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reason is pointed, and her sighting out. Humility becomes thus the purified, when it is right she should cardinal virtue not only of revelation see plainly ; but a mist and darkness but of reason. This scheme proves fall upon her when she pries into moreover that the difficulty emerges things invisible. How beautifully in theology which had not previously this permissiveand preventive scheme emerged in philosophy,--that in fact of knowledge adapts itself to our if the divine do not transcend what finite state, and in a world of sense, it has pleased the deity to reveal, and is at once apparent. The light is wilfully identify the doctrine of God's shut off from the supersensual only word with some arrogant extreme of to be shut in more brightly on a human speculation, philosophy will world of sense. Thus, as the apostle be found the most useful auxiliary testifies, the invisible things of God of theology. For a world of false are clearly seen from creation, ano and pestilent and presumptuous rea KTIOEWS koopov, and so far knowledge soning, by which philosophy and is presentative; but they (these in theology are now equally discredited, visible things, his eternal power and would be at once abolished in the Godhead) are only understood (not recognition of this rule of prudeat seen) by the things that are made, nescience ; nor could it longer be corand so far knowledge is only pheno rectly said of the code of consciousmenal. The presentative intuition of ness, as by reformed divines it has phenomena to a mind in search of been acknowledged of the Bible, God will suggest the representative knowledge of those invisible things, This is the book where each his dogma soeka, his power and Godhead. Theism is And this the book where each his dogma finds possible, because pantheism is precluded from its boasted intellectual The two germinant truths of the intuition of the absolute; and again, philosophy of common sense are, the proofs of theism are possible, first, the limitation of our faculties; because phenomenal knowledge is second, the relativity of our know. presentative; we may know the Deity ledge. representatively, because we know all They may be usefully applied to that is desirable to know of his works moderate between controversial expresentatively.
tremes in religion. The extension and application of First-The limitation of our faculthe philosophy of common life to the ties bounds us in on the question of religion of common life is a subject
ne relation of fate to free will. The we would gladly enter on, did space rule of logic of excluded middle appermit. “Above all,” says Sir W. plies only to contradictories, not to Hamilton, (Discussions, p. 597, “I contraries. Of contradictories we can am confirmed in my belief by the argue the falsehood of the one from harmony between the doctrines of the truth of the other, or the opposite; this philosophy and those of revealed and were a logic of transcendental truth, “Credo equidem, nec vana truth possible, such as Hegel attemptfides.' The philosophy of the con ed, every proposition of theology ditioned is indeed pre-eminently a might be put into the form of condiscipline of humility, a learned igno- tradictory and excluded middle. rance," directly opposed to the But from two contraries we can false knowledge that puffeth up. “I logically affirm nothing; there can be may indeed say with St. Chysostom, no excluded middle, the practical the foundation of our philosophy is middle term is included, and is not humility. (Homil. de Perf. Evang. )" the alternative between two extremes, For it is professedly a scientific de but their synthesis. All theological monstration of the impossibility of systems are blind to this grand dis that wisdom in high matters which tinction; and the greater the addiction the apostle prohibits us even to at to system, the greater the pertinacity tempt; and it proposes, from the to apply the rule of contradictories to limitation of the human powers, from contraries which transcend the finite our impotence to comprehend what reason, and which, so soon as rationalsoever we must admit, to show ized,- brought, that is, within the emphatically why the secret things of logical rule of excluded middle, God cannot but be to man past find cease to be the truths they were.
the question of
the relation of fate
Systematic divinės first eviscerate these truths, and then logically argue on them as if they were the same living realities when bound into their systems as before. Thus the finite will and the infinite decree are related to each other as contraries. To represent them as contradictories is to distroy one or theother. Granted the finite will, the infinite decree is logically impossible; and the opposite. But this logical impossibility proves either that one of the two is untrue, which the practical reason denies ; or that they are related, not as contradictories but as contraries; of contraries, both may be true, and since the practical reason assents as well to the existence of free will in us as of decrees in God, all that we can conclude is, that both are true, but that the relation in which they stand to each other is beyond the reach of such finite faculties as ours.
Secondly—The relativity of our knowledge is a sedative to another religious controversy.
