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fighting against drunkenness and poverty with all his might, against covetousness and party spirit, against false modes of punishment, and falser modes of education, against the folly that deprives the arts and trades, the Church and State, of woman's helping hand. In all these enterprises and in many others, his interest was vital, strong and deep; his counsel wise and firm, his words haif battles, his presence a continual spur to new exertion, and his radiant hope a certain sign of “victory at last.”
But all his other labors in the cause of public virtue sink into insig. nificance in comparison with his labors against slavery. The proposed annexation of Texas made the din that roused him to a sense of the impend. ing danger, and from the moment of his first awakening onward to his death he never ceased to lift the voice of warning and rebuke. Speaking straight to the point from the commanding height of his own pulpit, lecturing to sixty thousand persons every winter throughout the towns and cities of the North, corresponding with the great party leaders and statesmen in Congress and out, one of the Vigilance Committee for the more effectual disobeying of the Fugitive Slave Law, more than once making his house the refuge of the fugitive, saying in Faneuil Hall, when Boston court house was in chains, and Anthony Burns on mock trial for his liberty, if not in just so many words, still in effect, “Don't fire, unless fired upon, but if they mean to have war, let it begin here," saying, “ Amen!" when John Brown at Harper's Ferry began the second revolution as his own grand-father had begun the first, prophecying that if Buchanan was elected the Union would not hold out four years, an earnest, tireless, hopeful, unconquerable man, the part he played in our great drama of emancipation was surpassed in grandeur and sig. nificance only by that which Sumner, Phillips and Garrison have done upon the same great stage ; and when the redeemed America, that is to be, raises a fitting monument to celebrate that sublime victory of justice and equality which is even now, through great discouragements, approaching to its final consummation, she will set the form of Garrison upon its summit, and at the four corners of its base, Phillips the mighty agitator, Sumner the prince of statesmen, Lincoln the good President, and Parker the great prophet of all righteousness.
Perhaps I ought to speak in this connection of what are called “ his terrible denunciations of his enemies.” But they were not denunciations of his enemies, but of the enemies of man. Personal enemies he had enough-persons who did not know him—for no one ever knew him and was still his enemy. Such, it must be remembered, he did not rebuke, did not retaliate upon. They Alung their poisoned shafts at him, and he went home and wept, took out their shafts and put them with his curiosities, and never hurled them back, Perhaps he thought that even these were not his enemies, that what they hated was not him, but something they had fashioned out of their own troubled wits ; something quite different from the reality. The man they hated was an atheist. But his whole nature was alive with his belief in God.
The man they hated said that Jesus was no better than anybody else. But he said no such thing. He said he was the wisest and the best of men. “ Still a mere man!” was the rejoinder, if he ventured to explain. No, not a mere but
“ Men speak of mere morality,” says Emerson. “'Tis like saying . Poor God! with nobody to help him."” “Mere man ” is an expression equally absurd. When Parker said that Jesus was a man, it was not that he thought less of Jesus, but because he thought more of man ;
because he levelled up humanity, not because he levelled Jesus down. And surely it was no idle satisfaction that he took in human nature. It did not tend to make him satisfied with mean performance. It was because he wanted great performance and felt that he must and would have it, that he jumped at once to the conclusion that man's nature must be great in order to be equal to his claim. “ He that allows himself to be a worm,” says Kant, “ must not complain if he is trodden on."
But whatever the motives were that determined Parker against using the weapons that he had at his command upon his personal enemies, it is certain that he never did resent a personal injury. It was injury done to humanity that he resented. It was the enemies of the race that he attacked. And some of his attacks were very personal. It is one thing to regret and another thing to blame. Regret we may that he impaled so many with the sharp bodkins of his scorn, and left them in the cabinet of our remembrance, dried specimens of inhumanity, but blame him we cannot. The men he so impaled were symbols of a great and dreadful wrong; as such he spoke of them. What he arraigned in general was an imperfect moral sense. If he went farther than this it was his respect for men that carried him ; his generosity, which led him to suppose that everybody's conscience was as quick as his. Perhaps it was a fault of his philosophy that it left no place for a mean man to stand upon. He expected and demanded nobleness of all. Then, too, he saw that if complacency is not a sin it is a most stupendous error, and the biggest of all stumbling blocks in the reformer's path. In time of public danger, a giant error may expect no better treatment than a giant sin.
