Remarks On The History Of Science; Followed By An Apriori Autobiography

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1849 was a busy year for William Batchelder Greene. In that year, he published at least six articles, under the pseudonym "Omega," in The Worcester Palladium, then collected some of that material and some new work in Equality, the first of his major mutual banking works. He published the first pamphlet edition of his Transcendentalism, which had previously appeared as two articles in The American Review, and he also published Remarks on the Science of History, followed by an A priori Autobiography, a work integrating his apparently wide reading in European philosophies of history with a kind of autobiographical self-evaluation. We have every reason to believe that those were not easy years for Greene. He lost two children during his years as the pastor of the Brookfield Congregational Church. Robert Shaw Greene, born May 15, 1849, died only three days later. His relations in Unitarian circles were strained, thanks to conflicts with Theodore Parker. In a letter dated May 28, 1849, John Weiss (later a contributor to The Radical Review) wrote:

The a-priori autobiography is by our friend who knocks the wind out of dying ministers after themanner of Mexican nurses, and doubtless with the same humane intention of putting them out of pain. Part of it was read to the Hook-and-Ladder, and created inextinguishable peals of laughter, which he bore so genially that I thought there was something in his essay.Each one can judge for himself. The introduction seems to be a brisk flirtation with Pythagoras and the science (?) of numbers. The autobiography purported to be a genuine experience of Greene's in Florida, and as such is valuable. . . . Parker does not yet forget his wrongs. That is the worst thing I know about him. He flourishes and has influence; but he begins to complain of his head again. He works too hard. There is no controversy with him now; but the Boston Association does not yet fraternize with him, and the whole matter is in abeyance.

Greene's biography is still largely a matter of mystery. We know that Parker was attached to Greene's wife-to-be, Anna Blake Shaw, and that some mix of philosophical differences, incompatibilities of temperment and personal jealousies boiled out into a conflict involving Greene, Parker, Orestes Brownson, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (who had been rather attached to Greene), and others. It's hard to imagine a more formidable crowd in a controversy that touched both philosophical principles and personal honor.

Greene's sister Mary, having converted to Catholicism, was living in a convent in Maryland, and her letters (published after her death from cholera, crossing the Isthmus of Panama in 1852) give some glimpses into the everyday difficulties of life in the mid-19th century.

Weiss' letter refers to Greene's periodic bouts with illness. In the A Priori Autobiography, Greene marshalls his protrations by remittant fever, his bouts with tropical disease, and the like in the service of a personal narrative which seeks not only to tease out the logical development of his own beliefs, but to show the connections of that development to the development of beliefs in general. Something like the Biogenetic Law finds itself recapitulated in the realm of ideas here, and this seems to have been something of a commonplace in the largely Saint-Simonian philosophy of history in which Greene had obviously immersed himself in the 1840s. But there is also an adaptation of apostolic conversion narratives here: Greene presents himself as struck down on his own personal "road to Damascus."







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by Wm. Crosby, and H. P. Nichols,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.




REMARKS ON THE SCIENCE OF HISTORY.<ref> The materials requisite for the construction of the "Remarks" and "Autobiography" contained in this book, may be found in the works of Jacob Boehme, Fabre d'Olivet and P. J. B. Buchez:—The Author takes, therefore, this opportupity to protest against being identified, in the mind of any reader, with the hero of the supposed Autobiography.</ref>


Desire, according to Buchez, the first President of the present French National Assembly, is a movement of the will, an outbreak, and energetic operation, of the active principle, toward something we have not as yet.

When we do not understand our desire, we are conscious of uneasiness, doubt, and trouble: as soon however as the intelligence begins to comprehend [vi] the blind appetency, a formula for it rises to the mind, and it becomes transformed at once into acceptation, hope, determinate volition, aspiration in view of an ideal, a conviction, a form of faith, a belief, &c.—it become moreover a thesis proposed for reasoning. Thus the movement for the comprehension of a desire, may be considered as containing the progress and completion of a distinct event, viz. the acquisition of a clearly defined sentiment; and, for this reason, that movement may be subdivided as follows: (1) The appetency, or longing tendency, toward something we do not possess, and of whose nature we have no clear apprehension, (2) The reasoning we institute within ourselves to discover the origin of our uneasiness—to discover also the object which is necessary for the satisfaction of our desires, (3) The full and conscious act of desire, which is the operation of instinctive tendencies, with an open knowledge of the object desired.

The progress of any event, in which men are actors, takes place always in three stages: the first is the great epoch of Desire, which is subdivided, as we have seen, into three sub epochs; the second is the great epoch of Reasoning, wherein are discovered the ways and [vii] means by which the object necessary in order to the gratification of desire, may be obtained; and the last is the great epoch of Execution or Realization. The epochs of Reasoning and Execution, are, like that of Desire, each of them subdivided into three sub epochs—as shall be fully exemplified in the sequel.

These three Grand Epochs, each of which is composed of three sub epochs, form, when taken together, the great Logical Series by Nines, the series of Buchez.<ref> Introduction to the Science of History, by P. J. B. Buchez.—2 vols. 8 mo. Paris, 1842.</ref>

No example, in illustration of the movement of this series, would carry so much conviction to the mind of the reader, as one that could be verified by each individual from his own private experience: such an example is possible for us, for the ordinary process of a religious experience, lends itself very readily for the purposes of scientific investigation, and, moreover, fulfills the requisite conditions. To lest, therefore, the correctness of the serial order and movement, we will proceed to construct, by the a priori methods, a sort of imaginary [viii] spiritual Autobiography. And we shall take the liberty, for the sake of securing facility of composition, and avoiding circumlocution, to commence at once by speaking in the first person.—

The method of writing universal history under the form of a biography, and of writing biography under the forms of universal history, is philosophically correct.

As it was necessary for the race to go through the Mosaic dispensation, in order to become prepared for the reception of Christianity, so it was necessary for it to go through the Patriarchal dispensation, in order to become prepared for the religion revealed through Moses. In like manner, in the experience of the private Christian, the understanding of the Old Testament must pave the way for the understanding of the New. Every thing moves forward in regular progressions. He who thoroughly understands the present epoch, must have reproduced, and lived through, in his private experience, all the religions, dispensations, and civilisations, that preceded it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who has made a thorough study of this subject, says, in his remarkable [ix] essay on History: "There is a relation between the hours of life, and the centuries of time.—All inquiry into antiquity,—all curiosity respecting the pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio circles, Mexico, Memphis, is the desire to do away this wild, preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place the Here and the Now. It is to banish the not me, and supply the me . . . . Belzoni digs and measures in the mummy pits and pyramids of Thebes, until he can see an end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as himself, so armed and so motived, and to ends to which he himself in given circumstances should also have worked, his problem is then solved . . . . Every step in private experience, flashes a light on what great bodies of men have done, and the crises in individual life, refer to national crises. . . . Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind, and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era. Every reform was once a private opinion, and when it shall be a private opinion again, it will solve the problem of the age . . . . We, as we read, must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, [x] priest and king, martyr and executioner, must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall see nothing, learn "nothing, keep nothing . . . . The student is to read history actively and not passively, to esteem his own life the text, and books, the commentary."


Jacob Boehme indicates, in his table of the Ten Forms of Fire, the most abstract movement of the series by nines. It is necessary that we should subjoin this table, dividing it off into epochs, according to the principles of Buchez:

THE TEN FORMS OF FIRE.<ref> See Notes A and B.</ref>


Form 1. The Eternal Liberty (having, and itself being, the Will) signified by Shem.


Form 2. The being Desirous, signified by Arphaxad. Form 3. The sharp Drawing, causing the opposite Will, signified by Salah. Form 4. The Flash, or Lightning, caused by the Liberty, and causing the Anguish, signified by Eber.


Form 5. Eternal Nature, or Great Mystery, whence the two Kingdoms proceed, signified by Peleg. Form 6. The two Principles of Fire (substance) and Light (manifestation), signified by Regu. Form 7. The Magia (self-acting Power) making its own Looking-Glass (self-consciousness:) as Life is of Fire and Water, signified by Serug.

THIRD GRAND EPOCH. [Realization.]

Form 8. The Turba that breaks the Outward Life, Strength and Omnipotence, signified by Nahor. Form 9. The Virgin Tincture: Love Fire: Life of Angels and Holy Souls, signified by Terah. Form 10. The Entrance into the Holy Ternary, corporising of Angels and Holy Souls, signified by Abram.

This table will be fully explained in the Autobiography which follows. [xi]




Arphaxad.—FIRST SUB EPOCH:—that of desire in desire.

I was accustomed to attend church regularly. I became impressed, after a while, with the tenor of the preaching, and desired to be regenerated—to come into communion with God.—This sub epoch was characterised by a sentiment of dissatisfaction, a vague want of something, a desire after the Divine Life, while, in truth, I had many doubts as to whether any Living God existed. I wished to be regenerated, but questioned within myself whether the whole theory of religion were not the mere invention of some wonderful man, who promulgated it, not for any truth it contained, but on account of the benefits he conceived it would bring to the world. [2]

I read Lowth on Hebrew Poetry, the effect of which was to make me desire very earnestly to obtain that state of spirituality which was possessed by the Hebrew Prophets. I endeavored, therefore, willed earnestly (as a magnetizer wills when he wishes to put a patient to sleep,) to receive the Spirit, to be converted: so great were my efforts, and so unintermitting, that my physical system became deranged. I woke up once in the night, under a strong nervous excitement, and thought I saw tongues of fire hovering over the coverlet, like those which descended upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

I had a tooth-ache some days after this, and finding myself in a moment of faith, prayed to be relieved, on the strength of the promise in the gospel to the prayer of faith; and was immediately relieved. I prayed suddenly—before the access of belief could have time to pass away, and give place to doubt—and was relieved suddenly: this strengthened me very much.

