Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/164

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


geneous sphere of action. And thus must I actually regard the will in the present sensuous world, the only one known to me. I am indeed compelled to believe, and consequently to act as if I thought, that by my mere volition, my tongue, my hand, or my foot, might be set in motion; but how a mere aspiration, an impress of intelligence upon itself, such as will is, can be the principle of motion to a heavy material mass, — this I not only find it impossible to conceive, but the mere assertion is, before the tribunal of the understanding, a palpable absurdity, — and here the movement of matter even in myself can only be explained by the internal forces of matter itself.

Such a view of my will as I have taken can, however, only be attained through an intimate conviction that it is not merely the highest active principle for this world, — which it certainly might be without having freedom in itself, by the mere influence of the system of the universe, perchance, as we must conceive of a formative power in Nature, — but that it absolutely despises all earthly objects, and generally all objects lying out of itself, and recognises itself, for its own sake, as its own ultimate end. But by such a view of my will I am at once directed to a super-sensual order of things, in which the will, by itself alone and without any instrument lying out of itself, becomes an efficient cause in a sphere which, like itself, is purely spiritual, and is thoroughly accessible to it. That moral volition is demanded of us absolutely for its own sake alone, — a truth which I only discover as a fact in my inward consciousness, and to the knowledge of which I cannot attain in any other way: — this was the first step of my thought. That this demand is reason-