WHETHER virtue can be taught is a question over which Plato lingers long. And it is a curious illustration of the different eyes with which different men read, that some students of Plato are confident he answers the question in the affirmative, while others are equally sure that he gives it an unqualified negative. “ Plato,” says Sehwegler, “ holds fast to the opinion that virtue is science, and therefore to be imparted by instruction.” “ We are told,” says Burgess, one of Bohn’s translators, “ that, as virtue is not a science, it cannot, like a science, be made a subject of teaching.” Professor Blackie, again, an open - minded and eloquent scholar, cannot doubt that virtue may be verbally imparted, nor, therefore, that the great Athenian thinker so believed and affirmed

What is the voice of common sense and the teaching of history touching this matter ? Can a liberal and lofty nature be included in words, and so passed over to another ? Elevation of character, nobility of spirit, wealth of soul, —is any method known, or probably ever to be known, among men, whereby these can be got into a text-book, and then out of the text-book into a bosom wherein they had no dwelling before ? Alas,is not the story of the world too full of cases in which the combined eloquence of verbal instruction, vital influence, and lustrous example, aided even by all the inspirations of the most majestic and moving presence, have failed utterly to shape the character of disciples? Did Alcibiades profit greatly by the conversation of Socrates ? Was Judas extremely ennobled by the companionship of Jesus ? Was it to any considerable purpose that the pureminded, earnest, affluent Cicero strewed the seeds of Stoic culture upon the wayside nature of his son ? Did Faustina learn much from Antoninus Pius, or Commodus from Marcus Aurelius ?

I think we must assume it as the judgment of common sense that there neither is nor is likely to be any educational mortar wherein a fool may be so brayed that he shall come forth a wise man. The broad, unequivocal sentence of history seems to be that whoever is not noble by nature will hardly be rendered so by art. Education can do much ; it can foster nobilities, it can discourage vices; but literal conveyance of lofty qualities, can it effect that ? Can it create opulence of soul in a sterile nature ? Can it cause a thin soil to do the work of a deep one ? We have seen harsh natures mellowed, violent natures chastened, rough ones refined ; but who has seen an essentially mean nature made large - hearted, selfforgetful, fertile of grandest faiths and greatest deeds ? Who has beheld a Thersites transformed into an Achilles ? Who a Shylock, Iago, or Regan changed into an Antonio, Othello, or Cordelia, or a Simon Magus into a Paul ? What virtue of nature is in a man culture may bring out; but to put nature into any man surpasses her competence.

Nay, it would even seem that in some cases the finest openings and invitations for what is best in man must operate inversely, and elicit only what is worst in him. Every profoundest truth, when uttered with fresh power in history, polarizes men, accumulating atheism at one pole, while collecting faith and resolve at the other. As the sun bleaches some surfaces into whiteness, but tans and blackens others, so the sweet shining of Truth illumines some countenances with belief, but some it darkens into a scowl of hate and denial. The American Revolution gave us George Washington ; but it gave us also Benedict Arnold. One and the same great spiritual emergency in Europe produced Luther’s Protestantism and Loyola’s Jesuitism. Our national crisis has converted General Butler; what has it done for Vallandigham ?

It were easy to show that the deepest intelligence of the world concurs with common sense in this judgment. Its declaration ever is, in effect, that, though Paul plant and Apollos water, yet fruit can come only out of divine and infinite Nature, — only, that is, out of the native, incommunicable resources of the soul. “ No man can come to me,” said Jesus, “ except the Father draw him.” “ To him that hath shall be given.” The frequent formula, “ He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” is a confession that no power of speech, no wisdom of instruction, can command results. The grandest teacher, like the humblest, can but utter his word, sure that the wealthy and prepared spirits will receive it, and equally sure that shallow, sterile, and inane natures will either not receive it at all, or do so to extremely little purpose.

