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old nations rattling in their sepulchres, or to pester us with a discourse as long and tedious as a Poet Laureate's epic, on the question whether these are really bones rattling, or the shrieks of ghosts, or merely an imaginary noise,--this is worse than impertinent,-it is insulting and cruel. Next to the man in these days who can do a noble deed without chattering thereof to all the world, I praise and honor him who tells me what he wants in the fewest words. History as it is the fashion to write it, is like the police report and the leading article of a newspaper jumbled into one:-a sprauling diffuseness of vapid argument and a vulgar minuteness of paltry detail, trying hard which can be most wearisome. All this arises from the habit of stripping Humanity of the torn, threadbare, blood-stained raiment in which it has done battle with falsehood and iniquity, to put on it decent clothes to fit it for entrance into ‘respectable society,' --thus giving it as much of insipid prettiness and of real interest as a figure in a wax-work exhibition.

We must sweep away without mercy all these heavy heaps of loquacious silliness, Universal Histories, Philosophical Histories, Histories of Civilization, Histories of Human Progress, if we are to have the heart of our race once more beating warmly on our own, or if we are to save from suffocation that Providential Idea which has been our race's weapon of war and sinew and soul. As in the community it is best, even for the community's sake, that all the rights of the individual should be recognized, so in considering the history of the world it is indispensable that nations should be viewed in the sharp and gleaming distinctness of their Nationality. The social reforms of the day all fail, because, instead of directly appealing to the individual they are addressed to an airy something called the community :--that is to say, the community remains unreformed because the reformation of the community alone is regarded. So likewise the history of the world is badly understood, because the abstraction which we name 'Mankind,' veils from us the radiant countenance and majestic march of mighty Nations. When eaten from the tree the leaves and branches of the yew are a wholesome food to cattle; but if eaten when they have fallen and withered they act as a deadly poison. Thus history is full of nourishment to the mind, when plucked and eaten in all its fresh variety, but grows poisonous when the hand of the pedant dissevers it from the tree of natural life, blights its verdure, and squeezes out its sap. And his withering touch is never felt so fatally as when he huddles nations out of sight to show me some mighty misshapen puppet of his own making, which he is impudent enough to call Mankind. What do I care for Astronomy, if you take from me the stars ? Leave me but one solitary star in the midnight sky, and that will more abound with lustrous gladness to my soul than a catalogue and classification of all the stars that have ever been discovered. The history of a single people will teach me more of man, and bring him closer to my bosom, than the most learned and elaborate history of mankind.

But, in truth, this habit of writing history in such a way as to swamp the individuality of nations, is only one of many absurdities, all of which have an equal effect in annihilating that individuality. Thus we have history divided into sacred and profane, and great care is taken to distinguish between Heathen times and Christian times. If at some particular period Human Nature had undergone some most notable and essential change, there might be propriety in such divisions :--but as we know that, either for good or for evil, Human Nature cannot substantially change, those divisions are ineffably preposterous in their artificiality, What but a human caprice separates ancient history from modern ? Is it not well known that the institutions, the customs, the languages of those we name the Ancients, stretched far into these moderni centuries ? that Latin was the language of the learned till within a recent period ? If also you take away the part which Greece, Rome, and other ancient nations have had in our modern civilization, very little of this will remain. Saving a few peculiarities, as unimportant in themselves as those of dress, there is no great difference between ancient civilization and modern; and whenever we find a difference it is to the advantage of the former: for the Titanic robustness of Will among the men of old, is the very amplest compensation for that deeper Spiritualism of which we feel so much inclined to boast.

Besides, what is really ancient or modern ? The Egyptian who lived in the time of Christ could trace back the annals of his country for several thousand years, and find it even then florishing in arts and in arms, astonishing alike from its religious eulture and its religious monuments. To what inconceivable antiquity does this fact point, not only for Egypt but for the whole earth! And admitting it, are we not obliged to confess that ever since man had a history, there was some venerable remoteness of years and of events hovering duskily behind him?

And is it less a human caprice which separates sacred history from profane ? What does such a separation mean? Does it mean that the Jews were the only nation who claimed to have a revelation, prophets, and sacred books ? But every nation with a history at all has claimed to hav all these, in one shape or another. Does it mean that the Jews were the only nation pretending that their national God worked miracles to instruct their minds, to strengthen their faith, to defend them from their enemies ?

But the belief in miracles is an instinct of the human keart, and wherever a nation had a national God, a miraculous power was the foremost attribute with which it crowned him. Besides, it is the veriest Atheism to make a distinction between profane and sacred history, because from that portion of history which you call profane you banish God's providence. For if this is not what such a distinction involves, then no shred of history is profane, and it all becomes sacred, as being all pervaded and sanctified by the same Divine Providential Idea.

