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beauty, or power, but all in one, and each entirely, is that for which all things exist, and that by which they are ; that spirit creates ; that, behind Nature, throughout Nature, spirit is present : that spirit is one, and not compound ; that spirit does not act upon us from without,—that is, in space and time,- but spiritually, or through ourselves. Therefore, that spirit—that is, the Supreme Being--does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us, as the life of the tree puts forth new branches and leaves through the pores of the old. As a plant upon the earth, so a man rests upon the bosom of God; he is nourished by unfailing fountains, and draws, at his need, inexhaustible power. Who can set bounds to the possibilities of man? Once inspire the infinite, by being admitted to behold the absolute natures of justice and truth, and we learn that man has access to the entire mind of the Creator - is himself the creator in the finite. This view, which admonishes me where the sources of wisdom and power lie, and points to virtue as to
“ The golden key Which opes the palace of eternity,” carries upon its face the highest certificate of truth, because it animates me to create my own world through the purification of my soul.
The world proceeds from the same spirit as the body of man. It is a remoter and inferior incarnation of God,-a projection of God in the unconscious. But it differs from the body in one important respect. It is not, like that, now subjected to the human will. Its serene order is inviolable by us. It is, therefore, to us, the present expositor of the Divine mind. It is a fixed point whereby we may measure our departure. As we degenerate, the contrast between us and our house is more evident. We are as much strangers in nature as we are aliens from God. We do not understand the notes of birds. The fox and the deer run away from us; the bear and tiger rend us. We do not know the uses of more than a few plants, as corn and the apple, the potato and the vine. Is not the landscape, every glimpse of which hath
a grandeur, a face of him ? Yet this may show us what discord is between man and nature, for you cannot freely admire a noble landscape if labourers are digging in the field hard by. The poet finds something ridiculous in his delight, until he is out of the sight of men.
In inquiries respecting the laws of the world and the frame of things, the highest reason is always the truest. That which seems faintly possible—it is so refined—is often faint and dim because it is deepest seated in the mind among the eternal verities. Empirical science is apt to cloud the sight, and, by the very knowledge of functions and processes, to bereave the student of the manly contemplation of the whole. The savant becomes unpoetic. But the best read naturalist who lends an entire and devout attention to truth, will see that there remains much to learn of his relation to the world, and that it is not to be learned by any addition or subtraction, or other comparison of known quantities, but is arrived at by untaught sallies of the spirit, by a continual self-recovery, and by entire humility. He will perceive that there are far more excellent qualities in the student than preciseness and infallibility; that a guess is often more fruitful that an indisputable affirmation, and that a dream may let us deeper into the secret of Nature than a hundred concerted experiments.
For, the problems to be solved are precisely those which the physiologist and the naturalist omit to state. It is not so pertinent to man to know all the individuals of the animal kingdom as it is to know whence and whereto is this tyrannizing unity in his constitution, which evermore separates and classifies things, endeavouring to reduce the most diverse to one form. When I behold a rich landscape, it is less to
my purpose to recite correctly the order and superposition of the strata, than to know why all thought of multitude is lost in a tranquil sense of unity. I cannot greatly honour minuteness in details, so long as there is no hint to explain the relation between things and thoughts; no ray upon the metuphysics of conchology, of botany, of the arts, to show the relation of the forms of flowers, shells, animals, architecture, to the mind, and build science upon ideas. In a cabinet of natural history, we become sensible of a certain occult recognition and sympathy in regard to the most bizarre forms of beast, fish, and insect. The American, who has been confined, in his own country, to the sight of buildings designed after foreign models, is surprised, on entering York Minster or St. Peter's at Rome, by the feeling that these structures are imitations also,-faint copies of an invisible archetype. Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world, of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in every mountain stratum, in every new law of colour, fact of astronomy, or atmospheric influence which observation or analysis lay open. A perception of this mystery inspires the muse of George Herbert, the beautiful psalmist of the seventeenth century. The following lines are part of his little poem on Man:
“Man is all symmetry,
And to all the world besides.
Each part may call the farthest, brother ;
And both with moons and tides.
“Nothing hath got so far
His eyes dismount the highest star;
He is in little all the sphere.
Find their acquaintance there.
« For us, the winds do blow,
Nothing we see but means our good,
As our delight, or as our treasure ;
“ The stars have us to bed,
All things unto our flesh are kind,
In their ascent and cause.
“ More servants wait on man
He treads down that which doth befriend him
Another to attend him."
The perception of this class of truths makes the eternal attraction which draws men to science, but the end is lost sight of in attention to the means. In view of this half-sight of science, we accept the sentence of Plato, that “poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history." Every surmise and vaticination of the mind is entitled to a certain respect; and we learn to prefer imperfect theories and sentences which contain glimpses of truth, to digested systems which have no one valuable suggestion. A wise writer will feel that the ends of study and composition are best answered by announcing undiscovered regions of thought, and so communicating, through hope, new activity to the torpid spirit.
I shall therefore conclude this essay with some traditions of man and Nature, which a certain poet sang to me; and which, as they have always been in the world, and perhaps re-appear to every bard, may be both history and prophecy :
“ The foundations of man are not in matter, but in spirit; but the element of spirit is eternity. To it, therefore, the longest series of events, the oldest chronologies, are young and recent. In the cycle of the universal man, from whom the known individuals proceed, centuries are points, and all history is but the epoch of one degradation.
“We distrust and deny inwardly our sympathy with Nature. We own and disown our relation to it by turns. We are, like Nebuchadnezzar, dethroned—bereft of reason, and eating grass like an ox. But who can set liinits to the remedial force of spirit !
“A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams. Now, the world would be insane and rabid, if these disorganizations should last for hundreds of years. It is kept in check by death and infancy. Infancy is the perpetual Messiah, which comes into the arms of fallen men, and pleads with them to return to paradise.
“Man is the dwarf of himself. Once he was permeated and dissolved by spirit. He filled nature with his overflowing currents. Out from him sprang the sun and moon: from man, the sun; from woman, the moon. The laws of his mind, the periods of his actions externised themselves into day and night, into the year and the seasons. But, having made for himself this huge shell, his waters retired; he no longer fills the veins and veinlets ; he is shrunk to a drop. He sees that the structure still fits him, but fits him colossally ; say, rather, once it fitted hiin,-now it corresponds to him from far, and on high. He adores timidly his own work. Now is man the follower of the sun, and woman the follower of the moon. Yet, sometimes he starts in his slumber, and wonders at himself and his house, and muses strangely at the resemblance betwixt him and it. He perceives, that if his law is still paramount,-if still he have elemental power, ‘if his word is sterling yet in nature, it is not conscious power; it is not inferior, but superior, to his will. It is Instinct.” Thus my Orphic poet sang.
At present, man applies to Nature but half his force. He works on the world with his understanding alone. He loves in it, and masters it by a penny-wisdom ; and he that works most in it, is but a half-man; and whilst his arms are strong, and his digestion good, his mind is imbruted, and he is a selfish savage. His relation to Nature, his power over it, is through the understanding; as by manure; the economic use