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than his own speculations, says to his disciples, “In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity; yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.” I Certainly we are inclined to judge in the most favorable light possible one who thus insists on right action whatever may become of theory; but it is the theory, and not the man, with which we have been especially concerned in this inquiry; nor do we grant that it is indifferent what a man's speculative views may be, if he tries to make his practice right, since in the great

majority of cases the speculative views do, The good

sodner or later, determine the practice. Hypocrisy is never to be encouraged, even where

it makes men seem better than their honest convictions. We naturally carry our creeds out into our lives. This is the tendency, and it must ultimately prevail, as external hinderances, and the restraints of education and birth, are taken away. While gladly recognizing all the virtues to which our author may lay claim, and admitting that it is not hypocrisy, but goodness of nature, which makes his life so much more pleasing than his creed, I still insist that no word, in which I have set forth the spirit and drift of his teachings, should be taken back, or qualified, or in any respect explained away. He does not lay a foundation for society, for government, or for personal development such as our circumstances, and our knowledge of what we are, demand. Our own self, looked at from the transcendental point of view, and including all its

man forced to be a hypocrite.

1 Essays, Vol. I., p. 50.

Transcendentalism not to be


weaknesses and exposures to evil, is the only sacred thing. This we are to worship; for this we are to live; in this are the springs and the law of all that is, or was, or ever shall be.

Upon rising from this examination, the same question confronts us as when we rose from the examination of Spinoza. Are the conclusions which Emerson has reached, both as to the substance of truth and the conduct of life, a warning to us to beware of the a-priori philosophy ? Not by any means. The danger of the great mass of mankind has always lain just the other way. The popular thought of the world ever looks outward and down, - away from ideas to facts, judyed by from spirit to matter, from the kingilom of God to questions of food, raiment, shelter, temporal thrift. That thought would be far nobler, and far more ennobling, if it could be trained to a steady love of those truths which transcend the sphere of the senses, and which we reach only as the inner doors of the soul are open to our consciousness. We may count here and there one, among transcendentalists, who, though a star of the first magnitude, has wandered out of the orbit of truth, and become lost in the blackness of darkness. Yet we are at the same time permitted to look on a host of others, of the same school of thought, whom no such fate has overtaken. They are the brightest names in the Christian church, and in that literature which never grows old, shining forth in calm splendor on the ages God would lead and enlighten. All these safely travelled the high circuit which Emerson too selfreliantly essayed, held to their course, as he was not, by that central Luminary which is the light and the life of

Christ the grand safeguard.

men. If the flight proved too hard for him, and we must sorrowfully own that he fell like the

son of the morning, yet his overthrow cannot be imputed to the form of philosophy which he held in common with them. They have not been shaken, though members of the same starry host to which he belonged. They have kept their first estate. No shock has been able to hurl them from their sphere. They shine on with undiminished lustre, and as the brightness of the firmament, trusting not to that force which is in themselves, but to Him who holdeth the stars in his right hand.




It would be a serious defect, in any account of modern free-thought, to omit the speculations of Theodore Parker. Perhaps the name of no religious theorist of the last generation is more widely known. To the public generally, however, he is known more as an earnest political reformer, and bitter opponent of the existing institutions of Christianity, than as the teacher of a positive system of religious belief. But he - had elaborated such a system, even before he emerged from the comparative obscurity of his early manhood; a system which he claimed as peculiarly his own, and which he professed to hold unchanged to the very close of his life. And if I should not succeed in trying to make clear just what his views and position were, I shall hope at least to preserve a spirit of candor and calm inquiry, such as I have often failed to discover in him.

Parker always felt it a hardship, as his friends still feel it to be, that he was classed with infidels by the popular verdict. Yet it is rather to the odium associated with the word “infidel,” than to the doctrine which that word marks, that objection has been made. I do not now use it for the sake of the odium, but

Disliked to be called an infidel.

as a descriptive term, which, however abused, has a welldefined meaning. If the word “ infidel” were an honorable term, having lost its odium as the once odious word “ Christian” has, I would use it all the same. Those who refuse to call Christ their master, or who, after having once bowed to his authority, turn from him to trust in something else as the final arbiter, are at liberty to make their action as honorable to themselves as they can. They are not charged with absolute infidelity, but only with infidelity to Christ the Lord. The term is accurately employed. It describes just what they have done. They should glory in it, as some try to do, if there be a religious authority for them superior to that of Christ.

to Christ as

Let us then, in the first place, see the proof Did not bow

that Parker did not own the authority of Christ the final authority in as supreme in matters of religious faith; the religion.

*proof that he revolted from under that authority, and set up for himself another religious oracle. This evidence will not be hard to find. It is so abounding, and so acknowledged by both himself and his friends, that I may be thought to do a superfluous work in adducing it. But we must go step by step; taking the first for the sake of the second, if indeed for no other reason. In his chapter on the “limitations of Jesus,” Parker

says, “It is apparent that Jesus shared the Athirms that

erroneous notions of the times respecting devils, profoundly

possessions, and demonology in general; respectjects.

ing the character of God, and the eternal pun

ishment he prepares for the devil and his angels, and for a large part of mankind. If we may credit the

Jesus was

in error on many sub

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