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Transcendentalism, or latest Form of Infidelity-Article II

Brownson's Quarterly Review, October, 1845

Art. I.  A Discourse of Matters pertaining to Religion. By Theodore Parker. Boston : Little & Brown. 1842.    8vo.    pp. 504.

In our last Review, we established the fact, that the Tran-scendentalists assume, as their rule of faith or method of philosophizing, the truth and rectitude of human nature ; that man in his spontaneous or instinctive nature, which we identified with the inferior or sensitive soul, is the measure or criterion of truth and goodness ; and therefore, that, in order to ascertain what is proper for us to believe or to do, we have only to ascertain what our nature spontaneously or instinctively approves. We now proceed to consider the second fundamental principle we have charged them with maintaining, namely,

Religion is a Fact or Principle op Human Nature.

In strictness, perhaps, the Transcendentalists do not mean to assert that religion itself is a fact or principle of human nature, but simply, that it has its principle and cause in human nature; and, consequently, this second principle might be resolved into the third principle we enumerated, namely, All the religions which have been or are have their principle and cause in human nature. It is possible that we should have been more strictly scientific in our analysis, if we had omitted the second proposition altogether, and embraced the whole teachings of the school within the first and third. Nevertheless, there is a sense in which the second proposition is true, and includes a portion of the teachings of the school, which we could not, without some inconvenience, discuss otherwise than under a separate head.

The word religion may be taken, and is taken by the Transcendentalism in several senses. They use the word,  1. To embrace religious institutions ; that is, dogmas, morals, and worship. In this sense, they do not hold it to be a fact or principle of human nature ; but they hold that it grows out of such fact or principle. But, 2. These religious institutions do not constitute what, in their view, is essential in religion. They are not its substance, but its forms and accidents, and we may have all that is essential to it without them, and even in opposition to them. What is essential in religion, if we understand them, is what is invariable and permanent, the same in all ages and nations, and in all individuals,  which is the religious sentiment and idea ; and both of these they make facts or principles of human nature. Yet the teachings of the school are so vague and contradictory on this head, that it is not possible to reduce them to a common principle. It does not appear to have ever distinguished clearly, in its own mind, between the creator and creation, between the active or passive subject and action or passion ; nor, again, between intuitive reason and discursive reason. It frequently puts causes for effects, and effects for causes ; and just as frequently runs the one into the other, and concludes indifferently from one or the other, without noting any distinction between them. It affirms a proposition to be intuitive, when it is evidently inductive ; and tells us that it is given us immediately, when according to its own showing it is obtained only by reasoning. If any one doubts our assertion, we refer him to the first and second chapters of the Discourse before us.

In consequence of this contradiction and confusion, and in order to avoid even the appearance of injustice to the school, we shall, for the most part, in what we have to say, treat the proposition under consideration simply as if it stood, Religion originates spontaneously in, and depends upon, a fact or principle of human nature.

We must bear in mind that the Transcendental doctrine is not, that from the facts or principles of human nature we may rationally, scientifically, conclude to the objective truths of religion ; but that these truths are given us immediately, without any reasoning at all, by a special fact, principle, or element of our nature. Religion is natural to us ; we are religious by a law of our nature ; in like manner as it is by a law of our nature that we breathe, that the stomach secretes the gastric juice, or the liver", bile. In a word, religion is a natural secretion of the human soul.    That the Transcendentalists adhere throughout to this statement we are far from pretending ; for it is well known that they are not remarkable for self-consistency, and some of them consider it a mark of littleness for a man to aim at being consistent with himself. Their maxim is, Speak out from the great soul, or, rather, let the great soul speak out, and as it will. Nevertheless, this is their formal, official doctrine, to which we shall insist on our right to hold them.

The Transcendentalists begin by distinguishing between religion and religious institutions. Religious institutions are the forms with which man clothes his religious sentiment and idea. They vary according to time and space, and in passing from one individual to another. They are accidental and transitory. They may serve a useful purpose, or they may not ; but they are not of the essence or substance of religion. Religion, in its substance, lies back of these, and is their creator, and independent of them. In this sense, as abstracted from religious forms and institutions, religion is, as we have said, sentiment and idea. The sentiment is a special element of human nature, and is defined by Mr. Parker, after Schleiermacher, to be " the sense of dependence." The idea is "an intuition of reason," not obtained by reasoning, whether a priori or a posteriori^ but " is a fact given by the nature of man."  p. 21. Hence religion, in its absolute sense, or what Mr. Parker calls absolute religion, is said to be religion as it exists in the facts of human nature, or " in the facts of man's soul."  p. 243. According to this, we should be justified in insisting, to the very letter, on the proposition, that the Transcendentalists hold religion to be a fact or principle of human nature. But it is probable, after all, that they do not mean this, that they in this put the effect in the place of the cause, and really mean only that the origin and ground of religion is in a special element of human nature.

" We are driven to confess," says Mr. Parker, " that there is in man a spiritual nature, which directly and legitimately leads to religion ; that, as man's body is connected with the world of matter, rooted in it, has bodily wants, bodily senses to minister thereto, and a fund of external materials wherewith to gratify these senses and appease these wants,so man's soul is connected with the world of spirit, rooted in God, has spiritual wants and spiritual senses, and a fund of materials wherewith to gratify these spiritual senses, and to appease these spiritual wants. If this be so, then do not religious institutions come equally from man ? Now the existence of a religious element in us is not a matter of hazardous or random conjecture, nor attested only by a superficial glance at the history of man, but this principle is found out, and
its existence demonstrated, in several legitimate ways......Thus
then, it appears that induction from notorious facts, consciousness spontaneously active, and a philosophical analysis of man's nature, all lead equally to some religious sentiment or principle as an essential part of man's constitution......It is, indeed, abundantly
established that there is a religious element in man."  Discourse pp. 14 - 19.

The main point asserted in this loosely written passage is the fact, that religious institutions spring from a special religious sentiment, element, or principle of human nature, and " which is an essential part of man's constitution." This is the first point to be disposed of. What are the proofs of this ? These proofs, so far as we can collect them from Mr. Parker and others, are, 1. The existence of religious phenomena in human history ; 2. The universality and indestructibleness of the religious phenomena ; 3. The power of religion over our thoughts, passions, and interests ; 4. Consciousness ; 5. Philosophical analysis of man's nature.

1.   The existence of religious phenomena in human history is unquestionable, and this existence proves that they have a principle and cause in man, or out of him ; but to infer that this principle and cause are a special element of human nature is a plain begging of the question, at least, cannot be justifiable, unless it be first established that there is and can be nothing in human history which has not its principle and cause in human nature,  a proposition which may, indeed, be asserted, but not maintained, as we shall show when we come to discuss the third fundamental proposition of the Tran-scendentalists. The history of the human race is inexplicable, save on the supposition of the supernatural intervention of Providence in human affairs.

2.   The religious phenomena are universal and indestructible, we admit. Wherever you find man, you find the altar, the priest, and the victim,  at least some sort of religious worship. But this simply proves that religion does not spring from accidental and temporary causes, but from a universal and permanent principle. Yet that principle may be divine as well as human ; for God, to say the least, is as universal and permanent a principle and cause as man.

3.   The great power of religion in all ages is freely conceded.    It is able to control man in his most intimate relations, to control his thoughts and passions,to make him forego his strongest desires, his dearest affections, and his most pressing interests,  to make him submit to what is most repugnant to his nature, to glory in being contemned, and to sacrifice himself with joy at its bidding. But this, though conclusive against those who contend that religion is the mere creature of human passion, caprice, fear, hope, ignorance, imagination, or interest, says nothing in favor of its origin and ground in a principle or element of human nature. Indeed, it is rather a presumption that it has its origin and ground in that which is superhuman and independent of man. For it is hard to conceive how that which originates in man, and depends wholly on man, should be able to control him, and make him voluntarily abnegate himself*

4. Mr. Parker alleges that we are conscious of our own insufficiency, and that this consciousness is the consciousness of a religious element in our nature. It is true, he does not say this formally, but this is what he is required to say by the line of argument he is pursuing.