And such, as I read, is the judgment of Plato; though, ever disposed to explore the remote possibilities of education, he discusses the subject in a tentative spirit, as if vaguely hoping that more might, through some discovery in method, be accomplished by means of doctrine. But in the “ Republic ” his permanent persuasion is shown. He there bases his whole scheme of polity, as Goethe in the second part of “ Wilhelm Meister ” bases his scheme of education, upon a primary inspection of natures, in which it is assumed that culture must begin by humbly accepting the work of Nature, forswearing all attempt to add one jot or tittle to the native virtue of any human spirit.

It is always, however, less important for us to know what another thinks upon any high matter than to know what is our own deepest and inevitable thought concerning it; for, as the man himself thinketh, not as another thinketh for him, so is he : his own thoughts are forces and engines in his nature; those of any other are at best but candidates for these profound effects. I propose, therefore, that we throw open the whole question of man’s benefit to man by means of words. Let us inquire—if possible, with somewhat of courage and vigor — what are the limits and what the laws of instructive communication.

And our first discovery will be that such communication has adamantine limitations. The off-hand impression of most persons would probably be that we are able to make literal conveyance of our thought. But, in truth, one could as soon convey the life out of his veins into the veins of another as transfer from his own mind to that of another any belief, thought, or perception whatsoever.

Words are simply the signs, they are not the vehicles, of thought. Like all signs, they convey nothing, but only suggest. Like all signs, they are intelligible to none but the initiated. One man, having a certain mental experience, hoists, as it were, a signal, like ships at sea, whereby he would make suggestion of it to another; and if in the mental experience of that, other be somewhat akin to this, which, by virtue, of that kindred, can interpret its symbol, then only, and to the extent of such interpretation, does communication occur. But the mental experience itself, the thought itself, does not pass; it only makes the sign.

If, for example, I utter the word God, it conveys nothing out. of my mind into the mind of you, the reader ; it simply appeals to your conception of divinity. If I attempt to explain, then every word of the explanation must be subject to the same conditions; not one syllable of it can do more than merely appeal to somewhat already in your mind. For instance, suppose I say, God is love; what then is done ? The appeal is shifted to another sign ; that is all. What my own soul, fed from the vital resources and incited by the vital relationships of my life, has learned of love, that my thought may connect with the word; but of all this nothing passes when it is uttered ; and the sound, arriving at your ear, can do no more than invite you to summon and bring before the eye of your consciousness that which your own soul, out of its divine depths and through the instruction of vital relationship, has learned and has privily whispered to you of this sacred mystery, love. Just so much as each one, in the inviolable solitudes of his own consciousness, has learned to connect with this, or with any great word, just that, and never a grain more, it can summon. And if endeavor be made to explain any such by others, the explanation can come no nearer; it can only send words to your ear, each of which performs its utmost office by inviting you to call up and bring before your cognizance this or that portion of your mental experience. But always what answers the call is your mental experience, no less yours, no less wedded to your life, than the blood in your arteries; it cannot be that of any other.

And the same is true, or nearly the same, respecting the most obvious outside matters. Suppose one to make merely this statement, I see a house. Now, it the person addressed has ever had experience of the act of vision, if he has ever seen anything, he will know what see means; otherwise not. If, again, he has ever seen a house, he will know what house denotes ; not otherwise. Or suppose, that, not knowing, he ask what a house is, and that the first speaker attempt to explain by telling him that it is such and such a structure, built of brick, wood, or stone ; then it is assumed that he has seen stone, wood, or brick, that he has seen the act of building, or at least its result; —and in fine, the explanation, every syllable of it, can do no more than appeal to perceptions of which the questioner is assumed to have had experience.

