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Title: Know the Truth; A critique of the Hamiltonian Theory of Limitation
Author: Jones, Jesse H.
Language: English
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    "Give me to see, that I may know where to strike."


    Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by JESSE
    H. JONES, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the
    Southern District of New York.




    This Little Treatise




This book has been written simply in the interest of Truth. It was
because the doctrines of the Hamiltonian School were believed to be
dangerous errors, which this process of thought exposes, that it was

Logically, and in the final analysis, there can be but two systems of
philosophical theology in the world. The one will be Pantheism, or
Atheism,--both of which contain the same essential principle, but viewed
from different standpoints,--the other will be a pure Theism. In the
schools of Brahma and Buddh, or in the schools of Christ, the truth is
to be found. And this is so because every teacher is to be held
responsible for all which can be logically deduced from his system; and
every erroneous result which can be so deduced is decisive of the
presence of an error in principle in the foundation; and all schemes of
philosophy, by such a trial, are seen to be based on one of these two
classes of schools. Just here a quotation from Dr. Laurens Hickok's
"Rational Psychology" will be in point:

"Except as we determine the absolute to be personality wholly out of and
beyond all the conditions and modes of space and time, we can by no
possibility leave nature for the supernatural. The clear-sighted and
honest intellect, resting in this conclusion that the conditions of
space and time cannot be transcended, will be Atheistic; while the
deluded intellect, which has put the false play of the discursive
understanding in its abstract speculations for the decisions of an
all-embracing reason, and deems itself so fortunate as to have found a
deity within the modes of space and time, will be Pantheistic. The
Pantheism will be ideal and transcendent, when it reaches its
conclusions by a logical process in the abstract law of thought; and it
will be material and empiric, when it concludes from the fixed
connections of cause and effect in the generalized law of nature; but in
neither case is the Pantheism any other than Atheism, for the Deity,
circumscribed in the conditions of space and time with nature, is but
nature still, and, whether in abstract thought or generalized reality,
is no God."

The Hamiltonian system is logically Atheism. Perceiving that the Deity
cannot be found in Nature, it denies that he can be known at all. What
the mind cannot know at all, _it is irrational to believe_. If man
cannot _know that_ God is, and have a clear sight of his attributes as a
rational ground of confidence in what he says, it is the height of blind
credulity to believe in him. And more; if man cannot have such
knowledge, he has _no standard_ by which to measure teachings, and be
_sure_ he has the truth. Under such circumstances, faith is
_impossible_. Faith can only be based on _Reason_. If there is no
Reason, there can be no faith. Hence he who talks about faith, and
denies Reason, does not know what faith is. The logician rightfully held
that God could not be found in Nature; but he was just as wrong in
asserting that man is wholly in Nature and cannot know God, as he was
right in the former instance. The acceptance of his one truth, and one
error, compels man to be an Atheist; because then he has no faculty by
which to know aught of God; and few thorough men will accept blind
credulity as the basis of Religion.

The author's sense of obligation to President Hickok cannot be too
strongly stated. But for his works, it is believed that this little
treatise could never have been written. Indeed, the author looks for but
scanty credit on the score of originality, since most of what he has
written he has learned, directly or indirectly, from that profound
thinker. He has deemed it his chief work, to apply the principles
developed by others to the exposure of a great error. And if he shall be
judged to have accomplished this, his ambition will have been satisfied.

After the substance of this treatise had been thought out, and while the
author was committing it to paper, the essays on "Space and Time," and
on "The Philosophy of the Unconditioned," in the numbers of the "North
American Review" for July and October, 1864, happened to fall under his
notice. Some persons will appreciate the delight and avidity with which
he read them; and how grateful it was to an obscure student, almost
wholly isolated in the world, to find the views which he had wrought out
in his secluded chamber, so ably advocated in the leading review of his
country. Not that he had gone as far, or examined the subjects in hand
as thoroughly as has been there done. By no means. Rather what results
he had attained accord with some of those therein laid down. Of those
essays it is not too much to say, that, if they have not exhausted the
topics of which they treat, they have settled forever the conclusions to
be reached, and leave for other writers only illustration and comment.
If the author shall seem to differ from them on a minor question,--that
of quantitative infinity,--the difference will, it is believed, be found
to be one of the form of expression only. And the difference is
maintained from the conviction that no term in science should have more
than one signification. It is better to adopt illimitable and
indivisible, as the technical epithets of Space, in place of the
commonly used terms infinite and absolute.

A metaphysical distinction has been incidentally touched upon in the
following discussion, which deserves a more extensive consideration than
the scope and plan of this work would permit to it here; and which, so
far as the author's limited reading goes, has received very little
attention from modern writers on metaphysics. He refers to the
distinction between the animal nature and spiritual person, so
repeatedly enounced by that profound metaphysical theologian, the
apostle Paul, and by that pure spiritual pastor, the apostle John, in
the terms "flesh" and "spirit." The thinkers of the world, even the best
Christian philosophers, seem to have esteemed this a moral and religious
distinction, and no more, when in fact it cleaves down through the whole
human being, and forms the first great radical division in any proper
analysis of man's soul, and classification of his constituent elements.
_This is a purely natural division._ It is organic in man. It belonged
as much to Adam in his purity, as it does to the most degraded wretch on
the globe now. It is of such a character that, had it been properly
understood and developed, the Hamiltonian system of philosophy could
never have been constructed.

An adequate statement of the truth would be conducted as follows. First,
the animal nature should be carefully analyzed, its province accurately
defined, and both the laws and forms of its activity exactly stated.
Second, a like examination of the spiritual person should follow; and
third, the relations, interactions, and influences of the two parts upon
each other should be, as extensively as possible, presented. But it is
to be remarked, that, while the analysis, by the human intellect, of
these two great departments of man's soul, may be exhaustive, it is
doubtful if any but the All-seeing Eye can read all their relations and
inter-communications. The development of the third point, by any one
mind, must needs, therefore, be partial. Whether any portion of the
above designated labor shall be hereafter entered upon, will depend upon
circumstances beyond control of the writer.

As will appear, it is believed, in the development of the subject, the
great, the _vital_ point upon which the whole controversy with the
Hamiltonian school must turn, is a question of _fact_; viz., whether man
has a Reason, as the faculty giving _a priori_ principles, or not. If he
has such a Reason, then by it the questions now at issue can be settled,
and that finally. If he has no Reason, then he can have no knowledge,
except of appearances and events, as perceived by the Sense and judged
by the Understanding. Until, then, the question of fact is decided, it
would be a gain if public attention was confined wholly to it. Establish
first a well ascertained and sure foundation before erecting a

The method adopted in constructing this treatise does not admit the
presentation of the matter in a symmetrical form. On the contrary, it
involves some, perhaps many, repetitions. What has been said at one
point respecting one author must be said again in reply to another. Yet
the main object for which the work was undertaken could, it seemed, be
thoroughly accomplished in no other way.

The author has in each case used American editions of the works named.




In April, 1859, there was republished in Boston, from an English print,
a volume entitled "The Limits of Religious Thought Examined," &c., "by
Henry Longueville Mansel, B. D."

The high position occupied by the publishers,--a firm of Christian
gentlemen, who, through a long career in the publication of books either
devoutly religious, or, at least, having a high moral tone, and being
marked by deep, earnest thought, have obtained the confidence of the
religious community; the recommendations with which its advent was
heralded, but most of all the intrinsic importance of the theme
announced, and its consonance with many of the currents of mental
activity in our midst,--gave the book an immediate and extensive
circulation. Its subject lay at the foundation of all religious, and
especially of all theological thinking. The author, basing his teaching
on certain metaphysical tenets, claimed to have circumscribed the
boundary to all positive, and so valid effort of the human intellect in
its upward surging towards the Deity, and to have been able to say,
"Thus far canst thou come, and no farther, and here must thy proud waves
be stayed." And this effort was declaredly made in the interest of
religion. It was asserted that from such a ground only, as was therein
sought to be established, could infidelity be successfully assailed and
destroyed. Moreover, the writer was a learned and able divine in the
Anglican Church, orthodox in his views; and his volume was composed of
lectures delivered upon what is known as "The Bampton Foundation;"--a
bequest of a clergyman, the income of which, under certain rules, he
directed should be employed forever, in furthering the cause of Christ,
by Divinity Lecture Sermons in Oxford. Such a book, on such a theme, by
such a man, and composed under such auspices, would necessarily receive
the almost universal attention of religious thinkers, and would mark an
era in human thought. Such was the fact in this country. New England,
the birthplace and home of American Theology, gave it her most careful
and studious examination. And the West alike with the East pored over
its pages, and wrought upon its knotty questions. Clergymen especially,
and theological students, perused it with the earnestness of those who
search for hid treasures. And what was the result? We do not hesitate to
say that it was unqualified rejection. The book now takes its place
among religious productions, not as a contribution to our positive
knowledge, not as a practicable new road, surveyed out through the
Unknown Regions of Thought, but rather as possessing only a negative
value, as a monument of warning, erected at that point on the roadside
where the writer branched off in his explorations, and on which is
inscribed, "In this direction the truth cannot be found."

The stir which this book produced, naturally brought prominently to
public attention a writer heretofore not extensively read in this
country, Sir William Hamilton, upon whose metaphysical teachings the
lecturer avowedly based his whole scheme. The doctrines of the
metaphysician were subjected to the same scrutinizing analysis, which
dissolved the enunciations of the divine; and they, like these, were
pronounced "wanting." This decision was not reached or expressed in any
extensive and exhaustive criticism of these writers; in which the errors
of their principles and the revolting nature of the results they
attained, were presented; but it rather was a shoot from the spontaneous
and deep-seated conviction, that the whole scheme, of both teacher and
pupil, was utterly insufficient to satisfy the craving of man's highest
nature. It was rejected because it _could_ not be received.

Something more than a year ago, and while the American theological mind,
resting in the above-stated conviction, was absorbed in the tremendous
interests connected with the Great Rebellion, a new aspirant for honors
appeared upon the stage. A book was published entitled "The Philosophy
of Herbert Spencer: First Principles." This was announced as the
foundation of a new system of Philosophy, which would command the
confidence of the present, and extort the wonder of all succeeding ages.
Avowing the same general principles with Mansel and Hamilton, this
writer professed to have found a radical defect in their system, which
being corrected, rendered that system complete and final; so that, from
it as a base, he sets out to construct a new scheme of Universal
Science. This man, too, has been read, not so extensively as his
predecessors; because when one has seen a geometrical absurdity
demonstrated, he does not care, unless from professional motives, to
examine and disprove further attempts to bolster up the folly; but still
so widely read, as to be generally associated with the other writers
above mentioned, and, like them, rejected. Upon being examined, he is
found to be a man of less scope and mental muscle than either of his
teachers; yet going over the same ground and expressing the same ideas,
scarcely in new language even; and it further appears that his discovery
is made at the expense of his logic and consistency, and involves an
unpardonable contradiction. Previous to the publication of the books
just mentioned, an American writer had submitted to the world a system
of thought upon the questions of which they treat, which certainly
seems worthy of some notice from their authors. Yet it has received
none. To introduce him we must retrace our steps for a little.

In 1848, Laurens P. Hickok, then a Professor in Auburn Theological
Seminary, published a work entitled "Rational Psychology," in which he
professed to establish, by _a priori_ processes, positions which, if
true, afford a ground for the answer, at once and forever, of all the
difficulties raised by Sir William Hamilton and his school. Being
comparatively a new writer, his work attracted only a moiety of the
attention it should have done. It was too much like Analytical Geometry
and Calculus for the popular mind, or even for any but a few patient
thinkers. For them it was marrow and fatness.

Since the followers of Sir William Hamilton, whom we will hereafter term
Limitists, have neglected to take the great truths enunciated by the
American metaphysician, and apply them to their own system, and so be
convinced by their own study of the worthlessness of that system, it
becomes their opponents, in the interest of truth, to perform this work
in their stead; viz., upon the basis of immutable truth, to unravel each
of their well-knit sophistries, to show to the world that it may "_know
the truth_;" and thus to destroy a system which, if allowed undisputed
sway, would sap the very foundations of Christian faith.

The philosophical system of the Limitists is built upon a single
fundamental proposition, which carries all their deductions with it. He
who would strike these effectually, must aim his blow, and give it with
all his might, straight at that one object; sure that if he destroys
that, the destruction of the whole fabric is involved therein. But, as
the Limitists are determined not to confess the dissolution of their
scheme, by the simple establishment of principles, which they cannot
prove false, and which, if true, involve the absurdity of their own
tenets, it is further necessary to go through their writings, and
examine them passage by passage, and show the fallacy of each. In the
former direction we can but re-utter some of the principles of the great
American teacher. In the latter there is room for new effort; and this
shall be our especial province.

The proposition upon which the whole scheme of the Limitists is founded,
was originally enunciated by Sir William Hamilton, in the following
terms. "The Unconditioned is incognizable and inconceivable; its notion
being only negative of the conditioned, which last can alone be
positively known or conceived." "In our opinion, the mind can conceive,
and consequently can know, only the _limited and the conditionally
limited_. The unconditionally unlimited, or the Infinite, the
unconditionally limited, or the Absolute, cannot positively be construed
to the mind; they can be conceived only by a thinking away from, or
abstraction of, those very conditions under which thought itself is
realized; consequently, the notion of the Unconditioned is only
negative--negative of the conceivable itself. For example, on the one
hand we can positively conceive, neither an absolute whole, that is, a
whole so great, that we cannot also conceive it as a relative part of a
still greater whole; nor an absolute part, that is, a part so small,
that we cannot also conceive it as a relative whole, divisible into
smaller parts. On the other hand, we cannot positively represent, or
realize, or construe to the mind, (as here understanding and imagination
coincide,) an infinite whole, for this could only be done by the
infinite synthesis in thought of finite wholes, which would itself
require an infinite time for its accomplishment; nor, for the same
reason, can we follow out in thought an infinite divisibility of
parts.... As the conditionally limited (which we may briefly call the
conditioned) is thus the only possible object of knowledge, and of
positive thought--thought necessarily supposes conditions. _To think_ is
_to condition_; and conditional limitation is the fundamental law of the
possibility of thought." ... "The conditioned is the mean between two
extremes--two inconditionates, exclusive of each other, neither of
which _can be conceived as possible_, but of which, on the principles of
contradiction and excluded middle, one _must be admitted as necessary_."

