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IN the first chapter there are many changes, but for the most part merely of single words and phrases. The complimentary passage on us proud Islanders is even stronger in its original form. ‘Religion can only be for us a dead letter, a sacred article in the constitution without any reality, for we are only occupied with fierce defence of national orthodoxy and the maintenance of superstitious attachment to ancient usages, while our pursuit of knowledge is limited to a miserable empiricism.’

P. 16, last par., has lost something of the irony of the Romanticist. “We have systems from all schools, yea, even from schools that are mere habitations and nurseries of the dead letter. The spirit is neither to be confined in academies nor to be poured out into a row of ready heads. It evaporates usually between the first mouth and the first ear.”

On p. 17, foot, beginning “In isolation,” a somewhat mighty figure has been weakened, doubtless as too youthfully daring. He is speaking of the work of the true heroes of religion. “Only single noble thoughts flash through their soul, kindled with celestial fire. The magic thunder of an enchanting speech accompanied the high phenomenon, and announced to adoring mortals that the Deity had spoken. An atom impregnated with heavenly power, fell into their soul, and there assimilated all, and gradually expanded till it burst like a divine fate in a world whose atmosphere offers too little resistance, and produced in its last moments one of those heavenly meteors, one of 276those significant signs of the time, of the origin of which none was ignorant, and with awe of which all mortals were filled. You must seek this heavenly spark which is produced when a holy soul is stirred by the Universe, and you must attend to it in the incomprehensible moment of its formation.”

The earlier portion of the Second Chapter (pp. 26-66), has been materially altered, a large part of it having been entirely re-cast. The opening passage is little altered, the parallel drawn between the sociality of states and the combining of the mental activities is only verbally different, but it is used to explain that he frequently returns to more childlike times, not from depreciation of the present but in order to discover religion more by itself.

‘Ultimately, metaphysics, morals and religion have the same object, the Universe. This has led to confusion. Yet your instinct and opinions are against making religion one with metaphysics, for you do not admit that it can tread with the same firm step, or with morals, for there are foully immoral parts in its history. It must, therefore, deal with the same matter in a different way. “What does your metaphysics do, or, if you will not have that antiquated, too historical name, your transcendental philosophy? It classifies the Universe, gives the grounds for what exists, deduces the necessity of the actual, and spins from itself the reality and the laws of the world.” Religion, however, has nothing to do with grounds and deductions and first causes. “And what does your ethics do? It developes from the nature of man and his relation to the Universe a system of duties, it commands and prohibits actions with absolute authority. But religion cannot venture to use the Universe for the deduction of duties, or to contain a code of laws.” The common idea of religion is that it is a mixture of fragments of metaphysics and ethics, but it is time this idea was quite annihilated. “The theorists in religion who seek to know the nature of277the Universe and of a Highest Being whose work it is, are metaphysicians, but discreet enough not to despise a little morals; the practical persons, to whom the will of God is the chief matter, are moralists, but a little in the metaphysical style. They import the idea of the good into metaphysics as the natural law of a Being without limits and without wants, and they import the idea of an Original Being from metaphysics into morals that the great work should not be anonymous, but that such a glorious code might be prefaced by a picture of the law-giver.” Were this mixture anything more than a selection for beginners, and had a principle of union of its own, religion must be the highest in philosophy, and metaphysics and ethics only sub-divisions. All these are found together even in the sacred books, unavoidably and also of high design. But religion is like the diamond in the clay, enclosed not to remain hidden, but to be all the more surely found. It is simply a device for subtle winning of the hearer, but it has overstepped the mark when the shell conceals the kernel. “I have been put out by your common idea, it is taken out of the way I trust. Interrupt me now no more.”

“Religion neither seeks like metaphysics to determine and explain the nature of the Universe, nor like morals to advance and perfect the Universe by the power of freedom and the divine will of man. It is neither thinking nor acting, but intuition and feeling. It will regard the Universe as it is. It is reverent attention and submission, in childlike passivity, to be stirred and filled by the Universe’s immediate influences.” To metaphysics, man is the centre of all, the condition of all existence; to religion, he is, like every other finite thing, but a manifestation of the Universe. Morals proceeds from the consciousness of freedom and seeks to expand the realm of freedom to infinity; religion regards man as needing to be what he is, whether he will or not. Religion, morals and metaphysics are equals, different but complementary. “To have speculation 278and practice without religion is mad presumption, audacious hostility to the gods, the unholy sense of Prometheus, who faintheartedly stole what he might have asked for in safety. Man has but stolen the feeling of his infinity and likeness to God, and as unjust goods he cannot prosper with it, for he must also be conscious of his limits”

“Practice is art, speculation is science, religion is sense and taste for the Infinite.” Without religion, practice cannot get beyond venturesome or traditional forms, and speculation is only a stiff and lean skeleton. “Practice opposes man to the Universe, not having received him as a part of it from the hand of religion. It has, in consequence, miserable uniformity, knows only one ideal and forgets to cultivate man himself. The feeling for infinite and living nature is wanting, whereof the symbol is variety and individuality.” And why has speculation so long given delusions for a system and words for thoughts? From want of religion. “All beginning must be from intuition of the Universe, and if the desire to have intuition of the Infinite is wanting, there is no touchstone and there is need of none, to know whether anything has been rightly thought. Modern Idealism is in need of religion, p. 40.

