« AnteriorContinuar »
scholastic logic, pardonably may a writer of the present times anticipate a scanty audience for abstrusest themes, and truths that can neither be communicated nor received without effort of thought, as well as patience of attention.
“Che s'io non erro al calcolar de punti,
Par ch' Asinina Stella a noi predomini,
NOTE TO CHAPTER IX.
In the preceding chapter Mr. C. speaks of Schelling's philosophy as if it had his entire approbation, and had been adopted by him in its whole extent. Yet it is certain that, soon after the composition of the B. L., he became dissatisfied with the system, considered as a fundamental and comprehensive scheme, intended to exhibit the relations of God to the World and Man. He objected to it as essentially pantheistic, though the author has positively disclaimed this reproach, and made great efforts to free his system from the appearance of deserving it. To Mr. C., however, it appeared, as originally set forth, to labor under deep deficiencies—to be radically inconsistent with a belief in God, as Himself Moral and Intelligent—as beyond and above the world—as the Supreme Mind, to which the human mind owns homage and fealty—inconsistent with any just view and deep sense of the moral and spiritual being of man. The imposing grandeur of this philosophy, beheld from a distance, the narrowness into which it shrinks on a nearer view, are thus set forth by Cousin, in his clear trenchant style. “La philosophie de Schelling se recommande par l'originalité de son point de vue, la profondeur du travail, la conséquence des parties, et l'immense portée des applications. Elle rallie à une seule idée tous les êtres de la nature. Par là elle écarte les barrières qu'on avoit données à la connaissance humaine, soutenant la possibilité pour l'homme non plus seulement d'une représentation subjective, mais d'une connaissance objective et scientifique, d'une science déterminée de Dieu et des choses divines, à ce titre que l'esprit humain et la substance de l'être sont primitivement identiques. Cette philosophie embrasse le cercle entier des connaissances speculatives," &c. Then he states the difficulties which beset the scheme, and after suggesting several root objections, he exclaims : “Quel homme enfin peut avoir la téméraire prétention de renfermer la nature de la Divinité dans l'idée de l'identité absolute ?” He had previously observed, “La forme de ce système est moins scientifique en réalité qu'en apparence. Son problème étoit de déduire, par une demonstration réelle (par construction), le fini de l'infini et de l'absolu, le particulier de l'universel. Or, ce problème n'est point résolu et ne peut l'être.” And he concludes—“En un mot, le système tout entier n'est, à proprement parler, qu'une poésie de l'esprit humain, séduisante par son apparente facilité pour tout expliquer, et par sa manière de construire la nature.”
35 Satire di Salvator Rosa (tom. i., p. 34. La Musica, Sat. i., 1. 10. $. C.].
I think, as far as I am able to judge, that Mr. Coleridge's view of the system, after long reflection upon it, coincided, as to its general character and result, with that of Victor Cousin, deeply as he must have felt obliged to the author for much that it contains. During the latter part of his life he was ever applying his thoughts to the development of a philosophy which should more satisfactorily perform what Schelling's splendid scheme of modern Platonism had seemed to promise, a solution of the most important problems which are presented to human contemplation, or at least an answer to them sufficient to set the human mind at rest. He sought to construct a system really and rationally religious; and since, in his philosophical inquiries, he “ neither could nor dared throw off a strong and awful prepossession in favor "* of that great main outline of doctrine which came to us from the first in company with the highest and purest moral teaching which the world has yet seen ; which was felt after, if not found, by the best and greatest minds before the preaching of the Gospel ; which has been received in substance, with whatever variations of form and language, by a large portion of the civilized world ever since, and had actually been to himself the vehicle of all the light and life of the higher and deeper kind, which had been vouchsafed to him in his earthly career ;-—he therefore set out with the desire to construct a philosophical system in which Christianity,-based on the Tri-une being of God, and embracing a Primal Fall and Universal Redemption,-Christianity ideal, spiritual, eternal, but likewise and necessarily historical,-realized and manifested in time,-should be shown forth as accordant, or rather as one, with ideas of reason, and the demands of the spiritual and of the speculative mind, of the heart, conscience, reason, should all be satisfied and reconciled in one bond of
This is said in regard to the Bible in the Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, p. 8.
peace. See what has been said of the labors of Mr. C.'s latter years in the Preface.
