« ElőzőTovább »
down to Bacon and Descartes."1 Everywhere and on all subjects the maxim was in force,' Philosophia ancillans theologiae.' Few cared to perceive that the true sphere of science lies altogether outside of theological study. The Christian is but implicitly and in a secondary degree called on to inquire into the nature and constitution of things and of God. On this side the true defence of his system of belief is to isolate its claims, repelling attack and implied or asserted contradictions.2 History is the proper mode of exhibiting the general character of the faith of Christ, as it is of orthodoxy in detail; showing the particular dogma to be either a just or false outcome of Scriptural Revelation. Now, however, the tables are turned: and the human intellect, " waxing," it is said, "in strength, learns to rely upon its own resources, and to throw off incumbrances by which the freedom of its movements has been long impaired."3 So also the
1 Civilization in Europe, E. Tr., I. 114, ed. Bohn. Sec also Comte, Phil. Pos., V. 478. Kepler's told and plain words (Introd. ad Stoll. Martis) are well known. "In Theology we balance authorities, in Philosophy we weigh reasons. A holy man was Lactantius, who denied that the earth was round: a holy man was Augustine who granting the rotundity, denied the antipodes: a holy thing to me is the Inquisition, which allows the smallness of the earth, but denies its motion. But more holy to me is Truth," &c. See ap. Wheufcll, Indications of the Creator, p. 143, and at length, //tst. Induct. Sc., IV. i. 6, 7.
* " Tout ce qui nous reste done apres avoir ajouté foi aux mysteres sur les preuves de la vente de la religion (qu'on appelle motifs de credibilite) e'est de les pouvoir soutenir contre les objections," &c.—Leibnitz, TUodicfe, % 5.
a Buckle, Hist. Civ., II. 203.
founder of Positivism looks forward to a Church, Catholic, but not Christian, which shall preside over the regeneration of society, and " the irresistible emancipation of human reason."1 § 4. Certainly, we have no right to complain inversi
• 11 of this
that false assumptions should have borne their lation. natural fruit and have yielded to fair attack. "Men," wrote Jeremy Taylor,* "will call all opinions by the name of religion, and superstructures by the name of fundamental articles, and fancies by the glorious appellative of faith." Those, then, who made Theology the essence of the faith, and next installed her in the throne of all knowledge, divine and human, natural and supernatural, poising on some solitary statement as to a fact of history or science the whole truth of Holy Scripture itself: such men were perforce sowing to the wind, and were the unwitting pioneers of a whole revolution of belief. "Science," wrote De Maistre3 (and his sentiment is far from exploded),
1 Phil, Poa., V. 490. It is a melancholy satire on tho tendencies of Comtism that, forsaking the Materialism which is its proper hose, its author should have returned, as M. Littre' reluctantly admits, to a Theology, a Fetichism (sic), a worship of Humanity, "le Grand Etre." Prof. Huxley's strictures on this subject are as just as they are able.
• Works, V. 348, cd. Eden.
J See Examen de Bacon, vol. ii. 46; Soirees de Saint-P&ersbourg, V. Entret. Works, 1.198. See, however, also, p. 172, where the metaphor is borrowed. Leibnitz, Thiodice'e, § 17, speaks of those who held as to philosophy, "qu'elle devoit etre traitee en servante et non pas en maitrcsse par rapport a la Theologie. Enfin que c'^toit une llagar aupres de Sara, qu'il falloit chasser de la maison avec son Ismael, quand ellc faisoit la mutine." It must not bo forgotten that Metaphysic, under "must be kept in its place; for it resembles fire • which, when confined in tbe grates prepared for it, is tbe most useful and powerful of men's servants; scattered about anyhow, it is the most terrible ot scourges." For this reason he argues that physical science was not given to men until Christianity was dominant in the earth. What wonder if we now hear the opinion loudly proclaimed that physical knowledge is the proper supplement to theological conceptions; that "the gradual destruction of the old theology is everywhere preceded by the growth and diffusion of physical truths." 1 now"tends § 5- The reverse excess is now more to be adoption feare^' The spirit of the age proves, indeed, that suousephi- mankind is still governed by its prejudices rather losophy. than by reason. As the medieval temper was theologically led to an excessive credulity, so the sceptical tendency of the present day leads men to limit their vision to objects of sense. Now it is asserted that there is no knowledge but of things visible: no truth which is not real: no philosophy which is not "positive."3
We have but faith: we cannot know;
