Imágenes de páginas

through which comparison and judgment and reflection lead. It is only a bugbear of the intuitionist that the experientialist is limited to the realm of sense-perception. "The tangible processes," says Tyndall, "give direction to the line. of thought; but, this once given, the length of the line is not limited by the boundaries of the senses. Indeed, the domain of the senses in nature is almost infinitely small in comparison with the vast region accessible to thought alone which lies beyond them." Did Dalton ever imagine he had seen an atom? Yet his atomic theory of matter no less commends itself to scientific thought. Then, too, this mere man of ours has memory, that phonograph which keeps the record, sometimes for eighty years, of things impressed on it,- keeps the record of thousands and millions of things; that graphophone which gives them out again in far-off years, sometimes the words, the tones, which we would willingly forget. Moreover, in our mere man there is that power which we call imagination. It is not creative, as in the man of genius, the artist, the novelist, the poet; but it is receptive. It can think their thoughts after them. They tell of Balzac that, condoling with a friend on his wife's sickness, he said, "But, to come back to the real world, how about' Eugénie Grandet'?" the last novel he had written. How real the novelist can make his world! the poet his! All over Europe their men and women were as real to me as those of the historians and biographers. It was not Thackeray, but Colonel Newcome, for whom I looked there at the Charter House among the aged pensioners. Where Romola lived in Florence was as vital a question as where Dante lived or Savonarola. And our mere man can enter into all these things. Unable to create, as can the great ones in this sphere, he can receive into the chambers of his imagery the long and brilliant train of their creations with a full and thankful heart.

How infinite in faculties this ordinary man! What a faculty he has for loving! what a joy in being loved! How he can love his parents, his brothers and sisters, the girl of his free choice, his wife, his children! How he can love his

country and his home, and the fields in which his boyish feet went wandering, and the homely sights made dear by the associations of his youth! How he can sometimes love where wronged and outraged most abominably! How women of this humble sort remember those whom God seems to have forgotten! How the mother's love follows her child on every downward path! Though he make his bed in hell, she is there to beat away the flame, to slake his torturing thirst, to woo him back to pure and noble ways. What another faculty of common men is that called conscience! How it holds the plainest, the most insignificant, as the world's judgments generally go, to duties that are immeasurably hard! Not a day goes by, and thousands and ten thousands of these men and women do not deny themselves as grandly as any of the famous ones of history and art, put great and threatening temptations under foot with as supreme a self-control. If houses where great deeds are done could blossom into flags, how from the humblest as from the most magnificent would every day such banners float and stream!

Or look at it in another way. Consider what the ordinary men are doing all the time. See what millions of acres they are sowing and tending for the world's food; how they are carrying the exchange of products to and fro across the continents and sea; how they are building roads and cities; how they are taming the rude forces of the world and harnessing them into the service of their peace and joy. Or, instead of the immediate aspect, take the continuous. See how, agreeing that God made the world, man has made it Grant that the change is not in every case a beauteous change. There are thousands of acres in Brooklyn which must have been as beautiful when Henry Hudson came to these shores as they are hideous now. reforming that a little, and some time we shall reform it altogether. A city in which every street and every house should be beautiful would cost no more than the vast areas of ugliness that we have now. But allowing all the change


We are

as man.

from good to bad, and what a work the average man has done upon the earth! how vast the range of his accomplishment! What institutions, moreover, he has built with all the material things; if under glorious leadership sometimes, contributing a glorious part! And of all his workmanship the best is still himself. He has made over nothing else so much From the hard oppositions of the world, as he has confronted them, as he has braced himself against them, he has forced a crown which to its iron adds ever costlier jewels as the centuries roll on. Historic man, though but of yesterday, has traversed a much greater distance than that traversed by prehistoric man; and the distance made by both of these together is not less than that which separates the highest animal from the lowest man.

Now, what do these things signify,― this wonderful aspect of man's physical life, this nobility of reason; this infinity of faculties, love, conscience, will; this achievement of the immediate present and the continuous past; this world and man made over by his patient strength,- what do they signify, these things, if not that the man who is sufficient for these things is no "mere" man, that no adjective of depreciation or contempt is suited to his powers and his performance? What is not " mere" in earth or heaven, if man so built and facultied and of such vast accomplishment can be so lightly set aside? A mere man! No: the chatter of the theologians is drowned by the antiphony of Shakspere and the Psalmist of old time: "What a piece of work is man!" "Thou hast made him little lower than God."

But, when the theologians of the past excluded Jesus from the human order, it was not as superior to the average man. It was as superior to all possible humanity. And that was right; for Tennyson has wisely sung, “The highest is the measure of the man." Add this to all we have already seen. Add the great artists and their pictures and their statues; add the great architects with their temples and cathedrals and their halls of civic pride; add the great poets and their poems; add Homer, Dante, Shak

spere, Milton, Keats, "him even," Wordsworth, Shelley, and Browning with the eagle's feather on his breast, and Tennyson and Lowell, and the rest of their great company. -"O Lyric love, half-angel and half-bird, and all a wonder and a wild desire," what lofty seat with them is thine! Add the great men of science, Copernicus and Galileo, Kepler and Newton, Buffon and Linnæus and Cuvier and Lamarck and Goethe and Lyell and Darwin and Wallace; add the great philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, Leibnitz, Descartes, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Spencer, Mill; add the great captains and deliverers, the great reformers, Savonarola, Luther, Cobden, Garrison; the great statesmen, Burke, Chatham, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln; add the great founders of religions, Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Mahomet, and why not Jesus, too? Why not, if all the rest? If all the rest are human, why not he? Did he surpass the highest of all these as much as these surpass the lowest of their acknowledged kind? And, if he did, what reason for exclusion there? But, surely, he did not. It were sheer intellectual dishonesty or moral blindness to pretend that there is anything in the New Testament Jesus differentiating him from Channing,- for example, intellectually or morally, as Channing was differentiated by his character and mind from the bruiser of the slums, from the cannibal, from the inanity and brutality of many whom the social canons of the first "Four Hundred do not rigidly exclude.

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A mere man! Look at them any way you will, the words are mutually inconvertible and repellent particles. Oil and water mix more easily. Cold and heat are less opposed. Darkness and light are more agreed. Good and evil do not so contend with one another in the womb of time. Whether we take the average, generic man in the scope of his physical immensity, and the range of his intellectual faculties, and the sweep of his affections, and the contrasting heights and depths of his moral nature, his struggle with temptation, his triumph over sin,- these things alone or, in addition, as we rightly may, the exceptional splendor of the world's greatest

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and most gifted souls, it does not matter much. The word "mere" has so little coherency with the first order of ideas, it is so utterly incongruous and absurd applied to them, that hardly can it be more so when the vision and report are extended to all those whose names, in science or in art, in literature or religion, in government or reform, have shed the brightest lustre on the fame and fortune of mankind. Once let a man appreciate the dignity and glory of humanity as they are revealed by history and science, by philosophy and art, by ethics and religion, and he will know that he could not show any great one, though it were him whom millions have identified with God, a more conspicuous dishonor than to exclude him from the glorious company of the weak and strong, the famous and unfamed, the ignorant and wise, the evil and the good, who are necessary all to each, in the wholeness of a complete humanity. And he whose favorite name, self-chosen, was the "Son of Man," would be the last to wish or hope or dream of any glory for himself in which the humblest might not freely share.

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