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might lose in this department of his official labors was supplied, in a great degree, by the unceasing and active concern which he took in the general interests of the church.
It is impossible for me to speak of the theological merits of Schleiermacher, without recalling the loveliness and elevation of his personal character. I learned to love the man at the same time that I became acquainted with his theology. The one sustained and illustrated the other. If I now attempt to portray some of the principal features in the image of his personal character, which remains in my mind, I am perfectly aware that I do not possess the skill to complete the portrait in a manner worthy of the subject. Nothing but sincere love and fidelity to the original will enable me to describe the impression which he made upon me in an intimate connexion of many years.
I saw him for the first time in the spring of 1816. That moment I can never forget. A few months before I had had some intercourse with him by letter, and had now come to Berlin, principally at his instance, to qualify myself for a place in the theological Faculty of that University. His letter expressed an earnest desire to serve me, rather than any hearty sentiments of friendship. I found the same spirit upon our first interview. The timidity and awe, with which I first approached him, yielded very gradually to other feelings. They were in fact increased by the admiration which was excited by the presence of his powerful mind, as displayed in his countenance and conversation. But it was at that time by no means owing to myself, that this timidity gradually wore away, and yielded to the sentiment of cordial and friendly esteem. Whoever took courage to seek his acquaintance, was soon met by him with great cordiality. It was not merely the cheerful and lively manner of his social intercourse, which took off from the oppressive effect of his great talents; but the delightful disposition, the simplicity, and naturalness, with which he opened his heart to all whom he thought worthy of his confidence. In such cases he not only permitted great freedom of access, but came forward himself in the most encouraging manner; and drew around him, in the closest intimacy, all who desired or who were susceptible of his friendship.
His affection was no effeminate tenderness which displayed itself in soft and flattering words, but a strong and glowing
principle, which gave not merely a gentle magnetic influence to the hearts of others, but smote them, as it were, with an electric shock; but, for this very reason, it possessed a fresh and powerful charni for men of vigorous and masculine characters. They who did not justly appreciate him in this respect would easily be repelled upon a near approach ; and this has happened to many, who were accustomed to a more effeminate kind of friendship. But his own remarks on this point are perfectly true. “I am more certain of those,” he says, “ who really love myself, my own inward nature ;_my heart clings firmly to them, and will never let them go. They have known me, they have seen my mind; and they who once love it as it is, must always love it with increasing truth and warmth, the more it is manifested to them in its own form and individuality. I am as certain of this possession as I am of my own being; and in fact, I have never lost a man whose friendship I once enjoyed.”
I am not the only one who can boast of his truth and constancy in friendship. They who were still more intimately connected with him can testify, even more strongly than myself, that he was one of the most faithful of beings, and that he was master of the noble art of retaining the ardent attachment of his friends, even amidst difficulties and misunderstandings. It is a common remark, that the inclination and the talent for friendship declines with years. But in this respect Schleiermacher always retained the freshness of youth. He never became a reserved and isolated man.
It may sound like a paradox to strangers, and to those who judge only according to appearance, but it is perfectly true, when I say, that it was love which presided over the deepest principles of his nature, and that even the severity of his intellect, his stinging wit, and the bitterness of expression with which he attacked and wounded his opponents, were never able to destroy the well-spring of love, which existed in his heart. I have never known an individual who possessed such large and generous tolerance, such a comprehensive spirit of charity, which enabled him to understand and to bear kindly every diversity of taste and intellect. With all his exactness and decision in the formation of his own opinions, he was always ready to discover and admit whatever was valuable in the opinions of others. When I lived with him at Berlin, I was struck with his fairness, which, in spite of numerous misunderstandings of his
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character, never refused to acknowledge and commend every excellence, which was displayed by his associates in office, both in the church and the University. I remember more than once, that he corrected young men for expressing presumptuous and intolerant judgments upon others. honor the man," he would say, “who possesses merit and ability, though of his own kind."
Schleiermacher had no reason ever to fear an adversary, and he never did fear one. He was never wanting in adversaries, and quite as little in alacrity for the contest.
