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Schiller's Aesthetic Theory

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1846

ART. V.—Schiller's Aesthetic Theory

THE following communication, sent us by the accomplished translator of Schiller's Aesthetic Prose, noticed in our Review for July last, we very willingly insert, out of esteem for the writer.

" This Review, for July, 1845, contained an article on Schiller's Aesthetic Prose, a work then just translated. It was more particularly a critique of his Aesthetic Theory, as developed in the series of letters upon human culture, raising fundamental objections thereto from the Christian point of view. But as it seemed to the writer of this that the theory in question not only sacrificed no Christian principle, but rather corroborated and sustained them all, at the same time being, if well understood, the ally and harbinger of Christian culture, the editor has, with great courtesy, opened hia pages for a vindication of Schiller's position. The present article is an attempt at such, rather than at a distinct reply to the Review. As briefly as possible, it will be an exposition of the ^Esthetic Theory, and its relation to Christianity. This, however, will involve a reply to the chief objection raised by the Reviewer against it; and the attempt is hazarded from a deep sense of the beauty and practical necessity of the theory, and from a desire to establish it in the esteem of those who are watching for every thing that tends to reproduce the divine life in human hearts.

" At first sight, Schiller's theory would seem to have no relation at all to any question of morals or of Christian culture. But this is owing solely, to its abstract and aesthetic form. It seems intended to establish, by metaphysical disquisition, the laws which develope, at the best, only a true artist, or a good citizen of the state. Its composition was prompted by the events of the French Revolution, that great effort of the individual to annihilate the state, and substitute every shade and extreme of idiosyncrasy in place of that legal development and composite order of humanity which respects the state, because that is the finest result of the man. Schiller seems only to wish to solve that political problem, without recourse to experience : Can there be a pure state, and at the same time a pure humanity ? or rattier, What instrumentality will effect the latter, in order to create the former ? He states the fine arts to be this medium, beauty to be a necessity of humanity, and the secret of culture to consist in the final equipoise of opposing impulses by its agency. And, at first sight, all the significance of his theory seems to be exhausted at this point alone. Even Herder called it one-sided and partial, probably because its form was purely resthetic, while he must have seen that it was capable of a Christian application, and was intended to minister to every want of the human soul, whether political, moral, or artistic. The Reviewer sees this potential capacity, of the theory, but considers it nevertheless to be deficient when carried to its ultimates. To us rather it seems eminently to subserve the cause of Christianity, and, for a pure product of the intellect, to bo singularly manifold and exhaustive. It states a prime condition for the successful embodiment of Christianity in the life of man.

" If Schiller meant to declare that the evolution of this ideal beauty, and the consequent equilibrium of reason and desire, of the subjective and the objective man (person and condition), completed man's culture, established a virtuous character, and fulfilled-his destiny, the Reviewer might well object; since such a declaration would only raise a problem that would remain for ever innocent of a solution, — namely, How can this ideal beauty secure the absolute right ? how can it,-furthermore, decide the will in favor of that right ? If Schiller meant to say that the play-impulse was equivalent to love, or even charity, that virtue was an affection of the passive nature, or that the said impulse could nerve a struggle against desire in favor of duty ; if, in fine, it was his object to show, by means of his theory, that man can originate and put into practical operation the means of positive virtue, — that he is at once lever and fulcrum, weight and power, — we might well thank the Reviewer for exposing the hateful visage of this idolatry, and for reprobating a system that would make revelation superfluous, and leave unanswered all the imminent question of grace and prayer. But to us,— we speak in deference, and yet with a feeling of great certainty, — to us Schiller appears to be guilty of no such blunders, but, on the contrary, to frame a theory which virtually excludes their possibility.

" Briefly, the validity of his theory depends upon the force and meaning given to the play-impulse. If we can precisely define its function, we shall be able to decide whether or not the theory in question is ultimately Christian.

" The Aesthetic Letters are an attempt to display the process which evolves man's freedom. Schiller explains, that he does not mean that freedom ' which necessarily appertains to man, considered as an intelligence, and which can neither be given to man nor taken from him ; but that which is based upon his compound nature.' — p. 93. If this freedom, or equipoise of man's two essential ingredients, the residue of a last analysis, and the corroboration of his humanity, can be secured, he is thus, and thus alone, able to make definite acquisitions, to fulfil the laws of right, and to express in life all the moral truth of which he is conscious. It is evident that we are now giving his theory its Christian application, purposely avoiding to notice its capacity to include the citizen or the artist. Schiller confines himself throughout to this simple proposition of the necessity of freedom as the condition of culture. He docs not say how man acquires a cognition of that duty which this state of freedom alone can make available to him ; whether it is an idea of the pure reason, or whether it is revealed to him as extra. The decision of that question is not necessary to the integrity of his theory ; no matter in what way the ideas of right and of duty are presented to man, he can realize them successfully only through this preestablished harmony, this freedom of his compound nature. Till that is gained, the free-will which he possesses as an intelligence is a superfluous and only potential energy. It can act with vigorous accuracy only when freed from either of his two ground-impulses, that is, when they mutually cancel each other, as forces, by the creation of an equipoise. But what shall create it ? What shall' induce this state in man, which is neither subjectively nor objectively contingent, and yet neither internally nor externally constrained, — the state of play or freedom ? Schiller declares, that the intuition of beauty can alone create it, and evolve this play-impulse, which is not a force, but only the condition, the appearance, of a force, as a certain indeterminate state of water must precede its crystallization. It is a condition of mere determinableness, and yet without it no determination can ensue.

