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INDOI SEAYTON was the oracle of ages ago ; but where has been the response in later days, except amongst the savage sages of the eastern and western worlds, whom we have contributed to destroy

«Ε caelo descendit γνωθι σεαυτον said the Roman satirist, catching the inspiration ; but this is altogether lost sight of in this utilitarian, go-a-head age. There is a higher wisdom and more glorious progression for man, than constructing cotton-mills, and flying over the world by steam. Mind, we do not say that this is not a stage of his advancementthat great social advantages are not derivable to the human family therefrom-but simply that it is not his ultimate destination. The progression of our ancient brethren was one of pure intellect,of high art: after thousands of years they are our exemplars to this moment: ours is no doubt more practical, more universally useful ; but which is most abiding in the principles and constitution of the human mind ?-which associates itself more with the existence and elements of an immortal soul ? It is altogether a question of nature, and not of degree. This error is pervading not merely our philosophy, but freezing up our feelings and affections, and even debasing our language. The title of the standard modern work upon astronomy, is “ Mécanique Céleste.” We hear the phrase constantly repeated “Mechanism of the Heavens." I define mechanism to be a work whose motions must come to an end, despite the will and despite the repairs of the contriver. Now no such thing can be predicated of the fabric of the Heavens. The language is calculated to degrade the conceptions ; and to reduce God's universe, of which we, perhaps, can grasp with difficulty but a fractional part, to the mere arrangement of the springs and wheels of a piece of clock-work. There is another phrase of later date, which I consider to be more unphilosophical and offensive : it is essentially utilitarian : I mean that of breadstuffs. Now I do think it no favourable sign of the progression of the Spirit of man, when the fruits of the earth are described in the same category as the products of the loom; but as my object is to discuss truth, and not to dogmatise, I request your liberal pages for the purpose of converging a few more rays of light upon an interesting subject.

I maintain, then, the progression of man, but that it is to be one of mental and not of material development. I maintain that material progression, if I may so term it, has already made its

appearance at various intervals in past ages, in certain cycles of time and in different forms, and that these cycles seem subject to a law which has been guessed at, but which, as a metaphysical problem on the mightiest scale, is is almost impossible to establish. That law seems to be a succession of ternary revolutions, whether of worlds or of men,-whether of principles or of facts. This has not escaped attention among philosophers. It has been asserted that the facts of history repeat themselves—as comets return in their orbits—the moving principles, the circumstances, the same. It has been asserted that the very characters of particular individuals are reproduced, fitted for a similarity of times. It has been personally experienced by many that there is a recurrence of facts, when we have exclaimed, “ surely such a circumstance has occurred to us before.And whether we explain this fact on the principle just mentioned, or ascribe it to what is called duality of mind, or to a sudden lapse of memory into some unfathomable abyss, which then returns, but divides the fact between its commencement and its close, and recognises it as two, we have said enough to show that this idea is by no means new, that facts are reproduced in vast circles, complicated but certain—a mighty psychological system. What then has been uniform, we would also establish as true. The progression of man consists within him. To his powers of feeling and conception we can assign no bound ; but he is cramped and controlled by facts without him,-facts, in many instances (and herein consists his greatest ignorance), with which he has contributed, and is daily contributing, to surround himself. I do not profess to stop human action, it is but the sign of inner power ; but I would attempt to regulate it; and I would do this, by showing, that a great deal of man's misery arises from himself, by his giving impulse to a series of these mighty vortices whose tendency is to engulph him, and by tracing these astonishing results to the minute point of action from which they commenced to move. Philosophers say that the nucleus of our planet was a mist, and the telescope discovers the indistinct specks of the milky way to be a system.

Drop a stone into a lake, and straightway you set a number of concentric circles in motion, and those at the extremity are gradually widening in proportion to the force with which you throw, and the size of the stone let fall. If any obstacle meets those advancing circles, they impinge, and produce new revolutions of circles in their turn. In the mean time the centre has become again placid, and the stone which has been the cause of all, is perhaps still travelling down slowly to its unknown depth. Such is the fråest analogy that occurs to me, by which to explain the nature and operation of facts as acting upon the social surface. Now it appears at first sight that this is but a vain and trifling analogy, but it is not. It serves to express the philosophy of the thing, the mode in which actions operate, circling from near to far, and producing new systems of circles, connected with a cause which has already buried itself, as it were, in a forgotten past. And, secondly, we cannot tell, even with respect to the waves upon the water themselves :—they may operate upon things invisible to us so as to affect them. We cannot presume to call this trifling, or indifferent ; some insect life may be shortened in the, to them, tempest that is created. Nor is the cause of all this destroyed ; it is only hidden, not lost, and may, in its new position, produce new effects.

