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religion thus interpenetrating, neutralized each other; and the baleful product, or tertium aliquid, of this union retarded the civilization of Europe for centuries. Law splintered into the minutiæ of religion, the awful function and prerogative of which it is to take account of every idle word, became a busy and inquisitorial tyranny: and religion substituting legal terrors for the ennobling influences of conscience remained religion in name only. The present age appears to me approaching fast to a similar usurpation of the functions of religion by law: and if it were required, I should not want strong presumptive proofs in favor of this opinion, whether I sought for them in the charges from the bench concerning wrongs, to which religion denounces the fearful penalties of guilt, but for which the law of the land assigns damages only: or in sundry statutes—and all praise to the late Mr. Wyndham, Romanorum ultimo—in a still greater number of attempts towards new statutes, the authors of which displayed the most pitiable ignorance, not merely of the distinction between perfect, and imperfect obligations, but even of that still more sacred distinction between things and persons.
What the son of Sirach advises concerning the soul, every senator should apply to his legislative capacity :-reverence it in meekness, knowing how feeble and how mighty a thing it is !*
From this hint concerning toleration, we may pass by an easy transition to the, perhaps, still more interesting subject of tolerance. And here I fully coincide with Frederic H. Jacobi, that the only true spirit of tolerance consists in our conscientious toleration of each other's intolerance. Whatever pretends to be more than this, is either the unthinking cant of fashion, or the soul-palsying narcotic of moral and religious indifference. All of us without exception, in the same mode though not in the same degree, are necessarily subjected to the risk of mistaking positive opinions for certainty and clear insight. From this yoke we can not free ourselves, but by ceasing to be men; and this too not in order to transcend, but to sink below, our human nature. For if in one point of view it be the mulct of our fall, and of the corruption of our will; it is equally true, thắt contemplated from another point, it is the price and consequence of our progressiveness. To him who is compelled to pace to and fro within the high walls and in the narrow court-yard of a prison, all objects may appear clear and distinct. It is the traveller journeying onward full of heart and hope, with an ever-varying horizon on the boundless plain, who is liable to mistake clouds for mountains, and the mirage of drouth for an expanse of refreshing waters.
* The reference, probably, is to Ecclus. x. 28. My son, glorify thy soul in meekness, and give it honor according to the dignity thereof.--Ed.
But notwithstanding this deep conviction of our general fallibility, and the most vivid recollection of my own, I dare avow with the German philosopher, that as far as opinions, and not motives, principles, and not men,—are concerned ; I neither am tolerant, nor wish to be regarded as such: According to my judgment, it is mere ostentation, or a poor trick that hypocrisy plays with the cards of nonsense, when a man makes protestation of being perfectly tolerant in respect of all principles, opinions, and persuasions, those alone excepted which render the holders intolerant. For he either means to say by this, that he is utterly indifferent towards all truth, and finds nothing so insufferable as the persuasion of there being any such mighty value or importance attached to the possession of the truth as should give a marked preference to any one conviction above any other ; or else he means nothing, and amuses himself with articulating the pulses of the air instead of inhaling it in the more healthful and profitable exercise of yawning. That which doth not withstand, hath itself no standing place. To fill a station is to exclude or repel others, -and this is not less the definition of moral, than of material solidity. We live by continued acts of defence, that involve a sort of offensive warfare. But a man's principles, on which he grounds his hope and his faith, are the life of his life. We live by faith, says the philosophic Apostle ; and faith without principles is but a flattering phrase for wilful positiveness, or fanatical bodily sensation. Well, and of good right therefore, do we maintain with more zeal, than we should defend body or estate, a deep and inward conviction, which is as the moon to us; and like the moon with all its massy shadows and deceptive gleams, it yet lights us on our way, poor travellers as we are, and benighted pilgrims. With all its spots and changes and temporary eclipses, with all its vain halos and bedimming vapors, it yet reflects the light that is to rise on us, which even now is rising, though intercepted from our immediate view by the mountains that inclose and frown over the vale of our mortal life.
This again is the mystery and the dignity of our human nature, that we can not give up our reason, without giving up at the same time our individual personality.
