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translation they have lost so little of their reality and strength of expression.* I have often reflected with pleasure on the existence of so much that is exalted, rich, and varied, as is contained in the Bible, in the books of the Old and New Testament; and if this be, as is very frequently the case, the only book in the hands of the people, yet have they in this a compendium of human thought, history, poetry, and philosophy so complete, that it would be difficult to find a feeling or a thought which has not its echo in these books. Neither is there much in them which is incomprehensible to a common simple mind. The learned may penetrate deeper, but no one can go away unsatisfied.

I have always sought so to weave myself into the present, so as to be able to win, as far as possible, an interior victory over outward discomfort; and exactly in this point of view the reading of the Bible is an infinite, and certainly far the surest source of consolation. I know nothing to be compared to it. The consolation of the Bible flows equally, though in different ways, from both the Old and New Testament. In both, the general guidance of God, and the universal government of his Providence is the prevailing idea; and from hence, in religiously disposed minds, springs the deeply fixed, and ineffaceable conviction, that even the order of things under which we ourselves suffer, is the most wisely appointed, and the most beneficial not only for the whole, but, in consequence of that, for the sufferer himself. In the new testament there is such a full predominance of the spiritual and the moral; every thing is so completely rested upon and carried back to purity of mind, that whatever else external or internal may happen to man, if he but strive earnestly and eagerly after this, all the rest falls back into shadow. Hence misfortune and every other sorrow loses a part of its oppressive influence, and at all events none of its bitterness remains. The infinite mildness of the whole New Testament doctrine, which figures God almost entirely on the merciful side, and in which the self-sacrificing love of Christ for the human race, is everywhere brought forward; joined with the example which he himself has set us, alleviates like a healing balsam, every pain both of mind and body. In the Old Testament we do not find this, but there again appear, and always with more of comfort than terror, the omnipotence and omniscience of the Creator and Beholder of all things, raising us above our own individual sorrows by the grandeur of the representation.


The sight of the heavens, under whatever aspect, has an unceasing charm for me, by night, whether it be gloomy or starlight; by day, whether the eye loses itself in deep blue, or amid passing clouds, or in an unvaried grey, makes

Luther's translation is among the finest renderings ever made of the Hebrew Scriptures. It has the same simplicity and strength which characterizes the English version. Of this a writer in the Catholic Dublin Review (attributed to Prof. J. H. Newman), remarks on the Protestant English version of the Bible: "It lives on the ear like music that can never be forgotten-like the sound of a church bell which a convert hardly knows he can forego Its felicities seem to be almost things rather than mere words. It is part of the national mind, and the anchor of national seriousness. The memory of the dend passes into it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in its verses. The dower of all the gifts and trials of a man is hidden beneath its words. It is the representative of his best moments, and all that there has been about him of soft, and gentle, and poor, and penitent, and god. speaks to him forever out of the English Bible. It is his sacred thing, which doubt has never dimmed, and controversy never soiled. In the length and breadth of the land there is not a Protestant with one spark of righteousness about him, whose spiritual biography is not in his Saxon Bible."

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every one of these aspects awakens some especial tone of mind in man; and when we have the happiness not to be dependent on the weather for our mood, we are not obliged to be melancholy because the sky is dark, but can bring forth from our own mind continually fresh thoughts as outward circumstances vary; a colorless sky is no evil. Complaints about the weather are quite foreign to my nature, and I do not like to hear others complain of it. I consider Nature as a combination of forces, which may afford the purest pleasure if we quietly acquiesce in and accommodate ourselves to all its varying developments, and look at it as a whole, of which it matters little whether the smaller details be pleasant, so long as its great cycle of events completes its course. I have an especial delight in living face to face with Nature in the country, so that I may watch the progress of every season in turn.

Even without attaching any thought of religion to the sight of the heavens, there is something inexpressibly exciting to the mind in thus losing one's self in the infinity of space: it at once takes away from life its little cares and desires, and from reality its otherwise oppressive weight. As surely as the knowledge of man is the first and weightiest concern in the affairs of men, so surely, on the other hand, is there nothing more narrowing to the mind than the perpetually keeping our eyes fixed on the small circle of human beings by whom we are hemmed in. We must return often to the contemplation and feeling of a higher power ruling in human affairs, as we see it in nature, ere we can safely come back to the fetters of society. Only thus do we learn to hold the things of real life to be matters of minor importance, to make less account of good or ill fortune, to be careless about wants and vexations, and to fix our attention solely on the changes which take place in it, so as to leave exterior life to a certain degree out of our consideration. The thought of death has then nothing in it which can frighten or sadden us; we rather enjoy the recalling it, and look on the farewell to life which must follow, as a natural step in the development of being.

Natural objects themselves, even when they make no claim to beauty, excite the feelings and occupy the imagination. Nature pleases, attracts, delights, merely because it is nature. We recognize in it an Infinite Power, greater and more effective than that of man, and yet not terrible; for a mild and beneficial influence seems to be extended on every objeet around us. Indeed the gene

ral character of nature is kind and good. When we talk of tremendous cliffs, and terribly sublime scenery, nature herself, nevertheless, is not to be feared. We soon become confident and at home among the wildest rocks, and feel that to the hermit who flies to her for shelter, she readily imparts tranquillity and peace.

