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wing of the albatross, heavily soaring high and far; that of the other is like the pinion of a more aerial bird, decked with a brilliant plumage, and having a motion infinitely more rapid and varied. Neander's imagination is more historical, constructive and architectonical; Foster's is more creative, free and salient. In the former, a philosophical intellect prevails over and suppresses the fancy and regulates the imagination ; in the latter, an intellectual imagination allows the play of the fancy, and moves with ease and freedom. Religion is with each the central object of regard, around which all other things revolve. The religion of each is his own, a matter of personal conviction, and too deep to be affected by the tastes and fashions of the times. Neither feels obliged, or inclined to pay much regard to the orthodoxy of the church as such, and consequently, 'agreement or disagreement with it, is a matter of comparative indifference; while both have an interest in evangelical religion more pure and unfeigned than that of most of the zealots who denounce them. Both of these great men, we regret to say, have, in consequence of indulging too freely in speculation on certain topics of the Christian system, fallen into what we must regard as errors. Still, they are preeminently teachers of the present generation on the subject of a vital Christianity; the one speaking from the professor's chair, the other writing from the author's solitude; the one read and studied by the educated clergy of the age, the other, the favorite popular writer with the virtuous, the intelligent, and the refined both in England and in America. In respect to Foster, the public have the means of information before them. In respect to Neander, it is proper for us to proceed to justify the observation now made.
The three young men were now (February, 1806) nearly ready to enter the university. Neander, at first, seemed inclined to en. ter at Göttingen, as it might be supposed he would, that being the place of his birth. Varnhagen and Neumann gave the preference to Halle. Chamisso, whose literary tastes were very de. cided, was desirous of leaving the military service, and joining his friends. At length, Neander promised not to separate from his companions, and the plan was formed, for the three to go in company to Halle, and to take Hameln where Chamisso was stationed, on the way, and, if possible, to persuade him to leave the army and accompany them. The heart of each seems to have been fully set upon this scheme; and they afterwards looked upon Halle as their common home. Their anticipated union 1847.1
Letter from Neander to Chamisso.
(which, indeed, was merely anticipated, but never realized,) in this place, in which they could indulge their warm hearts in the delights of friendship, and their enthusiasm, in study and mutual improvement, continued to be the subject of their most ardent desires, and was to their youthful imagination a state of paradise where every wish would be gratified. Chamisso, in a letter to Varnhagen, dated Feb. 17, 1806, says: “Union at the university at Halle,—that is the question! It is my most ardent wish, but"— And again Feb. 26: “Yes, brothers, I will do my utmost, and what that is, we will see when we are together. To belong to each other, you to me, and I to you, that is my desire. Yes, brothers, let us all keep this in mind, and do our best to bring it about. I will use your own expressions, “ You must, must do it, as certainly as you are my friends,'—you must, as you do not go by way of Berlin, come this way and visit your brother in the wilderness. The account you give me of Neander, affords me great pleasure; and I send him a most sincere and hearty salutation. But he must not go to Göttingen.
Tell him so. I know how things go there."
The earliest letter from Neander to Chamisso, was written from Hamburg, March, 1806. In this he says: “I thank you that you have anticipated me in declaring fraternity with me. I found no one of similar tastes, with whom I could form an intimacy; and being of a timid nature, I was disinclined to seek for one; but that law of nature, by which kindred souls are brought together, led to an acquaintance with my excellent friends, Varnhagen von Ense and Neumann, who made me a member of the society. I can truly say, that from that time many things became clear and intelligible to me, which before were obscure, and seen, as it were, in the distance. I now understood myself better. No one really comes to feel what he is blindly in pursuit of, till he is brought in contact with others who are like himself. Outward circumstances, which, however, can affect only what is outward, threaten, indeed, to separate us, now that we have become acquainted. Let them have their sway over outward events, and over men of slavish sense, who are as external as the events themselves, but the free immortal spirit is like its divine author, who by the silent laws of nature, calmly exercises supremacy, unconcerned about favor or opposition from without.- -Union and brotherhood are accepted from you, and proposed, in turn, to you by
August Wilhelm (Neander),
το του πόλου άστρον.”
We have given but a part of this first letter, written throughout in a Platonic spirit, and that part, on account of its abstract character, has been given in a free translation. By some unknown cause, Neander was prevented from going with the others and visiting Chamisso at Hameln. They went directly to Hameln, and spent the night with him on guard, and by moon-light, passing back and forth along the walls of the city near one of its gates, these three ardent young men deliberated upon their plans of life, and course of study. To Chamisso it was an important crisis. After weighing all the considerations for and against abandoning his military prospects and devoting himself to literary pursuits, and warming into enthusiasm, as the project of living with his friends at Halle became the distinct topic of conversation, he fell upon the necks of Varnhagen and Neumann and solemnly promised to join them, as soon as he could obtain his dismission. Afterwards, May 8, he says, in a letter to Neumann: "I have already, ävdpes d8eagoi, sent a large package to Halle, addressed to brethren K. A. Varnhagen, W. Neumann, and A. W. Neander, students in Halle.” In July, he writes to Varnhagen at the close of his letter: "Farewell, friend of my heart. Embrace Neumann cordially in my name, and go to Neander, tell him how I love him. Let us not only be associated, but united in one." To the same he writes July 23 : I hope soon to write to Neander and Raumer (Karl, now professor in Erlangen); salute both for me. Raumer's beginning is splendid. He must not go to Rome without first promising to remember us. -Neumann, Neander, Rau. mer, Schleiermacker, Blanc and Theremin's brother, greet them all. Χαίρετε, τέκνα.”
