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Friedrich von Hardenberg.

326 years, has so often made individual and social life a miserable failureu: More than this, it opens a door of deliverance from the wearly strife and effort of our being, gives us a Personal Ruler and Friend, and offers help, and hope, and peace to the veriest slave of circumstance, the weakest child of man.

ART. II. 1.-NOVALIS Schriften. Herausgegeben von Ludwig

TIECK und FRIEDRICH SCHLEGEL. Erster und Zweiter Theil.

Berlin. 1839. 2. NOVALIS Schriftena : Herausgegeben von L, TIECK und ED. :: VON BÜLOW, Dritter Theil. . 1846.

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FRIEDRICH VON HARDENBERG, better known to the public by his nom de plume of Novalis, and whose works occupy an important position in the development of subjective mysticism in Germany, was born of Moravian parents, in the Duchy of Mansfeld, May 2nd, 1772. dodoro coon give The peculiar influences of his quiet and religious home, and of the riberal and somewhat heterogeneous education which he received, contributed greatly to form his rare and rather inconsistent character. His father, the Baron von Wardenberg, was the owner of much landed property in the neighbourhood of Mansfeld, a member of the Herrnhut, community, and an active, energetic, unwearied man, whose character, was greatly distinguished by the Saxon element of strength, He was clear and vigorous in his thoughts, independent, and zealous, in his greed; a man who was little influenced by the rationalistic and neologian controversies of his times, but who passed safely through the conflicting theories of that stormy period, swerving neither to the right hand nor to the left, but seeking to perform with his might the simple duty which lay before him The mother of Novalis was a conscientious, pious creature, calm and somewhat dreamy; in her temperament, She was one of those women to whose moral strength domestic seclusion appears to be favourable ; who, untouched by the contagion of the world's slow stain, are able to accomplish vast ends by, insensible means; whose deep loye of the beautiful, and boundless human sympathy, remain unperverted through the petty cares of life, as in the freshness of continual youth; and who, without metaphysical restlessness or the jargon of theological pedantry, are able to keep up the worship of God in its vital simplicity, winning daily veneration and confidence through those indefinable traits, of character whose attraction is far superior to the captivations of physical grace. The mightiest agengies of society are often those which are most imperceptible, . The powerfulle divining rodi of human love will sometimes bend over hidden :: treasures which would otherwise remain concealed for ever. 1 Tole the influence of his father, Hardenberg owed the practical element, the, healtliy enjoyment of existence, the desire fois universal knowledge, and the interest in minute details, which singularly characterized him through life. But to the love: of that silent mother was appointed the higher office of , linking," his sympathies from a child with that which wascunseen; and spiritual, and of teaching him that there was a higher wisdom above the lessons of the world, on (as he would himself have expressed it) that there were inward facts which outweighi seeming reality. Miest na vrh

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The childhood of Hardenberg was not distinguished by, that startling precocity which animates the infant prodigies of our days. He was accounted a slow boy, sickly in body, and averse to noisy sports, tardy in his perceptions, deficient in his memory, and remarkable for nothing, amongst the : other children, but the passionate bond of affection which : united him to the quiet mother, to whose side he would creep in the deepening twilight, listening to spiritual songs from her lips whose life was in itself a perpetual hymn. The merry, united family, which was afterwards destined to suffer 80 bitterly from the encroachments of affliction and death, con: sisted at this time of no less than eléven children. Nine of the little band, three sisters and six brothers, were younger than Friedrich. One, the eldest sister, was associated with Novalis in his studies, in order that by her quicker intellect and girlish sympathy she might stimulate his sluggish faculties. This precaution, however, was not necessary long. At nine years of age, Friedrich was seized with a severe illness, when, as the German biographer expresses it, his spirit awoke.' Like Sir Walter : Scott, under similar circumstances, the couch of the little invalid was covered with volumes of poetry, fiction, and history. His new eagerness for information by far surpassed his previous indifference to knowledge. His memory was stored with facts of all kinds; but his love of solitude and reflection were only intensified by illness. He refused to make friends. His mother and his brothers and sisters constituted the whole world for him. Throughout his life his ardour in the pursuit of wisdom, and his lofty ideal of good, incapacitated him for companionship with ordinary men.

After Friedrich's recovery, to invigorate his weakened constitution, it was arranged that he should pass a year with an

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Metaphysical Excitement in Germany.

327 uncle in the neighbourhood of Brunswick. "In the companionship of this man, he had the advantage of intercourse with a cultivated mind.! In the well-chosen library and collection of art which he howi beheld, the child received His first training in the principles of (besthetič beslutý. Nor could he do otherwise than profit by the conversation of the learned men who' daily resorted to the house, and in whose genial society be wag at once introduced to the aristocracy of intellect, and contracted that yout pour l'esprit, for which he was afterwards remarkabler fordel

