All that we can be 74conscious of at once, all, as it were, that stands on one sheet, presents one movement of the complete working of the Whole, and belongs, as it were, to one great historical picture. Hence they labour to prune it, to abolish it, as much as possible, and to have it acknowledged as merely a collection of monographs, as an accidental aggregate of single theses of very unequal value. In this first love he had a foretaste of all love’s forms and tendencies—in humanity he found the world. And if you see the world as a Whole, a Universe, can you do it otherwise than in God? If you would understand your life and speak comprehensibly of it, they must be distinguished. And how are you for yourselves? The deepest and highest in a work is not always either first or last. If you could imagine it implanted in man quite alone, it would produce neither these nor any other deeds. Have you not often felt this holy longing, as something unknown? Only what in either is feeling and immediate consciousness, can belong to religion. I only wished to recall what is also expounded in my “Kurze Darstellung” and in the Introduction to the “Glaubenslehre,” that the formation of the idea depends here, as elsewhere, on the dominating language, the degree, manner, and quality of its scientific development embracing of course the manner and quality of the philosophizing. What we call miracle is everywhere else called sign, indication. If you have not learned it from my Speeches or discovered it for yourselves, go and learn it from your Socrates. If our feeling nowhere attaches itself to the individual, but if its content is our relation to God wherein all that is individual and fleeting disappears, there can be nothing fleeting in it, but all must be eternal. From all this you will at once perceive bow the question, whether religion is a system or not, is to be treated. This result of human imperfection causes religion to appear dismembered. I desire no more than that each man, if he would test his piety, should see, not merely, as Plato says, that souls appear before the judges of the Underworld stripped of all alien ornament conferred by the external relations of life, but, laying aside these claims to endless existence and considering himself just as he is, that he then decide whether these claims are anything more than the titles of lands, never possessed and never to be possessed, wherewith the great ones of the earth often think they must adorn themselves. The spirit furnishes the chief nourishment for our piety, and history immediately and especially is for religion the richest source. He must recognize something individual in them, something that cannot be imitated, something that guarantees the purity of their origin from his own heart. Cite as. It is with action as an exercise of feeling, not with any symbolical or significant action meant to represent feeling. It is an idea compounded from characteristics, from what are called attributes of God. It imagines and fashions countless forms. In this sense all these conceptions do certainly belong to the sphere of religion, and indeed belong without condition or the smallest limit to their application. But we must never confuse it with the well-meant endeavours of pious souls. It involved an acknowledgment of the narrowness and one-sidedness of each individualized Polytheism, and the desire to free the religious need from the limits of political forms. The religious sense corresponds not to the masses in the outer world, but to their eternal laws. Science is not your calling, if you despise religion and fear to surrender yourself to reverence and aspiration for the primordial. But is it possible? If ideas and principles are to be anything, they must belong to knowledge which is a different department of life from religion. But when feeling is made the subject of reflection and comparison they are absolutely 88unavoidable. In the former editions, sensibility and taste stood not quite correctly for sense and taste for the Infinite. Were religion really the highest knowledge, the scientific method alone would be suitable for its extension, and religion could be acquired by study, a thing not hitherto asserted. It includes both, in their originality and in their divine character, so that the whole life of the pious simply forms a series of operations of divine grace. He is to give an outward guarantee of their blessedness and incite them to morality. The pious man does not believe that the right course of action can be determined, except in so far as, at the same time, there is knowledge of the relations of man to God; and again right action, he holds, is necessary for right knowledge. The assertion of others that the more imperfect, especially the Polytheistic religions have no kinship with Christianity is similar. In religion then everything is immediately true, as nothing is expressed at any moment of it, except the state of mind of the religious person. The same thing would happen if Christianity should annex the territory of all existing great religions. You not only find at times all the manifold degrees of human powers within you, but when self-love is quite submerged in sympathy, all the countless mixture of human tendencies that you have ever seen in the characters of others appears simply arrested impulses of your own life. How can I have spoken thoroughly of the nature of religion, seeing I have not treated at all of immortality, and of God only a little in passing? Only it appears hard that this Speech should deduce not doubtfully the hope so widely diffused among the noblest men of a restoration of the individual life not again to be interrupted, from the lowest stage of self-love, seeing it might as well have been ascribed to the interest of love in the beloved objects. But in respect of religion in and for itself, these are only external circumstances. During these fifteen years the attention to Spinoza, awakened by Jacobi’s writings and continued by many later influences, which was then somewhat marked, has relaxed. Be content to consider them religion, and then you will not need to demand anything for them except their own sure rights, and you will not deceive yourselves with the baseless claims which you are disposed to make in their name. And if you call them religious principles and ideas, you are not in error. Religion thus fashions itself with endless variety, down even to the single personality. Nor do we stand over against the World and in it at the same time by any one faculty, but by our whole being. Just as little can they deny that, in so far as it can be conceived—and without that it means nothing for us—the infinity of mass and number is only finite and the mind can comprehend every infinity of this kind into short formulae, and reckon with them, as daily happens. Men do all kinds of things, accepting them from one and transmitting them to another, though they have no meaning or value for themselves. The one weaves his formulas into a system of faith, and the other spins out of his prescriptions a scheme of salvation. The utmost gain to be looked for would be to furnish us with another method for putting known results into shape for beginners, and for stimulating them to a further study. The dependence of our earth, and therefore of the highest unity it has produced, upon other worlds, has been impressed upon us both by nature and by education. In opposing religion, do not ascribe to it what does not belong to it. But each one presupposes the characteristic activity of all the others. It must be something special that could fashion itself so peculiarly in the human heart, something thinkable, the real nature of which can so be presented as to be spoken of and argued about, and I consider it very wrong that out of things so disparate as modes of knowing and modes of acting, you patch together 33an untenable something, and call it religion, and then are so needlessly ceremonious with it. Did I venture to compare it, seeing I cannot describe it, I would say it is fleeting and transparent as the vapour which the dew breathes on blossom and fruit, it is bashful and tender as a maiden’s kiss, it is holy and fruitful as a bridal embrace. It is hardly necessary to remind you that the existence of God generally can only be active, and as there can be no passive existence of God, the divine activity upon any object is the divine existence in respect of that object. This miserable love of system1616There are still Christian divines who reject the whole purpose of Christian dogmatics, and there was a far greater number when this passage was first written. When, therefore, you speak of an artist as pious, do you still grant him that relaxation of the strict demands of virtue? Wherefore, humanity and religion are closely and indissolubly united. The history of us all is related in this sacred legend. From this inner unity, action springs of its own accord, as a natural branch of life. It is an endeavour to return into 43the Whole, and to exist for oneself at the same time. What lies nearer to mortal man than unaffected humility? The citizen—taking the word in the sense of the ancients not in its present meagre significance—regulates, leads, and influences in virtue of his morality. But the immortality that most men imagine and their longing for it, seem to me irreligious, nay quite opposed to the spirit of piety.