"We feel conscious," he says, "of this element within us. We are not sufficient for ourselves; not self-originated; not self-sustained. A few years ago and we were not; a few years hence and our bodies shall not be. A mystery is gathered about our little life. We have but small control over things around us; are limited and hemmed in on all sides. Our schemes fail. Our plans miscarry. One after another our lights go out. Our realities prove dreams. Our hopes waste away. We are not where we would be, nor what we would be. After much experience, men as powerful as Napoleon, victorious as Ca3sar, confess, what simpler men knew by instinct long before, that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. We find our circumference very near the centre, everywhere. An exceedingly short radius measures all our strength. We can know little of material things; nothing but phenomena. As the circle of our knowledge widens its ring, we feel our ignorance on more numerous points, and the unknown seems greater than before. At the end of a toilsome life, we confess, with a great man of modern times, that we have wandered on the shore, and gathered here a bright pebble, and there a shining shell, but the ocean of truth, shoreless and un-fathomed, lies before us and all unknown. The wisest ancient knew only this, that he knew nothing. We feel an irresistible tendency to refer all outward things, and ourselves with them, to a power beyond us, sublime, mysterious, which we cannot measure, nor even  comprehend.     We  are filled  with reverence  at  the thought of this power. Outward matters give us the occasion which awakens consciousness, and spontaneous nature leads us to something higher than ourselves and greater than all eyes behold. We are bowed down at the thought. Thus the sentiment of something superhuman comes naturally as breath. This primitive spiritual sensation comes over the soul, when a sudden calamity throws us from our habitual state ; when joy fills our cup to its brim; at a wedding or a funeral, a mourning or a festival; when we stand beside a great work of nature, a mountain, a waterfall; when the twilight gloom of a primitive forest sends awe into the heart; when we sit alone with ourselves and turn in the eye, and ask, What am I ? Whence come I? Whither shall I go? There is no man who has not felt this sensation, this mysterious sentiment of something unbounded."  Discourse, pp. 16, 17.
Ergo, we are conscious of a special religious element which is an essential part of man's constitution ; ergo, again, the religious phenomena depend on a fact or principle of human nature !

We have inserted this passage because it is a favorable specimen of Mr. Parker's style and method of argumentation. In reading it, one is led to ask, Is the writer of this, who allows man the ability only to know that he knows nothing, the same man who sneers at the notion of supernatural revelation, who assumes to sit in judgment on all ages and nations, on even our blessed Saviour himself,  who contends that man has an intuitive knowledge of God, and bears about with him absolute religion as the standard by which to try even the Christian religion itself,  and who tells us we may and ought u to approach the Infinite One face to face" ?  p. 5. It is a great convenience to be freed from the necessity of maintaining consistency in one's own views.

But this is foreign to our present purpose. The point Mr. Parker was required to establish in this passage was, that we are conscious that the religious element, for which he contends, is an element or principle of our nature. " We feel this element within us." Does he prove this ? Not at all. He simply proves that there are facts in all men's experience which prove that we are not sufficient for ourselves, and that, finding we are not sufficient for ourselves, we are very naturally led to ask if there is not a power above us. All this may be very true, but is nothing to his purpose. For, 1. He makes the fact of our own insufficiency a deduction from certain other facts which  he enumerates  and to which we come by experience ; whereas, the fact of our insufficiency should, on his ground, be a fact of immediate consciousness, arrived at without any aid of discursive reason at all. 2. The consciousness of our own insufficiency, according to the paragraph quoted, does not of itself give us religion, or the objects of religion. It does not give us God immediately, but is simply a fact from which we are led to ask if there be not a God, or, at most, from which we infer there is and must be something above and beyond us. But his doctrine is not that we may rationally conclude from the facts of our nature to the existence of God and the necessity or propriety of religion, but that religion is given immediately, without any process of reasoning, by a special law, element, or principle of our nature, bearing the same or an analogous relation to spiritual objects that the bodily senses do to material objects. Admit, therefore, that we are conscious of our own insufficiency, and that we may rationally conclude from this insufficiency to the existence of a power that is all-sufficient, this does not prove that we have a special religious element, far less, that we are conscious of the existence of such element. 3. Even assuming that we are conscious, immediately conscious, which is more than Mr. Parker proves, of our own insufficiency, it does not follow that we are conscious of the religious element; for our insufficiency is not an element or principle of our nature. An element or principle of nature is something positive, constitutive of that nature ; but insufficiency is a mere negation, and is not included in what our nature is, but in what it is not. Consciousness of it, therefore, is not, and cannot be, consciousness of an element within us, or an element of our nature, " an essential part of our constitution."

5. According to Mr. Parker, philosophical analysis of man's nature gives us the element in question. This analysis, in his hands, gives us the sense of dependence ; and the sense of dependence, in the last analysis, he tells us, is the religious element. But philosophical analysis cannot give us the sense of dependence as an element or principle of nature, for the best of all reasons,  because it is not and cannot be such element or principle. The sense of dependence is a fact of human life or experience,  not a fact, element, or principle of human nature. That our nature is dependent is a fact, but not an element or principle of that nature, for the same reason that insufficiency is not such element or principle. The word sense is, or may be, ambiguous.    When we say sense of sight or hearing, we mean a principle, or rather power or faculty, of human nature. But we cannot use the word in this sense, when we say sense of dependence, any more than when we say sense of danger. Sense in this case is not a power or faculty, is not an element or principle of nature, but a simple fact of experience. It means simply, that we mentally apprehend, perceive, or are conscious of the fact that we are dependent. It is an intellectual fact, a product of the activity of the intelligent subject, not an element of its nature. Consequently, it is idle to pretend, that, if the religious element be rightly defined the sense of dependence, it is an element or principle of our nature.
But Mr. Parker, though he officially defines the religious element to be the sense of dependence, tells us that he is not tenacious of that definition. " Others,'' he says, " may call it the consciousness of the infinite ; I contend less for the analysis than for the fact of a religious element in man."  p. 18, note. But, my dear 3ir, how, unless you tell us what you mean by this religious element, are we to determine whether you have proved it to be an element of man's nature or not ? We cannot allow you to write thus loosely. You affirm that there is a religious element in man, and that philosophical analysis of man's nature can detect it. If you have not determined what this element is, if you know not its characteristic, how do you know philosophical analysis can detect it ? We hold you to your definition, or to the alternative you give us. According to you, it is the sense of dependence, or, at least, the consciousness of the infinite. The first it cannot be, and, if held to that, you are evidently wrong. We will give you the advantage of the second, but we will give you no other advantage. Say, then, the ultimate principle of religion is the u consciousness of the infinite." The infinite is not an element or principle of man's nature, for man's nature is finite. Consciousness is not a principle of nature at all, but simply the act or state of being conscious. It is a fact of life, not an element of nature. Consequently, the consciousness of the infinite, even admitting it to be a fact of our intellectual life, is no more, than the sense of dependence, an element or principle of human nature.

But perhaps we shall be told that it is not contended, strictly speaking, that the consciousness of the infinite is an element or principle of human nature, but that we are conscious of the infinite by virtue of a special principle or power of our nature. This is, we suppose, the real doctrine of the Transcendentalists. Hence, Mr. Parker contends that we have spiritual senses, and that the idea of God is an intuition of reason. They question the unity of the intelligent principle in man, and seem to lay down the docti 'ine, that our knowledge does not differ objectively only, but subjectively also,  that we know one class of objects by virtue of one subjective intelligent power or principle, and another class by another. It is this doctrine which misleads them and involves them in the greater part of their errors and absurdities. But this doctrine we have refuted in our last Review, as well as on several previous occasions. The faculty of intelligence is not complex, but simple. It may have various degrees and conditions, but in itself is one and the same, whatever the degree or sphere of knowledge. The subjective power, by which I know an object to be a tree or a house, is one and the same with the power by which I know the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, or that I ought to love my neighbour as myself. Consciousness is nothing but a peculiar modification of knowing, and is the same subjectively considered, whatever the object of which I am conscious. If, then, I am conscious of the infinite, I am conscious of it by my general power of consciousness, and this consciousness differs from any other consciousness only in so far as its object is different.

