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and took a patriotic pride in the fruits of his country's genius. He felt that he possessed an equal share in them with his more aristocratic neighbor. They were his country's, they were therefore his. It was the universality, the nationality, of this enthusiasm, pervading, as it did, all ranks and conditions of men, all classes and ages, extending itself, like the circulation of the blood, through every vein and artery of the social system, thrilling through every nerve of the body politic, which constituted, as it seems to us, the great secret of the success of the Greeks. The artist felt that he spoke not to a favored few, but to his countrymen : he labored, not to adorn the rich man's studio, but his country's temples. Of the wonderful effect this enthusiasm would have in calling forth great artists from obscurity,-artists who, at the present day, might, and indeed do, remain unknown to fame, -we need not speak. The Ancient mind was like a dry autumnal forest, where every spark of genius fell among combustibles, and kindled at once into a flame. Suffice it to say, that while Modern civilization has multiplied a hundred fold the comforts, and indeed the useful knowledge and practical acquirements of the vulgar; it seems in our view to have somewhat diminished, at least comparatively, their literary privileges and their appreciation of the artist's works. Having directed The attention of the multitude to the more practical concerns of life, it has, perhaps, more from their own choice than from any necessity of the case, deprived them of a share in the Ideal. It has caused íhat taste for the fine arts, which was once universal and national, be confined within the exclusive circles of the wealthy ; and has deposited the noblest specimens of art, once public property, in the galleries of the noble. It has made the artist, we think, to labor less for immortality, and more for the emoluments of his profession. Within the province of the Ideal, at least, it may be said to have overthrown the doctrine of “the equality of rights," and has given to the rich alone to command by their wealth what was once the property of all. Modern Europe has made king's courts, and royal palaces the depositories of the artist's works, and has made the patronage of the great his poor equivalent for the enthusiastic admiration of his countrymen.
The influence of Christian civilization upon art, however, cannot remain long unfavorable. Christianity, indeed, is so far from being inimical to the fine arts, that we may regard it as a necessary auxiliary to their highest perfection. It differs from the ancient religions, in that it sternly insists upon the maintenance of that harmonious proportion between the reason and the imagination, the actual and the Ideal, which we can so clearly perceive the Creator to have indicated, in the adaptation of the external world around us to these two united natures, and in the perfection of His own works : wbile among the Ancients the Ideal was suffered to usurp complete supremacy, and to rule, as with a rod of iron, the whole of their intellectual and social life. The excellence of the Ancients, though confessedly unequaled, was certainly unnatural. It was gained at quite too vast an expense to be desirable. For its attainment, it was necessary to trample on all the realities of actual life, to make labor the degrading employment of the slave, to ren
der the imagination the only source of enjoyment, and to deprive man of almost all else which might conduce to his earthly happiness; it was required to make a holocaust of all that is involved in that good old English word, Comfort, and to sacrifice utility on the altar of Ideal beauty. But Christianity has pursued a different path. Her first mission to promote the temporal good of man, has been to supply his physical necessities, to multiply a thousand fold the comforts and conveniences of life, to diffuse these blessings, hitherto confined to the rich, among the down trodden poor, to give freedom to the slave, to memancipate the masses from the curse of ignorance, to carry to their highest perfection the practical arts of life, and to give to mankind a more healthy and harmonious civilization. In seeking the temporal interests of our race, “the greatest good of the greatest number,” has ever been her aim; and though perchance she may have given to the populace a less keen perception of the beauties of art, and a less culiivated imagination, than existed among the Ancients ; she has imparted what is to them a far more valuable boon. By the unparalleled improvements in the useful arts, the wonderful discoveries in science, which owe their origin to her quickening power, and by the commercial facilities which have opened to the mariner every clime and every sea, she has bestowed upon the inferior orders a larger share in the comforts and blessings of every-day life, than was once enjoyed in royal courts, and has given even to the operative