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actions of free moral agents, the old antitheses of sensation and thought,, body and soul, mind and matter, are to disappear before this new philosophy. One uniform law, varied only in appearance by the circunstances under which it operates, a complete economy in itself, not guided and directed by some more spiritual principle, excluding all interference of Providence, and the direct superintendence of its Divine Author, is to solve the great enigma of the universe. What occasion, then, can there be for research into the rational nature of man, when reason itself will, in course of time, appear to be no distinctive faculty, but subject to the same conditions, though in a less obvious form, as the rest of our natural powers ? We speak of a truth flashing on the mind ; of the kindling spark of enthusiasm; of the electric speed of thought. Who knows that we are not stating a fact, while we think we are using a metaphor ? A better knowledge of voltaic action may cast more light on our intellectual constitution than a whole system of metaphysics. According to this theory, morals may be considered as already disposed of, and the favourite ideas of the moralist rejected as mere creatures of fancy. All notions of the freedom of will, of the possibility of choice, of goodness independent of circumstances, are founded on the gratuitous assumption, that a certain part of our nature does not obey the law of cause and effect. There are no conditions of succession, it is argued, peculiar to mental phenomena; our faculties and dispositions must act of themselves, without our control, if sufficient objects are presented to excite them. The supposition of a moral alternative has originated from the fact, that individuals of different natural constitutions, are differently affected by similar causes, and therefore act differently. Could we but learn the law according to which external things necessarily influence our inner being, practical science would be fairly on the road to perfection. But such an inquiry must be conducted according to a purely physical method, if there is to be any chance of success. The problem proposed is simply this : given the character and circumstances, to determine the action. When men are thus looked upon as machines, education may approach in its character to certainty. But such approximation will be indefinitely hindered if we persist in the old phraseology of morals : words, such as duty and obligation, must be taken to express nothing more than that we have an organ of conscientiousness, and that this, like our other organs, conveys to us a sense of pleasure when it attains, of pain when it falls short of, its object. It is unmeaning to say that virtue and vice deserce, respectively, praise and blame, approval and disapproval; all that we can safely assert is, that these conceptions, when presented to the mind, excite, by the law of our nature, the corresponding feelings. The notion of merit
must not enter into our minds, as we call a man good or bad; the terms apply to him in exactly the same sense as to any other natural or artificial production : he owes his peculiarities to the constitution he received from his parents, and the position he has since been placed in. Ought' is a word which can bear no higher sense in morals than that which it allows of in art.
These fearful opinions are widely diffused, and are still spreading further among all classes of society. The moral philosopher has a difficult part to play in opposing, in common with all good men, this new development of evil. He may not repose in quiet on the consciousness of his own better and sounder creed; his duty is not to garrison the citadel, but to defend the outworks. He must labour, in the first place, to prove that no continuity of physical sequence can overthrow the fabric of ethical truth, or shake the confidence of a well-regulated mind in the ideas of duty, the supreme law of moral action, and its foundation in the attributes of its Divine Author. But his triumph will always be imperfect, if he cannot exhibit the results of a successful invasion in spoils brought from the enemy's territory. As vindicating the rights of a higher power, he must not shrink from acting on the aggressive. He must take the facts which physical inquiry alleges, so far as searching investigation shall allow their truth, and prove the harmony of these new conclusions with all that the good have hitherto believed of goodness; he must show that if the analogies, drawn in former times from the visible world, are imperfect or incorrect, these new discoveries also must, like the opinions they have supplanted, pay homage and tribute to more sovereign verities.
In this task, we have already observed, he has comparatively little to hope from the poet. Poetry has taken offence at the utilitarian devices and perfection of mechanical contrivance, which have most strongly recommended the new power to the favour of the multitude. There is nothing to captivate her in the steam-engine and the railroad; the straight line and the dead level; the unvarying regularity; the uniformity of character, and absence of incident, broken only by occasional touches of the grim and horrible. Nor is this prejudice likely to be removed by further acquaintance; she would have the objects of her affection remain as she has always known them, and will not be conciliated by any abstruse account of their nature and origin, or, what is worse, an offer to analyse them. Philosophy, on the present occasion, must labour without her aid ; but the subject is a noble one, and may itself supply enthusiasm. Few men, indeed, are equal to the undertaking: could Plato return to earth, we should be sanguine; as it is, we can but hope. No slight praise will be due to any who shall venture on the attempt; all honour to him who shall accomplish it.
Art. III.- Diary in France, mainly on topics concerning Education
and the Church. By CHARLES WORDSWORTH, D.D. London:
Rivingtons. 1815. HERE is a tourist's small volume, of less pretension and more value than most of its fellows. The name of Dr. Wordsworth is a guarantee for good sense, scholarship, and fidelity of report of what he saw. It is seldom that men of his stamp and standing publish notes of their tours, the ordinary run of travellers displaying an ignorance of literature and general history which is apt to cast a suspicion, often unjust, on their personal observation; while others, again, overload their pages with cram repetition of familiar history, and their style with schoolboy allusions and trite quotations.
