Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/175

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duty, is the light-beam on which we come forth from the bosom of the Infinite, and assume our place as particular individual beings; it fixes the limits of our personality; it is thus the true original element of our nature, the foundation and material of all our life. The absolute freedom of the will, which we bring down with us from the Infinite into the world of Time, is the principle of this our life. I act: — and, the sensible intuition through which alone I become a personal intelligence being supposed, it is easy to conceive how I must necessarily know of this my action, — I know it, because it is I myself who act; — it is easy to conceive how, by means of this sensible intuition, my spiritual act appears to me as a fact in a world of sense; and how, on the other hand, by the same sensualization, the law of duty which, in itself, is a purely spiritual law, should appear to me as the command to such an action; — it is easy to conceive, how an actually present world should appear to me as the condition of this action, and, in part, as the consequence and product of it. Thus far I remain within myself and upon my own territory; everything here, which has an existence for me, unfolds itself purely and solely from myself; I see everywhere only myself, and no true existence out of myself. But in this my world I admit, also, the operations of other beings, separate and independent of me, as much as I of them. How these beings can themselves know of the influences which proceed from them, may easily be conceived; they know of them in the same way in which I know of my own. But how I can know of them is absolutely inconceivable; just as it is inconceivable how they can possess the knowledge of my existence, and its mani-