" The Letters themselves sufficiently and happily explain the validity of the division of man's nature into two primary impulses, the possibility of their indifterentism, or the evolution of the play-impulse, and also the manner in which the cognition of beauty can effect it. ' As the aesthetic inclination of the mind gives the lirst impulse to freedom, it is easy to perceive that it cannot result from freedom, and consequently can have no moral origin. It must be a ginHr nature; favoring accident alone can loose the bonds of the physical condition, and lead the savage to the shrine of beauty.' — p. 129. Yet it is an accident which has all the conditions of universality and necessity. Nature is invariable in this respect, and everywhere makes her first attempt upon the mind as beauty. If Schiller seems, in any place, to make it a condition of certain circumstances and favorable conjunctures, he refers to the development of the ideal beauty ; but even the savage is rescued from his ani-mality by ' delight in show, inclination for ornament and for play.' The progress of the race from the necessitous state of nature to the state of freedom, which evolves the highest beauty, as among the Greeks, is described with great felicity in Letters XXVI. and XXVII. But all of them have such a strict logical sequence from the very first, and so skilfully develope the main idea, while clearing away objections, that to designate the particular scope of any fragment is only to tempt objections, which, after all, do not impinge upon the main design.

" To return. That this cognition of beauty is the only effective medium for the production of freedom will be evident when we attempt to apply any other known process or method of influence. In vain will you make a representation of truth, with the hope of bringing the will into harmony with duty. The will has not yet been provided with a free arena for its volitive power, and to say that any representation of duty will create this freedom is to say that the house can build the workmen. The will cannot make choice of duty, and attempt to fulfil the high requisitions of religion, till it is extricated from the distracting warfare of two impulses yet in a state of nature. That particular degree of culture is prerequisite which consists in removing the constraint of nature, and substituting an intermediate condition, which the will can take advantage of for the ulterior purposes of growth. The earth, with its cold moisture, its dark and coarse grains and passages, can never quicken the willing seed; the air, with its warmth and sunlight, a vast solution of vegetative principles, cannot tempt forth a single fibre to take root in nothing. But a mutual equipoise of these extremes, in lively activity and yet in harmony, is the only condition upon which the germ will put forth its capacities and establish its personality. The realization of the great law of duty is man's destiny ; to that all culture points; the end cannot itself be a preliminary, the undeveloped and embarrassed will cannot do homage to the right, any more than a kraal of Hottentots can worship the tenderness of Itaphael, or the majesty of Michel Angelo.

" Schiller still farther proves that the cognition of beauty is the only medium for the production of freedom, by proving that beauty is a necessity of humanity, and that its first development in any race or clime, whether rude and fragmentary or graceful and complete, is the first evolution of the play-impulse, which is equivalent to freedom. This requires an examination of experience and a historical treatment, better suited to an artistic discussion than to the purely abstract method pursued by Schiller. Still, a few hints and indications of facts sufficiently define his meaning, while they prove that moral culture has hitherto advanced, up to a certain point, in exact proportion to the development of the idea of beauty, even of that imperfect beauty afforded by experience. ' In man, as presented by experience, beauty finds an already depraved and perverse matter, which robs it of its ideal perfection, in proportion as he blends with that his i?idividual disposition. Far from defining its conception, with the crowd of critics, from isolated phenomena, and making itself responsible for the deficiency which man displays under its influence, we know, rather, that it is man who transfers to beauty the incompleteness of his individuality.' — p. 80. He contrasts Home with Greece to show that moral culture has advanced in exact proportion to the development of beauty, as far as a certain point. This point has always been identical with the point of highest cognition of the idea of right. The Greek nature was an example of perfect equipoise and freedom ; the reason why so much, and yet why no more, determination ensued, is to be found in the degree to which truth and duty were cognized. The race was susceptible, but the moment did not favor, compared with the present.    Now,  the favoring moment finds an unsusceptible race.'

" We now see the reason why Schiller, in common with all the highest minds of Germany, lays so much stress upon the phenomenon of Grecian art and culture. Seen from his point of view, it appears as if Greece was intended to symbolize to us the aesthetic state of freedom, which is the condition for all positive life, for the realization of all deeds of heroism and virtue. Its broad and equable development contrasts nobly with our one-sided and fragmentary culture, and we almost forget its indifferentism when contemplating its character of harmony and repose. The intensity of our modern life, the morbid growth of single faculties, the universal respect for the function as the unit-measure of the man, the million mental deformities which obtain in our social state, do more than spoil artists, scholars, citizens, and are quite as fatal to the heart as to the head. Our will is not free, as much because our culture offers it no vantage-ground of freedom and repose, as because certain passions and habits keep it down, like Gulliver fastened with a million hairs. Every thing concurs to mar our natures, and defeat our destiny, — the passional man rules with blind force, and interferes to complete the confusion commenced by a false development of intellect, and a culture which does not give us harmony and freedom, but only civilization and disease. A nineteenth century full of ancient Greeks would be full of better Christians. Had the old Athens of Plato been in that line of culture which went forth from the manger in Bethlehem, there would have been a veritable Zion ; because the culture of the Greek secured to him his will, while the revelation of Christ would have manifested to him the way.