This theory may be epitomized as follows:--"The Unconditioned denotes
the genus of which the Infinite and Absolute are the species." This
genus is inconceivable, is "negative of the conceivable itself." Hence
both the species must be so also. Although they are thus incognizable,
they may be defined; the one, the Infinite, as "that which is beyond all
limits;" the other, the Absolute, as "a whole beyond all conditions:"
or, concisely, the one is illimitable immensity, the other,
unconditional totality. As defined, these are seen to be "mutually
repugnant:" that is, if there is illimitable immensity, there cannot be
absolute totality; and the reverse. Within these two all possible being
is included; and, because either excludes the other, it can be in only
one. Since both are inconceivable we can never know in which the
conditioned or conceivable being is. Either would give us a
being--God--capable of accounting for the Universe. This fact is assumed
to be a sufficient ground for faith; and man may therefore rationally
satisfy himself with the study of those matters which are
cognizable--the conditioned.

It is not our purpose at this point to enter upon a criticism of the
philosophical theory thus enounced. This will fall, in the natural
course, upon a subsequent page. We have stated it here, for the purpose
of placing in that strong light which it deserves, another topic, which
has received altogether too little attention from the opponents of the
Limitists. Underlying and involved in the above theory, there is a
question of _fact_, of the utmost importance. Sir William Hamilton's
metaphysic rests upon his psychology; and if his psychology is true, his
system is impregnable. It is his diagnosis of the human mind, then,
which demands our attention. He has presented this in the following

"While we regard as conclusive Kant's analysis of Time and Space into
conditions of thought, we cannot help viewing his deduction of the
'Categories of Understanding' and the 'Ideas of Speculative Reason' as
the work of a great but perverse ingenuity. The categories of
understanding are merely subordinate forms of the conditioned. Why not,
therefore, generalize the _Conditioned--Existence Conditioned_, as the
supreme category, or categories, of thought?--and if it were necessary
to analyze this form into its subaltern applications, why not develop
these immediately out of the generic principle, instead of
preposterously, and by a forced and partial analogy, deducing the laws
of the understanding from a questionable division of logical
proposition? Why distinguish Reason (Vernunft) from Understanding
(Verstand), simply on the ground that the former is conversant about, or
rather tends toward, the unconditioned; when it is sufficiently
apparent, that the unconditioned is conceived as the negation of the
conditioned, and also that the conception of contradictories is one? In
the Kantian philosophy, both faculties perform the same function, both
seek the one in the many;--the Idea (Idee) is only the Concept (Begriff)
sublimated into the inconceivable; Reason only the Understanding which
has 'overleaped itself.'"

Not stopping now to correct the entirely erroneous statement that "both
faculties," _i. e._, Understanding and Reason, "perform the same
function," we are to notice the two leading points which are made,
viz.:--1. That there is no distinction between the Understanding and the
Reason; or, in other words, there is no such faculty as the Reason is
claimed to be, there is none but the Understanding; and, 2. A
generalization is the highest form of human knowledge; both of which may
be comprised in one affirmation; the Understanding is the highest
faculty of knowledge belonging to the human soul. Upon this, a class of
thinkers, following Plato and Kant, take issue with the logician, and
assert that the distinction between the two faculties named above, has a
substantial basis; that, in fact, they are different in _kind_, and that
the mode of activity in the one is wholly unlike the mode of activity
in the other. Thus, then, is the great issue between the Hamiltonian and
Platonic schools made upon a question of _fact_. He who would attack the
former school successfully, must aim his blow straight at their
fundamental assumption; and he who shall establish the fact of the Pure
Reason as an unquestionable faculty in the human soul, will, in such
establishment, accomplish the destruction of the Hamiltonian system of
philosophy. Believing this system to be thoroughly vicious in its
tendencies; being such indeed, as would, if carried out, undermine the
whole Christian religion; and what is of equal importance, being false
to the facts in man's soul as God's creature, the writer will attempt to
achieve the just named and so desirable result; and by the mode
heretofore indicated.

It is required, then, to _prove_ that there is a faculty belonging to
the human soul, essentially diverse from the Sense or the Understanding;
a faculty peculiar and unique, which possesses such qualities as have
commonly been ascribed by its advocates to the Pure Reason; and thereby
to establish such faculty as a fact, and under that name.

Previous to bringing forward any proofs, it is important to make an
exact statement of what is to be proved. To this end, let the following
points be noted:--

_a._ Its modes of activity are essentially diverse from those of the
Sense or Understanding. The Sense is only capacity. According to the
laws of its construction, it receives impressions from objects, either
material, and so in a different place from that which it occupies, or
imaginary, and so proceeding from the imaging faculty in itself. But it
is only capacity to receive and transmit impressions. The Understanding,
though more than this, even faculty, is faculty shut within the limits
of the Sense. According to its laws, it takes up the presentations of
the Sense, analyzes and classifies them, and deduces conclusions: but it
can attain to nothing more than was already in the objects presented. It
can construct a system; it cannot develop a science. It can observe a
relation it cannot intuit a law. What we seek is capacity, but of
another and higher kind from that of the Sense. Sense can have no object
except such, at least, as is constructed out of impressions received
from without. What we seek does not observe outside phenomena; and can
have no object except as inherent within itself. It is faculty moreover,
but not faculty walled in by the Sense. It is faculty and capacity in
one, which, possessing inherent within itself, as objects, the _a
priori_ conditional laws of the Universe, and the _a priori_ conditional
ideal forms which these laws, standing together according to their
necessary relations, compose, transcends, in its activity and
acquisitions, all limitations of a _Nature_; and attends to objects
which belong to the Supernatural, and hence which absoluteness
qualifies. We observe, therefore,

_b._ The objects of its activity are also essentially diverse in kind
from those of the Sense and the Understanding. All the objects of the
Sense must come primarily or secondarily, from a material Universe; and
the discussions and conclusions of the Understanding must refer to such
a Universe. The faculty which we seek must have for its objects, _laws_,
or, if the term suit better, first principles, which are reasons why
conduct must be one way, and not another; which, in their combinations,
compose the forms conditional for all activity; and which, therefore,
constitute within us an _a priori_ standard by which to determine the
validity of all judgments. To illustrate. Linnæus constructed a system
of botanical classification, upon the basis of the number of stamens in
a flower. This was satisfactory to the Sense and the Understanding.
Later students have, however, discovered that certain _organic laws_
extend as a framework through the whole vegetable kingdom; which, once
seen, throw back the Linnæan system into company with the Ptolemaic
Astronomy; and upon which laws a _science_ of Botany becomes possible.
That faculty which intuits these laws, is called the Pure Reason.

To recapitulate. What we seek is, in its modes and objects of activity,
diverse from the Sense and Understanding. It is at once capacity and
faculty, having as object first principles, possessing these as an
_inherent heritage_, and able to compare with them as standard all
objects of the Sense and judgments of the Understanding; and to decide
thereby their validity. These principles, and combinations of
principles, are known as _Ideas_, and, being innate, are denominated
_innate Ideas_. It is their reality which Sir William Hamilton denies,
declaring them to be only higher generalizations of the Understanding,
and it is the faculty called the Pure Reason, in which they are supposed
to inhere, whose actuality is now to be proved.

The effort to do this will be successful if it can be shown that the
logician's statement of the facts is partial, and essentially defective;
what are the phenomena which cannot be comprehended in his scheme; and,
finally, that they can be accounted for on no other ground than that

1. The statement of facts by the Limitists is partial and essentially
defective. They start with the assumption that a generalization is the
highest form of human knowledge. To appreciate this fully, let us
examine the process they thus exalt. A generalization is a process of
thought through which one advances from a discursus among facts, to a
conclusion, embodying a seemingly general truth, common to all the facts
of the class. For instance. The inhabitants of the north temperate zone
have long observed it to be a fact, that north winds are cold; and so
have arrived at the general conclusion that such winds will lower the
temperature. A more extensive experience teaches them, however, that in
the south temperate zone, north winds are warm, and their judgment has
to be modified accordingly. A yet larger investigation shows that, at
one period in geologic history, north winds, even in northern climes,
were warm, and that tropical animals flourished in arctic regions; and
the judgment is again modified. Now observe this most important fact
here brought out. _Every judgment may be modified by a larger
experience._ Apply this to another class of facts. An apple is seen to
fall when detached from the parent stem. An arrow, projected into the
air, returns again. An invisible force keeps the moon in its orbit.
Other like phenomena are observed; and, after patient investigation, it
is found to be a fact, that there is a force in the system to which our
planet belongs, which acts in a ratio inverse to the square of the
distance, and which thus binds it together. But if a generalization is
the highest form of knowledge, we can never be sure we are right, for a
subsequent experience may teach us the reverse. We know we have not _all
the facts_. We may again find that the north wind is elsewhere, or was
once here, warm. Should a being come flying to us from another sphere so
distant, that the largest telescope could catch no faintest ray, even,
of its shining, and testify to us that there, the force we called
gravitation, was inversely as the _cube_ of the distance, we could only
accept the testimony, and modify our judgment accordingly. Conclusions
of to-day may be errors to-morrow; and we can never know we are right.
The Limitists permit us only interminable examinations of interminable
changes in phenomena; which afford no higher result than a new basis for
new studies.

From this wearisome, Io-like wandering, the soul returns to itself,
crying its wailing cry, "Is this true? Is this all?" when suddenly, as
if frenzied by the presence of a god, it shouts exultingly "The truth!
the truth! I see the eternal truth."

The assumption of the Limitists is not all the truth. Their diagnosis is
both defective and false. It is defective, in that they have failed to
perceive those qualities of _universality_ and _necessity_, which most
men instinctively accord to certain perceptions of the mind; and false,
in that they deny the reality of those qualities, and of the certain
perceptions as modified by them, and the actuality of that mental
faculty which gives the perceptions, and thus qualified. They state a
part of the truth, and deny a part. The whole truth is, the mind both
generalizes and intuits.

It is the _essential_ tenet of their whole scheme, that the human mind
nowhere, and under no circumstance, makes an affirmation which it
unreservedly qualifies as necessary and universal. Their doctrine is,
that these affirmations _seem_ to be such, but that a searching
examination shows this seeming to be only a bank of fog. For instance.
The mind seems to affirm that two and two _must_ make four. "Not so,"
says the Limitist. "As a fact, we see that two and two do make four, but
it may make five, or any other sum. For don't you see? if two and two
must make four, then the Infinite must see it so; and if he must see it
so, he is thereby conditioned; and what is worse, we know just as much
about it as he does." In reply to all such quibbles, it is to be
said,--there is no seeming about it! If the mind is not utterly
mendacious, it affirms, positively and unreservedly, "Two and two are
four, _must_ be four; and to see it so, _is conditional for_ ALL
_intellect_." Take another illustration. The mind instinctively, often
unconsciously, always compulsorily, affirms that the sentiment, In
society the rights of the individual can never trench upon the rights of
the body politic,--is a necessary, and universally applicable principle;
which, however much it may be violated, can never be changed. The whole
fabric of society is based upon this. Could a mind think this away, it
could not construct a practical system of society upon what would be
left,--its negation. But the Limitists step in here, and say, "All this
seems so, perhaps, but then the mind is so weak, that it can never be
sure. You must modify (correct?) this seeming, by the consideration
that, if it is so, then the Infinite must know it so, and the finite and
Infinite must know it alike, and the Infinite will be limited and
conditioned thereby, which would be impious." Again, the intellect
unreservedly asserts, "There is no seeming in the matter. The utterance
is true, absolutely and universally true, and every intellect _must_ see
it so."

Illustrations like the above might be drawn from every science of which
the human mind is cognizant. But more are not needed. Enough has been
adduced to establish the _fact_ of those qualities, universality and
necessity, as inherent in certain mental affirmations. Having thus
pointed out the essential defect of the logician's scheme, it is
required to state:

2. What the phenomena are which cannot be comprehended therein.

In general, it may be said that all those perceptions and assertions of
the mind, which are instinctive, and which it involuntarily qualifies as
universal and necessary, are not, and cannot be comprehended in Sir
William Hamilton's scheme. To give an exhaustive presentation of all the
_a priori_ laws of the mind, would be beyond the scope of the present
undertaking, and would be unnecessary to its success. This will be
secured by presenting a classification of them, and sufficient examples
under each class. Moreover, to avoid a labor which would not be in place
here, we shall attempt no new classification; but shall accept without
question, as ample for our purpose, that set forth by one of our purest
and every way best thinkers,--Rev. Mark Hopkins, D. D., President of
Williams College, Mass.

"The ideas and beliefs which come to us thus, may be divided into,
first, mathematical ideas and axioms. These are at the foundation of the
abstract sciences, having for their subject, quantity. In the second
division are those which pertain to mere being and its relations. Upon
these rest all sciences pertaining to actual being and its relations.
The third division comprises those which pertain to beauty. These are at
the foundation of æsthetical science. In the fourth division are those
which pertain to morals and religion. Of these the pervading element is
the sense of obligation or duty. Of this the idea necessarily arises in
connection with the choice by a rational being of a supreme end, and
with the performance of actions supposed to bear upon that."--_Moral
Science_, p. 161.