I was engaged, about this time, on a matter of business that would secure me a considerable and permanent income, if I could bring it to a notable conclusion. Success, however, depended on so many contingencies beyond my control, [3] that I became altogether bewildered, and did not know what to do. At last a sermon in which Jacob's prayer was quoted, threw some light on my difficulties,—"Jacob vowed a vow, saying, if God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that He will give me, I will surely give a tenth unto him." I also vowed a vow, in imitation of Jacob's, saying—If God will cause me to prosper in this business in which I am now engaged, I will devote to his service, year by year, one tenth of the permanent income I shall derive from it; and if he will regenerate me, and change my heart, then the Lord shall be my God.

Remembering that the Lord always makes use of means, I took what I considered proper measures for ensuring the success of my designs; nevertheless, the whole Matter miscarried, and fell through. But this was what I had expected, for my faith this time was strong. I said God has done this to try me; for, if all had gone so easily, I should have supposed I had by my own shrewdness, accomplished the work; and thus I [4] should have been led to despise my vow: now, however, if the Lord sees fit to retrieve my affairs, I shall discern his hand in the work, and shall know he has accepted my vow, fulfilling on his part the conditions of the first clause of the covenant. And behold, in a few days, at the first effort I made, all came out according to my wish.

Salah .—SECOND SUB EPOCH:—that of reasoning in desire.

As the first stage is characterised by vague desire, so this stage is characterised by reasoning to render the desire no longer vague, but clear, and well defined, tending toward a known object.

In the course of reasoning instituted to discover the object of my desire, viz. the Living God, I laid down, at starting, the postulates which follow: (1) God is just, (2) God is absolute. I felt I could not love God, and thus come into communion with him, without first obtaining a knowledge of his existence, and, to a certain extent, of his character. But a war broke out between my postulates. The postulate, God is absolute, gave birth to a perfect system of necessity, and, if there was evil in the world, made [5] God the author of it. I felt that God had given me a certain character, according to his will; and had placed me in certain circumstances, still according to his will: this character, in concurrence with these circumstances, occasioned certain actions which I acknowledged to be wrong. But whose was the wrong? Mine?—Not at all: I was a mere passive agent in the hands of God, and if there was any wrong, it was attributable, not to me, but to the cause that made me act. But, says the Theologian, God will damn you if you act contrary to his preceptive will. I answer: —If, however, I act according to his determinative will, is not his preceptive will absurd, if it condemn my action? And, if I act according to his determinative will, not being able indeed, to do otherwise, being a mere passive instrument in his hands, and he damn me for violating his preceptive will—which he knows I cannot obey, and which he himself rendered it impossible for me to obey—is he not unjust?

I tried to reconcile this difficulty by supposing I might have been free in some former state of existence, from which I had fallen by my own free act, and that God—in some mysterious way which I could not understand,—was giving me a chance for restoration, and that I ought, for this [6] reason, to be thankful for existence without freedom. For still I sought communion with God, and it was my earnest desire to justify his ways.—This hypothesis was a mere reproduction of the doctrine which prevailed throughout India, Egypt, and Greece, in the second sub epoch of the first grand epoch of the world's history—the stage of reasoning in desire. This movement is half-shown, and half-concealed, in the doctrine of Plato that all our true knowledge is reminiscence—recollection of knowledge we possessed in some pre-existing state from which we have fallen: also in his argument for the immortality of the soul, based on the same dogma of pre-existing life. The doctrine that this world in a purgatory, and that men are a race of fallen angels, pervaded all antiquity: but the world has moved forward since then, and the hypothesis satisfied me for a moment only.

What proof is there (I then proceeded to inquire) that there is any God at all? The argument from design proves nothing, for when we say we see design, we beg the whole question; for, without doubt, design implies a designer. Perhaps the powers of {{small-caps}Nature}} are adequate to the production of all the means adapted to ends which we discover in the universe. But, asks the Theologian, who made Nature? We answer, [7] who made God? If Nature be wonderful, and for that reason must have been produced, how much more wonderful is God! We always have to go back to that which is self-existing: and no one denies that there is something which is self-existing; but the question always presents itself: —Is this self-existing something alive, creative, providential, self-conscious? or is it a blind force that acts always according to immutable Law? Without doubt, matter is unlimited in extent, and, in this sense, infinite; and the forces of Nature mould it into an innumerable number of worlds. Would it be at all astonishing if, from the universal dice-box, out of an innumerable number of throws, there should be thrown out one world infinitely perfect? Nay, does not the calculus of probabilities prove to us that one such world out of an infinite number, must be produced of necessity? This world is indeed very far from being perfect. But, answers the Theologian, we have no issue here; for you acknowledge God, since you ascribe to Chance the attributes of God. Very well, I reply, but why darken counsel with words without knowledge?—the question is this, Is Chance—or God, if you are pleased so to call it, alive, providential? The God of the Theologians is not only creative, he is also alive, intelligent, good, self-conscious, just, &c. The evidence [8] from Nature, of the divine existence, did not seem to me to be conclusive; and that from the testimony and miracles of inspired men, seemed more than unsatisfactory. If God is good, I questioned, and has made a belief in him to be essential to our salvation, why has be not manifested himself more clearly to his creatures? Why has he made belief to depend upon evidence, and yet have given so few indications of his existence.

'This, I argued, is the conclusion of the whole matter: God—if he really exist—is good, alive, self-conscious, and governs all things according to his benevolent and holy providence; but the world shows no indications of such a benevolent and holy Providence. This earth appears to be a hell, or at best a planet condemned—a sort of purgatory: it is filled with violence, tyranny and injustice, and yet God, if he exist, is absolute sovereign, and has willed that things should be as they are!—Therefore there is no God.

Yet, I continued, if there be a Supreme Power [who is called God, though he violate constantly the rule of immutable right] his name deserves no reverence, and his power no respect. It belongs to him to damn me unjustly, and it belongs [9] to me to suffer the pains of Hell with fortitude, protesting, in the dignity of conscious rectitude, against the unholy usurpations of the tyrant of heaven. These are our relative positions: and I am in my true place, only when I exalt myself in my opposition, postulating myself as the personal enemy of Almighty God.—But if some are elected according to the Divine Foreknowledge, from before the foundation of the world, to eternal joy and if these, led by self-interest, acquiesce in the decisions of Supreme Force, receiving an unending recompense in heavenly mansions—what then? Why then, these elect are of the earth, carnal, and while in heaven, will experience a heaven of the body, which they will appreciate, but a brutifying hell of the soul, of which, because of their earthly and unintelligent nature, they will be unconscious: while we, who are damned, will feel the corrosive fire in our outward frames, but a serene heaven within. The elect will be slaves, but the damned will be as Gods, sod their intense pain will but exalt their essential divinity. Moreover, if some of the brethren in the Churches, and certain persons among the teachers and superintendants of the Sunday Schools, who seem to be ill high repute in the kingdom of heaven on earth, are to have like positions of authority in the kingdom of heaven [10] above, I should undoubtedly request respectfully to be permitted to go the other way. And I must confess that if the heavenly state is to be an infinite and uninterrupted orthodox prayer-meeting [for this is what is held up upon earth as its symbol] I have little or no taste for its enjoyments.

Having adopted these conclusions, I hoped that no Living God existed, but had misgivings. What was it most becoming in me, under the influence of these misgivings, to do? Evidently I must strengthen my soul, I must become inured to pain, I must possess an unbending will, I must train myself to bear infinite and unending pain; for, if God lived, I was sure of hell. If God lived, hell was my choice. I therefore began to train myself to mental and spiritual endurance: I became stern, unbending, and proud of my self-depending dignity.

