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charming simplicity the whole history of his mental revolutions, and expose himself to the charge of unimaginable caprice-of theological coquetry? I protest to you, that, à priori, I should have thought it impossible that any man could have made so many and such violent turns in so short a time without dislocation of all the joints of his soul—without incurring the danger of a “universal anchylosis."*
In the very first conversation, Harrington communicates to Fellowes the fact that he has become a sceptic; and Fellowes undertakes to convert him to spiritualism.' What follows is given under the title of Puritan Infidelity.' Fellowes couches his sentiments in the words of the New Testament, while entirely rejecting its claim to be a revelation, and maintaining that there is an infinity of rubbish in it.' To this Harrington strenuously objects, refusing to allow him to conjure with the phraseology of men who, according to his view, were the most miserable fanatics, or the most abominable impostors.' Fellowes replies, that he believes them to be eminently holy men--full of spiritual wisdom and of a truly sublime faith, though conjoined with much ignorance and credulity, which it is unworthy of us to tolerate. In opposition to this view, Harrington maintains that, on the theory, it is doubtful whether it could be ignorance and credulity—' whether any men can thus untruly affirm that they saw and did the things the apostles say they saw and did, and yet be sincere fanatics.' And as to the suggestion of Fellowes, that we do not know that they said so,' for the idealizing biographers ’ may have added to and corrupted the facts, and accumulated disguises of mystical doctrine on the • simple utterances' of the apostles ;-Harrington answers, that “ neither then do we know that they ever uttered these “ simple utterances," that they may be a part of the “corruptions ;” and that it is certainly very odd, considering the mountain-loads of folly, error, fable, fiction, from which their assumed) spiritual religion did not defend them, and which Fellowes considers himself bound to reject, that they alone should possess such spiritual advantages '—that they, of all others, as Mr. Newman says they did, should have entered most profoundly into the truths of spiritual religion, and stand therein almost alone in the history of the world!
The next conversation is headed, “Lord Herbert and Modern Deism ;' in which Harrington affirms that the older Deism is identical with modern spiritualism; that they concur in rejecting the supernatural element in the New Testament, and the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, determining to retain only those principles which it has in common with every religion. Fellowes attempts a distinction between the systems, on the ground that the former connected religion with the intellectual and sensational, the latter with the instinctive and emotional, sides of human nature. Harrington shows that this has to do only with the theory of the subject, while the great question in each case, for mankind, is, “What are the truths to be admitted, and to be influential over the heart and conscience?' In answer to Fellowes's plea for insight' and intuition,' Harrington closes a forcible refutation with the caustic saying—'In short, the universal light in man's soul flickers and wavers most abominably.' One paragraph shall be quoted without the modifications we have hitherto felt it necessary to make.
• “Book-faith!" I heard Harrington say, laughing ; "why, as to that, I must needs acknowledge that the whole school of Deism, “rational' or 'spiritual,' have the least reason in the world to indulge in sneers at book-faith; for, upon my word, their faith has consisted in little else. Their systems are parchment religions, my friend, all of them ;-books, books, for ever, from Lord Herbert's time downwards, are all they have yet given to the world. They have ever been boastful and loud-tongued, but have done nothing ; there are no great social efforts, no organizations, no practical projects, whether successful or futile, to which they can point. The old book-faiths' which you venture to ridicule have been something at all events; and, in truth, I can find no other ‘faith' than what is somehow or other attached to a book,' which has been anything influential. The Vedas, the Koran, the Old Testament Scriptures-those of the New-over how many millions have these all reigned ! Whether their supremacy be right or wrong, their doctrine true or false, is another question ; but your faith, which has been book-faith and lip-service par excellence, has done nothing that I can discover. One after another of your infidel Reformers passes away, and leaves no trace behind, except a quantity of crumbling
book-faith. You have always been just on the eve of extinguishing supernatural fables, dogmas, and superstitions-and then regenerating the world ! Alas! the meanest superstition that crawls laughs at you, and, false as it may be, is still stronger than you."
In a subsequent conversation, Harrington having stated some of the questions on which he desired certuinty, Fellowes gives him counsel to look inwards, that he may see, by the direct gaze of the “ spiritual faculty,” bright and clear, those great “ intuitions” of spiritual truth which no book can teach,' and further says, 'that Mr. Newman had satisfactorily proved to him that a book-revelation of moral and spiritual truth is impossible' - which led to the following dialogue, in which it is distinctly proved that “That may be possible with man, which is impossible with God!'
(“Pray permit me to ask,” said Harrington, " did you always believe that a book-revelation was impossible :"
““ How can you ask the question ?-you know that I was brought up, like yourself, in the reception of the Bible as the only and infallible revelation of God to mankind.” "" To what do you owe your emancipation from this grievous and universal
" error, which still infects, in this or some other shape, the myriads of the human
““I think principally to the work of Mr. Newman on the Soul,' and his • Phases of Faith.'
