“Meanwhile, in our era of the World, those same Church-Clothes have gone sorrowfully out-at-elbows; nay, far worse, many of them have become mere hollow Shapes, or Masks, under which no living Figure or Spirit any longer dwells; but only spiders and unclean beetles, in horrid accumulation, drive their trade; and the mask still glares on you with its glass eyes, in ghastly affectation of Life,—some generation-and-half after Religion has quite withdrawn from it, and in unnoticed nooks is weaving for herself new Vestures, wherewith to reappear, and bless us, or our sons or grandsons. As a Priest, or Interpreter of the Holy, is the noblest and highest of all men, so is a Sham-priest (Schein-priester) the falsest and basest; neither is it doubtful that his Canonicals, were they Popes’ Tiaras, will one day be torn from him, to make bandages for the wounds of mankind; or even to burn into tinder, for general scientific or culinary purposes.
“All which, as out of place here, falls to be handled in my Second Volume, On the Palingenesia, or Newbirth of Society; which volume, as treating practically of the Wear, Destruction, and Retexture of Spiritual Tissues, or Garments, forms, properly speaking, the Transcendental or ultimate Portion of this my work on Clothes, and is already in a state of forwardness.”
And herewith, no farther exposition, note, or commentary being added, does Teufelsdrockh, and must his Editor now, terminate the singular chapter on Church-Clothes!
Probably it will elucidate the drift of these foregoing obscure utterances, if we here insert somewhat of our Professor’s speculations on Symbols. To state his whole doctrine, indeed, were beyond our compass: nowhere is he more mysterious, impalpable, than in this of “Fantasy being the organ of the Godlike;” and how “Man thereby, though based, to all seeming, on the small Visible, does nevertheless extend down into the infinite deeps of the Invisible, of which Invisible, indeed, his Life is properly the bodying forth.” Let us, omitting these high transcendental aspects of the matter, study to glean (whether from the Paper-bags or the Printed Volume) what little seems logical and practical, and cunningly arrange it into such degree of coherence as it will assume. By way of proem, take the following not injudicious remarks:—
“The benignant efficacies of Concealment,” cries our Professor, “who shall speak or sing? SILENCE and SECRECY! Altars might still be raised to them (were this an altar-building time) for universal worship. Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. Not William the Silent only, but all the considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic