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Therefore, though Rousseau might explained the nature of virtue, yet dayly justly complain that many, others were committed an infringement of its laws. false to him, he could never boast that he He confesses a hundred base and humiliahad been true to himself. This, while it ting actions, yet vaunts himself as a lessens our commiseration for the pitiable paragon of men. He writes the most victim of his own caprices, does not, how- beautiful advice for mothers, yet abandons ever, diminish in any degree the oppro- his own children; spends years in elabobrium which attaches to his persecutors. rating a theory of education-pernicious They were not all, it is true, equally rep- though it was-yet allows his offspring to rehensible, because they acted under sink among the nameless swarms of the different conditions, and from motives the Foundling Hospital. It cannot, therefore, most various. When the French govern- excite wonder that this man fluctuated in ment attacked him, it was upon their his religious belief. At one time he traditionary principle that a political re- apostatized for the sake, he confesses, of former should be rooted out from society. gain, that he might live as a pensioner on He assailed them, and they assailed him. the bounty of his friends. At another, He endeavored to show that they ruled by rather than receive any one's bounty, he the right of power alone, and that the condemned himself to copy music at three people were only bound to obey as long as half-pence a page, when he might have they were themselves weak. He showed been writing works, every line of which them to be corrupt, fraudulent, tyrannical. an after generation would have prized Therefore it is not surprising that they more than gold. turned his weapons against himself, and Be this as it may, it is certain that sought to exclude him from every oppor- Rousseau was not a Christian.

He astunity to propagate his ideas. It is even sailed religion, and in an ignorant country intelligible how they were animated to like France, he assailed it with the more employ slander and vituperation to defame effect because a venal Church had become him. When men are charged with great the reproach of Europe through its cupidity crimes, which they cannot deny, they and corruption. Corrupt as it was, howusually malign their accusers, in the hope ever, the clergy were interested in upof turning against them the obloquy in- holding it, and, therefore, when Jean tended for themselves.

Jacques assaulted it, they naturally diThis, we say, we can understand. We rected their persecutions against him. can understand, too, why the clergy of We may, indeed, in the spirit of our own France, and, indeed, of all Europe, per- age, believe that the wise reply to his secuted Rousseau. Whatever his apol- declamation would have been to have ogists may say, he was a blasphemer reformed their Church and defended their against the Christian religion, and, con- religion, and not to have pelted him with sequently, against all religion, although he stones at Motier, or forged libels on his did not employ the vile and coarse invec- personal character at Paris. Christianity tives made use of by Voltaire. His sys- conquers without persecution, which only tem undoubtedly tended to the subversion exalts to martyrdom the miserable creaof the national faith. Even the belief in a tures that suffer it. But in the eighteenth divinity was not fixed in his mind. His century this was not understood. It was creed was a caprice. One day we find thought right to strangle every one who him saying, “ I am certain that God exists spoke as an enemy; and, accordingly, of himself.” But shortly after we find, Rousseau saw his books burned, and was “ Frankly I confess that neither the pro compelled to become an exile in search of nor con (on the existence of God) appears an asylum. to me demonstrated.” The same variable This, also, we can understand. But ness characterized many of his other what we cannot understand is the baseness, opinions. He loved the sciences, yet re the virulence, the duplicity, with which ceived a crown from those who reviled men who shared his opinions, who joined them. He wrote against dramatic perform- in his labors, who shook him by the hand, ances, yet composed several operas. and called themselves his friends, slanderHe extolled the amenities of friendship, ed, reviled, and persecuted him. Horace and sought friends, yet broke faith with Walpole forged a letter in the name of many of them. He not only praised, but Frederic the Second, in which Rousseau's

monomania was confessed and put in a Rousseau. He was a man of strong pasridiculous light, in order to excite obloquy sions and weak principles, whose power and contempt against him in England. of imagining was equal to his power of Such an act, committed by such a man, it feeling; and this seduced him into every is not difficult to comprehend. There folly and every crime that held out an enwas very little that was respectable in ticing reward. Being long without a Horace Walpole. There was very little moral dictator in that conscience which he that was remarkable, except his vanity, himself describes as a law anterior to his stupidity, and his want of principle. opinion, he seldom resisted an impulse, of He, consequently, might have been ex- whatever kind, provided it offered to sepected to play a little part. But why cure him some pleasure. In the same David Hume, the obsolete historian, should manner, being without religious conviction, court Rousseau, and flatter him, and give he made up his faith of fancies, and was him hospitality, while he was intriguing little scrupulous in the dissemination of with his enemies, circulating calumnies impious notions. Yet he was not guilty against him, and ridiculing his character, of that gratuitous wickedness which is not so easily explained. Nor is there prompted the abominable blasphemies of any intelligible reason assigned, that Dide- Diderot, Helvetius, and Voltaire. If he rot, Voltaire, d'Alembert, Helvetius, and was an intellectual Robespierre, they were Grimm should pursue him with such in the Dantons of literature-eloquent inveterate malignity, and conspire his ruin, deed, but cold-blooded, repulsive, and dewhile they propagated his works and ap- formed. plauded them, unless we believe they were The social theories of Rousseau were jealous of his fame, or which is still more blotted by the prevailing sin of his life. probable, that they were irritated by his Of the relations between man and woman, refusal to become their tool.

