« ForrigeFortsæt »
of things unknown, the poet's pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation, and a name. Such tricks hath strong imagination, that, if it would but apprehend some joy, it comprehends some bringer of that joy, or in the night, imagining some fear, how easy is a bush supposed a bear."* Or in his nightly meditation he sees and hears "how sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank; here will we sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night become the touches of sweet harmony." “There is not the smallest orb which thou behold'st, but in his motion like an angel sings still quiring to the young eyed cherubims." These are the genuine and natural pleasures from the objective quality of the mind. But this quality may be abused to the damage of the possessor exposed to the power of strong subjective minds. One may find in Shakspeare some light on every passage of human life, and he illustrates his subject by reference to a musical pipe. "Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make me. You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass, and there is much music, excellent voice in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?"‡
Mankind, as objective beings, are played on in war, and in false religions and in corrupted forms of Christianity by military governments and priesthood, to an extent that would be incredible without the evidence of the sternest facts standing at this day prominent in every country of the world. Before the Christian era the normal condition of heathen nations was war and slavery; and the condition of Christendom in the middle
* A Mid. N. Dream. + Merchant of Venice. Hamlet.
of the nineteen hundredth period since the advent of Christ is little better, for although the prisoners who surrender their arms on the fields of battle are not made slaves for life, this clemency would appear to be the result of economical calculation and of improvement of machinery and not of religious principles. Faith in the destiny of man would sink under the contemplation of such a state of things, were it not for the hope of the dawn of a new epoch breaking through the darkness of the world. We hold ourselves free to take advantage of any fact or circumstance which may serve to illustrate our proposition. The inhabitants of Great Britain are accustomed to boast of a dynastic revolution in the year 1689 as the era of their civil and religious liberties; but between that date and the present, five generations have lived and died, and as a proof of how objective they were in receiving the impressions of war, the existing generation in the islands of Great Britain and Ireland are annually paying the amount of more than forty-three millions of pounds, representing a capital of about twelve hundred millions, as the balance of former war expenditure, together with existing military establishments.
With these preliminary remarks let us inquire into the nature of the mental qualities necessary for civil and political government, for war, and for false or corrupted religion. In the first place, there are two parties or classes of persons employed or affected in each of those systems: first, the planners, schemers, and managers; second, the great masses employed as agents or instruments. The first act subjectively, and the second almost entirely passively or objectively.
The individuals who carry on the business of the government of a country in its legislative and executive branches have to labour intellectually, and have to
apply a vast amount of knowledge to the proper management of public affairs.
The art of war is reduced, or ought to be reduced, to effect the greatest amount of destruction in the least space of time, and at the least expense.
The promulgators, supporters, and priests of a false or corrupted religion are to be considered strictly subjective in the publication and dissemination of their system. The converse of these definitions will bethat the subjects of a government, the soldiers of an army, and the worshippers of a false religion, are objective beings, influenced and moved by external things, impressing their sensorial organs, and thence inflaming their imagination. This explains the rationale of the parade and ceremonial of the public proceedings of governments, of the pomp and circumstance of armies, of the splendour of ritual, gorgeous decorations of temples and churches, of sacerdotal garments, and of imposing processions of priests to strike with awe the prostrate crowds of spirit-stricken worshippers. It is the nature of men and women, as objective beings, to have something to look at, and something to listen to, and their vacant passive minds are taken and led by what appears the most gaudy, or what makes the most agreeable noise. These are very important matters, and the thoughts of the gravest and most learned men in England have been lately occupied in controversies on the use or disuse of certain clerical garments and church ornaments; and parties in the church have ranged themselves on the respective sides of white and black, and-" though honesty be no Puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart.”* Some years ago, in Scotland, the question of the use *All's Well that Ends Well.
of the gown in the pulpit was agitated among Dissenters. The gown carried the day. This question of black gowns and white muslin bands is of considerable importance as a branch of objective science. Sacerdotal garments and ornaments are matters of significance. We submit it to the investigation of evangelical archæologists to ascertain whether the long black gowns worn by Protestant clergymen in the pulpits be models or antitypes of the togæ of the Epicureans and Stoics, or of the pallium worn by Paul, when he told the Athenians on Mars-hill, that they were too idolatrous, or of the cloak of the monks of the dark ages.
It may be said without much risk of error, that war is carried on entirely by men as objective beingsmeaning the masses of men who compose the ranks and perform the slaughter. It may also be affirmed that the community at home, in quietness and security, have their sentiments, in regard to war, of an objective character. The sight of soldiers parading in the pomp and circumstance of arms and banners, and the hearing of the marshal music, and the reading of the gazette account of battles, cause an impression which is hardly to be resisted. Long-robed and other men of learning and of peaceful professions, will, in public assemblies, or private societies, talk of war and its carnage and cruelties in a very light manner; and it is extraordinary to what an extent the imagery of war, and allusions to it, enter into speeches delivered by clerical men from the platform of public meetings. It appears from these remarks that men of high subjective powers, as shown in their intellectual labours, become objective as soon as they are exposed to warlike influences.
It may be supposed that soldiers, while under arms in the field, are in a state of excited action, and therefore
lose their objective qualities in the control over external objects; but not so, for the change is one only from a negative to a positive state.
Standards, banners, and military ensigns of various descriptions, are articles which produce wonderful effects in war. Some of the most exciting and picturesque incidents in wars and revolutions are connected with the standards of the contending parties. The fiercest struggles on the field of battle are those in defence of the standard. When the Roman cohort, or legion, was hard pressed in the battle, the order was sometimes given to throw the eagles into the ranks of the enemy, which meant, that the soldiers must recover them, or leave their bodies where they fought. Standards and ensigns of war are for two purposes the first, to serve as rallying points in battle, and to direct broken or defeated troops to find their way back to their respective stations. This is a mere mechanical function, and any object temporarily agreed on would answer the purpose. Sir Charles Napier, that able and eccentric officer, thus sums up the whole duty of the soldier in battle :-first, "not to fire without orders;" next, "when he does fire, to level low so as to make sure of striking down an enemy;" thirdly, to keep his ranks, and dress upon his colours."
But a national standard or ensign displayed, either in battle or on any public occasion, has a much higher object and duty to perform than to mark the precise spot where it may happen to be fixed. It is the embodiment of a great idea, or the representative of a principle, or the symbol of a country. Now, here we enter at once into the philosophy of standards and banners, and we perceive the origin and the nature of that mysterious influence which favourite or national standards have, in all ages and among all people, ex