Page:Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1889) Vol 2.djvu/123

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cultivated. Almost all their writings were in the first place delivered in speech, and were thus only copies of spoken discourses for the use of those who could not themselves be present at their delivery; and from this circumstance arises, amongst other advantages, the great superiority of the Ancients over the Moderns in respect of style, since, among the latter, written productions claim a peculiar value for themselves, and, for the most part, want the corrective of living speech. Among the Ancients there existed no particular interest in spreading scientific culture among the people;—the culture in which they actually participated was chiefly accidental and more a culture of Art than of Science.

Christianity appeared in the world and there arose an entirely new interest in general cultivation,—for the sake of Religion to which all men were now called. There are in our opinion two very different forms of Christianity:—the one contained in the Gospel of John, and the other in the writings of the Apostle Paul; to which latter party the other Evangelists for the most part, and particularly Luke, belong. The Johannean Jesus knows no other God than the True God, in whom we all are, and live, and may be blessed, and out of whom there is only Death and Nothingness; and he appeals, and rightly appeals, in support of this Truth, not to reasoning, but to the inward practical sense of Truth in man,—not even knowing any other proof than this inward testimony. ‘If any man will do the will of Him who sent me, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God:’—such is his teaching. As to its historical aspect, his doctrine is to him as old as the creation,—it is the first and primitive Religion;—Judaism, on the contrary, as a corruption of later times, he unconditionally and unsparingly rejects:—‘Your father is Abraham; mine is God,’—he says to the Jews;—‘Before Abraham was, I am;—Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad.’