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viction of the essential truth of the true* Christian religion, and a conception of 'immanence' akin, as Amiel expressly says, to the religion of Spinoza; - all these ideas and bebeliefs reveal an æsthetic, a psychology of morals, and a theology drawn in essentials from the spiritual philosophy of which we may take Hegel as the representative. 'Hegel libère tout autrement la pensée,' he says in criticising Havet’s Origines du Christianisme; and in the first consciousness of failing health (in 1876) he recurred with pleasure to a Hegelian conception that seemed to invest the intellectual life with peculiar dignity and interest.
But Amiel was always repelled by what he considered the Spinozistic and Hegelian tendency to replace religion by philosophy. The amor intellectualis can never, he says, take the place of 'amour moral.' He uses Hegelian and Intellectualist as equivalent terms. Goethe, again, is 'Spinozist to the core,' or
un Grec. du bon temps. Even Schleiermacher, of whose Monologues he speaks with enthusiastic admiration, 'hardly mentions the existence of evil.' The capital fact is not metaphysical, but moral; not even Immanence, but Sin. The neo-Hegelians appeal to the intelligence, not to the will, and so 'Ruge et Feuerbach ne peuvent sauver l'humanité.'
* Cf. 'Quand le christianisme sera mort, la religion de Jésus pourra survivre.'
‘Amiel had a strong sympathy with mysticism. He quotes from European mystics, and recurs frequently to Oriental ideas, especially to the notions of Nirvana and of Mâyâ.* It was not only his profound religious instinct, and his curious psychological experiences, but also an innate distrust of apparent reality, that was active in this sympathy. Amiel was well aware of his tendency, ‘Mon instinct est d'accord avec le pessimisme de Bouddha et de Schopenhauer.' His references to Mâyâ are in the tone of Schopenhauer, and though he finds the weak point in Schopenhauer's psychology, and rejects the fundamental axiom of his pessimism, yet Schopenhauer's influence can be traced in much of Amiel's meditation.
Perhaps he was the more open to this influence because of a certain affinity with that French intellect which he so subtly criticises. Extremes meet in philosophy, and abstract logical antitheses are apt to favour mysticism. Sometimes — for his thought varied continually — Amiel treats the absolute as: the zero of all determination,' and so as excluding the relative; the infinite as the unknown, or as the immensity of space or time; and the ideal as nowhere to be found in reality. In as far as these conceptions ruled his mood, Amiel's pessimistic instinct had an intellectual root. But comments of this nature, which some passages of the Diary might seem to invite, would be found nugatory when confronted with others. Among these others is a saying with which I end this note - Le devoir a la vertu de nous faire sentir la réalité du monde positif, tout en nous en détachant.'
* Cf. Schopenhauer, World as Will and Idea, Eng. Tr., vol. i. p. 9, “The ancient wisdom of the Indian philosopher declares, “It is Mâyâ, the veil of deception, which blinds the eyes of mortals and makes them behold a world of which they cannot say either that it is or that it is not."! This is, Schopenhauer continues, “the world as idea subject to the principle of sufficient reason.'
[A few of the following notes are translated from
the French edition of the Journal.]
1. P. 10.—1 Penseroso, poésies-maximes par H. F. Amiel: Genève, 1858. This little book, which contains 133 maxims, several of which are quoted in the Journal Intime, is prefaced by a motto translated from Shelley - Ce n'est pas la science qui nous manque, à nous modernes; nous l'avons surabondamment. ... Mais ce que nous avons absorbé nous absorbe. Ce qui nous manque c'est la poésie de la vie.'
2. P. 12. — Charles Secrétan, a Lausanne professor, the friend of Vinet, born 1819. He published Leçons sur la Philosophie de Leibnitz, Philosophie de la Liberté, La Raison et le Christianisme, etc.
3. P. 31. — Étienne Vacherot, a French philosophical writer, who owed his first successes in life to the friendship of Cousin, and was later brought very much into notice by his controversy with the Abbé Gratry, by the prosecution brought against him in conse
quence of his book, La Démocratie (1859), and by his rejection at the hands of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in 1865, for the same kind of reasons which had brought about the exclusion of Littré in the preceding year. In 1868, however, he became a member of the Institute in succession to Cousin. A Liberal of the old school, he has separated himself from the Republicans since the war, and has made himself felt as a severe critic of Republican blunders in the Revue des deux Mondes. La Religion, which discusses the psychological origins of the religious sense, was published in 1868.
4. P. 34. — At this period the controversy between the orthodox party and 'Liberal Christianity' was at its height, both in Geneva and throughout Switzerland.
5. P. 37.-Gustave-Adolphe Hirn, a French physicist, born near Colmar, 1815, became a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences in 1867. The book of his to which Amiel refers is no doubt Conséquences philosophiques et métaphysiques de la thermodynamique, Analyse élémentaire de l'univers (1869).
6. P. 37. — The name of M. Albert Réville, the French Protestant theologian, is more or less familiar in England, especially since his delivery of the Hibbert Lectures in 1884.