• “ These have been to you, then, at least, a human book-revelation, that a divine book-revelation is impossible; a truth which I acknowledge you could not have received by divine book-revelation, without a contradiction. You ought, indeed, to think very highly of Mr. Newman. It is well, when God cannot do a thing, that man can ; though I confess, considering the very wide prevalence of this pernicious error, it would have been better, had it been possible, that a man should have had a divine book-revelation to tell him that a divine book-revelation was impossible. Great as is my admiration of Mr. Newman, I should, myself, have preferred having God's word for it. However, let us lay it down as an axiom, that a human book-revelation showing that a divine book revelation is impossible,' is not impossible ; and really, considering the almost universal error of man on this subject -now happily exploded-the book-revelation which convinces man of this great truth ought to be reverenced as of the highest value ; it is such
that it might not appear unworthy of celestial origin, if it did not imply a contradiction, that God should reveal to us in a book that a revelation in a book was impossible."
• Fellowes looked very grave, but said nothing.
““But yet,” continued Harrington, very seriously, “I know not whether I ought not, upon your principles, to consider this book-revelation with which you have been favoured, about the impossibility of such a thing, as itself a divine revelation ; in which case I am afraid we shall be constrained to admit, in form, that contradiction which we have been so anxious to avoid, by making possible with man what is impossible with God.'' ““ I know not what you mean," said Fellowes, rather offended.
"Why,” said Harrington, quite unmoved, " I have heard you say you do not deny, in some sense, inspiration, but only that inspiration is preternatural ; that every holy thought,' every • lofty and sublime conception, all • truth and excellence,' in any man, come from the Father of lights,' and are to be ascribed to him ; that, as Mr. Parker and Mr. Foxton affirm on this point, the inspiration of Paul or Milton, or even of Christ and of Benjamin Franklin, is of the same nature, and in an intelligible sense from the same source,--differing only in degree. Can you deem less, then, of that great conception by which Mr. Newman has released you, and possibly many more, from that bondage to a ‘book-revelation' in which you were brought up, and' in which, by your own confession, you might have been still enthralled? Can you think less of this than that it is an inspired' voice which has proelaimed 'liberty to the captive,' and made known to you ‘spiritual freedom?" If anything be divine about Mr. Newman's system, surely it must be this. Ought you not to thank God that he has been thus pleased to open your eyes,' and to turn you from darkness to light'—to raise up in these last days such an apostle of the truth which had lain so long 'hidden from ages and generations?' Can you do less than admire the divine artifice by which, when it was impossible for God directly to tell man that he could directly tell him nothing, He raised up his servant Newman to perform the office?"
"" For my part,” said Fellowes, “I am not ashamed to say, that I think I ought to thank God for such a boon as Mr. Newman has, in this instance at least, been the instrument of conveying to me. I acknowledge it is a most momentous truth, without which I should still have been in thraldom to the letter.'" "“Very well; then the book-revelation of Mr. Newman is, as I say,
in some sort to you, perhaps to many, a divine book-revelation !"
«« Well, in some sense, it is so."
"“So that now we have, in some sense, a divine book-revelation to prove that a divine book revelation is impossible.'
The answer of Fellowes, and which he assumes is complete, of course, is, that óneither Mr. Newman nor any other spiritualist has revealed to him any truth, but only that he has given shape and distinct consciousness to what was, in fact, uttered in the secret oracles of his own bosom before, and is uttered also in the hearts of all other men.' To which he gets the following conclusive reply :
" It little matters to this argument—to the question of the possibility, value, or utility of an external revelation-whether the truths it is to communicate be absolutely unknown till it reveals them, or only not known, which you confess was your own case. If your natural taper of illumination is stuck into a dark lantern, and its light can only flash upon the soul when some Mr. Newman kindly lifts up the slide for you; or if your internal oracle, like a ghost, will not speak till it is spoken to; or, like a dumb demon, awaits to find a voice, and confess itself to be what it is, at the summons of an exorcist;—the same argument precisely will apply for the possibility and utility of a book-revelation from God to men in general. What has been done for you by man, even though
no more were done, might, one would imagine, be done for the rest of mankind, and in a much better manner, by God. If that internal and native revelation which both you and Mr. Newman say has its seat in the human soul, be clear without his aid, why did he write a syllable about it? If, as you say, its utterances were not recognised, and that his statements have first made them familiar to you, the same argument (the Christian will say) will do for the Bible. It is of little use that nature teaches you, if Mr. Newman is to teach nature. .. If Mr. Newman, as you admit, has written a book which has put you in possession of moral and spiritual truth surely it might be modestly contended that God might dictate a better. Either you were in possession of the truths in question before he announced them, or you were not; if not, Mr. Newman is your infinite benefactor, and God may be at least as great a one; if you were, then Mr. Newman, like Job's comforters, “ has plentifully declared the thing as it is.” If you say, that you were in possession of them, but only by implication ; that you did not see them clearly or vividly till they were propounded—that is, that you saw them, only practically you were blind, and knew them, only virtually you were ignorant; still, whatever Mr. Newman does (and it amounts, in fact, to revelation), that may the Bible also do. If even that be not possible, and man naturally possesses these truths explicitly as well as implicitly, then indeed the Bible is an impertinence—and so is Mr. Newman.'