" At the foot of the broad staircase of the Louvre, which leads to the picture-gallery, where modern art has1 collected numerous symbols of diseased modern culture, odds and ends of mind, monstrosities, partial beauties, entire shams, intense passions of the theatre and the pot-house, battle-pieces, portraits with eyes and noses of determined idiosyncrasy, there stands an antique bust of Jupiter. The stranger, eager to ascend the marble steps and revel in all the promised beauties of his catalogue, is arrested, in spite of his hot dilettantism, by that majestic antique,' whose repose and self-sufficiency convey the keenest rebuke to the child of modern culture, hastening to distract and belittle himself still farther ■with the novel trifles of modern art. With what a godlike indiffer-ence do the serene eyes look forth beyond the bustle and empresse-ment of that broad and splendid staircase, up which continually streams a current of little fragments of men and women, but no whole nature ! It must be a man of uncommon impertinence who can gaze unabashed at that countenance of freedom, and who does not feel humbled beneath that expression of potential will. One is ■willing to linger for ever at the portal, and the obligation to go and see the pictures suddenly becomes distasteful and intrusive. The spell was hidden in that old chisel, long ago rusted and rotted, which struck out these lineaments of a self-poised nature, of a will waiting for its highest object. If only some green peak of the Olympic ridge had overshadowed Nazareth, and to a race so susceptible had been revealed its highest destiny.

" But it' were foolish in us to ignore so rich an experience as that ancient culture, and refuse to define it, to appropriate its lesson and make it tell upon the life of to-day. The Catholic Church has herself done the next best thing. She has filled her chapels with sweet faces of Mary, and holy, suffering faces of martyred saints ; the vistas of \\ev majestic naves are closed with canvass made immortal by Annunciations, Ascensions, or that divine and melting tragedy of sorrow ; the Mass of Mozart sweeps over that sea of bending hearts, so full of surging passions, like the voice of Jesus over the stormy lake ; the sanctified art of the Middle Ages invites men and women, in the very act of worship and confession, to tranquillity, and strives to create that free {esthetic condition which renders possible the mightiest efforts of a, heaven-directed will. But has that art itself the requisite tranquillity ? Has it not all the faults of modern culture ? With rare exceptions, does it not too often distract and agonize, and miss the breadth and repose of antique art in too exclusive appeals to veneration, to sympathy, or to fancy ? And yet whatever freedom from austerity, whatever grace and dignity, is found in the hamlets of the South of Europe, may safely be attributed to the altar-piece of the nearest church, or the perpetual miracle of its chiselled spire.

" With respect to Schiller's theory, the point to be kept in prominence is this : the play-impulse is only an indeterminate condition. It cannot be equivalent to love, it affords no determination in any province of human nature. It is null, as far as positive action ia concerned; and yet it is not null, because it makes determinate action possible. Schiller distinctly says :—'It has been explicitly proved, that beauty affords no result either to the intellect or tho volition, that it interferes in no operation either of reflection or resolution, that it only imparts to both the ability, but leaves the actual use of this ability undefined. Thus all external assistance is removed, and the pure logical form, the idea, must address itself directly to the intellect; the pure moral form, the law, directly to
the volition Thus the most important task of culture consists
in subjecting man to form, while yet in his pure physical life, and in making him cesthctieal, so far only as the realm of beauty can ever extend, — since the moral condition can unfold itself only from the assthetical, and not from the physical condition.'

" It follows from this, that, even if Schiller held the opinion, that virtue was tp be placed in inclination, and duty to win obedience in the guise of beauty, it could in no wise be deduced from his aesthetic theory, nor could the play-impulse be rendered responsible therefor, because it is responsible for nothing ; it only makes human nature fallow for the reception of truth, and free to gird itself for any struggle. Schiller did indeed diverge from the asceticism of Kant, and was not satisfied with his Judaic promulgation of the moral imperative. But while he sought to infuse the Christian principle of love or charity into the ethical system of Kant, he never meant to assert that duty could be made play, or that virtue was any thing less than a positive acquisition, based upon the sternest renunciation. It is to be won because it is decreed to be an imperative necessity of our natures ; it is the end of our being. Yet none the less can we be taught to love that which is so supremely hard to obtain; and his nature certainly is the highest and best developed, the nearest to the Christian type, who has succeeded in making his inclination coincide with the law of duty. Schiller was not so weak in theory or in practice as to demand that duty should be made easy ; he did not believe in the accidental, but in the necessary, agreement of duty and inclination. The former results from the demands and impulses of a nature not yet in perfect balance, of a volition not yet free. The latter is the product of a nature which commenced with the aesthetic condition. ' That truly advances morality, which destroys the opposition between inclination and goodness.'

