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lays this to heart, and when he does not find it in visible and material things, and in bis own darkness, he takes good counsel, and looks for it elsewhere."
There is also a discourse on the Immortality of the Soul, addressed to the Emperor of Japan, in seven letters, some portions of which we shall present. The following is from the discourse :
“If the soul of man is immortal, Sire, there must be proofs of it which leave no doubt remaining. I can but sweep before the door of Truth.
“ Nature, with us on earth, is in constant movement, and her bearing to day is not like that of yesterday and the day before. Every thing flutters and fluctuates. Nevertheless, the various species in all the three kingdoms remain unchanged, and stand like fixed stars in this moving sea. Ulysses's dog, and Tobias's, wagged their tails, the gourd shot up before Nineveh, and gold is always nineteen times heavier than water.
Because nature, as they say, never takes a leap, she must advance towards her aim by constant change, and exhibit on the way various forms; but when the species which she has in view is perfected, she goes no farther. Left to herself, she aims at nothing beyond, and unless disturbed, never stops short on this side. When the species is perfected, she keeps holiday, and cares only for its preservation; and if she cannot keep in being the individuals which compose it, she continually substitutes, in the most wonderful manner, other individuals, so as to give to the species a kind of eternity.
“ There are, to be sure, renowned scholars who think otherwise, and have ascribed to nature another plan. In their view, the
species are only resting places, or steps, where nature, so to speak, recollects herself, and takes breath for another advance, always going on to higher degrees of perfection. So, for example, from an oyster should come a crocodile, from a gnat a humming-bird, etc., and at last from the most perfect brutes we should have men and angels.
“ This opinion is ingeniously enough imagined, and the principal objection to it is, that it is not true. From hen's eggs never came pheasants, but always hens. This is the remark both of ancients and moderns; and the Chinese, from this very fact, prove the existence of an eternal mind. Noah too must have been of the same opinion, or be might have saved himself much trouble and space.
Nature leaves so little interval between the different species, that she never alters and improves any one species. The successive individuals of each remain like each in form, proportion, intellect, and all qualities and inclinations, manners and customs. Already among the Romans the spider spun her wondrous mathematical web, with periphery, radius, and centre; and Ælian re
marks that in this work she made no use of Euclid : he relates, moreover, that she sits in the centre of her web and watches for her prey ; exactly as she does now, er more than a thousand years. The singular custom of the cuckoo is well known; how it lays its eggs in the nest of another bird, and flies off, and allows the other bird to hatch the eggs and feed the young cuckoos. However, this is not an invention of the cuckoos of the 18th century, but they have always done so, as Ælian tells us. Crows hate owls in Pliny, and predict the coming rain in Virgil; the swallows, even in Homer, seek the habitations of man; the ant is diligent in Sirach, and the peacock still wears the sparkling stone (gemmis caudam stellantibus implet) with which Juno bedecked her in the days of old Inachus. So has it always been, and so will it continue to be. So it is certainly with the long series of elephants which follow each other through nature, from him who stood with his back to Chaos, to him who will stretch out his trunk amid the ruins of the last day.....
“ If the results of the different movements of creative nature are thus one and the same, so are naturally the movements (Bewegungen) themselves. And in a word, throughout all nature, glorious and wonderful as are her operations, all is immoveable and fixed. In her, every thing is subjected to the law of necessity, from which she does not, and, without foreign aid, cannot depart. Man, alone, constitutes an exception. He is mobile! And this is allowed even by those who refuse to grant him immortality. Nobody ever talks of enlightening whales, but every body talks of the education of the human species, of man's moral culture, of dark and enlightened ages, etc. And if all do not appear to be agreed about this mobility and movement, this improvement and enlightenment, yet as to the fact itself there is but one voice. Only one part of man belongs to nature, and in so far he obeys her laws. There must then be in him something else, which is not in all nature. Since, now, we have no experience of death and dying, but in nature, at least there is nothing to prove man's murtality. We, who believe him immortal, are not called on to demonstrate the truth of our opinion, but the burden of proof rests upon our opponents.”
After showing, in the two following letters, how entirely the spiritual part of man differs from, and is independent of, his physical frame, he goes on :
"Our inner nature consists of two unequal and contending forces : -- the one, higher nature, which has ideas and presentiments of Immortality and the Infinite ; of absolute Perfection, Wisdom, Goodness, Justice, and a desire to follow their laws; which strives upward, craves Truth, and seeks for the ground of all things ; - but subjected to the influence of another, which every where hinders it and gets in its way, which dims and colors its light
and joy, which is violent and ungovernable, will listen to nothing, but creeps on its belly, and eats dust, of choice. The spark is smothered by the ashes! The Moon is in the shadow of the Earth! And they stand and clatter in the kettle of their Philsophy and Ethics, to help her out of her trouble, while she, after quite other laws, stays or goes out.
“ Sire, if there had never been any virtuous men, I should be embarrassed and in despair, at the preponderance of the earth's shadow in our hearts. But these great men have taught me that the human soul is immortal and invincible, if it chooses to be so. (Nature never implants in us tendencies towards unattainable and contradictory things ; yet she has given all men a desire and impulse towards immortality. Also, man has an idea of God, and where did he get it?) Some say that man, out of the thousand finite stalks, has wound
up for himself an infinite sheaf; he ascends by the ideas of finite things, as on a ladder, to the idea of the infinite. But, in the first place, it is certain that no infinite sheaf can be made from finite stalks ; and as to the ladder, which, as it stands here, is somewhat short and insecure, one must know whether he wishes to ascend, before he can place the ladder. All forms which fall upon the senses, and thus find entrance to man, cannot give him that Idea ; for one cannot give what he has not. ....