To turn from Parker's work and his capacity, from what he did, to what he was, the first thing that strikes us is the immense quantity of his life. He was immense in everything ; immense in his earnest and also in his fun ; immense in intellect, and also in affection ; immense in conscience, and also in religious sentiment. I have said already with what a generous amount of physical life he was originally dowered. America has not scen another understanding so capacious. What stores of information and reflection it contained! It went out on every side ; gathered the sweetest and the best of every land. Your great reader is not often a greåt observer. Parker was both. When traveling about the country on his lecture tours, the carpet-bag he carried was well stuffed with books. But it was as if he only read them with one eye and had the other for the landscape and for everything there was to see, and his ears were free at the same time to take in everything
worth hearing. And he was never so deep in his book but that if a baby on the train began to cry he heard that too, and straightway opened his carpetbag and took out the little silk bag that he always carried full of confectionery, suited to the wants of little travellers in distress. He had no children of his own, and so adopted all the children that he knew. How sweet his love wass for these little ones! They would climb up into his study, would say, " Parkie ! Parkie !” and he would let them in and then what fun there would be. The play.things would be assigned, the pennies freely given, the bubbles blown, and the great man, who the next day would trance three thousand people with his eloquence, and arraign the public devil at the bar of his impartial thought, would be the truest child of all. There are touching relics of those great occasions still left in his study. I counted myself happy when I saw them a short time ago. The stock of playthings was not exhausted when he died, nor the stock of pennies either. There were plenty of both, and the clay-pipes and dish for making soap-bubbles were still there just as he left them, but he had gone out. Wonderful was the amount of love he had to give, and wonderful his craving for it in return. “ I am the worsthated man in America,” he said, “ and have no children.” And again, “I wish to have some one always in the arms of my heart.” And he generally had what he wished. Very often it was some poor, sick and wounded soul. Exiles from European tyranny came to him every day, and he did for them what he could, gave them a home, gave them his advice if they wanted it, gave them his money and his love. Men came to him with sin upon their souls, and never went away without a little consolation. He was a true pastor. No pestilence could keep him from the homes of those he loved. Great as he was in intellect, he was much greater in affection. His love of man was never separated from his love of men. But it did not rest upon it. His estimate of the negro as a social force and possibility was very low, while Edward Everett thought him to be capable of the highest civilization. But none the less he claimed for him his rights. He spent ten years upon a history of the Religious Element in Man. To complete it was the one ambition of his life ; but when Christ entered his study, wounded and shackled as a slave, and said to him, “ Undo these bonds and bind up these my wounds,” he didn't think of saying, I pray thee have me excused,” but left his books as if he hated them, and gave himself soul and body to the slave. Not that he was not a scholar till the last, but the one task that had been luring him for years, had to be given up. Alas, for us! Yet, not alas ! The broken shackles of the slave are a sufficient compensation for our loss.
But to the immensity of his conscience, he added the immensity of trust. His consciousness of God was not a winter biting him with fear; it was the very summer of his heart.
I know not if the terms in which he stated it will ever be accepted by the world. That is a little matter. Religion is not taught; it is communicated. We may refute his statements, but cannot keep ourselves from the divine infection of his faith. To me his statements
of God's love and providence seem very deep. But if I rejected every one of them he would still inspire me to believe in God and man. His faith,-it was a well of water springing up within him unto everlasting life. It filled him full to overflowing; it quenched the thirst, it cooled the weary feet of thousands; but drink of it as freely as they would, the overflow was greater chan their use. He had a genius for religion, and there was no comparison between the amount and quality of his inspiration and his ability to formulate it in so many words. It is the fact and not the statement that is our great inheritance.