Sir W. Hamilton has shown that the philosophy of the unconditioned is impossible from this, that an “absolute cause" is a contradiction in terms. The absolute is defined as an absolute cause which cannot but pass into act. Now it is sufficiently mani. fest, that a thing existing absolutely, (or not under relation), and a thing existing absolutely as a cause are contradictory. The former is the absolute negation of all relation, the latter is the absolute affirmation of a particular relation. Thus, from the relativity of our knowledge (knowledge implying judgment, and judgment comparison orduality), wecannot know God the absolute but in relation to all other existences of which we are conscious. We may by an effort, or an act of the mind, abstract the Creator from his creation ; but this act is one more akin to faith than knowledge; it is more an assent to a revelation without, than a judgment of our own within. But as soon as we descend to think or discourse on God, we think of him under relation. This law of thought is insuperable ; transcend it, and you cease to think; you believe in the absolute; but you can only know God under these relations which consciousness brings before us. Thus the existence of God is related in is to the reality
of evil. Consciousness tells us of both, and one cannot exclude the other.
They are, moreover, independent existences. It is essential to our idea of evil, that we should think of it as underived in any way from God, as essentially opposed to him. The inconceivability of evil would thus amount to the inconceivability of God; and it is a remarkable proof of this, that every system which begins by denying the one, ends by denying the other. The antithesis (metaphysical only we mean of course) between the two is necessary, not accidental. Nay, more, where the existence of evil as a positive existence is denied, the existence of God soon disappears also. Among those pantheists, for instance, who call evil non-being, and thus deny its positive existence, being also is in danger of disappearing, and the zero point of all thought being touched in the formula, the allnothing. The existence of evil, we should rather say its conceivability (for the one we believe shall cease, the other never can), thus conditionates the existence of God. Is there no will to obey or disobey contingent on itself only, and therefore liable to evil as well as disposed to good. Obey there is, then. Such is the relativity of our know, ledge; no will to command ; God's will ceases with ours. Pantheism is but a ledgein the precipice of Nihilism; the fall is only arrested for an instant, and the rebound certain and inevitable. Many zealous divines of some systematic schools are not pantheists; very loth should we be to charge them with it. But if exact to their own opinions, they imply it. God to them is all in all. The significance of evil as antagonistic to the divine will is lost to them, for they cling to the divine sovereignty without those limitations which the existence of evil supposes. The relativity of our knowledge is thus a wholesome corrective to this and every other extreme opinion. Our philosophy confirms what our religion teaches, that we walk through a sea of mys, tery, with a wall of waters on our right hand and on our left, and that it is our duty to walk where revelation has made a path for us, without presuming to question the laws by which two such mysteries are suspended over us; thankful rather that
there is a way at all, than that it lies midway through mysteries that rise impenetrably on both sides of us.
Sir W. Hamilton has thus done more than any man living to dispel the delusion, that where philosophy begins, common sense ends. His system makes no pretensions to be philosophy for the million, though it certainly is thesense-philosophy of the million; it is the common to all with which he discovers truth, though truth when discovered may not seem common sense to all. There are two extremes of ignorance, at one of which stands common sense, at the other the philosophy of common sense; the middle stage between thetwo is the history of philosophy. Knowing the extremes, our read. ers are given a clue to guide them throghu the means. Speculative philosophy is a river tunnelling its way in darkness through a mountain; it is seen by common sense before it disappears, and after it emerges again ; we are now about by torchlight to track its course through some of the underground caverns, where it threads its way through dark windings of esoteric truths, past the deep still pools of metaphysics, and see the shades of sophists and schoolmen still haunting those holy crypts where philosophy once had her shrine, and to which common life once looked with superstitious awe.
We must content ourselves with one guide, and that for a limited portion of the way. At present the name of Archer Butler is already, we are sure, well known to our readersit needs no introduction from us. “ Butler noster"-our University may affectionately and distinctively claim him as her own, although adopted since by Cambridge, and admitted ad eundem (alas, only by posthumous fame) among those distinguished graduates of other Universities whom Cambridge honors herself by honoring. “ Quisquis es, noster eris," was the formula, according to Livy, with which a deserter was admitted into the Roman army. Rome thus recruited her armies from without as well as from within ; she wisely acted on King Saul's plan of enlistment“ when Saul saw any strong man or valiant man, he took him unto him.” The same wise liberality in titles has long characterised Cambridge ; less exclusive than Oxford, less isolated
than Dublin, she has attracted talent to her wherever it was to be found; and her late hearty recognition of Archer Butler's talents, both as a preacher and a philosopher, is another example of that liberality, twice blessed, enriching her that honours and him that is honoured.
