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Philosophical Letters: 2. Theosophy Of Julius
by [?]

His inner feeling or innate consciousness tells every man almost the same thing. For example, when we admire an act of magnanimity, of bravery and wisdom, does not a secret feeling spring up in our heart that we are capable of doing the same? Does not the rush of blood coloring our cheeks on hearing narratives of this kind proclaim that our modesty trembles at the admiration called forth by such acts? that we are confused at the praise which this ennobling of our nature must call down upon us? Even our body at such moments agrees with the attitude of the man, and shows clearly that our soul has passed into the state we admire. If you were ever present, Raphael, when a great event was related to a large assembly, did you not see how the relater waited for the incense of praise, how he devoured it, though it was given to the hero of his story,–and if you were ever a relater did you not trace how your heart was subject to this pleasing deception? You have had examples, my dear Raphael, of how easily I can wrangle with my best friend respecting the reading aloud of a pleasing anecdote or of a beautiful poem, and my heart told me truly on these occasions that I was only displeased at your carrying off the laurels because these passed from the head of author to that of the reader. A quick and deep artistic appreciation of virtue is justly held to be a great aptitude for virtue, in the same way as it is usual to have no scruple in distrusting the heart of a man whose intelligence is slow to take in moral beauty.

You need not advance as an objection that, frequently, coupled with a lively perception of a perfection, the opposite failing is found to coexist, that evil-doers are often possessed with strong enthusiasm for what is excellent, and that even the weak flame up into enthusiasm of herculean growth. I know, for example, that our admired Haller, who unmasked in so manly a spirit the sickly nothingness of vain honors; a man whose philosophical greatness I so highly appreciated, that he was not great enough to despise the still greater vanity of an order of knighthood, which conferred an injury on his greatness. I am convinced that in the happy moment of their ideal conceptions, the artist, the philosopher, and the poet are really the great and good man whose image they throw out; but with many this ennobling of the mind is only an unnatural condition occasioned by a more active stirring of the blood, or a more rapid vibration of the fancy: it is accordingly very transient, like every other enchantment, disappearing rapidly and leaving the heart more exhausted than before, and delivered over to the despotic caprice of low passions. I expressly said more exhausted than before, for universal experience teaches that a relapsing criminal is always the most furious, and that the renegades of virtue seek additional sweets in the arms of crime to compensate for the heavy pressure of repentance.

I wished to establish, my Raphael, that it is our own condition, when we feel that of another, that perfection becomes ours for the moment during which we raise in ourselves the representation of it; that the delight we take in truth, beauty, and virtue shows itself when closely analyzed to be the consciousness of our individual ennobling and enriching; and I think I have proved this.

We have ideas of the wisdom of the highest Being, of His goodness, of His justice, but none of His omnipotence. To describe His omnipotence, we help ourselves by the graduated representation of three successions: Nothing, His Will, and Something. It is waste and empty; God calls on light; and there is light. If we had a real idea of His operative omnipotence we should be creators, as He.