We have thus stated the good qualities which we think distinguish this Diary; we cannot say that the actual amount of information it furnishes is very large, or its substance very novel,-to those, that is, who are likely to read it. But it is neither the facts detailed, nor the opinions advanced in it, which have determined us to devote an article to this little volume, so much as the tone in which they are expressed, and the direction in which they point. This is, as far as we know, the first published attempt by an English clergyman to understand the Catholic clergy of the Continent, to appreciate their real position, and to measure himself and his Church with them and theirs, with a practical aim. Dr. Wordsworth has got over the repugnance an English clergyman feels for the soutane, and found out that priests are men;
has even penetrated into the Rue des Postes, and talked to a Jesuit! And what is a still greater advance, he sees, and has published this book in consequence of so seeing, how very practically important are the religious disputes now pending in France; how analogous the difficulties the clergy there have to meet with our own; how instructive for us their present relation to the State,- in short, how much may be learned from studying, in all its bearings, the actual condition of religion in that country. This is an opinion we have already more than once expressed, and we hope that Dr. Wordsworth's Diary may contribute to arouse the supineness with which we are so apt to regard all that passes beyond the limits of the four seas, and to show those who really feel the present to be a very anxious time, and are desirous of all the lights and experience within their reach, where they may look with profit.
Dr. Wordsworth says
It is not the object of this journal to refer, by any direct application or parallel, to the warnings which this state of things reads to us in.
England ; but they are too striking, and too numerous, not to excite the most profound sentiments of gratitude and apprehension in the mind of every Englishman who contemplates with seriousness the condition of public affairs, with respect to Education and the Church, first in this country and then in his own. One of the greatest blessings which it seems to have pleased Divine Providence to confer upon England is, that it has placed before her for her warning the example of France.'P. 47.
Not only is the past history of the Church written for our instruction, but its actual fortunes, besides the superior interest and sympathy we must always feel for the present above the past, its existing phase, as exhibited in different parts of the world, forms a chapter in Church history that should never be omitted, and which is, indeed, the indispensable complement of all that has gone before. Nay, more; it is with ecclesiastical as it is with civil history; the past is reflected to us by the present; so far 'as we see and understand the present, so far we can see and
understand the past ; so far, and no further. How can he comprehend the parties of other days who has no clear notions of those of his own? What sense can he have of the progress of the great contest of human affairs in its earlier stages, when 'it rages around him at this actual moment unnoticed, or felt to
be no more than a mere indistinct hubbub of sounds, and con• fusion of weapons ? What cause is at issue in the combat he • knows not. Whereas, on the other hand, he who feels his own ' times keenly, to whom they are a positive reality, with a good ' and evil distinctly perceived in them, such a man will write a • lively and impressive account of past times, even though his
knowledge be insufficient, and his prejudices strong." And it might easily be shown, that these remarks are still more true of the history of the Church, than of that of states. For the material of Church history,--the religious spring and motive ; the hidden source of the outward movement; the spiritual idea which is embodied in the institutions, enactments, provisions,in short, all the visible action of the Church in any particular age, lies much more deeply beneath the surface, and requires more patient attention, and, still more, a certain moral disposition, to discover it, than in the case of civil history. And this fact gives rise to a very peculiar illusion in the study of Church history, which is this :-In reading of early or middle-age times, and tracing, by the help of the historian, their varied revolutions, we seem to see so clearly the hand of Providence leading and disposing the whole series, and to watch, from age to age, the application to varying circumstances of the same unvaried principles, that the men, the actors in the scene, the form and dress disappear, and we seem to see the great outlines and lineaments of the Church herself absorbing and overshadowing all that is individual. When, then, we shut the book, and look into the world about us, to inquire what the Church is doing there, or what is become of her; and when we see all individual, personal, party, sectarian ; a struggle without dignity, without distinct object, a thousand sects, all having apparently nothing but the name in common with those of past times whom they profess to represent, we are bewildered—we seem in a different world—the Church has vanished from our eyes—we have lost the clue which had guided us through the labyrinth of the past, or it seems no longer applicable to the present. But if the promise, 'I am with you unto the end of the world,' be true, the Church's existence no more terminates with the eighteenth than with the seventeenth, or with the sixteenth, or with the fifteenth centuries. And as her tenure of life cannot change, if she be in existence; as all the very same principles which we recognise in S. Ambrose, or S. Cyprian, or S. Irenæus, not only ought to be, but must actually be, at this present moment, in living energy somewhere or other; we have no choice between either asserting the death of the Church, or finding a body which not only admits that it ought, but which practically does, act upon principles which, if they be those of the Christian society, must, therefore, have been in uninterrupted operation, through all its duration from its first formation.
1 Arnold's Lectures.
We have been led to these remarks by observing the close connexion that subsists between the past and present; between history and life. And if the present must be understood, if we would read to any good purpose of the past, it is equally true, that the present will be viewed with the eyes with which we have viewed the past. Whatever is our peculiar way of viewing early and medieval history, we shall extend the same to the events that happen around us.
Now, though we have gratefully acknowledged that Dr. Wordsworth is free from the prejudice which refuses to look at or to acquaint itself with anything that bears the name of Romea prejudice not confined to members of the Church of England, but extending to all sects of Dissenters, even to those who boast themselves as peculiarly and exclusively liberal- yet is he not free from the prepossessions of another school, which give a colouring to all that is brought before him. The book, however, as we have said, consists mainly of facts and statements, and does not deal much in inferences and judgments. Dr. Wordsworth is too experienced an observer not to know of how very little real worth and value are the judgments formed by the mere passing