At once, a whole theory of universal movement presented itself to my mind. I regarded myself as self-existing, though finite; I regarded myself as the true ground and origin of all my own forces, and exalted myself as a god in the strength of my own self-subsisting essence. I admitted, it is true, that other men were gods also—at least those of them who had internal force sufficient [11] to enable them to assert their divinity. Every object in nature was a god, but each stood in its own relative rank. I looked upon all things as distinct and separate substances. I did not believe in one substance, of which each individual partook; but held that each individual thing was separate, self-existing substance by itself and a self-exiting substance is a god, by universal definition. To me, the forces seemed to inhere in the various substances, and each seemed to act from itself, by its own powers as a god. I believed in no Supreme God, nor in any Divine Order, but thought the universe to be one democratic republic, where each citizen (animate or inanimate) did the thing that was right in its own eyes. The Laws of nature were phenomena resulting from be action of these independent powers, but were nothing if considered in themselves. The universe being in operation, and all the powers exerting an activity, an order would prevail which would be a mere result of the prevalence of the stronger powers, taken in connection with the check which would be put on their operation by those which were weaker. Thus the order of nature was—not something to be respected, but something to be created by individuals. The individual was not to obey the order of nature, but to act out its own will, and thus create that order. [12] I felt myself to be a citizen of this republic, a god acting from myself, in concurrence with gods acting from themselves. I was capable of suffering, and so were most of them—at least those were in whom I was most interested. It behooved me, therefore, to study their strength, that I might undertake no contest in which I should be vanquished: and it certainly behooved them to respect me in like manner. We were all independent gods; and there was no right but strength, and no proof of right but success. I was to respect them for my own good, so far as not to undertake anything in which I should miscarry; but, whatever I did, I did it from my own will, and for my own sovereign good pleasure. There was no truth except what some force made to be truth: and truth changed as different powers obtained the ascendency—for there were as many truths as there were powers in the world. I had my truth, and, in proportion to my ability, I imposed it upon others. I was a god; and, if I could have attained to govern the whole universe, my will would have been the rule of universal truth,—what was the so called Supreme God; if not a being of the same order with myself, only transcendently powerful? At all events, my truth reached as far as my power reached. Henceforth, I would measure myself with any power which [13] should bring what purported to be truth, and the measure of power would be the measure of truth. I made, therefore, my religion to accord with the good pleasure of my will, and prepared to maintain it by force. The Supreme God, if he existed, could damn me in hell, and his power was sufficient to keep me there: but he had no power over my will. Here I could defy him. In hell, the war between power and power would continue: my body would indeed be subdued, but in my soul I would defy him. I would still retain sovereignty in the sphere of the mind: for where I have power to reign, there I was lawful sovereign.

I looked upon nature, and saw that all the unintelligent, and inanimate powers, were inexorable. The sun attracted the planets exactly to the extent of his attractive force, and the planets obeyed just so far as they were obliged so to do; and they resisted in the exact measure they were enabled to resist by their own centrefugal force. All things exacted to full measure of their dignity: they obeyed in resignation and silence when the balance of force was against them, and exacted obedience to the extreme measure of their prevailing force, when the balance of power was in their favor. God was inexorable, punishing [14] every violation of his will; for every transgression brought its exact recompense of punishment. Throughout the universe, all was stern, inexorable, merciless.

I asked, what is the true course for me to follow, placed as I am, a god among gods? I answered thus: I am a substance that may be viewed under two aspects; for I am (1) a substance exerting power over other substances, and capable of inflicting suffering on them; I am also (2) a substance upon which other substances exert power—upon which other substances inflict pain. I must train myself, consequently, (1) To the habit of prompt, inevitable, inexorable execution, and, (2) To the habit of patient, unmurmuring endurance.

In execution, therefore, I will be prompt. I will have no misgivings; and my authority over another shall be measured by my power of indicting suffering upon him. I will study how I can make men suffer. I will be merciless, and will pursue my enemy as far as comports with my safety. If it is dangerous to kill him—if I am in a country where laws prevail—I will shed no blood; but if no danger to myself intervene, then will I kill him as I would kill a dog. My eye [15] shall know no pity. I will have no rule of conduct other than a cold and deliberate calculation of the chances of ultimate success. I will no longer investigate the fantastical principles of what are called wrong and right, but will study how far rapid execution, under the circumstances of the present age, and state of the world, will enable me to inflict suffering upon men.

But, I asked, how will I be able to sustain the harrassing war which I shall be obliged to carry on, if my hand is thus openly lifted against every man, and every man's hand against mine? I answered in this way:—My demands shall be moderate; I will be willing to be poor, to live unobserved by men, and to be satisfied with what is necessary for the wants of my body. I will endeavor to avoid envy, and will wound no man's feelings; I will be kind and courteous to all, the friend of the poor, and the enemy of none but the rich and the insolent; and I will always maintain the cause of the weak against the oppressor. If I act thus, who will desire to injure me? Who, except the tyrants and oppressors, will ever oppose me?

And thus will I cause the opposition of tyrants and oppressors to cease, so far as I am concerned: [16] —I will imitate the inexorable powers of nature: if a man act against those powers, he will suffer the consequence; he that treads upon fire will be burned, he that falls in the sea will be drowned. It is of no avail to humble one's self before fire or water; for the natural powers are inexorable. I also will be a fire to my enemies; I will be inexorable, cruel, merciless, without human feeling—nay, on the contrary, I will exult in the suffering I inflict. To my enemies, supremacy and revenge shall be the law and aim of my life. If expediency keep me quiet for a while, the will for swift retribution shall never slumber: by day and by night, will I repeat to myself that I have not yet obtained full vengeance. As the stars move regularly and inevitably in their courses, so will I move regularly and inevitably to my revenge. Human feeling shall have no place in me, but give way to the calculus, when I think of my enemies. My resolution, making allowance for the difference in the state of civilization, may be well expressed in the words of Lamech:

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice!
Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech!
For the least wrong done unto me, I will kill;
For a wound I will kill a man,
For a deadly wound I will kill a child even;
For if Cain avengeth himself sevenfold, [17]
Surely Lamech shall avenge, himself seventy and sevenfold.

I was now in the movement of private experience which corresponds to the great movement of the Chaldean civilization. The Chaldeans, according to the prophet Habakkuk, were "a bitter and hasty nation, a people imperious and self-willed, whose judgments and decrees proceeded from themselves."

The prophet says of them:

He is a proud man, neither keepeth at home,
He enlargeth his desire as hell,
And as is death—and cannot be satisfied.

And again:

They shall come up, all of them, in troops, for violence:
Their glance is ever forward!
They gather captives like the sand!
They scoff at kings,
And princes are a scorn unto them.
They deride every strong hold:
They cast up mounds of earth and take it.—
Then his spirit renews itself,
He transgresses and is guilty;
For this his Power is his God.

Indeed, according to Buchez, this Chaldean' civilization preceded that of India and Egypt. [18] Buchez has a convenient method of discovering the civilization of the nations whose history has been forgotten, a method consisting in a simple application of the rule of three. All progressions may be counted either forward or backward; if they increase in one direction, they must, of necessity, decrease in the other. The civilization of India and Egypt, was one of relative inequality, being founded on the dogma of a fall; the civilization of Christianity is one of equality, for it is founded on the dogma of a redemption. From the Christian point of view, no man can be regarded as having fallen below the level of humanity, for Christ died for the sinner more especially: neither can any man be regarded as having raised himself altogether above the level—for it was necessary that Christ should die for this man also.

Now—to apply the series—as the Indian and Egyptian dispensation is to the Christian, so is the Christian dispensation to—what? Verily we are not prepared to say.

But this is taking the series in its increasing direction; let us reverse it, and endeavor to find the character of the dispensation which preceded that of India and Egypt.—As the Christian civilization is to that of India and Egypt, that is, as [19] equality is to relative inequality, so is the civilization of India and Egypt to the truly primitive civilization, that is, so is relative inequality to—what? Buchez answers, to absolute inequality, to the state in which the human race was divided into two classes, mortal men, and mortal gods.

The Goths considered themselves to be a nation of gods, and their national name indicates as much, since (as Fabre d' Olivet shows in his philosophical history) the words god and goth come from the same root. The higher classes in Greece, Rome, and, indeed, almost every country, claimed to be descended from he gods. The Roman Senate claimed to be a body of divine men. This civilization, which has left its traces, not only in Greece and Rome, but also in the movement of our present epoch, was in its highest splendor in the most ancient times—times now almost forgotten by the historian. In those days, men lived, to a certain extent, in community, not in that association in the harmony of christian love, to which we look forward now, knowing that paradise, and the garden of Eden,<ref> He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches! To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Rev. 9: 7.</ref> are before us, [20] and not behind us in the past, but in a communism based on the mere knowledge of material interests—for the philosophy of this epoch was materialism, Sabianism. The Peruvians, who were governed by a dynasty of mortal gods, and who were in this form of civilization when their empire was destroyed, held all their lands from the crown. The manufactories of Babylon were carried on, in a certain manner, in community. In those days were built the great pyramidal towers, and the cyclopian works which astonish the traveler in Europe and Asia. In those days, a species of slavery prevailed, infinitely more atrocious than anything that has since existed on the face of the earth: for then gigantic labors were accomplished under the eye of a stern despotism, which would have been impossible in any other state of society. At that time were built the tower of Babel, and those eternal vestiges of tyranny, the pyramids of Egypt. The worship of this epoch was conducted on towers and pyramids, with human sacrifices. This worship, carried everywhere in the old world by the Phoenicians and Carthagenians, was reproduced in Mexico, under the Aztecs, where human sacrifices were offered on the platforms on the top of the pyramidal towers—the victims being first slain, and then rolled down the great flights of steps. [21]

The Chaldean worship was that of the inexorable powers of Nature—if worship it could be called: and their religion consisted, not in the service of the Living God, but in an endeavor to bring the occult powers of nature under the control of the human will. Their priests were wizards, and their ceremonies were the ceremonies of magic, a term derived from the word Magian, the title attributed to the priestly caste. This age was fruitful in heroes and tyrants of the tamp of Nimrod, the hunter of men; but it produced no inspired prophets; for there is no inspiration where men recognize no living and self-conscious God, superior to themselves. The Chaldeans had an abundance of magicians, wizards, soothsayers, and witches, in whom the blind impulse of nature originated oracular speeches, but no prophet.

I had become—in this second sub-epoch of desire—a perfect Chaldean; for I worshiped, with blind devotion, the dead god of the Babylonians, viz: the active powers of nature operating according to the laws of necessity. I looked upon myself as a mortal god, and upon the frequenters of the churches as men. I had no hesitation in affirming within myself that there was an infinite gulf between men, and a mortal god like myself. [22] Indeed, if I had received power at this time, I should have made a tyrant after the order of Nimrod. I cannot express the contempt I felt for those whose mean, ungenerous spirit, led them to acquiesce in the popular worship, through fear of hell. If I had held them in my hands, I would have crushed them without mercy, for I should have considered the greatest degradation as the condition most appropriate to them: yea, an oppression that would have destroyed them, would have found favor in my eyes. The world, by their destruction, might become a fit abode for the mortal gods, and a fit sphere for the display of generosity and god-like sentiment. In a world thus purified, exaltation of character might become the standard and measure of human dignity. And what generous, high-minded man, who held a mean-spirited, fawning, servile wretch in his power, a wretch always accessible to the motive of fear, and never accessible to any higher motive, would consider him fit for any position, save that of the vilest slave. Is there any communion possible between a worm, and a mortal god?

But I always retained some lingering doubt of the truth of this system: I always feared that there might indeed exist a Divine Tyrant who had power to damn in hell. If my Chaldean doctrine [23] were true, then probably I should not exist at all after death. Perhaps I should join the universal force that moves the worlds, and become lost in the general flood of electricity, or gravitation. Like would go to like. Every particle in my physical frame would go into new combinations with other matter, and the soul would return to the original force from which it emanated. Perhaps I might, in my future state, assist unconsciously in keeping the moon in her orbit. But if this doctrine were not true, if there were indeed a Living God in heaven, then hell was my portion. In that case, I saw hell at the end of my course, and I welcomed it. I frequently imagined myself in hell, a serene god, notwithstanding the burning brimstone; and I gloried in the force of my will.

The culture that resulted from all these reflections, may be summed up in two points. (1) I trained myself to a cruel, inexorable mercilessness, a suppression of all human feeling toward those whom I held to be my enemies. (2) I trained myself to spiritual strength and power of endurance, to contempt for the sufferings of the body, that I might, hereafter, when in hell, be able to rise serenely above the torments to which my earthly frame would be subjected, and calmly assert my essential divinity. [24]

I succeeded very well in this course of education of the will, for I acted on the true maxim:—"If a man wishes to possess a certain character, let him act as though he were already possessed of it, and he will possess it " I acted as though I were merciless, and I became merciless: I acted as though I were able, with serenity of soul, to endure all physical pain, and, at last, I came to believe that no suffering could conquer me. This capacity of enduring pain was the main point; for when I came to feel that I could be damned without flinching, I was at peace. What cared I for the future?—I felt that I commanded my own soul, and enjoyed happiness that nothing could take from me. All the misery of the body, because it was of an inferior order, could never equal the joy of my soul. Let misery be piled mountain high upon the outer man, the difference would be in favor of the soul, and would be clear joy.

Eber.—THIRD SUB EPOCH:—that of execution in desire.

This is the sub-epoch in which a clear and distinct notion of the object desired, is actually obtained: this sub-epoch closes, therefore, the great movement of desire. [25]

One evening, in the spring of 1839, I was walking, about a hundred yards in front of the house in which I lived, when suddenly, upon turning to go back, I fell—I felt no pain, no sickness of any kind, and immediately rose again to my feet. I fell again, though still without pain or sickness, and this time I found it difficult to rise. I then crept, as well as I could, on my hands and feet, into the house, got into bed, and went to sleep. In the morning I began to feel very ill, and sent my servant for assistance. The doctor came soon, and bled me in the arm, informing me that I had a remittant fever. I grew quite ill afterward, and remained several days confined to my bed, with my energies, both mental and physical, completely prostrated. During this time, I was too unwell to think at all, and almost too unwell to remember anything.

After a while, I recovered, and walked about a little in the fresh air. This motion enlivened me, and I began to feel the operation of the vital force, so that I felt almost well. I immediately began, with my renovated strength, to carry on that education of the will which was now the main occupation of my life. I endeavored to imagine myself suffering the torments of hell, and rising superior to them through the force of spiritual [26] energy: I endeavored to put myself into the position of unflinching defiance. But it was all in vain, my mental energies were still prostrated by the remains of my fever. I felt no elasticity of will, I had no energy, wherewith to hate, I could not raise a feeling of defiance. I still thought God to be a tyrant, but all my opposition to him was prostrated. I could no longer carry on the war. These reflections then passed through my mind:—Fever depends on the state of the body, no effort of will can save any man from it: what if God should first give me a remitting fever, AND THEN DAMN ME IN MY STATE OF CONSEQUENT PROSTRATION, would he not then conquer both body and soul? The empire of my soul is then not mine;—God rules there as well as in the body. I, who acknowledge no right but prevailing might, am then conquered by might—I am driven from my last strong hold. I can defy even, only by permission, and only by strength given me by the superior power whom I defy. What a mockery of my Supreme Sovereignty in my own self-subsisting essence is this. If I submit, I am a slave; if I defy, I am still a slave. I have no independant action; I am a victim, not only according to the outer, but also according to the inner man. [27]

But God (and this reflection impressed me profoundly) is evidently not then a power of the order I supposed. The Devil is a power of that order, and, if I rebel against God, he will bring me under the tyranny of the devil. If the devil and I are gods, then God is more than god; for be is independant of us, while we are victims in his hands, dependant for all things upon him. Necessity reigns then within as well as without.

Three things I had supposed to be distinct, (l) God, (2) Myself, an individual substance like God, though less powerful, and (3) The Rule of Right, established by the prevalence of the stronger powers of the universe. I had endeavored to establish the rule of right in opposition to God, by conquering him in the sphere of my own soul. But how were all these high thoughts abased! God was superior to all substances, for they vanished at his presence. There was no liberty where he came, for he was all and in all. He gave powers according to his pleasure, and powers prevailed according to his pleasure, and thus he created the rule of right according to his pleasure. How could I pretend to put him on trial—how could I pretend to judge him according to an immutable rule of right, when he himself created that very rule of right (and, consequently [28] was able to change it) according to his good pleasure? I was indeed conquered—annihilated. I felt as though I were at the entrance of some dark and mysterious cave, where the essential being of my soul was momentarily created by the dim vapors that exhaled from the mouth of the abyss. I seemed to have no real and substantial existence, and, from this moment, I lost faith in myself. I seemed no longer to be a free agent in any sense. Outwardly, I was acted upon by external circumstances, and inwardly, it was not I that willed, but God who formed my feelings, thoughts, passions, state of mind, in such a way that I merely appeared to will. I had exalted myself in my pride, but now there was no I to be proud—I was annihilated. I, as a separate substance, a person, vanished at once; and all separate substances, all persons, vanished with me, leaving God alone as the sole foundation of the universe, with all visible things as the mere phenomena of his sole and sovereign activity.

In fact, if God be absolute, and the sole self-existing Power, he does all that is done in the world. For if anything be done by the creature, it is done, either (1) by God himself, who uses the creature as a mere instrument, or (2) by the creature, through virtue of some power he possesses [29] independent of God. But, if the creature possess any power independent of God, be is so far self-existing—a conclusion which is absurd by the hypothesis. God created the creature, and, if the creature do anything by means of energy imparted in the act of creation, it is God that does it, for the power comes from God: and, if the creature afterward perform any act, it is God who performs this also, for, if God did not continue to impart strength by his preserving energy, the creature would return to its original state of non-existence. If God create, and the creature continue in existence after the creation; it is through the power of God sustaining it: if it can continue without the sustaining power of God, then there is some independant force in the creature itself, or in nature—which is contrary to the hypothesis that God is the only self-existing being. If the creature perform any act which is not a direct or indirect act of God himself, then there is some force in existence independent of God, for if God did not do it, some other force did—but the hypothesis leaves no room for any force independant of God. The hypothesis that God is absolute, leads necessarily to Pantheism: there is no way of avoiding this conclusion. God could not have created man an independent being; for the facts of creation and independence, exclude each other. [30] The theory of evil being merely permitted by God, is unspeakably absurd; for, if he permits any act, he either does the act himself, or some other power, who is not God, does it; but no other power, which is not God, can possibly do any thing whatever; for then there would exist an operative power, acting from itself, independently of God, a power of the Divine Order, only weaker—which is absurd by the hypothesis that God is absolute. The doctrine, therefore, of the Divine Absolute Sovereignty—which is identical with that of an Absolute Creation of all things out of nothing—originates a system of Pantheism.

