Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/162

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in one which presents to it another object besides a purely spiritual activity; — a material object, to be promoted by instruments and powers which indeed stand under the immediate dominion of the will, but whose activity is also conditioned by their own natural laws. Yet as surely as reason is reason, must the will operate absolutely by itself, and independently of the natural laws by which the action is determined; and therefore does the sensuous life of every finite being point towards a higher, into which the will, by itself alone, may open the way, and of which it may acquire possession, — a possession which indeed we must again sensuously conceive of as a state, and by no means as a mere will.

These two orders, — the purely spiritual and the sensuous, the latter consisting possibly of an innumerable series of particular lives, — have existed in me from the first moment of the development of my active reason, and still proceed parallel to each other. The latter order is only a phenomenon for myself, and for those whose being is similar to my own; the former alone gives it significance, purpose, and value. I am immortal, imperishable, eternal, as soon as I form the resolution to obey the laws of reason; I do not need to become so. The super-sensual world is no future world; it is now present; it can at no point of finite existence be more present than at another; not more present after an existence of myriads of lives than at this moment. My sensuous existence may, in future, assume other forms, but these are just as little the true life, as its present form. By that resolution I lay hold on eternity, and cast off this earthly life and all other forms of sensuous life which may yet lie be-