To this the others replied: “This confession is already adhered to by a large part of the world, though unconsciously.”
“How so, and where?” asked Wilhelm.
“In the Creed!” exclaimed the others, loudly; “for the first article is ethnical, and belongs to all nations: the second is Christian, for those struggling against sufferings and glorified in sufferings; the third finally teaches a spiritual communion of saints, to wit, of those in the highest degree good and wise: ought not therefore in fairness the three divine Persons, under whose likeness and name such convictions and promises are uttered, to pass also for the highest Unity?”
“I thank you,” replied the other, “for having so clearly and coherently explained this to me—to whom, as a full-grown man, the three dispositions of mind are not new; and when I recall, that you teach the children these high truths, first through material symbols, then through a certain symbolic analogy, and finally develop in them the highest interpretation, I must needs highly approve of it.”
“Exactly so,” replied the former; “but now you must still learn something more, in order that you may be convinced that your son is in the best hands. However, let this matter rest for the morning hours; rest and refresh yourself, so that, contented and humanly complete, you may accompany us farther into the interior tomorrow.”
WINCKELMANN AND HIS AGE (1804)
TRANSLATED BY GEORGE KRIEHN, PH. D.
TO HER MOST SERENE HIGHNESS THE DUCHESS ANNA AMALIA OF SAXE-WEIMAR AND EISENACH
Most Serene Princess,
Most Gracious Lady,
Another benefaction has been added to the many which art and science owe to Your Highness by the most gracious permission to publish the following letters of Winckelmann. They are addressed to a man who had the happiness of counting himself among your servants, and soon afterward of living in close relation with Your Highness, at the time when Winckelmann found himself in the most embarrassing circumstances, the straightforward and touching narration of which one cannot read without sympathy.
Had these pages come to the attention of Your Highness in those days, the dictates of your noble and charitable heart would have immediately put an end to such distress, changed the fate of a most excellent man, and directed it more happily for the future.
But who indeed ought to think of what might have happened, when so many gratifying things that actually took place lie before us?
Your Highness has, since that time, established and supported much that is useful and promotive of happiness, while our gracious and sympathetic Prince adds constantly to the great number of his benefactions.
One may without vainglory recall the good that for us and for others has been accomplished in our limited circle, the least significant aspects of which cannot but excite the observer’s admiration, which would be greatly increased if a well informed writer should take the trouble to describe its origin and growth.