“A very acute philosopher has lately shown, that the conditioned only can be demonstrated; to wish to demonstrate the unconditioned, is like throwing pearls into the water to fish them out again. He says, very truly, that 'the unconditioned can be known only as it is given to us, namely, as a fact - it is.' I ask, now, how it is given to us as a fact ? Either the unconditioned, itself, gives it to our souls, or they have the idea in themselves. In either case it stands very well with our immortality. From modesty I will suppose the latter alternative. The Idea of Immortality, ther, and of the Infinite, is in man, and the world of sense, which could not give it to him, cannot take it away; it would still be there, if there were no material world. Does not your majesty begin to see land, or rather to lose the land from sight, and get a glimpse of the open sea ? If a grain of wheat, which has in itself the germ of a root, fibres, stalk, leaves, branches, could be endowed with consciousness, would it not dream of a root, fibres, stalk, &c., and be conscious that all these things are within it, and shall come out of it? And if man has ideas, intimations, presentiments of Immortality, Infinity, absolute Wisdom and Goodness, must not the germ of all these things be in him.”
The next letter shows that although these germs may be suppressed and smothered, they are never wholly extinguished. And in virtuous and holy men we see how they may be expanded : NO. IX. - VOL. V.
“ Let, now, such a man, and one of the common stamp, be placed together, and mark the difference. The one is torn hither and thither by his lusts and passions ; he has no rest or peace, but is like the waves of the sea, which at every moment takes a new form, and in each is water. The other is always what he will be, always peaceful and joyful, and his heart is like a temple wherein dwells an invisible Deity, and where the sacred stillness is broken by no voice, save that which speaks for Truth, and in praise of the gods .... How should such a one die? This world and earth has no more power over him - is for him as if it were not — and should it have power to annihilate him? He has annihilated it! and stands on its neck as a conqueror ! and looks free to heaven! .... He is, also, in alliance with the invisible world. Heaven stoops to the noble victor! and the path to the infinite begins to open before him.
“So lived Socrates. The invisible voice, which he heard, was in his marrow and bones. According to it he lived, and neither friend nor foe, neither prison, nor Prytaneum, nor council of thirty tyrants, nor senate of a hundred, nor all Greece, nor the whole world, could prevent him. And so he died. His cup of poison, when it was brought, threw every one into tears even the jailer wept. Phaedon covered himself with his mantle, and Apollodorus shrieked aloud. He, alone, is quiet; and suns himself, to his last breath, in the rays of Truth and of a better world. It is not like seeing a man die ; rather do we seem to see a friend and confidant of heaven and of the gods, returning home to the abodes of peace, and shaking off, on the threshold, the dust which he had contracted here .... There are then in man the veins of a great and pure nature, and there is a happiness for him which moth and rust cannot consume, which the world, with all its splendor, cannot give, and with all its scorn, cannot take away.”
It will have been seen that Claudius is not a moralist only; he is a devout and humble Christian. Indeed it is in bis Christ ian character that his innigkeit, inwardness and depth, are most clearly apparent. When he speaks of the Saviour, a frequent and delightful theme with him, it is with an affectionate reverence, a child-like and simple trustfulness, which carries the hearts of his readers along with him. He loves to throw away logic, reasoning, argument, every thing but Faith, and sit like a little child at the feet of Jesus. In this view of his character, he osten and strongly reminds us of the apostle John. There is in both the same simplicity and confidingness, the same humility and lowliness, the same child-like and reverent love. We would gladly extract some of the numerous meditations on the character of the Saviour; but our limits forbid, and we must
content ourselves with the following letter to Andrew, on Prayer; premising, at the same time, that the peculiar idiomatic style of the original often renders it impossible to do more than paraphrase the meaning:
“ But the inward clinging, panting, and aspiring of the heart, seems to me the chief thing in prayer ... When the wish really lies near thy heart, Andrew, and is of a warm complexion, it will not stand long to question; it will overpower thee like a strong man armed, dress itself in some rags of words, and knock at heaven's gate. Whether the prayer of a moved spirit (einer bewegten seele) can really effect any thing, or whether the Nexus Rerum, as some learned gentlemen think, forbids such a supposition, is a question about which I give myself no concern. I have all possible respect for the Nexus Rerum, but cannot get out of my mind how Samson left the nexus of the gate unharmed, and yet, as every body knows, carried away the gates to the mountain. And, in short, Andrew, I believe that the rain comes when it is dry, and that the stag pants not in vain after fresh water, when one prays aright, and is right-minded,
“ The · Vater-Unser! (Lord's Prayer) is, once for all, the best prayer, for
know who has made it. But no man on God's earth can pray it as he meant it; we cripple and mangle it, each one worse than the other. However, it is no matter, if we mean right; our merciful God always does the best, and he knows how it should be. Because you desire, I will tell you, honestly, how I pray Our Father,' though it is a poor way enough, and I would gladly learn a better.
“ See, when I am about to pray, I first think of my dead father, who was so kind, and loved so to give me what I wanted. Then I think of the whole world as my father's house, and all the people in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, are then my brothers and sisters; and God sits in heaven on a golden seat, and has his right hand stretched out over the sea and to the ends of the earth, and his left full of blessing and goodness, and the mountain-tops smoke around, and then I begin : Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. This I do not fully understand. The Jews had some peculiar mysteries connected with the name of God. That I leave, and seek only that the remembrance of God, and every trace by which he may be known, may be to me and to all men, infinitely great and sacred. Thy kingdom come. Then I think of mysell, what a strife there is within me, now this ruling and now that, and what a heart-ache it gives, and how there is no green thing to be seen. And I think how good it would be if God would make an end to all contention, and would govern me bimself. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Here I represent to myself heaven with the holy angels, who do his will with