" There is much in the two essays, Upon the Necessary Limits in the Use of Beautiful Forms, and Upon JEslhetic Manners, which assists one to form a correct notion of the strictness of Schiller's ethical scheme. While in the Letters he allows to beauty no determining power, but. only seeks to construct a determinable condition, in these Essays he limits with severity the influence of taste, declaring that no morality can exist where satisfaction determines the will. His great merit here consists in his skilful statement of the relation of taste and morals; a noble subject, and upon which no little loose thinking prevails. And nowhere does he utter one word of treason against the Christian duties of self-denial and sacrifice, but contends that these are part of virtue, and therefore to be loved.

"'But how can they be loved, and how can virtue generally become an object of desire ? Only by a personal experience of its desirableness, since our present condition demands a radical reversal of the soul's action. Our nature rather attaches the charm of inclination to the party of the passions. The savage, whom no culture has yet freed from the dominion of his physical condition, who does not desire nobly, because he does not contemplate noble ends, and who cannot will loftily, because no culture has bestowed upon him the requisite freedom, is a prey to his impulses, and that which is mere passional force cannot even be called inclination. The man, who, by means of the aesthetic condition, has emerged from his barbarism, and is free to choose to the extent of his cognitions, may be said to err through inclination ; he follows the bias of his passions. But if he decides always, no matter at what sacrifice of inclination, in favor of virtue, he is under the constraint of duty ; and yet this is the passage to that state of highest inclination, where duty begins to be loved on its own intrinsic merits, which it has by being identical with the'nature of God, the lawgiver. This is the Christian state of charity, and ensues when we begin to love the Lord with all our heart and soul. The will is still determined by the necessity of duty, but renunciation is less severe only because our inclination now harmonizes with our duty. An intermediate struggle has turned the tables completely, and we play at that which was formerly our toil.    This is the meaning of Schiller, when he speaks of the coincidence of inclination and duty; he objects, with special distinctness, to the confusion of the natural inclination of the sensuous man with that inclination whose sole condition is the abolition of the former. And when he says, ' That truly advances morality which destroys the opposition between inclination and goodness,' he refers to that aesthetic condition which first sets in freedom the palsied will, and makes it able to abolish the natural inclination by commencing that intermediate struggle which leads to the love of duty. Thus we fall back again upon the function of the play-impulse, which is the first result of culture, regarding man as a race, and announcing a general law. Schiller's theory gives man his freedom, without lending a bias to his will. What condition more favorable for the cognition of right and duty, and for the realization in life of Christian principles !

"Then, so far as the main idea of this theory is concerned,,one is at liberty to frame what special theology he will. It is opposed to neither the Catholic nor Protestant formulas, and is made neither more nor less valid by the application of any particular creed. The Catholic may believe in a supernatural order, and claim for it a vital difference from the order of grace assumed by the Protestant; the former may insist that though the latter makes use of the supernatural diction, he means nothing but the natural order and a natural destiny, — and the latter may maintain that the supernatural order of the Catholic is nothing but the Calvinistic order of grace. Schiller's theory contradicts neither position ; it simply makes virtue possible, be it presented for cognition in forms never so various. It decides neither for nor against either; and the play-impulse is so strictly defined, that it cannot surpass its function to decide any thing whatever in the domain of theology. That function having now been explained, we leave the discussion of the theory, though many interesting but subordinate points might claim our attention. With many thanks for the editor's courtesy, we forbear trespassing farther upon his valuable pages, albeit the temptation is not small to write at greater length concerning Schiller and the value of his aesthetic works."

Mr. Weiss, the translator of Schiller's Aesthetic Prose, dissenting from our remarks on Schiller's aesthetic theory, in our Review for July last, has sent us the foregoing communication in its defence. He contends that we were wrong in representing that theory as repugnant to Christianity ; for, in his judgment, it "not only sacrifices no Christian principle, but rather corroborates and sustains them all ; ..... being, if rightly understood, the ally and the harbinger of Christian culture." If we adopted his reading of Christianity, we might, perhaps, admit this ; for we confess we see no essential difference between Schiller's aesthetic theory, and that Liberal Christianity, of which our friend is a worthy and devoted preacher. But when we speak of Christianity, we of course mean Christianity as the Church teaches it ; for we admit no Christianity, properly so called, independent of the Church ; and it is with the Christianity inseparable and indistinguishable from the Church, that we maintain Schiller's theory is utterly incompatible.