We do, indeed, gain an approximate knowledge of things we have never seen. For example, I have an imperfect notion of a banian - tree, though I have never seen one ; but it is only by having seen other trees, and by having also had the perceptions to which appeal is made in describing the peculiarities of the banian. So he who is born blind may learn so much concerning outward objects as the senses of touch, hearing, smell, and taste can impart to him; and he may profit by verbal information to such extent as these perceptions enable him. But the perception itself, and so thought, faith, and in fine all mental experience whatsoever, whether of high order or low, whether relating to objects within us or to objects without, take place only in the privacy of our own minds, and are in their substance not to be transferred.

Observe with precision what is here said. The mental experience of each man, if it be of any spiritual depth, has transacted itself in his nature in virtue, to a most important degree, of spiritual relationship with other human beings. There never was an act of development in any man’s soul that did not imply a humanity, and involve the virtue of social affinity. I should be dumb, but for the ears of others; I should be deaf, that is, my human ear would be closed, but for human voices; and there is no particle of human energy, and no tint of human coloring, for which we are not, in part, indebted to vital human fellowship. Nevertheless, of this experience, though in the absence of social connection it could not have occurred, not one jot nor tittle can be made over to another by means of words, it can hoist its verbal signal, and the like experience in other souls may interpret the sign ; it can do no more.

Men may, indeed, commune: that is, they may by verbal conference enter mutually into a sense of an already existing unity of inward experience ; and there are other and eminent uses of words, of which more anon ; but here let it be noted with sufficient emphasis that of minds there can be no mixture, and that speech can make no substantive conveyance of any mental product from one mind to another. Each soul must draw from its native fountains; though we must never iorget that without conversation and social relationship its divine thirst would not have been excited.

Therefore, in the midst of all warmest and quickest verity of social nearness, there is a kind of sacred and inviolable solitude of the soul. We speak across to each other, as out of different planets in heaven ; and the closest intimacy of souls is like that of double stars which revolve about each other, not like that of two lumps of clay which are squeezed and confounded together.

So much, then, concerning the limits of verbal communication. Words, we say, are not vehicles. No perception, no mental possession, passes from mind to mind. You can impart to another no piece of knowledge whose main elements were not already in his mind, no thought which was not substantially existent in his consciousness before your voice began to seek his ear. Instructors may, indeed, put a pupil in the way to obtain fresh perceptions, and more rarely a wise man may put an apt disciple in the way to obtain deeper insights ; but, after all, the learner must learn ; the learner must for himself behold the fact, with the eyes of body or of soul ; and he must behold it as it is in itself, not merely as it is in words.

Hence the new scheme of school-education. Agassiz says, in substance,—“ If you would teach a boy geography, take him out on the hills, and make the earth herself his instructor. If you would teach him respecting tigers or turtles, show him tiger or turtle. Take him to a Museum of Natural History ; let him always, so far as possible, learn about facts from the facts themselves.” Judicious and important advice. And the basis of it we find in what has been set forth above, namely, that words convey no perception, whether of physical or of spiritual truth.

It follows, therefore, that only he whose soul is eloquent within him will gain much from any eloquence of his fellow. Only he whose heart is a prophet will hear the prophet. A divine preparation of the nature, divine activities of the soul, precede all high uses of communication. Though Demosthenes or Phillips speak, it is the hearer’s own spirit that convinces him. Conviction cannot be forced upon one from without. Hence the wellknown futility of belligerent controversy. No possible logic will lead a man ahead of his own intelligence; neither will any take from him the persuasions which correspond to his mental condition. A good logical pose may sometimes serve to lower the crest of an obstreperous sophist, as boughs of one species of ash are said to quell the rattlesnake ; but with both these sinuous animals the effect is temporary, and the quality of the creature remains unchanged.

Even though one be sincerely desirous of advancing his intelligence, it is seldom, as Mr. Emerson has somewhere said, of much use for him to carry his questions to another. He of whom insight is thus asked may be sage, eloquent, apt to teach; but it will commonly be found, nevertheless, that his words, for some reason, do not seem to suit the case in hand : admirable words they are, perhaps, for some cases closely analogous to this, it may be for all such cases, and it is a thousand pities that the present one does not come within their scope; but this, as ill luck will have it, is that other case which they do not fit.