though he could expound the noblest law, This concourse of men, remarkable for he generally propagated a lax idea. His their talent, but odious for their hostility example also was vicious in the extreme. to the Christian truth, forms one of the He spent in dissoluteness his best years, most remarkable features in the modern and then marrying the very woman who history of Europe. What phenomenon in had least claim to be his wife, deserted literature was ever so extraordinary as the her children and his own. Nevertheless Encyclopédie ? What machine was ever he was to some friends very faithful, and, 80 cunningly devised ? Had it been im- in his system for the reconstruction of pregnated simply by the spirit of freedom, society, he recognized occasionally the had it been designed only to overthrow the purest principles. government, and had it not been filled with

It is as a politician that we can most impiety and impurity, humanity would have respect Rousseau. In many passages he blessed its labors. Had the Puritan spirit is violent, in many vague, in many fangiven its vitality to all this genius, what a tastical. Yet, in the “ Discourse on the revolution would that of France have been! Inequality of Man," and in the “Social But, instead of this, the corruption of Contract,” he displays a perfect knowledge politics produced the scandal of Chris- of the object of government, and of the tianity; atheism and not religion was of relations between people and rulers. So fered as the cure of superstition, just as completely was he master of the political servitude and not freedom has been pro- condition of Christendom that he predicted, posed as the cure for anarchy. In reality, with singular accuracy, many events which however, the Romish Church opened its afterward happened. Some of his foregates to infidelity. The Encyclopædists bodings referred to a period remoter than were naturally successors to the four and that at which we have arrived, and more twenty fathers of Escobar; the monas- than one of them seems likely to be fulteries produced the academies, and the filled. Perhaps there are those who will sophists triumphed for a while, because the not be disinclined to attach some faith to Jesuits—the pope's life-guards, as Fred- the following :-“The empire of Russia eric the Second called them—had been will endeavor to subjugate Europe ; but in triumphant a century before.

the struggle will herself be conquered. From this school of writers, however, Her Tartar subjects, or her neighbors, it is necessary, in some degree, to separate will become her masters.”



It is not, however, in these points that THE VISION OF A GODLESS WORLD. the value of Rosseau's political writings consists. It is in the fine analysis of the principles upon which despotism is found- my heart should ever become so haped, in the exposure of the truths by the less and so withered that every feeling diffusion of which it is undermined; in the in it which asserts the being of God should description of the true nature and duties be destroyed, I would appall myself by of governments, and the true rights and reading over the following composition of duties of nations. In this the philosopher mine ; and it would cure me and give me is unrivaled. He came with his fiery in- back the feelings I had lost. spiration, and quickened in France the

The aim of this poem is the excuse for principles of a liberty which she will as its boldness. Men deny God's being with suredly one day enjoy, in spite of the just as little feeling as most acknowledge burlesque of empire enacting in her it with. Even in our best systems of phicapital.

losophy, we go on amassing mere words, A writer in the “ Biographical Maga- counters, and medals, as misers collect zine” has said that it was well that Hume, cabinets of coins; and it is late before we the panegyrist of Monk, should be the convert the words into feelings, the coin maligner of Rousseau. Mr. Passmore into enjoyments. A person may believe Edwards's contributor is of this opinion, in the immortality of the soul through and we think rightly; but there have been twenty whole years, and, in the twentyothers, and lately, who have remarked that first, on some great moment, be for the this was not the only instance in which the first time astounded at the riches contained Tory historian falsified the character of a in this belief, at the warmth of this founpublic man. For ourselves, had he in his tain of Naptha. correspondence done justice to Rousseau,

Childhood, with her joys, and still more we should almost say that Rousseau's with her fears, resumes her wings and character was the only one which he had sparkles anew in our dreams, and plays not falsified. But he was a consistent like a glow-worm in the little night of the libeler.

