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their beginning, indeed, in experience, but their origin in the mind itself.” Once more, Sir William Hamilton's view of space and time depends on his regarding them as entities. But is not the premise itself an assumption unsupported and insupportable? Suppose we deny that they are entities, and consider them only as conditions of our existence and of our knowledge of the existence of other entities. Then ceasing to be entities, neither finitude nor infinity can be predicated of either. Such terms become at once inapplicable to them, and so we cut the gordian knot which philosophers have so long essayed in vain to untie.
This is what Sir William Hamilton himself resorts to in treating of causality, assuming a new and middle ground between the old disputants, a position which, in this case, we think wholly untenable, and the least satisfactory of all.
Neither the interests of religion, nor the facts of consciousness, nor the dicta of philosophers, will tolerate a position of neutrality here. It is the battle-field of the ages, the Italy of polemics, both theological and philosophical. But for this very reason, we can not enter upon a discussion of it at the close of a notice already too long. We defer it, therefore, to another, merely indicating our belief that both the evidences and the interests, as well of philosophy as of religion, fully confirm the popular belief that in all changes in man or nature, over and above antecedent and consequent, there is present in the mind an idea of an originating cause of the change, an idea to which we have no doubt there is an actual counterpart in natural phenomena.
We observe, it is true, changes continually commenced and continued without the intervention of spiritual agents, so far as the testimony of the senses goes, but all the time the mind of man unbiased by theory and unwarped by prejudice, affirms that throughout the universe all changes originate in a will or spiritual force, finite or infinite.
It affirms this with the same assurance and by virtue of the same faculties that it affirms three angles of a triangle to be equal to two right angles. The affirmation in both cases is
traceable to a logical necessity to which the mind is reduced by the laws of its own constitution.
In a word, the opposite argument is as feeble as the senses on which it is based; while this, is as reliable as the mental constitution of which God is the sole author. The only escape from it is found in a denial of the veracity of our highest faculties and consciousness, which is a virtual impeachment of the veracity of God Himself.
THEOLOGY.* It was John Foster, we believe, who said that man has no right to deny the divine existence unless he knows that there is no God, and that no one can know this without knowing all things—a prerogative of God only. Similar to this is the reasoning of Professor Mansel in his “Limits of Religious Thought.” The reasoning is based on Sir William Hamilton's theory of the Absolute and Infinite, which as we have seen he declares it impossible for man to know. Some one has said that Prof. Mansel's book is equal to Bishop Butler's. But such an opinion, however flattering to Professor Mansel, is not very complimentary to the discernment of its author. The Analogy of Bishop Butler, in its essential features, has a basis no less firm than the “Constitution and Course of Nature.” Professor Mansel's book derives its animus from an able metaphysical theory, and will live or die with its original. Bishop Butler's work has never been answered, and can never be refuted. Professor Mansel's will be assailed by numerous critics, and can scarcely escape unscathed. All Christians accept the conclu. sions of the great Bishop, but all believers will not be equally pleased with the lucubrations of Professor Mansel, because not satisfied with the metaphysical theory on which it is based. In fine, Bishop Butler's Analogy is the ablest work of the kind in the English or any language, and will be read with equal interest in every age. Professor Mansel's book is interesting to us, but may be shelved by the next generation, as hundreds of similar treatises have been. Yet we doubt not that it will
Tas LIMITS OF RELIGIOUS THOUGIT EXAMINED. In Eight Lectures delivered before the Uni. versity of Oxford. By HENRY LONGUEVI LLE MANSEL, B.D. 1859. Boston: Gould & Lincoln.