And yet, despite these iron limits, communication is not only one of the especial delights, but also one of the chief uses, of human life. As every spiritual activity implies fellowship, so does almost every thought, almost every result of spiritual activity, imply some speech of our fellows. Voices and books, — who would be himself without them ? I do not believe myself to have now in my mind one valuable thought which owes nothing to the written or spoken thought of other men, living or dead.

How, then, is it that the speech of our fellows renders us aid ? What are to us the uses of the words of others ?

And here be it first of all frankly acknowledged, that there is much speech of no remarkable import, in itself considered, which yet serves good ends. There is much speech whose office is simply to refresh the sense of fellowship. It will not make a good leading article ; but the leading article which subserves equal uses is not to be contemned. So much are men empowered by each other, that any careless, kindly chat which gives them the sense of cordial nearness gives also warmth and invigoration. Better than most ambitious conversation is the light, happy, bubbling talk which means at bottom simply this : — “ We are at home together ; we believe in each other.” Words are good, if they only festoon love and trust. Words are good, if they merely show us that worthy natures do not suspect us, do not lock their closets when we are in the house, do not put their souls in dress-costume to meet us, but leave their thoughts and hearts naked in our presence, and are not ashamed. Be it mine sometimes to sit with my friend when our mere nearness and unity of spirit are felt by us both to be so utterly eloquent, that, without silence, we forbear to set up any rivalry to them by grave and meditated speech,—observing, it may be, a falling leaf toyed with by the wind, and speaking words that drop from the lips like falling leaves, and float down a zephyr that knows not which way to blow. Some of the sweetest and most fruitful hours of life are these in which we speak half-articulate nothings, merely airing the sense of fellowship, and so replete with this wealth of vital intimacy that we have room for nothing more.

But our aim is to regard communication as an instruction, and to consider the more explicit and definite uses of words.

And of these the first, and one of the chief, is based upon the very limitations which have been set forth, — upon the very fact that words are not vehicles. I have said that there is a certain divine solitude of the soul; and of this solitude the uses are infinitely great. The absolute soul of humanity, we hold, seeks to insphere itself in each person, though in each giving itself a peculiar or individual representation ; and only as this insphering takes place are the ends of creation attained, only so is man made indeed a human life. Therefore must we draw out of that, out of that alone ; therefore truth is permitted to come to us only out of these infinite depths, albeit incitement, invitation, and the ability to draw from these native fountains may be due to social connection. Because our life is really enriched only as the absolute soul gives itself to us, therefore will it suffer us no otherwise than by its gift to supply our want. And as it cannot give itself to us save in response to a felt want, a seeking, an inward demand, it belongs to the chief economies of our life to bring us to this attitude of inward request, to this call and claim upon the resources of our intelligence.

Now words come to us as empty vessels, which we are to fill from within ; and in making for this purpose a requisition upon the perpetual contents of reason, Conscience, and imagination, we open a valve through which new spiritual powers enter, and add themselves to our being. If the word God be sometimes spoken simply and spontaneously, a youth who hears it will be sure upon some day, when the sense of the infinite and divine stirs vaguely within him, to ask himself what this word means, to require his soul to tell him what is the verity corresponding thereto ; and precisely this requisition is what the soul desires, for only when sought may its riches be found. The utilities of words in this kind are deserving of very grave estimation. Words teach us much, but they teach less by what is in them than by what is not in them,—less by what they give to us than by what they demand from us.

