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MR. HEINFETTER ON A RECENT REVIEW OF HIS WORK,
SIR, AFTER your fair, calm and impartial examination of my tract on Kupos in your last Number (p. 556), I have hesitated in not leaving the subject, where you have placed it, to the judgment of critics ; but reflection reminded me that I once rested on the same ground as that on which you now stand; and as it cost me much severe labour to satisfy myself that the soil was not suited to the cultivation of any of the flowers of Truth, I desire to submit for your consideration, and for that of your readers who take the same view of the subject as yourself
, the results which must necessarily follow, should the opinions you have expressed relative to the theory set forth in my tract be correct.
To admit that the article is only commonly used in any manner, necessarily destroys the effect of its use under any circumstances; for, when expressed or omitted, who is to determine whether in any case a passage is to be regarded as a common or exceptional instance ? Hence the expression or omission of the article can in no case be necessary to the conveyance of the sense; and hence, therefore, the article is rendered altogether useless-in fact, is an incumbrance to the language; as, whether it is expressed or whether it is omitted, exactly the same sense may be conveyed.
Not to admit the translation Kupıw Inoou to be Lord of Jesus, necessarily implies that Ingov, contrary to the invariable usage of the Greek language, is to be regarded as a dative as well as a genitive, although there is an express form of that word for the dative case ; and, consequently, that in regard to that word alone, and in regard to its dative case alone, it is immaterial whether the form for expressing the genitive or the dative case is used ; and, consequently, it is not possible in Greek definitely to express in, with, by, to, &c., the Lord of Jesus.
Let critics, therefore, determine whether conclusions such as these can compose or enrich a soil for the cultivation of any of the plants of Truth.
To determine that the distinctive senses expressed by the word Kupuos, when not used as an appellation of office, such as “the master of the colt,” Luke xix. 33, but as a distinctive personal appellation, are not those which I have stated them to be in my tract, necessarily implies that the passage on which the proof of incorrectness is founded stands, if regarded in accordance with my views, not in possible or even probable opposition, but in direct and absolute opposition, either to the context, or to some other portion of Holy Scripture. For if the word Kupsos under prescribed circumstances does express a distinctive personal appellation, as distinctive as do the words Father and Son, it is not admissible to argue the improbability of its being used in one part of a verse, under one variety of prescribed circumstances, as the distinctive personal appellation of Almighty God, and of its being used in another part of the same verse, under another variety of prescribed circumstances, as the distinctive personal appellation of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
With these few observations, I, Sir, with you, leave critics to determine whether 1 Thess. iv. does more than present evidence of probability, of greater or less weight, according to the particular views of every inquirer, relative to the correctness of the theory I have advanced respecting the sense conveyed by the word Kupios; and should you, Sir, allow them a place in your periodical, you will prove that the love of Truth is not with you a mere profession.
H. HEINFETTER. 17, Fenchurch Street, Sept. 11, 1848.
An Historical and Critical View of the Speculative Philosophy of Europe
in the Nineteenth Century. By J. D. Morell, A. M. In 2 vols. 8vo. Second Edition. London-John Johnstone.
Few persons can read Mr. Morell's work without feeling grateful to the author; for it enables those acquainted with the systems of Philosophy which it discusses, to take a rapid survey of the ground they have traversed; whilst to those ignorant of any particular philosophical school, an easy introduction is offered. They find in this book the landmarks of the terra incognita, they are introduced to the technical phraseology of each school; and as much of its spirit is revealed as can, perhaps, ever be gained by means of second-hand criticism upon such subjects. The clear and flowing style of the author has no doubt contributed to the pleasure with which the work is read; and the added matter found in the second edition which has been so soon called for attests his industry and zeal.