soul. Do not extinguish these flitting Narrative and letters harmonize with sparks. Leave us our dismal and painful their calumnies on the virtuous, and their dreams-half-shadows that set off the reapologies of profligacy. In fact, the alities of life. only pity is that Hume did not choose I was lying once, on a summer evening, from France a better man to slander than in the sun, upon a hill, and fell asleep. Rousseau. But, we doubt whether Rous- Then I dreamed I awoke in a church-yard. seau lost more in the estimation of man- The rolling wheels of the clock in the kind through the unscrupulous detraction tower that was striking eleven had awakof one who had all the ferocity of a bigot, ened me. I searched through the dark without a bigot's sincerity, or through the empty sky for the sun; for I imagined uncompromising eulogiums of his admirers. that an eclipse had drawn the rail of the Unfortunately, the critics are few, and a moon over it. All the graves were open, man must either be pilloried as a criminal and the iron doors of the charnel-house or consecrated as a martyr.

were swung to and fro by invisible hands : From the guilt of suicide, we think that along the walls shadows were fitting, history may fairly exonerate Rousseau. which no one cast; and other shadows were He died naturally, in 1778, in the arms of walking upright through the naked air. his wife, who, in his latter days, behaved in the open coffins nothing continued to with great affection to him.

sleep, save the children. In the sky there Some have been of opinion that it would was naught but a gray sultry cloud hanghave been well to lose all the beauty of ing in massy folds, and a huge shadow Rousseau's works, if the world could have kept on drawing it in like a net, nearer, been spared the vice he propagated. and closer, and hotter. Above me I heard Whatever we may think of this, certainly the distant falls of avalanches; below me we must grieve that so much eloquence, the first tread of an illimitable earthquake. so much learning, and so much wisdom, The church heaved up and down, shaken were not bequeathed by a more pious and by two ceaseless discords, which were less irreligious man.

warring against each other within, and

vainly striving to blend into a concord. et; and Eternity was lying upon chaos, At times a gray gleam leaped up on the and gnawing it to pieces, and chewing the windows, and at its touch the lead and cud of what it had devoured. Scream on, iron melted and ran down. The net of ye discords! scatter these shades with cloud, and the reeling of the earth, drove your screaming : for He is not!" me toward the porch, before which two The shades grew pale and dissolved, as fiery basilisks were hatching their venom- white vapor, that the frost has given birth ous broods. I passed along amid unknown to, is melted by a breath of warmth ; and shadows that bore the marks of every the whole church became empty. Then century since the beginning of things. All -0! it was terrible to the heart!—the the shadows were standing round the al- dead children, who had awaked in the tar; and in each there was a quivering church-yard, ran into the church, and and throbbing of the breast instead of the threw themselves before the lofty form heart. One dead man alone, who had upon the altar, and said, “Jesus! have been newly buried in the church, was still we no Father ?” And he answered with lying on his couch, without any quivering tears streaming down : “We are all orof his breast; and his face was smiling phans, I and you ; we are without a Fabeneath the light of a happy dream. But, ther.” when one of the living entered, he awoke Here the screeching of the discords beand smiled no more : toilsomely he drew came more violent; the walls of the church up his heavy eyelid, but no eye was with tottered and burst asunder ; and the church in ; and his beating breast, instead of a and the children sank down ; and the heart, contained a wound. He lifted up whole earth and the sun sank after; and his hands, and clasped them for prayer; the whole of the immeasurable universe but the arms lengthened and lowered sank before us; and Christ remained themselves from his body, and the clasped standing upon the highest pinnacle of nahands dropped off. Overhead, in the vault ture, and gazed into the globe of the uniof the church, stood the dial-plate of eter- verse, pierced through by a thousand suns, nity, on which no number was to be read, as it were into a cavern, burrowed into nor any characters except its own name; the heart of eternal night, wherein the only there was a black hand pointing suns were running like miners' lights, and thereat, on which the dead said they saw the galaxies like veins of silver. Time.

And when Christ saw the crushing At this moment a tall majestic form, throng of worlds, the torch-dance of the with a countenance of imperishable an- heavenly ignus fatui, and the coral banks guish, sank down from on high upon the of beating hearts, and when he saw one altar ; and all the dead cried, “ Christ! globe after another poured out its glimis there no God ?"

mering souls upon the dead sea, as a waHe answered, “There is none !" ter-balloon strews its floating lights upon

The shadow of every dead man trembled the waves; then with a grandeur that beall over, not his breast merely; and, one tokened the highest of finite beings, he after another, their trembling dispersed lifted up his eye toward the nothingness them.

