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where hope expires and mercy is unknown. Let us look steadily at this issue. The pleasures they are made to enjoy in the brief span of mortal life, go into the charge they will have to meet in eternity. And, on this ground, can we say that God is good to ihem, in giving them the momentary indulgence ? knowing, at the time, that it will have to be hereafter accounted for, to their infinite damage. It is no answer to say, that they are to blame for the result. We grant that they would be, as already observed; but the question at present is, with the goodness of the part ascribed to Deity, not with man's deserts. We are seeking for some possible opening where, according to the doctrine of endless misery, God is good to those who suffer it. And to this point let us confine ourselves.
According to that doctrine, we must regard in the same light the gift of his Son, the invitations of his spirit, and all the influences of the gospel, so far as they relate to a part of mankind. If any are to be lost forever, the fact that Christ died for them will only augment their guilt and suffering, since they will have to answer for it hereafter to the full value of their souls. And this was as well known, when the purpose of redemption was instituted, as it ever will be. It was known, that, to give them a Saviour, or to include them among the objects of his mission, would be to them an occasion of aggravated wretchedness, instead of doing them any good. We cannot, therefore, adduce it as an instance of goodness towards them, on the part of the Omniscient. Far better, too, would it be for them, were he to withhold from them the pleadings of his spirit, and the calls of his gospel, which he knows will only condemn them to a heavier doom for eternity.
We need not pursue the illustration further. The reader sees that it covers the whole term of mortal life; and no one will ask us to look beyond, in search of mercy for the finally miserable. If there is such a class of men, it is plain that God is not good to them, in creating, or preserving them, or in a single instance of his dealing with them, in time or in eternity. The very things that, at first sight, would seem to be favors to them, we find were known from the beginning to involve a terrible afterreckoning, that will turn them into curses. All this, in
case of endless misery. As we said in the former part of these remarks, if we receive, or retain, that doctrine in any of its forins, we must give up the truth that God is good to all, in any sense. But if we cannot relinquish this truth, if it appear so essential, so sacred, that we must abide by it at all events, then let us be consistent and reject the contrary doctrine.
There is something so ungodly in the thought that the Father of spirits has purposely brought immortal souls into being, without once meaning any good to them, and indeed in clear knowledge that all he does with respect to them, from first to last, is to their everlasting harm,this is so manifestly impious, that no person can settle down in the conviction. It may be forced upon him by the logical necessities of some dogmatic system to which he is wedded ; but even then it cannot be made to stay in his mind, it is so repugnant to every moral and religious judgernent of our nature. It is not only at war with the idea of divine goodness; it is just as much at war with all idea of divine justice and holiness. For it is impossible to feel that it is holy, or right, to act in this way towards dependant creatures; the very thought strikes our inmost conscience at once as a piece of pure diabolism, -as a suggestion that we must drive away from us, as soon as we can. And as to justice,—we mean in its retri. butive character,—there is no ground on which it can rest, in this hypothesis. For what right could there be in the Creator to punish one whom he had obtruded into being, but whom he has brought under no obligation to himself by any act, or design, of favor? We might as well talk of the justice of a master in punishing the delinquencies of a slave, whom he himself had taken from his native shore, and on whom he has never conferred, nor intended, a favor. So clear and decided is our innate sense of right and wrong, in this respect, that to exclude a creature, originally and for ever, from all share in the goodness of God, would, in our conscience, absolve him from all allegiance; and at the same time, leave a stigma on the character of his Maker, which no amount of kindness, shown to others, could hide from sight. It is from these considerations, we suppose, and for similar reasons, that Christians, though divided on a thousand points, are obliged to agree on the fundamental truth, that God is good to all. Even when they hold other doctrines that are irreconcilable with it, they feel that it will not do to question so sacred a fact in the divine character.
H. B. 2d.
1. Philosophy of Sir William Hamilton, Bart., Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Edinburgh University : arranged and edited by 0. W. Wight, Translator of Cousin's “ History of Modern Philosophy." For the use of Schools and Colleges, &c. New York: D. Appleton & Company, &c. 1853. 8vo. pp. 530.
From the reputation of Sir W. Hamilton, as the most thorough and most learned of British Metaphysicians, we had been led to fear that we should find his works hard reading : that we should find them either encumbered with such a technical nomenclature as would be nearly tantamount to a foreign language, or else written in so abstruse a manner that we should have to make out their meaning by a laborious process of interpretation, instead of finding it already made out for us. We have been agreeably disappointed in the perusal. The language is singularly clear, concise, direct to the point, and perfectly easy to be understood by any one accustomed to the reading of metaphysics, or indeed by any one not accustomed, if he will but have the patience to learn a few technical terms that are sufficiently explained. We know of no author, in this department of science, who appears to express himself with so much ease, and at the same time with so close a discrimination, or who unites so much acuteness of insight with such a breadth of view. His learning, apparently immense, seems to be distinguished by the same completeness and precision that mark his original thought. We may add, that it never overloads his argument, like that of Cudworth ; it is so employed as not to divert attention from the subject in hand, but to throw fuller light upon it, by indicating the road through which speculation has reached its present results. In a word, his philosophy claims to be the philosophy of Common-Sense; and his manner on the whole corresponds with that character.
