phrases, that Emerson
thinks the reformers are quite off the track, after all. But in the final sentence of the essay there is another phrase to the effect “that the highest compliment man receives from Heaven is the sending to him its disguised and discredited angels.”
, it appears, was a disguised angel, after all. The essay on “The times” is a glacial attempt to explain the function of the Reformer.
It contains valuable ideas, and beautiful ideas; but it leaves unbridged the chasm between the apparent odiousness of the reformer and his real utility.
It explains nothing: it demonstrates only that Emerson
did not understand these particular “times” but was greatly puzzled by them.
has said “that it would have taken a long time to get rid of slavery if some of Emerson
's teachings in this lecture had been accepted as the whole gospel of liberty.”
“But,” he adds, “how much its last sentence covers with its soothing tribute!”
Sometimes in reading this essay on “The times,” it has seemed to me as if the whole of it were tinctured with condescension;just as the paragraph about Christ
quoted above is unpleasant through its crudity of feeling.
There is, however, no condescension