Strictly speaking, however, to say I am conscious of the infinite is absurd ; for I can be conscious only of myself as the subject of my own phenomena, whether voluntary, sentient, or intellectual. The fact of consciousness is restricted by all accurate psychologists to the recognition of myself, as subject in the intellectual phenomenon to which Leibnitz gives the name of apperception. In every act I perform, that is^ in every actus humanus, I always recognize myself as subject or actor, as distinguished both from the act and the object to which I act. This recognition is the fact of consciousness, and the only fact to which the term is ever rightly applied. Consequently, to say I am conscious of the infinite is to affirm my own infinity, which is false and absurd. Instead of saying we are conscious of the infinite, we should say we perceive, or mentally apprehend, the infinite,  that is, the infinite is an object of our knowledge, or, in other words, we know the infinite.

But waiving these remarks on consciousness, which are conclusive in themselves, we deny that the consciousness of the infinite is an element or principle of our nature, for the simple reason, that we have no consciousness of the infinite. The infinite is conceived, but it is no object of knowledge. Knowledge of the infinite would be infinite knowledge, and infinite knowledge is possible only to an infinite subject, which man is not. Man is finite, and his knowledge is necessarily finite, and therefore limited to the finite.

This is a point we commend to the very serious attention of the Transcendentalists. They seem on many occasions, and when it suits their purpose, to be duly aware of the limited nature of our faculties, and the littleness and emptiness of our knowledge, as we see in the passage quoted from Mr. Parker, in which he is endeavouring to establish the fact of our own insufficiency for ourselves. Yet, with a consistency purely Transcendental, they contend that we may see God face to face, may have intuitive vision of the infinite !

The great endeavour of several of the later German metaphysicians, and of some of our own, as it was with the old Alexandrians, is to find in man's subjective power of cognition a faculty or principle by which he can cognize intrinsically the mysteries of faith. They find mankind believing in certain mysteries, which unquestionably transcend the reach of the ordinary understanding. These are believed, not by the few only,  the ilite of the race, men of rare genius and cultivation,  but by the simple and uncultivated,  the shepherd watching his flocks, and the rustic following his plough ; and often by these more sincerely and more firmly than by the gifted and enlightened few. Whence is this ? Surely these simple, unlettered, and unreasoning masses have not demonstrated to their own minds the intrinsic truth of these mysteries, and reasoned themselves into the belief of them ; for Hew, if any, of them can assign even a tolerable reason for their belief, or render any satisfactory account of it. Is this belief a delusion, and is the human race wholly deceived in its faith ? We dare not say it. To say so would be to blaspheme humanity, and, in blaspheming humanity, to blaspheme humanity's Maker. To assume that it is a delusion would be to deny all criterion of truth and falsehood, and to plunge into the ocean of universal doubt. Moreover, it would be anti-philosophical to make such assumption, for it would be to assume the reality of an effect, and a most stupendous effect, without conceding it any actual or even possible cause.

This faith, then, must have a solid and imperishable ground somewhere. It must be well founded. Hence, say they, there must be in man some principle or faculty, overlooked by philosophers generally, which takes immediate cognizance of the objects of this faith. These objects all are, or imply, the infinite; therefore man must have the subjective power of cognizing the infinite. Therefore the infinite is cognoscible. Therefore the human race believe in the mysteries, because able, by the inherent faculties of the soul, to apprehend intuitively their intrinsic truth.

But what is this power ? It is not sense, it is not intellect, it is not reason in its ordinary acceptation, but a faculty sui generis, which may indeed be called reason, but which cannot better be defined than by calling it a spiritual sense, or power of apprehending the invisible, of approaching the inapproachable, of knowing the unknowable, of comprehending the incomprehensible, of measuring the immeasurable ! It is a mysterious and incomprehensible faculty, like the matters with which it places us in relation. All very intelligible, no doubt, to those who call darkness light, and finite infinite. But what is the evidence of the reality of such faculty ? The only ground, it will be seen from our statement, for asserting the reality of such faculty is the well known fact, that mankind do believe, and always have believed, and, in spite of all obstacles, persist in believing, in mysteries whose intrinsic truth transcends both the senses and the understanding. But how could they believe in such mysteries, if they had no power above that of the senses and the understanding, by which their intrinsic truth is apprehended ?

In reply, we may simply ask how a man who has never been in China can believe there is such a city as Peking ? Assuredly, he does not perceive the intrinsic truth of the proposition, There is a city in China called Peking. Yet he believes it, and because he has, or believes he has, sufficient external evidence of the fact. The philosophers in question assume, that, since mankind believe in the mysteries, the intrinsic truth of the mysteries must be apprehended by them, which could not be, unless we had the subjective power of knowing it. But this assumption is unwarrantable ; for faith is to believe what is not intrinsically known. The facts adduced only prove the faith of mankind in mysteries ; and if it be faith, it is not knowledge. Therefore, the fact, that mankind believe in the mysteries, is itself not proof that the intrinsic truth of the mysteries is cognoscible, but that it is not cognoscible ; and therefore the faith of mankind in mysteries which transcend sense and understanding, instead of proving the reality of a subjective power of knowing what transcends sense and understanding, proves, so far as it goes, the reverse ; for, if we had such power, our faith would not be faith, but knowledge.

The philosophers in question assume, as their point of departure, that what is believable is intrinsically cognoscible, and that what is believed is intrinsically known,  an evident falsehood ; for faith ends where knowledge begins, and what is an object of knowledge is not an object of faith, since faith is belief of what is not known. To establish, then, the fact they contend for, these philosophers must go a step further, and prove that mankind do not merely believe the mysteries, but actually know them. If they prove that the mysteries are intrinsically known by the race, then we will admit in the soul the subjective power to know them. But this the facts they adduce do not prove. These facts only prove that mankind believe them, from which we cannot conclude that they know them.

That this faith of the race has a solid and imperishable foundation we readily admit. But because it must have such foundation, it does not necessarily follow that the foundation is in a special faculty of the soul; for we can conceive the possibility, to say the least, of its being in authority which propounds and evidences them extrinsically to the human mind, as religious people contend and always have contended. The philosophers, when they assume the foundation to be in this special subjective faculty, then, merely beg the question. They take for granted the very point the conditions of the argument require them to prove.
Moreover, they reject, in asserting the cognoscibility of the mysteries, the very authority on which their whole reasoning is founded. They infer the solidity of the faith of mankind in the mysteries from the fact, that the race has always believed, and persists in believing in them. But the race, while it has believed the mysteries, has also believed that it did not know their intrinsic truth, and has always confessed that its faith in them was faith, not knowledge. Now, if you take the faith of mankind as authority in the one instance, why not in the other ? Assuredly, it is worth as much in the latter case as in the former ; because no man can know without knowing that he knows, and whenever he really believes he does not know, it is certain that he does not. A man may fancy that he knows when he does not, but he cannot fancy that he does not know when he does. These philosophers, no doubt, are governed by a commendable motive ; but they attempt what is not possible to effect. They would fain give a philosophical basis to the religious faith of mankind. They are far from wishing to overthrow or to weaken that faith ; their ambition is to legitimate it,  not to prove it, indeed, by evidence, but to demonstrate it, and to bring it within the province of science. But they should remember that what is of science is not of faith, that faith has its object always in a region into which science does not or cannot penetrate. It rests not on demonstration, but on authority,  and may be proved, but never demonstrated. They would fain find in man an element which bears the same relation to it that the sense of sight bears to colors, or the sense of hearing to sounds, and that we attain to its objects as naturally and as simply as we do by our senses to the objects of the material world. But this element they cannot detect; they assert its reality, but do not and cannot establish it; for, after all they may say, each man knows of himself that to him the objects of his religious faith, however certainly, infallibly, evidenced, are not known. He believes, without doubting, that they are,  but he does not know them.

