Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/47

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the inquiry, from which I again deduce that only which I myself have previously placed in it. In short, neither of the two opinions seems to be proved.

As little can this matter be determined by immediate consciousness. I can never become conscious either of the external powers, by which, in the system of universal necessity, I am determined; nor of my own power, by which, in the system of freedom, I deter mine myself. Thus, whichever of the two opinions I may accept, I still accept it without sufficient evidence, and simply on its own account.

The system of freedom satisfies my heart; the opposite system destroys and annihilates it. To stand, cold and unmoved, amid the current of events, a passive mirror of fugitive and passing forms,—this existence is insupportable to me; I scorn and detest it. I will love;—I will lose myself in sympathy;—I will know the joy and the grief of life. I myself am the highest object of this sympathy; and the only mode in which I can satisfy its requirements is by my actions. I will do all for the best;—I will rejoice when I have done right, I will grieve when I have done wrong; and even this sorrow shall be sweet to me, for it is a mark of sympathy,—a pledge of future amendment. In love only is life;—without it is death and annihilation.

But coldly and insolently does the opposite system advance, and turn this love into a mockery. If I listen to it, I am not, and I cannot act. The object of my deepest attachment is a phantom of the brain,—a palpable and gross delusion. Not I, but a foreign and to me wholly unknown power, acts in me; and it is a matter of indifference to me how this power unfolds itself. I stand abashed with my warm affec-