For that must appear to each man to be his reason which produces in him the highest sense of certainty ; and yet it is not reason, except so far as it is of universal validity and obligatory on all mankind. There is a one heart for the whole mighty mass of humanity, and every pulse in each particular vessel strives to beat in concert with it. He who asserts that truth is of no importance except in the signification of sincerity, confounds sense with madness, and the word of God with a dream. If the power of reasoning be the gift of the supreme Reason, that we be sedulous, yea, and militant in the endeavor to reason aright, is his implied command. But what is of permanent and essential interest to one man must needs be so to all, in proportion to the means and opportunities of each. Woe to him by whom these are neglected, and double woe to him by whom they åre withholden ; for he robs at once himself and his neighbor. That man's soul is not dear to himself, to whom the souls of his brethren are not dear. As far as they can be influenced by him, they are parts and properties of his own soul, their faith his faith, their errors his burthen, their righteousness and bliss his righteousness and his reward--and of their guilt and misery hi own will be the echo.
As much as love my fellow-men, so much and no more will I be intolerant of their heresies and unbelief--and I will honor and hold forth the right hand of fellowship to every individual who is equally intolerant of that which he conceives such in me. We will both exclaim— I know not what antidotes among the complex views, impulses and circumstances, that form your moral being, God's gracious providence may have vouchsafed to you against the serpent fang of this error,—but it is a viper, and its poison deadly, although through higher influences some men may take the reptile to their bosom, and remain unstung.'
In one of those poisonous journals, which deal out profaneness, hate, fury, and sedition through the land, I read the following paragraph. “ The Brahmin believes that every man will be saved in his own persuasion, and that all religions are equally pleasing to the God of all. The Christian confines salvation to the believer in his own Vedas and Shasters. Which is the more humane and philosophic creed of the two ?” Let question answer question. Self-complacent scoffer! Whom meanest thou by God? The God of truth ?-and can He be pleased with falsehood, and the debasement or utter suspension of the reason which he gave to man that he might receive from him the sacrifice of truth? Or the God of love and mercy ?-and can He be pleased with the blood of thousands poured out under the wheels of Juggernaut, or with the shrieks of children offered up as fire offerings to Baal or to Moloch? Or dost thou mean the God of holiness and infinite purity ?—and can He be pleased with abominations unutterable and more than brutal defilements, and equally pleased too as with that religion, which commands us that we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but to reprove them ;—with that religion, which strikes the fear of the Most High so deeply, and the sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin so inwardly, that the believer anxiously inquires : Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? and which makes answer to him,He hath showed thee, O man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ?* But I check myself. It is at once folly and profanation of truth, to reason with the man who can place before his eyes a minister of the Gospel directing the eye of the widow from the corpse of her husband upward to his and her Redeemer,—(the God of the living and not of the dead)—and then the remorseless Brahmin goading on the disconsolate victim to the flames of her husband's funeral pile, abandoned by, and abandoning, the helpless pledges of their loveand yet dare ask, which is the more humane and philosophic creed of the two ?-No! No! when such opinions are in question I neither am, nor will be, nor wish to be regarded as, tolerant. ESSAY XIV.
Knowing the heart of man is set to be
O that my
I HAVE thus endeavored, with an anxiety which may perhaps have misled me into prolixity, to detail and ground the conditions under which the communication of truth is commanded or forbidden to us as individuals, by our conscience; and those too, under which it is permissible by the law which controls our conduct as members of the state, But is the subject of sufficient importance to deserve so minute an examination ? readers would look round the world, as it now is, and make to themselves a faithful catalogue of its many miseries! From what do these proceed, and on what do they depend for their continuance? Assuredly, for the greater part, on the actions of men, and those again on the want of a vital principle of action. We live by faith. The essence of virtue consists in the principle. And the reality of this, as well as its importance, is believed by all men in fact, few as there may be who bring the truth forward into the light of distinct consciousness. Yet, all men feel, and at times acknowledge to themselves, the true cause of their misery. There is no man so base, but that at some time or other, and in some way or other, he admits that he is not what he ought to be, though by a curious art of self-delusion, by an effort to keep at peace with himself as long and as much as possible, he will throw off the blame from the amenable part of his na
* Epistle to the Countess of Cumberland. -Ed.