Page images

single or unitarian root of knowledge ; and further, in the as. sertion that this root is subjective or idealistic; but they are essentially opposed in so far as, according to Ferrier, the single factor out of which all knowledge springs is spiritual--the apprehensive ego; according to the Sensationalists, it seems to be nothing more than a modification of matter, different, it may be, from all lower modifications, but not substantially different or distinct.*

III. We have left ourselves no space to consider the final stage of Professor Ferrier's philosophical development as exhibited in the Lectures on Greek Philosophy. This is the less to be regretted because, as we have already said, these lectures do not add anything, or at least add very little, to the distinctive results of his system of thought. Valuable, indeed, as these lectures are as models of lucid exposition, of calm, vigorous, persistent thinking, tracking a few ideas with an undeviating interest and freshness, and a reiterated force and clearness of meaning, which at times almost startles by its brilliancy, they yet labour under disadvantages. With the exception of the earlier ones they are scarcely in a state in which he himself would have published them. They suffer, moreover, from intrinsic defects, arising partly from his subject, and partly from his mode of treating it. The earlier or pre-Socratic phrases of Greek philosophy are only known to us from fragmentary writings, in some places impenetrably obscure, and offering a field for plausible conjecture rather than for clear and satisfactory explanation. This was a tempting field for Professor Ferrier. Possessed of not a few

a of the qualities of an historian of Philosophy, a rare insight into the heart of systems, and the vitally organising skill which can reproduce their process of connexion and growth, and trace their most hidden relations, he was yet so intent upon his own views as to see other systems mainly in their light. His faculty of interpretation, while keen and largely appreciative, was also arbitrary and over confident. Where he did not find meanings he did not hesitate to substitute them- to eke out the meagre and halting sense from his own fertile and eager thoughtfulness. Above all things, he professed the necessity of rendering past doctrines intelligible-of reanimating them • from within while engaged in receiving and deciphering them • from without.'t But it is evident how nearly interpretation

Bain . On the Emotions and Will,' pp. 641-6.; Mill's · Examination of Hamilton's Philosophy,'c. xi.

† Remains, vol. i. p. 3.

may in such a case verge upon dogmatism, and the function of the historical critic be lost in the zeal of the metaphysician. The Lectures on Greek Philosophy bear a good many traces of this dogmatism, of the process of first putting in a meaning and then drawing it out again. The process is pleasant, and a vivid light is shed over the page, but it is a light to which the materials before him sometimes very slightly contribute.

After the publication of the Institutes of Metaphysic,' or at least of the pamphlet in their defence, Ferrier's interest in the polemical side of his philosophy, which had hitherto been so strong, seemed to languish. He dwelt mainly on certain positive aspects of philosophical belief, and especially, upon the great idea that philosophical Truth must, by its character, be universal—in other words, a Truth for all intelligence and not merely for some intelligence, and further, that philosophy in its successive developments is to be regarded, and can only be understood, as a search after this Universal or Absolute. This is the twofold idea which inspires his lectures. It constantly re-appears, and the various systems which come under review are made tributary to its illustration. It is remarkable to what extent it sheds a real illumination upon the course of Greek speculation.

In conclusion, we feel ourselves warranted in saying of Professor Ferrier—whatever estimate may be formed of his philosophical system--that he is one of those thinkers who are likely to leave their mark upon the course of metaphysical opinion. There is life in all that came from his pen, the life which springs out of intense conviction and of a rare, brilliant, and penetrating faculty of thought. He was possessed of a lofty faith in the divine dignity of human reason and the reality of a truth transcending that of the senses. As far removed as any man could be from superstition, he yet held, with an unhesitating decision, that man cannot live by bread alone; and in a time when the vague compromises of the old Scottish school seem no longer able to resist the advancing tide of Sensationalism, he will be remembered as having vindicated a spiritual principle in man on grounds of the highest and most confident argument.

ART. IV. - L'Eglise et l'Empire Romain au IVme Siècle.

Par M. ALBERT DE BROGLIE de l'Académie Française.

Troisième Partie. THIS HIS work was noticed in our pages * on its first appearance.

Since that time, four volumes have been added, and we have now, in welcoming the two final volumes, to follow the distinguished author to the conclusion of his labours. Before entering on the consideration of this last instalment of his history, it is not out of place to glance at the previous fortunes of his family, and at the position which he occupies in his own Church and country. The original seat of the Broglies was a village near Turin, called the village of the Six B's, because six illustrious families whose names begin with B sprang from it. The Broglies emigrated in the seventeenth century to a town in Normandy formerly called Chambras, but receiving from them the name of · Broglie,' which, after the interval of the French Revolution, it recovered again at its own desire. Parts of the old castle still remain, but the larger portion of it was built by Marshal de Broglie, who was employed by Louis XVI. in the reaction against the Revolution, and who in consequence emigrated. He refused ever again to see his son, who had taken the popular side in the Assembly. This son was the father of the present Duke; who was guillotined at a later stage of the Revolution, and shortly before his death sent for his child and said, • They will tell you in after years that I fell a victim to the excesses of liberty. Do not believe them. It is not liberty but tyranny which has caused my fall.' That parting counsel has never been forgotten in the house of Broglie. The child grew up to be the able Constitutional Minister of King LouisPhilippe; and in spite of his father's tragical death, in spite of the overthrow of his royal master and of his friend the celebrated statesman, M. Guizot, who lives in dignified seclusion as his neighbour, he remained, and has remained, faithful to the liberal principles which he thus inherited. Those who have partaken of his hospitality in the halls of that ancient castle will feel that they have seen in him the model of a statesman now rarely to be met-grave and wise and just; as open to new impressions and ideas as he is reserved and discriminating in his judgment of the present and the past.

