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finally to the useful working of the principle. You may have said in
listening to me thus far, "What need of insisting so much upon
self-regard, which we all perfectly well understand?" I doubt whether it
is so well understood; and this must be my apology. We have seen that
the principle is native and necessary to us; let us look a moment, at
its utility.

I am put in charge of myself - of my life, first of all. So strong is the
impulse to keep and defend it, that self-preservation has been called
the first law of our being. But that argues an antecedent
fact - self-appreciation. Why preserve that which we value not? We
defend ourself, because we prize ourself. We defend our life, with the
instant rush of all our faculties to the rescue. "Very selfish," one may
say; "And why does a man care so much for himself; he isn't worth it."
He can't help it. He obeys the primal bond; he is a law to himself. Is
it not well? Man's life would perish in a thousand ways, if he did not
thus care for it. The great, universal and most effective guardianship
over human life everywhere, is - not government nor law, not guns nor
battlements, not sympathy, not society - but this self-care.

I am put in charge of my own comfort, of my sustenance. I must provide
for it. And to provide for it, I must have property - house, land,
stores, means - something that must be my own, and not another's. If I
were an animal, I might find food and shelter in the common storehouse
of nature's bounty. But I have other wants; if I have no provision for
them that is my own; if some godless International League, or Agrarian
Law, could break down all the rights of property, there would be an end
to industry, to order, to comfort, and eventually to life itself.
Whatever evils, whatever monstrous crimes come of the love of gain, its
extinction would be infinitely worse.

I am put in charge of my good name, my place among men. I must regard
it. I am sinking to recklessness about virtue if I cease to value
approbation. Even the martyr, looking to God alone, seeks approval. And
good men's approbation is the reflection of that. To seek honor from men
at the expense of principle, is what the Master condemns - not the desire
of honor. It has been made a question whether the love of approbation
should be appealed to, in schools. It cannot be kept out, from there,
nor from anywhere else. If it could, if the vast network of social
regards, in which men are now held, were torn asunder, society would
fall to pieces.

Finally, I am put in charge of my virtue - of that above all. And that I
must get and keep for myself; no other can do it for me. Another may
stretch out the hand to defend me from a fatal blow; another may endow
me with wealth; another may give me the praise I do not deserve; but no
friendly intervention, no deed of gift, no flattery, no falsity, can
give me inward truth and integrity. That solemn point in human
experience, that question upon which every thing hangs - shall I do
right? - or shall I do wrong? - is shrouded in the secrecy and silence of
my own mind. All the power in the world, cannot do for me the thing that
I must do for myself. To me, to me, the decision is committed.

Now what I have been saying, is this; it is well that that self-regard,
upon which so much is devolved, should be strong; that there should be
no apathy, no indifference, upon this point; that if ever a man wanders
away into recklessness, into idleness, into disgrace, into utter moral
delinquency and lawlessness, he should be brought to a stand, and
brought back again, if possible, by this intense and uncontrollable
regard for himself - for his own well-being. I do not resolve every thing
in human nature, into the desire of well being. I do not say that the
love of life, of property, of reputation, still less of virtue, is the
same as the love of happiness; but I say that to the pursuit of all
these a man is urged, driven, almost forced, by this love of his own
well-being; nay more to the pursuit of the highest eventually, and that,
by the very laws of his nature.

Let us now turn to the other principle which I propose to discuss - that
which opens the whole field of our culture - the principle that carries
us out of, and beyond ourselves.

It has been no part of my design, in discussing the principle of
selfhood, to show the hinderance to culture, and the evil every way,
that come from the abuse of it. That will be sufficiently manifest, if
it be made to appear, that all culture and happiness are found in the
opposite direction. But if I wanted to put this in the strongest light,
I should point to the pain and obstruction which are experienced in a
diseased self-consciousness. It would be a powerful argument for that
going out of self, which I am about to speak of. Self, if it is a
necessary stand-point, is yet liable to be always in our way. A morbid
anxiety about our position, our credit with men, the good or ill opinion
others have of our talents, tastes or merits, causes more misery, I am
inclined to think, than any other form of human selfishness. See a
company of persons, inthralled with music, charmed by eloquence,
transported by some heroic action set before them; and they forget
themselves; they do not think, how they look, how they are dressed, what
others think of them, in their common delight.