Schiller's theory is invented as a new theory of moral and social improvement, and, as such, arrogates to itself a part, at least, of the work which we are taught to ascribe to Christianity. This is alone sufficient, be its character in other respects what it may, to stamp it as anti-Christian ; for Christianity is sufficient and exclusive, and demands, and can admit, in the work of moral and social improvement, no rival and no ally. Any new theory in regard to such a work, or any theory outside and independent of Christianity, though really intended to be auxiliary to Christianity, must always be set down as repugnant to Christianity. Man cannot, without culpable presumption, attempt to do the work of God. When and where God speaks, he must be silent.
Schiller addressed his Aesthetic Letters to a nobleman of high rank, who was enamoured of the principles of the French Revolution, or rather who was carried away by the vague notions of liberty and felicity to be realized on earth, so rife throughout all Europe during the latter half of the last century, and still entertained by our young dreamers, socialists, radicals, and disorganizers. Schiller appears to have been as radical as any of his contemporaries in regard to the end they contemplated, though differing from many of them as to the proper method to be adopted for its realization. He, as well as they, believed in the possibility of a return of the age of gold, of recovering the Eden forfeited by sin ; and the real question which agitated him, and determined the tone and direction of his speculations,'was, What are the practical means of reproducing this age of gold, or, in other words, of introducing and maintaining universal, .social, and political freedom ? He begins by assuming that this freedom, or the right constitution and healthy action of the state, depends, as its necessary condition, on the inward or personal freedom of the individual. In this he differs from the French Republicans. They said, the freedom of the individual is the end, and the freedom of the state is the means ; reform the state, as the condition of reforming the individual; and therefore they made the revolution, deposed and beheaded their sovereign, and guillotined such of the noble, the beautiful, and the good, as preferred their recollections to their hopes. Schiller recoiled from this, as well he might. He reversed the maxim, and said, the freedom of the state is the end, that of the individual the means ; reform the individual, as the condition of reforming the state ; and gave us his aesthetic theory. This sounds much more philosophic than the formula of the French Republicans, but in reality it is less so. The Republicans made the state exist for man, and man for himself; Schiller made man exist for the state, and the state for — nothing ; since, if the individual be able to attain to the freedom supposed without the state, the state is superfluous.

But having assumed that the freedom of the individual must be the foundation of the freedom of the state, Schiller's problem became, How shall the citizens or subjects of a state acknowledged to be corrupt and tyrannical be emancipated, and established in that personal freedom which is the prerequisite to social and political regeneration ? This, if we have not totally misapprehended it, is his real problem. The answer, as we gather it both from himself and his translator, is, that " the medium of this emancipation is the cognition of beauty," that-is to say, the fine arts, artistic or aesthetic culture.

Man, according to Schiller, in his rude or primitive state, prior to aesthetic culture, is, in the category of nature, subject,to the law of necessity. This necessity is twofold, — the necessity of his condition, and that of his own nature. He is in this state not properly a person, but a thing, and subjected to natural laws as are other things. He can act, indeed, but to an end, not for the sake of an end, —instinctively, butnot from reflection and volition, — and therefore is incapable of performing what are strictly speaking human acts, — actus humanu The first thing to be done, then, is to emancipate him from the thraldom of nature, to constitute his personality, and place him in the condition in which he can act freely, from reflection and volition. That is, he must be translated out of nature into humanity. This translation out of nature into humanity, or this constitution of the personality, is the evolution of what Schiller terms the play-impulse (Spieltrieb). How is this to be done ? By the cognition of beauty, or aesthetic culture. Hence the mission of art. It is art which liberates man from the thraldom of nature, creates him man, harmonizes all his faculties or impulses, and constitutes him master of his condition and himself.

We understand this doctrine very well, but have now neither time nor space to enter into its full examination. It will suffice for our present purpose to consider it under its more popular aspects, and to indicate some of the points which are hostile to our holy religion.
1. The fundamental assumption with regard to the free and happy order which may be realized on this earth is false and unchristian. At the bottom of all Schiller's speculations lies the assumption, that there is, as it were, a heaven which we may realize in this world and from this world ; that it is possible to introduce and maintain a political and social order in which all our natural wants shall be satisfied, in which we shall be free from all constraint, exempt from all troubles, disappointments, and vexations, in which there shall be no disturbing forces, no anxiety, no sorrow, no wrath, no bitterness, but all shall be peace, plenty, love, and joy. But this, Christianity teaches us, is neither possible nor desirable, and therefore is never to be proposed as an object of pursuit. In assuming it, and proposing it as an end, Schiller is, then, at war with Christianity, as are all classes of socialists of the present day. The Christian looks upon this life as intended by Providence to be a penance, a probation, a trial, a discipline, and places his hopes of happiness exclusively in the world to come. It is idle to deny this. Christianity was not given to remove the evils and misery of this life, but to teach us patience and resignation under them ; and to enable us to convert them into the richest blessings, by humbly submitting to them for God's sake. It sanctions none of the maxims of the socialists, but reverses them all. God's ways are not man's ways. When he comes to redeem us, he comes not in the greatness, majesty, and glory of the Godhead, but with his divinity veiled under a human form, — not with the lofty step of the conquering hero, or the pomp and state of the earthly monarch, but as a servant in lowly life, the son of a poor virgin, living in poverty and want, and fbllowed only by fishermen and publicans, and at last dying on the cross. Even now, when he comes upon our altars or communicates himself to the faithful, to gladden the heart, strengthen the soul, and give us a foretaste of heaven, he conceals not only his divinity, but also his humanity, and appears under the ignoble forms of bread and wine, — teaching us that our greatness is in our littleness, our strength in our weakness, our glory in our humility. He comes not thus, as mad dreamers allege, because his mission is specially 10 the poor, because he comes merely, as we hear it blasphemously taught, as a modern socialist, radical, leveller, or democratic revolutionist, — but to sanctify poverty, to abash the pride of the world, and to show us that our good is not in that which the nations seek after, but in that which they despise ; for the poor man, that is not also poor in spirit, is no dearer to him than the rich man " faring sumptuously every day." It is through much tribulation and suffering that we must enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore it is that the saints always turn their backs on the world, trample its riches and luxuries beneath their feet, and make themselves poor and afflicted, that they may have true riches and joy with Christ in heaven. All this may be foolishness to our socialists and conceited reformers, but the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. Salvation comes from the humility of the cross. What the Christian looks for in this world is not earthly felicity, is not that he may be full with the goods of this world, and have his " eyes stand out with fatness," but that he may sacrifice the sacrifices of justice, and hope in God for his reward hereafter. He believes that blessed are the poor, those that suffer, and those that weep ; for the afflictions of this life are designed by our merciful Father to prepare us for the beatitude of the life to come. He thus seeks the cross, and embraces it with the most ardent affection ; and, in so doing, receives the highest good he is capable of receiving.

