C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917. H. R. Keller. The Readers Digest of Books.
Aids to Reflection
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (17721834)
Aids to Reflection, by S. T. Coleridge, which appeared in 1825, is a collection of moral and religious aphorisms, with commentaries. While these are not sequentially connected, they are yet so arranged as to illustrate the authors purpose, to address his thought to the unspiritual but reflecting mind of the supposed pilgrim, who is led from worldly-mindedness to the acceptance of spiritual religion. Coleridge takes up the argument on the pilgrims (imputed) principles of worldly calculation. Beginning with religion as Prudence, resultant from the sense and sensuous understanding, he ascends to the ground of morality, as inspired by the heart and conscience, and finally to Spiritual Religion, as presented by reason and the will.
This argument is by no means patent to the casual reader, for the author addresses himself to the heart rather than to the reasoning faculties. The doctrines of the book are held to be those of the Church of England, broadly interpreted. The language is choice; and notwithstanding the philosophical and somewhat sententious nature of the treatment, the book is eminently readable, exhibiting, in several passages, Coleridges prose at its best.