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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 2 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 2 Who knows? There is no one to tell us but such poor weathertossed 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 2 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 is it 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 recognized 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 honor; yet men seem to fear and to shun it, when it comes barely to view in our immediate neighborhood. 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.