanimous preference of our bread to our freedom. What is the scholar, what is the man for, but for hospitality to every new thought of his time? Have you leisure, power, property, friends ? you shall be the asylum and patron of every new thought, every unproven opinion, every untried project, which proceeds out of good-will and honest seeking. All the newspapers, all the tongues of to-day, will of course at first defame what is noble; but you who hold not of to-day, not of the times, but of the Everlasting, are to stand for it: and the highest compliment man ever receives from heaven, is the sending to him its disguised and discredited angels.
The two parties which divide the state—the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation-are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made. This quarrel is the subject of civil history. The conservative party established the reverend hierarchies and monarchies of the most ancient world. The battle of patrician and plebeian, of parent state and colony, of old usage and accommodation to new facts, of the rich and the poor, re-appears in all countries and times.
The war rages not only in battle-fields, in national councils, and ecclesiastical synods, but agitates every man's bosom with opposing advantages every hour. On rolls the whole world meantime, and now one, now the other gets the day, and still the fight renews itself as if for the first time, under new names and hot personalities.
Such an irreconcilable antagonism, of course, must have a corresponding depth of seat in the human constitution. It is the opposition of Past and Future, of Memory and Hope, of the Understanding and the Reason. It is the primal antagonism, the appearance in trifles of the two poles of nature.
There is a fragment of old fable which seems somehow to have been dropped from the current mythologies, which may deserv attention, as it appears to relate to this subject.
Saturn grew weary of sitting alone, or with none but the great Uranus or Heaven beholding him, and he created an oyster. Then he would act again, but he made nothing more, but went on creating the race of oysters. Then Uranus cried, “ A new work, O Saturn ! the old is not good again.”
Saturn replied : “ I fear. There is not only the alternative of making and not making, but also of unmaking. Seest thou the great sea, how it ebbs and flows? so is it with me; my power ebbs; and if I put forth my hands, I shall not do, but undo. Therefore I do what I have done ; I hold what I have got; and so I resist Night and Chaos.”
“O Saturn !” replied Uranus, “thou canst not hold thine own, but by making more. Thy oysters are barnacles and cockles, and with the next flowing of the tide, they will be pebbles and seafoam."
“I see," rejoins Saturn,“ thou art in league with Night, thou art become an evil eye; thou spakest from love: now thy words smite me with hatred. I appeal to Fate, must there not be rest ?”
-“ I appeal to Fate also,” said Uranus ; “must there not be motion ?"-But Saturn was silent, and went on making oysters for a thousand years.
After that, the word of Uranus came into his mind like a ray of the sun, and he made Jupiter; and then he feared again; and nature froze; the things that were made went backward, and, to save the world, Jupiter slew his father Saturn.
This may stand for the earliest account of a conversation on politics between a Conservative and a Radical, which has come down to us. It is ever thus. It is the counteraction of the centripetal and the centrifugal forces. Innovation is the salient energy; Conservatism the pause on the last movement. “ That which is was made by God," saith Conservatism. “He is leaving that, he is entering this other," rejoins Innovation.
There is always a certain meanness in the argument of Conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact. It affirms because it holds. Its fingers clutch the fact, and it will not open its eyes to see a better fact. The castle which Conservatism is set to defend, is the actual state of things, good and bad. The project of innovation is the best possible state of things. Of course, Conservatism always has the worst of the argument, is always apologising, pleading a necessity, pleading that to change would be to deteriorate; it must saddle itself with the mountainous load of the violence and vice of society; must deny the possibility of good, deny ideas, and suspect and stone the prophet; whilst innovation is always in the right, triumphant, attacking, and sure of final
Conservatism stands on man's confessed limitations ; reform on his indisputable infinitude; conservatism on circumstance ; liberalism on power; one goes to make an adroit member of the social frame; the other to postpone all things to the man himself; conservatism is debonnair and social; reform is individual and imperious. We are reformers in spring and summer, in autumn and winter we stand by the old ; reformers in the morning, conservers at night. Reform is affirmative, conservatism negative; conservatism goes for comfort, reform for truth. Conservatism is more candid to behold another's worth ; reform more disposed to maintain and increase its own. Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, invention ;
it is all memory. Reform has no gratitude, no prudence, no husbandry. It makes a great difference to your figure and to your thought, whether your foot is advancing or receding. Conservatism never puts the foot forward; in the hour when it does that, it is not establishment, but reform. Conservatism tends to universal seeming and treachery; believes in a negative fate; believes that men's temper governs them; that for me, it avails not to trust in principles ; they will fail me; I must bend a little: it distrusts nature; it