On intuition of the Universe my whole Speech hinges. It is the highest formula of religion, determining its nature and fixing its boundaries. “All intuition proceeds from the influence of the thing perceived on the person perceiving. The former acts originally and independently, and the latter receives, combines and apprehends in accordance with its nature.” Without mechanical or chemical affection of the organs, there is no perception. “What is perceived is not the nature of things, but their action upon us, and what is known or believed of this nature is beyond the range of intuition. The Universe is in unbroken activity, and reveals itself to us at every moment. Every form, every creature, every occurrence is an action of the Universe upon 279us, and religion is just the acceptance of each separate thing as a part of the Whole, of each limited thing as an exhibition of the Infinite. What would go further and penetrate deeper into the nature and substance of the Whole, is no more religion, and if it will nevertheless be taken for religion, it invariably sinks into vain mythology.” Then follows, almost unchanged, the passage on p. 49, about what in the ancient world was religion, and what was mythology.

Intuition is always single and distinct. Union and arrangement into a whole are not the business of sense but of abstract thinking. For religion, each intuition and feeling is unconnected and independent, immediate and true by itself. As the Universe can be viewed from an infinite number of points of view, there can be no system. There can no more be a system of intuitions than of the stars. The only system among them is the primitive endeavour to group them in definite but wretched and inappropriate figures. You may sketch the wain on the blue scroll of the worlds, but your neighbour is free to enclose them in quite other outlines. “This infinite chaos, where each point is a world, is the best and highest emblem of religion.” At each different point of the material world you see a new arrangement that leaves no trace of your arbitrary figures, and there are new objects within your ken. No horizon could embrace all, and there could be no eye which nothing could escape. In religion, from each different point of view you will see new intuitions and different groupings of the old. The infinity of speculation is in the endless variety of action and passion between the same limited matter and the mind; the infinity of morals is the impossibility of inward completeness; but religion is not only infinite in these respects, it is infinite on every side, in matter and in form and in way of perception.

The passage (pp. 54-56) follows little altered.

“But to complete the general sketch of religion, recollect 280that each intuition, from its very nature, is linked to a feeling. Your organs mediate the connection between the object and yourselves. The influence of the object that reveals its existence to you, must stimulate them in various ways, and produce a change in your inner consciousness. Frequently it is hardly perceived. In other circumstances it becomes so violent that you forget both the object and yourselves.” Yet, even then, you will not ascribe the activity of your spirit that has been set in motion, to the influence of external objects. “Thus also in religion the same operation of the Universe, whereby it reveals itself in the finite, brings it also into a new relation to your mind and to your state.” With the intuition you must necessarily have many feelings. The intuition does not, indeed, as in perception, preponderate so much over the feeling, but the eternal world may, like the sun, dazzle the eyes, casting its image and its splendour long after on all objects.

The kind of intuition of the Universe determines the type of your religion, the strength of feeling, its degree. The sounder the sense, the more clearly and definitely will each impression be apprehended; the more ardent the thirst, the more persistent the impulse to be always and everywhere impressed by the Universe, the more easy, perfect and dominant will the impressions be. The feelings of religion should possess us and we should give them expression, but if they urge us to action, we are in another sphere. If you will still consider it religion, however good the action, it is only superstition. All actions must be moral, religion accompanying as a sacred music, “all should be done with religion, nothing from it.” And even though you do not admit that all actions are moral, the same is true of those you exclude. The moralist, the politician, the artist must all act with calmness and discretion, not a possible thing if man is impelled to action by the violent feelings of religion. Religion, without any other impulse to activity, rather tends to inactive contemplation. To act 281on the Whole by feeling direct from the Whole, would be like acting towards a man according to the immediate impression he makes upon us. Morals condemns it because it gives room for alien motives, and religion because it makes man cease to be what gives him religious value—a part of the Whole acting by its own free power. Action proceeding from its own proper source with the soul full of religion, is the aim of the pious. Action from religion is the impulsion of bad spirits not good. The legion of angels with which the Father provided the Son were around Him not in Him.

The next matter to understand is intuitions and feelings. For clear consciousness, reflection and utterance they must be considered apart, but the finest spirit of religion is thereby lost. In our original consciousness there are two activities, one controlling and working outwards, and another subservient, sketching and copying. Straightway in the simplest matter the elements divide, one set combines into an image of the object and the other penetrating to the centre of our being, dashes itself upon our original impulses and developes a fleeting feeling. In the same way no creation of the religious sense can escape this fate of division. Yet intuition without feeling is nothing, and feeling without intuition is nothing. There is a mysterious moment in every sense perception, before intuition and feeling divide, when sense and object mingle and are one. “It is fleeting and indescribable, but I wish you could seize it and recognize it again in the higher, the divine religious activity of the spirit.”