The course of Lectures on Ancient Philosophy were delivered by Archer Butler to the students of Trinity College, Dublin, from the chair of Moral Philosophy instituted in the year 1837. In explanation of the delay which has taken place in their publication, the editor informs us that the MSS. remained in the possession of Mr. Woodward, now Dean of Down, until some eighteen months ago, when the present publishers purchased the copyright from that gentleman. While all allowance must be made for a posthumous and unfinished work, they tend, in the judgment of so competent a critic as Professor Thompson, "to raise rather than diminish the reputation of an author, who, though personally unknown to me, the masterly
Letters on Development' had led me to rank among the most gifted spirits of his generation.” That they will be read with interest by all who knew and admired Archer Butler's genius, is no more than may reasonably be expected--that they will take rank as one of the fullest expositions of the Platonic philosophy in the English language, we may also fairly anticipate.
We agree with the editor in re gretting that the introductory series has been left in its present state. Mr. Butler seems to be only feeling his way into the subject through the first seven lectures. They will be read, no doubt, and enjoyed by many for their eloquence, the ornature of the style and the copiousness of illustration. As prelections they are, no doubt, far above the average of College lectures, but they want that which could alone give them permanent value. They touch but do not grasp the subject. Above all other uses, introductory lectures on the history of philosophy are valuable, if they bound off the subject by shewing us either the length of our tether or the logical limits of the science itself. Mr. Butler is not precise in either of these two respects. Admitting the distinction between physiology and
ontology, he is not satisfied either to reject or discard the latter. He excepts against ontology, middle aged, and modern. But while he agrees “ with the cold but just decision of Dugald Stewart, with which the great Scottish physiologist frowns from his presence that monster unacknowledged by consciousness, the intellectual intuition of Schelling, renewed by the master of the French eclectic school, under the title of a pure apperception, yet," he says, “I cannot consent to relinquish the vast enquiry, and I still believe that a middle course may be found which shall establish the internal independence of reason; in some sense its essential objectivity and direct apprehension of absolute truth.” What the middle course may be between physiology, or the philosophy of the conditioned, and ontology, or the philosophy of the unconditioned, Mr. Butler nowhere that we have observed tells us. The definition of ontology which he offers in a succeeding lecture, is neither more or less unintelligible than that given by those same German speculatists from whom he professes to dissent. “The science of ontology, therefore, as I would define and distinguish it, comprehends investigations of every real existence, either beyond the sphere of the present world, or in any other way (the italics are our own), incapable of being the direct object of consciousness, which can be deduced immediately from the possession of certain feelings or principles and faculties by the human soul.”
This ontology, Mr. Butler goes on to prove, is identical with the science of sciences, the Prima Philosophia, called at first Sophia in general, and known after as the Dialectic of Plato, and now familiar to us as Metaphysics, from a name first applied to one of Aristotle's treatises by one of his ancient commentators.
Ontology, or the science of essence, we believe to be impossible, both from the nature of the mind itself, and from the connection of mind with matter. First, we can only know, in so far as we can compare, or differentiate ; but when there is no comparison, as in the pretended intuition, there can be no knowledge. Render, we say, unto reason the things which are reason's, and to faith
the things which are faith's. We believe in an absolute, but we cannot know it. Secondly, we object to ontology, because it implies that the knowledge we have of phenomena is only phenomenal, and, therefore, pro tanto, untrue, whereas we say that as we can only know phenomena, so we know them as they are, not as they seem to be. In other words, knowledge is presentative, and the mind is brought face to face, so to speak, with matter.
The grounds on which we agree with the philosophy of common sense, and, therefore, disagree with ontologists, have been already stated, and therefore need not be repeated. We cannot but regret that Mr. Butler has halted between two opinions. His strong common sense inclined him to phenomenology; a vein of mysticismalways the disease of a poet-philosopher (for poetry and philosophy were interwoven in Mr. Butler's mind, as the warp and woof of different textures glancing alternately before us) -called him back to ontology. He oscillates between the two, according as Scotland or Germany attracts him to common sense or its opposite, reminding us of one “who doats yet doubts, suspects yet strongly loves.”