If he was only personally attacked, unless the interests of an important cause which he had at heart were at the same time involved, he never defended himself. In such case he regarded silence as the best rebuke. For the usual disputes of learned men, he had neither sufficient time nor personal irritability. But when he saw the interests of truth, the welfare of the Church or of the State, in jeopardy, and that from no insignificant enemy, he did not linger for a moment; a cowardly submission was then as far from his thoughts, as a selfish regard to his own leisure and tranquillity. As a general rule, he was the first to appear on the scene of combat, he grappled his antagonist with all the strength, all the skill, and all the rights of an honorable warfare. He held that irony and the most pungent wit were admissible, nay even necessary in the exercise of controversy. He saw no reason for not using the weapon which nature had given to him. It was his opinion, that when he had to deal with a conceited and presumptuous adversary, there was no better means of impressing upon him the wholesome feeling of his own nothingness, than the scourge of a sharp and cutting wit. He had, indeed, a certain natural delight in wit, and was impelled to use it whenever he had the opportunity. But, in the excitement which this produced, he never lost sight of the cause which he had to defend. He engaged in controversy as a moral duty. He felt himself called to it by the nature of his mind, and by his love to the cause. As soon as he was convinced of the necessity of a controversy, he threw himself, with the whole force of his talents and character, against the pretensions of his opponent. The personal tone of his controversial style often served only to give it dramatic life, but it was usually far more the expression of his heart-felt sympathy with the cause, his sincere and earnest conviction of its truth. His mode of controversy was certainly neither comfortable to
himself nor to his adversary. He was truly in earnest, and wherever he touched he went to the quick. He was previously aware, that in many cases he should bring upon himself evil reports, hostilities, anger, and revenge; these he could not suffer without sorrow; but from love of his cause he willingly exposed himself to such evils, which in dealing with the great mass of opponents could not be avoided. His courage in these instances was greater than his discretion. Discreet as he certainly was, the discretion of convenience and cowardice he always disdained.
The number of those who engage in so many labors, who lead a life of such creative activity as Schleiermacher, must always be small. In his case much may be explained by the natural rapidity and certainty of his intellectual operations. Whatever he wrote for the press, was previously so well considered and complete, even in respect to its form, that, as he was always a master in the use of language, no alterations were needed. None of his discourses or lectures cost him more than the time required for a thorough meditation. In this way, whatever lahor he undertook, his rare endowments gained him time and strength for new acquisitions and new enterprises, Besides this he was very economical of his time, and thus obtained leisure for every thing which his manifold duties demanded of him. It is true, that in later years, I have heard him complain, that he was no longer able to accomplish all that he wished. But it is always from the most active and efficient, that such complaints are heard, and the physical powers which are required do not increase with years. Schleiermacher never had but a small stock of bodily strength at command. His body was naturally weak and delicate, and when I lived with him, inclining to ill health. But how admirably did he govern it and compel it, even in moments of disease, to minister to his mind! Labors and journeys, official activity and social enjoyment, whatever the call, his physical nature must be competent and ready. In excursions on foot he was always the foremost, in the evening the latest to rest, and in the morning the earliest on the road. I know that he often preached and lectured while suffering from violent pain, without its being observed. It was usual to see him until late at night in society, which could never last too long for him, the most cheerful and animated of the company; and the next morning at six o'clock, with equal freshness, in the lecture
room or the pulpit. This Socratic empire of the mind over the body belonged to the deepest elements of his nature, and secured to him in age the brightness of youth, which enabled him to perceive with a smile the light of the eye grow dim, and caused him, even to the latest breath, to take an active interest in the serious labors as well as the cheerful pleasures of life.
The death of Schleiermacher, in common with that of many great
and noble individuals, possessed a powerful and quickening influence. It was the bright completion, the glorified image of his whole life.
When the intelligence of his death was made known, not only in Berlin, but throughout Germany, nay, as far as the German name extends, every voice was raised in lamentation at the great and irreparable loss. His friends and pupils, his admirers, his adversaries, and even strangers, his audience in the church and the Academy, the whole city in which he had lived, the court and the people, vied with each other in paying the most imposing funeral honors to his remains. This was certainly not merely an external testimony to his elevated character. It was a great and beautiful tribute to his name. But this is not wbat I have in view. I speak of the inward history of his death. I have read what those who were nearest to him in life, and who did not leave him for a moment during his last days, have written for their friends. I am permitted to copy from it that which is suitable for a wider circle. “ His frame of mind, during the whole of his illness, was calm and bright. With the utmost gentleness he complied with all our arrangements. Not a sound of complaint or dissatisfaction was heard; always friendly and patient, though thoughtful and inclined to reflection. One day, as he awoke from slumber, that had been produced by an opiate, he called his wife to him and remarked: 'I am really in a state which wavers between consciousness and unconsciousness, but within my own mind I experience the most delightful moments. I cannot avoid engaging in the deepest speculations, but they are always in accordance with the strongest religious feelings.'
I see in this a beautiful illustration of his whole life. The man, whose life had been devoted to the attainment of a perfect unity between religion and speculation, but who modestly and cautiously regarded it, not as the beginning, but as the