classes, luxuries such as were once denied by a Roman Emperor to his imperial consort. And when she shall have completed this, which she still insists upon regarding as her primary task, and her first duty ; when the operative shall be enabled to obtain with less labor the supply of his physical wants, and shall have more leisure for the cultivation of his intellectual powers ; when she shall have given him an education worthy of the capabilities of his immortal nature ; when she has raised him to the level of his manhood, and poured upon his darkened spirit “the light that cometh down from Heaven :” she will then address herself to this, her subsequent, but still appropriate work; she will then restore to him that rich inheritance, which she hath taken away for a season, that she might fill his soul with a higher good ; she will then rekindle in his mind the perception of Ideal excellence ; she will then rouse his dormant imagination, to feel the full power of all that is beautiful, in the works of art and of Deity; she will then awaken all the finer feelings of his nature to appreciate the artist's labors, and to render bim his due meed of praise. Then will be indeed the Augustan age of art. Already may we see its dawn approaching. Christianity, having supplanted the impure Divinities of the Heathen mythology, as the objects of its conceptions, by the spiritual beauty of angelic beings, and having thrown a heavenly radiance around art itself
, has imparted an angelic purity and beauty to the forms about which it is conversant, and has clothed it in that spiritual glory, which has found its highest expression in the face of the Madonna and in the form of the Saviour,which shines forth in the sublime conceptions of Milion, and in the immortal works of the Italian artists. She has glorified art by the in
fusion of something of her own spirit ; and in that day when she shall again bring it home to the universal heart of man, it will come with a majestic power, before which his whole soul shall bow, with a power which shall enkindle there a higher and holier enthusiasm than he ever felt before.
This passion for the Ideal, which we have seen thus strikingly displayed in their intellectual life, is no less conspicuous throughout the whole texture of the social system, and in the organization of the State itself, among the nations of Antiquity. It lies at the foundation of that peculiar feature of Ancient civilization, which has been so often remarked, but so seldom referred to its ultimate cause; we mean that radical defect in their political fabrics, which degraded the individual into the slave of the State, and ground the citizen into the dust beneath the Juggernaut of his country's glory. With them, the State was not the mere aggregation of its individual subjects into one corporate body, but, like the Platonic “essences 3"* of general terms, an independent, Ideal existence, capable of exercising all the functions of a sentient being, and radiant with immortality. This was the true Divinity of the Ancient, which he worshiped with a far more intense devotion than his fabled Gods. He made all he held most dear on earth, “ to pass through the fire” unto this, the Moloch of his idolatry; and, with the fortitude of a Regulus, freely sacrificed upon its altar, liberty, happiness, and life. This fundamental error which we have been considering, the annihilation of the Individual in the general Idea or Essence, seems to have diffused its baleful presence throughout the whole empire of Ancient thought, and is equally apparent in their philosophical and political systems. It glares upon us in all its hideousness from out their defective social organizations ; and for twenty centuries it checked the progress of scientific philosophy, until Bacon gave to man the clue to that “knowledge” which has indeed been
power.” Perceiving the entire structure of the State, and the whole of the political relations of the citizen, to be based upon this fundamental idea, it was but natural that the philosopher should carry its influence with him into his scientific researches, and his inquiries into the nature and origin of matter; and thus be led into that radical mistake, which paralyzed the noblest efforts of the noblest minds, and made inquiry to pursue the same perpetual circle, without any perceptible progress toward the truth it vainly sought. To the Ideal element in their character, therefore, we may no less distinctly trace the defects in the social fabrics of the Ancients, and their grosser errors in moral and political science, than the beauties of their literature, or their preëminence in art.
In this brief review of the civilization of Antiquity, it has been our endeavor to illustrate the presence and power of the Ideal element, in the formation of its intellectual character and its political institutions. And surely nothing can be better fitted than such a survey of the
* Cicero first introduced the word “ Essence" as synonymous with the Platonic « Idea."