It is, therefore, one of the grand services of communication to bring us to the limits of communication, making us feel, that, ere it can go farther, there must occur in us new stretches of thought, new energies of hope, faith, and all noble imagining. It were well, therefore, that, among other things, we should sometimes thank God for our ignorance and weakness,—thank Him for what we do not understand and are not equal to; for with every fresh recognition of these, with every fresh approach to the borders of our intelligence, we are prepared for new requisitions upon the soul. As in a pump the air is exhausted in order that the water may rise, so a void in our intelligence caused by its own energy precedes every enrichment. Hence he who will not admit to his heart the sense of ignorance will always be a fool; he who is perpetually filled with self-sufficiency will never be filled with much else. And from this point of view one may discern the significance of that doctrine of humility which belongs equally to Socratic thinking and Christian believing.

It follows, too, that we need not laboriously push and foist upon the young our faith and experience. Aside from direct vital influence, which is a powerful propagandist, our simple, natural, inevitable speech will cause them to do much better than learn from us, it will cause them to learn from their own souls. And however uncertain may be a harvest from questions asked of others, a great question rightly put to one’s self not only must be fruitful, but carries in it a capacity for infinite fruitfulness ; while the longer and more patiently and persistently one can wait for an answer, the richer his future is to be. I am sure of him who can put to his heart the great questions of life, and wait serenely and vigilantly for a response, one, two, ten years, a lifetime, wellnigh an eternity, if need be, not falling into despondencies and despairing skepticisms because the universe forbears to babble and tattle its secret ere yet he half or a thousandth part guesses how deep and holy that secret is, but quietly, heroically asking and waiting. And toward this posture of asking the profound and vital words assist us by being heard,—which is their first eminent use to us.

Secondly, they serve us greatly, when they simply cause a preëxisting community of thought to be mutually recognized. It is much to bring like to like, brand to brand, believing soul to believing soul. As several pieces of anthracite coal will together make a powerful heat, but separately wilt not burn at all, so in the conjunction of similar faiths and beliefs there is a wholly new effect; it is not at all the mere sum of the forces previously in operation, but a pure product of union. “My confidence in my own belief,” said Novalis, “is increased infinitely the moment another shares it with me. The reason is obvious. You and I have grown up apart, and have never conferred together ; our temperaments, culture, circumstances are different; we have come to have certain thoughts which seem to us true and deep, but each of us doubts whether these thoughts may not be due to his peculiarities of mind, position, and influence. But to-day we come together, and discover, that, despite these outward diversities in which we are so widely unlike, our fundamental faiths are one and the same ; the same thoughts, the same beliefs have sprung into life in our separate souls. Instantly is suggested a unity underlying our divided being, a law of thought abiding in mind itself, — not merely in your mind or mine, but in the mind and soul of man. What we arrive at, therefore, is not merely the sum of you and me, the aggregate of two men’s opinions, but the universal, the absolute, and spiritually necessary. Such is always the suggestion which spontaneous unity of faith carries with it; hence it awakens religion, and gives total peace and rest.”

But the faiths which are to be capable of these divine embraces must indeed be spontaneous and native. Hence those who create factitious unity of creed render these -fructifications impossible. If we agree, not because the absolute soul has uttered in both of us the same word, but because we have both been fed with dust out of the same catechism, our unity will disgust and weary us rather than invigorate. Dr. Johnson said he would compel men to believe as he and the Church of England did, “ because,” he reasoned, “ if another differs from me, he weakens my confidence in my own scheme of faith, and so injures me.” Now this speech is good just so far as it asserts social dependence in belief; it is bad, it is idiotic or insane, so far as it advocates the substitution of a factitious and artificial unity for one of spiritual depth and reality. The fruits of the tree of life are not to he successfully thieved. In dishonest hands they become ashes and bitterness. He who has more faith in an Act of Parliament than in God and the universe may be a good conventional believer ; but, in truth, the choice he makes is the essence of all denial and even of all atheism and blasphemy.

Let each, then, bring up out of his own soul its purest, broadest, simplest faith ; and when any ten or ten thousand find that the same faith has come to birth in their several souls, each one of them all will be exalted to a divine confidence, and will make new requisitions upon the soul which he has so been taught to trust. Thus, though we tell each nothing new, though we merely demonstrate our unity of consciousness, yet is the force of each many times multiplied,—dimless certitude and dauntless courage being bred in hearts where before, perhaps, were timorous hesitation and wavering.

