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is no suggestion "that the very hairs of the head are all numbered," and that the suffering spirit is "of more value than many sparrows."
The practical conclusion to which Mr. Emerson would lead us, we state in his own words:
“Let us build altars to the Beautiful Necessity, which secures that all is made of one piece; that plaintiff and defendant, friend and enemy, animal and planet, food and eater, are of one kind. In astronomy, is vast space, but no foreign system; in geology, vast time, but the same laws as to-day. Why should we be afraid of Nature, which is no other than philosophy and theology embodied? Why should we fear to be crushed by savage elements, we who are made up of the same elements? Let us build to the Beautiful Necessity, which makes man brave in believing that he cannot shun a danger that is appointed, nor incur one that is not; to the Necessity which rudely or softly educates him to the perception that there are no contingencies; that Law rules throughout existence, a Law which is not intelligent but intelligence,-not personal nor impersonal,-it disdains words and passes understanding; it dissolves persons; it vivifies nature; yet solicits the pure in heart to draw on all its omnipotence."
The suggestion of an altar to the Beautiful Necessity, and of the place where such an altar might probably be erected, brings to mind an old book with which Mr. Emerson cannot be unacquainted, in which it is written, "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription-To the unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." It also reminds us of the saying of one who was not deficient in his recognition of and in his respect for law. "I had rather believe all the fables in the legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind."
Passing over for the present the Chapters on Power, Wealth, Culture, Behavior, we come to that on Worship. At the beginning he says, with charming naiveté or provoking audacity, just as we chance to construe him: "Some of my friends have complained, when the preceding papers were read, that we discussed Fate, Power, Wealth, on too low a platform," &c., &c., implying, of course, that he had left out of view the religious element. Whereupon he proceeds to observe, with that air of entire unconsciousness or of injured innocence which is wont to be assumed by certain grave looking people
when touched by a policeman, that his friends are altogether mistaken, inasmuch as to this element he attaches the greatest importance. But, he adds, that really it is of very little consequence what he or any man may say; that he is sure certain truth will be said through him, though he should be dumb, or though he should try to say the reverse,” an apology, by the way, which would be just as pertinent for bad grammar, or for downright nonsense, as it is for Pantheistic Theosophy or Libertine Ethics. He then adds, "dipping his pen in the blackest ink, without the fear of falling into his own ink-pot," that "We are born believing. A man bears beliefs, as a tree bears apples." "I and my neighbors have been bred in the notion, that unless we come soon to some good church-Calvinism, or Behmenism, or Romanism, or Mormonism-there would be a universal thaw and dissolution. No Isaiah or Jeremy has arrived. Nothing can exceed the anarchy that has followed in our skies. The stern old faiths have all pulverized." ""T is a whole population of gentlemen and ladies out in search of religions." "Yet we make shift to live." "The decline of the influence of Calvin, or Fenelon, or Wesley, or Channing, need give us no uneasiness." "God builds his temple in the heart, on the ruins of churches and religions."
Again, speaking of the present times, he says, "I do not find the religions of men, at this moment, very creditable to them, but either childish and insignificant, or unmanly and effeminating. The fatal trait is the divorce between religion and morality."
"By the irresistible maturing of the general mind, the Christian traditions have lost their hold. The dogma of the mystic offices of Christ being dropped, and he standing on his genius as a moral teacher, 't is impossible to maintain the old emphasis of his personality; and it recedes, as all persons must, before the sublimity of the moral laws. From this change, and in the momentary absence of any religious genius that could offset the immense material activity, there is a feeling that religion is gone." p. 182.
We question whether Mr. Emerson knows enough of the point technically known as the "state of religion," to be qualified to speak upon it with much authority. There are cer
tain species of fish, that, for purposes of concealment and defense, can exude from their own bowels a liquid that causes the waters in their immediate vicinity to take an inky or a purple hue. Doubtless all the objects which the fish beholds through this medium are invested with the blackness of ink, or the glory of the Tyrian purple. Perhaps Mr. Emerson might profitably consider that the atmosphere created by his gloomy or his glorious fancies, need not of necessity extend farther than "his study" in Concord, or his "club" in Boston,-even though it seems to him to invest the universe. So much audacious positiveness in assertion, might properly rest upon a more careful induction of facts. It may be true that the power of certain scholastic formulæ concerning the person and work of Christ may occupy a smaller part of the world's thinking than in other times, but it is not true that, as between the moral teachings of Christ and the power of his unmatched personality-the personality is of inferior inRather is it true, that there was never a time when Christ, as a divine and incomparable person, was so powerful and plastic in his sway over the world's thinking and the world's literature as it is at this moment-that there was never an hour when Christ, as an object of affection and trust, was consecrated in so many believing hearts, and in so many Christian homes-never a time, within two centuries, when it might be said that more of the men who guide and mold the thoughts of the world were themselves molded and guided by a faith in Christ's Divine Personality. We are not disposed to deny to Mr. Emerson and his sort of people a very considerable influence over the thinking of this country and of England. We freely confess that they are the Representative men of a class which is much larger than we wish it were; but we think it goes quite beyond the limits of a becoming modesty that they should take it upon them to speak for all of Christendom that lies beyond Boston and twenty miles around. They are fully competent to speak for themselves, and in so doing, to express their estimate of Christ, but not therefore, qualified to testify as to what the rest of the world think, or to draw the inference that if these
do not agree with themselves, they are thereby excluded from all good society, and must forego all fellowship with the culti vated and enlightened classes.
