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opulences of the soul of mankind; fed continually by all the nobleness of some forty generations of men. The world-tree of the nations for 60 long!
Alas! if its roots arc now dead, and it have lost hold of the firm earth, or clear belief of mankind, what, great as it is, can by possibility become of it? Shaken to and fro, in Jesuitisms, Gorham controversies, and the storms of inevitable fate, it must sway hither and thither; nod ever farther from the perpendicular: nod at last too far; and — sweeping the eternal heavens clear of its old brown foliage and multitudinous rooks' nests—come to the ground with much confused crashing, and disclose the diurnal and nocturnal upper lights again! The dead world-tree will have declared itself dead. It will lie there an imbroglio of torn boughs and ruined fragments, of bewildered splittings and wide-spread shivers, out of which the poor inhabitants must make what they can!
I said that Carlyle by no means exempts bis Protestant countrymen from the application of his censures, but it is nevertheless true that this passage bears with peculiar emphasis upon the Church of Rome. It is a speciality of Carlyle to hate the Papacy with all the fervor of an old Puritan. In this he stands alone among men of anything like his own intellectual order, and differs pointedly from his enthusiastic disciple, Mr. Ruskin. In his late writings Mr. Ruskin has betrayed a growing fondness for the monastic virtues, a growing tendency to recur to that early phase of his esthetic development in which he looked upon all European art, subsequently to Giotto, Angelico, and John Bellini, as mere decadent recklessness and rebellion. Macaulay, strong as were his Protestant sympathies, could reason with entire calmness on the possibility that the Church of Rome might still flourish when London was in ruins. Goethe had that perfect tolerance for Roman Catholies which he extended to sincere professors of every religion. Even Scott, with whom, as seems to have been the case with Carlyle, detestation of Popery might have been an inherited instinct, spoke with beautiful pathos in his old age of the redeeming gentleness of a faith which found its chief symbolism in a Mother and a Child. But in the eyes of Carlyle, "the so-called throne of St. Peter" is "a falsity, a huge mistake, a pestilent dead carcass." At the time of the Reformation it was condemned by Heaven, and by all intelligently reverent men, and its duty since then has been "to begone, and let us have no more to do with it and its delusions and impious deliriums."
Roman Catholies and Protestants alike have a right to ask this austere prophet what they are to believe. Even "across this black deluge" of Jesuitism and cant, he sees "the world ripening toward glorious new developments, unimagined hitherto." The miserable apes to which he likens us, squatted with blinking eyes round their dying fire, arc contemptible above all in that they cannot feed their fire with new fuel. How, then, are we to get a glimpse of those "glorious developments?" How are we to find fuel for that fire without which, our censor himself being witness, we must become spiritually and morally dead? To answer these questions with precision is most difficult.
Fundamentally the meaning of a great variety of expressions made use of by Carlyle must be that we are to fall back upon natural religion. "The first heroic soul," he says, "sent down into this world, he, looking up into the sea of stars, around into the moaning forests and big oceans, into life and death, love and hate, and joy and sorrow, and the illimitable loudthundering loom of time, was struck dumb by it (as the thought of every earnest soul still is); and fell on his face, and with his heart cried for salvation in the world - whirlpool: to him the 'open secret of this universe' was no longer quite a secret, but he had caught a glimpse of it—much hidden from the like of us in these times: 'T)o nobly, thou shalt resemble the Maker of all this; do ignobly, the Enemy of the Maker.' This is the 'Divine sense of right and wrong in man;' true reading of his position in this universe for evermore; the inGOD, FREEDOM, IMMORTALITY.
disputable God's-message still legible ia every created heart— though speedily erased and painted over, under 'articles,' and cants and empty ceremonials, in so many hearts; making the 'open secret' a very shut one indeed!"