The third service of words may be compared to the help which the smith renders to the fire on his forge. True it is that no blowing can enkindle dead coals, and make a flame where was no spark. True it is that both spark and bellows will be vain, if the fuel is stone or clay. And so no blowing will enkindle a nature which does not bring in itself the fire to be fanned and the substance that may support it. But in our being, as at the forge, the flame that languishes may be taught to leap, and the spark that was hidden may be wrought into blaze.

Simple attraction and encouragement, —there is somewhat of the marvellous in their effects. Physiologists tell us, that, if two liquids in the body are separated by a moist membrane, and if one of these fluids be in motion and the other at rest, that which rests will of its own accord force its way through the membrane and join the one which flows. So it is in history. Any man who represents a spiritual streaming will command and draw into the current of his soul those whose condition is one of stagnancy or arrest. Now courage and belief are streamings forward; skepticism and timidity are stagnancies; panic, fear, and destructive denial are streamings backward. True, now, it is, that any swift flowing, forward or backward, attracts ; but progressive or affirmative currents have this vast advantage, that they are health, and therefore the healthy humanity in every man’s being believes in them and belongs to them ; and they accordingly are like rivers, which, however choked up temporarily and made refluent, are sure in the end to force their way; while negative and backward currents are like pestilences and conflagrations, which of necessity limit themselves by exhaustion, if not mastered by happier means.

We may, indeed, note it as a nicety, that the membrane must be moist through which this transudation is to take place; and I admit that there are men whose enveloping sheath of individualism and egotism is so hard and dry, so little interpenetrated by candor and the love of truth, as to be nearly impervious to noble persuasion ; and were whole Missouri of tidings from the highest intelligence rushing past them, they would still yawn, and say, “ Do you get any news ? ” as innocently as ever.

Nevertheless, history throbs with the mystery of this influence. A little girl sleeping by her mother’s side awoke in a severe thunder-storm, and, nestling in terror near to the mother, and shrinking into the smallest possible space, said, trembling, “ Mother, are you afraid ? ” “ No, my dear,” answered the lady, calmly. “ Oh, well,” said the child, assuming her full proportions, and again disposing herself for sleep, “ if you ’re not afraid, I ’m not afraid,” and was soon slumbering quietly. What volumes of gravest human history in that little incident! So infinitely easy are daring and magnanimity, so easy is transcendent height of thought and will, when exalted spiritually, when imperial valor and purpose breathe and blow upon our souls from the lips of a living fellow ! Not, it may be, that anything new is said. That is not required. What another now thrills, inspires, transfigures us by saying, we probably knew before, only dared not let ourselves think that we knew it. The universe, perhaps, had not a nook so hidden that therein we could have been solitary enough to whisper that divine suggestion to our own hearts. But now some childlike man stands up and speaks it to the common air, in serenest unconsciousness of doing anything singular. He has said it,—and lo, he lives! By the help of God, then, we too, by word and deed, will utter our souls.

Get one hero, and you may have a thousand. Create a grand impulse in history, and no fear but it will be reinforced. Obtain your champion in the cause of Right, and you shall have indomitable armies that charge for social justice.

More of the highest life is suppressed in every one of us than ever gets vent ; and it is this inward suppression, after making due account of all outward oppressions and injuries, which constitutes the chief tragedy of history. Daily men cast to the ground the proffered beakers of heaven, from mere fear to drink. Daily they rebuke the divine, inarticulate murmur that arises from the deeps of their being, — inarticulate only because denied and reproved. And he is greatest who can meet with a certain pure intrepidity those suggestions which haunt forever the hearts of men.

