Page images

intervals of time, years, centuries, are of no account.

Self- This which I think and feel, underReliance lay that former state of life and circumstances, as it does underlie my present, and will always all circumstance, and what is called life, and what is called death.

Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state; in the shooting of the gulf; in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for, that forever degrades the past; turns all riches to poverty; all reputation to a shame; confounds the saint with the rogue; shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside. Why then do we prate of self-reliance? Inasmuch as the soul is present, there will be

power not confident but agent. ¶ To talk of reliance, is a poor external way of speaking. Speak rather of Selfthat which relies, because it works Reliance and is. Who has more soul than I, masters me, though he should not raise his finger. Round him I must evolve by the gravitation of spirits; who has less, I rule with like facility. We fancy it rhetoric when we speak of eminent virtue. We do not yet see that virtue is Height, and that a man or company of men plastic and permeable to principles, by the law of nature must overpower and ride all cities, nations, kings, rich men, poets, who are not.

This is the ultimate fact which we so quickly reach on this as on every topic, the resolution of all into the ever blessed One. Virtue is the governor, the creator, the reality. All

things real are so by so much of virtue as they contain Hardship, Self-husbandry, whaling, war, eloquence, Reliance personal weight, are somewhat, and engage my respect as examples of the soul's presence and impure action

[ocr errors]

I see the same law working in nature for conversation and growth. The poise of a planet, the bended tree recovering itself from the strong wind, the vital resources of every vegetable and animal, are also demonstrations of the self-sufficing, and therefore self-relying soul. All history from its highest to its trivial passages is the various record of this power. Thus all concentrates; let us not rove; let us sit at home with the cause. Let us stun and astonish the intruding rabble of men and books and institutions by a simple declara

tion of the divine fact. Bid them take

the shoes from off their feet, for God is here within. Let our simplicity Selfjudge them, and our docility to our Reliance own law demonstrate the poverty of nature and fortune beside our native

riches o

But now we are a mob. Man does not stand in awe of man, nor is the soul admonished to stay at home, to put itself in communication with the internal ocean, but it goes abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of men. We must go alone. Isolation must precede true society.

I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching How far off, how cool, how chaste the persons look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary. So let us always sit Why should we assume the faults of our

friend, or wife, or father, or child,

because they sit around our hearth,

Self- or are said to have the same blood? Reliance All men have my blood, and I have all men's. Not for that will I adopt their petulance and folly, even to the ` extent of being ashamed of it. But your isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be elevation do

At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say, "Come out unto us."-Do not spill thy soul; do not all descend; keep thy state; stay at home in thine own heaven; come not for a moment into their facts, into their hubbub of conflicting appearances, but let in the light of thy law on

« PreviousContinue »