shortened and taken in the limited perspectives defined by man's earth-bound intelligence, is nature; nature, consummated, seen in its fullness and harmony, is God.
For all we have power to see, is a straight staff bent in a pool;
Nature, on Kantian grounds, is the work of intelligence, and intelligence, in turn, obeys some deeper spiritual law. That law, when interpreted according to the Platonic-pantheistic tradition, is the perfection of the whole. There are many possible variations of the view. The perfection of the whole may be regarded as a moral perfection, the ideal of the moral will, as suggested by Kant, and more positively and constructively maintained by Fichte; or as the ideal of reason, as was maintained by Hegel and his followers; or as a general realization of all spiritual values, a perfection transcending moral and rational standards, and more nearly approached in the experience of beauty, or in flashes of mystical insight, as was proclaimed by the sentimentalists and romanticists. In the popular literary expressions of the view, these varieties have alternated, or have been indiscriminately mingled. But it is this view in some form that has inspired those English poets and essayists, such as Coleridge, Wordsworth, Carlyle, Emerson, Tennyson, and Browning, who so profoundly influenced the men of the last generation. There is thus a continuous current of thought from the closest philosophy of the sage of Konigsberg to the popular incentives and consolations of to-day.