Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

29

purely theoretical, remains neutral, as long as its name and sem blance are not usurped by the opponents of the doctrine. But it then becomes an effective ally by exposing the false show of demonstration, or by evincing the equal demonstrability of the contrary from premises equally logical.” The understanding rneantime suggests, the analogy of experience facilitates, the belief. Nature excites and recalls it, as by a perpetual revelation. Our feelings almost necessitate it; and the law of conscience peremptorily commands it. The arguments that at all apply to it, are in its favor; and there is nothing against it but its own sublimity. It could not be intellectually more evident without becoming morally less effective; without counteracting its own end by sacrificing the life of faith to the cold mechanism of a worthless because compulsory assent. The belief of a God and a future state (if a passive acquiescence may be flattered with the name of belief) does not indeed always beget a good heart; but a good heart so naturally begets the belief, that the very few exceptions must be regarded as strange anomalies from strange and unfortunate circumstances.""

29 Wherever A = B, and A is not = B, are equally demonstrable, the premise in each undeniable, the induction evident, and the conclusion legitimate-the result must be that contraries can both be true (which is absurd), or that the faculty and forms of reasoning employed are inapplicable to the subject-i.e that there is a μετάβασις εις άλλο γνος. Thus, the attributes of Space and Time applied to Spirit are heterogeneous—and the proof of this is, that by admitting them explicite or implicite contraries may be demonstrated true-i.e. that the same, taken in the same sense, is true and not true.—That the world had a beginning in Time and a bound in Space; and That the world had not a beginning and has no limit;- That a selforiginating act is, and is not possible. are instances.

30 (“I believe that the notion of God is essential to the human mind; that it is called forth into distinct consciousness principally by the con. science, and auxiliarly by the manifest adaptation of means to ends in the outward creation. It is, therefore, evident to my reason, that the existence of God is absolutely and necessarily insusceptible of a scientific demon. stration, and that Scripture has so represented it. For it commands us to believe in one God. I am the Lord thy God: thou shall have none other gods but me. Now all commandment necessarily relates to the will; whereas all scientific demonstration is independent of the will, und is apodictic or demonstrative only as far as it is compulsory on the mind, dolentem, nolentern." Lit. Rem., I. “ The Trinity of persons in the Unit;

From these premises I proceeded to draw the following conclusions. First, that having once fully admitted the existence of an infinite yet self-conscious Creator, we are not allowed to ground the irrationality of any other article of faith on arguments which would equally prove that to be irrational, which we had allowed to be real. Secondly, that whatever is deduci. ble from the admission of a self-comprehending and creatire spirit may be legitimately used in proof of the possibility of any further mystery concerning the divine nature. Possibilitatein mysteriorum (Trinitatis, &c.) contra insultus Infidelium et Hæ. reticorum a contradictionibus vindico; haud quidem veritatem, quæ revelatione sola stabiliri possit ; says Leibnitz in a letter to his Duke. He then adds the following just and important remark. “In vain will tradition or texts of Scripture be adduced in support of a doctrine, donec clava impossibilitatis et contradictionis e manibus horum Herculum extorta fuerit. For the heretic will still reply, that texts, the literal sense of which is not so much above as directly against all reason, must be understood figuratively, as Herod is a fox, and so forth.”

These principles I held, philosophically, while in respect of

[ocr errors]

of the Godhead would have been a necessary idea of my speculative reason, deduced from the necessary postulate of an intelligent creator, whose ideas being anterior to the things, must be more actual than those things, even as those things are more actual than our images derived from them; and who, as intelligent, must have had co-eternally an adequate idea of himself, in and throu zh which he created all things both in heaven and earth. But this would only have been a speculative idea, like those of circles and other mathematical figures, to which we are not authorized by the practical reason to attribute reality. Solely in consequence of our Redemption does the Trinity become a doctrine, the belief of which as real is commanded by our conscience.” Ibid. “The same distinction between the belief of mere intellectual positions or logical notions in religion and the reception of living substantive ideas correspondent to them, is set forth, and that religious faith consists in the latter alone is argued in the Aids to Reflec. tion, Comment on Aphorism II. On that which is indeed Spiritual Religion, vol. i , 5th edit. S. C.]

31 (I have looked through several collections of letters and other writings of Leibnitz, besides the collection of his works by Dutens, and that of all his philosophical works by Erdmann, but have not met with this letter The elition of the philosophical works by Raspe, with a preface by Dir Kästner, Amst. et Leip., 1765, I have never seen. S. C.]

revealed religion I remained a zealous Unitarian. I considered the idea of the Trinity a fair scholastic inference from the being of God, as a creative intelligence; and that it was therefore entitled to the rank of an esoteric doctrine of natural religion. But seeing in the same no practical or moral bearing, I confinec it to the schools of philosophy. The admission of the Logos, as hypostasized (that is, neither a mere attribute, nor a personification), in no respect removed my doubts concerning the Incarnation and the Redemption by the cross; which I could neither reconcile in reason with the impassiveness of the Divine Being, nor in my moral feelings with the sacred distinction between things and persons, the vicarious payment of a debt and the vi. carious expiation of guilt. A more thorough revolution in my philosophic principles, and a deeper insight into my own heart, were yet wanting. Nevertheless, I cannot doubt, that the differ. ence of my metaphysical notions from those of Unitarians in general contributed to my final re-conversion to the whole truth in Christ ; even as according to his own confession the books of certain Platonic philosophers (libri quorundam Platonicorum) commenced the rescue of St. Augustine's faith from the same error aggravated by the far darker accompaniment of the Manichæan heresy."

a

32 Et primo volens, &c. Confess. vii., 13. And thou willing first to show me, how Thou resistest the proud but givest grace unto the humble, and by how great an act of Thy mercy Thou hadst traced out to men the way of humility, in that Thy Word was made flesh, and dwelt among men :Thou procuredst for me, by means of one puffed up with most unnatural pride, certain books of the Platonists, translated from Greek into Latin. Apl therein I read, not indeed in the very words, but to the very same purpose, enforced by many and divers reasons, that In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, &c. (A former translation revised by the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D. D.)