This is evident from Mr. Parker himself. To know the mysteries is to know the infinite ; to know the infinite is to know God ; and God, according to Mr. Parker, " is the substantiality of matter."  p. 170. And yet he says, in the passage we have quoted, " We can know little of material things ; nothing but their phenomena." That is, the substance of things we cannot know. Yet, since God is this substance, u substantiality," we could know something more than their phenomena, we could know even their substance, if we could know God. Let it not be replied to us, that Mr. Parker has told us elsewhere, that we may know God, that we may approach the Infinite One face to face ; for, if he unhappily contradicts himself, that is not our fault. He says, formally, that we can know nothing of material things but their phenomena,  also that God is the substantiality of matter, and if of matter, of course of material things. To this we hold him. The truth here got the better of his theorizing, and the man had the courage to tell it. It is idle to talk of man's power to cognize the infinite, to behold God intuitively, while you tell me that such is the limited nature of man's faculties, that even in material things he takes notice only of phenomena. In this last, Mr. Parker is right.    We know only phenomena ; and substances, essences, only as we by reason infer them from the phenomena. Hence, in the Blessed Eucharist, though my senses, my own faculties, show me only the phenomena or the accidents of bread and wine, I am still able to believe, under those accidents, under those phenomena, there is no substance of bread, no substance of wine, but the substance of the body and blood, soul and divinity of my Lord and Saviour.

But, however this may be, it is evident, from what we have said, that, whether we define the ultimate fact in religion to be the sense of dependence, or a consciousness of the infinite, it is not, and cannot be, an element of nature. Neither notorious facts, nor consciousness, nor philosophical analysis of man's nature proves Mr. Parker's position, that religion has its principle and cause in an element of human nature.
But we go still further, and deny the existence of religious phenomena themselves, in the sense in which Mr. Parker and the Transcendentalists assert them. They contend that the so-called religious phenomena differ not merely as to their object from all other psychological phenomena, but also as to their subjective principle. This they must do, or else the existence of the phenomena would not warrant the induction of a special element of human nature as their subjective principle. If, for instance, the religious phenomena differ from the other phenomena only as to their object, then their existence would imply no. special element in the soul in which they subjectively originate.

Now, we demand the proof of the existence of religious phenomena that are subjectively distinct from other phenomena not denominated religious. Mr. Parker defines the ultimate fact of religion to be a sense of dependence, that is, mental perception or apprehension of the fact that we are dependent. Is this sense or apprehension, quoad sense, essentially different from the sense or apprehension of other facts ? Or take the other definition, consciousness of the infinite,  is this consciousness, as consciousness, regarded solely in relation to the conscient agent, different from consciousness in any other case ? If not, how can Mr. Parker allege that we have in this sense religious phenomena specifically distinct, on the side of their subjective principle, from all other phenomena presented in human history ?

In the passage quoted above from Mr. Parker, we find the religious sentiment identified with the sensation we experience " when a sudden calamity overtakes us," " at a wedding or a funeral," " by a mountain or a waterfall," " in the twilight gloom of the primitive forest," or in the solitude of our own self-communings. What is there, then, peculiar in the religious sentiment ?

The religious phenomena, under the point of view we are now considering them, may, according to Mr. Parker, be classed under three heads ; namely, love, reverence, obedience. ^ But love, on its subjective side, is the same, whatever the object to which it is directed. Love to God, save as to its object, is not essentially different from love to our neighbour. Reverence, as simple reverence, is the same whether directed towards one object or another. Obedience to God, as obedience, differs not from obedience to the magistrate. Indeed, we are aware of no phenomena which are peculiarly religious, save in the intention with which we exhibit them, and the object for the sake of which we exhibit them. I pray to God; I pray also to man. Prayer is simply asking a favor; and I ask favors of man as well as of God. I sing praises to God, so also to the conquering hero, or to the father of my country ; and who dare say that I may not with the same power sing the one praises and the other ? I offer sacrifice to God, and ought to offer sacrifice to no other being, because sacrifice is the peculiar, the distinctive, act of divine worship; and yet I can offer sacrifice to an idol, if I choose, and the sacrifice in the one case will not differ psychologically from what it is in the other.

If this be so, all this talk about a special religious element of man's nature is  talk, and nothing else. By the faculty of loving wherewith I love man, can I love God ; and by the same power by which I sacrifice to the Supreme God, may I, if I choose, sacrifice to idols of wood and stone. The religious phenomena are peculiar, distinct from all the other phenomena man exhibits, we admit,  not because they proceed from a peculiar, distinct, special element of human nature, but because they are exhibited for the sake of a peculiar, distinct, and special end, contemplated in the exhibition of no other class of phenomena. With the same tongue I bless God and curse man ; with the same power of will I will good and will evil; with the same intellectual power recognize I a man, a horse, an ox, a tree, a mathematical theorem, a metaphysical principle, and a moral precept. There is, then, no need of assuming a special element of human nature to account for the religious phenomena.

So much for the religious sentiment as an element of human nature. We proceed now to the Idea of religion. The idea is the idea of God ; and this idea, according to Mr. Parker, is not obtained by reasoning a priori, or a posteriori,,but is a primitive fact given us immediately in our nature. Here we let Mr. Parker speak for himself.

« Now, the existence of this religious element, of this sense of dependence, this sentiment of something without bounds, is itselt a proof by implication of the existence of its object, something on which dependence rests. A belief in this relation between the feeling in us and its object independent of us comes unavoidably from the laws of man's nature. There is nothing of which we can be more certain. A natural want in man's constitution implies satisfaction in some quarter, just as the faculty of seeing implies something to correspond to this faculty; namely, objects to be seen and a medium of light to see by. As the tendency to love implies something lovely for its object, so the religious sentiment implies its object; if it is regarded as the sense of absolute dependence, it implies the absolute on which this dependence rests, independent of ourselves. 
"Now, spiritual, like bodily faculties, act jointly, and not one at a time; and when the occasion is given us from without, reason, spontaneously, independent of our forethought and volition, acting by its own laws, gives us by intuition an idea of that on which we depend. To this idea we give the name God, or Gods, as it is represented by one or several separate conceptions ihus tne existence of God is implied by the natural sense of dependence in the religious sentiment itself; it is expressed by the spontaneous intuition of reason itself.  
" Now, men come to this idea early.    It is the logical condition of all other ideas;  without this as an element of our consciousness, or lying latent, as it were, and unrecognized in us, we could have no ideas at all.    The senses reveal us something external to the body, and independent thereof, on which it depends ; they tell not what, it is. Consciousness reveals something in like manner  not the soul, but the absolute ground of the soul, on which the soul depends.    Outward circumstances furnish the occasion by which we approach and discover the idea of God; but they do not furnish the idea itself.    That is a fact given by the nature of man.    Hence, some philosophers have called it an innate idea; others a reminiscence of what the soul knew in a higher state ot life before it took the body.    Both opinions may be regarded as rhetorical statements of the truth, that the idea of God is a fact eiven by man's nature, and not an invention of ours.     The belief, therefore, in God's existence is natural, not against nature     It comes unavoidably from the legitimate action of reason and the religious sentiment, just as the belief in light comes from using our eyes, and belief in our existence from mere existence. The knowledge of God's existence, therefore, may be called an intuition of reason, in the language of philosophy; or a revelation from God, in the language of the elder theology.

" If the above statement be correct, then our belief in God's existence does not depend on the a posteriori argument, on considerations drawn from the order, fitness, and beauty discovered by observations made in the material world ; nor yet on the a priori argument, on considerations drawn from the eternal nature of things, and observations made in the spiritual world. It depends primarily on no argument, not on reasoning, but reason: The fact is given us outright, as it were, and comes to man as soon and as naturally as belief in his own existence, and is, indeed, logically inseparable from it, for we cannot be conscious of ourselves except as dependent beings."  Discourse, pp. 20 - 23.