Asit is impossible to canvass Plato's opinions fairly without agreeing first in some elenchus of truth, either the relativity of our knowledge and theimmediacy of perception which the school of common sense professes, or the knowledge of substance and real being as the transcendental school professes, or the impossibility of any knowledge whatever, as the Hegelian school profess, it would be as well to decide once for all whether that elenchus of truth professed by Plato is the true one or not.
There is a sentence in Plato (Theatetus, p. 185, E.) to this effect, “The soul appears to investigate herself partly by herself, and partly by the powers of the body.” It appears so indeed. In what direction would you assign substance? I think in that in which the soul attempts to transcend itself (yux) Kal' avtnu epopeyetai). That attempt to transcend itself, to rise above the soul to the consciousness of a great over-soul, is at once the glory and the weakness of the natural reason. Ontology is
that groping after God, if haply it may find him. It can never reach farther than the altar to the Unknown God; and before revelation, or supposing a revelation impossible, ontology would no doubt deserve to be the master-science. Paul at Athens, so far from rebuking this desire to grope after a God, highly commends it; while he chides the inconsistency of those same philosophers who sought after an over-soul, and yet worshipped him under material images. Thus ontology, or the attempt to transcend phenomena, is praiseworthy in those without the light, but is a perverse abuse of our faculties to those who are in the light. It is better to grope our way out of the cavern, as in that beautiful myth of Plato, than to sit down in chains looking on the shadows that flit before us. If to escape this ‘Epicurus sty' be ontology, all the noble schools of ancient philosophers were ontologists, and so should we if the same alternative were before us. But it is not fair to represent us in the same case; though we deny the record which contains it, we cannot deny the revelation itself of a personal God. The true light now shineth, and in this sense lighteth every man who cometh into the world; we cannot thus escape a consciousness of God, for it has now become part of our own consciousness. We are often as unconsciously conscious of the one as the other. To deny the source of this God-consciousness, and to attempt to discover it within ; to go groping after the unknown God, and to alight upon it as if by accident, forgetting all the while that it has been already revealed to us, is a piece of solemn trifling, for which modern ontologists are without excuse. They would better imitate Plato, not by attempt ing with him to make the soul transcend itself, but by adopting truth wherever found, remembering withal the words of one greater than Plato. “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." To show that philosophy after revelation can discover of itself ontologically the same attributes in God which the Bible reveals, is only to break Columbus' egg. The existence of a western world was à priori as probable as the being and attributes of God; but without a Columbus we should never have heard of the one, or, without
a revelation, of the other. Ontology was unsuccessful before, and therefore we say worthless after.
Had Mr. Butler considered this, we think he would have omitted an ontological proof of a divine intellect, a divine will, and a divine judge; on the principle that mind, as a phenomenon only, containing under it the three qualities of reason, volition, and duty, "must suppose some corresponding counterpart of positive reality. The argument at best is either weak or worthless; it is weak in Plato's hands, and worthless in the hands of his modern disciples.
Passing by the first series, which contains seven lectures on the preSocratic philosophy, Indian as well as Greek, we come to the second and third series, which contain the real pith of Mr. Butler's thoughts on ancient philosophy. The lectures on Plato are, perhaps, the best biography and introduction to his dialogues which can be found either in England or Germany. It is no mean praise to have laid down a clue to that labyrinth of thought, a dialogue of Plato. That Plato was a keen sportsman, his fondness for hunting metaphors would prove
“A mighty hunter, and his game was
But he often loses himself, as well as his retinue of commentators, in the chase. His whole system is nothing but a grand hunt through the mazes of opinion and the thickest of the senses after hidden truth. Convinced as he was of the falsity of opinion, and the deceptiveness of the senses, his Dialectics were the stalking of truth-attended with a thousand difficulties, and ending often in disappointment, but well worth the chase. The animation with which the pursuit is kept up, the huntsman's hallo, the keen snuffing of the hounds, the game beat up, the cross scents, the escape, or the capture, are all heard and seen as vividly as if we walked with Socrates and heard him posing the Sophists more than two thousand years ago. The grove is a forest, and the academy the subscrip tion-hunt of ancient philosophy.
It will easily be understood that to pursue the pursuer, and hunt down a