We ought not to omit an acknowledgement of the judiciousness and good taste with which Mr. Wight, the Editor, bas performed his task, especially in selecting and arranging the several pieces that fill this volume. These pieces are the “ Supplementary Dissertations” on Reid, (except the one not yet completed ;) all the important “ Notes” on that author; and the philosophical parts of the “ Discussions on Philosophy and Literature, Education and Parliamentary Reform.” The Editor occasionally subjoins notes of his own, consisting chiefly of references to other places in the volume, where the topic in hand is more fully treated, and of explanations of a few passages in which some difficulty may be found in the text. The whole is placed before us in the order, and with the illustrations, that, we may suppose, Sir William himself would have chosen.
His work is naturally distinguishable into two parts : i. A general argument that Common-Sense is the criterion which must be appealed to, in metaphysical speculations ; ii. an application of Com. mon-Sense to certain philosophical questions. This latter part again may be divided into two treatises : 1. the Philosophy of Perception ; 2. the Philosophy of the Conditioned.
In this notice, we can of course only mention the ground be takes. He contends that, in perception, we perceive the very objects and facts themselves, of which we become cognizant,--and not mental images, or notions, of those objects and facts, as the most of philosophers have supposed. He shows the absurdities into which the latter supposition rups, and the necessity of adhering to the former position, if we would accept the dictate of Common-Sense, or indeed if we would have any means whatsoever of knowing. All human knowledge must begin at some premises that are taken as self-evident; and, to us, the truth of such premises must rest ultimately on the veracity of that Common Sense which sees them to be self-evident. If that be false, the last link of our communication with reality is gone, and the whole chain of our conclusions, being dependent upon it, falls to the ground at once.
In his Philosophy of the Conditioned, he maintains—what would seem a truism, were it not so often denied expressly or by implication,—that our knowledge is limited, that we cannot scientifically explore the Infinite, that we cannot comprehend God. And he shows how the contrary assumption necessarily resolves itself, at last, into Pantheism, Atheism, or Nibilism.
The discussion of these topics embraces a wide range of particular questions, that have been variously decided by metaphysicians. It is often curious to see with what facility Hamilton lays open the errors and imperfect views with respect to them, ferrets out the sources of mistake, sometimes analytically, sometimes historically, and sets the points in their proper light.
After what we have said of the character of this work, there can be little need that we should formally commend it to the attention of
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metaphysical thinkers, and of all who desire the mental discipline which studies of the kind give.
We must confess, however, that we have no bigh opinion of metaphysics, as a science. If they teach only what sound common-sense gives us, they are needless; if they teach more, they are false. Their chief use, we believe, is homeopathic, to cure the crude and partial metaphysics with which the minds of men are already diseased. When people take a few steps in these endless processes of speculation, and stop short with some paradoxical conclusion, in confidence that it is ultimate, it may be well for them to know what lies beyond, and wbither their unfinished course goes. If they will dabble with metaphysics, then let metaphysics “ have their perfect work.” But if every body would be content to let them alone, it would hardly be worth the while to introduce then. anew. We think, however, that the care which Hamilton takes to rectify their subtle aberrations, by constantly bringing them to the test of common-sense, counteracts their naturally strong tendency to sophisticate the judgements both of the intellect and of the moral nature.
2. A Manual of Greek Literature, from the earliest authentic periods to the close of the Byzantine Era. By Charles Anthon, LL.D., Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages in Columbia College, Rector of the Grammar School, etc. etc. New York: Harper & Brothers, &c. 1853. 12mo. pp. 580.
Another issue from the ever-working laboratory of Dr. Anthon. His publications seem to follow each other faster than the reader can peruse them; and it must be our excuse for having but imperfectly examined this volume, that the capability of the Reviewer has limits, if that of the author has none. So far, however, as we have had opportunity to examine, it appears to be well done, and it obviously covers the whole field which the title defines, or implies. From the first dawn of literature in Greece, to the end of the Byzantine Era in the Dark Ages, a brief account of each successive stage in the developement of the Grecian mind, is given, together with biographical sketches and critical judgements of all the most eminent writers. To the list of their works there are notices appended of the principal editions; and a rapid survey is taken of the different Schools of Greek philosophy, of the mediæval systems, and of the progress made in mathematical sciences.
3. Jonah's Grief for the Gourd. A Discourse of (?) the Moral Argument against Endless Misery, delivered before the Rhode Island Convention of Universalists, in Providence, May 18, 1853. By A. R. Abbott. Published by Request. Boston: Abel Tompkins, &c. 1853. 8vo. pp. 32.
A plea for a more frequent use of the argument derived from moral principles, in the controversy between Universalism and End