First.--Mathematical ideas and axioms.

Take, for instance, the multiplication table. Can any one, except a
Limitist, be induced to believe that it was originally _constructed_;
that a will put it together, and might take it apart? Seven times seven
now make forty-nine. Will any one say that it might have been made to
make forty-seven; or that at some future time such may be the case? Or
again, take the axiom "Things which are equal to the same thing are
equal to one another." Will some one say, that the intellectual beings
in the universe might, with equal propriety, have been so constructed as
to affirm that, in some instances, things which are equal to the same
thing are _unequal_ to one another? Or consider the properties of a
triangle. Will our limitist teachers instruct us that these properties
are a matter of indifference; that for aught we know, the triangle might
have been made to have three right angles? Yet again. Examine the
syllogism. Was its law constructed?

    All M is X;
    All Z is M;
    All Z is X.

Will any one say that _perhaps_, we don't know but it might have been so
made, as to appear to us that the conclusion was Some Z is not X? Or
will the Limitists run into that miserable petty subterfuge of an
assertion, "All this _seems_ to us as it is, and we cannot see how it
could be different; but then, our minds are so feeble, they are confined
in such narrow limits, that it would be the height of presumption to
assert positively with regard to stronger minds, and those of wider
scope? Perhaps they see things differently." _Perhaps_ they do; but if
they do, their minds or ours falsify! The question is one of _veracity_,
nothing more. Throughout all the range of mathematics, the positive and
_unqualified_ affirmation of the mind is that its intuitions are
absolute and universal; that they are _a priori_ laws conditional of
_all_ intellect; that of the Deity just as much as that of man.
Feebleness and want of scope have nothing to do with mind in its
affirmation, "Seven times seven _must_ make forty-nine; _and cannot by
any possibility of effort make any other product_;" and every intellect,
_if it sees at all, must see it so_. And so on through the catalogue.
From this, it follows in this instance, that human knowledge is
_exhaustive_, and so is exactly similar, and equal to the Deity's

Second. Those ideas and beliefs which pertain to mere being and its

Take, for instance, the axiom, A material body cannot exist in the
Universe without standing in some relation to all the other material
bodies in that Universe. Either this is absolutely true, or it is not.
If it is so true, then every intellectual being to whom it presents
itself as object at all, must see it as every other does. One may see
more relations than another; but the axiom in its intrinsic nature must
be seen alike by all. If it is not absolutely true, then the converse,
or any partially contradictory proposition, may be true. For example. A
material body may exist in the Universe, and stand in no relation to
some of the other material bodies in that Universe. But, few men will
hesitate to say, that this is not only utterly unthinkable, but that it
could only become thinkable by a denial and destruction of the laws of
thought; or, in other words, by the stultification of the mind.

Take another instance, arising from the fact of parentage and offspring,
in the sentient beings of the world. A pair, no matter to what class
they belong, by the fact of becoming parents, establish a new relation
for themselves; and, "after their kind," they are under bonds to their
young. And, to a greater or less extent, their young have a claim upon
them. As we ascend in the scale of being, the duty imposed is greater,
and the claim of the offspring stronger. Whether it be the fierce eagle,
or the timid dove, or the chirping sparrow; whether it be the prowling
lion, or the distrustful deer, or the cowering hare; or whether it be
the races of man who are examined, the relations established by
parentage are everywhere recognized. Now, will one say that all this
might be changed for aught we know; that, what we call law, is only a
judgment of mankind; and so that this relation did not exist at first,
but was the product of growth? And will one further say that there is no
necessity or universality in this relation; but that the races might,
for aught we know, have just as well been established with a parentage
which involved no relation at all; that the fabled indifference of the
ostrich, intensified a hundredfold, might have been the law of sentient
being? Yet such results logically flow from the principles of the
Limitists. Precisely the same line of argument might be pursued
respecting the laws of human society. But it is not needed here. It is
evident now, that what gives validity to judgments _is the fact that
they accord with an a priori principle in the mind_.

Third. The ideas and beliefs which pertain to beauty. A science of
beauty has not yet been sufficiently developed to permit of so extensive
an illustration of this class as the others. Yet enough is established
for our purpose. Let us consider beauty as in proportioned form. It is
said that certain Greek mathematicians, subsequently to the Christian
era, studied out a mathematical formula for the human body, and
constructed a statue according to it; and that both were pronounced at
the time _perfect_. Both statue and formula are now lost. Be the story
true, or a legend, there is valid ground for the assertion, that the
mind instinctively assumes, in all its criticisms, the axiom, There is a
perfect ideal by which as standard, all art must be judged. The very
fact that the mind, though acknowledging the imperfection of its own
ideal, unconsciously asserts, that somewhere, in some mind, there is an
ideal, in which a perfect hand joins a perfect arm, and a perfect foot a
perfect leg, and these a perfect trunk; and a perfect neck supports a
perfect head, adorned by perfect features, and thus there is a perfect
ideal, is _decisive_ that such an ideal exists. And this conclusion is
true, because God who made us, and constructed the ground from whence
this instinctive affirmation springs, is true.

Take another instance. Few men, who have studied Gothic spires, have
failed to observe that the height of some, in proportion to their base,
is too great, and that of others, too small. The mind irresistibly
affirms, that between these opposite imperfections, there is a golden
mean, at which the proportion shall be _perfect_. When the formula of
this proportion shall be studied out, any workman, who is skilled with
tools, can construct a perfect spire. The law once discovered and
promulgated, becomes common knowledge. Mechanical skill will be all that
can differentiate one workman from another. The fact that the law has
not been discovered yet, throws no discredit upon the positive
affirmation of the mind, that there must be such a law; any more than
the fact of Newton's ignorance of the law of gravitation, when he saw
the apple fall, discredited his instinctive affirmation, upon seeing
that phenomenon, there is a law in accordance with which it fell.

Now how comes the mind instinctively and positively to make these
assertions. If they were judgments, the mind would only speak of
probabilities; but here, it qualifies the assertion with necessity. Men,
however positive in their temperament, do not say, "I know it will rain
to-morrow," but only, "In all probability it will." Not so here. Here
the mind refuses to express itself doubtfully. Its utterance is the
extreme of positiveness. It says _must_. And if its affirmation is not
true, then there is no _reason_ why those works of art which are held in
highest esteem, should be adjudged better than the efforts of the tyro,
except the whim of the individual, or the arbitrary determination of
their admirers.

Fourth. The ideas and beliefs which pertain to morals and religion.

We now enter a sphere of which no understanding could by any possibility
ever guess, much less investigate. Here no sense could ever penetrate;
there is no object for it to perceive. Here all judgments are
impertinent; for in this sphere are only laws, and duties, and
obligations. An understanding cannot "conceive" of a moral law, because
such a law is inconceivable; and it cannot perceive one, because it has
no eye. If it were competent to explain every phenomenon in the other
classes, it would be utterly impotent to explain a single phenomenon in
this. What is moral obligation? Whence does it arise, or how is it
imposed? and who will enforce it, and how will it be enforced? All
these, and numerous such other questions, cannot be raised even by the
Understanding, much less answered by it. The moral law of the Universe
is one which can be learned from no judgment, or combination of
judgments. It can be learned only by being _seen_. The moral law is no
conclusion, which may be modified by a subsequent experience. It is an
affirmation which is _imperative_. To illustrate. It is an axiom, that
the fact of free moral agency involves the fact of obligation. Man is a
free moral agent; and so, under the obligation imposed. At the first, it
was optional with the Deity whether he would create man or not. But will
any one assert that, having determined to create man such as he is, it
was optional with him, whether man should be under the obligation, or
not? Can man be a free moral agent, and be free from the duties inherent
therein? Does not the mind instinctively and necessarily affirm, that
the fact of free moral agency assures the fact of such a relation to
God's moral government, that obligation _must_ follow? One cannot
hesitate to say, that the formula, A free agent may be released from his
obligation to moral law, is absolutely unthinkable.

Again, no judgment can attain to the moral law of the Universe; and yet
man knows it. Jesus Christ, when he proclaimed that law in the words
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind and strength, and
thy neighbor as thyself," only uttered what no man can, in thought,
deny. A man can no more think selfishness as the moral law of the
Universe, than he can think two and two to be five. Man not only sees
the law, but he feels and acknowledges the obligation, even in his
rebellion. In fact there would be no rebellion, no sense of sin, if
there were no obligation. Whence comes the authority of the law? No
power can give it authority, or enforce obedience. Power can crush a
Universe, it cannot change a heart. The law has, and can have authority;
it imposes, and can impose obligation; only because _it is an a priori
law of the Universe_, alike binding upon _all_ moral beings, upon God as
well as man; and is so seen immediately, and necessarily, by a direct
intuition. Man finds this law fundamental to his self; and as well, a
necessarily fundamental law of _all_ moral beings. _Therefore_ he
acknowledges it. And the very efforts he makes to set up a throne for
Passion, over against the throne of Benevolence, is an involuntary
acknowledgment of the authority of that law he seeks to rival.

It was said above, that neither Sense nor Understanding can take any
cognizance of the objects of investigation which fall in this class.
This is because the Sense can gather no material over which the
Understanding can run. Is the moral law matter? No. How then can the
Sense observe it? One answer may possibly be made, viz.: It is deduced
from the conduct of men; and sense observes that. To this it is replied

_a._ The allegation is not true. Most men violate the moral law of the
Universe. Their conduct accords with the law of selfishness. Such
conclusions as that of Hobbes, that war is the natural condition of
Society, are those which would follow from a consideration of man, as he
appears to the Sense.

_b._ If it were true, the question obtrudes itself,--How came it there?
_How came this fundamental law to be?_ and to this the Sense and
Understanding return no shadow of answer.

But from the stand-point of a Pure Reason, all is clear. All the ideas
and beliefs, every process of thought which belongs to this sphere, are
absolute and universal. They must be what they are; and so are
conditional of all moral beings. Here what the human mind sees, is just
what the Deity sees; and it sees just as the Divine mind sees, so that
the truth, as far as so seen, is _common_ to both.

Although the facts which have been adduced above, are inexplicable by
the Limitists, and are decisive of the actuality of the Reason, as it
has been heretofore described, yet another line of argument of great
wight must not be omitted. There are in language certain _positive_
terms, which the Limitists, and the advocates of the Reason agree in
asserting cannot convey any meaning to, or be explained by the Sense and
Understanding. Such are the words infinite and absolute. The mere
presence of such words in language, as positive terms, is a decisive
evidence of the fact, that there is also a faculty which entertains
positive ideas corresponding to them. Sir William Hamilton's position in
this matter, is not only erroneous, but astonishing. He asserts that
these words express only "negative notions." "They," the infinite and
absolute, "can be conceived only by a thinking away from, or abstraction
of, those very conditions under which thought itself is realized;
consequently, the notion of the Unconditioned is only negative--negative
of the conceivable itself." But, if this is true, how came these words
in the language at all? Negative ideas produce negative expressions.
Indeed, the Limitists are confidently challenged to designate another
case in language, in which a positive term can be alleged to have a
_purely_ negative signification. Take an illustration to which we shall
recur further on. The question has been raised, whether a sixth sense
can be. Can the Limitists find in language, or can they construct, a
positive term which will represent the negation of a sixth sense? We
find in language the positive terms, ear and hearing; but can such
positive terms be found, which will correspond to the phrase, no sixth
sense? In this instance, in physics, the absurdity is seen at once. Why
is not as readily seen the equal absurdity of affirming that, in
metaphysics, positive terms have grown up in the language which are
simple negations? Here, for the present, the presentation of facts may
rest. Let us recapitulate those which have been adduced. The axioms in
mathematics, the principles of the relations of being, the laws of
æsthetics, and most of all the whole system of principles pertaining to
morals and religion, standing, as they do, a series of mental
affirmations, which all mankind, except the Limitists, qualify as
necessary and universal, compel assent to the proposition, that
there must be a faculty different in kind from the Sense and
Understanding,--for these have already been found impotent--which can be
ground to account of all these facts satisfactorily. And the presence in
language of such positive terms as absolute and infinite, is a most
valuable auxiliary argument. The faculty which is required,--the faculty
which qualifies all the products of its activity with the
characteristics above named, is the Pure Reason. And its actuality may
therefore be deemed established.

The Pure Reason having thus been proved to be, it is next required to
show the mode of its activity. This can best be done, by first noticing
the _kind_ of results which it produces. The Reason gives us, not
thoughts, but ideas. These are simple, pure, primary, necessary. It is
evident that any such object of mental examination can be known only in,
and by, itself. It cannot be analyzed, for it is simple. It cannot be
compared, for it is pure; and so possesses no element which can be
ground for a comparison. It cannot be deduced, for it is primary and
necessary. _It can only be seen._ Such an object must be known under the
following circumstances. It must be inherent in the seeing faculty, and
must be _immediately and directly seen_ by that faculty; all this in
such a manner, that the abstraction of the object seen, would annihilate
the faculty itself. Now, how is it with the Reason? Above we found it to
be both capacity and faculty: capacity in that it possessed as integral
elements, _a priori_ first principles, as objects of sight; faculty in
that it saw, brought forward, and made available, those principles. The
mode of activity of the Pure Reason is then a _seeing_, direct,
immediate, _sure_; which holds pure truth _fast_, right in the very
centre of the field of vision. This act of the Reason in thus seeing
pure truth is best denominated an intuition of the Reason. And here it
may be said,--If perception and perceive could be strictly confined to
the Sense; concept and conceive to the Understanding; and intuition and
intuit to the Reason, a great gain would be made in accuracy of
expression regarding these departments of the mind.

Having thus, as it is believed, established the fact of the existence of
a Pure Reason, and shown the mode of its activity, it devolves to
declare the function of that faculty.