The same method of reasoning annihilates every rule of right supposed to be independent of God. For the rule of right is nothing more than the way in which God manifests his will—for, if there be any other rule of right, it is the manifestation of some still superior will, or else it is an existence independent of God, which independent existence would be another God, which is absurd. The rule of right is the sum of the unvarying laws of nature: who ever thought of questioning the justice of nature? Now God created nature, and thus created its laws and relations: and he might have made it altogether different if he had pleased. He might have given [31] man another nature, and then another thing would have been right for man from what is right now. When God created individual things, he created their natures, and thus he created right and wrong; for right for any individual being is what is according to the nature of that individual being, and wrong is what is contrary to that nature. Again, that may be stated to be right, or wrong, universally, which is in accordance with, or contrary to, the universal order of nature. But God, since be created nature, is anterior to, and above, all nature; for if we say he has a nature, we say there must have been a God superior to God—for there must have been a God to originate this higher nature, all of which is absurd. God has no nature, and, for that reason, we say he is neither good nor bad, moral nor immoral; for he transcends all distinctions of right and wrong, seeing he is anterior to, and above, all right and wrong, he having created all right and wrong according to his good pleasure.

We acknowledge all this when we deny the justice of God, for we deny that justice in this way: we examine the determinative will of God as manifested in nature, and call that right—why right? because it is in accordance with the nature which the creator has been pleased to give [32] to created things. We then examine the preceptive will of God, and, if we find a discrepancy between this and the determinative will, we say God is unjust. But which God is it that we affirm to be unjust? Evidently the author of the preceptive will: for no living man ever dreamed of attributing injustice to the author of the determinative will that is, to the God who manifests himself in nature. But what does all this mean? It means that we look upon any system of religion which stands in conflict with the evident revelations in nature, as an imposition: it means that we deny the existence of this new God, who is set forth as the author of a preceptive will opposing the determinative will of the true God (for an unjust God is no God at all) and that we characterise the preachers of the religion of this imaginary God, as fanatics or impostors.

I tried to oppose these conclusions, by saying it was disgraceful in me to submit to mere force: but what could I do about it? I had fought my ground inch by inch like a man, and when I made my last stand, I was instantly defeated. There was no use in disguising the matter, I was conquered. Look where I would, there was no point of shelter. I was indeed willing to carry on the war, but where could I find a field for contest? [33] I could not fight for the sovereignty of the outward man, for how could I insure myself against disease, poverty, oppression, injustice, or even justice, when it was administered by a higher power. And how should I endeavor to assert sovereignty in the sphere of truth? I could no longer disguise from myself the plain fact that truth was truth, whether I darkened my eyes to it or not—whether I withheld my assent or not. Ought I to endeavor to assert sovereignty over my own will? I had tried that! God held me in his hand, and all my feelings, passions, determinations, were exactly as he willed they should be—over my feelings of fiercest defiance. I would have fought longer, but saw it was of no avail, for evidently my course was irretrievably ruined.—Suppose it be disgraceful for me to submit—is there any other course open for me? How shall I hold out longer? What can I do?—So I submitted at once, as to a superior force.

Then I said, why not submit with a good grace? Suppose a great conquerer, Napoleon for example, should invade a country and conquer it, and should make a proclamation, while the conquered people were in despair of ever retrieving their condition, and thought of emigrating, showing that although he intended to rule arbitrarily, [34] and to deprive them of their political rights, he would yet so arrange matters in other respects, that they would be better off, and happier, than they were before—would it not be wiser for this people to submit and make the best of their circumstances? But suppose they continue to fight? But they cannot continue to fight, for the invading army is overwhelming by the hypothesis. But if, at some future time, they should become strong enough to begin the fight again? Very well: let them fight when they gather more strength, for then the conditions of the question will be altogether changed, but let no man contend against evident necessity. I cannot contend against God, and it is for my advantage to submit: I will submit therefore, like a conquered province, to hard necessity.

Again, I asked, is even this wise. If a man be a slave, without hope of freedom, he ought to submit, to adapt himself to his condition without murmuring at his lot; but if, by killing his master, he may obtain freedom—by all means let him kill his master. We may reason as we please about the inalienable right of all men to freedom; but, if any one be deprived of it by superior power, let him not feed himself on abstractions, but [35] wait patiently until he sees opportunity of doing something with prospect of success. It is of no use to contend against overwhelming force. Now—when I have been overcome by Supreme Might, and see no chance for escape, but am made a servant, an instrument in the hands of Supreme Power—why not resign myself to my fate, and adapt myself to my condition as servant and instrument? So I gave in my final, but still reluctant submission: then I said,—I am a fool, and have been a fool all along! God is not of my nature, and, by submitting to God, I come under no tyranny; for tyranny is an authority, depending on mere force, that is exercised by a being upon his equals, upon those of a like nature with himself. The rule of monarchs, the rule of the devil over the damned, is tyranny: but the rule of God is not tyranny, for it does not partake of a political or governmental character—it is not a rule of authority. God is not a governor of the universe, for a governor rules over those of a like nature with himself, and exercises a political and judicial power, while God exercises a creative, a preserving, and a determinative power of an altogether different kind. If I am a servant of God, I am under no tyranny; for God does not govern, but supports, sustains, and directs, me. It is the rule of the devil that is [36] tyranny; and I must submit to God, or come under the tyranny of the devil. I must be, either the servant of God, or the bond slave of the devil: and even as the slave of the devil, I can not escape God, for he created, sustains, and preserves all, and therefore rules all and in all. Thus I was enabled to submit with more satisfaction to myself, but it came hard after all; for I had supposed myself to be a free citizen of the universe, a peer of God, and was loth to lay down my divinity.

Thus the great epoch of desire was consummated in the discovery of the object that was desired, viz: the Absolute God, the Author of all Existence, the Eternal Father.<ref> See Note C.</ref> Henceforth, I had only to follow down the great religious dispensations which had been given from time to time to men: for my problem, henceforth, was the discovery of the means whereby I might obtain communion and fellowship with the Father. The great object of desire, in the whole series, was communion with God, and the great epoch of reasoning, was, therefore, to be taken up with investigations relating to that communion: but the object of desire in the isolated grand epoch of [37] desire, was, to clear up the blindness which attached to the movement of the instinctive tendencies, so that the desire might be no longer blind, but open and full by reason of a clear knowledge of the object desired. I now knew, by reason of this experience in the first grand epoch, what it was that I really desired, viz: communion with God—but I had no knowledge whatever of any means by which such communion might be effected. The next grand epoch subdivides itself, therefore, as follows: (1) Full and open desire for communion and fellowship with God, (2) Reasoning upon the means whereby such fellowship might be effected, (3) Discovery of these means. [38]



Peleg.<ref>That is, Division:—"the name of one was Peleg, for in his days was the earth divided." Genesis, 10—25.</ref>—FIRST SUB EPOCH:—that of desire in reasoning.

I had submitted reluctantly, but soon became satisfied with my new position, and desired honestly, heartily, earnestly, and truly, to find the way in which I could serve God acceptably. I knew that the one absolute God, the Eternal Father, existed; and I desired to have fellowship with him. But how should I, the finite, come into relations with him, the infinite? How could any communion be rendered possible between me and the absolute God? I felt myself to be indeed nothing. There was no communion between God and me; for there was no kindred, no likeness of nature, between us. What communion could I [40] have with him while I was a mere instrument in his hands? I was less than a slave, how then could I have fellowship with him?—for a certain equality is a prior requisite for all fellowship: and an instrument in the hands of another, can evidently never have fellowship with that other. I felt myself to be a puppet in the hands of God, with God behind me, I not seeing him, while he pulled, as it were, the wires by which I was made to act. Outward circumstances operated upon me according to his will, and not according to mine; and within, God created momentarily my appetencies, tendencies, passions, according to his own will. He could alter the outward circumstances, leaving the inward tendencies and passions as they were, and my conduct would be changed as he willed: on the other hand, he could alter the inward tendencies, leaving outward circumstances as they were, and my conduct would be changed in like manner: again, he could alter both the inward and the outward, the subjective and the objective, always performing his irresistable will. He created me with a certain character known to himself, and placed me in the world at a certain epoch of history, under a certain order of society, h, certain circumstances; and these arrangements of his Providence operated upon me, according to my original character, producing a course of [41] life which was necessary—which might have been computed beforehand by one who had the conditions of the problem given. What was I then? A mere victim in the hands of God.

Still I desired to have fellowship with God, if such fellowship were indeed possible. I resolved solemnly that I would endeavor to find out which religion, among the innumerable systems which divided his worshippers, was the religion of God; and, in case I succeeded in finding it, I determined to live according to it. I would make this mischief work. If I found Christianity to be true, I would live according to the precepts of the gospel; if Mahometanism, I was perfectly ready to turn Turk; if Judaism, I would conform to the religion of Moses—whatever religion I found to be the religion of the Absolute God, that religion I would embrace.

About this time, I was very much interested in Shakespeare, and once, after reading all the morning, when I closed the book, I found myself sympathising with, and pitying, the villain of the play. This opened my eyes to the depravation of character I had undergone by reason of my speculations. I saw at once, that all this must be cured, that I ought to cultivate better [42] feelings. So I shut up every book that gave food to perverse passion, or that could be made (as Shakspeare, for example) to furnish such food, and opened the Bible, and began to study the New Testament and the Prophets.—Not that I believed the Scriptures, but that I knew I should find in them the proper food for my moral nature. I disbelieved the doctrines of the :Bible, but reverenced its ethics: So I set myself earnestly to the task of encouraging better, and less murderous feelings—not forgetting to strive night and day to discover the religion of God.

