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The adequate theory of culture.
love which is the glory of the Father of our spirits. The artist is false to his great mission, and commits one of the darkest of crimes when he puts us face to face with that which stimulates the evil in our natures. It is his sacred duty to put all such temptations behind our backs; to make us see the gates of the city of love, and admire the beauty of its shining towers, and hear the bells ringing out their joyful peals, till our souls shall long to be there.
The subjective theory of morals, growing out of pantheism, and adopted by Goethe in his writings and practice, is a half truth. That
which is absolutely right in us, making our life so far forth one with the life of God, is a law unto itself. It should be allowed to act itself out freely. But even in its spontaneous action, it does not cease to be subject to authority. It recognizes the moral law as its counterpart, as the outward embodiment of its own ideal. This law, awful as Sinai and lovely as Tabor, is the externization of itself. Subject as it is to disturbances, to the stormy nights which so often issue from our lower nature, this higher nature in us is glad to sail by the light of the constellations; those eternal stars of truth, hung out by the good God in our moral heavens, and ever reflected in the still depths of conscience, which hold us to our course through all the Euroclydons of life, while we watch for their unchanging signals. The true culture of man is therefore not single, as Goethe held, but a twofold process. It is daily a death and a resurrection from the dead. There is evil in us to be crucified, in order that what is best in us may live. Only as our man which is earthly dies, can our man which is heavenly be renewed. No one but Christ, who is our divine ideal, has ever taught us a doctrine of culture adequate to our case.
It is as we bear about daily his dying, that his life also is manifest in our mortal body. That which is from beneath must decrease, while that which is from above takes increase. That is sown in weakness, while this is raised in power; that is sown a natural body, while this is raised a spiritual body; that is sown in dishonor, while this is raised in glory. Who has not many times sat upon the rocks at eventide, and watched the ships sailing away into the setting sun ? Before them all was bright, behind them their own dark shadows lay upon the water. Some of their sails were so set as to be pure and glistering in the light, others so turned away from it as to show a darkened surface; yet all were alike helping to bear the ships onward. Such is the process, not single but twofold in aspect, by which man achieves his noblest culture.
“ There was a soul, one eve autumnal, sailing
Beyond the earth's dark bars,
Towards heaven's sea of stars.
Before a glory lay;
Into the far away ;
“ And as that soul went onward, sweetly speeding
Unto its home and light,
Repentance dark with shadowy recollections
And longings unsufficed,
Full from the face of Christ.
PANTHEISM IN THE FORM OF HERO-WORSHIP.
The representative name.
The topic of this lecture suggests the name of Thomas Carlyle more naturally, perhaps, than that of any other man.
Whether a pantheist or not, it is sure that the tendency to deify and worship great men has in him an earnest advocate, — its most conspicuous and eloquent champion in modern times. The subject could not be adequately treated apart from his writings; and it is in this relation, and with this purpose, that he is here introduced. I do not propose to consider Carlyle, so much as a certain doctrine which he represents. As in the case of Goethe, it is not the man himself, but the speculative views embodied in his writings, with which I am primarily concerned. In this undertaking I shall make large use of the works of Carlyle, quoting them verbatim as often as I conveniently can.' This certainly will be much fairer to him, and much more satisfactory, I hope, to those who would know his views, than any account of him which I might give purely in my own words. Nor does it seem to me
Method of treatment.
1 To save space and repetitions, detached passages, both in this lecture and others, have been sometimes brought together as one quotation, and single words here and there dropped or changed; but in no case has this liberty been taken where it would do violence to the author's meaning.
that I need to make any apology for this method of treatment; since every author knows how much easier it is to write about a person than to present him faithfully in his own language, - especially if the work be candid and conscientious, and so done as to preserve the progress and consecutiveness of the thought, at all of which I shall steadily aim.
The name of Thomas Carlyle holds a place Carlyle's
second to but few in the English literature of position in English the last generation. Notwithstanding the cry of
outlandishness raised against his style, whether by intelligent critics or stupid Philistinism, he yet has a thorough knowledge of the mother tongue; and, when he chooses to do so, he can write with a classic elegance and power of expression which our best authors might well covet. His disregard of accepted rules and standards is not due to ignorance, so much as to his moods of mind. He knows what he is doing, quite as well as any of his critics, when he casts contempt upon the great models in composition; and a close scrutiny of his most characteristic coinage of words and phrases often reveals an amazing fitness and vitality in them. Though unconventional to the verge of lawlessness, his sentences show themselves the true servants of his ideas and feelings. Whatever violence they may do to the laws of composition, it is clear that he utters them unaffectedly, eager only to be relieved of the host of thoughts in him which struggle for expression. These idiosyncrasies of style are the more remarkable in view of his fondness for Goethe, whose
writings are among the best models of the His style.
literary art. It was in admiration of this Ger