The function of the Pure Reason is, first:--to intuit, by an immediate
perception, the _a priori_ elemental principles which condition all
being; second,--to intuit, by a like immediate perception, those
principles, combined in _a priori_ systematic processes, which are the
conditional ideal forms for all being; and third,--again to intuit, by
another immediate perception, precisely similar in kind to the others,
the fact, at least, of the perfectly harmonious combination of all _a
priori_ elemental principles, in all possible systematic processes, into
a perfect unity,--an absolute, infinite Person,--God.

To illustrate.

1. The Reason asserts that "Malice is criminal;" and that it is
_necessarily_ criminal; or, in other words, that no act, of any will,
can make it otherwise than it is. The assertion, then, that "Malice is
criminal," is an axiom, and conditions all being, God as well as man.

2. The Reason asserts that every mathematical form must be seen in Space
and Time, and it affirms the same necessity in this as in the former

3. The full illustration of this point would be Anselm's _a priori_
argument for the existence of God. His statement of it should, however,
be so modified as to appear, not as an _a priori_ argument for the
existence of God, but as an amplified declaration of the fact, that the
existence of God is a first principle of Reason; and as such, can no
more be denied than the multiplication table. Objection.--This doctrine
degrades God to the level of the finite; both being alike conditioned.
Answer.--By no means; as will be seen from the two following points.

1. It is universally acknowledged that God must be self-existent, which
means, if it means anything, that the existence of God is _beyond his
own control_; or, in other words, that self-existence is an _a priori_
elemental principle, which conditions God's existing at all.

2. In the two instances under consideration, the word condition has
entirely different significations. God is conditioned only by _Himself_.
Not only is this conditioning not a limitation, properly speaking, but
the very absence of limitation. The fact that He is absolute and
infinite, is a condition of His existence. Man's conditions are the very
opposite of these. He is relative, instead of absolute; finite, instead
of infinite; dependent, instead of self-existent. Hence he differs in
_kind_ from God as do his conditions.

Such being the function of the Pure Reason, it is fully competent to
solve the difficulties raised by Sir William Hamilton and his followers;
and the statement of such solution is the work immediately in hand.

Much of the difficulty and obscurity which have, thus far, attended
every discussion of this subject, will be removed by examining the
definitions given to certain terms;--either by statement, or by
implication in the use made of them;--by exposing the errors involved;
and by clearly expressing the true signification of each term.

By way of criticism the general statement may be made,--that the
Limitists--as was natural from their rejection of the faculty of the
Pure Reason--use only such terms, and in such senses, as are pertinent
to those subjects which come under the purvey of the Understanding and
the Sense; but which are entirely impertinent, in reference to the
sphere of spiritual subjects. The two following phases of this error
are sufficient to illustrate the criticism.

1. The terms Infinite and Absolute are used to express abstractions. For
instance, "_the infinite_, from a human point of view, is merely a name
for the absence of those conditions under which thought is possible."
"It is thus manifest that a consciousness of the Absolute is equally
self-contradictory with that of the Infinite."--_Limits of Religious
Thought_, pp. 94 and 96. If asked "Absolute" what? "Infinite" what? Will
you allow person, or other definite term to be supplied? Mansel would
reply--No! no possible answer can be given by man.

Now, without passing at all upon the question whether these terms can
represent concrete objects of thought or not, it is to be said, that the
use of them to express abstract notions, is utterly unsound. The mere
fact of abstraction is an undoubted limitation. There may be an Infinite
and Absolute Person. By no possibility can there be an abstract

2. But a more glaring and unpardonable error is made by the Limitists in
their use of the words infinite and absolute, as expressing quantity.
Take a few examples from many.

"For example, we can positively conceive, neither an absolute whole,
that is, a whole so great that we cannot also conceive it as a relative
part of a still greater whole; nor an absolute part, that is, a part so
small, that we cannot also conceive it as a relative whole, divisible
into smaller parts. On the other hand, we cannot positively represent,
or realize, or construe to the mind (as here understanding and
imagination coincide), an infinite whole, for this could only be done by
the infinite synthesis in thought of finite wholes which would itself
require an infinite time for its accomplishment; nor, for the same
reason, can we follow out in thought an infinite divisibility of
parts."--_Hamilton's Essays_, p. 20.

"The metaphysical representation of the Deity as absolute and infinite,
must necessarily, as the profoundest metaphysicians have acknowledged,
amount to nothing less than the sum of all reality."--_Limits of
Religious Thought_, p. 76.

"Is the First Cause finite or infinite?... To think of the First Cause
as finite, is to think of it as limited. To think of it as limited,
necessarily implies a conception of something beyond its limits; it is
absolutely impossible to conceive a thing as bounded, without conceiving
a region surrounding its boundaries."--_Spencer's First Principles_, p.

The last extract tempts one to ask Mr. Spencer if he ever stood on the
north side of the affections. Besides the extracts selected, any person
reading the authors above named, will find numerous phrases like these:
"infinite whole," "infinite sum," "infinite number," "infinite series,"
by which they express sometimes a mathematical, and sometimes a material

Upon this whole topic it is to be said, that the terms infinite and
absolute have, and can have, no relevancy to any object of the Sense or
of the Understanding, judging according to the Sense, or to any number.
There is no whole, no sum, no number, no amount, but is definite and
limited; and to use those words with the word infinite, is as absurd as
to say an infinite finite. And to use words thus, is to "multiply words
without knowledge."

Again, the lines of thought which these writers pursue, do not tend in
any degree to clear up the fogs in which they have lost themselves, but
only make the muddle thicker. Take, for instance, the following

"Thus we are landed in an inextricable dilemma. The Absolute cannot be
conceived as conscious, neither can it be conceived as unconscious; it
cannot be conceived as complex, neither can it be conceived as simple;
it cannot be conceived by difference, neither can it be conceived by
the absence of difference; it cannot be identified with the
Universe, neither can it be distinguished from it. The One and the
Many, regarded as the beginning of existence, are thus alike
incomprehensible."--_Limits of Religious Thought_, p. 79.

The soul, while oaring her way with weary wing, over the watery waste of
such a philosophy, can find no rest for the sole of her foot, except on
that floating carcase of a doctrine, Chaos is God. The simple fact that
such confusion logically results from the premises of the Limitists, is
a sufficient warrant for rejecting their whole system of
thought,--principle and process; and for striking for a new base of
operations. But where shall such a base be sought for? On what immutable
Ararat can the soul find her ark, and a sure resting-place? Man seeks a
Rock upon which he can climb and cry, I KNOW that this is truth. Where
is the Everlasting Rock? In our search for the answer to these queries,
we may be aided by setting forth the goal to be reached,--the object to
be obtained.

By observation and reflection man comes to know that he is living in,
and forms part of, a system of things, which he comprehensively terms
the Universe. The problem is,--_To find an Ultimate Ground, a Final
Cause, which shall be adequate to account for the existence and
sustentation of this Universe_. There are but two possible directions
from which the solution of this problem can come. It must be found
either within the Universe, or without the Universe.

Can it be found within the Universe? If it can, one of two positions
must be true. Either a part of the Universe is cause for the existence
of the whole of the Universe; or the Universe is self-existent. Upon the
first position nothing need be said. Its absurdity is manifested in the
very statement of it. A full discussion, or, in fact, anything more than
a notice of the doctrine of Pantheism, set forth in the second point,
would be beyond the intention of the author. The questions at issue lie
not between theists and pantheists, but between those who alike reject
Pantheism as erroneous. The writer confesses himself astonished that a
class of rational men could ever have been found, who should have
attempted to find the Ultimate Ground of the Universe _in itself_. All
that man can know of the facts of the Universe, he learns by
observation; and the sum of the knowledge he thus gains is, that a vast
system of physical objects exists. From the facts observed, he draws
conclusions: but the stream cannot rise higher than its fountain. With
reference to any lesser object, as a watch, the same process goes on. A
watch is. It has parts; and these parts move in definite relations to
each other; and to secure a given object. If now, any person, upon being
asked to account for the existence of the watch, should confine himself
wholly to an examination of the nature of the springs, the wheels, the
hands, face, &c., endeavoring to find the reason of its being within
itself, the world would laugh at him. How much more justly may the world
laugh, yea, shout its ridicule, at the mole-eyed man who rummages among
the springs and wheels of the vast machine of the Universe, to find the
reason of _its_ being. In the former instance, the bystander would
exclaim,--"The watch is an evidence of intelligence. Man is the only
intelligent being on the earth; and is superior to the watch. Man made
the watch." And his assertion would be true. _A fortiori_ would a
bystander of the Universe exclaim, "The Universe is an evidence of
intelligence. An intelligent Being, superior to the Universe, made the
Universe." And his assertion is true. We are driven then to our last
position; but it is the Gibraltar of Philosophy.


From this starting-point alone can we proceed, with any hope of reaching
the goal. Setting out on our new course we will gain a step by noticing
a fact involved in the illustration just given. The bystander exclaims,
"The watch is an evidence of intelligence." In this very utterance is
necessarily expressed the fact of two diverse spheres of existence: the
one the sphere of matter, the other the sphere of mind. One cannot think
of matter except as inferior, nor of mind except as superior. These
two, matter and mind, comprise all possible existence. The Reason not
only cannot see _how_ any other existence can be, but affirms _that_ no
other can be. Mind, then, is the Ultimate Ground of the Universe. What

By examination, man perceives what appears to be an order in the
Universe, concludes that there is such an order, assumes the conclusion
to be valid, and names the order Nature. Turning his eye upon himself,
he finds himself not only associated with, but, through a portion of his
faculties, forming a part of that Nature. But a longer, sharper
scrutiny, a profounder examination, reveals to him his soul's most
secret depth; and the fact of his spiritual personality glows refulgent
in the calm light of consciousness. He sees himself, indeed, in Nature;
but he thrills with joy at the quickly acquired knowledge that Nature is
only a nest, in which he, a purely supernatural being, must flutter for
a time, until he shall be grown, and ready to plume his flight for the
Spirit Land. If then, man, though bound in Nature, finds his central
self utterly diverse from, and superior to Nature, so that he
instinctively cries, "My soul is worth more than a Universe of gold and
diamonds;" _a fortiori_ must that Being, who is the Ultimate Ground, not
only of Nature, but of those supernatural intelligences who live in
Nature, be supernatural, spiritual, and supreme?

Just above, it was seen that matter and mind comprise all possible
existence. It has now been found that mind, in its highest form, even in
man, is pure spirit; and as such, wholly supernatural. It has further
been determined, that the object of our search must be the Supreme

Just at this point it is suitable to notice, what is, perhaps, the most
egregious and unpardonable blunder the Limitists have made. In order to
do this satisfactorily, the following analysis of the human mind is
presented. The soul is a spiritual person, and an animal nature. To this
animal nature belong the Sense and the Understanding. It is universally
acknowledged,--at least the Limitists will not deny,--that the Sense and
the Understanding are wholly within, and conditioned by Nature. Observe
then their folly. They deny that a part can account for a whole; they
reject Pantheism; _and yet they employ only those faculties which they
confess are wholly within and conditioned by Nature_--for they deny the
existence of the Pure Reason, the perceptive faculty of the spiritual
person--_to search, only in Nature, for the cause of Nature_. A fly
would buzz among the wheels of a clock to as little purpose.

The result arrived at just above, now claims our careful attention.

_The Ultimate Ground of the Universe is_ THE SUPREME SPIRIT.

To appreciate this result, we must return to our analysis of man. In his
spiritual personality we have found him wholly supernatural. We have
further found that, only as a spiritual person is he capable of pursuing
this investigation to a final and valid termination. If, then, we would
complete our undertaking, we must ascend into a sphere whose light no
eagle's eye can ever bear; and whose atmosphere his daring wing can
never beat. There no sense can ever enter; no judgments are needed.
Through Reason--the soul's far-darting eye,--and through Reason alone,
can we gaze on the Immutable.

Turning this searching eye upon ourselves, we find that man, as
spiritual person, is a Pure Reason,--the faculty which gives him _a
priori_ first principles, as the standard for conduct and the forms for
activity,--a Spiritual Sensibility, which answers with emotive music to
the call of the Reason; and lastly, a Will, in which the Person dwells
central, solitary, and supreme, the final arbiter of its own destiny.
Every such being is therefore a miniature final cause.

The goal of our search must be near at hand. In man appears the very
likeness of the Being we seek. His highest powers unmistakably shadow
forth the form of that Being, who is The Final. Man originates; but he
is dependent for his power, and the sphere of that power is confined to
his own soul. We seek a being who can originate, who is utterly
independent; and the sphere of whose activity extends wherever, without
himself, he chooses. Man, after a process of culture, comes to intuit
some first principles, in some combinations. We seek a being who
necessarily sees, at once and forever, all possible first principles, in
all possible relations, as the ideal forms for all possible effort. Man
stumbles along on the road of life, frequently ignorant of the way, but
more frequently perversely violating the eternal law which he finds
written on his heart. We seek a being who never stumbles, but who is
perfectly wise; and whose conduct is in immutable accord with the _a
priori_ standards of his Reason. Man is a spiritual person, dependent
for existence, and limited to himself in his exertions. He whom we seek
will be found to be also a spiritual person who is self-existent, and
who sets his own bounds to his activity.