I am not aware, however, that he, at any time, altered or set aside the doctrine of Schelling put forth in the present work on Nature and the Mind of Man, with their mutual relations; or, indeed, that he discovered any positive error or incompatibility with higher truth in such parts of his system as are adopted in the Biographia Literaria, and which he believed himself in the main to have anticipated.
In the Table Talk he is reported to have said, “ The metaphysical disquisition at the end of the first volume of the Biographia Literaria is unformed and immature ;-it contains the fragments of the truth, but it is not fully thought out. It is wonderful to myself to think how infinitely more profound my views now are, and yet how much clearer they are withal. The circle is completing; the idea is coming round to, and to be, the common sense.” (2d edit., p. 308.)
Some little insight into the progress of his reflections on philosophical subjects, and on the treatment of those subjects by Schelling, will perhaps be derived from his remarks on several tracts in that author's Philosophische Schriften, which I have thought it best to place at the end of the first volume. S. C.
A Chapter of digression and anecdotes, as an interlude preceding that on
the nature and genesis of the Imagination or Plastic Power-On pedantry and pedantic expressions-Advice to young authors respecting publication—Various anecdotes of the Author's literary life, and the progress of his opinions in Religion and Politics.
“ESEMPLASTIC. The word is not in Johnson, nor have I met with it elsewhere.” Neither have I! I constructed it myself from the Greek words, tis ir raártav, to shape into one ;' because, having to convey a new sense, I thought that a new term would both aid the recollection of my meaning, and prevent its being confounded with the usual import of the word, imagination. “But this is pedantry!" Not necessarily so, I hope. If I am not misinformed, pedantry consists in the use of words unsuitable to the time, place, and company. The language of the market would be in the schools as pedantic, though it might not be reprobated by that name, as the language of the schools in the market. The mere man of the world, who insists that no other terms but such as occur in common conversation should be employed in a scientific disquisition, and with no greater precision, is as truly a pedant as the man of letters, who either over-rating the acquirements of his auditors, or misled by his own familiarity with technical or scholastic terms, converses at the wine-table with his mind fixed on his museum or laboratory ; even though the latter pedant instead of desiring his wife to make the tea should bid her add to the quant. suff. of thea Sinensis the oxyd of hydrogen saturated with caloric. To use the colloquial (and in truth some. what vulgar) metaphor, if the pedant of the cloister, and the pedant of the lobby, both smell equally of the shop, yet the odor from the Russian binding of good old authentic-looking folios and quartos is less annoying than the steams from the tavern or bagnio. Nay, though the pedantry of the scholar should betray a little ostentation, yet a well-conditioned mind would more easily, methinks, tolerate the fox brush of learned vanity, than the sans-culotterie of a contemptuous ignorance, that assumes a merit from mutilation in the self-consoling sneer at the pompous incumbrance of tails.
1 [Ist das Band die lebendige In-Eins-Bildung des Einen mit dem Vielen. If the bond is the living formation-into-one of the one with the many. Darlegung, pp. 61-2. Schelling also talks of the absolute, perfect In-Eins-Bildung of the Real and Ideal, towards the end of his Vorlesun. gen über die Methode des Academischen Stud. P. 313. S. C.]
The first lesson of philosophic discipline is to wean the student's attention from the degrees of things, which alone form the vocabulary of common life, and to direct it to the kind abstracted from degree. Thus the chemical student is taught not to be startled at disquisitions on the heat in ice, or on latent and fixible light. In such discourse the instructor has no other alternative than either to use old words with new meanings (the plan adopted by Darwin in his Zoonomia);" or to introduce new terms, after the example of Linnæus, and the framers of the present chemical nomenclature. The latter mode is evidently prefer. able, were it only that the former demands a twofold exertion of thought in one and the same act. For the reader, or hearer, is required not only to learn and bear in mind the new definition ; but to unlearn, and keep out of his view, the old and habitual meaning ; a far more difficult and perplexing task, and for which the mere semblance of eschewing pedantry seems to me an inadequate compensation. Where, indeed, it is in our power to recall an appropriate term that had without sufficient reason become obsolete, it is doubtless a less evil to restore than to coin anew. Thus to express in one word all that appertains to the perception, considered as passive and merely recipient, I have adopted from our elder classics the word sensuous ; because sensual is not at present used, except in a bad sense, or at least as a moral distinction ; while sensitive and sensible would each convey
2 [Erasmus Darwin's Zoonomia, or Laws of Organic Life was published Lond., 1794-6, 2 vols. 4to. There was another edition in 4 vols. 8vo. in 1801. S. C.]