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interest to a watch with an excellent hour-plate, hand, and regulator, but without its spring and wheel-work. N ay, where its sufficiency and exclusive validity are adopted as the maxim (regula maxima) of morality, it would be a fuller and fairer comparison to say, that the maxim of self-interest stands in a familiar relation to the law of conscience or universal selfless reason, as the dial to the sun, which indicates its path by intercepting its radiance.* But let it be granted, that in certain individuals from a happy evenness of nature, formed into a habit by the strength of education, the influence of example, and by favorable circumstances in general, the actions diverging from self-love as their centre should be precisely the same as those produced from the Christian principle, which requires of us that we should place our self and our neighbor at an equal distance, and love both alike as modes in which we realize and exhibit the love of God above all;-wherein would the difference be then 7 I answer boldly,–even in that, for which all actions have their whole worth and their main value, in the agents themselves. So much indeed is this of the very substance of genuine morality, that wherever the latter has given way in the general opinion to a scheme of ethics founded on utility, its place is soon challenged by the spirit of honor. Paley, who degrades the spirit of honor into a mere club-law among the higher classes originating in selfish convenience, and enforced by the penalty of excommunication from the Society which habit had rendered indispensable to the happiness of the individuals, has misconstrued it not less than Shaftesbury, who extols it as the noblest influence of noble matures. The spirit of honor is more indeed than a mere conventional substitute for honesty. For to take the word in a sense, which mo man of homor would acknowledge, may be allowed to the writer of satires, but not to the moral philosopher. But, on the other hand, instead of being a finer form of moral life, it may be more truly de
* Here are two syllogisms, having equivalent practical conclusions, yet not only different, but even contradistinguished. I. It is my duty to love all men : but I am myself a man; ergo, it is my duty to love myself equally with others. II. It is my nature to love myself: but I can not realize this impulse of nature, without acting to others as if I loved them equally with myself: ergo, it is my duty to love myself by acting towards others as if I loved them equally with myself. Dec. 1820.
scribed as the shadow or ghost of virtue deceased. Honor implies a reverence for the invisible and supersensual in our nature, and so far it is virtue ; but it is a virtue that neither understands itself nor its true source, and is therefore often unsubstantial, not seldom fantastic, and always more or less capricious. Abstract the motion from the lives of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, or Henry IV. of France; and then compare it with the 1 Cor. xiii. and the epistle to Philemon, or rather with the realization of this fair ideal in the character of St. Paulo himself. I know not a better test. Nor can I think of any investigation, that would be more instructive where it would be safe, but none likewise of greater delicacy from the probability of misinterpretation, than a history of the rise of honor in the European monarchies as connected with the corruptions of Christianity, and an inquiry into the specific causes of the inefficacy which has attended the combined efforts of divines and moralists against the practice and obligation of duelling. . Of a widely different character from this moral wigeous, yet as a derivative from the same root, we may contemplate the heresies of the Gnostics in the early ages of the church, and of the
* This has struck the better class even of infidels. Collins, one of the most learned of our English deists, is said to have declared, that contradictory as miracles appeared to his reason, he would believe in them notwithstanding, if it could be proved to him that St. Paul had asserted any one as having been worked by himself in the modern sense of the word, miracle; adding, “St. Paul was so perfect a gentleman and a man of honor l’ When I call duelling, and similar aberrations of honor, a moral heresy, I refer to the force of the Greek aspecto, as signifying a principle or opinion taken up by the will for the will's sake, as a proof and pledge to itself of its own power of self-determination, independent of all other motives. In the gloomy gratification derived or anticipated from the exercise of this awful power, the condition of all moral good while it is latent and hidden, as it were in the centre, but the essential cause of fiendish guilt, when it makes itself existential and peripheric, si quando in circumferentiam erumpat; (in both cases I have purposely adopted the language of the old mystic theosophers)—I find the only explanation of a moral phenomenon not very uncommon in the last moments of condemned felons; namely, the obstinate denial, not of the main guilt, which might be accounted for by ordinary motives, but of some particular act, which had been proved beyond all possibility of doubt, and attested by the criminal's own accomplices and fellow-sufferers in their last confessions; and this too an act, the non-perpetration of which, if believed, could neither mitigate the sentence of the law, nor even the opinions of men after the sentence had been carried into execution.