We trust that it is these general merits which have made our author popular, and not his advocacy of the French Eclectic school; for we should think it an ill omen for our future progress in philosophical pursuits were that school to gain favour in the eyes of our countrymen. We admit that there is something at first sight very fascinating in the notion of eclecticism; it may be said that by nature all men are eclectics; and it is certain that every cultivated man selects the philosophical system which he holds from others, and adds to it all that he is able to contribute from his own stores of thought. Eclecticism is, in fact, the very element which makes there be a progressive philosophy at all; without it every man would have to commence, unassisted, with the primitive analysis of his own mind, instead of having his mental vision aided by the observations of others. No error, however, can be greater than to confound a knowledge of different systems of thought with a knowledge of the actual laws of thought, and yet we cannot help fearing that this is the practical result of the Eclectic school.
“The method which appears to us best capable of supplying this demand, is that which we have now described, and which we have denominated eclecticism, or the philosophy of human progress. According to this method, the great aim of philosophy from henceforth must be to accept the light of truth, whencesoever it may flow, to concentrate the rays it sheds around into one focus, and thus to bring the catholic thought of the world in each succeeding age into the region of pure idea. It has been well said that the problem
of philosophy is common sense, The actual material of which it is composed can be none other than the whole mass of truth which lies embodied in the thinking of every age, and to the authority of the age alone can we make our final appeal. The duty of speculative science is to bring the truth of the age to light, to clear it of its dross and its symbols, to make it stand forth as plain, reflective, philosophic knowledge.”—II. 637, 638.
Here philosophy is degraded from the high office of discovering truth, and made the mere exponent of the thoughts of the passing age. Instead, therefore, of being the chief of all sciences, it becomes the servant of all, and manifestly follows that public opinion which it refuses to lead.
That eclecticism will vary with the current mode of thought in each age, is clearly expressed by one of its most celebrated advocates. M. Damiron states, “At present it is spiritual; spiritual from proceeding upon the data of Psychology. This tendency I believe to be good, and consequently to be durable; but nevertheless I believe it may take some day another."— Vol. II. p. 524.
To say that philosophy, like every thing human, is mutable, in so far as it is dependent in each succeeding age upon human thought for its actual exposition, is but to state what we know to be true of every human science, and even of the divinely revealed religion of Christ. But to affirm that this is the
sum of all truth upon any of these subjects, is to open wide the door to scepticism. We are the more surprised that this tendency should have escaped Mr. Morell, on account of the excellent remarks which he makes on Victor Cousin's religious scepticism, and which admit of a far wider application.
“There is one part, however, of the system now before us which we must distinctly except from the eulogy we have pronounced upon the rest, and that is the part in which our author carries the results of his philosophy into the region of theological truth. There are two points in particular which touch very closely upon the ordinary sentiments of the Christian world, and which open the door for an almost boundless advocacy of religious scepticism. These are, first, the notion he has given of Deity itself; and, secondly, that which he has given of inspiration.
• With regard to his notion of the Deity, we have already shewn how closely this verges upon the principle of Pantheism. Even if we admit that it is not a doctrine, like that of Spinoza, which identifies God with the abstract idea of substance, or even like that of Hegel, which regards Deity as synonymous with the absolute law and process of the universe; if we admit, in fact, that the Deity of Cousin possesses a conscious personality, yet still it is one which contains in itself the finite personality and consciousness of every subordinate mind. God is the ocean, we are but the waves; the ocean may be one individuality, and each wave another; but still they are essentially one and the same. We see not how Cousin's Theism can possibly be consistent with any idea of moral evil; neither do we see how, starting from such a dogma, he can ever vindicate and uphold his own theory of human liberty ; on such Theistic principles, all sin must be simply defect, and all defect must be absolutely fatuitous.
“But the most dangerous door into religious scepticism is the use which Cousin makes of the spontaneity of the human reason, in order to explain the phenomena of inspiration. Reflection alone is considered to be the source of error; while that pure apperception, that instinctive development of thought, which results from spontaneity, is absolutely infallible. Now this spontaneity, it is said, is the foundation of religion. Those who were termed seers, prophets, inspired teachers, of ancient times, were simply men who resigned themselves largely to their intellectual instincts, and thus gazed upon truth in its pure and perfect form. They did not reason, they did not search, they did not reflect deeply and patiently, they made no pretension to philosophy; but they received truth spontaneously, as it flowed in upon them from heaven. Now, in one sense, all this may be true ; but, according to Cousin, this immediate reception of the divine light was nothing more than the natural play of the spontaneous reason; nothing more than what has existed to a greater or less degree in every man of great genius; nothing more than what may now exist in any mind which resigns itself to its own unreflective apperceptions. This being the case, revelation, in the ordinary sense, loses all its peculiar value; every man may be a prophet; every mind has within it the same authority to decide upon truth, as those minds who had dictated the Bible; we have only to sit and listen to the still, small voice within, to enjoy a daily revelation, which bears upon it all the marks of absolute infallibility.