The sense of this, I believe it was, that lay at the bottom of the old
Buddhist doctrine of Nirwana - _i.e._, self-oblivion. To lose this
wearisome, diseased self, seemed to Gautama, the great apostle of
Buddhism, to be the chief good. Nirwana has been taken to mean absolute
annihilation. I do not believe the Buddhists meant that; for to me, it
is incredible, that any great sect, numbering millions, should have so
totally given up the natural love of existence, and desire of
immortality; and Max MГјller and others have brought that construction
of the Buddhist creed, into doubt. Individuals may go that length.
Unhappy Blanco White, tortured in body and mind, could say that he
desired no more of life, here or hereafter. A German naturalist could
say, "Blessed be the death hour - the time when I shall cease to be." But
this revolt against self and very self-existence, whether ancient or
modern, I advert to, only to show the necessity of going out from it, in
order to build up the kingdom of God within us. It is notable; it is
suggestive; but it is neither healthy, nor true to human nature. Far
truer is that admirable little poem of David Wasson's, originally
entitled "Bugle Notes," which in unfolding the blessing and joy of
existence, touches, I think, the deepest and divinest sense of things.

But let us proceed to consider the law of sacrifice - not sacrifice of
happiness nor improvement, but the finding of both, in going out from
self, to that which is beyond and above it.

A man's thought starts from himself; but if it stopped there, he would
be nothing. All philosophy, science, knowledge presuppose certain
original faculties and intuitions; but not to cultivate or carry them
out, would leave their possessor to be the mere root or germ of a man. A
line in geometry presupposes a point; but unless the point is extended,
there can be no geometry; it is a point barren of all science, of all

Every intellectual step is a step out of one's self. The philosopher who
studies _himself_, that he may understand his own mind and nature, is
but studying himself objectively; his very self _then_ lies out of
himself, and is an abstraction to him. And the mathematician, the
astronomer, the naturalist, the poet, the artist, each one goes out of
himself. His subject, his theorem, his picture it is, that draws
him - not reward, not reputation. Doubtless Newton or Herschel, when he
left his diagram or his telescope, and seated himself in the bosom of
his family, might say, "We must live; I must have income; and if public
or private men offer to remunerate and sustain me, it is right that they
should do so." But the moment he plunges into deep philosophic
meditation, he forgets all that. Nature has more than a bridal charm,
science more than golden treasures, truth more than pontifical
authority, to its votaries. Not wooing, but worship, is found at its
shrines and altars. In the grand hierarchies of science, of literature,
of art, there is a veritable priesthood, as pure, as unworldly, as can
be found in any church. It is delightful to look upon its work, upon its
calm and loving enthusiasm. The naturalist brings under his microscope,
the smallest and most unattractive specimen of organized matter, and
goes into ecstasies over it, that might seem ridiculous; but no, this is
a piece of _holy nature_ - a link in the chain of its majestic harmonies.

And so every intellectual laborer, when his work is noblest, forgets
himself - the lawyer in his case, the preacher in his sermon, the
physician in his patient. Is it not true then, and is it not noteworthy,
that all the intellectual treasures that are gathered to form the
noblest humanity, all the intellectual forces that are bearing it
onward, come of self-forgetting?

Equally true is it - more true if possible, in the moral field. The man
who is revolving around himself, must move in a very small circle.
Vanity, self-conceit, thinking much of one's self, may be the foible of
some able and learned men, but never of the greatest men: because the
wider is the circle of a man's thought or knowledge, at the more points
does he see and feel his limitations. Vanity is always professional,
never philosophic. It belongs to a narrow, technical, never to the
largest, moral culture. And all the moral _forces_ in the world, are
strongest, divinest, when clearest of self. When the public man seeks
his own advancement, more than the public weal, he is no more a
statesman, but a mere politician; and when the reformer cares more for
his own opinion than for the end to be gained, the people will not
regard nor respect him. The world may be very selfish, but it will have
honesty in those whom it permits to serve it.

