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which was, as he felt to his fingerpoints, but the docile servant of his growing, swelling, creating mind such as one to acknowledge that sense was all, or almost all, that man had to guide him. The fashion of the age did not run in the way of great missionary exertions in our sense of the word; and Berkeley had actually embarked in the tortuous ways of metaphysics. It is not difficult to imagine with what a silent ardour, with what light in his young eyes, he turned to elaborate his own system of thought. Philosophy is always free to do what youth is always inclined to; and that is, to spurn all previous foundations, and begin from the beginning for its own hand. Thus the field was open for the Idealist; no tradition of his science bound him to respect the theories which had preceded his. An iconoclast is nothing to a philosopher. Berkeley put his foot upon Locke without a moment's hesitation, and strode on to the often-contested and never-conquered field. ant
dient of kicking a stone, and Reid's similar argument about breaking his head against a post or stepping into a dirty kennel, are simple sillinesses, strange though it may be to give such a name to the sayings of two such authorities. They suggest a confusion of the two worlds, quite excusable in the vulgar, but unpardonable in the learned. Outside everything is real to us. In our practical concerns we do not pause to discuss what images are imprinted on the eye, or what sounds on the tympanum. We hear and we see, which is quite enough for us. Neither do we pause to consider how it is that an impression of something snowy white or blazing crimson is conveyed to us when we look at a rose; the rose does not seem, but is, red or white. It is rich with perfume; it has thorns that prick and moss that clothes it. We walk on solid soil without for an instant contradicting reason by the supposition that the foot which strikes that steady surface, and the earth that receives it, are but phanIt was in the year 1710, when he tasms of our senses. The most prowas a young man of six-and-twenty, found and the most ideal of philoFellow of Trinity College, Dublin, sophers walks abroad like other working with his pupils in the ob- men, and accepts the ordinary acEcurity of an island much more dis- cidents of nature with that unhesitant in all practical ways from Eng- tating natural conviction which he land than it is now, that the Prin- can no more contest than he canciples of Human Knowledge' were doubt he ever so much-doubt his published. He does not seem in own existence. The stone and the all his subsequent life to have gone post are as indubitable to him as to beyond or much developed this ourselves. Few philosophers have early work. But in order to enable lived so healthful and full a matethe ordinary reader, who is not a rial life as the man who denied the philosopher, to follow the true sense existence of matter; but then he of his argument, it must be permit never denied its existence in the ted to us to pause once more and outer sphere of fact and everyday make clear the difference between reality. "That what I see, hear, the world of actual life and the and feel doth existi.e., is perworld of philosophy. If the argu- ceived by me-I no more doubt ments belonging to the one are than I do of my own being," says received as applying to the other, Berkeley. "I do not argue against they are simple absurdities, such as the existence of any one thing that no man other than a food or mad- we can apprehend either by sensaman could hold or dwell upon. tion or reflection. That the things Dr. Johnson's "peremptory refu- I see with my eyes and touch with tation," as Mr. Lewes called it, of my hands do exist, really exist, Berkeley's theory by the easy expe- I make not the least question."
Out of doors, in common daylight, common air, in the life which he enjoyed fully, with all his young faculties strung to its pleasures and its wonders, Berkeley was as other men. A keen observation of everything going on around him is apparent in his letters. The "horrible rocks of the Alpine passes make his heart melt within him; the miseries he sees in France as he passes through it "spoil his mirth." Wherever he goes it is with open eyes, full of vivacity and human kindness.c This is the world we live in, the world familiar and homely, whose facts are incontestable, whose delights console, whose horrors appal us. In respect to its stones and its posts, its roses and its landscapes, Berkeley is at one with all mankind.