But we must recur to Neander's intellectual and religious history. His next letter without date,- for he appears to have been, at that period, as indifferent in respect to time as he was in respect to space,-but probably written just before his journey to Halle, shows very clearly that his mind was approaching to a transition state from Platonism to Christianity. Of his former Jewish education, under the influence of which he had continued until a comparatively recent date, there is here no trace.
“Dear friends, all of you together," he now writes, “it is a good omen for our society, that each of us felt an electric excitement in favor of it, before he was aware of a similar impulse in the others. My letter of Wednesday will explain my meaning. Even such accidental circumstances, (as his acquaintance with Varnhagen and Neumann ?) although they are not accidents in
393 reality, but the necessary results of our similar intellectual tendencies, only serve to proclaim the existence of the all-controlling dváyun. May our society, by contributing to our higher improvement, prove to be one of the forms under which motherly nature (The z101vn of Plato?) appears. In the ever during music of ages, may it not leave behind expiring sounds. Pray and labor,'-let
· that be the bass note; or rather praying merely. For what else should a human, or even a superhuman do than pray? Whatever he does is nothing but a prayer, directed to the all-controlling divinity. The result of effort is but the giving or the withholding of what was supplicated. This order of things is common both to the initiated and the uninitiated in religion. All persons, either consciously or unconsciously, pray; but the prayer of the pious man only can be heard; for he does not pray for this or that particular thing He rather inquires than prays. The result, whatever it be, is the answer, declaring that this or that particular occurrence ought to take place,-that such is the divine will. In this way, the answer is always favorable ; for the good man desires nothing else. He will always fall in with the notes of the dréyan, and never wish to introduce his own. Thus true freedom is the product of necessity, and identical with it. Monday, perhaps I shall be with you.
Should I come, I hope to find you all there. Saturday, I expect to receive letters from you all. Do and suffer what you may; I cannot merely wish you anything; but one thing I can do, I can will, and I can strive to be one with you."
What seriousness, what philosophical earnestness does this let. ter betray, of an unaided youth, seventeen years of age, strug. gling out of Judaism through Platonism into the fulness of Chris. tian truth! A mind so honest in its inquiries, and so intense in its action, could not long remain in darkness, nor fail of exerting great influence, if once truly enlightened from above.
The next letter, bearing no date, but evidently written not long after, shows some progress in his knowledge of religion. He was still living in an inward world peculiarly his own. The tritest subjects were connected in his mind, with the theory of the nniverse and with God. He was now struggling, like a young Hercules, with “the monster” of rationalism, and, in his odd Platonic phraseology about “cold” and “heat,” he states the true principle of piety far more philosophically and comprehensively than those do who passively inherit their faith, or learn it from the catechism.
"My hearty thanks,” he begins, " for your kind letter. I have
often replied to it in thought, and it was only necessary for me to give an outward form to the reply in order to send it to you. But precisely when one is most in harmony with himself, is he least inclined to disclose himself to others. It is that happy and glorious state, where thought, feeling, intuition and everything about us, is one. How difficult must it be for such a person to unfold successfully, part by part, that which is simultaneous and which exists only as a whole.—To apprehend the mind of the Deity from the successive and partial manifestations made in his works, is attended with the same difficulty as the attempt to recognize a friend, in his whole nature, from his letters. In the magnificent epistle of nature, we cannot understand the spirit which produced it, except we have the key to it within ourselves, except, from within, we recognize the Deity, having our life in him, and our communion with him, so that what comes to us from without shall be a mere sign of his character.
With me the outward and the inward are still in conflict. There are three grades of what is called coldness. First, the lowest grade, where everything is decidedly cold, that is, either bald sensuality, or mere intellect without feeling. The second is that in which there is some inward warmth, but not enough to penetrate through the outward coatings in which it is enclosed, the state in which the inward and the outward are not in harinony. In the former case the dotéveic is internal; in the latter, it is external. The third grade is that in which there is neither excessive cold nor excessive heat, but in which heat and cold are suitably combined, so as to produce a coldness which is the result of ot évos. Of these three the multitude know only the two extremes. Those in whom the two extremes properly meet and harmonize, call the one extreme a freezing cold, and the other excessive heat or fanaticism. These have that union of maturity with childlike simplicity, which constitutes the opolmois to Ocio, or moral perfection. To whichever of the above-mentioned grades we belong, we should aim, each from his own position, at this perfection. I will aim at it from mine, which is the second above described. I am not striving for that blind and senseless harmony in which the outward and the inward are taliter qualiter kneaded together, that common factitious unity or negative har. mony, by virtue of which one stands midway between different parties, seeking the friendship of all. The character must be developed from within, and not built up from without."
The fourth letter, written before their arrival in Halle, and