Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/32

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I am and shall be of absolute necessity; and it is impossible that I should be anything else.



I am, indeed, conscious of myself as an independent, and, in many occurrences of my life, a free being; but this consciousness may easily be explained on the principles already laid down, and may be thoroughly reconciled with the conclusions which have been drawn. My immediate consciousness, my proper perception, cannot go beyond myself and the modes of my own being;—I have immediate knowledge of myself alone: whatever I may know more than this, I know only by inference, in the same way in which I have inferred the existence of original powers of Nature, which yet do not lie within the circle of my perceptions. I myself, however,—that which I call me—my personality,—am not the man-forming power of Nature, but only one of its manifestations; and it is only of this manifestation that I am conscious, as myself, not of that power whose existence I only infer from the necessity of explaining my own. This manifestation, however, in its true nature, is really the product of an original and independent power, and must appear as such in consciousness. On this account I recognise myself generally as an independent being. For this reason I appear to myself as free in certain occurrences of my life, when these occurrences are the manifestations of the independent power which falls to my share as an individual; as restrained and limited, when, by any combination of outward circumstances, which may arise in time, but do not lie within the original limitations of my personality, I cannot do what my in-