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reflection of His glory from whom all light and truth proceed. Is it best, then, that man give up as insolulable these darling enigmas, and confine himself to the tangible, the real, and the presently-useful? Vain thought! Can the lightning tarry in the full-charged thunder-cloud when the conducting-rod pierces it? As soon may the reason remain incurious and inactive when the impressions of phenomena impinge upon it. Facts, individual facts, and events are connected by perceptivity into notions or concepts; concepts are, by the judgment, colligated into cause and substance; and the reason seeks, from these, to construct, mentally, the universe which God has, in reality, commanded to be. The intelligential reason satisfies itself with science; but the moral reason looks for a purpose and design in all, -asks some trace of the part which man is intended to perform in this mystery-shrouded state-some indication of the ultimate design of the vast apparatus of life, reproduction, and death, which work continually around him, and of which he is a part, and exclaims with Fichte, “Sometbing that is to endure must be brought forth in all these changes of what is transitory and perishable, something which may be carried forward safe and inviolable upon the waves of time.” Such queries and such exercitations as these are not without their uses even in an age like ours, which, practically at least, has homologated the basest utilitarianism as its philosophical creed, and expends its highest intellectuality in time-serving strategies. This servile flexure to circumstance philosophy contemns. The true it believes to be the result of the beautiful in physics and the good in morals. It looks upon the universe as the hieroglyphic writing of God, and maintains that, could the right interpretation be found, Eternal Truth, so far as our nature was capable of comprehending it, would become ours. It does not, however, consider the attainment of truth, in its entirety, either as possible or desirable. “Plato has profoundly defined man 'the hunter of truth;' for in this chase, as in others, the pursuit is all in all, the success comparatively nothing.... We exist only as we energise; pleasure is the reflex of unimpeded energy; energy is the mean by which our faculties are developed ; and a higher energy the end which their development proposes. In action is thus contained the existence, improvement, and perfection of our being; and knowledge is only precious as it may afford a stimulus to the exercise of our powers, and the condition of their more complete activity. Speculative truth is, therefore, subordinate to speculation itself; and its value is directly measured by the quantity of energy which it occasions immediately on its discovery-mediately through its consequences. ... By no other intellectual application (and least of all by physical pursuits) is the soul so reflected on itself, and its faculties concentred in such independent, vigorous, unwonted, and continued energy; by none, therefore, are its best capacities so variously and intensely evolved.
"Where there is most life, there is the victory.' "* However erroneous, therefore, the conclusions to which great philosophic minds arrive, they are not useless, as they tend not only to the evolution of important thought, but also help to exhaust the category of the possible. Greater than these considerations, however, is that which Guizot has stated in the following words:-"It is the just and happy privilege of genius, that its errors are pregnant with truth; it may at times lose
* Sir William Hamilton's “Discussions on Philosophy," &c., p. 40.
itself on the path which it opens; but the path is open, and more cautious followers may tread it surely."*
While making these reservations and admissions, however, we do not intend to subscribe to the too prevalent idea, that philosophy ignores the practical. Very far from it; the thoughts entertained concerning the purpose of life, the greatest good of man, and his relations with eternity, cannot fail to influence largely the conduct of men. It must, surely, make a vast difference in the conduct of individuals and communities, whether they have imbibed a philosophy which asserts that
“ This narrow world embraces all we know ;
Shot on the blank concavity without;" or that which, amidst the frivolities and madness of an age, proclaims loudly and fearlessly
“The end of being,
Which is the good of all, and love of God!" Those who have read the history of the world aright cannot have failed to perceive the close union which subsisted between the philosophy of an age and its results upon the future. The uncertainty concerning moral truths, combined with the reliance placed on dialectics in the pre-Socratic era, undoubtedly led to the unprincipled statesmanship prevalent in that age, when the sophists so sedulously occupied their talents in teaching how
“To gloze misdeeds-to trifle with great truths,
To pit the brain against the heart, and plead
How much did the almost universal acceptation of an ignoble and degenerate form of Epicureanism tend to produce “ the decline and fall of the Roman Empire?" Hear the evidence of Longinus:-“I am of opinion that energy and spirit have been depressed by the universal misery which incessant wars have produced, and the abject sentiments which everywhere prevail. The thoughts of all are engrossed by gain and the indulgence of appetite. A boundless luxury, with its attendant vices, pervades society. These unfit men for noble thoughts, quench aspirations after immortal things, and degrade our souls to the dust." of
The grand results of the Baconian Method in reforming discovery and augmenting human progress, in a physical and material point of view, are only equalled by the sad convulsions which in its ultimate issue, as developed in the sensational school in France, that method produced on the continent of Europe. And I cannot refrain from expressing
* Preface to Translation of Gibbon's “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (Bohn's “ British Classics"), vol. i. p. viii.