That the line of thought we are now pursuing is the true one, and that
the result which we approach, and are about to utter, is well founded,
receives decisive confirmation from the following facts. Man perceives
that malice must be criminal. Just so the Eternal Eye must see it. A
similar remark is true of mathematical, and all other _a priori_ laws.
Sometimes, at least, there awakens in man's bosom the unutterable thrill
of benevolence; and thus he tastes of the crystal river which flows,
calmly and forever, through the bosom of the "Everlasting Father." For
his own conduct, man is the final cause. In this is he, must he be, the
likeness of the Ultimate. Spiritual personality is the highest possible
form of being. It is then a form common to God and man. Here, therefore,
Philosophy and Revelation are at one. With startling, and yet grateful
unanimity, they affirm the solemn truth, "GOD MADE MAN IN HIS OWN

We reach the goal at last. The Final Truth stands full in the field of
our vision. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith
Jehovah, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." THAT

The problem of the Universe is solved. We stand within the portico of
the sublime temple of truth. Mortal has lifted, at last, the veil of
Isis, and looked upon the eternal mysteries.

It is manifest now, how irrelevant and irreverent those expressions must
be, in which the terms infinite and absolute are employed as signifying
abstractions or amounts. They can have no meaning with reference to the
Universe. But what their true significance is, stands out with
unmistakable clearness and precision.

1. _Absoluteness is that distinctive spiritual_ QUALITY _of the
necessary Being which establishes Him as unqualified except by Himself,
and as complete_.

2. Absoluteness and Unconditionedness are,--the one the positive, and
the other the negative term expressive of the same idea.

3. _Infinity is that distinctive spiritual_ QUALITY _of the necessary
Being which gives to Him universality_.

Absoluteness and Infinity are, then, spiritual qualities of the
self-existent Person, which, distinguishing Him from all other persons,
constitute Him unique and supreme.

It is a law of Logic, which even the child must acknowledge, that
whenever, by a process of thought, a result has been attained and set
forth, he who propounds the result is directly responsible for all that
is logically involved in it. The authority of that law is here both
acknowledged and invoked. The most rigid and exhaustive logical
development of the premises heretofore obtained, which the human mind is
capable of, is challenged, in the confidence that there can be found
therein no jot of discrepancy, no tittle of contradiction. As germain,
and important to the matter in hand, some steps in this development will
be noted.

In solving the problem placed before us, viz: To account for the being
and continuance of the Universe, we have found that the Universe and its
Cause are two distinct and yet intimately and necessarily connected
beings, the one dependent upon the other, and that other utterly
independent; and so that the one is limited and finite, and the other
absolute and infinite; that the one is partly thing and partly person,
and that to both thing and person limitation and finiteness belong;
while the other is wholly person, and consequently the pure, absolute,
and infinite Person. We have further found that absoluteness and
infinity are spiritual qualities of that one Person, which are
incommunicable, and differentiate Him from all other possible beings;
and which establish Him as the uncaused, self-active ground for all
possible beings besides. It is then a Person with all the limitations
and conditions of personality,--a Person at once limited and unlimited,
conditioned and unconditioned, related and unrelated, whose limitations,
conditions, and relations are entirely consistent with his absoluteness
and infinity, who is the final Cause, the Ultimate Ground of the

The finite person is self-conscious, and in a measure
self-comprehending; but he only partially perceives the workings of his
own being. _A fortiori_, must the infinite Person be self-conscious, and
exhaustively self-comprehending. The finite person is an intellect,
sensibility, and will; but these are circumscribed by innumerable
limitations. So must the infinite Person be intellect, sensibility, and
will; but His intellect must be Universal Genius; His sensibility Pure
Delight, and His will, as choice, Universal Benevolence, and as act,

1. As intellect, the infinite Person is Universal Genius.

Then, he "must possess the primary copies or patterns of what it is
possible may be, in his own subjective apprehension;" or, in other
words, "The pure ideals of all possible entities, lie as pure reason
conceptions in the light of the divine intelligence, and in these must
be found the rules after which the creative agency must go forth."
These _a priori_ "pure ideals" are _conditional_ of his knowledge. They
are the sum and limit of all possible knowledge. He must know them as
they are. He cannot intuit, or think otherwise than in accordance with
them. However many there may be of these ideals, the number is fixed and
definite, and must be so; and so the infinite Person must see it. In
fine, in the fact of exhaustive self-comprehension is involved the fact,
that the number of his qualities, attributes, faculties, forms of
activity, and acts, are, and must be limited, definite, and so known to
him; and yet he is infinite and absolute, and thoroughly knows himself
to be so.

2. As sensibility, the infinite Person is Pure Delight.

Then he exists in a state of unalloyed and complete bliss, produced by
the ceaseless consciousness of his perfect worth and worthiness, and his
entire complacency therein. Yet he is pleased with the good conduct, and
displeased with the evil conduct, of the moral beings he has made. And
if two are good, and one better than another, he loves the one more than
the other. Yet all this in no way modifies, or limits, or lessens his
own absolute self-satisfaction and happiness.

3. As will, the infinite Person is, in choice, Universal Benevolence; in
act, Omnipotence.

_a._ In choice, the whole personality,--both the spontaneous and self
activity, are entirely and concordantly active in the one direction.
Some of the objects towards which this state manifests itself may be
very small. The fact that each receives the attention appropriate to his
place in the system of beings in no way modifies the Great Heart, which
spontaneously prompts to all good acts. But

_b._ In act, the infinite Person, though omnipotent, is, always must be,
limited. His ability to act is limited and determined by the "pure
ideals," in which "must be found the rules after which the creative
agency must go forth." In act he is also limited by his choice. The fact
that he is Universal Benevolence estops him from performing any act
which is not in exact accordance therewith. He cannot construct a
rational being, to whom two and two will appear five; and if he should
attempt to, he would cease to be perfect Goodness. Again, the infinite
Person performs an act--of Creation. The act is, must be, limited and
definite; and so must the product--the Universe be. He cannot create an
unlimited Universe, nor perform an infinite act. The very words
unlimited Universe, and as well the notions they express, are
contradictory, and annihilate each other. Further, an infinite act, even
if possible, would not, could not create, or have any relation to the
construction of a Universe. An infinite act must be the realization of
an infinite ideal. The infinite Person has a thorough comprehension of
himself; and consequently a complete idea of himself. That idea, being
the idea of the infinite Person, is infinite; and it is the only
possible infinite idea. He finds this idea realized in himself. But,
should it be in his power to realize it _again_, that exertion of power
would be an infinite act, and its product another infinite Person. No
other infinite act, and no other result, are rationally supposable.

The Universe, then, however large it be, is, must be, limited and
definite. Its magnitude may be inconceivable to us; but in the mind of
its Creator every atom is numbered. No spirit may ever have skirted its
boundary; but that boundary is as clear and distinct to his eye as the
outline of the Alps against a clear sky is to the traveller's. The
questions Where? How far? How long? How much? and the like, are
pertinent only in the Universe; and their answers are always limited and

The line of thought we have been pursuing is deemed by a large class of
thinkers not only paradoxical, but utterly contradictory and
self-destructive. We speak of a Person, a term which necessarily
involves limitation and condition, as infinite and absolute. We speak of
this infinity and absoluteness as spiritual qualities, which are
conditional and limiting to him. We speak of him as conditioned by an
inability to be finite. In fine, to those good people, the Limitists,
our sense seems utter nonsense. It is required, therefore, for the
completion of this portion of our task, to present a rational ground
upon which these apparent contradictions shall become manifestly

In those sentences where the infinite Person is spoken of as limited and
unlimited, &c., it is evident that there is a play upon words, and that
they apply to different qualities in the personality. It is not said, of
course, that the number of his faculties is limited and unlimited; or
that his self-complacency is boundless and constrained; or that his act
is conditioned and unconditioned. Nor are these seeming paradoxes stated
to puzzle and disturb. They are written to express a great, fundamental,
and all-important truth, which seems never once to have shadowed the
minds of the Limitists,--a truth which, when once seen, dispels forever
all the ghostly battalions of difficulties which they have raised. The
truth is this.

That Being whose limitations, conditions, and relations are wholly
subjective, _i. e._ find their whole base and spring in his self; and
who is therefore entirely free from on all possible limitations,
conditions, and relations, from without himself; and who possesses,
therefore, all possible fulness of all possible excellences, and finds
the perennial acme of happiness in self-contemplation, and the
consciousness of his perfect worth; and being such is ground for all
other possible being; is, in the true philosophical sense, unrelated,
unconditioned, unlimited. Or, in other words, the conditions imposed by
Universal Genius upon the absolute and infinite Person are _different in
kind_ from the conditions imposed upon finite persons and physical
things. The former in no way diminish aught from the fulness of their
possessor's endowments; the latter not only do so diminish, but render
it impossible for their possessor to supply the deficiency.

The following dictum will, then, concisely and exactly express the truth
we have attained.

_Those only are conditions, in the philosophical sense, which diminish
the fulness of the possessor's endowments._

An admirable illustration of this truth can be drawn from some
reflections of Laurens P. Hickok, D. D., which we quote. "What we need
is not merely a rule by which to direct _the process_ in the attainment
of any artistic end, but we must find the legislator who may determine
the end itself"...

Whence is the ultimate behest that is to determine the archetype, and
control the pure spontaneity in its action.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Must the artist work merely because there is an inner want to gratify,
with no higher end than the gratification of the highest constitutional
craving? Can we find nothing beyond a want, which shall from its own
behest demand that this, and not its opposite, shall be? Grant that the
round worlds and all their furniture are _good_--but why good? Certainly
as means to an end. Grant that this end, the happiness of sentient
beings, is _good_--but why good? Because it supplies the want of the
Supreme Architect. And is this the _supreme good_? Surely if it is, we
are altogether within nature's conditions, call our ultimate attainment
by what name we may. We have no origin for our legislation, only as the
highest architect finds such wants within himself, and the archetypal
rule for gratifying his wants in the most effectual manner; and
precisely as the ox goes to his fodder in the shortest way, so he goes
to his work in making and peopling worlds in the most direct manner.
Here is no will; no personality; no pure autonomy. The artist finds
himself so constituted that he must work in this manner, or the craving
of his own nature becomes intolerable to himself, and the gratifying of
this craving is _the highest good_."

We attain hereby a mark by which to distinguish the diminishing from the
undiminishing condition. A sense of want, _a craving_, is the necessary
result of a diminishing condition. Hence the presence of any craving is
the distinguishing mark of the finite; and that plenitude of endowments
which excludes all possible craving or lack, is the distinguishing mark
of the infinite and absolute Person. In this plenitude his infinity and
absoluteness consist; and it is, therefore, conditional of them. Upon
this plenitude, as conditional of this Person's perfection, Dr. Hickok
speaks further, as follows:--

"We must find that which shall itself be the reason and law for
benevolence, and for the sake of which the artist shall be put to his
beneficent agency above all considerations that he finds his nature
craving it. It must be that for whose sake, happiness, even that which,
as kind and benevolent, craves on all sides the boon to bless others,
itself should be. Not sensient nor artistic autonomy, but a pure ethic
autonomy, which knows that within itself there is an excellency which
obliges for the sake of itself. This is never to be found, nor anything
very analogous to it, in sensient nature and a dictate from some
generalized experience. It lies within the rational spirit, and is law
in the heart, as an inward imperative in its own right, and must there
be found.... This inward witnessing capacitates for self-legislating and
self-rewarding. It is inward consciousness of a worth imperative above
want; an end in itself, and not means to another end; a user of things,
but not itself to be used by anything; and, on account of its intrinsic
excellency, an authoritative determiner for its own behoof of the entire
artistic agency with all its products, and thus a conscience excusing or

"This inward witnessing of the absolute to his own worthiness, gives the
ultimate estimate to nature, which needs and can attain to nothing
higher, than that it should satisfy this worthiness as end; and thereby
in all his works, he fixes, in his own light, upon the subjective
archetype, and attains to the objective result of that which is
befitting his own dignity. It is, therefore, in no craving want which
must be gratified, but from the interest of an inner behest, which
should be executed for his own worthiness' sake, that 'God has created
all things, and for his pleasure they are and were created.'"

In the light of the foregoing discussion and illustrations, the division
of conditions into two classes--the one class, conditions proper,
comprising those which diminish the endowments of the being upon whom
they lie, and are ground for a craving or lack; and the other class,
comprising those conditions which do not diminish the endowments of the
being upon whom they lie, and which are, therefore, ground for perfect
plenitude of endowments, and of self-satisfaction on account thereof--is
seen to be thoroughly philosophical. And let it be here noted, that the
very construction, or, if the term suit better, perception of this
distinction, is a decisive evidence of the fact, and a direct product of
the operation of the Pure Reason. If our intellect comprised only what
the Limitists acknowledge it to be, a Sense and an Understanding, not
only could no other but diminishing conditions be thought of, but by no
possibility could a hint that there were any others flit through the
mind. Such a mind, being wholly in nature, and conditioned by nature,
_cannot_ climb up out of nature, and perceive aught there. But those
conditions which lie upon the infinite Person are supernatural and
spiritual; and could not be even vaguely guessed at, much more examined
critically and classified, but by a being possessed of a faculty the
same in kind with the intellect in which such spiritual conditions

The actual processes which go on in the mind are as follows. The Sense,
possessing a purely mechanical structure, a structure not differing in
_kind_ from that of the vegetable,--both being alike entirely
conditioned by the law of cause and effect,--perceives phenomena. The
relation of the object to the sensorium, or of the image to the sensory,
and the forms under which the Sense shall receive the impression, are
fixed. Because the Sense acts compulsorily, in fixed mechanical forms,
it is, by this very construction, incapable, not only of receiving
impressions and examining phenomena outside of those forms, but it can
never be startled with the guess that there _is_ anything else than what
is received therein. For instance: A man born blind, though he can have
no possible notion of what light is, knows that light is, from the
testimony of those who can see. But if a race of men born blind should
be found, who had never had any communication with men who could see, it
is notorious that they could have no possible notion even that light
was. A suspicion of its existence could never cross their minds. This
position is strengthened and established beyond controversy, by the
failure of the mind in its efforts to construct an entirely new sense.
Every attempt only intensifies our appreciation of the futility of the
effort. From fragments of the five senses we might, perhaps, construct a
patchwork sixth; but the mind makes no presentation to itself of a new
sense. The reason is, that, to do so, the Sense, as mental faculty, must
transcend the very conditions of its existence. It is precisely with the
Understanding as with the lower faculty. It cannot transcend its limits.
It can add no item to the sum of human knowledge, except as it deduces
it from a presentation by the Sense. Hence its conditions correspond to
those in its associate faculty.

