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exist in us, which constitute virtue. According to our notions, reverence and delight must have some object; yet no object of reverence is here presented, except these same laws. But how such reverence can be distinguished from mere wonder or admiration, is far from being apparent. It is at least certain, that such affections as respect, love, confidence, and gratitude, as usually understood, can have no place here; and the author would probably not include them in his notion of “reverence and delight,”--that is, in his notion of virtue. We find it afterwards announced, that this “sentiment of virtue,” that is, this reverence in the presence of the laws of gravity, motion, muscular force, and the like, whatever else it may be, is “the essence of all religion.” The religion, therefore, or the essence of the religion, which Mr. Emerson would recommend and inculcate, has, so far as we can perceive, no direct relation to God, or, indeed, any relation to him whatever. This religion, then, at least practically, must be the religion of atheism; for though the name of God is found in this address, it is so used, and apparently with especial care, as to indicate a mere abstraction ;—it is a word only. We would not designedly do the author injustice; but so far as we have been able to understand his representation, the God of this discourse sinks far below the God of Epicurus.
In such a religion as this, the founder of christianity cannot be expected to hold a very high place. Jesus Christ,” we are, however, told, “ belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye, the mystery of the soul.” And again,-he is "the only soul in history, who has appreciated the worth of man." This looks a little like respect. But that this old-fashioned feeling towards superior excellence may not rise too high, we are soon assured that “to aim to convert a man by miracles, is a profanation of the soul.” It would seem, then, that this same Jesus of Nazareth, who " belonged to the true race of prophets," who “saw with open eye the mystery of the soul,” and who is
the only soul in history, who has appreciated the worth of man," and necessarily, therefore, with a full knowledge of what he was doing, has been guilty of "a profanation of the soul;" a crime which ought to subject him, according to the doctrines of this address, to the highest censure and reprobation. His guilt, in this respect, can hardly be estimated. For if any one fact is clearly stated in his history, it is this; that he professed to perform acts which were supernatural; and with an openness, distinctness and frequency, to which no parallel exists. The author has, indeed, said, what seems to amount to a denial, that the miracles of Jesus were real miracles. "He,” Jesus, “spoke of miracles,” observes Mr. Emerson,for he felt that man's life was a miracle, and all that man doth, and he knew, that this daily miracle shines, as the man is divine. But the very word miracle, as pronounced by christian churches, gives a false impression; it is a monster. It is not one with the blowing clover and the falling rain.”
But does Mr. Emerson suppose, that the world, with the narratives of the evangelists in full view, can be persuaded into the belief, that Christ did not pretend to perform miracles out of the ordinary course of events? that he did not appeal to such miracles as proofs of his mission ? and
that converts were not made to his doctrines, and with his full knowledge, on the ground of the supernatural character of these miracles? Nothing can be made plainer by words, than that the miracles of the four Gospels, are not represented as “one with the blowiug clover and the falling rain.” The fact, that this address was delivered in a Divinity College, is not more clearly or unambiguously expressed on the titlepage of the pamphlet which contains it, than is the fact in the Gospels, that the miracles there recorded, are described as real miracles, what Mr. Emerson calls “monsters,” that is, events out of the common course of nature. If the miracles of Jesus, as to the manner of their performance, are to be classed with “the blowing clover and the falling rain," he who is said to have wrought them, will be viewed, by the great body of mankind, as an intentional deceiver.
But Mr. Emerson probably cares little how this question is settled. Historical christianity, that is, christianity as derived from the scriptures, he makes no account of. As actually preached, he considers it positively injurious. One great defect of historical christianity, as he represents it, is, that "it has dwelt, it dwells, with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus.” The soul," he boldly announces to his auditors, “knows no person ;" that is, if we understand bim, no personal God, no personal Savior, with whom we have any concern, to whom we owe any reverence, or of whose protection, guidance, or favor, we stand in any need. Still the author speaks of the "calamity of a decaying church and a wasting unbelief, which are casting malignant influences around us, and making the hearts of good men sad.” Unbelief, we would ask, in what? Certainly not in the laws of gravity, motion, or muscular force. These laws, and others like them, so far as understood, are, we believe, universally admitted to exist. Who has any d ubt, for instance, that action and reaction are equal ? that bodies, which are said to have weight, tend towards the surface of the earth? and that in a mature and healthy body, when unrestrained, the muscles act in obedience to the will ? And the same question may be asked of innumerable other truths of the same general character. Not only are the laws in question believed in, that is, believed really to exist, but they are viewed by all who have any knowledge of them, as furnishing subjects of interesting contemplation, as wonderful, and inviting the closest and most diligent investigation and inquiry. And what more than this, would Mr. Emerson include in his idea of reverence ? On this scheme, an irreligious man can hardly be found; and the author, instead of mourning over a “wasting unbelief," ought, so far as we can see, to raise his voice to the highest tones of joy and gladness, for the universal prevalence of faith.