But lift the curtain which hangs over the door of the philosopher's study, and it is a different world which you enter. He sits there in the silence, with his books round him, with his desk before him, a musings and bewildered creature, and asks himself what is real, and what is a vain show. In that silence there is but one thing that makes itself evident, so as no man can contradict it. He himself is that is the point from which he starts. It may not, perhaps, be capable of elaborate demonstration, but yet it is, even by a philosopher, indisputable. He is there, but what are these visions around him? All that he e can understand of the merest table or chair is, that it conveys certain notion to his mind. The tree that looks in at his window is, he knows, not green in itself, but green by right of some property in his eyes that makes it
His hand touches something on which he leans-what is it? But for the hand that touches, the arm that, leans on it, the thing would have of itself no conscious being. What is it, then? What can we ever know about it? Folly to laugh at to the echo outside, but within actually the subject
which has occupied for ages the closest thoughts of the greatest thinkers. The carpenter who made this bit of oak or mahogany into shape, no doubt, with open mouth and eyes, and with inextinguishable laughter, would tell the philosopher all about it; but the philosopher, for his part, knows nothing about it. He cannot tell how that dead thing can be. He looks at iton every side, and can make nothing of it. Is it the shadow of some mysterious unknown thing which exists unseen, unfathomable, in the wide wastes of earth? or is it only so far as it impresses its likeness upon a seeing eye that it exists at all? This is the question he makes to the blank silence, which gives him no reply. The conclusion come to by the philosophy of Locke was, that a vast phantome called Matter did exist in the worldthat houses and mountains, and even tables and chairs, were, vin some shadowy way, because of this vast substantial soul, if such an expression may be used, which was behind them. As the soul lives, according to the Christian faith, because God lives, so things were, according to philosophy, because Matter was. What it was, how it was, or what connection it had with all these eccentric signs of its presence, nobody could tell any more than anybody, unassisted by the light of revelation, can tell what God is, or how He unites Himself to His creatures. The other was an Earth-God, a kind of heavy inanimate soul to the inanimate universe. It brooded upon the depths a visible darkness. It found an Avatar, like the Hindoo Divinity, in every new development of solid shape and size. Such was the idea current in the darkling world of philosophy. We repeat, all this had no more to do with the ordinary globe than as chemical knowledge of its constituent parts has to do with the refreshing influence of a draught of water. Outside, all was plain matter of fact, indisputable reality, a
closet, and nobody by to perceive them. I answer, you may so, there is no difficulty in it. But what is all this, I beseech you, more than framing in your mind certain ideas which you call books and trees, and at the same time omitting to frame the idea of any one that may perceive them? but do not you yourself perceive or or think of them all the while?". Thus the idea widens, gathering to itself all forces of imagination and memory. These outside mysteries of nature live in your perception of them, live in your thought of them. When darkness falls over those woods you know, and makes them invisible, are they not there alive, breathing, rustling under the night wind, in your thoughts? and if not even in your thoughts, how can you tell what benighted creature, desolate of all comforts, may haunt them, making the gloomy glades alive with the consciousness of a human eye? or what angel, leaning from the heavens, may charm them into reality? Or, higher still, does not God look and behold, giving them existence with His glance? "Some truths," says the philosopher, his gaze widening, his mind swelling with an exaltation worthy his subject, are so near and obvious to the mind that a man need only to open his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be to wit, that all the choir of heaven and furniture of earth-in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any existence ce without a' mind, that their being (esse) is to be perceived and known; that, consequently, so long as they are not actually perceived by men, or do not exist in my mind, or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some eternal spirit." Where could there be found a theory more touching or more sublime? All the choir of heaven, and all the furniture of earth all the little stars unnamed and unknown in their
systems all those unseen isles of paradise which lie in undiscovered seas, hanging, as in their proper atmosphere, like the motes in the sunshine, in the light of the eyes of God! Never has a nobler conception filled the heart of any poet. The young soul in which it had its origin has such a right to the name of Seer as falls to few of the most nobly endowed among men.
It is not within our range or sphere to follow this new system through the storm of argument, laughter, and discussion which it called forth. It is enough for us to state what the theory was, which even at this present day brings a smile to the lip of many an ignorant bystander at Bishop Berkeley's name. The strain of subdued enthusiasm and lofty poetry in the book attracted many minds; and so did the close and unbroken chain of reasoning, of which Hume said, "that it admitted of no answer," although it produced no conviction. If the pretensions of philosophy are admitted at all, Mr. Lewes tells us that Berkeley is irrefutable. failed, as the greatest philosophers of all times have failed, not because he was weak, but because philosophy was impossible," says the historian of philosophy. The book, a small octavo volume, never came to a second edition so long as its author lived, but yet became at once sufficiently known to win, him some fame, and to puzzle the brains of the philosophical world. Berkeley published, A.D. 1710, at Dublin, the metaphysic notion that matter was not a real thing," says Whiston in the Memoirs of Dr. Clarke'; nay, that the common opinion of its reality was groundless, if not ridiculous. He was pleased to send Dr. Clarke and myself, each of us, a book. After we had both perused it, I went to Dr. Clarke and discoursed with him about it to this effect, that I, being not a metaphysician, was not able to answer Mr. Berkeley's subtle premises, though I did not at all