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“ That he must to the greenwood goe,
Alone, a bannyshed man.”
Our Lady's church beside ;
By sorrows deeply tried :
That voice of old so welcome ?"
“Forbear, forbear, thou wretched child,
For vain is thy request ;
And torpid is this breast.
And never more returneth.”
“Whom see I here ? the faithless maid,
By me belov'd of yore?
Of gold and gems thy store ?" “ Alas! that I my true one left! For Paradise from me is reft
With thee again I find it.”
Thus have we culled, here and there, a few scattered flowers from the wilderness of sweets in which we have lately been wandering ; but, like all exotics, when transplanted from the parent soil, they have lost in the process much of their native freshness and vigor.
And even if all their "original brightness" has not yet departed, the faint trace of its existence that may still remain, affords but little indication of their beauty when flourishing in a more genial clime. They resemble the plant which, in the masque of “ Comus,” the shepherd gave to the attendant spirit :
With pitying hand he raised the maid,
Upon bis courser sprung,
With frail, white arms she clung. “Oh! Walter true, this heart, alas ! Is beating now 'gainst cold dull brass,
And not upon thy bosom.”
To Walter's castle on they rode,
There all was still and lone; The visor from his face she took-
“The leaf was darkish and had prickles on it, But in another country, as he said, Bore a bright, golden flow'r, but not in this soil."
A PLEA FOR PHILOSOPHY.
Some will have it, that all philosophy is system continually surmounting another, vain ; and that the time bestowed upon it, only to be as certainly overwhelmed after in our colleges and elsewhere, is only the same fashion, in its turn? It will be wasted, or worse than wasted, in the pur- time enough to challenge our respect for suit of a phantom that can never be philosophy, when philosophy shall have reached, while it leads us away continu come to some proper understanding, in the ally from the proper use of life. What first place, of her own mind and meaning, men need in this world, we are told, is not When she shall have become once mistress speculation, but an active apprehension of of herself--a house no longer divided against the living realities with which they are im- itself, the very cavern of Æolus where all mediately surrounded, and the proper pent-up minds are struggling perpetually practical use of these for the ends of their in fierce conflict-it will be time enough to own existence. The world is a fact, think of proclaiming her mistress of the broadly and palpably spread out before world. Till then, let her be remanded to our senses; and our life is a fact, which her proper dwelling place in the clouds, we are required to turn to right account, the land of far-off shadows and dreams. by making the best of it for ourselves and The world has too much serious business others, in the circumstances in which we on hand, to be interrupted by her preten. may happen to be placed. Why', then, sions, and may reasonably say, in the lanshould we occupy ourselves with things guage of Nehemialf to Sanballat and Gethat lie wholly beyond the sphere of our shem the Arabian of old : “ I am doing a actual existence, and that can only serve great work, so that I cannot come down ; to disqualify us for understanding and why should the work cease, whilst I leave using the world as it is ? The sense of the it and come down to you ?” world is sufficiently clear of itself for such All this is very comfortable doctrine, of as are disposed to take things just as they course, for those who have no disposition are, without troubling their heads about and not much power, possibly, to think what they are pleased to call its inward for themselves, while they have just as spiritual constitution and design. We little wish or will to be bound by the have had ample experiment besides of the thinking of others. Agrarianism, indeed, vanity of philosophy, in the past history we may call it, of the most truly demoof its own achievements. The world has cratic order; for is it not something more been philosophizing since the days of Py- to level thus the aristocracy of mind, than thagoras at least, and from a still earlier it is to bring down simply the aristocracy date, and yet to what has it come in the of birth or fortune ? Is it not a species of end ? Has its philosophy made it any self-exaltation, particularly soothing to the wiser or better? Has it accomplished any sense we commonly have of our own imsolid gain whatever for the human race ? | portance, to be able in this way to comIs the world improved in any respect by pare ourselves so favorably with what has the long exploded systems of Greece, by generally been counted the highest order the profound lucubrations of the school of the world's intellect, and the true nobilmen in the middle ages, or by the vast up-Jity of its life? The man who can say of heavings of thought which have had place at philosophy, It is mere wind, must needs since the days of Immanuel Kant, in the feel himself in this respect somewhat sumodern metaphysics of Germany ? Is it perior to the great minds which, in differnot, in fact, a history of contradictions and ent ages, have counted it worthy of their confusions, from beginning to end--one attention and study. It is much, surely,
for any one to have the thought clearly modern German philosophy has given present in his own consciousness : “ Py- birth. Philosophy and infidelity are found thagoras was a fool, Plato was a fool, Ar to have, in all ages, a close inward affinity istotle was a fool ; all the old Greek phi for each other. The first may be conlosophers were fools; the seraphic, irre- sidered the elder sister, if not in fact the fragable doctors of the school divinity, proper
natural mother of the second. Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventura, Duns Sco- That state of the church accordingly is to tus, the whole of them together, were
be accounted the most prosperous, in fools; and the same character belongs which religion is as little as possible the most eminently to the modern German subject of speculation; and the man who thinkers, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, meddles least with the contents of his and all who think it worth while to waste faith, in the way of inward thought and any time upon their speculations : but I reflection, is likely to show himself the am wise ; for I have sense enough to best Christian, and make his way most sucknow that all philosophy is nonsense, and cessfully to heaven. that the less the world is troubled with it But now, in opposition to all such popthe better. My life is more rational, and ular cant,—that can hardly be said for the likely to be of far more account at last, most part to understand its own meaning,— than theirs.” This, we say, is comforta- it is at once an ample reply to say, that ble; and it is not much wonder, perhaps, philosophy belongs to the very constituthat philosophy should be in bad credit tion of our life, and cannot be expelled with so many persons, when so fair a pre- from it therefore without the greatest viomium in this way is made to rest on un lence and wrong. For what is it at last, thinking ignorance and sloth.
