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recess in Moosehead Lake, to bewail our innocency, and to recover it, and with it the power to communicate again with these sharers of a more sacred idea?
And what is to replace for us the piety of that race? We cannot have theirs; it glides away from us day by day, but we also can bask in the great morning which rises for ever out of the eastern sea, and be ourselves the children of the light. I stand here to say, Let us worship the mighty and transcendant Soul. It is the office, I doubt not, of this age, to annul that adulterous divorce which the superstition of many ages has effected between the intellect and holiness. The lovers of goodness have been one class, the students of wisdom another; as if either could exist in any purity without the other. Truth is always holy, holiness always wise. I will that we keep terms with sin and a sinful literature and society no longer, but live a life of discovery and performance. Accept the intellect, and it will accept us. Be the lowly ministers of that pure omniscience, and deny it not before men. It will burn up all profane literature, all base current opinions, all the false powers of the world as in a moment of time. I draw from Nature the lesson of an intimate divinity: Our health and reason as men
needs our respect to this fact against the heedlessness and against the contradiction of society. The sanity of man needs the poise of this immanent force. His nobility needs the assurance of this inexhaustible reserved power. How great soever have been its bounties, they are a drop to the sea whence they flow. If you say, “The acceptance of the vision is also the act of God,” I shall not seek to penetrate the mystery ; I admit the force of what you say. If you ask, “How can any rules be given for the attainment of gifts so sublime?” I shall only remark, that the solicitations of this spirit, as long as there is life, are never forborne. Tenderly, tenderly, they woo and court us from every object in Nature, from every fact in life, from every thought in the mind. The one condition coupled with the gift of truth is its use. That man shall be learned who reduceth his learning to practice. Emanuel Swedenborg affirmed that it was open to him “that the spirits who knew truth in this life, but did it not, at death shall lose their knowledge.” “If knowledge,” said Ali, the Caliph, “calleth unto practice, well; if not, it goeth away.” The only way into Nature is to enact our best insight. Instantly, we are higher poets, and can speak a deeper law. Do what you know, and perception
is converted into character, as islands and continents were built by invisible infusories, or as these forest leaves absorb light, electricity, and volatile gases, and the gnarled oak to live a thousand years is the arrest and fixation of the most volatile and ethereal currents. The doctrine of this Supreme Presence is a cry of joy and exultation. Who shall dare think he has come late into Nature, or has missed anything excellent in the past, who seeth the admirable stars of Possibility, and the yet untouched continent of Hope glittering with all its mountains in the vast West? I praise with wonder this great reality which seems to drown all things in the deluge of its light. What man, seeing this, can lose it from his thoughts, or entertain a meaner subject? The entrance of this into his mind seems to be the birth of man. We cannot describe the natural history of the soul, but we know that it is divine. I cannot tell if these wonderful qualities which house to-day in this mortal frame shall ever re-assemble in equal activity in a similar frame, or whether they have before had a natural history like that of this body you see before you; but this one thing I know, that these qualities did not now begin to exist, cannot be sick with my sickness, nor buried in any grave; but that they circulate through the universe,—before the world was, they were. Nothing can bar them out, or shut them in; but they penetrate the ocean and land, space and time, form and essence, and hold the key to universal Nature. I draw from this faith, courage and hope. All things are known to the soul. It is not to be surprised by any communication. Nothing can be greater than it. Let those fear and those fawn who will. The soul is in her native realm, and it is wider than space, older than time, wide as hope, rich as love. Pusillanimity and fear she refuses with a beautiful scorn; they are not for her who putteth on her coronation robes, and goes out through universal love to universal power.
MAN THE REFORMER:
: A LECTURE ON SOME OF THE PROMINENT
FEATURES OF THE PRESENT AGE.
Read before the Mechanics' Apprentices' Library Association, at the
Masonic Temple, Boston, U.S.
MR PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN,—I wish
to offer to your consideration some thoughts on the particular and general relations of man as a Reformer. I shall assume that the aim of each young man in this association is the very highest that belongs to a rational mind. Let it be granted, that our life, as we lead it, is common and mean; that some of those offices and functions for which we were mainly created, are grown so rare in society, that the memory of them is only kept alive in old books, and in dim traditions; that prophets and poets, that beautiful and perfect men, we are not now,—no, nor have even seen such ; that some sources of human instruction are almost unnamed and unknown among us;