We have dwelt thus long on the subject of book-revelation, because it relates to one of the most plausible pretensions of the spiritual' system; and because in the author's treatment of it, there are many suggestive hints for those who make no denial of the possibility or the fact of a divine revelation, but appear to have singularly confused and inconsistent views of its relation and worth to the intuitional consciousness.' We cannot follow the author through the entire discussion, but deem it valuable exceedingly for pregnant suggestions, although, we think, it has not completeness, nor effects the final settlement of the question.
On another evening, on which Harrington discussed these topics with his friend, he read an elaborate paper, entitled, ' Reasons for declining the Via Media between Revealed Religion and Atheism,-or Scepticism; with special reference to the Theories of Mr. Theodore Parker and Mr. Francis Newman.' An abstract of this paper would scarcely interest the reader; its details are necessary to the appreciation of its closeness and force of reasoning. The chief points established are, first—that there is no evidence that man has an original and universal fountain of spiritual illumination in himself; and secondly—that the absolute religion' of Mr. Parker, and the spiritual faculty' of Mr. Newman, if they exist, are not of such singular use as to supersede all external revelation, since by the unfortunate conceptions' of the one, and the degraded types' of the other, it has for ages left man, and does, in fact, now leave him to wallow in the lowest depths of the most debasing idolatry and superstition. He says• Think for a moment of a “ spiritual faculty,” so bright as to anticipate all essential spiritual verities,—the universal possession of humanity,—which yet terminates in leaving the said humanity to grovel in every form of error, between the extremities of Fetichism, which consecrates a piece of stone, and Pantheism, which consecrates all the bits of stone in the universe, in fact, a sort of comprehensive Fetichism ;-which leaves man to erect everything into a God, provided it is none,--sun, moon, stars, a cat, a monkey, an onion, uncouth idols, sculptured marble; nay, a shapeless trunk-which the devout idolater does not stay to fashion into the likeness of a man, but gives it itsapotheosis at once !-If man has this faculty, it is either the most idle prerogative ever bestowed on a rational creature, or somehow or other, as the Bible affirms, it has been denaturalised and disabled.'
During the visit of his uncle, Harrington drew together a company of his friends, in fact, got up ' A Sceptic's Select Party.' It was an odd mixture. There was an Italian gentleman-a Roman Catholic of the true Papal school; an English Catholic-of the liberal species; a young surgeon-'a rare specimen of conversion to certain crude atheistical speculations of Mr. Atkinson and Miss Martineau;' a young Englishman fresh from Germany—“five hundred fathoms deep in German philosophy, and who hardly came once to the surface during the whole entertainment;' three Rationalists; a Deist of the old school; a Romish priest, óan admirer of Father Newman, who therefore believes everything ;' Harrington himself, who believed nothing ; the sentimental spiritualist, Fellowes; and the Christian believer, the Uncle, who amongst such guests was regarded pretty much as a “megatherium.' It will be at once supposed that the conversation attributed to this gloriously dissorted company is highly interesting and amusing. The scheme is a good one, for playing off against each other the absurdities and contradictions of the various leading parties in the religious controversies of the day,—which the author takes good care to do in the very words of those writers who found representatives in this ó select party. Their views are not merely exhibited in this strange and suggestive contrast to each other, but the sceptic Harrington is a mouth-piece through which he can reason and comment on them all from a purely scientific and indifferent point of view, and in his own person he is able to furnish such arguments as are proper and peculiar to the Christian believer. For the sake of variety in this paper, and to exhibit more truly the variety of the book itself, we shall call up the young Hegelian from the 'five hundred fathom’depth in which he dwells. It is a rare piece of satire—and yet scarcely a shade exaggerated.
«“I hold that you are right, sir," he said to the last speaker, “in saying that God is not a Person ; but then it is because, as Hegel says, he is Personality itself—the universal personality which realizes itself in each human consciousness, as a separate thought of one eternal mind. Our idea of the absolute is the absolute itself; apart from and out of the universe, therefore, there is no God." "" I think we may grant you that,” said Harrington, laughing.
“Nor,” continued the other, “is there any God apart from the universal consciousness of man. He"
“Ought you not to say it ?" said Harrington. "" It then," said our student, “is the entire process of thought combining in itself the objective movement in nature with the logical subjective, and realizing itself in the spiritual totality of humanity. He (or it if you will) is the eternal movement of the universal ever raising itself to a subject, which first of all in the subject comes to objectivity and a real consistence, and accordingly absorbs