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nation, and to awaken a new and startled interest in facts, over which man is ever prone to slumber.
We do not object that any truth which deeply concerns man should be presented by the philosopher in such a way as to take the strongest hold of his faith and his feelings. But it should be remembered that the attitude of the philosopher, in investigating truth and announcing to others the results, is essentially different from that of the meditative believer, or the devout worshipper, When, then, it is insisted that he shall be both at once, that he shall use the language both of worship and of science, the attempt is made to combine elements more unlike than oil and water. Let the philosopher use the language of the schools, when he is in the schools; when he is a poet, let him chant the language which the muses shall teach him ; when he worships let him pray; when he summons his fellow-man from his sleep of death and sin, let him startle him with the awakening tones of the prophet. But let every thing be done in its place, and let the language of the place be adhered to. True it is, that much philosophical truth can be, and doubtless is, conveyed in a style thus fascinating to the imagination. It would be bigotted folly to deny that many profound observations, on intellectual, moral and theological science, on the history of opinions and of man are thus presented. It is even granted that the entire circle of principles that are received in metaphysical science, may be announced in such language, and there be no important error. We certainly do not value the truth the less, nor do we deny that it is philosophical truth, because it is presented in a poetical garb. We deem works thus written to be of the highest interest and importance, at certain stages of mental progress, and would recommend them as of the highest use, in awakening a philosophical spirit, and in calling into action the reflecting faculty. But we must contend, the while, that it shows a most limited acquaintance with the nature of real science and the kind of language it demands, to suppose that such a diction can be employed in its more refined and attenuated investigations, or can express and make permanent the results of its more refined analyses; that because it can convey certain general facts, concerning the soul, in its wants, and aspirations, and immortality, that it can name all its powers, and allot their functions, and distinguish between false and sound logic, and
make new investigations, and leave the results graven on the page
of science, in distinct and legible characters, for coming generations. It is more bigotted still to demand that no other than a style so unnatural shall be employed, and to be incapable of discerning in the homely phraseology of a Locke or Reid, the iruth that sparkles and entrances as ultered by Coleridge or Cousin. "And, yet, if all this were understood as it should be, what an end it would bring to a vast deal of fine writing about vital metaphysics, and the necessity of a spiritual philosophy, and the blight which the common philosophy breathes upon the life of faith.
We are far from defending the homely diffuseness, and the loose inconsistencies of Locke and certain of his English followers, and farther still from expressing any complacency in that hardest of all metaphysical styles, the ungraceful and untutored diction of the New England metaphysicians. A perfect philosophical style is not unsusceptible of sparkling vivacity or of graceful ease. Nor does it entirely forbid the rising from the even progression of its ordinary course into the excited ardor of lofty emotion. Still it should ever be remembered that the mien of science is chastened and severe, that her distinctions are many, and to all but her devotees, they seem excessively minute and over-refined; that the language which she employs is not that of ordinary life, and must be a naked and lifelesss thing to him, who has not himself known the thoughts which the words describe. When, then, the spiritualist will have no other than what he terms vital metaphysics, i. e., a philosophy which employs a diction, which will waken the intellect by its electric impulses, and stir the emotions, and is in no way contrasted with a style that is concerned with the realities of nature, rather than the names of science, he demands an impossibility. He even seeks an element, the very presence of which proves the metaphysics to be, at best, but very general, and, perhaps, very superficial philosophizing. Science in all her departments, and, most of all, mental science, begins with abstraction. Her very first effort is to give generic names-names which must be divested of that interest which pertains to the picture language of the senses. As she prosecutes her work, one of her highest attainments is to keep to her terminology with a severe precision, and to guard it with a determined caution ; SECOND SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. I.
and on this depends, in a great degree, her continued progress and her successful achievements.
Were we in a word to speak of our spiritualists as philosophers, we should say that they are in danger, while declaiming against the superficial and sensual philosophy which prevails, of becoming themselves more superficial, by adopting the dicta of their favorite authors, with too little severity of thinking of their own. While they claim independence of thought, they may find themselves hanging with a servile de pendence on the writings of their own inspiring genius, or looking back with an awful reverence on something admirably profound in the past which yet is in nothing admirable except for its obscurity. While they propose to themselves a course of scientific pursuit which shall be continually progressive, they need to see to it, lest they are revolving in the same charmed circle of sounding words, and incomprehensible yet lofly phraseology, and making progress only as they drive on in greater familiarity with the same recurring round. There is a danger, lest interpretation should usurp the place of reasoning, and the admiration with which they dwell upon the mythi of Plato, or the effort with which they labor to put some comprehensible meaning into the sayings “ hard to be understood” of Coleridge or Schelling, should be mistaken for the clear yet penetrating gaze by which true science sees into the life of things, and wrests from Nature the secret of her mystery. To our view, many of these professed spiritualists appear to be an earnest group of disciples lingering in the vestibule of the temple of science, who are ever pointing with a fervent admiration to the mysterious recesses within, and shuddering with a holy reverence at her consecrated shrines that disclose themselves in the distance ; ever seeming to be just about to enter, but never crossing the threshold.