Perrexi ergo ad Simplicianum, &c. Confess. viii.,3. To Simplicianus then I went, the father of Ambrose (a Bishop now) in receiving thy grace, and whom Ambrose truly loved as a father. To him I related the mazes of my wanderings. But when I mentioned that I had read certain books of the Platonists, which Victorinus, sometime Rhetoric Professor of Rome (who had died a Christian as I had heard), had translated into Latin, he testified his joy that I had not fallen upon the writings of other philosophers, full of fallacies and deceits, after the rudiments of this world, whereas

While my mind was thus perplexed, by a gracious providence for which I can never be sufficiently grateful, the generous and munificent patronage of Mr. Josiah and Mr. Thomas Wedgwood enabled me to finish my education in Germany.** Instead of troubling others with my own crude notions and juvenile compositions, I was thence forward better employed in attempting 10 store my own head with the wisdom of others. I made the best use of my time and means ; and there is therefore no period of my life on which I can look back with such unmingled satisfaction. After acquiring a tolerable sufficiency in the German lan. guages at Ratzeburg, which with my voyage and journey thither

the Platonists many ways led to the belief in God and his Word. (Ut supra.) ED ]

33 [Mr. C. left England on the 16th of September, 1799, when he sailed from Great Yarmouth to Hamburgh, in company with Mr. Wordsworth and his sister. S. C ]

34 To those, who design to acquire the language of a country in the country itself, it may be useful, if I mention the incalculable advantage which I derived from learning all the words, that could possibly be so learned, with the objects before me, and without the intermediation of the English terms. It was a regular part of my morning studies for the first six weeks of my residence at Ratzeburg, to accompany the good and kind old pastor, with whom I lived, from the cellar to the roof through gardens, farm yard, &c., and to call every, the minutest, thing by its German name. Advertisements, farces, jest books, and the conversation of children while I was at play with them, contributed their share to a more home-like acquaintance with the language, than I could have acquired from works of polite literature alone, or even from polite society. There is a passage of hearty sound sense in Luther's German letter on interpretation, to the translation of which I shall prefix, for the sake of those who read the German, yet are not likely to have dipped often in the massive folios of this heroic reformer, the simple, sinewy, idiomatic words of the original. “ Denn man muss nicht die Buchstaben in der Lateinischen Sprache fragen wie man soll Deutsch reden ; sondern man muss die Mutter im Hause die Kinder auf den Gassen, den gemeinen Mann auf dem Markte, darum fragen: und denselbigen auf das Maul sehen wie sie reden, und darnach dolmetschen. So verstehen sie es denn, und merken dass man Deutsch mit ihnen redet."

TRANSLATION. For one must not ask the letters in the Latin tongue, how one ought to speak German; but one must ask the mother in the house, the children in the lanes and alleys, the common man in the inarket, concerning this, yea,

I have described in The Friend," I proceeded through Hanover to Göttingen.

Here I regularly attended the lectures on physiology in the morning, and on natural history in the evening, under Blumenbach, a name as dear to every Englishman who has studied at that university, as it is venerable to men of science throughout Europe! Eichhorn's lectures on the New Testament were repeated to me from notes by a student from Ratzeburg, a young man of sound learning and indefatigable industry, who is now, I believe, a professor of the Oriental languages at Heidelberg. But my chief efforts were directed towards a grounded knowledge of the German language and literature. From Professor Tychsen I received as many lessons in the Gothic of Ulphilas** as sufficed to make me acquainted with its grammar, and the radical words of most frequent occurrence; and with the occasional assistance of the same philosophical linguist, I read through Ottfried's metrical paraphrase of the gospel, and the

36

37

[ocr errors]

and look at the moves of their mouths while they are talking, and thereafter interpret. They understand you then, and mark that one talks German with them.*

35 (See The Second Landing-place. Essay III., vol. ii., p. 251. S. C.] 38 (See note D. in the Appendix. S. C]

37 This paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemagne, is by no means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. There is a flow, and a tender enthusiasm in the following lines (at the conclusion of Chapter XI.) which, even in the translation, will not, I Hatter myself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circunstances immediately following the birth of our Lord.

She gave with joy her virgin breast;
She hid it not, she bared the breast,
Which suckiled that divinest babe!
Blessed, blessed were the breasts
Which the Saviour infant kiss'd;
And blessed, blessed was the mother
Who wrapp'd his limbs in swaddling clothes,

Singing placed him on her lap, *[Archdeacon Hare has kindly coinmunicated to me that this passage occurs in a Sendbrief dom Dolmetschen der heiligen Schrift, written to Wencesslaus Link, when Luther was in the Castle of Coburg, during the Diet of Augsburg, 1530 : that it is to be found in vol. xxi. of Walch's edit. of Luther's works, p. 318. The words wie die Esel thun, after Deutsch reden, were doubtiess omitted intentionally. S. C.)

« AnteriorContinuar »