past, to call forth our deepest gratitude to Him who hath made us to live under a better dispensation, who hath given to us a better inheritance, a clearer light, and a more glorious hope, than was vouchsafed to the Roman and the Greek. Christianity has swept away that Polytheistic system which once gave a tutelar divinity to every city, and thus in effect restricted the moral accountability of man within the boundaries of his native State,-while it permitted him to commit the most enormous crimes beyond its limits, secure of the favor of his patron Deity. It has established the Unity of God, and made the obligations of the one law of Love, wide as the world. It has been the high mission of Christianity to reconcile civilization and religion, which Heathenism had constituted antagonistical and hostile principles. The civilization of the Ancients, while it was infected with all the impurities and corruptions of their religious belief, was itself the slow, but sure destroyer, of the system in which it had its origin. With its progressive improvement, from the rudeness of the Homeric, to the refinement of the Augustan age, those monstrous and impure fables which the spirit of Idealism had incorporated into the fabric of their faith, gradually lost their power over the minds of men, until at last scepticism became a virtue, and while the philosopher was compelled to find a refuge in the subline truths of natural religion, the multitude sunk into a state little better than a stupid Atheism. But Christianity has reconciled these once discordant elements, and while it has secured the perpetuity of the “ law of progress," has made its own presence an indispensable requisite to its healthy action. The Civilization of Antiquity was necessarily limited in its extent and duration. It was designed to be the forerunner of a better dispensation, and when its mission on earth was accomplished, it faded away before the light of a brighter day. It wanted the life-giving principle of a pure religion, which alone could give it permanency. This want Christianity has supplied. It constitutes the soul of the social system,—the animating principle, which preserves the inanimate body of civil society from decay and dissolution. Ancient Civilization we may compare to the present life and to man's sensual being, designed but to prepare him for a more exalted sphere, and then thrown aside as useless; Modern Civilization to his spiritual and immortal existence, containing within itself the elements of its own eternity, and destined to an indefinite progression, that shall extend its limits and its power, until it shall open into the full bloom of the Millennial glory-a progression whose advancement nought can stay, until the fiat of Jehovah proclaim that time shall be no longer.
BY STEPHEN WRIGHT KELLOGG, SHELBURNE, MASS.
When a man once abandons the tranquil pursuits of private lise, and launches on the boisterous and troubled sea of politics, he must expect a hard and a toilsome career. For without such an expectation he will surely be disheartened and driven back, by the buffetings of its winds and waves. He must also possess an unusual degree of firmness, a readiness to meet difficulties and tact to surmount them, in order to stem successfully the currents of popular passion, and weather the storms of party excitement. But one thing he must meet, which falls to the lot of the public man, in far greater measure than to any other citizen. Calumny and reproach he must endure. He must be content to witness his name coupled with every vile and opprobrious epithet in the language ; to see his character traduced, and his motives impugned ; to have his fair fame stained and sullied with charges and accusations of the deepest dye; and in short, he must be willing to stand as a public mark, for a thousand rancorous opponents to hurl each his shaft of malice, tipped with the poison of detraction and falsehood. Such a position, however much it may be sought, is surely an unenviable one; and it is calculated to prevent many from engaging in public life, who might otherwise render distinguished service to their country., It is a position, too, as unjust as it is unenviable, to the upright and patriotic statesman ; and we refer chiefly to such, in speaking against This practice of reviling public men. The dishonest politician, the man of knavish cunning and reckless character—who is ever ready to sacrifice the public weal to personal ambition—who "lives and moves and has his being” in an atmosphere of political juggling and chicaneryis seldom visited with more of public censure than he deserves. Indeed, we think such a man is often more honored and applauded, than the honest, candid, and deserving statesman. It is the great evil of political excitements, under such a system of government as ours, that the artful and unprincipled, by dint of loud and ostentatious professions of devotion to their country, are often able to win the honors, which belong to sterling worth and sincere patriotism. Good men are often loaded with unmerited abuse, while bad men enjoy public fayor and rewards equally unmerited.
It is a favorite saying among us, that a constant and watchful jealousy towards public men and public measures, is essential to the preservation of a republican government. Nothing can be more true than this principle, when carried to a certain extent. Should we once cease to exercise a proper scrutiny over those to whom we have entrusted the care of our dearest institutions, and fall into a careless confidence in our rulers, we should soon have cause to repent bitterly our indifference. For such a state of things would present to men in power, a temptation too strong to be resisted. Private interest and