No greater blunder, accordingly, was ever made than that of attempting to render men brave and believing by addressing them as cowards and infidels. Garibaldi stands up before his soldiers in Northern Italy, and says to them, (though I forget the exact words,) “ I do not call you to fortune and prosperity; I call you to hardship, to suffering, to death; I ask you to give your toil without reward, to spill your blood and lie in unknown graves, to sacrifice all for your country and kind, and hear no thanks but the Well done of God in heaven.” Did they cower and go back ? Ere the words had spent their echoes, every man’s will was as the living adamant of God’s purpose, and every man’s hand was as the hand of Destiny, and from the shock of their onset the Austrians fled as from the opening jaws of an earthquake. Demosthenes told Athens only what Athens knew. He merely blew upon the people’s hearts with their own best thoughts; and what a blaze ! True, the divine fuel was nearly gone, Athens wellnigh burnt out, and the flame lasted not long; but that he could produce such effects, when half he fanned was merest ashes, serves all the more to show how great such effects may be.

Before passing to the last and profoundest use of communication, I must not omit to mention that which is most obvious, but not most important, — the giving of ordinary informations and instructions. These always consist in a suggestion to another of new combinations of his notions, new societies in his mind. Thus, if I say, Fire burns, I simply assert a connection between fire and burning, — the notion of both these being assumed as existing in the mind of the person addressed. Or if I say, God is just, I invite him to associate in his mind the sentiment of justice and the sense of the infinite and omnipotent. Now in respect to matters of mere external form we usually confide in the representations of others, and picture to ourselves, so far as our existing perceptions enable us, the combinations they affirm, — provided always these have a certain undefined conformity with our own experience. But in respect to association, not of mere notions, but of spiritual elements in the soul,—of truths evolved by the spiritual nature of man, — the case is quite different. Thus, if the fool who once said in his heart. “ There is no God.” should now say openly, (of course by some disguising euphemism,) “ God is an egotist,” I may indeed shape an opinion accordingly, and fall into great confusion in consequence; but my spiritual nature does not consent to this representation ; no real association takes place within me between the sense of the divine and the conception of egotism. Such opinion may have immense energy in history, but it has no efficiency in the eliciting and outbuilding of our personal being; these representations, however we may trust and base action upon them, serve us inwardly only to such degree as our spiritual nature causally itself with them and find expression in them. It is simply impossible for any man to associate the idea of divinity with the conception of selfishness; but be may associate the notion of Zeus or Allah or the like with that or any other conception of baseness, and out of the result may form a sort of crust over his spiritual intelligence, which shall hither imprison it utterly, or force it to oblique and covert expression. And of this last, by the way, — and we may deeply rejoice over the fact, — history is full.

Yet in this suggestion toward new societies in the soul, in this formal introduction to each other of kindred elements in the consciousness, there may be eminent service. It is only formal, it does not make friendship, it leaves our spirits to their own action ; but it may prepare the way for inward unities and communities whose blessedness neither speech nor silence can tell.

Finally, there is an effect of words profounder and more creative than any of these. As a brand which burns powerfully may at last ignite even green wood, so divine faiths, alive and awake in one soul, may appeal to the mere elements, to mere possibilities, of such faiths in other souls, and at. length evoke them by that appeal. The process is slow ; it requires a celestial heat and persistency in the moving spirit; it is one of the “ all things” that are possible only with God: but it occurs, and it is the most sacred and precious thing in history.