Marvellous was this man's industry. Reviewing one of Prescott's histories he first read every book that Prescott had himself made use of for authority. He did everything in the same thorough way. He studied, when not interrupted, fifteen or sixteen hours a day. And yet he never seemed to feel that he was hurried. Nothing abou: the man was more remarkable that the impression of reserved power that he conveyed to all. All that he did he did with perfect ease ; bore his great labors not as a slave bears a burden, but as a tree bears fruit. No doubt his labors were too much for him. But that they did not seem to be, shows how much greater the man was than the sum of all his faculties; that in body he was lilliputian as compared with his gigantic soul.
I have not cudgelled my brains to find out whether Parker ever taught anything absolutely new. If he did not, he vitally appropriated some things that before his time were formless shadows. Better than original ideas are original men. Parker was an original man. Kant may have given him his philosophy, and De Wette his criticism, but they did not give him his soul. At least one thing about him was original ; that one thing was himself. Theodore Parker's teachings may not have been new; Theodore Parker was new at any rate. He was never anticipated; he will never be repeated There may be greater men in the future ; but they will not be like him.
Yes, he was himself, and nothing could avail to unmake what God made him. His study was the focus of innumerable telegraphic wires that put him in communication with all the past and all the present thought of men. They brought him messages from every quarter of the world. And these messages all passed into him and became part of the very substance of the man. He was like a great tree in the forest, that draws up into itself innu. merable ingredients of the soil, and yet is neither sand nor clay nor anything but its own sturdy self. So Parker was neither Frenchınan nor German, nor Roman nor Greek, though he drained all these of their treasures. himself. The most learned preacher in America, his style was probably the simplest that a man could hear, go where he would ; his words, they were “so deep that a child could understand them.” Socrates, it was said, brought down philosophy from the clouds. Parker did the same thing for Religion. To. day she walks the earth in all her beauty. Only the eyes of some are holden and they cannot see.
When he was dying, far away from home, and his mind wandered, he said to Frances Power Cobbe, a noble woman, whom his words had in a great measure saved from spiritual death, “I have something to tell you. There are two Theodore Parkers now. One is dying here in Italy; the other I have planted in America ; he will live there and finish my work.” Yes, for he was the counterpart of all the living forces of his time. He was a representative Ameri. can; and now that he is gone, all that is best in this dear land is finishing his work. Much has been done already. He that was once a slave is now a man. But there is much to do. God help us every one to do our part. So shall the task which Theodore Parker worked at so faithfully be sooner done, and we be not ashamed to meet him when the death-angel speaks to us and says: “Friends, come up higher.”
“ 'Tis sweet to hear of heroes dead,
To know them still alive,
And in us they survive.
With a perennial wave,
That find in it their grave."
LESSING'S NATHAN THE WISE.
Nathan the W18E: A Dramatic Poem, by GOTTHOLD EPHRAIM Lessing, trans
lated by Ellen FROTHINGHAM. New York: LEYPOLD & Holt. 1868. Price, $1.75.
O little is known in America, beyond the circle of scholars, of the author
of this drama, that it seems to us not inappropriate to present a few incidents of his life, and to indicate the current of his thought, introductory
our remarks upon this book.
He was born January 22d, 1729, at Kamentz in upper Lusatia, where his father was pastor primarius. He belonged to a family of scholars, his paternal ancestors having been for several generations men of classical tastes and pursuits. So it would seem that the strong intellect of Lessing was the culmination of a development that had worked through generations, even though the intellectual weapons that in the hands of his sturdy forefathers were used solely for the defence of their hereditary theology, served in his hands the nobler purpose of discovering new worlds of truth. Even in his eariy youth he gave evidence of that glorious independence which was then strong enough to oppose itself to parental authority in matters where his faith or his conscience were concerned. He seems, too, not to have lacked a boyish relish of mischief in his independence, for he used to say of himself that he had never smoked except at the Meissen Grammar School, “ because it was forbidden there."