This moment is a kiss, an embrace, pp. 43, 44. Without it religion is but a spinning of formulas, pp. 47, 48.

The divine life is like a tender plant, the flowers of which are fertilized in the bud. The holy intuitions and feelings that you can dry and preserve are but the calixes and corollas that soon open and soon fall. But out of them I would now wind a sacred wreath.


First I conduct you to Nature as the outer court. The first intuition of the world and its Spirit is neither from fear of material forces nor from joy at physical beauty. Both had their place in preparing rude peoples, and may yet through art have a higher influence, but these influences naturally diminish with civilization, (p. 64) one god being made to conquer another, and the beauties of the globe being seen to be for universal matter pure delusion. “At a higher stage, perhaps, we shall see that to which here we must submit, ruling universally in all the vault of heaven, and a sacred awe will fill us at the unity and universality of material forces, and we may some time discover with astonishment in this delusion the same Spirit that quickens the Whole.”

After p. 66 the alterations are less extensive.

On p. 93 the section on the idea of God has been re-cast, and some think entirely changed.

‘For me the Deity is only one kind of religious intuition, of which any others there may be, are independent. I do not accept the position, ‘No God, no religion.’

The idea of God may be very different. To most men God is merely the genius of humanity, man being the prototype. To this God mankind is everything, and His disposition and nature are determined by what man takes to be His doings and dealings. But to me mankind is not everything, but an infinitely small part, a fleeting form of the Universe. There may be many beings above humanity, but every race and individual is subordinated to the Universe. Can God in this sense then be anything for me but one type of intuition?

Let us proceed to the highest idea, a Highest Being, a Spirit of the Universe who rules with freedom and understanding. On this idea also religion is not dependent. To have religion is to have an intuition of the Universe, and while this idea of God suits every intuition, a religion without God might still be better than another with God.


The stages of religion depend on the sense, the idea of God on the direction of the imagination. “If your imagination attach itself to the consciousness of freedom so that it cannot think of what originally operates on it, except as a free being, you will personify the Spirit of the Universe and have a God. If it attach itself to understanding, so that you always clearly perceive that freedom has only meaning in the individual and for individuals, then you have a World and no God. You will not I trust consider it blasphemy that the belief in God should depend on the direction of the imagination. You will know that imagination is the highest and most original activity in man, and that all besides is only reflection upon it.” Your imagination creates the world, and you could have no God without the world. “The knowledge of the source of this necessity will not make anyone less certain, nor enable him to escape the almost absolute necessity to have this idea of God. Only as operative can God be in religion, and no one has denied the divine life and action of the Universe. With the God of existence and command religion has nothing to do.”

In the Third Speech, p. 120, “Everyone misses in himself, etc.,” was, till the third edition, “Seeing I myself miss not a little in myself.”

On p. 138 another interesting personal reference has been toned down. “Were it not impious to wish to be more than one is, I would wish that I could see as clearly how the sense for art by itself passes into religion, how despite the rest into which through each separate enjoyment the spirit sinks, it yet feels itself urged to that progress which might lead to the Universe. Why are those who have gone this way, such silent natures? I do not know this sense, it is my most marked limitation, it is the defect in my nature that I feel most deeply. But I treat it with esteem. I do not presume to see, but I believe. The possibility of the matter stands clear before my eyes, only 284it must remain a secret for me.” Again, p. 139, By the sense for art the “divine Plato raised the holiest mysticism on the summit of divineness and humanness. Let me do homage to the goddess to me unknown, that she cherished him and his religion so carefully and disinterestedly.”

In the Fourth Speech there are no changes of any consequence.

In the Fifth Speech, the first clause, “Man in closest fellowship with the Highest,” was, “Man in the intuition of the Universe.” That is the key-note of the changes. Intuition of the Universe gives place to relation to God. Thus p. 217, “The whole of all religions is nothing but the sum of all relations of man to God,” replaces a passage that derives the need of an endless mass of religious forms from the number, variety, and independence of intuitions of the Infinite.

Later the additions are more striking than the changes. On p. 224, when he asks whether it is necessary to belong to an existing religion, he replies “By no means,” without any “Provisionally” or any modification as in the paragraph at the top of p. 225. Further additions are, on p. 246 foot, “and that for man under the power of the finite, and particular, and too ready to imagine the divine itself in this form, salvation is only to be found in the redemption”; p. 248, after “Yet He never maintained He was the only mediator,” “the only one in whom His idea actualized itself. All who attach themselves to Him and form His Church should also be mediators with Him and through Him”; further on, on the same page, the reason given why the person who sets out from the same point as Christ is a Christian, “It will naturally follow that they will acknowledge Him,” and p. 249 the last clause in the second paragraph about the first-fruits of the Spirit having special holiness and worth. Page 251, first paragraph. “I at least can only believe,” was “I at least fear.”

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