tries, the subservience shown by the reformers to the gross passions of their royal patrons ; for whilst, remarks Mr. Moore, on the one hand, the licentious bigamy of the Landgrave of Hesse received the sanction, under their own signatures, of Luther, Bucer, and Melancthon ; on the other hand, the murderous marriages of Henry VIII. were not only connived at, but concerted by those still more obsequious tools of royal reformation, Cranmer and Cromwell. The parallel between the Protestantism of Germany and that of England is still farther carried on, and a very curious coincidence is made evident between the effects in each country.

An historical sketch of the progress of infidelity is then given ; and Mr. Moore, with an unsparing hand, exposes the sentiments of those who, whilst they wrote from the urgency of conviction, yet sought to give a colour of doubt to them by the mysteriousness of their expressions. He traces the influence of Socinianism on the most exalted members of the church; he shows in how many instances eminent divines have, in private, expressed their doubt of, if not dissent from, doctrines of which they were the public supporters; and this he does, he says, in order to show how uniformly, on all occasions, the sceptical spirit of Protestantism continues to hurry on in its downward career to that dark plunge into infidelity which full surely awaits it.

We have not space to enter further into the details which Mr. Moore has brought together, nor is it at all necessary that we should, with the simple views we have, add to the number of our selections from these volumes. We shall content ourselves with giving merely the practical conclusions to which he has arrived, after his laborious investigations, and we feel it only justice that we should give them in his own language:

Here, then, under the safe shelter of this unerring authority, do I finally fix my resting place,-submitting implicitly to the only guidance which promises peace to the soul, and convinced that reason, which even in this world's affairs, proves but a sorry conductress, is, in all heavenly things, a rash and ruinous guide. The low value, which it is plain our Saviour him-' self set on the inductions of human reason, sufficiently shows how little the faith which he came to teach was meant to be amenable to such a tribunal. The apostle Paul denounces the “ foolishness of the wisdom of this world.” with a warmth and vehemence which leave no doubt that he foresaw mischief to the cause of Christianity from that source; and the Holy Fathers of the first ages, though so gifted with all human learning themselves, not only knew the nothingness of such gifts in the eyes of a Supreme God, but felt that Faith, paramount Faith, demanded the sacrifice of them all, as well as of stubborn reason itself, at the foot of the altar.-vol.ü., pp. 338-340.

· Seeing thus the judgment pronounced in Scripture, and in the writings of the Fathers, respecting the utter unfitness of reason to be the judge of Faith, confirmed by the opinions of men so accomplished in all the wisdum of this world ; and finding, still further, a but too convincing corroboration

of the same truth in the ruin brought upon Christianity wherever reason has been allowed to career through its mysteries, I could not hesitate as to the conclusion to which my mind should come. “Either Catholic or Deist," said Fenelon, “ there is no other alternative;"—and the appearance which the Christian world wears, at this moment, fully justifies his assertion.

Hail, then, to thee, thou one and only true Church, which art alone the way of life, and in whose tabernacle alone there is shelter from all this confusion of tongues. In the shadow of thy sacred mysteries let my soul henceforth repose, remote alike from the infidel who scoffs at their darkness, and the rash believer who vainly would pry into its recesses ;-saying to both, in the language of St. Augustine, “Do you reason, while I wonder ; do you dispute, while I shall believe; and, beholding the heights of Divine Power, forbear to approach its depths.”-vol. ii., pp. 341–344.

To attempt any commentary upon the principles advocated by Mr. Moore in these volumes, would be altogether beyond the limits of our plan, as it assuredly is, of our space. We have merely limited ourselves to the defined duty of describing, by the aid of occasional extracts from the work itself, as we do in all other instances, the nature, purport, and intention of the author's performance. To this task we hope the reader will think that we have strictly adhered, whatever may be his own impression as to the merits of the production itself.

Art. VII.-The Province of Jurisprudence Determined. By

John Austin, Esq., Barrister-at-law. 8vo. pp. 391. London: Murray.