The speaker again asks, “what greater calamity can fall upon a nation than the loss of worship ?” We would ask, also, the worship of what? It is here perhaps more easy to answer negatively, than positively, Certainly he cannot mean, the worship of a personal God, for the soul knows no persons.” The loss of such a worship he ought to rejoice in. Such a loss would be a real advance towards true religion. If the worship of a personal God is a delusion, the sooner it ceases the better ; nor
do we find any thing in this address, which would lead us to surpose, that Mr. Emerson is not of this opinion. Yet notwithstanding all this, he announces the “sad conviction,” which he shares with numbers, “ of the universal decay and now almost death of faith in our churches.”
And here, we cannot but inquire again, what this faith is which is so near its exit? Not surely faith in the Scriptures, as the source of correct religious knowledge; for in this sense Mr. Emerson does not appear to have any faith in them himself. Nor can it be faith in Jesus Christ as the teacher of a religion binding upon the consciences of men; for this is a part of historical religion, and, therefore, according to the author of the address, of no value. Is it faith in God, as a wise preserver, a kind father, and a righteous judge? Beyond the laws of nature, as they are called, it does not appear, that the speaker, who expresses his
sad conviction" of the decay of faith, entertains any belief of a God, except in name.
But perhaps this faith, which is dying, respects the soul. The author, indeed, complains that "the soul is not preached ;” and among the means for awakening “the smouldering, nigh quenched fire on the altar,” he would have his auditors, if we understand him, preach, “first, soul, and second, soul, and evermore, soul.” But what he means by the soul; of what benefit this faith in something or other can be to the soul; whether the soul is immortal; and if so, whether in a future life it will be the subject of rewards and punishments for actions done here, we are unable to discover the slightest intimation. The language used on this subject is everywhere indistinct and indefinite. “In how many churches,” says the speaker,“ by how many prophets, tell me, is man made sensible that is an infinite soul; that the earth and he ens are passing into his mind ; that he is drinking forever the soul of God.” In what respect he considers the soul infinite, we are unable, from any thing in the address, even to conjecture; and if any one can understand the concluding part of the quotation now made, we would congratulate him on his ability in interpreting dark sayings.
The author speaks, likewise, of the “laws of the soul;” and informs us, that these “laws execute themselves.” These laws, however, he asserts, are out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance." If all this is true of the laws of the soul, we are unable to free ourselves from the apprehension, that the soul itself, like its laws, must be also “out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance;" and where either the soul, or its laws are to be found, we are left entirely in the dark. Yet after this flight of the soul and its laws from time, place, and circumstance, we find, that it “invites every man to expand to the full circle of the universe. This invitation cannot certainly be made to the body; and if the soul itself actually swells to the proposed dimensions, as its laws must be co-extensive with it, these laws as they pervade the universe, must somewhere, it should seem, within the limits of time, place, and circumstance, have a residence. But it is no part of our intention to enter upon a discussion of any of the topics touched upon in this address. Mr. Emerson does not condescend to reason; he announces his dogmas in the manner of an oracle. His VOL. X.
description of the good and bad preacher, is at least novel. "The true preacher," we are told, can always be known by this, that he deals out to the people his life-life passed through the fire of thought. But of the bad preacher, it could not be told from his sermon, what age of the world he fell in ; whether he had a father or a child ; whether he was a freeholder or a pauper; whether he was a citizen or a countryman; or any other fact in his biography." The author's notions of a sermon must differ materially from those which he entertains of an address; as from the address under consideration, we are unable to ascertain respecting himself any one of the particulars above enumerated; except perhaps the first. Or if he has here “dealt out his life;" in passing through the fire of thought,” it has been so sublimated, or transmuted, as to entirely elude our dull apprehension.