This passage is designed expressly to answer the question, How does man come to the idea of God, or how is it that he is in possession of the idea of God, belief in the existence of God, or knowledge of the existence of God ? To this question, notwithstanding the looseness of the passage, we may say, two answers are given. 1. The idea of God is a primitive datum of our nature, or fact given us in our nature itself. 2. It is an intuitive perception of God,  " given us," as he says in the following page, " by intuition." These two answers Mr. Parker evidently regards as one and the same, and with him a fact given us in our nature and a fact of intuition mean one and the same thing. This shows that he is not far advanced in his philosophy, and that he but imperfectly comprehends the meaning of the words he uses. A fact given us in our nature must, if it mean any thing, mean an essential element or principle of our nature as human nature, the absence of which cannot be conceived without implying the absence or essential change of our nature itself. An intuition is a fact of experience, a simple intellectual act, the immediate perception, of an object; that is, perception of an idea or object, without another idea or object as the medium of its perception. And intuition of reason can only mean the immediate perception of an object of reason as distinguished from an object of external sense. Whether in this last sense there are any intuitions of reason, that is, whether we have immediate perception of any non-sensible objects, may be a question, or rather in our mind is no question ; but it is certain, that, if the idea of God be an intuition, it cannot be a fact given us in our nature ; for since it is an act, it must be subsequent to the nature that acts. The intuitive nature, the intuitive subject, must precede it, be independent of it, and complete without it. It requires very little philosophy to know this. Mr. Parker cannot, then, insist on its being both. Which he will decide in favor of we know not; but we deny that it is either.
1. The idea of God is a fact given us in our nature. By this, we repeat, Mr. Parker does not mean that the idea of God may be merely inferred from a fact or facts of our nature, but that it is itself a fact of our nature ; for he tells us it depends on no argument, no reasoning, but is given us outright in our nature. Now, to this we object (a.), that no idea can properly, in the sense Mr. Parker uses the term, be considered a fact of nature. Idea must be taken either objectively or subjectively. Taken objectively, as it is by Plato, it means the form or essence of the thing in question, that which distinguishes it from all other things, determines it to be what it is, and is that which, in knowing it, must be the real object known. In this case, the idea is simply the object known, and the idea of God would not be a belief or knowledge of the existence of God, but would be the object of such belief or knowledge. But this is not the sense in which Mr. Parker uses the term ; for we may learn from the passage quoted, that, what in one place he calls the idea of God, he in another calls belief in the existence of God, and in still another, knowledge of the existence of God. He evidently understands the term in a subjective sense, and designates by it a fact in the mind, not the object of that fact. But, subjectively, idea is simply apprehension, notion, or conception of some object existing, or believed to exist, out of the mind. It is, then, a fact of experience, an act performed by the intelligent subject, and therefore cannot be a fact or principle of the intelligent nature itself. If Mr. Parker understands the word subjectively, then idea of God is not a fact given in our nature, any more than is the idea of a horse, a mountain, or a book. If he understands it objectively, then the idea of God is God himself, and cannot be n fact of our nature, unless God himself is a fact of our nature, which not even Mr. Parker will dare assert. So, take the word either objectively or subjectively, it cannot designate a fact given us in our nature itself.
(b.) According to Mr. Parker's own account of it, idea of
God cannot be a fact given us in our nature, for he makes it depend on the sense of dependence. His assertion is, that the sense of dependence implies it. He himself makes it a deduction from the sense of dependence. " The sense of dependence is a proof by implication," he says, " of something on which dependence rests......A natural want in
our constitution implies satisfaction in some quarter......
As the tendency to love implies something lovely for its object, so the religious sentiment implies its object." Now, admit, what is not true, that the sense of dependence is a fact, element, or principle of our nature,  the idea of God, which Mr. Parker defines to be " an idea of that on which we depend," is only a deduction, a logical inference, from a fact of our nature. It is obtained only by analyzing the idea of dependence, and drawing forth from it what it logically contains. Consequently, the idea of God cannot be said to be given us outright in our nature, prior to, or independent of, all reasoning.

(c.) But, even admitting that the idea of that on which we depend is given us in the sense of dependence, explicitly, not merely implicitly,  the idea of that, or of a somewhat, on which we depend is not equivalent to the idea of God. To the idea of this, Mr. Parker says, men give the name God. This is not true ; for the idea of God, as the race entertains, and always has entertained it, is the idea of a Supreme Power from which we spring, to which we are subject, and for which propter quern  we are bound to live, which is more than the mere idea of a somewhat on which we depend, which is merely the complement of ourselves, (d.) And, even passing over this, admitting that the idea of a somewhat on which we depend is equivalent to the idea of God, and that it is given immediately in the sense of dependence, it is, nevertheless, not a fact given us immediately in our nature,  for the sense of dependence itself is not a fact of our nature, as we have already proved, but merely a deduction from certain facts of our experience. We find by experience that we are limited, that we cannot do what we will, that we are insufficient for ourselves, and therefore infer that we are not self-sustained, but are dependent beings, and therefore, again, that there must needs be something on which we depend, and which does not depend on us.

That this something on which we depend, and which does not depend on us, is God, we, of course, do not deny; but the idea of something not dependent on us, and on which we depend, is yet, considered in se, far below the idea of God, and can only by a long chain of induction, to which only a few gifted minds are equal, be shown to imply it. The idea of God is not, we say, therefore, a fact given us in our nature, a primitive datum.

2. The same arguments we have used to prove that the idea of God is not a fact given us in our nature, or, at least, all but one of them, prove equally that it is not an intuition. Mr. Parker offers no evidence of its being an intuition, but the fact that it is implied in the sense of dependence, and that men have entertained it before they could have demonstrated it, either by the argument a priori or the argument a posteriori. Admit the first, and it proves nothing to his purpose; for an idea which is given only as implied in another is not given by intuition, even though that other idea be itself intuitive. An intuitive idea is not an implicit, but an explicit, idea. An implicit idea is merely an idea involved or contained in another, and is obtained through that other as its medium ; but intuitive ideas are not given through the medium of other ideas. They are given immediately, or else they are discursive, not intuitive. Moreover, the sense of dependence, assumed to give implicitly the idea of God, is not even itself intuitive, as we have just seen, but a logical deduction from facts of experience. Even admitting, then, that an idea implied in another may be an intuitive idea, the idea of God is not intuitive, since the idea which implies it is not intuitive.

The second proof alleged begs the question. The human race may have entertained, and no doubt have entertained, the idea of God prior to having demonstrated the existence of God ; but this does not prove the intuitive origin of the idea of God; for the idea may have been communicated, in the first instance, supernaturally, by God himself, as is alleged by the universal traditions of the race. Mr. Parker must prove that the idea could not have been communicated in this or in any way other than the one he assumes, before, from the fact that the human race has entertained the idea prior to having demonstrated it, he can conclude to its intuitive origin.
But it is unnecessary to dwell longer on this point; for it is evident from what we have already said, that man has, and can have, no intuitive perception of God. Indeed, Mr. Parker concedes this ; for he says in a note, p. 24, that the idea of God may be called a judgment a priori.    Now, if it is a judgment a priori, it is not an intuitive perception ; for the intuitive idea can never precede, either historically or logically, the actual perception of the object. Consequently, no intuitive idea is or can be a judgment a priori, that is, a judgment which logically precedes every real or possible fact of experience.

Nevertheless, we do not admit that the idea of God is a judgment a priori; for we do not admit the reality of any judgments a priori. A judgment is an act, and always implies an act of discrimination, and therefore, from its very nature, cannot precede intuition of the matter or matters discriminated. The Kantian doctrine on this subject is more specious than solid, and involves us in a new difficulty greater than that from which it proposes to extricate us. What Kant calls judgments or cognitions a priori are nothing but the properties, the essential qualities, so to speak, of the subjective faculty of intelligence,  and therefore are not ideas, judgments, or cognitions, but, at best, the subjective ability to form ideas, judgments, or cognitions.