The error of our socialists on this point is one of no small magnitude. They all — and in this respect we do not see that Schiller differs essentially from them — regard our true good as realizable on earth, and in some way or other dependent on our external condition. In this they show clearly their hostility to Christianity. Our real good is not realizable in this life, save by promise ; for we do not and cannot accomplish our destiny here. We live here by hope, not by fruition. Then, again, what is really for our good here is in no case and in no sense whatever dependent on our external condition. It is, in all cases, independent of circumstances. We need no change in our external condition and circumstances, in order to receive the highest good of which we are capable. God may be found by the humblest and most abject slave, as well as by the proudest potentate of the earth ; and the soul
that finds God, or to whom God reveals himself, has all good, even the supreme good itself. While we are seeking to better ourselves by bettering our condition, to prepare ourselves for virtue and happiness by struggling to create a new political, social, or industrial order, we overlook this fact, draw our minds off from God, fix our affections on things of the earth, and lose for ever our true good. Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life. If you would be truly wise, seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and fear nothing for the rest. If you believe not this, have at least the manliness to avow that you believe not Christianity.

2. But we cannot accept Schiller's account of the rude or
primitive state of man.    Man is not primitively a thing, but
essentially a person.    There is no such necessity of nature as
is alleged, from which he needs to be emancipated.    Man, we
admit, is enslaved, is a slave to his condition, and to his appe
tites, propensities, and passions ; but if there be any truth in
Christianity, this slavery is voluntary, not necessary, — the ef
fect, not of his want of freedom, but of his abuse of his freedom.
So far as this is not the case, he is never, and can never, be
emancipated.    As long as he lives, he must be affected in both
his intellect and his sensibility by the objective world ; for he
does not and cannot make the world in which he lives ; and so
long as he remains here, concupiscence remains, against which
he must struggle.    We deny, on the one hand, that man is
subject to such a necessity of nature as Schiller assumes ; and,
on the other, the possibility of such a liberty as he contends

3. So far as man is voluntarily enslaved, he needs to be
emancipated ; but we deny that the  emancipation implied is
effected or can be effected by the cognition of beauty, or even
of truth and goodness.    The simple cognition is never suffi
cient to liberate the soul, and place man, in his interior nature,
above himself and his condition.    If there be any thing certain,
it is, that Christianity teaches that this liberation is possible
only by divine  grace  infused  into  the  heart, elevating and
strengthening the will, and inclining it to God.    So far as the
evolution of Schiller's play-impulse designates a state of free
dom not purely imaginary, but possible and desirable, it is to
be effected, not by aesthetic culture, but by the infusion of di
vine grace and by Christian culture, or ascetic discipline.

These three considerations are sufficient to justify our objections to Schiller's theory on the ground of its repugnance to Christianity. But Mr. Weiss thinks that it is, nevertheless, the ally and harbinger of Christianity. His view, if we rightly seize it, is, that the evolution, of the freedom Schiller intends to express by the word play-impulse is • the necessary preparation for Christianity, or preliminary condition of its operation and influence. It is, therefore, necessary to Christianity, the " prime condition of the embodiment of Christianity in the life of men." If Schiller's account of the rude or primitive man. were to be received, some preparation for Christianity would undoubtedly be necessary, for Christianity can do nothing for man before he exists. Man must be, before he can be the subject of Christian' influences. But if this account be rejected, and man assumed to be in all states what Christianity represents him to be, no such preliminary work is necessary or admissible. No preparation for grace is admissible, because grace must go before all efforts at our emancipation, or else those efforts will be unavailing. It can go before, for we know it can begin to operate from the first moment of our existence, since the holy prophet Jeremias and St. John the Baptist were each sanctified from his mother's womb, and since infants from the moment of birth are regenerated in holy baptism.

But it seems that we were wrong, according to Mr. Weiss, in identifying Schiller's play-impulse with love, and also in ranking Schiller among modern idolaters. Possibly we were ; but it may be well to bear in mind that the complaints of misrepresentation, which theorists and their friends make whenever their theories are represented in an unfavorable light, are, as a general rule, to be received with some hesitation. For ourselves, we are much inclined to believe that whoever will set forth any modern theory, German theory especially, in its true light, will be accused by its friends of ignorance, of misapprehension, and misrepresentation. The modern mind, the modern German mind in particular, is remarkable for its subjectivity, and the universe it explains by its theories .is never the universe existing objectively in re, nor even in the conceptions of the general reason, but the universe which exists in the individual reason, imagination, fancy, or idiosyncrasies of the theorist himself. The theorist -constructs his theory, not from data furnished him by the objective world, the world which exists alike for all men, but from data which are furnished by the world which exists for him alone, or the few who may be able to content themselves to see all with his eyes.