We have contemplated the spiritualists of the day, so far, as philosophers. But they present themselves in another attitude. As Theologians, they claim unquestioned merits, and an undisputed superiority. “Our mode of studying truth," they tell us, "is not to contemplate her in the lifeless abstractions, or the dim and dead conceptions through which alone she reveals herself to the understanding, but in the living ideas, with which she ever stands before the Reason in her native beauty and commanding majesty. The arguments by which we commend her to others, are not those which argue
with the intellect, but those which command the soul. We wait not for the slow and sceptical induction of the doubting understanding, but we possess at once the citadel of the heart. We degrade not truth to the attitude of a suppliant entreating for admission, but we gird her with the armor of a conqueror.
As we believe that there are mysteries in science, so we are not offended at mysteries in Theology, and they do not awaken within us a perpetual struggle between our philosophy and our faith. While the prevailing philosophy leads the mind away from faith, ours carries us to its very borders, and easily blends with it, so that we can scarcely discern the line where Science terminates and Faith begins.
Natural Theology, as an independent science, with its own principles, its laws of evidence, its cautious admissions, in short, in all its researches concerning the being of God, its deductions as to the nature of man and his hopes and fears, under the light of nature, is pronounced a useless and almost an unchristian science, as though it cast implied dishonor on the truth of the Scriptures to meet the question of their falsehood or truth. So also the effort to reconcile the records of science with the page of revelation, is scouted as of evil tendency, as having no other effect ihan to place Christianity in a false position, as reduced to straits in her defences, rather than as demanding to be obeyed. All this apparatus of logic, and this cautious nicety of investigation, is useless, and worse than useless. The ideas of the soul, of immortality, and of God, are made known to the Reason, and the Reason commands the man to receive them as true, So also Christian Truth shines by its own light, and needs only to be seen by a spirit rightly attuned to be believed.
There is a sense in which all this is true. There is a sense in which it is not only false, but fraught with evil, not only to the progress of the intellect, but also to the moral feelings and character. If nothing more were intended by it than that the moral nature in man is to be recognized in all our reasonings concerning God and his government over man, and that it should ever be regarded as of the highest dignity and worth, and from it should be drawn the most convincing arguments, in speculations as to the light of nature, it would not only be true, but truth of the highest moment. For the lack of this respect to conscience in man, and to the will of
God as it there reveals itself, and the demands of God as he thus makes himself heard in the fears of conscience unenlightened, Natural Theology has too often, not to say more usually, been a barren and unconvincing speculation, and the defences of Christianity which rest upon it have been tame and powerless in their reasonings, and often impotent in their appeals. Speculators concerning the material works of God, and collators of evidences from profane history, have seemed to reason as if theirs were the arena on which the contest was to be decided, rather than by reasonings concerning the soul in its moral constitution and wants, and the government of God as likely to meet its capacities and needs, and as tending to perfect this his noblest work. But we must protest against the conclusion, that because our reasonings in Natural Theology and in the defence of Christianity, ought to take another direction, and to employ the most effective arguments, that therefore we are to cease to reason; or that because the mind of man will respond to these truths when made to see them, that therefore there is no need that they be set before the mind by a process of severe deduction, and driven home by an irresistible logic.
But when, asks one, “Oh, when shall Christianity be regarded as proved ? After eighteen hundred years, is it still a question to be debated ? Must it again and again be brought into the lists by every combatant, who in this way aspires to a literary reputation-who takes upon himself to affect a spurious candor, and to make unauthorized concessions, as though the whole defence of revealed truth had been by the church universal committed to his keeping? How long are our young men to be taught that nothing has yet been settled-that all established opinions are fetters upon the human mind, or that a standing miracle of eighteen centuries is to be called in question in each succeeding generation? Oh, when shall that truly believing age fully come, when we shall have again a teaching, and not merely a reasoning church-cultivating a believing spirit, and laying so deep the foundations of faith, that the after structure of human science shall not disturb them, without wrenching away all that imparts vigor to the intellect, or life to the affections?"
To the truth involved in these inquiries we heartily respond -in its quackery and confusion of error with truth we have not so entire a sympathy. Never will the necessity cease