The title of the volume we are now reviewing would lead many to imagine that it had no interest except for professional students ; and we should have been content with seeing it noticed in those journals exclusively devoted to law, did we not know that it is replete with important matter for the consideration of every earnest inquirer into morals and social economy. We cannot suppose that, among the many thousands who avoid books of legal technicalities and details, there are many who care not to have distinct notions concerning “ Law” and “Right;" and the sources, objects, and criteria of legislative enactment. Inattention to books of admitted merit on such a topic is more likely to be the result of one of the commonest forms of ignorant conceit (that is, the tendency to confound familiar acquaintance with exact knowledge), than of contented and conscious ignorance : but when we find such confused and absurd descriptions of law as are to be found in such writers as Hooker and Montesquieu quoted (as they often are) with approbation, we think ourselves entitled to infer the existence and extensive prevalence of errors, which are so important as to be de

que ignorant cohlikely to be on to books objecte lines

serving of the correcting animadversion of one qualified, by his intellectual power and appropriate learning, to become a public instructor. Professor Austin, of the London University, appears to us to be fitted eminently for the task, which we have thought it desirable to be undertaken ever since we read the first book of the Ecclesiastical Polity, and the beginning of the Spirit of Laws. In the first of the six lectures before us, the author states the essentials of a law, or rule, taken in the largest signification that can properly be given to the term ; or, in other words, determines the essence or nature which is common to all laws. The exposition is copious and luminous ; and the style is so condensed as to defy a just abridgment: moreover, there is not one passage of interest in the whole thirty pages it occupies which we could detach without injury to the chain it belongs to. It is otherwise with its immediate follower: in the second lecture our author enters into the character by which the laws of God are distinguished from other laws; and divides these into two kinds—the revealed or express, and the unrevealed or tacit. He then passes to the nature of the signs through which these latter are manifested to man; and states the principal theories concerning the nature of the index to the tacit commands of the Deity, beginning with the hypothesis of a moral sense, in which he seems to identify the ethic principles of Cudworth, Clarke, Hutcheson, Reid, and Kant, and to regard the apparently important and essential differences between them as merely verbal. He then states the theory of utility, with accompanying explanations, to obviate the misconceptions to which it is liable; and illustrates the meaning which he attaches to the phrase, “ tendencies of human action," in this instructive and luminous manner :

The tendency of a human action (as here understood) is its whole tendency; the sum of its probable consequences, in so far as they are important or material; the sum of its remote and collateral, as well as of its direct consequences, in so far as any of its consequences may influence the general happiness.

Trying to collect its tendency (as its tendency is thus understood), we must not consider the action as if it were single and insulated, but must look at the class of actions to which it belongs. The probable specific con. sequences of doing that single act, of forbearing from that single act, or of omitting that single act, are not the objects of the inquiry. The question to be solved is this : If acts of the class were generally done, or generally forborne or omitted, what would be the probable effect on the general hapness or good ?

Considered by itself, a mischievous act may seem to be useful or harm, less. Considered by itself, a useful act may seem to be pernicious.

For example-If a poor man steal a handful from the heap of his rich neighbour, the act, considered by itself, is harmless or positively good. One man's poverty is assuaged with the superfluous wealth of another.

But suppose that thefts were general (or that the useful right of property were open to frequent invasions), and mark the result.

Without security for property, there were no inducement to save. Without habitual saving on the part of proprietors, there were no accumulation of capital. Without accumulation of capital, there were no fund for the payment of wages, no division of labour, no elaborate and costly machines ; there were none of those helps to labour which augment its productive power, and, therefore, multiply the enjoyments of every individual in the community. Frequent invasions of property would bring the rich to poverty, and, what were a greater evil, would aggravate the poverty of the poor.-pp. 36–38.

We do not imagine it to be possible that any competent judge of argumentation can withhold his assent to the conclusion at which the writer arrives. There are, however, we believe, few persons within the reach of instruction who hold the opinions respecting property which he has shown to be unsound. Admitting the truth of every position included in our extract, we may yet hesitate before we allow that the best point of view is taken; there are, we believe, many thousands of discontented men among the labouring classes, who, if this passage were read to them to allay their dissatisfaction with their lot, would reply, “ We are well aware of the importance of giving security to property; and we know that it is essential to the accumulation of the capital which sets our hands to work : it would, therefore, be the extreme of folly and madness to meditate or attempt their destruction. The real question is, do, we receive a reasonable portion of the wealth which we contribute to make ? the result which we bring about is admitted to be beneficial, but we do not receive a due share of the benefit. This is really our complaint; your instruction is therefore irrelevant.”. This is an answer also to the consolations proffered to the most. numerous readers of the Working Man's Companion.