“ This doctrine, of course, may seem very plausible and very flattering; nay, it may arraign some evidence, and boast the explanation of many facts, but assuredly it can only be erected and established upon the ruins of all the fundamental evidences of Christianity. When the advocates of this natural spontaneous inspiration will come forth from their recesses of thought and deliver prophecies as clear as those of the Hebrew seer,—when they shall mould the elements of nature to their will,—when they shall speak with the sublime authority of Jesus of Nazareth, and with the same infinite ease, rising beyond all the influence of time, place and circumstances, explain the past and unfold the future,-when they die for the truth they utter, and rise again as witnesses to its divinity,then we may begin to place them on the elevation which they so thoughtlessly claim; but, until they either prove these facts to be delusions, or give their parallel in themselves, the world may well laugh at their ambition, and trample their spurious inspiration beneath its feet.”—II. 510–513.
No profound system of philosophy can rest in eclecticism; for it is the very test of the greatness of a philosopher that he subordinates the lower to the
higher phenomena, and thus necessarily stamps upon his system a distinctive characteristic. If, therefore, Mr. Morell is to be successful in his attempts to free Victor Cousin's philosophy from the charge of syncretism, it can only be fairly done by admitting that eclecticism is a new and not very appropriate name for a modified idealism ; and as such we accept it as a great improvement upon the sensational philosophy current during the French Revolution, to which it has su d; but we find in it as yet no superior excellence calculated to make it supersede the idealistic schools of Scotland and Germany, upon which it is founded; and we believe that whoever will study philosophical works in both those schools, will find that he has far more thoroughly cultivated his mind than he who has obtained the knowledge of them through the necessarily distorting medium of an eclecticism which does full justice to none of the systems which it partially adopts. It is possible also that the selection may be made so capriciously as to overthrow the fundamental idea upon which the analysis was originally founded,—as, for example, in Cousin's Lectures on the History of Philosophy, where he disjoins the hitherto inseparable sisters, the four cardinal virtues, Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude. These conjoined virtues have long been admitted to form a very good detective police; they have been very active in condemning the violations of social order and international quarrels; and though their voices have often been unheeded in the tumult of war, they have never ceased to cry aloud against rapine, cruelty and excess. But Victor Cousin having taken Fortitude and Prudence into especial favour, declares that their triumph is the grand touchstone of human progress; that victory, which always follows in war the prudent and the brave, is always just; and that philanthropy must dry her tears, consoled by the triumph of the just cause. But it is to be remembered that if men would add Temperance to their Prudence and Fortitude, war would cease, together with the cupidity in which it originates.
Let no one imagine that because eclecticism declares itself the representative of the common sense of mankind, that it therefore excludes the eccentricities of genius: these are allowed free scope, as we find in the History of Philosophy we have just quoted, and from which we extract the following:
“England, gentlemen, is a very considerable island; in England every thing is insular, every thing stops at certain limits, nothing is there developed on a great scale. England is not destitute of invention; but history declares that she does not possess that power of generalization and deduction which alone is able to push an idea or a principle to its entire development, and to draw from it all the consequences which it encloses. Compare the political revolution of England with ours, and you must perceive the profound difference of their respective characters; on the one hand, every thing is local and proceeds from secondary principles ; on the other, every thing is general and ideal.”*
There is no merit on which the Eclectic school prides itself more than its enlarged sympathy with every form of human thought; but we meet with little trace of this excellence in Mr. Morell's remarks “On the Tendencies of Modern Sensationalism,” which is written in a strain of unsparing invective. We read, “that sensationalism in its cosmological tendencies always evinces a disposition, more or less decisive, to erect the idea of Nature over that of God; that is, to merge the notion of a final cause in the totality of secondary causes around us” (Vol. II. p. 567); and that in its social influence, “it has thrown out upon the public, theories of government as crude in their plan as utopian in their execution. Social systems in England, industrial theories on the continent, and models of republics in both, have been held up for the admiration
Upon this passage the American editor of Cousin remarks: “What the spirit of Great Britain may want of that ardour and impetuosity which so often leads to rashness, is surely amply supplied by the spirit of Ireland; and Berkeley's Idealism is quite as bold and thorough-going as Condillac's Sensualism." And Ireland is certainly not a very large island.