and toward the infinite void above him, Christ spake on: “I have gone through and said : “ Moveless and voiceless nothe midst of the worlds : I mounted into thing! cold, eternal necessity! frantic the suns, and flew with the milky way chance! can ye, or any of you, tell me ? across the wilderness of heaven; but when do you dash to pieces the building there is no God. I plunged down, as far and me ? Dost thou know it, О chance! as Being flings its shadow, and pried into even thou, when thou stridest with thy the abyss, and cried : 'Father, where art hurricanes athwart the snow-dust of the thou?' but I heard only the everlasting stars, and puffest out one sun after another, tempest, which no one sways; and the while the sparkling dew of the constellaglittering rainbow of beings was hanging, tions is parched up as thou passest along without a sun that had formed it, over the -how desolate is every one in the vast catabyss, and trickling down into it. And, acomb of the universe! There is none when I looked up toward the limitless beside me save myself. O, Father! World for the eye of God, the World stared Father! where is thy world-sustaining at me with an empty, bottomless eye-sock- | breast, that I may rest on it? Alas! if

every being is its own father and creator, ity into a village church; and everything why may it not also become its own de- grew dense, and murky, and dismal ; and stroying angel ?

the clapper of a bell stretched out its “Is that a man still beside me? Poor measureless length, about to strike the last wretch! your little life is one of nature's hour of time, and to split the fabric of the sighs, or the mere echo of it; a mirror world to atoms-when I awoke. fings its rays on the clouds of dust from My soul wept with joy that it was again the ashes of the dead on your earth, and, able to worship God; and my joy, and my forth with, ye spring up, ye beclouded, tears, and my faith in him, were my fleeting images. Look down into the prayer. And, as I stood up, the sun was abyss, over which clouds of ashes are glowing low down behind the full purple floating ; mists full of worlds are rising ears of corn, and was quietly throwing the out of the dead sea ; the future is that reflection of its evening glory to the little rising mist, and that which is falling is moon that was rising without a dawn in the present.

Dost thou know thy own the east; and between heaven and earth earth ?”

a joyous short-lived world was spreading Christ looked down, and his eye out its tiny wings, and living, as I was, in filled with tears, and he said : “ Alas! I the presence of an Almighty Father; and was once upon it; then I was still happy; from the whole of nature around me caine then I had still an Almighty Father, and sounds of peace, like the voices of evening still looked with gladness from the mount

bells from afar. ains to the unfathomable heavens; and, when my breast was pierced through, I

SELF-CONCEIT. pressed it to his soothing image, and said,

• his

“the ernacle, and raise him to thy heart.' Ah! gards the whole human race with contempt, ye over-happy inhabitants of the earth, ye himself excepted. If he has rendered a earth, ye still believe in Him. Perchance, service to any man, he will remind him of at this moment your sun is setting, and it as he meets him in the street, and in a ye are falling on your knees in the midst loud voice goad him with the obligation. of blossoms, and radiance, and dew, and He is never the first to accost any man; are lifting up your blessed hands, and, he returns the salute of no one in the pubwhile shedding a thousand tears of joy, are lic ways.” This, as the reader sees, is a crying to the open heavens : ‘Me, too, even sweeping condemnation of that pride which me, dost thou know, thou Almighty One, is full of dross, and so expressive of a and all my wounds; and after my death mean mind. Mostly, pride of person or thou wilt receive me and close them all.' | dress creates vanity-one of the most conMiserable creatures ! after death they will temptible of those numerous failings which never be closed. The woe-begone mor- besiege a frail human nature, and one into tal who lays his bleeding back in the earth which the young may perhaps fall soonest to sleep till the coming of a fairer morn- of any. If a vulgar man have this exaging, full of truth, full of goodness and joy, gerated sentiment within him, nothing can will awake amid the storms of chaos, in be more clearly evinced; for his own perthe eternity of midnight; and no morning son bears always the marks of it. You comes, and no healing hand, and no Al- will find it in the redundant watch-chain, mighty Father. Thou mortal beside me, the inordinately blue and extensive cravat if thou still livest, pray to Him now, else-in the coat elaborated out of an intense thou hast lost him for ever."

bad taste-in smoking cigars out of place And, as I fell down and beheld the shin

--in his conversation-in his manner-in ing world, I saw the uplifted scales of the everything, in fact, this puerility betrays giant snake Eternity, that had spread it itself. Besides that it is ridiculous, it is self around the universe; and the scales also a dangerous sentiment. A self-love dropped down, and it wreathed itself twice that has grown into a vanity of this kind round the universe ; then it twined in a easily breaks the slender bulwarks of thousand folds around Nature, and squeez- moral obligation, and sticks at no means, ed world against world ; and, with a crush- however questionable, in order to suping force, compressed the temple of infin- port it.

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