It is manifest, then, that a being with only these faculties may
construct a _system_, but can never develop a _science_. It can arrange,
classify, by such standards as its fancy may select, the phenomena in
nature; but this must be in accordance with some sensuous form. _No law
can be seen_, by which it ought to be so, and not otherwise. Such
classification must always be determined by the number of stamens in the
flower, for instance; and that standard, though arbitrary, will be as
good as any other, _unless there comes a higher faculty_ which,
overlooking all nature, perceives the _a priori_ law working in nature,
which gives the ultimate ground for an exhaustive development of a
science which in its _idea_ cannot be improved. It is manifest, further,
that those conditions, to which we have applied the epithet proper, lie
upon the two faculties we have been considering. In this we agree with
the Limitists.

It now behooves to present the fact that the faculty whose existence was
proved in the earlier part of our work, is competent to overlook, and so
comprehend nature, and all the conditions of nature, and thereby assign
to said conditions their true and inferior place, while it soars out of
nature, and intuits those _a priori_ laws which, though the conditions
of, are wholly unconditioned _by nature_; but which are both the
conditions of and conditioned by the supernatural; and this in an
entirely different sense from the other. This is the province of the
Pure Reason. Standing on some lofty peak, above all clouds of sense,
under the full blaze of eternal truth, the soul sees all nature spread
like a vast map before her searching eye, sharply observes, and
appreciates all the conditions of nature; and then, while holding it
full in the field of her vision, with equal fulness perceives that other
land, the spiritual plains of the supernatural, sees them too in all
their conditionings; and sees, with a clearness of vision never
approximated by the earthly eye, the fact that these supernatural
conditions are no deprivation which awaken a want, but that they inhere
and cohere, as final ground for absolute plenitude of endowments and
fulness of bliss, in the Self-existent Person.

It will be objected to the position now attained, that it involves the
doctrine that the Pure Reason in the finite spiritual person is on a par
with the Universal Genius in the infinite spiritual Person. The
objection is fallacious, because based upon the assumption that likeness
in mode of action involves entire similarity. The mode of action in the
finite Pure Reason is precisely similar to that of the Universal Genius;
the objects perceived by both are the same, they are seen in the same
light, and so are in accord; but the _range_ of the finite is one, and
the _range_ of the infinite is another; and so diverse also are the
circumstances attending the act of seeing. The range of the finite
Reason is, _always must be, partial_: the range of the infinite Reason
is, _always must be, exhaustive_ (not infinite). In circumstances, the
finite Reason is created dependent for existence, must begin in a germ
in which it is inactive, and _must_ be developed by association with
nature, and under forms of nature; and can never, by any possibility of
growth, attain to that perfectness in which it shall be satisfied, or to
a point in development from which it can continue its advance as _pure
spirit_. It always must be spirit in a body; even though that be a
spiritual body. The infinite Reason is self-existent, and therefore
independent; and is, and always must be, in the absolute possession of
all possible knowledge, and so cannot grow. Hence, while the infinite
and finite reasons see the same object in the same light, and therefore
_alike_, the difference in range, and the difference in circumstance,
must forever constitute them dissimilar. The exact likeness of sight
just noticed is the _necessary a priori_ ground upon which a moral
government is _possible_.

In thus declaring the basis upon which the above distinction between the
two classes of conditions rests, we have been led to distinguish more
clearly between the faculties of the mind, and especially to observe how
the Pure Reason enables us thereby to solve the problems she has raised.
In this radical distinction lies the rational ground for the explication
of all the problems which the Limitists raise. It also appears that the
terms must, possible, and the like, being used to express no idea of
restraint, as coming from without upon the infinite Person, or of lack
or craving, as subsisting within him, are properly employed in
expressing the fact that his _Self, as a priori ground for his
activity_, is, though the only, yet a real, positive, and irremovable
limit, condition, and law of his action. Of two possible ends he may
freely choose either. Of all possible modes of action he may choose one;
but the constituting laws of the Self he _cannot_, and the moral laws of
his Self he _will not_, violate.

That point has now been reached at which this branch of the discussion
in hand may be closed. The final base from which to conduct an
examination of the questions respecting absoluteness and infinity has
been attained. In the progress to this consummation it was found that a
radical psychological error lay at the root of the philosophy taught by
the Limitists. Their theory was seen to be partial, and essentially
defective. Qualities which they do not recognise were found to belong to
certain mental affirmations. Four classes of these affirmations or ideas
were named and illustrated; and by them the fact of the Reason was
established. Then its mode of activity and its functions were stated;
and finally the great truth which solves the problem of the ages was, by
this faculty, attained and stated. It became evident that the final
cause of the Universe must be found without the Universe; and it was
then seen that

     That spiritual Person who is self-existent, absolute, and
     infinite, is the Ultimate Ground, the Final Cause, of the

Definitions of the terms absolute and infinite suitable to such a
position were then given, with a few concluding reflections. From the
result thus secured the way is prepared for an examination of the
general principles and their special applications which the Limitists
maintain, and this will occupy our future pages.



It has been attempted in the former pages to find a valid and final
basis of truth, one which would satisfy the cravings of the human soul,
and afford it a sure rest. In the fact that God made man in his own
image, and that thus there is, _to a certain extent_, a community of
faculties, a community of knowledge, a community of obligations, and a
community of interests, have we found such a basis. We have hereby
learned that a part of man's knowledge is necessary and final; in other
words, that he can know the truth, and be sure that his knowledge is
correct. If the proofs which have been offered of the fact of the Pure
Reason, and the statements which have been made of the mode of its
activity and of its functions, and, further, of the problem of the
Universe, and the true method for solving it, shall have been
satisfactory to the reader, he will now be ready to consider the
analysis of Sir William Hamilton's fundamental proposition, which was
promised on an early page. We there gave, it was thought, sufficiently
full extracts for a fair presentation of his theory, and followed them
with a candid epitome. In recurring to the subject now, and for the
purpose named, we are constrained at the outset to make an

It would be simple folly, a childish egotism, to pass by in silence the
masterly article on this subject in the "North American Review" for
October, 1864, and after it to pretend to offer anything new. Whatever
the author might have wrought out in his own mental workshop,--and his
work was far less able than what is there given,--that article has left
nothing to be said. He has therefore been tempted to one of two courses:
either to transfer it to these pages, or pass by the subject entirely.
Either course may, perhaps, be better than the one finally chosen; which
is, while pursuing the order of his own thought, to add a few short
extracts therefrom. One possibility encourages him in this, which is,
that some persons may see this volume, who have no access to the Review,
and to whom, therefore, these pages will be valuable. To save needless
repetition, this discussion will presuppose that the reader has turned
back and perused the extracts and epitome above alluded to.

Upon the very threshold of Sir William Hamilton's statement, one is met
by a logical _faux pas_ which is truly amazing. Immediately after the
assertion that "the mind can know only the _limited and the
conditionally limited_," and in the very sentence in which he denies the
possibility of a knowledge of the Infinite and Absolute, _he proceeds to
define those words in definite and known terms_! The Infinite he defines
as "the unconditionally unlimited," and the Absolute as "the
unconditionally limited." Or, to save him, will one say that the
defining terms are unknown? So much the worse, then! "The Infinite," an
unknown term, may be represented by _x_; and the unconditionally
unlimited, a compound unknown term, by _ab_. Now, who has the right to
say, either in mathematics or metaphysics, in any philosophy, that
_x_=_ab_? Yet such dicta are the basis of "The Philosophy of the
Unconditioned." But, one of two suppositions is possible. Either the
terms infinite and absolute are known terms and definable, or they are
unknown terms and undefinable. Yet, Hamilton says, they are unknown and
definable. Which does he mean? If he is held to the former, they are
unknown; then all else that he has written about them are batches of
meaningless words. If he is held to the latter, they are definable;
then are they known, and his system is denied in the assertion of it.
Since his words are so contradictory, he must be judged by his deeds;
and in these he always assumes that we have a positive knowledge of the
infinite and absolute, else he would not have argued the matter; for
there can be no argument about nothing. Our analysis of his theory,
then, must be conducted upon this hypothesis.

Turn back for a moment to the page upon which his theory is quoted, and
read the last sentence. Is his utterance a "principle," or is it a
judgment? Is it an axiom, or is it a guess. The logician asserts that we
know only the conditioned, and yet bases his assertion upon "the
principles," &c. What is a principle, and how is it known? If it is
axiom, then he has denied his own philosophy in the very sentence in
which he uttered it. And this, we have no hesitation in saying, is just
what he did. He blindly assumed certain "fundamental laws of
thought,"--to quote another of his phrases--to establish the impotence
of the mind to know those laws _as fundamental_. Again, if his
philosophy is valid, the words "must," "necessary," and the like are
entirely out of place; for they are unconditional. In the conditioned
there is, can be, no must, no necessity.

From these excursions about the principle let us now return to the
principle itself. It may be stated concisely thus: There are two
extremes,--"the Absolute" and the "Infinite." These include all being.
They are contradictories, that is, one must be, to the exclusion of the
other. But the mind can "conceive" of neither. What, then, is the
logical conclusion? _That the mind cannot conceive of anything._ What is
his conclusion? That the mind can conceive of something between the
infinite and the absolute, which is neither the one nor the other, but a
_tertium quid_--the conditioned. Where did this _tertium quid_ come
from, when he had already comprehended everything in the two extremes?
If there is a mean, the conditioned, and the two extremes, then
"excluded middle" has nothing to do with the matter at all.

To avoid the inevitable conclusion of his logic as just stated, Hamilton
erected the subterfuge of _mental imbecility_. To deny any knowledge to
man, was to expose himself to ridicule. He, therefore, and his followers
after him, drew a line in the domain of knowledge, and assigned to the
hither side of it all knowledge that can come through generalizations in
the Understanding; and then asserted that the contradictions which
appeared in the mind, when one examined those questions which lie on the
further side of that line, resulted from the impotency of the mind to
comprehend the questions themselves. This was, is, their psychology. How
satisfactory it may be to Man, a hundred years, perhaps, will show. But
strike out the last assertion, and write, Both are cognizable; and then
let us proceed with our reasoning. The essayist in the North American
presents the theory under four heads, as follows:--

"1. The Infinite and Absolute as defined, are contradictory and
exclusive of each other; yet, one must be true.

"2. Neither of them can be conceived as possible.

"3. Each is inconceivable; and the inconceivability of each is referable
to the same cause, namely, mental imbecility.

"4. As opposite extremes, they include everything conceivable between

The first and fourth points require our especial attention.

1. Let us particularly mark, then, that it is _as defined_, that the
terms are "contradictory." The question, therefore, turns upon the
definitions. Undoubtedly the definitions are erroneous; but in order to
see wherein, the following general reflections may be made:--

The terms infinite and absolute, as used by philosophers, have two
distinct applications: one to Space and Time, and one to God. Such
definitions as are suitable to the latter application, and
self-consistent, have already been given. Though reluctant to admit into
a philosophical treatise a term bearing two distinct meanings, we shall
waive for a little our scruples,--though choosing, for ourselves, to
use the equivalent rather than the term.

Such definitions are needed, then, as that absolute Space and Time shall
not be contradictory to infinite Space and Time. Let us first observe
Hamilton's theory. According to it, Space, for instance, is either
unconditional illimitation, or it is unconditional limitation; in other
words, it is illimitable, or it is a limited whole. The first part of
the assertion is true. That Space is illimitable, is unquestionably a
self-evident truth. Any one who candidly considers the subject will see
not only that the mind cannot assign limits to Space, but that the
attempt is an absurdity just alike in kind with the attempt to think two
and two five. The last part is a psychological blunder, has no
pertinence to the question, and is not what Hamilton was groping for. He
was searching for the truth, that _there is no absolute unit in
Space_. A limited whole has nothing to do with the matter in
hand--absoluteness--at all. The illimitability of Space, which has just
been established as an axiom, precludes this. What, then, is the
opposite pole of thought? We have just declared it. There is no absolute
unit of Space; or, in other words, all division is in Space, but Space
is indivisible. This, also, is an axiom, is self-evident. We attain,
then, two poles of thought, and definitions of the two terms given,
which are exhaustive and consistent.

    "Space is illimitable.
    Space is indivisible."

The one is the infinity of Space, the other is the absoluteness of
Space. The fact, then, is, all limitation is _in_ Space, and all
division is _in_ Space; but Space is neither limited or divided. One of
the logician's extremes is seen, then, to have no foundation in fact;
and that which is found to be true is also found to be consistent with,
nay, essential to, what should have been the other.

Having hitherto expressed a decided protest against any attempt to find
out God through the forms of Space and Time, a repetition will not be
needed here. God is only to be sought for, found, and studied, by such
methods as are suitable to the supreme spiritual Person. Hence all the
attempts of the Limitists to reason from spatial and temporal
difficulties over to those questions which belong to God, are simply
absurd. The questions respecting Space and Time are to be discussed by
themselves. And the questions respecting God are to be discussed by
themselves. He who tries to reason from the one to the other is not less
absurd than he who should try to reason from a farm to the
multiplication table.