Faith only can raise us above our little daily life, and worldly business ;that only can give the soul a direction to higher things, and to objects and ideas which alone have value or importance. It bestows what certainly you have not failed to enjoy, and which you doubtless value far beyond all that is called happiness or good fortune,-I mean the peace of the soul. It is grounded chiefly, no doubt, on an untroubled and clear conscience, but it is not attained by that alone: we must be content with our lot, and be able to say calmly and truly that we have not murmured at it, but on the contrary have received it when prosperous, with humility, when adverse, with resignation and real confidence in God's wise government. As a difficult, perplexing situation enhances the merit of accommodating ourselves to it without complaint, or of freeing ourselves from it by our own exertions, so we thus grow into better accord with our lot, whatever it may be.

We perceive in the immutable course of Nature, always following fixed laws, something infinitely consoling and tranquillizing. There is something here, then, that does not change; "an immovable pole amid the circling course of appearances," as Schiller beautifully expresses it in one of his poems. Man, then, belongs to a great and immutable order of things; and this as certainly leads to something higher, and finally to a point at which all doubts will be explained, and all difficulties made plain; when all the involved and apparently discordant laws will at last unite into one mighty diapason;-so must he, too, proceed with it to this same point. The character, moreover, which is impressed upon nature is always so gentle a one, that the finest feelings can

not be wounded by it. The tranquillity, the joy, the splendor which she spreads around; the magnificence and grandeur in which she clothes herself, have nothing in them either of pretension or of haughtiness to repulse us. However deep may be the affliction, the mind nevertheless opens itself willingly to the feelings awakened by the numberless flowers of the renewed year, the joyful twitter of the birds, the splendor of the objects touched by the still brightening and strengthening sun, as he goes forth in his might. Grief then assumes the form of a gentle melancholy, which is not a stranger to a certain peace and sweetness even. If, finally, we regard nature as not really all, merely the bond between the spiritual and corporeal world; if we take it as the operation of matter and its forces, acting in obedience to the Creator, then it is the earthly shell only of man that belongs to it; himself, his higher and proper existence, steps beyond its bounds, and associates itself to another and nobler order of things. You will see from this, nearly, how I am influenced by the slowly approaching, yet beautiful Spring; how I enjoy it; and how it mingles with all my deepest feelings.

All the things which surround us contain in themselves matter for contemplation, for enjoyment, and for delight, both for the mind and feelings, which is wholly different from, and independent of, the peculiar destination and physical uses of any of them. The more we abandon ourselves to the pursuit of it, the more does this deeper sense-this meaning which belongs half to the natural object, and half to us who find it-open upon us. Let us only, for instance, look at the clouds. In themselves they are nothing but shapeless mist, the consequence of moisture and warmth; yet how, when viewed from the earth, do they enliven the sky with their forms and colors, and how many fancies and feelings do they give rise to in the mind.

The leaves of the trees are beginning to take the varied colors which so much ornament the autumn, and to a certain degree make up for the loss of the first fresh green. The little place which I inhabit (Tegel) is admirably made to show all the beauties which large handsome trees of different kinds exhibit through all the changing seasons of the year. All round the house they stand broad and spreading, like a green fan. Over the land alleys extend in various directions: in the garden and the vineyard there are fruit trees: in the park is a thick dark growth of underwood: the lake is surrounded with a forest, and the islands in it are bordered with trees and bushes. I have a particular love for trees, and I do not like to cut them down, nor even to transplant them. There is something melancholy in removing a poor tree from the society in which it has lived so long, to bring it into fresh soil, from which, however much it may disagree with its constitution, it has no chance of escap ing any more, but must pine away through a slow exhaustion, awaiting its final death. There is generally an extraordinary character of anxious wish in trees, when they stand so fixed and cramped in the earth, and try to extend their summits and their branches as far as possible beyond the bounds of their roots. I know nothing in nature so formed to be the symbol of desire. Man, too, in fact, with all his apparent freedom of motion, is very much in the same state. He is still confined within a certain space, however widely he may roam: sometimes he can never stir from his small circle, (and this is often the case with women) the same little spot sees his cradle and his grave; or if he removes from it, he is drawn back to it from time to time by his inclination or his duty.


