Page:Pierre.djvu/247

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LIGHT AND GLOOM 233

words to Mr. Falsgrave, sufficiently evinced that already, ere quitting that gentleman's study, he had begun to repent his ever entering it on such a mission.

And as he now walked on in the profound meditations induced by the hour ; and as all that was in him stirred to and fro, intensely agitated by the ever-creative fire of enthusiastic earnestness, he became fully alive to many palliating considerations, which had they previously occurred to him would have peremptorily forbidden his impulsive intrusion upon the respectable clergyman.

But it is through the malice of this earthly air, that only by being guilty of Folly does mortal man in many cases arrive at the perception of Sense. A thought which should forever free us from hasty imprecations upon our ever-recurring intervals of Folly ; since though Folly be our teacher, Sense is the lesson she teaches ; since if Folly wholly depart from us, Further Sense will be her companion in the flight, and we will be left standing midway in wisdom. For it is only the miraculous vanity of man which ever persuades him, that even for the most richly gifted mind, there ever arrives an earthly period, where it can truly say to itself, I have come to the Ultimate of Human Speculative Knowledge ; hereafter, at this present point I will abide. Sudden onsets of new truth will assail him, and overturn him as the Tartars did China ; for there is no China Wall that man can build in his soul, which shall permanently stay the irruptions of those barbarous hordes which Truth ever nourishes in the loins of her frozen, yet teeming North ; so that the Empire of Human Knowledge can never be lasting in any one dynasty, since Truth still gives new Emperors to the earth.

But the thoughts we here indite as Pierre's are to be very carefully discriminated from those we indite concerning him. Ignorant at this time of the ideas concern--