more or less than the endeavor to know And then, the case becomes still worse, ourselves and the world, and the form in of course, when the prejudice of religion which, at any given time, this knowledge comes in, as it is always ready to do, in reflects itself
consciousness? favor of the same conclusion. It is bad And can it be a question at all, whether it enough, we are told, that philosophy should be proper and right for us to seek the pretend to interfere with the actual world, knowledge of ourselves in this way?
? It common life, abstracting men's lies in the idea of humanity itself, that it minds from its practical realities, and should comprehend within itself such a amusing them with its own theoretic mode of existence, just as it necessarily dreams; but when the evil is made to includes also the life of art or the law of reach over, in the same form, to the sphere social, or political organization. The quesof religion and faith, it is something still tion whether philosophy is to be tolerated more difficult to be endured. And is there and approved, is precisely like the quesnot in fact an original, necessary opposi tion whether we should approve and toletion between revelation and philosophy ? | rate government or art. These are all Is not faith the simple contrary of specu- so many several spheres only of our hulation? Is it not written, “ Let no man man existence itself, which are necessary spoil you through philosophy;" plainly to make it true and complete, and which implying that we should have nothing to cannot be sundered from it, without overdo with it, in the business of Christianity ? throwing, at the same time, its essential And is not the history of the church from constitution. It is not by any arbitrary the beginning full of instruction and warn- option or will of ours, that they come to ing, in the same direction ? Have not all have the right of being comprehended in corruptions and heresies sprung from phi- the organic structure of the world; their losophy, undertaking to rule and set aside right is as old as the world itself, and must the simple doctrine of God's word ? Wit- stand as long as man and nature shall be ness the flood of Gnostic speculations in found to endure. If any number of men, the second century; the subsequent errors for instance, in vast world-convention asof Origen and his school; the scholastic sembled, should pretend to sit in judgment subtleties of the Aristotelian theology, at on the right and title of the fine arts, mua still later period ; and above all, the ra- sic, sculpture, poetry and the rest, to retionalistic, pantheistic systems, to which the tain their place in the world, and at last
proceed in form to legislate them out of it, | able surely to cry out against science in any as useless, fantastic, and injurious to reli- of its subordinate departments; as some, gion; to what would such legislation indeed, most consistent in their fanaticism, amount in the end, more than to expose have at times pretended to do, in blind the impotence and folly of the congress homage to a life of sense, or in the service, from which it might spring? The fine possibly, of a blind religion. All science arts might say to such a convention: has its chaotic disorders and revolutions, “ What have we to do with thee, vain, its sources of danger and its liabilities to wretched apparition of an hour! Is the corruption and abuse. But what then ? nature of man to be thus made or unmade, Must we cease to think and inquire, in at thy puny pleasure ? Our authority is order that we may become truly wise broader, and deeper, and far more ancient Shall we extinguish the torch of knowlthan thine.” And can it be any more edge, that we may have power in the reasonable, I would ask, to think of legis- dark to fancy ourselves secure from harm ? lating philosophy out of the world or out To do so were only to commit violent of the church, in any similar way? Phi- wrong upon our human nature itself. losophy is no subject for human arbitra- Man was made for science; he needs it, ment and legislation, in such magisterial not as a means simply to something else, form. The question of its being tolerated but as a constituent, we may say, in the and allowed, is not just like the question substance of his own being. But his relawhether we shall have, or not, a tariff or tion to science, in this view, is his relation a national bank. It asks no permission of at the same time to philosophy; for, as ours, to exercise its appointed functions in we have just seen, science can have no the vast world-process of man's history ; reality, except as it includes in itself a it has exercised them through all ages reference at least to philosophy, as that thus far, and it will continue to exercise in which alone it can become complete. them, no doubt, to the end of time, in virtue Man then is formed for philosophy, as of its own indefeasible right to be compre- truly as he is formed for science; and if we hended in this process, as an original ne did but consider it properly, we should cessary part of its constitution.