Formerly, I had refused to look for the truth, supposing I myself, as a god, could create all the truth that was requisite for my own purposes. I had supposed that what I willed was truth, so far as I had power to make it so. When, therefore, I had investigated any subject, I had done it not to discover what was true, but to measure power, and to see how far I could oppose that which was displeasing to me. But now all this was changed. I saw now that truth was what was in accordance with Divine Order. I saw that if I would find what really existed, I must examine dispassionately. I must not allow myself to be swayed to one side or the other by my desires. I must not look into myself to see what accords [43] with my wishes, but must go far away from myself, and examine the facts of the case calmly, whether they are pleasant to me or the contrary. Formerly, I had tried to see how much I could help believing, but now I tried to see how much I could find a rational ground to believe. I was seeking for truth, and desired to learn and believe as much of it as possible. I had rather believe too much (but there was little danger of that,) and be mistaken in some things, than not to believe enough. In fact (I said) if I try not to believe, I shall never know the truth at all; while, if I try to believe, I shall probably learn some truth, even though I run a risk of being sometimes deceived.

I reasoned with myself as follows: If a man do not exert himself in an enterprise, he will fail, but, if he exert himself, he has a chance for success.—But why should I work when there is always a strong chance for failure? If you do not exert yourself, there is a certainty of failure, but if you go earnestly to work, there is a chance for success. If you are determined never to believe anything, you will certainly never know the truth, and none but fools will say they will not believe anything whatever for fear of being deceived sometimes. [44]

So I determined to weigh everything dispassionately in the scales of deliberate judgment, and to accept the conclusion, whatever it might be.

But often finding it difficult to obtain firm faith in my conclusions, I determined to act on such conclusions as I had verified, as though I did believe them, whether I really believed them or not. And by thus acting on them for a short time, I came to have full confidence in them. I had disbelieved the Christian miracles on the strength of the maxim, that it is always more probable that a human witness should be deceived, or even lie, than that the order of the universe should be changed. For we often see men deceived, and have often known them to lie, but have never known the order of nature to be violated. I said, however, God created the order of nature, and therefore may have violated it at some time, for he that made, can unmake, or alter—who knows? If, therefore, good and sufficient testimony to any miracle can be adduced, we must believe in the miracle. For, evidently, God may have done such a thing, and, if he has done it in past times, we could know of it only through the testimony of witnesses: if we say, therefore, we will not believe such testimony, we do it under pain of a heavy penalty; for we foreclose ourselves from [45] the knowledge of truth in that case—as, evidently, such truth can be learned only through testimony. Still I did not believe in the Christian miracles, for the testimony was altogether unsatisfactory.

Looking over my papers, I find, on the back of an old money account, a sort of journal referring to the events of this sub-epoch; and I subjoin such passages from it as promise to prove interesting in the connection. The extracts, poor as they are, are worth more than the money accounted for on the other side of the sheet.

March 1839. I see that by physical indisposition, the mind may be stricken, the most intense intellectual energy prostrated, the strongest moral courage undermined and reduced, and a}}l the philosophy of the Stoics rendered of no effect. To what purpose do we train ourselves to endure with patience every privation, to suffer in silence every species of injustice, and to bear up against adversity with resignation? How long will we flatter ourselves that—though the body may be subdued—the mind is unconquerable ?

April 1839. There are, it may be, a million of different religions, and sects of religions in the [46] world. Most of them have their priests appointed to sacred offices: many of them have their sacred books, treating of diverse points of faith. These sects maintain a reciprocal persecution, and the world is one vast stage, on which the tragedies of imprisonment, torture, and judicial murder for the sake of religion, are continually enacted. If the suffering of martyrdom, and every species of persecution, with resignation and patience, be any proof of the Divine Authority of any particular belief, then the truth of the dogmas held by each and every one of these sects, is abundantly demonstrated.

April 1839. But how do I know that the Christian preachers actually believe the doctrines they teach? I have no doubt they really suppose the preaching of their doctrine to be conducive to the welfare of the world: but, if I ask them concerning their doctrine, it will be impossible for them to give me a satisfactory answer; for, if they believe in Christianity, they will tell me they do, and tell the truth; but if they do not believe, they will still tell me they do, because they think the upholding of the doctrine to be necessary in the present condition of society. How shall I find out whether the christian preachers are honest men or the contrary? Verily I cannot say. [47]

May 1839. As no two men ever agree on the subject of religion, and I am at this time in great doubt on that matter, I have determined never to mention the subject again. I have never seen any good derived from such discussions, but, on the contrary, have often seen them attended with much evil.

May 1839. "One fact is worth a host of speculations."

"We are to seek for truth in nature, and not in the operation of our own minds."

May 1839. I have until now been anxious for the good word of the world. To-day this is to be clanged, and henceforth I shall be satisfied with my own approbation.

June 1839. Many men have I seen injured by too much talking. I have heard of men injuring themselves by too much silence: such a thing may very possibly have occurred, but no case of that nature ever came under my particular observation.

June 1839. I denied all belief in the Christian Revelation, but, finding myself tending toward a state of immorality and utter heartlessness, [48] I was forced to take to the New Testament in self-defence.

June 1839. I think the doctrine that Logic is an invention of the devil, has more truth in it than is generally supposed.

The rest of the Journal consists of verses.

It appears to me that I had reproduced, in this first sub-epoch of the grand epoch of reasoning, the doctrine indicated in the book of Job, a doctrine which formed the foundation of the early Patriarchal civilization.

In the book of Job, the three comforters—and at last Job himself—endeavored to justify God, by showing that the wicked, though they triumph for a while, yet meet in the end with just retribution. But the tenor of the book shows the absurdity of all such reasoning; for Job, a just man, is represented as being persecuted merely for the purpose of enabling an angelic personage to gratify his private curiosity. "And Satan (not the Devil, but an official adversary,) answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath, he will give for his life. But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." [49]

In the beginning of the poetical discussion, Job's friends put God on trial, and deliberately pronounce that he is justified in his ways, that Job deserves the punishment indicted upon him, and that, therefore, the Divine Conduct is strictly conformed to the immutable rule of righteousness. But Job answers very sensibly:—

"Will ye speak wickedly for God?
And talk deceitfully for him?
Will ye accept his person?
Will ye contend for God?
Is it good that he should search you out?
Or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?
He will surely reprove you,
If ye do secretly accept persons.
Shall not his excellency make you afraid?
And his dread fall upon you?"

This is perhaps the most perfect rebuke that was ever directed against those incompetent and stupid persons, who presume, because of the supposed excellency of their own hearts, to come forth and justify on all occasions, the divine conduct, as they understand it. It is as mean and despicable to accept God's person, when the course of his Providence appears evidently to run counter to justice, as it is to accept the person of any very respectable neighbor. "His excellency would make us afraid, and his dread would fall upon us, " forcing us to judge justly, even if the [50] Almighty himself were on trial, and we were to be damned for giving a just verdict against him, if it were not for our being secretly moved by an abject fear of his person.

What did Job's friends, or even Job himself, know of the real cause of his sufferings? The preface to the poem tells us there was a dispute in heaven as to whether Job would continue to maintain his integrity if God should take from him all outward prosperity, and bring him, through distressing disease, to the brink of the grave. The difficulty was to be settled by way of experiment; not that the Lord was ignorant of what the result would be, but that the Adversary required ocular demonstration. When the suffering came upon Job, how far from the purpose were the speeches of all his friends !

The justification of the present order of things, by saying that the suffering we undergo is ordained by Providence, is not only stupid, but wicked. God never willed that the world should be the den of misery it is; and most of the suffering in it comes from the perversity of the very class of persons who justify evident immorality, because in their stupidity they suppose it to have been committed by God. These Job's comforters, [51] who, with elongated faces, and nasal and righteous accent, justify all evil by attributing it to the Almighty, are the true curse of the world. They not only degrade human nature in their own persons, but also misrepresent the Divine Justice in such a way as to drive every honest man who believes their statements, into direct opposition and open war with the absolute Author of the Universe.

But if it be wicked to justify the order of Providence, when it appears in our eyes to be totally opposed to the principles of rectitude, it is unspeakably absurd for us to attempt to condemn it [un]der any circumstances whatever. And the main moral of the book of Job appears to be even this, viz: That men are by no means called upon either to justify or condemn the ways of Providence, and that the Absolute is abundantly competent to conduct his own affairs, without rendering any account of them to men.

How can we justify or condemn God's ways except by putting him on trial, and comparing his actions with the moral law? And how can we try God by the moral law without implying that he owes fealty to that law, thus subordinating the Creator to the creature—for God, by creating nature, including the nature of man who is a moral [52] agent, created the moral law, and therefore has power to change it according to his good pleasure. It is well for us to be cautious when we attempt to justify Providence—

"Remembering that God is in heaven,
And we upon earth,
That our words may be few."