This is especially true of nearly all our modern German theorists. Though boasting of their universality and " many-sidedness," they are remarkable for their narrowness, " one-sidedness," and egoism. Their eyes are always fixed on their own individual I, or me, and rarely in their speculations do they ever get out of its sphere. It is this fact which makes it so extremely difficult for them to explain themselves to scholars of other schools, and which makes them fancy, whenever their theories are translated by scholars of broader and more comprehensive views, that they are misrepresented. The fact is, that, when their theories are exhibited to the general intelligence of mankind, they do not recognize them, because they are then necessarily divested of what they had received from the idiosyncrasies of their framers. This aesthetic theory of Schiller, for instance, is deduced from another theory entertained by its author, and this other theory, not from man and nature as they really are, or as they are in the general intelligence, but as they are in Schiller's own Ich or me. But in explaining it, we must not explain it from Schiller's point of view, for that he himself has done, and our explanation would be no explanation at all ; but we must explain it from the point of view of the universal reason, or of objective truth. In doing this, we necessarily and very properly eliminate all that is idiosyncratic, all that depends on Schiller's own peculiar mode of seeing reality, and retain only what may be made intelligible to all men, and without Schiller as well as with him. But we cannot do this without making the theory appear very different, and apparently another theory, from what it appears to him and to his friends. Yet we do not thus misrepresent it, but truly represent it.

In the brief exposition we gave of the theory in question, we aimed simply to present its leading features in the light of general philosophy, or its essential principles in such a light as to be truly apprehended by the general intelligence. We sought, in a word, simply to translate the theory out of Schiller's private reason into the reason of the race ; and we have seen, as yet, no ground to think that we did not render him truly and faithfully. That Schiller used the term play-impulse to designate the freedom or state which he assumed to result from the cognition of beauty or aesthetic culture, we were not ignorant; but we identified it with love, for the very reason that he gave it as the effect of the cognition of beauty. If Schiller relied on this effect as the condition of virtue, he relied on sentiment, or an affection of the passive nature, which we term love, as distinguished from charity, because it can be nothing else. Thus we reasoned, and if Schiller himself reasoned differently, that was his fault, not ours. Schiller certainly relies on art or aesthetic culture to evolve that inward state which is to him the condition sine qua non, at least, of all virtuous action. But the subjective principle of the power or influence of art is the sensibility. The province of art is to embody or reveal the beautiful. The intellect apprehends the beautiful, which affects the sensibility and produces a sentiment which, in our language, is called love. Here begins and ends the whole influence of art. Here is the whole sphere of the influence of aesthetic culture; for any culture extending beyond this sphere is not aesthetic, but moral, religious, social, or intellectual. Then, in making the cognition of beauty the medium of the liberation of the individual from the thraldom of nature, and of placing him in the condition to do his duty, or to be virtuous, Schiller necessarily relied on love. To excite this love by appeal to the sensibility, and to evolve the play-impulse, are precisely one and the same thing, as all must admit. Where, then, is our error in identifying the play-impulse with what we termed love ?
We are not quite ignorant of the German aesthetic theories in general. We know very well that many among ourselves, half Germanized, regard man as endowed with a faculty distinct from intellect, from will, and from sensibility, to which art addresses itself,— a faculty which they cannot name, define, nor describe, and the existence of which no sound psychologist can admit. There is no peculiar mystery in the influence of art. Such is our nature, that, when we have intuition of the beautiful, it moves our sensibility, attracts us towards it, and affords us a sensible delight. This is all. Beauty appeals, as beauty, not to the intellect, not to the will, but solely to the sensibility. In relation to the intellect it is truth, to the will it is goodness. But art, as art, deals with beauty alone, and its aim is to affect the sensibility. It may affect it, and turn it towards what is true and good, and then it aids intellectual and moral culture ; or it may turn it in an opposite direction, and then it becomes the minister of vice and corruption. In the former case, it is commendable and useful ; in the latter, it is not. But it is as much art in the one case as in the other. There is more perfect art in the Elective Affinities than in the Wilhelm Tell or the Wallenstein.

Nor is it true that the general tendency of art, or aesthetic culture, is to liberate the mind. The panders to vice know very well that art is one of the most effectual means of enchaining their victims, and do not fail to enlist architecture, poetry, music, painting, sculpture, in their service, as is but too well known ; and we may lay it down as an invariable rule, that art uniformly tends to corrupt, when not preceded and accompanied by high spiritual, or moral and religious culture. Art, in the hands of the saint, ministers to virtue ; in the hands of the sinner, to vice. The soul must have been liberated, the will elevated, its affections purified, by other than aesthetic influences, before aesthetic culture can aid moral progress. The " love of show and finery " is not a proof of that inward freedom desired, is not a preparation for the gospel of truth, as our friend imagines ; but is itself a vice, and the indication of a soul already enslaved by a hateful passion. Certainly we cannot regard those of our sisters, or our wives and daughters, who manifest the love for show and finery in' the highest degree, as being the nearest the kingdom of heaven, or as being in the best possible state to listen to the Gospel, and to yield to its self-sacrificing precepts.