Every human soul has the absolute soul, has the whole truth, significance, and virtue of the universe, as its lawful and native resource. Therefore says Jesus, “ The kingdom of heaven is within you”; therefore Antoninus, “Look inwards, within is the fountain of truth”; therefore Eckart, “ Ye have all truth potentially within you.” All ideas of truth dwell in every soul, but in every soul they are at first wrapped in deep sleep, in an infinite depth of sleep ; while the base incense of brutish lives is like chloroform, or the fumes of some benumbing drug, to steep them ever more and more in oblivion. But to awaken truth thus sleeping in the soul is the highest use of discipline, the noblest aim of culture, and the most eminent service which man can render to man. The scheme of our life is providentially arranged with reference to that end ; and the thousand, shocks, agitations, and moving influences of our experience, the supreme invitations of love, the venom of calumny, and all toil, trial, sudden bereavement, doubt, danger, vicissitude, joy, are hands that shake and voices that assail the lethargy of our deepest powers. Now it is in the power of truth divinely awakened in one soul to assist its awakening in another. For as nothing so quickly arouses us from slumber as hearing ourselves called upon by name, so is it with this celestial inhabitant : whoever by virtue of elder brotherhood can rightly name him shall cause his spirit to be stirred and his slumber to be broken.

Let him, therefore, in whom any great truth is alive and awake, enunciate, proclaim it steadily, clearly, cheerily, with a serene and cloudless passion ; and wherever a soul less mature than his own lies open to the access of his tones, there the eye-fast angels of belief and knowledge shall hear that publication of their own hearts, and, hearing, lift their lids, and rise into wakefulness and power.

Seldom, indeed, is any voice, though it be in its origin a genuine voice of the soul, pure and impartial enough, enough delivered from the masks of egotism and accident, to be greatly competent for these effects. Besides which, there are not a few that have closed their ears, lest they should hear, not a few that are even filled with base astonishment and terror, and out. of this with, base wrath, to find their deafness assailed. And still further, it must be freely owned that our natures have mysterious elections, and though one desire openness of soul as much as folly fears it, yet may it happen that some tint of peculiarity in the tone of a worthy voice shall render it to him opaque and unintelligible.

Yet let us not fear that the product of any sacred and spiritual sincerity will fail of sufficient uses. If a deep, cordial, and clarified nature will but give us his heart in a pure and boundless bravery of confession,—if, like autumn plants, that cast forth their seeds, winged with down, to the four winds of heaven, or like the blossoms of spring and early summer, that yield up their preciousness of pollen to the forage of bees, and even by being so robbed attain to the hearts of neighborblossoms, and accomplish that mystery of fructification which is to make glad the maturer year, — if so this inflorescence of eternity that we name a Noble Man will yield up the golden pollen of his soul, even to those that in visiting him seek but their own ends, and if so he will intrust winged words, words that are indeed spiritual seeds, purest, ripest, and most vital products of his being, to the winds of time, — be will be sure to reach some, and they to reach others, and there is no telling how far the seminal effect may go ; there is no telling what harvests may yellow in the limitless fields of the future, what terrestrial and celestial reapers may go home rejoicing, bearing their sheaves with them, what immortal hungers may be fed at the feasts of earth and heaven, in final consequence of that lonely and faithful sowing. As in the still mornings of summer the earliest awakened bird hesitates to utter, yet utters, his solitary pipe, timidly rippling the silence, but is not long alone, for quickly the melodious throb begins to beat in every tree-top, and soon the whole rapturous grove gushes and palpitates into song, — even so, thus to appearance alone and unsupported, begins that chant of belief which is destined to heave and roll in billows of melodious confession over a continent, over a world. Thus does a faith that has lain long silent in the hearts of nations suddenly answer to the note of its kind, astonishing all bystanders, astonishing most of all the heart it inhabits. For, lo ! the tree-tops of human life are full of slumbering melodies, and if a song-sparrow pipe sincerely on the hill-sides of Judea, saying, after his own fashion of speech, “ Behold, the divine dawn hath visited my eyes,” be sure that the forests of far-off America, then unknown, will one day reply, and ten thousand thousand throats throbbing with high response will make it mutually known all round the world that this auroral beam is not for any single or private eye, but that the broad amber beauty of spiritual morning belongs to man’s being, and that in man’s heart, by virtue of its perennial nature, is prophesied the day whose sun shall be God and its earth heaven.