The truth is that the whole culture of the world, is built on sacrifice;
and all the nobleness in the world lies in that. To show that, it is
only necessary to point to those classes of men and spheres of action,
which exert the widest influence upon the improvement and welfare of
mankind. They will all be found to bear that mark.

Look, first, at the professional teachers of the world - the authors,
artists, professors, schoolmasters, clergymen. In returns of worldly
goods, their services have been paid less, than any other equal ability
and accomplishment in the world. Doubtless there have been exceptions;
some English bishops and Roman prelates have been rich; and some authors
and artists have gained a modest competence. More are doing it now, and
yet more will. But the great body of intellectual laborers, has been
poor. The instruction of the world, has been carried on by perpetual
sacrifice. A grand army of teachers - authors, artists, schoolmasters,
professors, heads of colleges - have been through ages, carrying on the
war against ignorance; but no triumphal procession has been decreed to
it; no spoils of conquered provinces have come to its coffers; no crown
imperial has invested with pomp and power. In lonely watch-towers the
fires of genius have burned, but to waste and consume the lamp of life,
while they gave light to the world.

It is no answer to say that the victims of intellectual toil, broken
down in health or fortune, have counted their work, a privilege and joy.
As well deny the martyr's sacrifice, because he has joyed in his
integrity. And many of the world's intellectual benefactors, have been
martyrs. Socrates died in prison, as a public malefactor; for the
healing wisdom he offered his people, deadly poison was the reward.
Homer had a lot so obscure, at least, that nobody knew his birthplace;
and indeed some modern critics are denying that there ever was any
Homer. Plato travelled back and forth from his home in Athens to the
court of the Syracusan tyrant, regarded indeed and feared, but
persecuted and in peril of life; nay, and once sold for a slave. Cicero
shared a worse fate. Dante, all his life knew, as he expressed it, -

"How salt was a stranger's bread,
How hard the path still up and down to tread,
A stranger's stairs."

Copernicus and Galileo found science no more profitable than Dante found
poetry. Shakspeare had a home; but too poorly endowed to stand long in
his name, after he left it; the income upon which he retired was barely
two or three hundred pounds a year; and so little did his contemporaries
know or think of him, that the critics hunt in vain for the details of
his private life. "The mighty space of his large honors," shrinks to an
obscure myth of a life in theatres of London or on the banks of the

I might go on to speak, but it needs not, of the noble philanthropists
and missionaries, often spoken of lightly in these days, because what is
noblest must endure the severest criticism; of inventors, seldom
rewarded for their sagacity and the immense benefits they have conferred
upon the world; of soldiers, our own especially, buried by thousands, in
unknown graves - green, would we fain say, green forever be the mounds
that cover them! Let processions of men and women and children, every
year, bring flowers, bring garlands of honor, to their lowly tombs!

But there is another form of self-consecration which is yet more
essential, and which is universal. And yet _because_ it is essential and
universal, the very life-spring of the world's growth; because it is no
signal benefit, but the common blessing of our existence; because it
moulds our unconscious infancy, and mingles with our thoughtless
childhood, and is an incorporate part of our being, it is apt to be
overlooked and forgotten. The sap that flows up through the roots of the
world - it is out of sight. The stately growths we _see_; the trees that
drop balsam and healing upon the nations, we _see_; the schools, the
universities, the hospitals, which beneficence has builded, we _see_;
but the stream that, through all ages, is flowing from sire to son, is a
hidden current.