see and feel that to undervalue and dePhilosophy is the form, simply, in which spise the first, is as little rational as it is all Science is required at last to become to undervalue and despise the second. complete. It is not, as sometimes sup- Philosophy is not a factitious interest, posed, one among the sciences only, in artificially and arbitrarily associated with the way in which this may be said of ge our life, which we may retain or put away ography for instance, or chemistry, or from us altogether at our own pleasure ; mathematics; it is emphatically the sci- it is the perfection of our intelligence itence of science itself—the form in which self, the necessary summit of self-consciousscience comes to master ils own nature, ness, towards which all the lines of knowlin the way of conscious self-apprehension edge struggle from the start, and in which and self-possession. It belongs to the only they are made to reach at last their very conception of knowledge, that how- ultimate and full sense. ever distributed into manifold departments What has now been said, does not imply and spheres, it should nevertheless be at of course that all men are called to be phithe last the power of a single universal losophers, and to exercise the functions of life. All science is organic, and falls back philosophy on their own account. When finally upon the unity of self-consciousness we say of art, that it forms an original as its centre and ground. This is, how- constituent sphere of our general human ever, only to say that it comes to its true life, we do not mean certainly that every general end in the form of philosophy, individual is required to be a painter, or which is for this very reason the mistress musician, or poet, or all of these together, in and mother of all sound knowledge in order that he may fulfil his proper destiny every other view. What can be more in the world. Non omnia possumus omnes ; irrational, then, and absurd, than to cry out the life of the world is something far more against philosophy as something unpro- comprehensive and profound than the life fitable and vain? It were just as reason of any one man, or any ten thousand men
included in its course. Humanity has its in spite of all discouragement and seemmeasure in the whole, and not in the sep- ingly bad success, if there had been no arate parts of which the whole is com reason for it other than its own vagrant posed. The perfection of the individual curiosity or lawless self-will. The world does not consist in his being all that the has never been without its philosophy, as general idea of human life requires, but in far back as we find it exhibiting any signs this, that he shall truly fill his own place whatever of a moral or intellectual life. in an organism, which is complete for the Christianity wrought no change in it, with purposes that belong to it as a whole. regard to this point. Many in modern În this sense we say, that art is a necessary times have charged the early Church with constituent of humanity, though few com
unfaithfulness to her Master, in permitting paratively may be fitted as organs to exer the great truths of the Gospel to become cise the functions for which it calls: these a subject of school speculation; as though functions belong to the organic constitu- it might have been possible to have tion of our life, as a whole, and for the use handed them down as mere traditional of the whole; and where they are not ac articles of faith, without their being made knowledged or fulfilled, the life itself must to enter thus, with new informing power, be regarded as, to the same extent, mutila- into the actual thinking of the world as ted and shorn of its true sense. So in the well as into its actual life. And yet is not case before us. Science and philosophy the thinking of the world, at all times, are not necessary for all men, individually inseparably identified with its life; or and separately taken ; but they are neces- rather
, is it not the very soul through sary at all times to Man as an organic which this itself lives, the central stream whole. The great fact of humanity, the that carries all forward in its own direcprocess of the world's life, cannot go for- tion? If Christianity were to be something ward at all without their presence. It may more than a religion of blind mechanical be enough for the mass of men perhaps to tradition; if it should at all make good its be borne along by the spirit of the age to claim to be the absolute truth of the which they belong, without any clear in- world, the eternal consummation of humansight into its constitution and course; but ity itself; it must introduce itself into the this is not enough for the age itself. actual process of the world's history as it Through organs proper for the purpose, it stood, so as to fulfil and not destroy the ought to come if possible to a clear under- original sense of it, in all its complicated standing of its own spirit and will, so as to parts. We might as well ask, that it be self-conscious and not blind. As we should not meddle with the sphere of have already said, however, this self-con- politics, as that it should abjure all intersciousness is philosophy; and towards it est in philosophy. The early Church soon at least all human life must continually found herself compelled to speculate. It struggle, so far as it is vigorous and sound. was part of her mission in the world, to Nay, a bad life must rest in some con- regenerate its intelligence and reason. sciousness too, often, to be sure, very dark, And so in all periods since, we find philosof its own meaning and tendency; and so ophy closely interwoven with the activity far this also will have its philosophy. Phi- of the church under other forms, and losophy and life, in fact, whether men refusing to part with its authority for the consider it or not, go ever hand in hand human mind, so far as this can be said to together.
have made any historical progress at all. It is perfectly ridiculous, therefore, to The Reformers, in the sixteenth century, think or speak of the world as having imagined at first, indeed, that their cause power to accomplish its history without required its entire banishment from the philosophy; as much so, as though we territory of religion ; but they were soon should dream that society might exist compelled themselves to have recourse without government. It would be indeed again to its aid ; and in the end, the old something most strange and unaccounta- order of things in this direction was fully ble, that the human mind should have established throughout the Protestant shown such an inveterate propensity world. through all ages to speculate in this way, How vain, in view of all this, to quarrel