We are confirmed in our opinion that Mr. Emerson is incompetent to judge of what the world thinks, by the utter shallowness and flippancy of the judgments which he expresses concerning Christianity itself. The power of this system, he would have us believe, lies in the excellence of its moral teachings, and not in the wondrous mystery and charm that pertain to the Divine Person whose name it bears. Is it possible that he is so pitifully ignorant of the force of the New Testament teachings, and of the uniform sentiment of hosts of believing Christian philosophers, as not to be aware that the chief importance which they attach to what he calls "the dogma of the mystic offices of Christ" is that there lies in it a power and potency for man's moral welfare that is unmatched by any other and all other systems of faith and duty. That much of the religionism of the present day that is called after Christ, is superficial and cheap, is true indeed, but it is no more true, than that much of the worship which is called after Emerson, is twaddle and cant. That the speculative and practical ethics of many zealous Christians are sadly incomplete and inconsistent, is no news to those who "retain the Christian traditions," and, we add, is so far from being an argument against, that it is rather an argument for the necessity of these very traditions. Mr. Emerson says some just and some flippant things about the defective ethics and the superficial religionism of the current Christianity, somewhat brighter, but no more severe than are frequently uttered in sermons by those who "still maintain the old emphasis of Christ's personality." But that this is possible and true, Mr. Emerson is either very sublimely or very willfully ignorant.
But in the midst of his querulous dissatisfaction with the church of the present, he is cheered with the bright anticipations of the church of the future. Concerning this church, this new John the Baptist, this "voice of one crying in the wilderness" thus expresses himself in the conclusion of his long disquisition on worship:
"There will be a new church founded on moral science, at first cold and naked, a babe in a manger again, the algebra and mathematics of ethical law, the church of men to come, without shawms, or psaltery, or sackbut; but it will have heaven and earth for its beams and rafters; science for symbol and illustration; it will fast enough gather beauty, music, picture, poetry. Was never stoicism so stern and exigent as this shall be? It shall send man home to his central solitude, shame these social, supplicating manners, and make him know that much of the time he must have himself to his friend. He shall expect no coöperation, he shall walk with no companion. The nameless Thought, the nameless Power, the superpersonal Heart, he shall repose alone on that. He needs only his own verdict. No good fame can help, no bad fame can hurt him. The Laws are his consolers, the good Laws themselves are alive, they know if he have kept them, they animate him with the leading of great duty, and an endless horizon. Honor and fortune exist to him who always recognizes the neighborhood of the great, always feels himself in the presence of high causes." pp. 210, 211.
It strikes us that in this would-be jubilant strain, there is an undertone of concession and apology which betrays the conscious weakness of the prophet. What if the babe is "cold and naked," is not this the perfection and the glory of the "new church founded on moral science"? "Let us have nothing new which is not its own evidence. There is surely enough for the heart and imagination in the religion itself. Let us not be pestered with assertions and half-truths, with emotions and snuffle." What do we want of "the nameless Thought, the nameless Power, the superpersonal Heart"? Why tell us that here is somewhat on which we may repose"? Why not repose on the Laws themselves? Surely, anything more is, according to Mr. Emerson's theory, "emotion and snuffle."
But the Laws who are to be consolers, "the good Laws themselves," though alive, do not satisfy even Mr. Emerson. His heart and his flesh cry out for a personal God, whom he shadows forth as the "nameless Power, the superpersonal Heart." Through all this confident triumph the cry comes up in an undertone, low and sad, like the wailing of a deserted infant, but of which the meaning cannot be mistaken, "my soul thirsteth for God, for the living God."
Mr. Emerson seems entirely to overlook that it is the great peculiarity of the Christian system, that it provides a personal "Power" for man to worship-which is, at the same