+ This is an abstract of Longinus's “ De Sublimitate," chap. xl., which we extract from a note by Wenck on Gibbon's “ Decline," &c., p. 78. On comparing it with the original, it will be found to contain the essence of that splendid chapter of that author, who
"Is always just;
my personal conviction that the homologation by the Scotch school of the principles contained in Buffier's “ Traité des Premières Verités,” under the cognomen of the “Philosophy of Common Sense,” is the prime cause of the many lamentable perversions to Popery which have of late years attracted so much attention. I believe the common sense school, in its ultimate development, to be inimical to the freedom of human reason and the right of free inquiry,—to be, in fact, the philosophic incarnation of Papal Catholicity.* If history be the result of thought, how can it be otherwise than thus? How else can we account for the facts which appear in history, unless we believe that the philosophy of an era is an effective agent in the on-goings of events. Believing that philosophic speculation is a factelement in man's progress,—nay, is the very mother of events,—we cannot but attach a vast importance to the investigation of the intellectual conditions by which the activities of the human race are initiated, and from which events result. The truest philosophy of history is the history of philosophy. The real secret of the prevalent distrust of philosophy is man's distrust of himself. Self-love will not permit him to acknowledge himself in fault, and he lays the blame upon philosophy; and because this age is barren in speculative thought, he asserts that all philosophy is barren. To be convinced of the error of this opinion, we have but to cast a glance along the host of names-glorious for Heaven's divinest gift, genius-whose energies have been spent on the problems which the reason posits for man's consideration; but, alas! in the present age, how many of these names
The shapes of clouds at midnight, a year back.” Is it right that the labours of those men who have cultivated that study which “nourished the infant mind of humanity, gave it aliment and directed its faculties, rescued the nobler part of man from the dominion of brutish ignorance, stirred him with insatiable thirst of knowledge,”f and taught the human race to unseal the fountains of wisdom which their own consciousness contained, should be thus unknown and unregarded by us?
“A single soul is richer than all worlds;" and yet those men who have introvised themselves so keenly, that they perceived the very processes through which the lightning-speeded thoughts which occupied their reason passed forward to development, and have revealed the choicest treasures which enrich the human soul, are by us decried and neglected. We know it is fashionable to say that philosophy is anprogressive, and moves only “in the same endless circle,"—to reiterate the sceptical decision, “The difficulty is impossibility,"—to assert that,
“Down to the profoundest depths
* The author begs it to be distinctly understood that he alone, and not the proprietors of this serial, is responsible for the opinions herein expressed.
+ Lewes's “ Biographical History of Philosopby," vol. i. p. 21.
We hope, in our future chapters on this topic, to give proofs to the contrary. In these we expect to show that, although no ultimate and everlastingly-satisfactory answer has been given to the speculations of reasoning man,-although the same questions for ever recur and redemand solution,-yet every age starts from a loftier platform of knowledge than its predecessor, and gives a nobler interpretation to our human destiny; that philosophy is an eternal necessity of the soul,—the natural product of the reason when brought into contact with phenomena,—the inevitable criticisin to which mind subjects itself and all things; that it is a possibility; that it is progressive, and that it not only wields a mighty influence on the welfare of nations, but also presents to the individual man the surest medium of a true self-culture, by making the various faculties of the human soul efficient factors in the investigation and discovery of truth. All our sympathies incline towards progress, and we regard philosophy as the prime initiative agent in all progress; hence our present attempt to expound how “ The thoughts of man are widened by the process of the suns." May we be granted the power of diffusing such a knowledge of this subject as may lead to the furtherance of progress. May our efforts be successful in enabling our readers to train their minds aright towards the highest possible perfection ;-may they aid in speeding on the culture of the human race-diffusing knowledge, which is true power, and in urging upon all men to obey the poet's behest:
“Ring in the love of Truth and Right;
Ring in the common love of Good."
HAVE WE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT COMMUNICATIONS
ARE NOW MADE TO MAN FROM A SPIRITUAL WORLD ?