Mr. Austin follows up his excellent illustration of the true intention of the tendency of human actions by others of equal merit. His remarks on the evasion of taxes (p. 38), and on punishment (p. 39, &c.), are continued elucidations of his meaning; and they are, moreover, important from the profound instruction they comprise. The remaining portion of the second lecture, and the whole of, the third and fourth lectures, are occupied with the further discussion of the principal antagonist theories of morals. The author is a zealous and powerful advocate of the utilitarian ethics : but, as stated by him, the moral theory in question differs more from that hitherto advocated by those“ who profess and call themselves Utilitarians,” than it does from that to which it is avowedly opposed. He charges many of his brethren with folly; and in this part of his lecture he is not the least successful. He protests against confounding the theory of general utility with the theory called by its adversaries the “ selfish system” (p. 113), which he completely demolishes in a long but admirable note, of which we transcribe the principal part :

The selfish system, in this its literal import, is flatly inconsistent with obvious facts, and therefore is hardly deserving of serious refutation. We are daily and hourly conscious of disinterested benevolence or sympathy, or of wishing the good of others without regard to our own. In the present wretched condition of human society, so unfavourable are the outward circumstances wherein most men are placed, and so bad is the education or training received by most men in their youth, that the benevolence of most men wants the intensity and endurance which are requisite to their own happiness, and to the happiness of their fellow-creatures. With most men, benevolence or sympathy is rather a barren emotion than a strong and steady incentive to-vigorous and efficient action. Although the feeling or sentiment affects them often enough, it is commonly stifled at the birth by antagonist feelings or sentiments. But to deny, with Rochefocault or Mandeville, the existence of benevolence or sympathy, is rather a wild paradox, hazarded in the wantonness of satire, than the deliberate position of a philosopher examining the springs of conduct.

And, here, I may briefly remark, that the expression selfish, as applied to motives, has a larger and a narrower meaning. Taking the expression selfish with its larger meaning, all motives are selfish: for every motive is a wish, and every wish is a pain which affects a man's self, and which urges him to seek relief by attaining the object wished. Taking the expression selfish with its narrower meaning, motives which are selfish must be distinguished from motives which are benevolent; our wishes for our own good from our wishes for the good of our neighbour; the desires which impel us to pursue our own advantage, or benefit, from the desires which solicit us to pursue the advantage or benefit of others.

To obviate this ambiguity, with the wretched quibbling which it begets, Mr. Bentham has judiciously discarded the dubious expression selfish. The motives which solicit us to pursue the advantage or good of others, he styles social. The motives which impel us to pursue our own advantage, or good, he styles self-regarding.

But, besides the social and self-regarding motives, there are disinterested motives, or disinterested wishes, by which we are impelled or solicited to visit others with evil. Those disinterested but malevolent motives he styles anti-social. When I style a motive of the sort a disinterested motive, I apply the epithet with the meaning wherein I apply it to a benevolent motive. Speaking with absolute precision, the motive is not disinterested in either case; for, in each of the two cases, the man desires relief from a wish importuning himself. But, excepting the desire of relief which the wish necessarily implies, the wish, in each of the cases, is purely disinterested. The end or object to which it urges the man is the good or evil of another, and not his own advantage.-pp. 121, 122.

No reference is made to the part of Mr. Bentham's works where these distinctions are affirmed; we find something like them in the Principles of Morals and Legislation : but, instead of “ social,” the expression there used is “ ultra-regarding”-an expressive though quaint term. Had Mr. Bentham always written as he has in some chapters of this work, his merits would have been readily, generally, and gratefully, acknowledged ; but the extreme want of candour which characterises his representations of, and animadver

VOL. 11. (1833) no. 1.

« ElőzőTovább »