of the world; but all, as far as they regard man merely in his external relations, and consider him as the creature of outward circumstances, evince a radical deficiency, which nothing, but sounder views of human nature can supply.” (II. 581.) But most of all its influence upon religion is deprecated.
“The unbeclouded reason, in the present state of man's mental development, conceives of God as an infinite personality; to it, the immensity of the Deity does not detract aught from his individuality, as the presiding mind that directs the universe by unerring wisdom and benevolence. Nay, further ; philosophy has not repudiated the existence of those diversities in the Divine unity, the reflection of which there is in man himself. The spiritual vision, even of some heathen minds, did not fail to see in the Infinite Being that blending of unity and plurality which is the type of all perfection; and, to the Christian idealist, the mystery of a Trinity has rarely proved a stone of stumbling or a rock of offence. But no sooner does reason become 'immersed in matter,' than these conceptions of Deity grow strange and incredible; his personality, as a mind, becomes gradually sunk in the general notion of a great first cause, and his specific moral attributes in the physical idea of his immensity and infinity. Such, we might predict, would naturally be the dictates of a sensational philosophy; such experience tells us that they actually are. The first real philosopher of more recent times, who advocated the doctrines of materialism with zeal and ability, was Dr. Priestley; and the influence of these doctrines upon his theological views was plain and undeniable. We see in him a living representative of the sensational theologian in the first stage of his progress towards the system we have just described.”—II, 583, 584.
Another ground of self-congratulation is found by the eclectics in their manner of treating the German philosophy. Mr. Morell informs us, that“ the German thinkers, from their want of perspicuity, write almost exclusively for Germans; and even of them, only for a small portion ; but the philosophy of Cousin, although comprehending some of the most recondite points of the German metaphysics, has already found its way throughout Europe and America."-II. 509.
But have we no reason to fear that this vaunted clearness arises from curtailment of the ideas, rather than from the mere transference of them from one language to another? So that the advice which Jean Paul Richter gave the French on another occasion, is here peculiarly applicable to ourselves :"If a foreign literature is really to be made a saline manure and fertilizing compost for the withered French literature, some altogether different path must be fallen upon than this ridiculous circuit of clipping the Germans into Frenchmen, that these may take pattern by them; of first fashioning us down to the French, that they may fashion themselves up to us. Place and plant down and encamp the Germans, with all their straight limbs and full arteries, like dying gladiators, fairly before them;-let them then study these figures as an academy, or refuse to do it. Even to the Gallic speech, in this transference, let utmost boldness be recommended."
The growing admiration felt for Coleridge and Carlyle is sufficient proof that German metaphysics will not for the future travel to England solely via France.
Several German philosophical works have long been accessible to the English public by means of translations; some of Fichte's works are appearing in an English dress. Mr. Morell himself, in the chapters devoted to German metaphysics, has disclosed to us higher regions than those on which eclecticism permits us to gaze; and Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, whatever may be our opinion of the tendency of their philosophy, have in this country many zealous friends who will resist the attempt to substitute for their speculations the philosophy of Cousin, Jouffroy and Damiron.
Poems and Songs, principally relating to Scottish Manners and Customs. By
Peter Livingston. Dundee. Sixth (People's) Edition. A VOLUME of Poems in its sixth edition is, in these unpoetic days, a fact which demands rather than invites the critic's attention. There must be some