But all this reasoning is unnecessary, for Mr. Parker concedes the whole question in debate. " We can know God only in part,  from the manifestations of his divinity, seen in nature, felt in man."--p. 160. Even he will not, we think, after this, dare maintain that the idea of God is an intuitive perception ; for the existence of a being knowable only through the medium of his manifestations, that is, of his works, is not and cannot be an object of intuitive perception.

The idea of God, Mr. Parker tells us, « is the logical condition of all our other ideas ; without this as an element of our consciousness, lying latent, as it were, unrecognized in us, we could have no ideas at all." Consciousness is the state or condition of being conscious. An element of consciousness must be a fact of which we are always and invariably conscious, when we are conscious at all. To be conscious is to know, to recognize. If the idea of God be an element or fact of consciousness, it must be a fact of which we are always and invariably conscious when we are conscious at all, and, therefore, cannot lie latent or unrecognized in us.
The idea is either subjective or objective. It is not in this case objective, as before proved, and as is evident from the fact that Mr. Parker makes it synonymous with belief or knowledge. It is, then, subjective. Then it is the notion or conception of the existence of God.    Then it is not latent or unrecognized ; for no notion or conception exists when not recognized, since its very being is in its recognition. The power to form the notion, but not the notion itself, may lie latent, unrecognized in us ; and this is all that Descartes teaches, when he calls the idea of God innate, that is, that we have the innate power to rise to a conception of God's existence.

But we must tell Mr. Parker that he not only fails to prove that the idea of God is a fact given us in our nature, that it is % a judgment a priori, that it is an intuitive perception, but he does not even show that the existence of God is demonstrable. On his principles of reasoning, from the facts he alleges, we cannot logically even conclude to the existence of God. " A natural want in our constitution," he says, " implies satisfaction in some quarter." If our constitution be assumed to be the work of an all-wise, powerful, and good creator, we grant the conclusion,otherwise we deny it; for, till it is known that the author of our nature would not or'could not implant in us a want for which he makes no provision, the existence of the want is no evidence of satisfaction. It implies the need of satisfaction, but not that there is satisfaction. u The tendency to love implies something lovely as its object." If it is to be satisfied,  otherwise not. But how do you know that it is to be satisfied ? u So the religious sentiment implies its object." If it is to be satisfied,not otherwise. In itself considered, taken independently of the assumption of a God who has implanted it, and who would not have implanted it without providing satisfaction for it, it merely proves the need of some object,  not that the object really exists. The argument, then, on which Mr. Parker relies is without validity, and is no demonstration of the existence of God.

But we do not stop here. Granting the religious sentiment and the idea of God, that is, the sense of dependence and idea of its object, are facts, elements, or principles of human nature, we deny that religion is a fact or principle of human nature, or that even then there is any thing in our nature in which religion can be assumed to originate.

Mr. Parker's thesis is not, that the principles of religion may be deduced, by reasoning, from the facts of human nature, but that religion originates spontaneously in those facts, independently of our will or foresight. It is, so to speak, a natural production of the essential facts or elements of human nature. This is his thesis, and to this we hold him.

Now, the two facts, sense of dependence and idea of its object, do not authorize, but impugn, Mr. Parker's own definition of religion. Absolute, that is, perfect religion, he tells us (p. 46), is "voluntary obedience to the law of God, inward and outward obedience to the law he has written on our nature." Here is an element very essential, namely, voluntary obedience, not included in the sense of dependence and idea of its object, and which they do not and cannot generate. Doubtless, a man, by reasoning upon all the facts of his nature, by ascertaining that he is a dependent being, and that that on which he depends is God, and that God is his rightful lawgiver, his sovereign, may come very legitimately to the conclusion that he ought to obey God ; but this is nothing to the purpose. There can be, according to Mr. Parker's thesis, nothing in religion not spontaneously generated by the two facts of human nature assumed. These operate naturally, independently of will and foresight, from their own inherent force. Voluntary obedience, if essential to religion, must be their spontaneous production, to which volition and reasoning are not necessary, nay, from which they are excluded. But this is impossible ; for there is and can be no voluntary obedience, where will and foresight are excluded.

If religion be voluntary obedience, it is not and cannot be a fact of human nature, nor the spontaneous product of a fact of human nature, for it must be a free creation of the human will. If not, the obedience would not be voluntary, but necessary. How, then, obtain the idea of religion as voluntary obedience from the two facts of human nature assumed ? But if it is to be regarded as the sense of dependence and idea of its object, or as growing spontaneously out of them, it cannot be voluntary, but must be necessary. By what right, then, does Mr. Parker define religion to be voluntary obedience ? And wherefore does he labor to prove that religion is all included in the sense of dependence and idea of its object, when he finds himself obliged to include in its definition an element not even implied by them, and repugnant to them as the essential elements of religion ?

But this definition, all too broad as it is for Mr. Parker's thesis, is altogether defective. It has the merit of recognizing the province of the will. In making religion voluntary obedience, Mr. Parker makes it a virtue,"and therefore rejects the Transcendental theory, according to which religion is not a virtue,  since it  recognizes,  as essential   to   it,  no  actus humanus.    This definition shows that he, after all, retains something better than  Transcendentalism, and has not quite lost all sense of religion.    Nevertheless, the definition is defective, and its rejection of Transcendentalism more in appearance than in reality.    The serpent lies coiled at the bottom, ready, if you penetrate too far, to spring upon you.    Religion is defined to be voluntary obedience ; but obedience to what ? Simply to our own nature.    Mr. Parker says, obedience to the law of God ; but we must not suffer ourselves to be deceived by his rhetorical flourishes.    The law of God is, he himself says, simply the law which Almighty God has written on our nature, which is merely the law of our nature, that is, our nature itself.    Hence, religion is voluntary obedience to our nature, which means, in the last analysis, that it is the surrender of ourselves up to our instinctive nature, to do simply what it moves or impels us to do.    This is Transcendentalism in full bloom, whether Mr. Parker intended it or not.

Now, Mr. Parker, in using the term religion, is bound to use it in its received sense.    Saving his responsibility, he is free to accept or reject that sense, but not free to reject it and still retain the term.    If he does not retain, in his definition of religion, all that is essential to religion in its generally received sense, he does not retain religion ; if he rejects what is essential to religion, as the term is generally understood by mankind, he rejects religion.    That which he retains may be true, may be all he ought to retain, or it may not be ; but it is not religion, and he has no right to call it religion.    Now, religion, in its generally received sense, is the acknowledgment and worship of the Deity.    It may mean more than this, but less it cannot. As Mr. Parker will not quarrel with us about the unity of God, we may say the acknowledgment of the Deity is the recognition of, and expression of our belief in, the existence and providence of God ; and the worship of God implies not only the acknowledgment of his being and providence, but the performing certain acts or services, external or internal, believed to be his due and because his due.    Mr. Parker is familiar enough with the religious history of mankind to know that the race has always meant j)y religion at least all that is implied in this definition.    Then, if what he calls religion does not amount to this, it is not religion.    But what he calls religion does^ not amount to this, and cannot be obtained from the principles
which he admits.                            
In Mr. Parker's definition of religion, not even the being of God is necessarily implied, but simply the idea of God, which is alleged to be a fact of human nature. But, in this definition, not only the being of God, but his providence, is implied. Now, the idea of the providence of God, essential to religion, is not included in Mr. Parker's definition of religion ; neither when he defines it to be the sense of dependence and idea of its object, nor when he defines it to be voluntary obedience to the law of our nature. Will he tell us how, from the two facts of our nature, or from voluntary obedience, he can then obtain it ? The two facts, according to him, ought to generate it spontaneously ; for nothing can be essential to religion but these and their spontaneous productions. But will he show us how, even by logic, we can obtain from these the idea of providence ? If not,  and he cannot,  they are not themselves religion, nor able to give us religion ; for there is no religion, where there is no belief in providence.
Moreover, Mr. Parker nowhere in his book recognizes God's providence. None but a personal being, acting voluntarily, and for the sake of an end, can exercise providence,  that is, care for, watch over, and provide for his creatures. But Mr. Parker expressly denies the personality of God, speaks of the Divinity as an abstraction, applies to him pronouns of the neuter gender, and even refuses to allow him consciousness, save potentially. " God, as absolute cause," he says, " contains in himself"  he should have said itself, to have preserved consistency  "potentially the ground of consciousness and personality, yes, and of unconsciousness and impersonality. But to apply these terms to him seems to me a vain attempt to sound the abyss of the Godhead."  p. 165. He denies, by implication, the propriety of prayer (p. 167), though we have heard that he himself goes, at times, through the form of prayer, whether with " his eyes fixed devoutly on himself " or not, our informants do not report. " God," he says (p. 170),

Again, the definition of religion, as generally received, involves the idea of obligation. We worship God, because we owe him a service. In worshipping him, we are simply rendering him his due, and we worship him for the sake of paying what we owe. But is the conception of obligation, of a debt due and to be paid, contained in the sense of dependence and idea of its object, or even deducible from them ? Of course not. No alchemy can transmute either or both of them into the idea of obligation, nor can either or both of them generate it.