Shall we say, then, that the essential truth, symbolized in all religions, is responsibility to God? If we do, we shall probably not be far from what Carlyle really means. To the primitive man, sincere and unsophisticated, " this visible universe was wholly the vesture of an Invisible Infinite; every event that occurred in it a symbol of the immediate presence of God. Which it intrinsically is, and forever will be, let poor stupid mortals remember or forget it!" To the railway, scrip, and cotton millionnaires of England, boasting of their mechanical achievements, Carlyle puts the question, "Will you teach me the winged flight through immensity, up to the Throne dark with excess of bright?" He tells them that, unless they "can reach thither in some effectual, most veritable sense," they arc "doomed to Hela's death-realm, and the abyss where mere brutes are buried." He wants, not cheaper cotton, swifter railways, but "what Novalis calls 'God, Freedom, Immortality.'"
Novalis, though his teaching is obscured by a kind of scientific mysticism, must be classed among the explicit defenders of the Christian revelation against its modern assailants; and no words could more comprehensively indicate those truths which the Christian seeks to make good against the sceptic than the words "God, Freedom, Immortality." Carlyle, then, appears to accept all three. Nay, he seems to go one step farther in the way of pointing out ground common to him and to those who accept Christianity. "As propitiation," he says, "or as admiration,' worship' still continues among men, will always continue." Such an expression, standing, as it does, alone, is bitterly tantalizing; but I submit that its natural and obvious meaning is that propitiation or atonement, in some sense, is part of that kernel of religious truth which Mr. Carlvle regards as imperishable. Our Christianity, in fact, viewed as a body of belief, is not so much in fault as our practical failure to realize what we profess. Superstition is not the deepest accusation he brings against us. "The worst of some epochs is, they have along with their real worship an imaginary, and are conscious only of the latter as worship. They keep a set of gods or fetiches, reckoned respectable, to which they mumble prayers, asking themselves and others, triumphantly, 'Are not these respectable gods?' and all the while their real worship, or heart's love and admiration, which alone is worship, concentrates itself on quite other gods and fetiches—on Hudsons and scrips, for instance." There is thus added to onr idolatry the guilt of hypocrisy, " which is the quintessence of all idolatries and misbeliefs and unbeliefs."
The real religion of a man "is his practical Hero-worship." The italies are Carlyle's. If in his heart he honors and admires the good and great man, "God's servant," then he truly worships God: if in his inmost soul he bows down to the man who has made money, and who may teach him how to make money, then it is the devil's servant, and that servant's master, whom he truly worships. "All conceivable evangels, Bibles, homileties, liturgies and litanies, and temporal and spiritual law-books for a man or a people, issue practically there. Be right in that, essentially you arc not wrong in anything; you read this universe tolerably aright, and are in the way to interpret well what the will of its Maker is."
THE CLERGY AND MEN OF LETTERS. COLERIDQE. DOUBT
ND who is the interpreter of the will of the Maker to
our generation? Carlyle emphatically replies that it is not the priesthood of any Church. "The so-called Christian elerus" he describes in these fiercely contemptuous terms: "Legions of them, in their black or other gowns, I still meet in every country; masquerading in strange costume of body, and still stranger of soul; mumming, primming, grimacing— poor devils, shamming, and endeavoring not to sham: that is the sad fact. Brave men many of them, after their sort; and in a position which we may admit to be wonderful and dreadful! On the outside of their heads some singular head-gear, tulip mitre, felt coal-scuttle, purple hat; and in the inside—I must say, such a theory of God Almighty's universe as I, for my share, am right thankful to have no concern with at all." Such is his negative answer to our question—clear enough, at all events. Now for the positive answer. "The poet in the fine arts, especially the poet in speech, what Fichtc calls the 'Scholar' or. the 'Literary Man,' is defined by Fichte as the 'Priest' of these modern epochs — all the priest they have. And indeed nature herself will teach us that the man born with what we call 'genius,' which will mean, born with better and larger understanding than others; the man in whom 'the inspiration of the Almighty,' given to all men, has a higher po. tentiality—that he, and properly he only, is the perpetual priest of men; ordained to the office by God himself, whether men can be so lucky as to get him ordained to it or not; nay, he