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that any one should reject the essential fact which is folded up within every universal intuition of the race. Nor shall anybody shut his eyes to what all men see, without ceasing in some proportion to be a man. It is the province of philosophy to analyse these primary beliefs as the ultimate facts of our nature, and to reconstruct them upon their rational foundations; and only a very refined philosophy shall ever accomplish so great a task: but it is the part of every one to show them forth in their living reality, whether he philosophise on them or not. Who can refrain with impunity from what all men strive to do ? The manner of doing this or that undeniably human thing will vary, indeed, with the individual and the day; but the essential thing itself shall always remain to be done. The better cultivated man shall become, he will accordingly disentangle prayer of its superstitions, adhesions, and hindrances; but he will only pray the more, the more he is set free.
It is this great and patent fact of prayer, in truth, that puts a difference, not only of degree but also of kind, between man and the animal kingdom. It constitutes
* him a kingdom in himself. The paramount nature of this the highest function of the human being, is vastly increased in apparent significance, when it is considered that there stand in necessary interdependence with it his capability of a progressive education or history, his power of inventing sciences, his apprehension of an infinite beauty in the universe, and his endeavours to reproduce it in the finite forms of art, and even his sense of humour; for all these things are inseparably connected with the primitive fact of the conscious relation of man to God. That relation is poorly expressed by that of a creature to his Creator, for the most earthly and inadequate conceptions of fabrication are invariably insinuated
into the mind by such an image, even when the poet and his poem are the members of the similitude. It is liker the relation of a child to his father, and that most pathetic of all figures of speech is the favourite of the world. Be these things as they may, however, it is indisputable that, but for the principle involved in the practice of prayer, there could never have existed so glorious a phenomenon as the history of nations.
That principle is the being of God in the state of personal relationship with man. It is neither through the telescopic complication of the a priori demonstration, nor under the microscope of the a posteriori one, that man beholds his God. He sees him as he is seen, eye to eye. It is by intuition, not by tuition. It is by faith. It is by an aboriginal law of his nature. Let the process be entitled as it may, the beholding is not mediate. It is more immediate than bodily sight. The code of nature and of spirit, of sensuous appearances, and of ideas, is the manifold republication of the open secret,' indeed; but it is written in characters of which the inner man of Man already possesses the cypher, else they would never have been interpreted by him, any more than by the beasts that perish.
It may not be impossible to pierce the hidden process of this direct perception of the Almighty. It were exceedingly desirable to do so in an age which openly displays its proclivity to ignore the fact of immediate insight altogether, even while it is by an act of such insight that it beholds and therefore believes in that world of sensation, in which it nestles itself so closely as to blind its upper eyes. The devout believer, also, who still descries Jehovah and adores, might be relieved of the doubt and dimness, with which the spirit of the times may perhaps have overfilmed his eye, if the
rational ground of his belief were made clear to him. It is likewise a beautiful problem in philosophy to solve, and an honest endeavour to solve it is incapable of doing harm. It must not be forgotten, however, that if the attempt be attended with failure, not only at this time and in these hands but for ever, the primordial fact continues unaltered and unchangeable. Let it also be understood that no claim is made to absolute originality in the following paragraphs any more than in the foregoing ones. It is said that Ferguson discovered many things in astronomy that were known before : says Emerson, the better for him.' For my own part, on the other hand, I must remember that this Essay is not intended only for the philosophical student, but likewise for all such readers as are willing to assume the task of serious thought concerning so mysterious a subject.
I. The philosophy of man requires a fixed point of departure: just as Romanism demands an infallible Church, supposed to be embodied in the Pope, or in the Pope and council; or Protestantism an infallible book, discovered in the Bible. The fact of self-consciousness is, by the unanimous consent of philosophers, that point, nor can any other one be conceived. It is the fact that I call myself Me—not meaning my body, for that is a part of nature, the entity of which is questionable but unquestioned at this the starting-post of the inquiry; and not meaning my soul, for neither is that an object of consideration, as yet, in this quite abstract investigation; but Me, in its integrity and simplicity, whatever it may eventually be found to involve. Let me suppose myself unsolicited by any sensations, undisturbed by any finite conceptions, not possessed by any other idea, but in a fit of absolute abstraction inly pronouncing myself to be Me; and I shall know the interior meaning of that concrete and therein imperfect saying of Descartes': Cogito, ergo sum—I think, therefore I am. Now it is the idea of that proposition, and not the proposition itself, with which the reader is at present concerned. It is the pure, unspoken Me that is the first object of analysis in the philosophy of man.
II. What, then, is involved in the cognition Me, thus subsumed to be known without mediation, intuitively, by faith, or however else it may be phrased ? The question resolves itself into another one. It is an axiom in pure philosophy—for the present inquiry belongs to mixed or applied philosophy*_that each idea involves its opposite. The idea of beauty involves that of deformity; unity, multiplicity; finitude, infinitude ; and so forth.† There are, indeed, three terms in the pure idea : beauty, deformity, and the term whereby they are mutually related; and so forth. These three terms of the idea are the thesis, antithesis, and mesothesis of Aristotle. This may be found again in one's observed experience. Entertain the idea of beauty, and simultaneously one entertains that of deformity, together with the relationship of these opposing terms. Deformity attends beauty, in and for the mind, as if it were a satellite irrevocably bound over to it by the law of gravitation ; if a figure of speech le admissible in such a discussion. But it is to be especially noticed that they are not two; nor yet are they three, counting the middle term. They are truly one. They are one idea, infolding two polar elements, beauty and deformity; and the difference of the two constitutes the third and mediating particular of their essential unity in the eye of reason.
* This is the same difference as there is between a question in pure geometry and one in mixed or applied geometry, such as optics or astronomy.
† The parallelism of the pairs is destroyed throughout this essay, and that on purpose. It is in order to avoid pronouncing even an implicit judgment on the question as to which is the positive, and which the negative pole, so to speak, of the several pairs- an inquiry of vast moment.
This trinity of ideas is also true of things. There is the earth, the moon, and the force that binds them together as a veritable unit revolving round the solar centre as truly one, and not as two. Sun and planet; oxygen and hydrogen made one in water by the force of affinity; the electrical machine, the galvanic battery, and the magnet, with their positive and negative poles, and the equally essential points of indifference between these poles ; man and woman; soul and body; are all illustrations of this law. Three-in-one, in fine, is the formula of all thought. To quote the expression of Cousin, 'It is the law of the Eternal Reason.' This logical triad has even been proclaimed abroad, by certain speculators, as the sum and substance of the Christian Trinity. It is one of the purposes of the present investigation to show that never yet did the heart of man love and adore an abstraction so impersonal. It is a libel alike upon God and upon humanity, to say otherwise. No, this universal formula, true and beautiful though it is, is not He on whose pitying fatherhood we rely, upon whose compassionate brotherhood we lean, and for the comfortable comings of whose Spirit we wait. It is only His pale shadow flitting through that universe, of which every man seems to himself to be the centre. Alas, that it should ever have hindered the eye of the philosophical visionary from beholding the unspeakable essence that is beyond! That this wide law is embodied in a thousand thousand faint and finite adumbrations of the Divine Mystery, flowing everywhere around as well as within us, is truly a glorious circumstance. The Mussulman