Then as to the distinction between Heathen and Christian times, what else is that but a human caprice? However much we admit Christianity to have done, or to be fitted to do, it is still only one of innumerable agencies for working out the purposes of God's government. God did not discover for the first time that the world was worth attending to when Christ came. If it had not been worth God's attention till then, it would not have been worth Christ's coming to it at all. God governs the world from the same holy necessity that he created it; perhaps it is correcter to say, that his creation and his government are one ;--in themselves indeed, they must be the same, it is only in our human idea that they are different. So that we deny his creation whenever we deny his government. But what is a government which does not govern ? Yet what but this monstrosity do those plead for, who are ready to tear us to pieces in their fierce fanatical wrath, unless

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we confess at once the beauty of this distinction between Heathen times and Christian ? If the crotchet of these people bas any sense at all it must signify that God is present there only where there is spiritual appreciation of his presence, since the chief object of Christ's mission was to deepen that spiritual appreciation. Now this, pushed to its fair logical extreme, would imply that even to such as have learned from Christ, and thrö Christ, spiritual appreciation of the Deity, the Deity is only present in those moments and those moods--so rare in the lives of the best men- -when spiritual appreciation of God is felt and practised. It is common enough however for the religionists whose thin and wrinkled souls feed greedily upon

the husks of dogma as upon celestial food, to cling to a mad notion with a mad tenacity, yet shrink with horror from all its legitimate consequences. And if you point to those consequences as inevitable, they politely inform you that you are tempted by the Devil,-a very convenient mode of kicking the difficulty aside, and from which it would seem that the Devil is a troublesome logician! Yet, at the risk of being considered the ally of that personage, let me ask our worthy friends who slice out Christian history from the general mass of history as a savory bit for their own private enjoyment, Whether they do in all honesty believe, that from every country and from every nation previous to the gospel, God was quite shut out? If they believe this, then they must likewise believe that during countless centuries everywhere on the globe, God's everlasting and immutable laws had ceased to prevail! But if they shudder at this as too atrocious in its absurdity, and declare that God's laws can no more cease than he himself can perish, then thrö all history, God, the Providential, must have been present, since God's laws are only another name for himself, and it is thrö them, and their results alone, that we can know anything regarding him.

By these remarks I intend to show, that it is only with nations as nations, that history has to do,—that its main object is defeated when distinctions are introduced into it founded on philosophical, chronological, or thcological considerations: those distinctions at the same time, warring with that Providential Idea without which our race is an enigma and a blunder in the Universe. A history is merely the Biography of a Nation. Now we do not make these distinctions of sacred and profane, Heathen and Christian, in the biography of individuals ; why should we in the biography of nations ? Socrates was as much a solid and indisputable man, with fire from heaven in bim-as much an utterance from the great deep of things,--as John Milton. This we all readily enough avow. The interest appertaining to the first is not diminished by the facts that he lived two thousand years before the other, that he was a Heathen, and that his country's deeds and glories are banished by the pedants into the region of “profane' history; nor do we find the other more interesting because he was a Christian, and had his vocation in modern times. We are attracted to each of them by what he was, and not by the accidents of his position. Why should it be otherwise with nations ? A nation has its birth, growth, life, its wealth of opportunities, its wrestle with eternal necessity, its foot on eternal existence amid transitory appearance, as well as the individual. Behind it as behind him.-like the flashing sword of an archangel, gazes evermore, benignant as light, consuming as flame,--the visage of Eternal Justice. Altogether, a nation as much as an individual, is an entire and organic manifestation.

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And as in the designs of Almighty Providence each individual has his mission, thus likewise each nation has its mission. It would be wrong in speaking of the mission of individuals to limit our attention to the primordial Agents of Civilization, and to pass over the miscellaneous mass of men as too insignificant to be dignified with a calling from on high. Equally wrong would it be to say that primordial peoples and countries alone had a divine destination to realize the Providential Idea. Every atom is needed in the construction and development of the Universe. Every production of Nature has its own distinctive qualities and appropriate field. Every man his own special faculties and his own special allotment of duty and of doing. In like fashion every nation has its own particular attributes, and is the fore-ordained apocalypse of some infinite thought hidden from of old in the Invisible, and not till now fated to receive incarnation among men. But as no atom knows why it is used for one purpose and not for another; as no production of Nature knows the object it has been sent to serve; as no individual knows what is the import of his apostleship on earth; so no nation knows what part of the Providential Idea it is consecrated to unfold and express.