But let us take a plainer, because more practical, analogy. The soil of a field is ploughed up, and to the surprise of the farmer, unknown flowers spring there, that were never, as he thinks, planted there ; or a garden is dug up, and weeds of some strange species appear there. Now we know that they were not of spontaneous growth. There must have been a cycle of time and of circumstances, perhaps a wide one, under which they originally sunk too deeply into the ground for growth, and under which they again made their unexpected appearance. But was either their disappearance or their re-appearance, indifferent ? Then how account for their preservation ? “The times and seasons are not in our own power. Their disappearance might have been a judgment or a mercy: their re-appearance the same, if not to us, at least to other creatures in the scale of being : and thus this analogy is doubly illustrative of our argument, because it shows the operation of the principle, and touches us in its application.

Let us strengthen our position by another analogy on a larger scale. Fathoms deep, in an immeasurable waste of barren ocean, exist myriads upon myriads of infinitesimal beings, endowed with life, instinct, energy, and motion ; they construct habitationsthey erect palaces higher than our loftiest—they appear upon the surface of the water—they build a world; and, in the cycle of ages, it becomes the home of a portion of the human race, and the theatre of love, hatred, industry, genius-all the smiling arts of peace, or all the bloody miseries of war : but it would require

the vision of an angel to connect the last catastrophe of that world with the first faint insect-movement, that thousands of years before, had put in motion the centre of this mighty system. How then can we talk of the triviality or indifference of actions ?

There is no possibility of any fact being indifferent. The tread of my foot may be the destruction of a world,—it is nothing to the argument that that world be an insect one. The glance of my eye may smite a moral blight, or call up a whole circle of rejoicing emotions. The first crack of a patch of plaster on a wall, may terminate in employment, giving bread to numerous families ; or, if that simple fact be let grow, may terminate in the death of a father and supporter, of a lover or an infant, and generate again its own cycle of calamities.

The Greeks, that acute and metaphysical people, early discovered the existence of this vast chain of moral and material events. Their great historical tragedies were composed under the form of Trilogies. The slight fact took in them its starting point, and grew until it swelled into its fearful catastrophe. Nor did it end there : from that catastrophe another seed generated and

grew; and the eventual development of the first fact assumed a character of ternary succession, from which the term Trilogy is derived.

The Germans have also followed this arrangement in their dramatic literature, but their explication is derived from mere human sources, and not from historic agency, or the fortunes of heroes ; so that they cannot be supposed to have viewed this arrangement in the light of an artistic device, but to have adopted it as the actual operation of a universal truth.

The French have applied the principle to politics, and have introduced a new phrase, not merely into their language, but our ówn—Un fait accompli—not to express, solely, the conclusion of a cycle of facts, but also the starting point of another generation, sweeping onward to the completion of a grander crisis.

But the most extraordinary confirmation of the truth of the theory is the revelation of the doctrine in the sacred writings. We are told that Deity “ visits the sins of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” This, then, which cannot be regarded as an individual punishment for offences, must be regarded as the declaration of a regulating law, and is quite sufficient for human guidance, although the reasons and mode of working out of that law must still remain a mystery,

Before I proceed with the story which, at greater length and more explanatory detail, will place these principles in a fuller light, I shall lay before the reader some minor anecdotes in point, which will serve to strengthen my argument and illustrate my meaning ; and as in a case of this kind instruction solely is intended,

and the placing valuable truths, for the speculation or the reception of those who may be interested in them, before the public mind, I shall premise that there is no dressing-up in them of imaginary or even partial facts to make good a supposititious case. There is no deception : they are genuine cases-occurring at different times, and in different places, to the knowledge of the writer of this paper : and appearing to him not only as strange in themselves, but as having ulterior purposes ; they have impressed themselves strongly on his mind, and have gradually worked themselves in his judgment into the form of examples to strengthen a great philosophical proposition.

The first case is that of a man who had been living for many years in a state of great and deadly sin, and whose heart, by success, and absence of discovery, had become totally seared, both to a sense of his crime and its consequences. At two separate and shortly distant times, two individuals, who had paid the penalty of poverty and disgrace for a similar offence, and who had no connexion whatever with each other, were presented before this person in all their wretchedness of misery, like spectres in the revolution of the cycle of facts. Why were they thus attracted from different places, and under different circumstances, so as thus to pass, ghost-like, before the earthly vision of this person ?-doubtless, not accidentally in the great scale of causes and events ; but the first and second appeared and vanished, unnoted as they came, and there was no impression on his mental eye. In about the same period of time, between the appearance of the first and second individuals, this person, by the discovery of a new and final offence, finished the accomplished fact, both of his own previous course, and of their premonitory appearance, and fell into a similar position of debasement and misery. Who will be hardy enough here to talk of accident, and want of connection? It is evident those two fellow-offenders were thus purposely moved round in their orbit of action to fulfil a design, and give a warning that, though then unnoted, was subsequently, by that individual, and by others, so interpreted.

My second instance is that of a gentleman who had grievously

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