These two facts, if obeyed, cannot lead to the worship of God, because what we do in obedience to them we do ex necessitate natures, not from reason and will. The acts we should perform would not be acts of worship, because they would not be done for the sake of worshipping God, that is, of rendering him his due. Then, unless they can give us of themselves the idea of obligation, that we owe God a service, they cannot be the essential elements of religion, and we might have them and still have no religion, and nothing able to give us religion. But instinctive, involuntary, themselves, operating without will or foresight, it is evident they do not contain, and cannot give, the idea of obligation, and thus furnish the motive, without which no act is or can be religious.

Mr. Parker nowhere, so far as we have discovered, asserts the obligation to worship God. He does not seem to admit that man is morally bound at all to worship God. The only obligation he seems to recognize is the obligation of man to obey his own nature,  that is, to cease to be man as rapidly as possible, and descend from a person to a thing. God is nowhere represented as demanding any service of man ; man nowhere said to owe God any thing; man is merely to study nature and himself,ascertain and act out his own nature. The law in his nature is all the law there is for him, and religion is nothing but the harmonious action of all his faculties (p. 241). But the ground of this obligation is nowhere given, or, if given, is not represented to be the fact that God wills it, and that we are to obey ourselves for the sake of obeying him.

It is, then, false to assume, that the two facts, sense of dependence and idea of its object, include all that is essential to religion. They do not include, and cannot give us, the two essential elements of religion, namely, the idea of providence and that of obligation. They disclose no ground for worship in the providence of God ; they suggest no service to God, to be given because his due. They are not religion, then, and cannot, of themselves alone, give us religion.

But we are not yet done with Mr. Parker's theory. We have shown that it cannot give us religion ; we now assert that it is repugnant to religion, and, if admitted as true, would enable us to account for all religious phenomena without assuming even the existence of God. " Two things," says Mr. Parker, " are necessary to render religion possible ; a religious nature in man, and God out of man, as the object of that nature. These two facts admitted, religion follows necessarily, as vision from the existence of a seeing faculty in man, and that of light out of him. Now, the existence of the religious element implies its object. We have naturally a sentiment of God. Reason gives us an idea of him. These are founded in our nature, and are in themselves unchangeable, always the same.',  p. 159. This sounds well ; but the sentiment of God, the religious sentiment, we must remember, is the sense of dependence, and the idea of God is merely the idea of something on which dependence rests. The sense and the idea are both facts of our nature, facts given us in our nature. Our nature being given, then, both these facts are given. Then man being given, all is given that is essential to religion. Then Mr. Parker is quite too liberal in allowing the existence of God out of man as necessary to religion. The existence of God is quite superfluous, and quite unphilosophically assumed ; for philosophy admits no more causes for a fact than are necessary. If religion, then, be the facts of our nature, or their spontaneous production, it requires the admission of no existence but man, and can dispense with God altogether.

But Mr. Parker replies, " The sentiment implies its object." Not if its existence can be accounted for without assuming its object ; and this can be done, if it be a fact of man's nature ; for, man's nature given, it is given. Moreover, as we have seen, the sentiment only implies the necessity of an object to satisfy it, not that the object exists. It implies the necessity of its object, not  as the condition of its existence, but simply as the condition of its satisfaction.    Here is a point Mr. Parker probably overlooked.

But the sentiment is said to be the sentiment of God, and therefore necessarily implies that God is. The sentiment in question is defined, officially, to be the sense of dependence. Strictly speaking, the object of the sense is dependence, and therefore, even admitting the sense or sentiment implies its object, it does not necessarily imply God, unless God and dependence are one and the same.

" But reason gives us the idea of God." This amounts to nothing ; because reason gives it, not because it sees the object of the idea, or demonstrates from certain data that God is. The idea is said to be a fact given in our nature, and therefore antecedently to all exercise of reason. It is simply a fact or property of the rational subject, and is given in the idea of the subject,  consequently, does not necessarily imply God out of the subject. Before you can conclude from the idea to a reality outside of man responding to it, you must establish the principle, that no idea is, or can be, given in human nature. But establish this, then the idea of God is not given as a fact of human nature. But this is to deny your own assertion. Therefore you have no right to conclude from the idea of God to the existence of God.
It is clear, therefore, that, if you reduce religion to the sense of dependence and idea of its object, and declare these to be facts, elements, or principles of human nature, you have no occasion to assume any existence, in order to account for religion,  to give you all of religion,  but that of man himself. But, if there be no God, all religion is a delusion. Consequently, the attempt to find in human nature a solid and imperishable foundation for religion ends in showing that it has no foundation at alL Alas ! man is a poor foundation to build any thing upon. The wise master-builder will seek some other foundation,  even the Rock of Ages.
Again, Mr. Parker has no occasion to assume the existence of God as an object of obedience. When he defines religion to be voluntary obedience, he defines it to be obedience to the law of our own nature. Our nature given, this law is given, and all is given, and contained in it. There is no need, then, of introducing the cumbrous machinery of a God. Man is what he is. He is all his nature is. His nature is all that is essential to it, or essential elements of it. All that is essential to religion is essential in his nature.    Man, then, is it all, and all that is essential to religion is given without assuming any existence beyond him. Do not tell us, then, that to religion it is necessary that there should be a God out of man, for to religion, in your sense, it is not necessary. Man is enough for your purpose. With man, therefore, try and content yourself.

This conclusion is inevitable, when the essential elements of religion are made essential elements of human nature. The Transcendentalists, we are willing to admit,  for we were ourselves the first in this country to set forth on this point the doctrine we have ascribed to them,  have been governed by good motives, and have really wished to defend religion against the infidel. But they have begun at the wrong end. That man is led by the wants of his nature to seek after some support, and by his reason to recognize a God who has made him and for whom he should live, we do not deny,though we do not believe, that, as a matter of fact, he first attained in this way to the idea of God ; for the belief in the existence of God is too early found, too universal, and too firmly rooted in the human mind, to have originated in so long and so difficult a process. That man's own experience of his own insufficiency, of his nothingness, of the fact that he is everywhere limited, hemmed in, which may be called a sense of dependence, and which all must, to a greater or less degree, experience, is among the first and chief causes that lead him " through nature up to nature's God," we are willing to admit, and much that Mr. Parker says on this head, when not taken in support of his theory, is no doubt true, and even impressive ; but the doctrine, that religion is a fact of our nature, or has its origin in our permanent nature, if it mean any thing more than a rhetorical flourish for the fact, that the constantly recurring facts of human experience have a strong tendency to impress us with a sense of our own dependence, and to lead us to look out of ourselves for some independent support,which, after all, we suspect, may be all Mr. Parker really means, is essentially repugnant to the very idea of religion. The sense of dependence and idea of its object are not elements of religion; they are simply facts which lead us to seek religion, and which, perhaps, facilitate its acceptance and observance.