It is not true, that genius (or power of any kind influenced by Will) is unconscious of itself. Every strength, rude or refined, that can reflect on itself at all, is conscious of itself to the entire extent that it is strength. The man who runs faster, or swims better, than any other man in the parish, cannot be ignorant of the fact. So just as inevitably must the poet be conscious of his poetical gifts, the artist of his artistic aptitudes, the hero of his valor. But neither poet nor artist, nor hero, may have the remotest conception of the place in the providential plan they are each predestined to fill. It is only other men, and other ages, that can approach to a true estimation of this.

The law in such matters is, that just in proportion to the possession of faculty and the consciousness thereof, is the unconsciousness as to its effect or significance in the Providential Government. The man conscious of his mission, or of what he thinks such, is simply a man unconscious of himself, of his real powers; the man conscious of himself, of his real powers, is always a man unconscious of his mission. Here we have the grand characteristic of the present age. It is an age when every man and body of men, are conscious of their mission, or of what they dream to be such; while they are utterly unconscious of themselves, of their real powers. It is only another, and perhaps far distant age, which will be able to tell what the mission of the present age has really been. Thus likewise, exactly as a nation is conscious of itself, of its energies, will it be unconscious of its mission. What nation had a grander and more enduring consciousness of itself, of its faculties, than Egypt? What nation more unconscious of its destiny in the development of the Providential Idea ? The nation in ancient times most conscious of its mission and the least conscious of its faculties, was the Jewish :-in modern times the French, In ancient times the nation least conscious of its mission, most conscious of its faculties, was the Greek; in modern times the German. In saying however that Judea and France have been so conscious of their mission, I do not mean to affirm that the one knew, or that the other knows, its real mission. Nations, like individuals may have a morbid self-analysing consciousness. The effect of this in individuals, is to make them brood on those of their faculties which are

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the sickliest; and this is also its effect in nations. The Jew was always supposing that to be his mission which was his malady, and in this respect the Frenchman signally resembles him. Those nations have done the greatest things which have had the consciousness of mission, and the consciousness of faculty, in equal proportions. Such of old was Rome; and such is England now. In general it is enthusiasm which enables individuals to achieve memorable results, while, oil the contrary, it is not enthusiasm but calm pertinacity of purpose, thrö which, in most cases, nations conquer for themselves wide renown and an enduring empire. And this constitutes the chief difference between the mission of individuals and the mission of nations. When also a nation does become enthusiastic, it is seldom anything more than the expression, and the instrument, of some notable man's enthusiasm. The Arabians who burst forth from the depths of their desert to tell the world, with the eloquence of resistless swords, that there was no God but God, and that Mahomet was his prophet, were the most enthusiastic of nations, yet so entirely because the most enthusiastic of men had poured his own burning energy, like a lava flood, into their hearts. Nations that are the embodiment of a prophet's enthusiasm, can never be great but once. They live only so long as the prophet's soul lives in them. It is their imagination chieily which that soul has enkindled; and tho the imagination gives more strength than any of the other faculties for a time, its influence is transitory just in the degree that it is intense. As long as Moses reigned in the imagination of the Jews they were a great nation; when he had dwindled from a hero of the imagination into a cold Pharisaic tradition, the cunning left their right hand and their glory departed never to return. Contrariwise, the grand abiding nations of the world are incapable of the enthusiasm which springs from imagination. With them, when they can be stirred into strong and unaccustomed emotion, enthusiasm is the voice of Conscience and of Hate. In their seasons of enthusiasm they are even less imaginative than usual. Imagination is thrust aside as a trivial and unholy thing, too giddy and too gaudy for earnest workmen and heroic work. A Prophet starts from the bosom of God, and says to a nation—Be thou my preacher!' A cold and stern, but stalwart and persistent nation, is roused from its habitual tranquility of existence, its habitual regularity of action, by some flagrant wrong, some grievous sin, and elects one of its bravest, wisest, noblest children, and cries,—'Be thou my Prophet, -Be thou my Soldier,--Be thou my Avenger!' It is thus that while the flaming Arabians, drunk and wild with dreams of the Koran, were merely the impersonation of Mahomet,--Cromwell, with all his genius, valor, and sagacity, was merely the impersonation of Puritanism. While one nation therefore has only one mission, another nation may have several, as is the case with the grand abiding nations of the world; they having their primordial, perpetual, special mission, and the mission which they fulfil in each of their outbursts of enthusiasm, and also a mission resulting from their Ideas and Institutions. The first may be named their divine mission, the second their prophetic mission, the third their human mission; tho all the three have alike their part in the development and realization of the PROVIDENTIAL IDEA. The divine mission of Rome was Force; its prophetic mission those famous events in its history which, apart from military success and defeat, thoroly excited the enthusiasm of its people; its human mission, its influence on the legislation, the languages, and the varicd culture of

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