family of love, with other forms of Antinomianism, since the Reformation to the present day. But lest in uttering truth I should convey falsehood and fall myself into the error which it is my object to expose, it will be requisite to distinguish an apprehension of the whole of a truth, even where that apprehen. sion is dim and indistinct, from a partial perception of the same rashly assumed as a perception of the whole. The first is rendered inevitable in many things for many, in some points for all, men from the progressiveness no less than from the imperfection of humanity, which itself dictates and enforces the precept, Believe that thou mayest understand.” The most knowing must at times be content with the facit of a sum too complex or subtle for us to follow nature through the antecedent process. Hence in subjects not under the cognizance of the senses wise men have always attached a high value to general and long-continued assent, as a presumption of truth. After all the subtle reasonings and fair analogies which logic and induction could supply to a mighty intellect, it is yet on this ground that the Socrates of Plato mainly rests his faith in the immortality of the soul, and the moral government of the universe. It had been holden by all nations in all ages, but with deepest conviction by the best and wisest men, as a belief connatural with goodness and akin to prophecy. The same argument is adopted by Cicero, as the principal ground of his adherence to divination. Gentem quidem aullam video, negole tam, humanam atque doctam, ovegoe tant &mmanem tamgue barbaram, quae non significari futura, et a quibusdam intelligă praedicigate posse censeat.f I confess, I can
* The Greek verb, ovvieval, which we render by the word, understand, is literally the same as our own idiomatic phrase, to go along with.
# De Divinat. Lib. T. s. i. I find indeed no people or nation, however civilized and cultivated, or however wild and barbarous, who have not deemed that there are antecedent signs of future events, and some men capable of understanding and predicting them. .
I am tempted to add a passage from my own translation of Schiller's Wallenstein, the more so that the work has been long ago used up, as “winding sheets for pilchards,” or extant only by (as I would fain flatter myself) the kind partiality of the trunk-makers: though with exception of works for which public admiration supersedes or includes individual commendations, I scarce remember a book that has been more honored by the express attestations in its favor of eminent and even of popular literati, among whom I take this opportunity of expressing my acknowledgments to the author of Waverley, Guy Mannering, &c. How (asked Ulysses, adnever read the De Divinatione of this great orator, statesman, and patriot, without feeling myself inclined to consider this opinion as an instance of the second class, namely, of fractional truths integrated by fancy, passion, accident, and that preponderance of the positive over the negative in the memory, which makes it no less tenacious of coincidences than forgetful of failures. Still I should not fear to be its advocate under the following limitation ; no?, nisi de rebus divinis datur divinatio. I am indeed firmly persuaded, that no doctrine was ever widely diffused among various nations through successive ages,
dressing his guardian goddess) shall I be able to recognize Proteus in the swallow that skims round our houses, whom I have been accustomed to behold as a swan of Phoebus, measuring his movements to a celestial music? In both alike, she replied, thou canst recognize the god. So supported, I dare avow that I have thought my translation worthy of a more favorable reception from the public and its literary guides and purveyors. But when I recollect that a much better and very far more valuable work, Mr. Cary’s incomparable translation of Dante, had very nearly met with the same fate, I lose all right, and I trust, all inclination, to complain;–an inclination, which the mere sense of its folly and useless. ness will not always suffice to preclude. (1817–Fd.)
CountEss. What dost thou not believe, that oft in dreams
WALLENSTEIN. There is no doubt that there exist such voices;
- Poetical Works, VII, p. 66's.
and under different religions (such, for instance, as the tenets of original sin and redemption, those fundamental articles of every known religion professing to have been revealed), which is not founded either in the nature of things, or in the necessities of human nature. Nay, the more strange and irreconcilable such a doctrine may appear to the understanding, the judgments of which are grounded on general rules abstracted from the world of the senses, the stronger is the presumption in its favor. For whatever satirists may say, or sciolists imagine, the human mind has no predilection for absurdity. I would even extend the principle (proportionately I mean) to sundry tenets, that from their stangeness or dangerous tendency appear only to be generally reprobated, as eclipses, in the belief of barbarous tribes, are to be frightened away by noises and execrations; but which rather resemble the luminary itself in this one respect, that after a longer or shorter interval of occultation, they are still found to re-emerge. It is these, the re-appearance of which (nomine tantum mutato) from age to age gives to ecclesiastical history a deeper interest than that of romance and scarcely less wild for every philosophic mind. I am far from asserting that such a doctrine (the Antinomian, for instance, or that of a latent mystical sense in the words of Scripture and the works of nature, according to Origen and Emanuel Swedenborg) shall be always the best possible, or not a distorted and dangerous, as well as partial, representation of the truth on which it is founded. For the same body casts strangely different shadows in different positions and different degrees of light. But I dare, and do, affirm that it always does shadow out some important truth, and from it derives its main influence over the faith of its adherents, obscure as their perception of this truth may be, and though they may themselves attribute their belief to the supernatural gifts of the founder, or the miracles by which his preaching had been accredited. See Wesley's Journal for proofs. But we have the highest possible authority, that of Scripture itself, to justify us in putting the question,--whether miracles can, of themselves, work a true conviction in the mind. There are spiritual truths' which must derive their evidence from within, which whoever rejects, neither will he believe though a man were to rise from the dead to confirm them. And under the Mosaic law a miracle in attestation of a false doctrine subjected the miracle-worker to