That we were wrong in classing Schiller with modern idolaters, we do not admit. Modern idolatry does not consist in worshipping wood or stone, four-footed beasts, the stars of heaven, or images made .with men's hands ; but in worshipping humanity itself. For charity it substitutes the sentiment of love, for the love of God the love of man, for heaven the earth, and for revelation the instincts of the race. It makes man the beginning and end, the a quo and the ad quem of all right action. From man, too, it looks for all its strength, all the force or power requisite to work out our true good. All its theories presuppose the sufficiency of man, and its study is to find out how man, by exerting his own energy, may effect the end he holds to be desirable. It may admit in words a Supreme Being, but this Supreme Being is to be found only in the fixed and invariable laws of nature and the human soul, and aids us only because such is the character of these laws, that, if we conform to them, we shall find ourselves better off than if we neglect them. To obey him is simply to follow nature^ to conform to the natural order,—the old Epicurean doctrine under a new dress, entirely excluding Providence, and all active interference of the Creator in the government of the world.    God has made the world, and leaves it to itself.

If it recognizes Jesus Christ, or, out of deference to the prejudices of the age, resolves to patronize him for a time, it is simply as a brother man, who is worthy of our respect, inasmuch as he has suggested some wise rules for the regulation of life, and has set us in his own life an example of a very high order of excellence, worthy of our imitation, and serving to show us what we may ourselves be and do if we choose.

Now, it is well known that Schiller was no Christian-, or may be known by any one who will read his Philosophical Letters. He was in his way a Reformer, and sought to remake man ; but all his theories imply that he did not look beyond man himself, and that man is his own beginning and end. His love was for man, his hope was placed in man, and out of man, by aid of aesthetic culture, was to arise the new and brilliant social order he contemplated. He therefore belonged to the class of modern idolaters, and we were not wrong in designating his theory as one of the forms of modern idolatry. Practically, it would prove to be one of the worst of these forms, because it places first in order of time and rank, and as the foundation of all other culture, aesthetic culture ; which is to place the sensibility above reason and will. To place sensibility above reason and will, when it comes to morals, is to place the inferior soul above the superior, the flesh above the spirit.
There are several other matters on which Mr. Weiss, in vindicating Schiller, touches, that we must reluctantly pass over. He has travelled and can speak of art from personal observation, an advantage we cannot claim. But, with all deference, we must doubt the superiority in all respects of Grecian over Christian art, or of the Greeks as a race over the Jews. We do not think really a matter of regret that our Lord did not choose to be born of a Greek virgin instead of a Jewish, or that in this respect the Supreme Wisdom committed a blunder. We are far also from believing the Gospel would have been improved, even if a some green peak from the Olympic ridge " had overshadowed the cradle of Bethlehem. The Greeks have unquestionably contributed somewhat to the artistic culture of the race, but we owe far less to this vain, fickle, turbulent, faithless race, than is commonly imagined by scholars. Of what is valuable in modern civilization, which we have retained from the ancient heathen world, a much larger part is due to the ancient Romans than to the ancient Greeks.     The Greek mind was subtle, but sophistical.    It wanted the balance, the sober common sense, and the firm grasp of principle, which belonged to the Roman mind. But this is a topic we cannot now discuss.

Schiller's translator thinks that the nearer inclination and duty coincide, the nearer do we approximate the Christian type ; that is, we advance in Christian perfection in proportion as we find in our flesh less and less opposition to duty. There may, perhaps, be a sense in which this is true ; but we confess we do not know in what sense. As long as we live in this world, concupiscence remains, and there must be a struggle, a warfare, between the flesh and the spirit; and the more we advance in sanctity, the higher the degree of perfection to which we attain, the more severe does the struggle become, because the more acute is our perception, on the one hand, of what is good, and, on the other, of what is evil. The greater the saint, the greater the struggle; and hence it is that the saints always regard themselves as the greatest of sinners, and are the most deeply affected by a sense of their imperfections, the most convinced of the necessity of mortification, and of the assistance of divine grace to keep them from falling. That, in proportion as we advance, the inclinations of the will coincide with duty, is true ; but. that the inclinations of the flesh, the inclinations in question, do, we have not yet learned, and do not believe ; for the saint must always say " in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." Hence, the combat must be maintained, and, till we are raised in glory, ever will it be necessary to chastise our bodies, to mortify the flesh, and to be assisted by supernatural grace, to prevent the flesh from gaining the mastery over the spirit. — But we are probably talking of matters foreign to the ordinary thoughts of our Liberal Christian preacher, and of which we ourselves are but poorly qualified, neophyte as we are, to speak at all. We leave the subject, confident that we have said enough to justify us in asserting as we did, that Schiller's Aesthetic Theory is incompatible with Christianity. It is one of the numerous theories invented in modern times to supersede the Gospel of our Lord, and therefore we cannot entertain it, cannot afford it any countenance, but must, whatever the genius or ability it indicates in the author, condemn it as a theory, and without reserve.