It is our business, not to justify Providence or to condemn it, but simply to let it alone; for we can make no affirmation concerning the Absolute, which is not absurd; for, by our nature, we are incapable of any knowledge beyond that of relative existences. We know concerning the Absolute, precisely nothing at all, save the bare fact of his powerful existence; and when we affirm anything concerning the law of his action, we speak relatively, and, consequently, affirm that which must of necessity be false. If the Chaldean be wrong in contending against an imaginary relative God, who does not exist, the Pietists, and Job's comforters, are equally wrong in handing in their adhesion to the same non-existing God: and the Chaldean has, indeed, an immeasurable advantage over the Pietist; for the Chaldean preserves the dignity of man, and the purity of the moral law, while the Pietist sacrifices the moral law at the shrine of an imaginary relative governor [53] of the universe, whose actions, because he attempts to exercise also the functions of au Absolute God, are of necessity unjust.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are God's ways above our ways,
And his thought. above our thoughts. "

Job begins by assuming; the Chaldean ground, to a certain extent at least, saying, that if God's ways contradict the rule of right, no man ought to accept his person and justify his ways on that account. He afterwards suffers himself to be seduced to the Pietistic ground; for he afterwards affirms that, though God's justice is not manifest at present—ultimately all things will come out in a way to enable us to see that God had subjected his action throughout to the rule of right. Job's friends never once abandon the pietistic position.

The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying,

"Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?
He that reproveth God, let him answer it!"

To which Job replied,

"Behold I am vile; what shall I answer thee?
I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Once have I spoken; but I will not answer:
Yea twice; but I will proceed no further." [54]

After Job had seen the mighty power of God, he answered again,

I have uttered that I understood not!
Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not!
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak:
I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
But now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes."

And how does the author of the poem defend the Order of Providence? does he show that all turns out ultimately according to the moral law made for men? Not at all.—When the Lord speaks from the whirlwind (itself a symbol of power) he does not justify himself by showing his ways to be just, as man understands justice. There is not one word of human morality in the whole speech attributed to the Absolute. Nay, the whole discourse which proceeded out of the whirlwind, turns on these two points, (1) Man is weak, and without understanding; (2) God is absolute, creating all things according to the good pleasure of his will.—And the conclusion of the whole, is, evidently, that the moral law was made for man, and that he that is wise will walk in accordance with it: also, that he who is wise, when be thinks of the Absolute God, will say—

"Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty, instruct him?"

I had, as it appears to me, reproduced the open pantheism of the early Patriarchal civilization: but my case was very different from that of Job and his contemporaries, for they had a religion, since God spake to them by inspired prophets.—

"Men whose eyes were open spake unto them:
They spake, which heard the words of God,
And knew the knowledge given by the Most High,
Which saw the vision of the Almighty,
Falling into a trance, but having their eyes open.

But as for me, I lived in the world without a revelation, and my path before me wound through

"A land of darkness and the shadow of death;
A land of darkness, as darkness itself;
And as the shadow of death, without any order,
Where the light was as darkness."

Regu.—SECOND SUB EPOCH:—that of reasoning in reasoning.

One day I sat down almost overcome with the burden of a problem that bad haunted me for more than a week. The question was this:—Are the facts of memory an actual vision of the real objects which exist in nature, or are they pictures [56] and representations, mere copies of those objects, copies having no place out of the mind itself? I reasoned as follows: I can conceive of the solar system, with the sun in the center, the planets revolving around the sun, and the moons around their planets,—now the question arises, is this internal conception identical with the objective solar system itself, or is the whole a mere picture or representation, a mere mental copy of that system? The affirmation that the conception is identical with the outward object, is by no means unplausible; for whenever I observe the solar system itself, a certain notion of it (a notion undoubtedly identical with the conception in question) always arises to my mind. Moreover, when I occupy my thoughts with the notion thus acquired, a most curious phenomenon invariably presents itself; for I am able to carry out and perfect this vague notion, correcting even some inaccuracies of practical observation; nay, more, when I turn in upon myself and reflect and compute, I find to my astonishment that I possess more than I have received; for I find myself able to learn new things by contemplation of the internal conception, things which I certainly never observed, and which I can verify by a more extended observation of the motion of the actual and material stars. Now how am I able to [57] obtain results, by private meditation, which correspond exactly to outward facts, if he object perceived in meditation he not identical with the object perceived through the medium of the outward senses?—I see therefore, in internal meditation, not a mere representation, but the real natural object itself: only I see it through a different instrument, and in a different manner. In one case I see the solar system with the eye of the body, in the other I perceive it directly by the internal, mental eye.

But I was not altogether satisfied with this conclusion. Indeed I have never been able to see clearly the value and bearing of this speculation; but I write it down that the history may be complete. If I held strongly to the order in which the narration is written, I should perhaps leave this circumstance out altogether: but, without doubt, it has its value and place, although I am not able at this time to assign it its true position.<ref> The reader will unquestionably perceive, nevertheless, that the foregoing remarks are but an amplification or paraphrase, of a passage on one of the opening pages of the "Reform of the Understanding," by Spinoza, and that they are introduced to serve as a sort of bridge of transition between the Patriarchal order of thought, and that which prevailed in ancient Greece.</ref>

As I remarked some pages back, I had determined to investigate questions carefully, weighing the evidence relating to them, and then to act as I thought a cool and rational man ought to act under the circumstances. I thought of the vow I had vowed in imitation of Jacob, and, weighing all the circumstances connected with, and following it, I concluded that the evidence seemed fairly to indicate a direct interposition of Providence in my favor. If I had any doubts, they were overweighed by my determination to act according to conclusions founded on sufficient evidence, whether my mind were satisfied or not. I had promised, if the Lord brought the business on which I was engaged to a prosperous conclusion, to devote ten per cent. of my permanent income to religious purposes. Now, although my business had been eminently successful, so that my income was oftentimes nearly double what I had anticipated, I had not as yet put apart a single dollar for the Divine Service. Evidently, if I were to abide by my logical conclusions, I must pay up: moreover, a sense of honor, and respect for my word, required me to settle the account immediately. The Lord had fulfilled his part of this contract of my proposing, and it seemed to me that I should be dishonored, if I failed to keep my word. Sentiments of justice, and reverence [59] to God, combined with a feeling that further hesitation under the circumstances, would be conduct unbecoming a gentleman, led me to think it best to commence a new course of action by paying my just debts.

Immediately I enclosed a fifty dollar treasury note in a letter, and sent it to a distinguished clergyman. The letter ran as follows:


Herewith enclosed, I transmit a Fifty Dollar Treasury Note. You will confer a favor by distributing the money among the poor, making no distinction whatever between the religious and the irreligious poor. This letter is sent by one who has a great respect for—but no belief in—the Christian Religion.

I hesitated however, for a moment, about sending this money to the Reverend Gentleman;—for I had so little faith in ministers that I feared he might put it into his own waistcoat pocket, and let the poor go. But I reflected that I had no way of disposing of the money in the Lord's service, and that, if the clergyman took it for himself, my skirts were cleared, and he only was responsible. So, after satisfying myself that the hand-writing [60] was such as would enable no one to discover the writer, I sent the letter off. Here was ten per cent. of five hundred dollars accounted for. A few days after, I sent twenty dollars in a blank letter to an Orthodox Tract Society in New York city:—if I had seen as many of their tracts then as I have since, I should have disposed of this money in some other way. Here were two hundred dollars more accounted for. After doing this, I returned to my solitary reflections.

At this time, my attention was attracted to the Laws of the Mathematical Curves. The common equation x2 + y2 = R2, represents, evidently, the Circle itself; for, by it, we can find any point of a circle whose Radius is given. But this equation merely furnishes an instrument by which we can, at any moment, mark out the points of the circle, and thus draw it: it does not enlighten us in any way in respect to the Law, the Nature, of the curve. But if, by differentiating the equation, we obtain another equation, [x d x + y d y = 0], altogether independent of the value of the radius, this differential equation will be an expression, not of any particular circle, but of the general nature of all circles. The ordinary equation gives us the relation of all the points of the circle to the co-ordinate axes, but [61] the differential equation gives us the relation of the points of the circle to each other, and thus becomes an expression of the circularity of all circles. The differential equation is, therefore, the Idea of the Platonists, stated in Mathematical expressions.—But this may not be plain to the reader: I will illustrate this matter, therefore, in another way, and afterwards proceed with the remarks which I proposed to make in this connection:—

Would it not astonish us if we were to see a rose bush springing up from a lily seed? From the lily seed springs forth always the lily plant, and, from other seed, other plants, according to their kind. We may predict, with perfect certainty, the nature of the plant that will spring from a particular seed. "And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth; and it was so." When the lily seed is placed in proper soil, and begins to feel the influences of light, air, moisture, &c., influences concurring with the force within itself, it swells and bursts, because of the process of growth which commences First the root is put forth, afterward the stalk arises with its bark, pores, and other external and [62] internal arrangements, then the leaves show themselves, and, at last, the flower appears in the perfection of its beauty. But the root, bark, leaves, flower, seeds, are always the root, bark, leaves, flower, seeds, of the lily, and never of the rose or violet. This permanency of result, indicates the operation of some permanent cause; for wherever there is a change, there is of necessity some cause for that change; and wherever a series of changes bears a marked and permanent character, we are driven to seek for some permanent cause adequate to the production of that series of changes. What is this secret cause which makes the lily seed give birth always to the lily plant, and never to the rose or violet?—To avoid unnecessary waste of words, let us agree to call this secret cause, the Idea of the lily.