sings the greatest of our metaphysical poets, con
the name of &eo\ayiKi), had of old assumed the highest rank in the
'Positivism, by Comte identified with Natural Philosophy in its largest sense including Social rhysics, through a huge fundamental assumption, has come to be purely negative. The term "positivo" was by the grammarians opposed to " natural," and hence transferred to the descending to the language of his time.1 Tlius the most popular Professor of the day asserts, " there is but one kind of knowledge and but one method of acquiring it. . . . What is the history of every science but the history of the elimination of the >" the
notion of creative or other interferences? . . . Harmonious order governing eternally continuous progress, the web and woof of Matter and Force interweaving by slow degrees, without a broken thread, that veil which lies between us and the Infinite, that universe which alone we know or can know."2 Here is something very different from
distinction between legal and moral obligations. "In laws," says Hooker, "that which is natural bindeth universally; that which is positive not so."—E. P., L x. 7. Thus also Bishop Butler contrasts moral and positive duties. Analogy, Pt. II. c. i. Its present use seems derived from its logical sense, denoting "rem quasi praesentom." The intermediate notion, however, by which laws of nature are regarded as )>ositive, is thus stated by Leibnitz :—" Il y en a d'autres vérites qu'un peut a]>\>clur positives, parce qu'elles sont les lois qu'il a plu à Dieu de donner f t la Nature, ou parce qu'elles en dépendent."
1 And truly enough: only it must not be forgotten that faith is to man the very "evidence of things not seen," the fundamental condition of all true human knowledge, intellectual or moral. We may justly ask whether the materialism of the day, resting on physical philosophy, has any new proof or necessity to offer, not open to earlier speculation.
* Huxley, Lay Sermons, p. 310. "Notre âme," says Pascal, "est jetee dans le corps où elle trouve nombre, temps, dimension. Elle raisonne la-dessus et appelle cela Nature, nécessite, et ne peut croire autre chose." Yet he acknowledges fully the modest limits of human apprehension. "Les sciences ont deux extremites qui se touchent: la premidre est la pure ignorance naturelle où se trouvent tous les hommes en naissant: l'autre extremite est celle où arrivent les grandes ftmes, qui ayant parcouru tout ce que les hommes peuvent savoir, trouvent qu'ils ne savent rien, et se rencontrent en cette même ignorance d'où ils étaient partis. Mais c'est une ignorance savante qui se connaît." (Pensées, II. 163; I. 180.)
the doctrine of the relativity of human knowledge. No alternative is presented between materialism1 and sheer ignorance; either alike incompetent to satisfy the demand of man's intelligence or spirit. So extremes meet. The ultimate analysis of science, the rudimentary ignorance of barbarism, have kissed each other. Both refuse to travel beyond the avouchmente of the senses. Mr. Bailey, long a resident among the Veddahs of Ceylon, says:—" They have no knowledge of a Supreme Being. 'Is He on a rock—on a white ant-hill—on a tree? I never saw a God,' was the only reply I received to repeated questions."3
1 How dangerously near such teaching approaches to materialism may be seen from the language of Feuerbach. "Personality, individuality, consciousness, without Nature is nothing; or, which is the same thing, an empty, unsubstantial abstraction. But Nature is nothing without corporeality. . . . Real sensational existence is that which is not dependent on my own mental spontaneity or activity, but by which I am involuntarily affected: which is when I cannot, do not think of it or feel it. The existence of God must therefore be in space: in general a qualitative, sensational existence. But God is not seen, not heard, not perceived by the senses. Ho does not exist for me, if I do not exist for Him."—Essence of Christianity, E. T., pp. 90, 199. Augustine thus characterizes the Positivism of his day :—" Sed res est longe" remota a vanorum hominum mentibus qui nimis in haec corporalia progressi atque lapsi nihil aliud putant esse quam quod istis quinque notissimis nuntiis corporis sentiunt: et quas ab his plagas atque imagines acceperunt eas secum volvunt etiam cum conantur recedere a sensibus et ex earum mortifera et fallacissimft regulft ineffabilia penetralia veritatis rectissime' se metiri putant."—Dtil. Cred., c. i.
3 Quoted by Mr. Farrar on the Universality of a Belief in God. (Anthropological Review, August, 1864.) As to the Veddahs, however, see Tylor, Prim. Cult., I. 45; and on the whole question of savage races being destitute of the elements of religion, id. I. c. xi., pp. 377-83. Also Luthardt, Apolog., E. T., p. 42.