Occupation, in my mind, is as much a need as eating and drinking; even those who do nothing which a sensible man would call work, fancy at least that they are doing something: an idler, if even in his heart he means to remain such, does not tell the world so. There is, however, one employment, though of a different kind, which may be enjoyed while traveling: namely silent thought, which goes on without moving a finger, without reading and without writing. It is not indeed impossible to enjoy it at home, but very often business does not allow of it, and we can hardly attain it excepting in a

lonely walk. I set a particular value upon it, and for this reason pass sleepless nights very willingly, though this seldom happens to me except in illness, for I am a good and sound sleeper. Upon a journey it becomes almost necessary, and thus I can have my enjoyment with a clear conscience. . . . It is certainly true that men in general do not allow themselves time enough for thought they do any thing rather than think, even when they are quite free from business; or when they have no higher demand on their time and attention, they give themselves up to mere empty nothings. The occupations of men are, unfortunately, for the most part such that they shut out all deep thought whilst they are going on, and yet make no ennobling claim on the mind: yet many have the folly to attach a value to these occupations, and even to pride themselves upon their diligence in them.

It is far better and more beneficial to read and think: that is, to read merely for the sake of matter to think about; because thought must have some object, some thread which may give it connection and sequence; and for this purpose we need only to take up any book that comes to hand, and can lay it aside again for any other. If this be done for some weeks, a person must be quite wanting in intellectual vigor and activity, if ideas do not arise of themselves which he will wish to pursue farther; or things which he desires to know more about: and then he enters upon a study of his own choice, not one imposed upon him by another. This is what I think I have seen done by all the women who lead any thing like an active intellectual life.


God has given life to man in order that he may employ it in a way pleasing to Him, and conformable to duty; and that he may be happy in the consciousness of so doing. It is undoubtedly given us for our happiness. But happiness has always this condition attached to it, that, whether at first, or when longer days have brought their trials with them, we shall find it only in the practice of duty and self-command. I therefore never ask myself what value life has for me: I endeavor to fill it well, and leave the rest to Providence. The diminution which our powers sustain as age advances, I know full well by my own experience; but I can not on that account retract what I lately wrote to you, namely, that the proper aim of life is to increase to the utmost the mental capacity of the individual, according to the circumstances he is placed in, as well as to the length of life and power of knowledge granted him.

Happiness does not depend on those outward circumstances from which vexation and contradiction arise; and heaven has so wisely distributed these last, that he who outwardly appears the most favored, is not on that account the more free, even for a moment, from occasion and causes of interior grief. In a life already tolerably long, and certainly not spent in the easiest of positions, many things have happened to me which, for a longer or shorter time, have thrown me out of my usual course of life, exactly in those parts which touched me the most nearly.


Life and death, unalterably connected together, are but developments of the same being; and it would be inconsiderate and childish to wish to alter or delay the moral and physical maturity appointed to all men. Still less is it from the slightest weariness of life. I had the same feeling in my happiest days,

and now that I am no longer susceptible of pleasure from without, but live quietly in myself and my recollections, I can still less have any quarrel with life. But the lapse of time has something in it delightful to me: time does not flow on emptily;-it brings, and takes, and leaves behind: through it we become continually richer, not exactly in enjoyment, but in something higher. I do not mean by this, mere dry experience;-no,—it is an elevation to a greater clearness of perception, and a fuller self-knowledge: what our nature is capa ble of, we are more thoroughly;-and we more clearly comprehend why it is capable of so much, and will be of yet more. And this being the center point of the present and future being of man, is the highest and the most important to him.

I very early cherished the feeling that we must always be prepared to make our way manfully through whatever lot be appointed to us. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to regard life as an ocean through which we must steer our vessel with better or worse fortune, and then it is a natural feeling to like rather to have a short than a long voyage before us. This view of life,-as a whole, as a work that must be gone through with.-has always appeared to me a powerful aid towards the meeting death with equanimity. If, on the contrary, we look at life piecemeal, if we try only to add one pleasant day to another, as if we thought this could endure to all eternity, there is nothing more comfortless than to stand close upon the boundary where the series will at once be broken off. . . .

Man may make life what he pleases, and give it as much worth, both for himself and others, as he has energy for. Of course this must be understood only in a moral and spiritual sense; for we do not hold outward circumstances in our power; and it is only over our intellectual and moral being that we can rule: but over this our sway is complete. On this account,-if we can but bring ourselves to think calmly,-life has truly an inestimable value, even under the most unpleasant circumstances.

Death, and a new life, can only be for those who are already mature for the change. Man must seek to advance this ripeness in himself; for the ripeness of death, and that for the new life is one and the same. It consists in a separation from what is earthly; in an indifference to earthly enjoyments, and earthly activity; in a life in thoughts far removed from this world; in a casting off of anxious wishes for happiness here; in short, in a state of mind which looks without anxiety to what may be our lot in this world, and only considers the end after which we are striving: which exercises fortitude and self-denial, and maintains a strict self-goverment. From hence arises the serene, fearless peace of mind, which needs nothing exterior, and which extends over our intellectual existence a heavenly brightness, like the unclouded blue of an earthly sky.

Weariness of life,-insensibility to its enjoyments, -a wish that it were ended, these have no share in my solitude.

Life is an outward occupation, an actual work, in all ranks and all situations. It is not, however, exactly this occupation or this work itself which is of such great value, but it is the thread by which better things, namely, our thoughts and feelings, are connected, or along which they run. It is the ballast without which the ship would have no steadiness on the waves.

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