If we take a twig from a peach tree, and graft it into a plum tree, the sap of the plum tree will flow into the engrafted twig: the air, earth, water, that feed the tree, will feed the twig; and the circumstances of the peach twig will be in all respects similar to those of the plum twigs which surround it. It would seem, therefore, that this peach twig should begin to bear plums: nevertheless, it continues to bear peaches as it did while it lived in its parent tree. The bark, fibres, leaves, which [63] grow on the twig, are always the bark, fibres, leaves, of the peach tree, and never of the plum. The twig always remains faithful to the law of its kind; it is always true to its Idea.

If it should be asked, is not this same Idea a pattern in the Divine Mind, according to which all the individuals of a kind are moulded? I should answer as follows: If the ideas are patterns according to which actual existences are moulded, then, of necessity, actual existences are like, they resemble, these patterns. But it is impossible that actual things should resemble their ideas: for example, if the lily be like its idea, then that idea must be what we are accustomed to call an ideal lily (using the expression as the artists use it) resembling an actual lily: but, if these two resemble each other, there must be some power which makes them to have a similarity; there is therefore some power ruling both the actual and the ideal lily, making them to be like each other. The Idea of the lily regulates, therefore, the ideal lily as well as the actual one, and is, therefore, different from them both. The Idea, therefore, is not a pattern, and things do not resemble their Ideas. In fact, if the Idea be a pattern, and things resemble their Ideas, whenever we think of things and their Ideas, a new Idea will [64] rise up before the mind, which will be the Idea of them all, forming and moulding them all. If we consider this new Idea as a pattern, resembling the former Idea and the things moulded according to it, another Idea will rise up before the mind, and so on to infinity—which is evidence of the absurdity of the hypothesis; for an infinite series of this nature, always indicates the neglect in our reasoning of some element of a causative character.

But in this last paragraph, we have done nothing but reproduce, and paraphrase, a passage in the Parmenides of Plato relating to Causative Forms (or Ideas):<ref> See Note D.</ref> we have, therefore, reproduced, to a certain extent, the Ideal theory of Plato.

But this Idea, which moulds and governs the plant in all stages of its growth, is what in more modern language, we are accustomed to call the Law of the plant's growth. Now it is evident to us, when we look round upon the world, that everything moves, grows, and develops itself according to Law. The planets move in their orbits according to Law. Man grows, moves, and [65] thinks, according to Law. All things, even the very grass under our feet, is subjected to Law. And the knowledge of these laws is what we call Wisdom; these laws, therefore, in their perfection and fullness, are the object of Wisdom, or Wisdom itself, objectively considered. We read, in the Proverbs of Solomon:—

"The Lord by Wisdom hath founded the earth;
By understanding hath he established the heavens. "

And again:—

"I Wisdom dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge of witty inventions
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,
Before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting,
From the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water . . . .
When he prepared the heavens—I was there:
When he set a compass on the face of the depth,
When he established the clouds above,
When he strengthened the fountains of the deep,
When he gave to the sea his decree,
That the waters should not pass his commandment,
Then was I by him as one brought up with him;

I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, Rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth,
And my delights were with the Sons of Men." [66]

What Solomon calls Wisdom, Plato calls Logos, or the Word; and the Apostle John, writing in Greek, reproduces this passage from Solomon, borrowing the technical language of the Platonic Philosophy, saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . . By him were all things made, and without him was not anything made that was made."<ref> See Note E.</ref> What indeed is the rejoicing of Wisdom, and her delights with the sons of men, if it be not the outflowing of that intellectual "Light which enlightens every man that is born into the world." And what is the Logos, or Word, if it be not the Mother and Ground of Ideas, as, indeed, the Platonists affirm that it is.

These thoughts passed through my mind, and I at once supposed myself to have attained to a comprehension of that doctrine of the Eternal Word, or Wisdom of God, which prevailed among all the nations of antiquity.—For the Word was in the beginning with God, because God is essentially wise: and the Word was God, because no distinction can be drawn, which shall imply an actual difference, between the Divine Substance, [67] and that Infinite Intelligence which is the ground of the Eternal Wisdom. As in a former sub epoch, I had attained to believe in God, the Eternal Father; so now I had attained to believe in God, the Eternal Word.—

I continued my meditations:—Universal Nature, if these things be so, must, of necessity, actualize itself in an inferior and instinctive Power—a Power of itself neither creative nor initiative, but a mere resultant of the operation of the original forces. The action of this power is fatality: the form in which it manifests itself is necessity (the power which binds the effect to the cause); and the Power itself is Destiny. This is the great Power that rules the world. All things fall under the dominion of Destiny: for everything comes to pass according to fore-ordained Laws. The plant is subjected to Law, man also—yea, the whole Universe develops itself according to the Universal Idea, according to the Universal Law marked out for it in eternity. Destiny, indeed, originates nothing: yet it takes possession of all things as soon as they begin to exist. It governs all actions, and all consequences which flow from actions. Every act of life is predetermined in the order of Destiny, by actions which precede it. It is not by our [68] own will that we appear in the world, in the present epoch of civilization, and with the characters we possess. It is not by our own will that we are surrounded by the circumstances which do in fact surround us. As soon as we perform an act, that act escapes us—it came from the order of Destiny, and it falls into the order of Destiny. Every one of our acts possesses a certain vitality, as it were, and immediately gives birth to another act, which perhaps we did not foresee, and this other act gives birth to still another, which we certainly did not foresee, and this last to still another, and so on through all eternity. Nothing is lost which is committed to the ever revolving wheel of Nature. Men who lived in ancient times originated acts, which, under the control of Destiny, reproduced themselves in ever varying forms, are reproducing themselves now, and will reproduce themselves forever. These acts, in their mediate consequences, operate upon us, and form part of the circumstances by which our conduct is fatally determined. Would I possess the thoughts which now occupy my mind, if Moses and Plato had not revolutionized the whole world with their startling, doctrines? Moses and Plato confided their doctrines to the soil of Destiny: they planted the germs in individual minds, and behold, those germs have produced trees which [69] overshadow the whole human race. Verily has the Master said, "For every idle word that ye speak, ye shall give an account thereof at the Day of Judgment." All the acts of my life are determined fatally by operations of Nature which took place before I was born: I also, in like manner, am now concurring with Nature, in fatally moulding the conduct of the generations that shall come after me.

If I plant an acorn in proper soil, the power of Destiny will take possession of that acorn and bring forth from it a mighty oak. For the Law operates always. If I crush the acorn with a stone, do I thereby destroy its Destiny? No, I merely change it; for a new Destiny commences immediately for it. The fragments become decomposed according to fixed, fatal, and irresistable Laws; and the elements which were united in the composition of the acorn, separate from each other, entering into new relations, in accordance with the motion of the ever-revolving wheel of nature and this wheel revolves always according to Universal Law.

But God, I continued, does everything according to the Word, according to his Infinite Wisdom; and therefore does everything in the best [70] way possible. Now can there be more than one best way possible? Evidently, every way beside that one is, in comparison, a bad way. God, therefore, cannot, by any possibility, act except in one particular way: he, therefore, is absolutely determined in all his acts: he, therefore, is not free; for he can act only in one way, viz.: in the way determined by his own Infinite Wisdom. No place can be found in God for human desires, passions, and infirmities; and, because his acts are invariably in accordance with the highest Wisdom, there is in him an absolutely unbending severity. God cannot exercise any mercy, he cannot forgive any sinner out and out; for, by so doing, he would alter the course of nature which he has established in the world. But, if he alter that course, it is because such an alteration is wise: but, if such alteration be wise, then the original course of nature was not founded in wisdom; for a course of nature founded in wisdom permits of no alteration. God is immutable; for, if he be mutable, he is not infinitely wise, and, therefore, is not God, by the definition. The order of nature is so arranged that transgression always brings suffering—this is God's Law, the expression of the Divine Wisdom, and the operation of God's Word in the world. If, out of mere mercy, God forgive any man, then he violates [71] the actual order of the Universe by an arbitrary act, and for the sake of a mere individual. But this individual has no existence except through virtue of the eternal order; and God destroys this very order if he reverses it by an arbitrary act. Of necessity, therefore, God is just, but implacable, merciless. God is holy and just; but it is impossible that he should be free.

It is absurd to address prayer to God; for, if he hear it, it is as though he heard it not; for he is so trammelled by his own perfections that he cannot answer it. We cannot change the immutable God by our feeble prayers: for how can he answer prayer without doing violence to his own justice, and reversing the order of the Universe? Verily the Christians are right when they say that no sinner can be forgiven except through the crucifixion of the Eternal Word: but verily they are extremely absurd also; for how can the Word of God, which is not a personal being, suffer crucifixion, and the pains of man? And how can we affirm that God has reversed his Infinite Wisdom, without charging him with folly, and thus affirming—by definition—that he is not God?

I concluded, therefore, that all fellowship between him and me, was indeed impossible. How [72] can any fellowship exist between him and me, seeing he is altogether devoid of human feeling, knowing no mercy, but only immutability, and unvarying obedience to the decisions of his own Infinite Wisdom? I pictured God in my imagination, under the form of an immense cloud, part of which was dark with internal thunders, and part lighted up with intense glories.