« 上一頁繼續 »
This volume is, to some extent, a continuation of the author's autobiography, entitled, “The Magic. Staff.” But, chiefly, it contains à faithful record of experiences which, it is believed, are far more representative than exceptional. The exceptions occur in that private realm where the individual differs, as each has an undoubted constitutional right to differ, from every other,
A new collection of living Gospels, revised and corrected, and compared with the originals, is herein presented to the world.
The alternations of faith and skepticism, of lights and shades, of heaven and hades, of joys and sorrows, are familiar to the human mind. The causes of these
mental states are considered.
May the Arabula be unfolded in the heart of every reader.
A. J. D. NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 1867,
Oh, the heartless contradictions in human nature ! Man, in his present state, is only a tamed savage. His best development of civilization rests upon a broad and ever-enlarging basis of brute instincts and savage attributes. All his monumental labors for the world's advancement are mixed with the unsubdued and undisguised propensities of selfishness. Civil society is but an entangling medley of antagonistic self-interests and immoral expedients.
Therefore no man is happy. Selfishness, the primal instinct, drives happiness out of the temple. The perplexities and contradictions of selfishness generate excessive laws in the tyrannical intellect. O, the deathless anguish of the wounds inflicted by man's struggling passion for wealth and power! His blunders and blindness are forgiven; but his lynx-eyed, self-justifying, willful intellect, which would crush millions to gain power and wealth, is anathematized and forever excluded from heaven.
And what is man's knowledge? Who believes that it is wise? The millions walk in the false and hollow thoroughfares of ignorance and priest-supported superstitions. Mammon-serving myrmidons crowd upon the paths of selfish knowledge. Ignorance first builds lightexcluding palaces, and then dedicates them to the mysteries of an impracticable religion. And man, in the plenitude of his shameless inconsistencies, prides himself upon his devotion to mystery. With commanding dignity, he styles his religious mystery, “Knowledge of God's Will.” Wherefore, in the boundlessness of his ignorance, he assumes the possession of rare intelligence. The slanting rays of science, a sun that has not yet risen, he applauds as the full blaze of absolute truth.
Moralists disappoint their intimate acquaintances. Their virtues are best seen in the shrouding profundities and hair-splitting distinctions they exhibit in the science of morals. They exhaust themselves in preaching and expounding the laws of virtue; they consign the duty of practicing morality to the uneducated multitude. The profoundest theorist in morals is impelled, by an ever-increasing tendency, to transgress, in daily dealings, his fundamental maxims of justice, truth, and virtue. The primal instinct of selfishness surmounts and crushes the holiest proclamations of eternal truth.
The contradictions of human nature cover the earth with a blighting, desolating darkness. A man who preaches the precepts of peace is not often a comfort to his family. His wife is a great skeptic in his theory. Her eye is upon the manifestations of the eloquent expounder's life. Peace-laden principles flow out from bis word-skilled tongue, and the tender glances of pure and undefiled religion fall from his heaven-lifted eyes;
yet his family, sailing in the weather-beaten bark of a selfish society, compounded of conflicting interests, longing for love to direct the helm, can remember the trials and wounds of fierce wars at the fireside.
If you want Justice, do you appeal to robed and ermined power in the State? If you seek Religion, do you adopt as final the magnificent mummeries and cabalistic ceremonies of the Established Church? If you seek consistency, do you take as its embodiment the man of civilization; only a tamed savage, with positive selfish instincts, and the profoundest intellectual disregard of others' rights and liberties?
Crucify the redeemers of the world; put them through nameless miseries; banish the reformers into interminable mountains of frost, desolation, and sorrow; kindle the fagots of wrath about the pioneers of infinite benefits; condemn to dungeons the brave heroes who have resisted the organized selfishness of powerful governments; starve the saviors of slaves, who have, during a sad lifetime, toiled without reward, under the blistering lash of crime-promoting task-masters; turn deafened ears to the sighs of fallen women, who have, under the magnetic touch and bewildering persuasions of hypocritical love, erred within the burning passion of some selfgratifying human savage; cover, with inextinguishable contumely and misrepresentations, the fearless teacher, who would overthrow the world's errors in religion, bring a rational conception of God, and initiate principles of higher degrees of existence. O, intelligent, selfish, tyrannical, savage, contradictory man! What shall increase your capacities for consistent, benevolent, magnanimous living?