But we can proceed with this address no farther. In what we have said, we may have misapprehended its meaning ; but we have honestly reported our real impressions of its import. We say without hesitation, however much it may be to the discredit of our sagacity, that with no prepossessions against the speaker, after a diligent examination of his performance, we have been able to discover in it, so far as respects opinion, little else than impiety and nonsense; and these, in about equal quantities. As to style, it is in the highest degree affected and obscure. This address is said to have been delivered before the senior class in Divinity College, Cambridge; but the public are not told, that it was either delivered or published at the request of any one.
But whether it was pronounced, and whether it then assumed the pamphlet form, through the ordinary process, or whether it owes its existence exclusively to the operation of some hidden law of the soul; one thing may be regarded as certain, that those who heard it were greatly benefited, though not perhaps in the way intended by the orator. If an opinion may be formed from the effect which the reading of this address produces, the hearing of it actually spoken by a living man as his own production, must have operated as an effectual antidote to any future predilection for the philosophy which it inculcates. Just as in cases of actual insanity, we sometimes look at its ravings as detailed on paper, without being greatly moved ; yet to hear them proceeding from the lips of a real victim of the most deplorable of all maladies, never fails to excite in a mind not steeled against the feelings of humanity, the strongest emotions of pity and grief, accompanied with an all-pervading horror of ever becoming the subject of the same calamity.
Valley of the Upper Wabash, Indiana, with hints on its Agri
cultural advantages : plan of a dwelling, estimates of cultivation, and notices of labor-saving machines. By Henry William Ellsworth. New York: published by Pratt, Robinson & Co. 1838. 8vo. pp. 175.
To those who are interested in the prosperity of the West, this small volume will afford a diversified collection of useful and desirable information. It is occupied mainly with a description of the soil and agri
cultural improvements, as well as other advantages which promise to render the Wabash valley, in time to come, a scene of great enterprise. If one half of the calculations may be realized, it cannot be many years before the tide of wealth will flow in, as with an ocean fullness, upon that section of our wide spread country. We have no doubt, indeed, that a long period will not elapse before the mighty internal improvements now in successful beginning, will be completed, and distance will be shortened from the East to the West, almost to a miracle. We have seen nothing which on the whole seems a more valuable guide to the emigrant to Indiana, or its vicinity. It is eminently practical in its character, and the results of many an experiment in agriculture are given with apparent fairness, and facilities are pointed out, which must add essentially to the comfort of new settlers. A variety of implements which admit of an almost unlimited application in the extensive prairies of the West, are described, and the testimony which they bear to the inventive genius of our countrymen, is well worth the attention of the curious. Among other things is an attempt to furnish a cheap method of building framed houses, which will cost scarcely more than the common log huts which are so universally erected. The benefit of such an improvement, in point of taste and neatness, the influence thus indirectly on the morals of those communities which are springing up so rapidly, and dotting the whole unoccupied surface of the West, is, as we conceive, very important.
An interesting account is given of the new method of cultivating and preparing flax, so that it may be spun on the cotton gin at an expense considerably less than the cotton of the South. Should this enterprise be carried into operation on a large scale, in connection with beet-sugar, as seems now not improbable, the effect which it will have on the sale of these Southern staples, and consequently on the whole system of Slavery, will be very great.
We have not time to dwell upon this volume, but we are confident, that many will read it with wonder and delight. The whole work is evincive of research and industrious conipilation. The style is plain and business like in the parts thus occupied, and the last chapters contain passages of eloquent and manly description. Perhaps the young author has been a little enthusiastic in some of the topics, but we do not dislike a mingling of this quality among others cherished by individuals for an adopted home. In estimating the resources of education and religion, it may be he has been too sanguine, and not sufficiently adverted to the fact, that magnificent appropriations cannot build up colleges and schools at once; that moral influences must operate gradually; but we are glad to see, that a fair proportion of even such a work is devoted to these subjects. So far as we can learn, the volume has been an acceptable offering to the reading public. For its object it is well arranged, and we should not be surprised to hear, that a new edition was demanded. Should this be the case, we should be pleased to see a few statistical tables subjoined as to the population, trade, schools, ministers and churches in the section which it embraces, which can easily be done at a trifling expense,