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plain reality and fact, thou stronger than I, thou wiser than I; therefore thou king, and subject I.” 1
Verily here is a prospect such as Robin Hood, or Goetz of the iron hand; would have shrunk from contemplating. Ishmael, whose hand was against every man, is our nearest example of Carlyle's true hero. He delivers the world over to a perpetual scene of conflict, each man for himself and against all others; and the whole dominion is his, who for the time being manages to keep uppermost. No wonder that our author, in view of this “ dreadful business of getting the mights articulated into rights," exhorts men to fling away fear. “It is an everlasting duty,” he says, “ the duty of being brave. Valor is still value. The first duty of a man is still that of subduing fear. We must get rid of fear; we cannot act at all till then. A man's acts are slavish, not true but specious; his very thoughts are false, he thinks too as a slave and coward, till he has got fear under his feet. Odin's creed, if we disentangle the kernel of it, is true to this hour. A man shall and must be valiant; he must march forward, and quit himself like a man, trusting imperturbably in the appointment and choice of the upper Powers; and, on the whole, not fear at all. Now and always, the completeness of his victory over fear will deterinine how much of a man he is.” 2 The madness of poor old Lear, defying the darkness and storm; or of Milton's Satan, braving the terrors of the fiery abyss, was not more audacious in its wildness than Carlyle would beget in each and every man.
66 What art thou afraid of ?” he scornfully says to the man who has an atom of fear for anything in heaven, on earth, or under the earth.
1 Past, Present, and Chartism, p. 245.
2 Hero-worship, p. 28
Wherefore, like a coward, dost thou forever pip and whimper, and go cowering and trembling? Despicable biped! What is the sum-total of the worst that lies before thee? Death? Well, death; and say the pangs of Tophet too, and all that the devil and man may, will, or can do against thee. Hast thou not a heart? Canst thou not suffer whatso it be; and, as a child of freedom, though outcast, trample Tophet itself under thy feet, while it consumes thee? Let it come, then; I will meet and
defy it.” 1
This will do. Here we take our leave of Carlyle and his ultimate evangel. We trust it ship conis not want of courage, but want of misanthropy, Chris
tianity. which makes us shrink from the social chaos he invokes, a chaos which that of old, when the earth was void and darkness rested on the face of the deep, but faintly prefigured. It is not Titanic strength, confusing heaven and earth with its wild rush and battle, but the spirit of God, brooding like a dove on human society, that will bring forth order, and serene beauty and peace. There is a better gospel for the nations than this pantheism, which limits all reality to a few mighty men, for whose use and behoof all things else are, and were, and ever will be. It is with feelings of profound joy that we turn from Carlyle's desperate conclusion to such words as those of Goldwin Smith, where he says, “Of the religion of heroworship I am no devotee. Great men are most precious gifts of Heaven, and unhappy is the nation which cannot produce them at its need. But their importance in history becomes less as civilization goes on.
A Timou or an
i Sartor Resartus, p. 131,
Attila towers immeasurably above his horde; but in the last great struggle which the world has seen, the struggle of the North American states for their Union, the hero was an intelligent and united nation. And to whatever age they may belong, the greatest, the most godlike of men, are men, not gods. They are the offspring, though the highest offspring, of their age. They would be nothing without their fellow-men. Carlyle prostrates morality before greatness. We might as well bow down before the hundred-handed idol of the Hindoos. To moral force we may bow down; but moral force resides and can reside in those only who obey the moral law. It is found in the highest degree in those at whom hero-worship sneers." Set over against the political ravings of Carlyle, who knows no God, and no government, human or divine, save what he finds in great men, how grandly true are the lines of Wordsworth, in his Sonnets dedicated to liberty, where
“ A few plain instincts, and a few plain rules,
Have wrought more for mankind, in the disastrous lour,
Every right feeling in us responds instantly to these noble words. And a Greater than Wordsworth or Goldwin Smith has taught us, in language still sending an inspiration through the ages, that not the lofty, but the lowly-hearted are the light of life to our world. Let the pantheist leave his great men, whom he regards as the only Shekinah. Let him go back from his hero-worship, through Him who is the living way, till he finds again that Father of his spirit from whom he has wandered, and he shall know the truth. He shall know that truth which breaks the fatal dream of philosophy, and leads her forth into the liberty of the children of God. For it is an everlasting truth, which all history illustrates and every noblest thing in us welcomes, that God chooses not the mighty, but the weak to confound the mighty; that it pleases him to hide from the wise and prudent what he reveals unto babes; and that in the blessed ages to come, when mankind shall be at peace and walk together as brethren, no imperial chieftain, but a little child shall lead them.
1 Three English Statesmen (Harpers, 1867), pp. 79–81.
? I give the lines as usually quoted, though changed from their original form. See Sonnets dedicated to Liberty (English ed., p. 239), Part II., Sonnet 10.
PANTHEISM IN THE FORM OF SELF-WORSHIP.
The pantheist, holding that all objects in the universe manifest its one divine essence, will find that essence more especially amid those investigations to which his energies are devoted. Goethe, with his passion for culture, found it in art, and the æsthetic relations of things. Carlyle, the eager student of history, found it in the great men of the world. But there are other mental peculiarities of pantheists, giving especial form to the common
doctrine which they hold. The class of minds Individual which naturally tend to individualism in their
workings is perhaps as large as the æsthetic or the historic and reformatory. Their tendency is subjective rather than objective; they believe in the ideal, and distrust the so-called real. Where this class of thinkers locate their Shekinah, when under the influence of pantheism, it is important next to consider.
What has already been said of Carlyle in relation to hero-worship may, in relation to this subjective pantheism, be with justice said of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He repre
sents, perhaps better than any other popular by Emerson, author, the introspective tendency in modern
thought. The subject could hardly be treated