In Sir William Hamilton's behalf it should be stated, that there is just
a modicum of truth underlying his theory,--just enough to give it a
degree of plausibility. The Sense, as faculty for the perception of
physical objects, or their images, and the Understanding as discursive
faculty for passing over and forming judgments upon the materials
gathered by the Sense, lie under the shadow of a law very like the one
he stated. The Sense was made _incapable_ of perceiving an ultimate atom
or of comprehending the universe. From the fact that the Sense never has
perceived these objects, the Understanding concludes that it never will.
Only by the insight and oversight of that higher faculty, the Pure
Reason, do we come to know that it never _can_. It was because those
lower faculties are thus walled in by the conditions of Space and Time,
and are unable to perceive or conceive anything out of those conditions,
and because, in considering them, he failed to see the other mental
powers, that Sir William Hamilton constructed his Philosophy of the

2. Neither of them can be conceived as possible.

Literally, this is true. The word "conceive" applies strictly to the
work of the Understanding; and that faculty can never have any notion of
the Infinite or Absolute. But, assuming that "conceive" is a general
term for cognize, the conclusion developed just above is inevitable. If
all being is in one or the other, and neither can be known, nothing can
be known.

3. They cannot be known, because of mental imbecility. If man can know
nothing because of mental imbecility, why suppose that he has a mental
faculty at all? Why not enounce, as the fundamental principle of one's
theory, the assertion, All men are idiots? This would be logically
consistent. The truth is, the logician was in a dilemma. He must confess
that men know something. By a false psychology he had ruled the Reason
out of the mind, and so had left himself no faculty by which to form any
notion of absoluteness and infinity; and yet they would thrust
themselves before him, and demand an explanation. Hence, he constructed
a subterfuge. He would have been more consistent if he had said, There
is no absolute and infinite. The conditioned is the whole of existence;
and this the mind knows.

"4. As opposite extremes, they include everything conceivable between

What the essayist in the North American says upon this point is so apt,
and so accords with our own previous reflections, that we will not
forbear making an extract. "The last of the four theses will best be
re-stated in Hamilton's own words; the italics are his. 'The conditioned
is the mean between two extremes--two inconditionates, exclusive of each
other, neither of which _can be conceived as possible_, but of which, on
the principles of contradiction and excluded middle, one _must be
admitted as necessary_.' This sentence excites unmixed wonder. To
mention in the same breath the law of excluded middle, and two
contradictions with a mean between them, requires a hardihood
unparalleled in the history of philosophy, except by Hegel. If the two
contradictory extremes are themselves incogitable, yet include a
cogitable mean, why insist upon the necessity of accepting either
extreme? This necessity of accepting one of two contradictories is
wholly based upon the supposed impossibility of a mean; if the mean
exists, that may be true, and both the contradictories false. But if a
mean between the two contradictories be both impossible and absurd,
(and we have hitherto so interpreted the law of excluded middle,)
Hamilton's conditioned entirely vanishes."

Upon a system which, in whatever aspect one looks at it, is found to be
but a bundle of contradictions and absurdities, further criticism would
appear to be unnecessary.

Having, impliedly at least, accepted as true Sir William Hamilton's
psychological error,--the rejection of the Reason as the intellectual
faculty of the spiritual person,--and having, with him, used the terms
limit, condition, and the like, in such significations as are pertinent
to the Sense and Understanding only, the Limitists proceed to present in
a paradoxical light many questions which arise concerning "the
Infinite." They take the ground that, to our view, he can be neither
person, nor intellect, nor consciousness; for each of these implies
limitation; and yet that it is impossible for us to know aught of him,
except as such. Then having, as they think, completely confused the
mind, they draw hence new support for their conclusion, that we can
attain to no satisfactory knowledge on the subject. The following
extracts selected from many will show this.

"Now, in the first place, the very conception of Consciousness, in
whatever mode it may be manifested, necessarily implies distinction
between one object and another. To be conscious, we must be conscious of
something; and that something can only be known as that which it is, by
being distinguished from that which it is not. But distinction is
necessarily a limitation; for, if one object is to be distinguished from
another, it must possess some form of existence which the other has not,
or it must not possess some form which the other has. But it is obvious
that the Infinite cannot be distinguished, as such, from the Finite, by
the absence of any quality which the Finite possesses; for such absence
would be a limitation. Nor yet can it be distinguished by the presence
of an attribute which the Finite has not; for as no finite part can be a
constituent of an infinite whole, this differential characteristic must
itself be infinite; and must at the same time have nothing in common
with the finite....

"That a man can be conscious of the Infinite, is thus a supposition
which, in the very terms in which it is expressed, annihilates itself.
Consciousness is essentially a limitation; for it is the determination
of the mind to one actual out of many possible modifications. But the
Infinite, if it is conceived at all, must be conceived as potentially
everything, and actually nothing; for if there is anything in general
which it cannot become, it is thereby limited; and if there is anything
in particular which it actually is, it is thereby excluded from being
any other thing. But again, it must also be conceived as actually
everything, and potentially nothing; for an unrealized potentiality is
likewise a limitation. If the infinite can be that which it is not, it
is by that very possibility marked out as incomplete, and capable of a
higher perfection. If it is actually everything, it possesses no
characteristic feature by which it can be distinguished from anything
else, and discerned as an object of consciousness....

"Rationalism is thus only consistent with itself when it refuses to
attribute consciousness to God. Consciousness, in the only form in which
we can conceive it, implies limitation and change,--the perception of
one object out of many, and a comparison of that object with others. To
he always conscious of the same object, is, humanly speaking, not to be
conscious at all; and, beyond its human manifestation, we can have no
conception of what consciousness is."--_Limits of Religious Thought_,
pp. 93-95.

"As the conditionally limited (which we may briefly call the
conditioned) is thus the only possible object of knowledge and of
positive thought--thought necessarily supposes conditions. To _think_ is
to _condition_; and conditional limitation is the fundamental law of the
possibility of thought....

"Thought cannot transcend consciousness; consciousness is only possible
under the antithesis of a subject and object of thought; known only in
correlation, and mutually limiting each other; while, independently of
this, all that we know either of subject or object, either of mind or
matter, is only a knowledge in each of the particular, of the plural, of
the different, of the modified, of the phenomenal. We admit that the
consequence of this doctrine is--that philosophy, if viewed as more than
a science of the conditioned, is impossible. Departing from the
particular, we admit that we can never, in out highest generalizations,
rise above the finite; that our knowledge, whether of mind or matter,
can be nothing more than a knowledge of the relative manifestations of
an existence, which in itself it is our highest wisdom to recognize as
beyond the reach of philosophy."

"In all this, so far as human intelligence is concerned, we cordially
agree; for a more complete admission could not be imagined, not only
that a knowledge, and even a notion, of the absolute is impossible for
man, but that we are unable to conceive the possibility of such a
knowledge even in the Deity himself, without contradicting our human
conceptions of the possibility of intelligence itself."--_Sir William
Hamilton's Essays_, pp. 21, 22, 38.

"The various mental attributes which we ascribe to God--Benevolence,
Holiness, Justice, Wisdom, for example--can be conceived by us only as
existing in a benevolent and holy and just and wise Being, who is not
identical with any one of his attributes, but the common subject of them
all; in one word, a _Person_. But Personality, as we conceive it, is
essentially a limitation and relation. Our own personality is presented
to us as relative and limited; and it is from that presentation that all
our representative notions of personality are derived. Personality is
presented to us as a relation between the conscious self and the various
modes of his consciousness. There is no personality in abstract thought
without a thinker: there is no thinker unless he exercises some mode of
thought. Personality is also a limitation; for the thought and the
thinker are distinguished from and limit each other; and the various
modes of thought are distinguished each from each by limitation
likewise...."--_Limits of Religious Thought_, p. 102.

"Personality, with all its limitations, though far from exhibiting the
absolute nature of God as He is, is yet truer, grander, more elevating,
more religious, than those barren, vague, meaningless abstractions in
which men babble about nothing under the name of the Infinite and
Personal conscious existence, limited though it be, is yet the noblest
of all existence of which man can dream.... It is by consciousness alone
that we know that God exists, or that we are able to offer Him any
service. It is only by conceiving Him as a Conscious Being, that we can
stand in any religious relation to Him at all; that we can form
such a representation of Him as is demanded by our spiritual
wants, insufficient though it be to satisfy our intellectual
curiosity."--_Limits of Religious Thought_, p. 104.

The conclusions of these writers upon this whole topic are as follows:--

"The mind is not represented as conceiving two propositions subversive
of each other as equally possible; _but only as unable to understand_ as
possible two extremes; one of which, however, on the ground of their
mutual repugnance, it is compelled to recognize as true.... And by a
wonderful revelation we are thus, in the very consciousness of our
inability to conceive aught above the relative and finite, inspired with
a belief in the existence of something unconditioned beyond the sphere
of all comprehensive reality."--_Sir William Hamilton's Essays_, p. 22.

"To sum up briefly this portion of my argument. The conception of the
Absolute and Infinity, from whatever side we view it, appears
encompassed with contradictions. There is a contradiction in supposing
such an object to exist, whether alone or in conjunction with others;
and there is a contradiction in supposing it not to exist. There is a
contradiction in conceiving it as one; and there is a contradiction in
conceiving it as many. There is a contradiction in conceiving it as
personal; and there is a contradiction in conceiving it as impersonal.
It cannot, without contradiction, be represented as active; nor, without
equal contradiction, be represented as inactive. It cannot be conceived
as the sum of all existence; nor yet can it be conceived as a part only
of that sum."--_Limits of Religious Thought_, pp. 84, 85.

We have quoted thus largely, preferring that the Limitists should speak
for themselves. Their doctrine, as taught, not simply in these passages,
but throughout their writings, may be briefly summed up as follows.

The human mind, whenever it attempts to investigate the profoundest
subjects which come before it, and which it is goaded to examine, finds
itself in an inextricable maze of contradictions; and, after vainly
struggling for a while to get out, becomes nonplussed, confused,
confounded, dazed; and, falling down helpless and effortless in the
maze, and with devout humility acknowledging its impotence, it finds
that the "highest reason" is to pass beyond the sphere and out of the
light of reason, into the sphere of a superrational and therefore dark,
and therefore _blind_ faith.

But it is to be stated, and here we strike to the centre of the errors
of the Limitists, that a perception and confession of mental impotence
is _not_ the logical deduction from their premises. Lustrous as may be
their names in logic,--and Sir William Hamilton is esteemed a sun in the
logical firmament,--no one of them ever saw, or else dared to
acknowledge, the logical sequence from their principles. They have
climbed upon the dizzy heights of thought, and out on their verge; and
there they stand, hesitating and shivering, like naked men on Alpine
precipices, with no eagle wings to spread and soar away towards the
Eternal Truth; and not daring to take the awful plunge before them.
Behold the gulf from which they shrink. Mr. Mansel says:--

"It is our duty, then, to think of God as personal; and it is our duty
to believe that He is infinite. It is true that we cannot reconcile
these two representations with each other, as our conception of
personality involves attributes apparently contradictory to the notion
of infinity. But it does not follow that this contradiction exists
anywhere but in our own minds: it does not follow that it implies any
impossibility in the absolute nature of God. The apparent contradiction,
in this case, as in those previously noticed, is the necessary
consequence of an attempt on the part of the human thinker to transcend
the boundaries of his own consciousness. It proves that there are limits
to man's power of thought; and it proves no more."--_Limits of Religious
Thought_, p. 106.

Or, to put it in sharp and accurate, plain and unmistakable English. "It
is our duty to think of God as personal," when to think of Him as
personal is to think a lie; "to believe that He is infinite," when so to
believe is to believe the lie already thought; and when to believe a lie
is to incur the penalty decreed by the Bible--God's book--upon all who
believe lies. And this is the religious teaching of a professed
Christian minister in one of the first Universities in the world. Not
that Mr. Mansel meant to teach this. By no means. But it logically
follows from his premises. In his philosophy the mind instinctively,
necessarily, and with equal authority in each case, asserts

That there must be an infinite Being;

That that Being must be Self-conscious,

Must be unlimited; and that

Consciousness is a limitation.

These assertions are contradictory and self-destructive. What follows
then? That the mind is impotent? No! It follows that the mind is a
deceiver! We learn again the lesson we have learned before. It is not
weakness, it is falsehood: it is not want of capacity, it is want of
integrity that is proved by this contradiction. Man is worse than a
hopeless, mental imbecile, he is a hopeless, mental cheat.

But is the result true? How can it be, when with all its might the mind
revolts from it, as nature does from a vacuum? True that the human mind
is an incorrigible falsifier? With the indignation of outraged honesty,
man's soul rejects the insulting aspersion, and reasserts its own
integrity and authority. Ages of controversy have failed to obliterate
or cry down the spontaneous utterance of the soul, "I have within myself
the ultimate standard of truth."

It now devolves to account for the aberrations of the Limitists. The
ground of all their difficulties is simple and plain. While denying to
the human mind the faculty of the Pure Reason, they have, _by the (to
them) undistinguished use of that faculty_, raised questions which the
Understanding by no possibility could raise, which the Reason alone is
capable of presenting, and which that Reason alone can solve; and have
attempted to solve them solely by the assistance, and in the forms of,
the Sense and the Understanding. Their problems belong to a spiritual
person; and they attempt to solve them by the inferior modes of an
animal nature. Better, by far, could they see with their ears. All their
processes are developed on the vicious assumption, that the highest form
of knowledge possible to the human mind is a generalization in the
Understanding, upon facts given in the Sense: a form of knowledge which
is always one, whether the substance be distinguished in the form, be a
peach, as diverse from an apple; or a star, as one among a million. The
meagreness and utter insufficiency of this doctrine, to account for all
the phenomena of the human mind, we have heretofore shown; and shall
therefore need only now to distinguish certain special phases of their
fundamental error.