The religious history of the family is still more remarkable than its political career. Two uncles of the Duke were in holy

* Ed. Review, vol. cxi. p. 422.


orders. One became Bishop of Ghent, and was deposed from his office for some offence taken against him by the first Napoleon. The other, who adopted extreme royalist views, was so enraged against the Concordat, that, wishing to place as vast a gulf as possible between himself and the restored Church of France, he dressed in colours, wore a pigtail, and abandoned all clerical functions. But another vein of thought entered into the family by the Duke's marriage with a Protestant lady-one of the most remarkable women of her time—the daughter of Madame de Staël, who combined the genius of her mother with a high principle and devotion which well fitted her to exercise the most beneficial influence over any family in which her lot might be cast. Steadfast to the convictions of her own faith. she was able conscientiously to bring up her sons in the faith of their father; and, indeed, so lofty was the religious atmosphere in which she lived, that it might be said to be above the level where theological discords take their rise. A volume of fragments, printed after her death, on moral and theological subjects, exhibits a character as pure and a mind as strong as ever was produced by either of the two contending sections of Christendom. She lies in the little cemetery of the castle, cut off by premature death, which has cast a shade, never altogether removed, over the survivors of the family. It is the eldest son of this union, Albert, Prince de Broglie, who has devoted himself to this laborious work on the Church and the Empire

of the Fourth Century,' and on whom the French Academy has been able to confer an honour almost without parallel, by enrolling amongst its members both father and son of the same illustrious house. In the combination of independent judgment, of religious veneration, of industrious research, and of noble aspirations which these volumes exhibit, we seem to see united the various qualities which we have traced in his lineage. If, at times, they display indications of the extravagant fancies and reactionary tendencies of his great grandfather and great uncle, the more general spirit of his book is that which he has derived from his distinguished parents. But it is from a more than any merely personal interest that we have called attention to this peculiarity of M. de Broglie's position. That position is one which he shares with a few-we fear but a few-remarkable men, in his own and other countries of Europe, of a sincere and devout Roman Catholic, who is free to receive the impressions of the science and progress of the age in which he lives, and resist, so far as possible, the encroachments by which papal despotism and ecclesiastical pretensions are constantly endeavouring to suppress the sense of truth and the struggles of




conscience within the bosom of the Roman Church. For a member of that Church to keep himself pure from this its besetting temptation, and to prefer the calls of truth and freedom to the craving for illimitable authority, is a difficult, many, perhaps, may think a hopeless, task. But it is one to which no one who cares for the prospects of Christendom can be indifferent—it is a cause, to which, as on former occasion,* so now, we bid God speed, because its advance involves with it the advance of Christian enlightenment throughout the world.

How far he has sustained this position will, we think, appear on a careful perusal of his work. It consists of three parts. The first, of which a notice occurred in these pages immediately after its appearance, included the original establishment of the Christian Empire under Constantine. The second part chiefly turned on the reaction of Paganism under Julian, and the furious disputes within the Church itself, under Constantine's successors. The third part, which is now before us, comprehends the final establishment of Christianity and the suppression of Paganism under Theodosius.

It has seemed to us that, under present circumstances, we cannot do better than select one portion of the work, on which he has evidently bestowed much labour and care, and which perhaps has the most interest for the general reader-namely, the description of the Second Ecumenical Synod, the First Council of Constantinople. It is a perspicuous treatment of one of those great assemblies, which have been enshrined in the traditional veneration of Christendom, as having contributed to the formation of our present ecclesiastical and dogmatic system; and this treatment becomes more interesting when we find it in the hands not of a professed divine, but of a layman, a gentleman, and a scholar. And, although pledged

a by his creed to a certain preconceived view of these delicate subjects, he has spoken of it with a freedom and a force, that, whilst illustrating his peculiar position in his own church, to which we have just alluded, gives a hope that on other kindred topics he and those who think with him may be induced to break the death-like silence of submission which is the real bane of the modern Roman Catholic Church.

In telling the story of this often-quoted synod, we shall follow the order of events, as M. de Broglie has arranged them, and shall take his view of the proceedings, except so far as they appear to us plainly at variance with the original autho

* Ed. Review, vol. cxx. p. 304.

† The Council itself, we must remember, took place A.D. 381. VOL. CXXVI. NO. CCLVII.


« PreviousContinue »