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their soul, and know not that one soul, and their soul, is wiser than the whole world. See how nations and races flit by on the sea of time, and leave no ripple to tell where they floated or sunk; and one good soul shall make the name of Moses, or of Zeno, or of Zoroaster, reverend for ever. None assayeth the stern ambition to be the Self of the nation, and of Nature, but each would be an easy secondary to some Christian scheme, or sectarian connexion, or some eminent man. Once leave your own knowledge of God, your own sentiment, and take secondary knowledge, as St Paul's, or George Fox's, or Swedenborg's, and you get wide from God with every year this secondary form lasts, and if, as now, for centuries -the chasm yawns to that breadth, that men can scarcely be convinced there is in them anything divine.
Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models, even those most sacred to the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil. Friends enough you shall find who will hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Oberlins, Saints and Prophets.
Thank God for these good men, but say, “ I also am a man.” Imitation cannot go above its model. The imitator dooms himself to hopeless medi
ocrity. The inventor did it, because it was natural to him; and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator, something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.
Yourself a new-born bard of the Holy Ghost,cast behind you all conformity, and acquaint men at first hand with Deity. Be to them a man. Look to it first and only, that you are such, that fashion, custom, authority, pleasure, and money are nothing to you,—are not bandages over your eyes, that you cannot see,—but live with the privilege of the immeasurable mind. Not too anxious to visit periodically all families and each family in your parish connexion-when you meet one of these men or women, be to them a divine man; be to them thought and virtue; let their timid aspirations sind in you a friend ; let their trampled instincts be genially tempted out in your atmosphere; let their doubts know that you have doubted, and their wonder feel that you have wondered. By trusting your own soul, you shall gain a greater confidence in other men. For all our penny-wisdom, for all our souldestroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts that all men do value the few real hours of life: they love to
be heard ; they love to be caught up into the vision of principles. We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our souls wiser—that spoke what we thought
—that told us what we knew—that gave us leave to be what we inly were. Discharge to men the priestly office, and, present or absent, you shall be followed with their love as by an angel.
And, to this end, let us not aim at common degrees of merit. Can we not leave to such as love it the virtue that glitters for the commendation of society, and ourselves pierce the deep solitudes of absolute ability and worth? We easily come up to the standard of goodness in society, Society's praise can be cheaply secured, and almost all men are content with those easy merits; but the instant effect of conversing with God, will be, to put them away. There are sublime merits; persons who are not actors, not speakers, but influences; persons too great for fame, for display; who disdain eloquence; to whom all we call art and artist seems too nearly allied to show and byends, to the exaggeration of the finite and selfish and loss of the universal. The orators, the poets, the commanders, encroach on us only, as fair women do, by our allowance and homage. Slight then by pre-occupation of mind,--slight them, as you can well assord to do, by high and universal aims, and they instantly feel that you have right, and that it is in lower places that they must shine. They also feel your right; for they with you are open to the influx of the all-knowing Spirit, which annihilates before its broad noon the little shades and gradations of intelligence in the compositions we call wiser and wisest.
In such high communion, let us study the grand strokes of rectitude: a bold benevolence, an independence of friends, so that not the unjust wishes of those who love us shall impair our freedom; but we shall resist, for truth's sake, the freest flow of kindness, and appeal to sympathies far in advance; and,—what is the highest form in which we know this beautiful element,-a certain solidity of merit that has nothing to do with opinion, and which is so essentially and manifestly virtue, that it is taken for granted, that the right, the brave, the generous step will be taken by it, and nobody thinks of commending it. You would compliment a coxcomb doing a good act, but you would not praise an angel. The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world, is the highest applause. Such souls, when they appear, are the Imperial Guard of Virtue, the perpetual reserve, the dictators of fortune. One needs not praise their courage,—they are the heart and soul of nature. O, my friends, there are resources in us on which we have not drawn. There are men who rise refeshed on hearing a threat; men, to whom a crisis which intimidates and paralyses the majority-demanding, not the faculties of prudence and thrift, but comprehension, immovableness, the readiness of sacrifice, comes graceful and beloved as a bride. Napoleon said of Massena, that he was not himself until the battle began to go against him ; then, when the dead began to fall in ranks around him, awoke his powers of combination, and he put on terror and victory as a robe. So it is in rugged crises, in unweariable endurance, and in aims which put sympathy out of question, that the angel is shown. But these are heights that we can scarce remember and look up to without contrition and shame. Let us thank God that such things exist.