render essential service in this generation to the cause of historic Christianity. It is as learned as the most popular works of a skeptical tendency, and foils them with their own weapons. It at least will remind the readers of such works that Sir Roger de Coverley was fortunate in his discovery that there are two sides to every question, and that much may be said on both sides,
And this brings out our cardinal objection, not so much to Professor Mansel as to Sir William Hamilton. He is too impartial. That is to say, he makes, or seeks to make it appear, that in processes of thought the difficulties of the Christian are as great as those of the unbeliever; that the objections to Christian conclusions are as insurmountable, from a purely intellectual standpoint, as to those which are unchristian or antiChristian. In his system, both fate and free-will, matter and spirit, the absolute and its opposite, these and all kindred questions, are involved in inextricable mazes and endless contradictions. We are indeed compelled to accept some conclusions instead of others, but this by a moral rather than a logical necessity. On the field of argument, the fatalist, the pantheist, the atheist, are as unassailable as the advocates of freewill, theism, and man's immortality. In these matters, the only conclusion we can come to is one which concludes nothing respecting them, or at the most, that though one or the other must be true, we know not which. This is what we have called in the above notice of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy, “ a lame and impotent conclusion.” We do not, we can not accept it. We admit the inevitable antagonism of opposing systems, but not that the reasoning on the one side is as conclusive as on the other. We allow, even, that in nature there is much to sustain Sir William Hamilton's "Law of Contradiction.” But the difference is not fundamental; not real, but only apparent; not actual, but phenomenal; not eternal, but temporal; yet it is so obvious as to have made it possible for philosophers of all ages to take opposite views in regard to the great problem of man and of the universe. What we contend for is that the contradictions are not parallel or equal ; and that consequently the opposing arguments of hostile schools are not to be reduced to the same level. Plato was nearer to the mind and doctrine of Christ than was Aristotle or Epicurus or Zeno. True, Platonism made its disciples, in many instances, proud, but it was a pride more worthy of man than the humility of the Epicureans, or the indifference of the Aristotelians, or the sourness of the Stoics. Platonism taught man to believe in the soul, in immortality, in divine things. It incited him to aspire for something immense and infinite: the “ aliquid immensum infinitumque" of Cicero. And all this was very good. For then, as now:
“Unless erect himself above himself he can,
How mean a thing is man!".
Briefly, then, Platonism prepared man for Christianity; led to it, both by persuading him of the reality of Divine things, and by its own inability either to reveal them in particular and definite forms, or to raise man up to a communion with them. The consequence was, thousands passed from Platonism to Christianity, who without the impetus imparted by that would never have cared to consider the claims of this. As it was then, so it has been since, now is, and will ever be. Philosophy is but the sum of human thinking. Men will think as long as possessed of the faculty of thinking. Their thinking will have different results. But it is an error to say that these results are equally necessary. No less dangerous is it to declare that the spiritual or transcendental philosophy is as baseless as the sensational or skeptical.
Locke, though a Christian himself, led others, both in England and France, to the skepticism of Pyrrho or to the sty of Epicurus. His was the reigning philosophy of the eighteenth century, and the eighteenth century was the least Christian of all centuries since Christ. With all our faults, the nineteenth century is incomparably more believing than the last, and is daily increasing in faith. This is owing to a combination of causes, of which the revival of the philosophy which traces its descent from Plato is not the least. And wo be the day, and wo be to the Church that lends its influence to undermine our confidence in the fundamental principles of this philosophy. We may be wrong in fearing that this will prove the tendency of Sir William Hamilton's system. We hope we are. We take pleasure in acknowledging the learning and ability of both the philosopher and the professor. Their works are before the public, American as well as British. Read with discrimination they can not but be useful, by exciting interest in, and awakening thought on these great subjects. It is due to Professor Mansel to add that he has proved himself a disciple worthy of the great man whom he calls his master in philosophy. His lectures, too, are admirably adapted to expose the inconsistencies and absurdities of those theologians who think they can dispense with the Bible. For such sciolists we have as little admiration as he. All we desire is to suggest, that great as are the evils of rationalism and transcendentalism in religion, the dangers of empiricism, sensationalism, skepticism, and pantheism are still greater, and far more degrading both to the individual man and the community which embraces them. Witness the history and moral status of England and France in the eighteenth, compared with that of New-England and Germany in the first half of the nineteenth, (the eras and countries of these systems.) By “transcendental” we mean that philosophy which goes beyond the senses for the evidences of its conclusions. By “spiritual,” that which assumes that there is a spirit in man and in the universe, to which-one or the other of which, the finite or the infinite—we must refer all changes in nature, all natural phenomena, and finally the creation of matter; albeit Sir William Hamilton's principles would lead to the conclusion that matter is not only as ancient as spirit, but substantially the same. Hence, he denies the possibility of our conceiving either an original creation of matter, or that it should cease to exist. Surely, in this position alone we have seed which, if duly sown, will spring up and bear fruit so plentifully as to secure a generation of pantheists or atheists. Now we hold with Plato that spirit is before matter, and the cause of all its phenomena ; and with the Bible and the Church, that God only is eternal, (hath immortality,) while matter is temporal. He is the Creator, in the sense of