“To minds which can admit nothing but what the clue they offer, we have but a feeble light to can be explained and demonstrated, an investi- guide us. We must grope our way through the gation of this sort must appear perfectly idle ; for dim path before us, ever in danger of being led while, on the one hand, the most acute intellect into error, whilst we may confidently reckon on or the most powerful Jogic can throw little light being pursued by the shafts of ridicule—that on the subject, it is at the same time-though I weapon so easy to wield, so potent to the weak, have a confident hope that this will not always be so weak to the wise-which has delayed the birth the case-equally irreducible within the present of so many truths, but never stified one. bounds of science; meanwhile experience, obser- “ That the facts presented to our notice appear vation, and intuition, must be our principal, if to us absurd, and altogether inconsistent with the not our only guide. Because in the seventeenth notions our intellects would have enabled us to century credulity outran reason and discretion, form, should have no weight whatever in the the eighteenth century, by a natural reaction, investigation. Our intellects are no measure o threw itself into the opposite extreme. Whoever God Almighty's designs; and I must say that I closely observes the signs of the times, will be do think one of the most irreverent, dangerous, aware that another change is approaching. The and sinful things man or woman can be guilty of, contemptuous scepticism of the last age is yielding is to reject with scorn and laughter any intimation to a more humble spirit of inquiry; and there is which, however strangely it may strike upon our a large class of persons among the most enlight- minds, and however adverse it may be to our ened of the present, who are beginning to believe opinions, may possibly be showing us the way to that much wbich they had been taught to reject as one of God's truths. Not knowing all the conJable has been, in reality, ill-understood truth. ditions, and wanting so many links of the chain, somewhat of the mystery of our own being, and it is impossible for us to pronounce upon what is of the mysteries tbat compass us about, are be- probable and consistent, and what is not; and ginning to loom upon us as yet, it is true, but this being the case, I think the time is ripe for oscurely; and in the endeavour to follow out drawing attention to certain phenomena, which
under whatever aspect we may consider them, ficient evidence can be adduced for the satisare, beyond doubt, exceedingly interesting and
faction of the honest sceptic, of one whose curious; whilst, if the view many persons are disposed to take of them be the correct one, they doubts take their rise from the intellect are much more than this."_“ The Night Side of merely, and have not necessarily any foundaNature," by Mrs. Catherine Crowe.
tion in moral evil. It is in the hope of being It was with much pleasure that we saw serviceable in this latter regard that we take the announcement of this question for dis- up our pen to argue in affirmation of the cussion, among others of " present interest present question. We have alluded to that and permanent importance,” in the pages of phase of faith” which these latter subjects the Controversialist. Its occurrence in such exhibit as a latent scepticism in relation to a connexion appeared to us as a sign of the the fundamental truths of religion, which suspension of that scepticism in relation to manifests itself in doubt and denial of the alt spiritual manifestations which has for so collateral truths of spiritual communications. long a period overhung the church, or that We defend the phrase, as denoting the true portion of mankind among whom it is quality of that quasi belief which is the result located,-a scepticism attributable to the of education merely, and is wanting in any prevalence of the principles of a negative heartfelt conviction. Its creed was fabriphilosophy, acting in conjunction with a cated by Addison, when he uttered that state produced by the absence of absolute or paradoxical sentiment in regard to witchvital religion. We believe that the “com- craft, “A thing to be believed in the general, munications” the question refers to are per- but resolutely disputed in the particular.” mitted by Providence for the purpose of dis- In the words of the talented authoress from pelling this latent scepticism as to the reality whose work we have extracted the paragraphs of a spiritual world in a class of minds who which head this article, “ The truth is, that require some such striking evidence to re- not one person in a thousand, in the proper assure their faith. But this evidence, while sense of the word, believes anything; they it is sufficient to turn the scale with a mind only fancy they believe, because they have disposed to admit the desiderated truth, is never seriously considered the meaning of not of such a demonstrative character as to the word and all that it involves. That force conviction on all doubters or deniers; which the human mind cannot conceive of, and this for cogent reasons in connexion with is apt to slip from its grasp like water from that order of spiritual therapeutics which is the hand; and life out of the flesh falls under always observed by the Divine Physician of this category.” souls in his dispensations for their benefit; A complete chain of evidence as to the for as the quantum of light which is pleasant possibility, probability, and actuality of spiand necessary for healthy natural vision ritual communications might be adduced, might be productive of pain, or total depri- extrinsically of the scripture record, from the vation of sight, in cases of abnormal or dis- earliest times of history downwards; but the eased states of the eye, so that manifestation question limits us to "evidence to prove that and conviction of truth which is grateful communications are now made to man from and beneficial to the believing and pious soul, a spiritual world." We presume that the might be productive of a deleterious influence, “ communications” referred to have specific and a more deeply damning state, to the reference to the notorious “rappings," since confirmed infidel. In short, while we doubt these alone, of all other species of communiif any arguments or facts supported by evi- cations presumed to be going on around us, dence as to the existence of a spiritual world, profess to be communications from spirits; and of communications with or from it, can but we purpose, in the course of our remarks, be brought home to the convictions of those to take cognizance of those communications whose doubts take their rise primarily from which it is purported that man has effected a beart-seated aversion to the truths of re- with the spiritual world, since these latter ligion, and their consequent provisions and may be regarded as the converse of the restraints,-to those of whom it is written, former. With regard to the "evidence," “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, both of one and the other, we do not hesitate neither would they believe though one arose to say that, if the same amount of testimony from the dead," -- we do believe that suf-l as to the facts and their collateral adjuncts