It is one of the miracles of the world - this life that is forever
losing, merging itself in a new life. We talk of martyrdoms; but there
are ten thousands of martyrdoms, of which the world never hears.
Beautiful it is to die for our country; beautiful it is to surrender
life for the cause of religious freedom; beautiful to _go forth_, to
bear help and healing to the sick, the wounded, the outcast and forlorn;
but there are those who _stay at home_, alone, unknown, uncelebrated, to
do and to bear more than is ever done, in one brief act of heroism or
hour of martyrdom. In ten thousand homes are those, whose life-long care
and anxiety wear and waste them to the grave. They count it no praise;
they consider it no sacrifice. I speak not, but for the simple truth, of
that which to me, is too holy for eulogy. But meet it is, that a
generation coming into life, which owes its training and culture and
preservation to a generation that is passing away, should be sensible of
this truth - of this solemn mystery of Providence - of this law of
sacrifice, of this outflow from self into domestic, into social life,
which lies at the very roots of the world.

There is one further application of the principle of disinterestedness,
which goes beyond classes and instances such as I have mentioned, and
embraces men simply as fellow-men. Much has been said among us of late
years, and none too much, of the dangers of an extreme individualism. We
began as a religious body, in a strong assertion of the rights of
individual opinion; and we went on in that spirit for a considerable
time; till it seemed, at length, as if we were liable to lose all
coherence and to fall to pieces in utter disintegration. But a few years
ago, moving in that zig-zag line which marks all human progress, we
awoke to the dangers of the situation; and happily found that if we
could not agree upon any technical definition of Christian faith, we
_could_ combine for Christian work. The National Conference was formed;
a new impulse was given; new funds were poured into our treasury; we are
circulating books and tracts more widely than we have ever done before;
we are helping feeble churches and founding new ones, besides doing
something for missions abroad: in short, we are trying to do the work
which, in common with other Christian communions, properly belongs to

But there is another movement, which I regard with equal interest, and
which promises in fact, to go deeper than any thing else we can do. I
allude to those Unions, in which, I think the city of Providence leads
the way: and in which New Bedford, Worcester, and Brooklyn have followed
the example. These associations provide a public room or rooms, well
lighted and warmed, for those who will, to resort to them; but
especially for the young, who most need good culture, entertainment and
encouragement; and in these rooms are found books, pictures, games, and
music perhaps; and classes for regular instruction may be formed, and
lectures occasionally given, or discussions held; in fact, whatever will
contribute to the general improvement and to the pleasant and profitable
passing of social evenings, may be introduced. This kind of institution
is especially adapted to our smaller cities; and may be extended to our
country villages. Our people in the country, live too much apart and
alone; and besides the direct advantages of these gatherings together, a
mutual acquaintance and a kindly feeling would be promoted, which are of
scarcely less importance.

Let me add that there is a new ideal of life, which, I think, is slowly
arising among us; and which, when it is fully carried out, I believe,
will make an impression upon society, never before seen in the world.
This is the idea of mutual helpfulness; of every man's living not to
himself, but to God, in loving and helping his kind. Helpfulness, I
say - that which Mr. Ruskin describes as the most glorious attribute of
God himself; and which has so seized upon his imagination, that he
ventures to substitute for "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord," Helpful,
helpful, helpful, is the Lord God Almighty! This will not do; but it
indicates a glorious tendency of modern thought. The old ideal of life
has been, to get together the means of comfort and enjoyment; to get
wealth, to get a fine house, to get luxuries for wassail and feasting,
or to get books and pictures; and then to sit down and enjoy all this
good estate, and transmit it to fortunate heirs, with little thought of
others - with some charities perhaps, but without taking into heart or
life, the common weal, happiness and improvement of all around.

What a millennium would it begin, if, instead of this, every man should
be thinking, just so far as he can go beyond taking care of his own body
and soul, what he can do for others - not in any merely eleemosynary way;
not merely to instruct and improve men, with the pharisaic assumption of
being better or better off than they; but by acting a brotherly part
towards them, speaking neighborly words, doing neighborly deeds,
smoothing the path, softening the lot, seeing all erring and sorrow, and
joy and worth, as if they were their own; and wherever there is any
difficulty or trial or need, to "lend a hand." Whenever such a spirit
enters into and pervades society, it will make a world, compared with
which, _our_ time will sink back among the dark ages.