To place religion in these is to deprive it of all moral character, and to render it in itself nothing worth. Mr. Parker may extol the religious sentiment and idea as he will, but, as he defines them, they do not necessarily involve a single moral or religious conception. Man is religious, not by virtue of his nature, but of his acts. He is placed, not by his nature, but by his Creator, under a law ; and he is religious only in obeying that law, and in obeying it because it is God's law. The natural powers by which he obeys, so far as his obedience depends on himself as the obedient subject, are the same as those by which he obeys his parents or the magistrate. He must have reason, by which to perceive the law, and to perceive it as God's law,  and will, by which to will its obedience ; but these are not powers brought into play only by religion ; they are brought into play in every act which is properly an actus humanus.

The Transcendentalists, overlooking this fact,  that religion, so far as it depends on man, depends on the rational and voluntary nature,  seek to find its origin in the sensitive nature. Having begun with the principle, that reason and will are to be discarded, and sentiment only retained, and having ascertained that sentiment operates instinctively without will or reason, they have fancied it would afford a more solid and respectable foundation for religion than the inductions of reason and the resolutions of the will. What they really want is to find an origin for religion which is under shelter from human will and reason. This is obvious in all their writings. Thus, Mr. Parker resolves religion into a sentiment and idea both given by our nature, independently of all exercise of will or reason. Placed in the instinctive nature, they really believe religion is raised above us, because, according to them, the instinctive nature is always to be regarded as supreme and authoritative.

But if we examine this doctrine more closely, we find, that, though it adopts, now and then, religious names, it embraces no religious ideas. " The legitimate action of the religious sentiment," says Mr. Parker, "produces reverence."  p. 44. The religious sentiment is the sense of dependence. Where is the proof that the sense of dependence produces reverence ? But suppose it does. What is the quality of this reverence ? Like produces like. The reverence that springs from a sentiment must be itself a sentiment. It is a sensible emotion. It may be weH enough as far as it goes, but it is not reverence in the religious sense. Religious reverence is not a sensible emotion, though it may be accompanied by such emotion, but an affection of the rational and voluntary nature. Even admitting that the sense of dependence should legitimately produce reverence, it would, then, be only a sensible reverence, possessing in itself no religious character.

But this reverence " may ascend into Trust, Hope, and Love, which is according to its nature, or it may descend into Doubt, Fear, Hate, which is against its nature. It thus rises or falls as it coexists in the individual with wisdom and goodness, or with ignorance and vice." p. 44. A man may be religious, either with wisdom and goodness, or with ignorance and vice ! Religion can combine and coexist with either. A very accommodating thing, this religion of yours, and worth writing books about ! But let this pass. What is the proof that it is more against the nature of reverence to descend into doubt, fear, and hate, than it is to rise into trust, hope, and love, when once it is admitted it can so descend without ceasing to be reverence ? It would relieve the monotony of Mr. Parker's book, if he would now and then prove an assertion.

But the trust, hope, love, into which reverence may rise, what are they ? Affections of reason and will ? Not at all. They are the products of a sentiment, and belong to the sentimental nature. They are not, then, though Mr. Parker writes their initials in capitals, religious affections. They are sensible emotions, or instinctive affections, not the result of rational apprehension of their object, and voluntary confidence in him and preference of him. They do not, then, rise to the religious order,, and are, taken in themselves alone, worth nothing. But even pass over this. Are they produced for the sake of God, and offered to him because his due ? In trusting, hoping, loving, do we ourselves act, and act propter finem, and not merely adfinem ? According to Mr. Parker's whole doctrine, in them we do not properly act, we but follow our nature, and therefore really render God no service because his due, and therefore perform no religious act; though the acts of trust, hope, love, when done for the sake of God, are unquestionably among the most acceptable acts we can perform.

Here is apparent the grand defect of Transcendentalism. It tries to find a religion which borrows nothing from reason and will, and which will go of itself, requiring us to trouble ourselves no further about it than to leave it alone and let nature do her work. In this they are consistent with themselves. Religion should, on their principles, like every thing else, be reduced to instinct, and, like Dogberry's reading and writing, "come by nature."     But they should know, that, however good what thus comes may be, it is not religion, and should never be called by that name.    Whether they are right or wrong in commending what they thus get is not now the question.    The simple question before us is, whether what they dignify with the name of religion is what we are to understand by that venerated word.    We think we have shown that it is not, and, if for no other reason, for the reason that in religion we offer a service to God because believed to be his due, and his due from us ; whereas, in what they propose as religion, we merely follow our nature, and do what we do, not because we see its justice and will it, but because our instinctive nature prompts it.    In their religion we act merely adfinem, and our acts are, properly speaking, not human acts; in religion as we must understand it, if we retain it at all, we act always 'propter finem, therefore not as instinctive, but as rational and voluntary agents.    Here is a broad line of distinction, which separates the Transcendentalists totally from the religious world.    Religion is a virtus, and it demands that we remain and act as men.    Transcendentalism would sink us from men, from beings of rational nature, that is, persons, to mere automata, or, at least, to mere sensitive plants.   For ourselves, we prefer to remain as we are, of rational nature, and to act as'rational beings.    If the Transcendentalists do not, if they prefer to sink into the category of mere things, be it so ; they have not, if they so prefer, far to sink ; nor could their responsibility be great, should they remain even as they are.

In our next Review, God willing, we shall close our examination of Transcendentalism, and be prepared to enter upon the discussion of open, avowed infidelity. Thus far all we have said, whether against High Church or Low Church, No-Church or Transcendentalism, is merely preliminary to the discussion of the real question for our age. Disguise the matter as men will, the real question of the age is between Catholicity and Infidelity. Protestantism, with its Protean forms, would excite only universal derision and contempt, did it not afford a quasi shelter for the multitudes who wish to conceal their doubts both from themselves and their neighbours. These multitudes are ashamed of their doubts, have a lurking sense that they are wrong, and that they ought to be believers ; they therefore seek to hide their doubts from themselves and from one another.   To this end, they catch, as drowning men at straws, at one form of Protestantism or another ; but most of them feel that they do catch at straws, and nothing else. Protestantism is incapable of satisfying, for a single moment, a mind that thinks and knows how to reason. It needed not to have been born and bred a Protestant to be aware of this. A few women among the Protestants, who silence their doubts by their gentler affections or their religious dissipation, may fancy that they are firm believers ; but the great mass of the world, out of the Church, are really at heart, we will not say disbelievers, but doubters. The great question, deny it as they may and probably will, which they want settled, is whether Almighty God has actually made us a revelation of! the supernatural order. We know they will not own this, for, as we have-said, they, are ashamed of their doubts, and do not like to avow them ; but if they lay their hands upon their hearts and answer trtfly, they will confess that we have stated the real question they want settled. Once recall them to faith in the great fact of the Christian revelation, and it will require no labored arguments to bring them into the Church. The only two armies now on the great moral battle-field of the world are those of Catholicity and Infidelity, and between these the great battle is to be fought. We have felt this from the first, and have entered into the discussions we have, because we wished to carry all the outworks before attacking the citadel. These we think we have now pretty much carried, and whoever will read fairly the articles we have written against Anglicanism, No-Churchism, and Transcendentalism, will be troubled to find a single stronghold in which he may intrench himself between the Roman Catholic Church and infidelity.

The next article on Transcendentalism will commence the war on infidelity, by showing that the facts, or at least a portion of the facts, of the religious history of mankind are not explicable on any hypothesis which excludes the supernatural intervention of Providence, and, therefore, that, on the plainest principles of inductive reasoning, we must admit the supernatural order, and that God has made us a revelation of it. In the mean time we would say, that we, as Catholics, are too well instructed to rely on argument alone for the conversion of unbelievers. No matter who plants and waters, 't is God alone who gives the increase. The fervent prayers of the faithful, offered in secret, in the solitude of the closet or the cell, will avail more than all the elaborate arguments ever constructed ; and one reason why the conversion of unbelievers is not more rapid is because we rely upon ourselves, upon our wisdom and strength, upon human efforts, rather than on Him without whose aid and blessing all labors are thrown away.