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or purring are produced by an agency wholly independent and alien. It involves all the difficulties, all the incomprehensibility (if it be not indeed, ws flooye doxło, the absurdity) of intercommunion between substances that have no one property in common, without any of the convenient consequences that bribed the judgement to the admission of the dualistic hypothesis. Accordingly, this caput mortuum of the Hartleian process has been rejected by his followers, and the consciousness considered as a result, as a tune, the common product of the breeze and the harp: tho' this again is the mere remotion of one absurdity to make way for another, equally preposterous. For what is harmony but a mode of relation, the very esse of which is percipi ? An ens rationale, which pre-supposes the power, that by perceiving creates it? The razor's edge becomes a saw to the armed vision ; and the delicious melodies of Purcell or Cimarosa might be disjointed stammerings to a hearer, whose partition of time should be a thousand times subtler than
But this obstacle too let us imagine ourselves to have surmounted, and “at one bound high overleap all bound !" Yet according to this hypothesis the disquisition, to which I am at present soliciting the reader's attention, may be as truly said to be written by Saint Paul's church, as by me: for it is the mere motion of
my muscles and nerves ; and these again are set in motion from external causes equally passive, which external causes stand themselves in interdependent connection with every thing that exists or has existed. Thus the whole universe co-operates to produce the minutest stroke of every letter, save only that I myself, and I alone, have nothing to do with it, but merely the causeless and effectless beholding of it when it is done. Yet scarcely can it be called a beholding; for it is neither an act nor an effect; but an impossible creation of a something-nothing out of its very contrary! It is the mere quick-silver plating behind a lookingglass; and in this alone consists the poor worthless I! The sum total of my moral and intellectual intercourse dissolved into its elements are reduced to extension, motion, degrees of velocity, and those diminished copies of configurative motion, which form what we call notions, and notions of notions. Of such philosophy well might Butler say-'
“ The metaphysics but a puppet motion
That goes with screws, the notion of a notion;
The inventor of the watch did not in reality invent it; he only look’d on, while the blind causes, the only true artists, were unfolding themselves. So must it have been too with my friend AllSTON, when he sketched his picture of the dead man revived by the bones of the prophet Elijah. So must it have been with Mr. SOUTHEY and LORD BYRON, when the one fancied himself composing his “ RODERICK, and the other his “ CHILD HAROLD.” The same must hold good of all systems of philosophy; of all arts, governments, wars by sea and by land; in short, of all things that ever have been or that ever will be produced. For according to this system it is not the affections and passions that are at work, in as far as they are sensations or thoughts. We only
fancy, that we act from rational resolves, or prudent motives, or from impulses of anger, love, or generosity. In all these cases the real agent is a something-nothing-every-thing, which does all of which we know, and knows nothing of all that itself does.
The existence of an infinite spirit, of an intelligent and holy will, must on this system be mere articulated motions of the air. For as the function of the human understanding is no other than merely (to appear to itself) to combine and to apply the phænomena of the association ; and as these derive all their reality from the
primary sensations; and the sensations again all their reality from the impressions ab extra ; a God not visible, audible, or tangible, can exist only in the sounds and letters that form his name and attributes. If in ourselves there be no such faculties as those of the will, and the scientific reason, we must either have an innate idea of them, which would overthrow the whole system ; or we can have no idea at all. The process, by which Hume degraded the notion of cause and effect into a blind
product of delusion and habit, into the mere sensation of proceeding life (nisus vitalis) associated with the images of the memory; this same process must be repeated to the equal degradation of every fundamental idea in ethics or theology.
Far, very far am I from burthening with the odium of these consequences the moral characters of those who first formed, or have since adopted the system! It is most noticeable of the excellent and pious Hartley, that in the proofs of the existence and attributes of God, with which his second volume commences, he makes no reference to the principles or results of the first. Nay, he assumes, as his foundations, ideas which, if we embrace the doctrines of his first volume, can exist no where but in the vibrations of the ethereal medium common to the nerves and to the atmosphere. Indeed the whole of the second volume is, with the fewest possible exceptions, independent of his peculiar system. So true is it, that the faith, which saves and sanctifies, is a collective energy, a total act of the whole moral being ; that its livo ing sensorium is in the heart ; and that no errors of the understanding can be morally arraigned unless they have proceeded from the heart.But whether they be such, no man can be certain in the case of another, scarcely perhaps even in his own. Hence it follows by inevitable consequence, that man may perchance determine, what is an heresy; but God only can know, who is a heretic. It does not, however, by any means follow, that opinions fundamentally false are harmless. An hundred causes may co-exist to form one complex antidoteYet the sting of the adder remains venemous, though there are many who have taken up the evil thing; and it hurted them not! Some indeed there seem to have been, in an unfortunate neighbour-nation at least, who have embraced this system with a full view of all its moral and religious consequences ; some
who deem themselves most free, When they within this gross and visible sphere Chain down the winged thought, scoffing assent, Proud in their meanness; and themselves they cheat With noisy emptiness of learned phrase, Their subtle fluids, impacts, essences, Self-working tools, uncaus'd effects, and all Those blind omniscients, those Almighty slaves, Untenanting Creation of its God!"