The time drew near when Friedrich was exposted to prepare for the University. - In the year: 1189, he spent some months in a gymnasium zat: Eisleberg, where he was instructed in classics and mathematics, under the superintendence of the learned Jani. This appears to have been the only instruction he received in a public school, preparatory to his debut in the academical world. In the autuint of 1790 he went to Jena; then; with his second brother Erasmus, he repaired to Leipzig, and completed his university career at Wittenberg, in the year 1794. It would, liowever, be impossible to form a correct idea of the peculiar philosophy which Novalis afterwards advocated, without analysing the various influences which acted upon his susceptible spirit at this important turving-point of life. Never were the systems of philosophers lield in higher estimation, and never was the metaphysical world more agitated by conflicting theories, than during the brief period of the residence of Hardenberg at Jena. The season of indifference, when the dogmatical system of Wolf had been allowed full sway, had been succeeded by the reaction of an independent eclecticism, which discouraged party spirit, ảnd lent a willing ear to the varied disquisitions of English and French philosophers. The splitting of metaphysical straws, or the letting down nets of hypothesis into the seas of immensity, ivas now the favourite recreation of the youth in Germany. The newest theories of the latest philosophical system afforded a pleasant seasoning to stimulate the taste for the abstract and logical inquiries of mathematical science. The Critique of Pure Reason, which was published by Kanit in the year 1781, had, for many years, been neglected and misunderstood. But the taste for shallow and popular discussions had suddenly disappeared, the revolution in thinking had begun, and, in spite of its heaviness of detail, and obscurity of style, the master-work of the age was now studied and investigated with eagerness. The new philosophy,' as it was called, had obtained an almost magical influence. The Essảys of Locke, Leibnitz, and David Hume,

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when brium of acknowledged truth was 'disturbed, as by, an electric shock, and the star of Gottlieb Fichte made its appearance above the horizon. To comprehend the relative historical

' positions of Kant and Fichte, we must trace the development of Kant's system of philosophy, from its earliest gećm. Kant himself acknowledged that his whole theory grew out of the assumptions of David Hume. Hume took his position upon a single but important idea in metaphysics

, -the connexion of cause and effect. He affirmed the existence of simple antecedents and consequences, but denied the à priori necessity of causation arguing that it was not possible to perceive how, because "something existed, something also must necessarily exist; or to prove that, because two things take place, the one 'after, or in succession of, the other, therefore they take place, the one in consequence of, or in connexion with, the other.

As far as mere empiricism went, Hüme was undoubtedly right. But Kant accused him of not taking into consideration the whole of his problem. He would have said, Hume reasons rightly as far as he goes. He has proved beyond contradiction, that it is impossible for experience to think of such a connexion, out of its own ideas ; for it contains vecessity. the mind overlooked

Here we have the gérmihating' seed óf Kant's entire theory, Instead of endeavouring, like other writers, to refute Hume by appealing triumphantly to the common sense of mankind," he admitted that even an unbiassed understanding could not be cited as an oracle, when we can produce no rational argüments to justify its claim;' and therefore endeavoured to intrench himself upon a totally new groundwork, which should be impregnable for ever against the assaults of scepticism. In this fundamental position he endeavoured to reconstruct philosophy. The consideration of the deficiencies in the system of Hume led directly in his mind to the suggestion of the subjective theorý. But the great error and defect in the philosophy of Kant consisted in bis not giving objective validīty to the subjective laws. Had he only allowed an outward existence of things answering to our conception of them, all the scepticism of Hume would have been met and refuted, and all the errors and mistakes of Fichte and others would have been averted. Conceptions are beliefs also. It was the great effort of Cousin to insist on the actual importance of our own ideas; and it is surprising that Kant, who took for granted the truth of our sense perceptions, should have

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Historical Position of Kant:

329 denied the outward reality of our conceptions. Dr. Reid was more successful in calling our notions beliefs also.

Kant's Practical Reason was but an awkward attempt to supply the error of his own system. To guard against the excess of the objective element in morals, he saw the necessity of allowing a reality to virtue, immortality, and God; but this could not bridle Ficlite or Schelling, still less Hegel, or his followers. In his auxiety to develope in his philosophy the mental element which Hume had overlooked, the great metaphysician himself forgot the importance of the empirical element Thus, whilst he admitted the reality of pure reason, space and time were said to have no independent existence; they were laws of thought, and not of things. Yet we irresistibly ascribe to

Thús og 'facts, as Dugald Stewart would have called them. His method was less that of induction than of criticism.

So, instead of governing German philosophy, Kant merely commenced it. Each new critic succeeding him took a fresh standing-point, though each was more or less influenced by his thought and originality:

About the time of Hardenberg's first residence at Jena, Fichte had just published his Critique of 'every possible Revelation, a work which was written, in the first heat of his enthusiasm, in the space of eight

days, and which was avowedly unintelligible without previous study of the Critique of pure Reason. The excitement and confusion which this daring essay produced in the metaphysical world, was at first greatly increased by the

was In Kant had pushed his theories so far, that Fichte's system was a natural consequence of them. He had left no ground for an objective element in his philosophy, and ultra-idealism was an unavoidable growth of his own teaching,

All the wild theories of Fichte were professedly based on the Kantian metaphysics. But Kant, said the new philosopher, had not been rigorous or logical enough in his statement of his

Kant's empirical element, even as far as it went, according to Fichte, had merely been taken for granted, without any reason being assigned for it. Therefore the reality of our sense perceptions was merely a hypothesis, altogether lying out reduce all philosophy to the ground of what we can be said actually to know : hence the whole world was brought down to the subjective element, since all that we could be said to be immediately conscious of, were states and processes of our thinking

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