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WORSHIP OF SUCCESSFUL FORCE

The solid, solid universe
Is pervious to Love;

With bandaged eyes he never errs,
Around, below, above.

His blinding light

He flingeth white

On God's and Satan's brood,

And reconciles

By mystic wiles

The evil and the good.

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In his "Xenophanes " he propounds this same doctrine of absolute unity in its most extreme form:

All things

Are of one pattern made; bird, beast and flower,
Song, picture, form, space, thought and character
Deceive us, seeming to be many things,
And are but one. Beheld far off, they part
As God and devil; bring them to the mind,
They dull its edge with their monotony.
To know one element, explore another,
And in the second reappears the first.

Over me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and of deity;

Again I saw, again I heard,

The rolling river, the morning bird;—

Beauty through my senses stole;

I yielded myself to the perfect whole.20

All this means, not that the world is the symbol of spirit, but that the world is spirit. "God is the life of all. Every mountain is a Sinai; every tree a burning bush; every breeze a still, small voice. (Each soul is an expression of the Over-Soul, and reigns supreme over matter. As positive and negative are two in

20 Each and All."

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separable poles of the magnet, so matter and mind, good and evil, are alike manifestations of the universal Spirit. The poem "Cupido," in spite of its poetical beauty, and of the Christian interpretation which may be given to its opening lines, is Hindu and pagan in essence. The author's poem " Brahma " indeed is only a rendering in English of that heathen and immoral philosophy:

If the red slayer think he slays,

Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near;

Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;

And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,

And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!

Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

What is this but a confounding of all moral distinctions? We should not wish never to have sinned, for sin is necessary to the development of holiness. "For the intellect," Emerson says, "there is no crime.

Saints are sad, because they behold sin from the point of view of the conscience, and not of the intellect a confusion of thought. . . Man, though in brothels or jails, or on gibbets, is on his way to all that is good and true. . . The carrion that rots in the

T

AMALGAMATION OF HEAVEN AND HELL

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sun, the criminal who breaks every law of God and man, are on their way to blessedness. Evil is part of the discipline by which the soul is restored to union with the Over-Soul. The less we have to do with our/ sins, the better. No man can afford to waste his moments in compunctions." All evil is undeveloped good. This has been well called " the higher synthesis of the Devil and the Deity." If Emerson is not worthy of the title, which Carlyle invented for another, of 'President of the Heaven and Hell Amalgamation Society," he certainly can be said to have devised an excuse for all human passion, and a slander upon the holiness of God.

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When individual men become mere figureheads and automata for the divine inworking, they cease to be objects of our special regard. Emerson confessed his inability to enter into intimate personal relations with others. His friendships were of the cool intellectual sort; "there were fences between him and his dearest friends"; he was slow to appreciate or to advocate the cause of the slave; he cared for man in the abstract rather than for real men. The only God he knew was within his own soul. Paul declared that all things are ours because we enter into Christ's inheritance; Emerson held that all things are ours by original right, and that Christ enters into our inheritance instead:

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I am owner of the sphere,

Of the seven stars and the solar year,

Of Cæsar's hand, and Plato's brain,
Of Lord Christ's heart, and Shakespeare's
strain."7

Motto to the " Essay on History."

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66

MAN WRONGED

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"In self-trust," he said, "all the virtues are compounded. Man has been wronged; men are of no account. The human mind cannot be enshrined in a person who shall set a barrier on any one side to this unbounded, unboundable empire." He questions the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount. One must not be hindered by consideration for others. The true end of being is development of the self. This seems dangerously near to Paul's description of “the man of sin," who "sits in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God." It is the "Overman of Nietzsche, claiming the right to realize self and to put down all that stands in his way. It is the view of Ibsen, who, in The Doll's House," makes Nora put self-realization before wifehood and motherhood. Obligation to put all poor men into good situations?" says Emer"Are they my poor? . . I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me, and to whom I do not belong." The least and lowest of all the sons of men had worth enough for Jesus to make him willing to suffer and die in his behalf. The parable of the Good Samaritan showed who is my neighbor. But the evangelization of men did not interest Emerson. He was greatly amused that the American Baptist Missionary Union attempted the conversion of France; and when asked what he would do with the Hottentots of Africa, he replied, "Just what I would do with one of their ant-hills— step on it." And in his poem "Alphonso " he writes:

son.

Earth, crowded, cries, 'Too many men!'
My counsel is, Kill nine in ten,

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And yet, all of Emerson's optimism, his recognition of God in nature, his love of country, his hope for the future, were drawn from Christ. These things were not, before Christ came. It is Christ who has glorified nature and man; it is he who has inspired hope for the individual and for society. The classic writers were pessimists; to them the world seemed given over to evil, and to be nearing destruction. Apocalypticism was only the reflection in religious minds of such fears as possessed Cicero and Seneca. The very

dignity of man, which Emerson fancied to be his peculiar message and discovery, was the revelation of Him who thought each human soul of such worth that he died to save it. On this ladder Emerson has climbed to his calm faith in the divine indwelling and in man's certainty of progress. It was blindness and ingratitude in him to throw down the ladder by which he had climbed.

Let us be thankful for the truth he utters, though he is far from uttering the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We owe much to him for his insight into the meaning of nature. There is a spirit in matter; nothing in this world is dead; every leaf and every breeze is symbolic; God speaks to us in the heavens above and in the earth beneath:

H

Thou canst not wave thy staff in air,
Or dip thy paddle in the lake,

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