In short, when is it, that a man does and is, the highest that he is
capable of? The answer is, when forgetting himself, forgetting
advantage, gain, praise, fame, he pours himself out, in intellectual or
moral, and, any way, beneficent activity. When does culture or art in
him attain to the highest? It is when going beyond all thoughts of
culture and art, he flings himself, in perfect sympathy and free
communion, into the great mass of human interests. It is so that the
greatest things have been achieved in all the higher fields of human
effort - in writing, in eloquence, in painting and sculpture and music;
and it is so, especially, that the doers of great things, have become
the noblest men. "Art for art's sake," has been the motto for culture,
with some. And to a certain extent, that is true. It is fine to work for
the perfection of the work, and without any intrusion of self. But a man
may work so, upon a theme of little or no significance to the world's
improvement or welfare. He may work so, with small thoughts, small
ideals, for which nobody cares, or has any reason to care. But so can he
not work grandly, however finished be the result. Art is for the sake of
something beyond itself. Only when it goes out into great ideals that
mingle themselves with the widest culture and improvement of men, only
when it strikes for the right, for liberty, for country, for the common
weal, does it achieve its end.

We have had literature enough, and have it now, in which the writer
seems hardly to go beyond himself - writing out of himself and into
himself - occupied with making fine sentences, without any earnest
intent; and which readers, used to feed upon the honest bread of plain
English speech, hardly know what to make of. Very fine, these sparkling
sentences may be, very beautiful, very apt to strike with admiration;
but they divert attention with surprises, or cover up thought with
coruscations. They are like gems that lie scattered upon the table; they
are not wrought into any well-woven fabric; they do not move _on_ the
subject to any conclusion.

Men may win great admiration and great fame, but not great love; though
they gain, perhaps, as much as they give. Only by writing out of the
bosom of a great humanity _to_ the great humanity, can one fill the
measure of good art or good culture. Even Goethe, of whom Professor
Seeley says, that "he found every thing interesting except the fact that
Napoleon was trampling upon Germany" - a fatal exception: even Goethe,
with all his art, his marvellous versatility and fine accomplishment,
failed to reach the highest place, either in the best self-culture, or
in men's best love. _Savant_, poet, novelist, of high mark, as he was,
he has no such place as Newton, Wordsworth, and Walter Scott, in men's
love. Schiller and Richter, I believe, are more beloved in Germany, than

In mere art, in perfection of style, no writers have equalled Homer and
Shakspeare. But _they_ did not say, "Art for art's sake." They had no
thought but to communicate their thought. If singular felicities appear
in their style, little eddyings of exquisitely turned conceits, as
especially in Shakspeare, they made a part of, and swept on the strong
current of their ideas. They were not introduced for their own sake, or
merely to please the writer.

It has been said that great authors are born of great occasions. Some
remarkable era, some turn or tide in human thought, or in human affairs,
have borne them on to their supreme greatness. Will not the time come,
when men shall so look into the depths of the human heart, into the
tragic or blissful experiences of all human life, that no great era
shall be necessary to make great writers?

I believe it. I believe in a perpetual human progress - progress in every
kind, material, mental, moral, religious, divine; and I greatly desire
to say a few words in close, if you will indulge me upon this point. For
I found this faith in progress, on the two principles which I have been
considering in this lecture. Selfhood obliges a man to take care of
himself. To go out of himself is the only way, in which he can
take care of himself - can take care, that is to say, of his own
improvement and happiness. In selfhood, necessary as it is, there is
no virtue, and little joy. Outflow from it - love, generosity,
disinterestedness - embraces the whole sphere of our culture and welfare.

Can there be any doubt upon either of these points - either the culture
or welfare?

Upon the culture, I say; upon what makes for human improvement. There is
evil enough in the world; but what nation or age ever approved of it?
What people ever praised selfishness, injustice, falsifying of speech or
trust? No literature ever celebrated them. No religion ever enjoined
them. No laws ever enacted them. Imagine a law that proposed to reward
villains and to punish honest men. The world would spit upon it. Imagine
a book or essay or poem or oration, that plainly set about to tell what
a beautiful and noble thing it is, to lie, to defraud, to wrong,

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