As heretofore, there will be continual occasion to note how the doctrine
of the Limitists, that the Understanding is man's highest faculty of
knowledge, and the logical sequences therefrom respecting the laws of
thought and consciousness vitiate their whole system. One of their most
important errors is thus expressed:--"To be conscious, we must be
conscious of something; and that something can only be known as that
which it is, by being distinguished from that which it is not." "Thought
cannot transcend consciousness; consciousness is only possible under the
antithesis of subject and object of thought known only in correlation,
and mutually limiting each other; while, independently of this, all that
we know either of subject or object, either of mind or matter, is only a
knowledge in each of the particular, of the plural, of the different, of
the modified, of the phenomenal." In other words, our highest possible
form of knowledge is that by which we examine the peach, distinguish its
qualities among themselves, and discriminate between them and the
qualities of the apple. And Sir William Hamilton fairly and truly
acknowledges that, as a consequence, science, except as a system of
objects of sense, is impossible.

The fact is, as has been made already sufficiently apparent, that the
diagnosis by the Limitists of the constitution of the mind is erroneous.
Their dictum, that all knowledge must be attained through "relation,
plurality, and difference," is not true. There is a kind of knowledge
which we obtain by a direct and immediate _sight_; and that, too, under
such conditions as are no limitation upon the object thought. For
instance, the mind, by a direct intuition, affirms, "Malice is
criminal." It also affirms that this is an eternal, immutable, universal
law, conditional for all possibility of moral beings. This direct and
immediate sight, and the consciousness attending it, are _full_ of that
one object, and so are occupied only with it; and it does NOT come under
any forms of relation, plurality, and difference. So is it with all _a
priori_ laws. The mode of the pure reason is thus seen to be the direct
opposite of that of the Understanding and the Sense.

Intimately connected with the foregoing is a question whose importance
cannot be overstated. It is one which involves the very possibility of
God's existence as a self-conscious person. To present it, we recur
again to the extracts made just above from Sir William Hamilton.
"Consciousness is only possible under the antithesis of a subject and
object of thought known only in correlation, and mutually limiting each
other." Subsequently, he makes the acknowledgment as logically following
from this: "that we are unable to conceive the possibility of such
knowledge," _i. e._ of the absolute, "even in the Deity himself." That
is, God can be believed to be self-conscious only on the ground that the
human intellect is a cheat. The theory which underlies this assertion of
the logician--a theory not peculiar to the Limitists, but which has,
perhaps, been hitherto universally maintained by philosophers--may be
concisely stated thus. In every correlation of subject and object,--in
every instance where they are to be contrasted,--the subject must be
one, and the object must be _another and different_. Hamilton, in
another place, utters it thus: "Look back for a moment into yourselves,
and you will find, that what constitutes intelligence in our feeble
consciousness, is, that there are there several terms, of which the one
perceives the other, of which the other is perceived by the first; in
this consists self-knowledge," &c. Mark the "several terms," and that
the one can only see the other, never itself.

This position is both a logical and psychological error. It is a logical
error because it _assumes_, without argument, that there is involved in
the terms subject and object such a logical contradiction and
contradistinction that the subject cannot be object to itself. This
assumption is groundless. As a matter of fact, it is _generally_ true
that, so far as man is concerned, the subject is one, and the object
another and different. But this by no means proves that it is _always_
so; it only raises the presumption that such may be the case. And when
one comes to examine the question in itself, there is absolutely no
logical ground for the assumption. It is found to be a question upon
which no decision from logical considerations can have any validity,
because _it is purely psychological_, and can only be decided by
evidence upon a matter of fact. Furthermore, it is a psychological
error, because a careful examination shows that, in some instances, the
opposite is the fact; that, in certain experiences, the subject and
object are identical.

This fact that the subject and object are often identical in the
searching eye of human reason, and _always_ so under the eye of
Universal Genius, is of too vast scope and too vital importance to be
passed with a mere allusion. It seems amazing that a truth which, the
instant it is stated, solves a thousand difficulties which philosophy
has raised, should never yet have been affirmed by any of the great
spiritual-eyed thinkers, and that it should have found utterance, only
to be denied, by the pen of the Limitists. A word of personal
reminiscence may be allowed here. The writer came to see this truth
during a process of thought, having for its object the solution of the
problem, How can the infinite Person be self-comprehending, and still
infinite? While considering this, and without ever having received a
hint from any source that the possibility of such a problem had dawned
on a human mind before, there blazed upon him suddenly, like a heaven
full of light, this, which appeared the incomparably profounder
question: How can any soul, not God only, but any soul, be a
self-examiner? Why don't the Limitists entertain and explain this? It
was only years after that he met the negative statement in Herbert
Spencer's book. The difficulty is, that the Limitists have represented
to their minds the mode of the seeing of the Reason, by a sensuous
image, as the eye; and because the eye cannot see itself, have concluded
that the Reason cannot see itself. It is always dangerous to argue from
an illustration; and, in this instance, it has been fatal. If man was
only an animal nature, and so only a _receiver_ of impressions, with a
capacity to generalize from the impressions received, the doctrine of
the Limitists would be true. But once establish that man is also a
spiritual _person_, with a reason, which sees truth by immediate
intuition, and their whole teaching becomes worthless. The Reason is not
receptivity merely, or mainly; it is originator. In its own light it
gives to itself _a priori_ truth, and itself as seeing that truth; and
so the subject and object are identical. This is one of the
differentiating qualities of the spiritual person.

Our position may be more accurately stated and more amply illustrated
and sustained as follows:

_Sometimes, in the created spiritual person, and always in the
self-existent, the absolute and infinite spiritual Person, the subject
and object are_ IDENTICAL.

1. Sometimes in the created spiritual person, the subject and object are
identical. The question is a question of fact. In illustrating the fact,
it will be proved. When a man looks at his hands, he sees they are
instruments for _his_ use. When he considers his physical sense, he
still perceives it to be instrument for _his_ use. In all his
conclusions, judgments, he still finds, not himself, but _his_
instrument. Even in the Pure Reason he finds only _his_ faculty; though
it be the highest possible to intellect. Yet still he searches, searches
for the _I am_; which claims, and holds, and uses, the faculties and
capacities. There is a phrase universally familiar to American
Christians, a fruit of New England Theology, which leads us directly to
the goal we seek. It is the phrase, "self-examination." In all thorough,
religious self-examination the subject and object are identical. In the
ordinary labors and experiences of life, man says, "I can do this or
that;" and he therein considers only his aptitudes and capabilities. But
in this last, this profoundest act, the assertion is not, "I can do this
or that." It is, "I am this or that." The person stands unveiled before
itself, in the awful sanctuary of God's presence. The decision to be
made is not upon the use of one faculty or another. It is upon the end
for which all labor shall be performed. The character of the person is
under consideration, and is to be determined. The selfhood, with all its
wondrous mysteries, is at once subject and object. The I am in man,
alike in kind to that most impenetrable mystery, the eternal I AM of
"the everlasting Father," is now stirred to consider its most solemn
duty. How shall the finite I am accord _itself_ to the pure purpose of
the infinite I AM? It may be, possibly is, that some persons have never
been conscious of this experience. To some, from a natural inaptitude,
and to others, from a perverse disinclination, it may never come. Some
have so little gift of introspection, that their inner experiences are
never observed and analyzed. Their conduct may be beautiful, but they
never know it. Their impressions ever come from without. Another class
of persons shun such an experience as Balshazzar would have shunned, if
he could, the handwriting on the wall. Their whole souls are absorbed in
the pursuit of earthly things. They are intoxicated with sensuous
gratification. The fore-thrown shadow of the coming thought of
self-examination awakens within them a vague instinctive dread; and they
shudder, turn away, and by every effort avoid it. Sometimes they
succeed; and through the gates of death rush headlong into the
spirit-land, only to be tortured forever there with the experience they
so successfully eluded here. For the many thousands, who know by
experience what a calm, candid, searching, self-examination is, now that
their attention has been drawn to its full psychological import, no
further word is necessary. They know that in that supreme insight there
was seen and known, at one and the same instant, in a spontaneous and
simultaneous action of the soul, the seer and the seen as one, as
identical. And this experience is so wide-spread, that the wonder is
that it has not heretofore been assigned its suitable place in

2. Always in the self-existent, the absolute and infinite, spiritual
Person, the subject and object are identical. This question, though one
of fact, cannot be determined _by us_, by our experience; it must be
shown to follow logically from certain _a priori_ first principles. This
may be done as follows. Eternity, independence, universality, are
qualities of God. Being eternal, he is ever the same. Being independent,
he excludes the possibility of another Being to whom he is necessarily
related. Being universal, he possesses all possible endowment, and is
ground for all possible existence; so that no being can exist but by his
will. As Universal Genius, all possible objects of knowledge or
intellectual effort are immanent before the eye of his Reason; and this
is a _permanent state_. He is an object of knowledge, comprehending all
others; and therefore he _exhaustively_ knows himself. He distinguishes
his Self as object, from no what else, because there is no else to
distinguish his Self from; but having an exhaustive self-comprehension,
he distinguishes within that Self all possible forms of being each from

He is absolute, and never learns or changes. There is nothing to learn
and nothing to change to, except to a wicked state; and for this there
_can be to him no temptation_. He is ever the same, and hence there can
be no instant in time when he does not _exhaustively_ know himself. Thus
always in him are the subject and object identical.

These two great principles, viz: That the Pure Reason sees _a priori_
truth _immediately_, and out of all relation, plurality and difference,
and that in the Pure Reason, in self-examination, the subject and object
are identical, by their simple statement explode, as a Pythagorean
system, the mental astronomy of the Limitists. Reason is the sun, and
the Sense and the Understanding, with their satellite faculties, the
circumvolving planets.

The use of terms by the Limitists has been as vicious as their processes
of thought, and has naturally sprung from their fundamental error. We
will note one in the following sentence. "Consciousness, in the only
form in which we can conceive it, implies limitation and change,--the
perception of one object out of many, and a comparison of that object
with others." Conceive is the vicious word. Strictly, it is usable only
with regard to things in Nature, and can have no relevancy to such
subjects as are now under consideration. It is a word which expresses
_only_ such operations as lie in the Sense and Understanding. The
following definition explains this: "The concept refers to all the
things whose common or similar attributes or traits it conceives
(con-cepis), or _grasps together_ into one class and one act of
mind."--_Bowen's Logic_, p. 7. This is not the mode of the Reason's
action at all. It does not run over a variety of objects and select out
from them the points of similarity, and grasp these together into one
act of mind. It sees one object in its unity as pure law, or first
truth; and examines that in its own light. Hence, the proper word is,
_intuits_. Seen from this standpoint, consciousness does _not_ imply
limitation and change. A first truth we always see as _absolute_,--we
are conscious of this sight; and yet we know that neither consciousness
nor sight is any limitation upon the truth. We would paraphrase the
sentence thus: Consciousness, in the highest form in which we know it,
implies and possesses _permanence_; and is the light in which pure truth
is seen as pure object by itself, and forever the same.

It is curious to observe how the Understanding and the Pure Reason run
along side by side in the same sentence; the inferior faculty
encumbering and defeating the efforts of the other. Take the following
for example.

"If the infinite can be that which it is not, it is by that very
possibility marked out as incomplete, and capable of a higher
perfection. If it is actually everything, it possesses no characteristic
feature by which it can be distinguished from anything else, and
discerned as an object of consciousness." The presence in language of
the word infinite and its cognates is decisive evidence of the presence
of a faculty capable of entertaining it as a subject for investigation.
This faculty, the Reason having presented the subject for consideration,
the Understanding seizes upon it and drags it down into her den, and
says, "can be that which it is not." This she says, because she cannot
act, except to conceive, and cannot conceive, except to distinguish
this from something else; and so cannot perceive that the very utterance
of the word "infinite" excludes the word "else." The Understanding
conceives the finite as one and independent, and the infinite as one and
independent. Then the Reason steps in, and says the infinite is
all-comprehending. This conflicts with the Understanding's _conception_,
and so the puzzle comes. In laboring for a solution, the Reason's
affirmation is expressed hypothetically: "If it (the infinite) is
actually everything;" and thereupon the Understanding puts in its blind,
impertinent assertion, "it possesses no characteristic feature by which
it can be distinguished from anything else." _There is nothing else from
which to distinguish it._ The perception of the Reason is as follows.
The infinite Person comprehends intellectually, and is ground for
potentially and actually, all that is possible and real; and so there
can be no else with which to compare him. Because, possessing all
fulness, he is actually everything, by this characteristic feature of
completeness he distinguishes himself from nothing, which is all there
is, (if no-thing--void--can be said to _be_,) beside him; and from any
part, which there is within him. Thus is he object to himself in his own

This vicious working of the Understanding against the Reason, in the
same sentences, can be more fully illustrated from the following
extracts. "God, as necessarily determined to pass from absolute essence
to relative manifestation, is determined to pass either _from the better
to the worse, or from the worse to the better_. A third possibility that
both states are equal, as contradictory in itself, and as contradicted
by our author, it is not necessary to consider."--_Sir William
Hamilton's Essays_, p. 42. "Again, how can the Relative be conceived as
coming into being? If it is a distinct reality from the absolute, it
must be conceived as passing from non-existence into existence. But to
conceive an object as non-existent is again a self-contradiction; for
that which is conceived exists, as an object of thought, in and by that
conception. We may abstain from thinking of an object at all; but if we
think of it, we cannot but think of it as existing. It is possible at
one time not to think of an object at all, and at another to think of it
as already in being; but to think of it in the act of becoming, in the
progress from not being into being, is to think that which, in the very
thought, annihilates itself. Here again the Pantheistic hypothesis seems
forced upon us. We can think of creation only as a change in the
condition of that which already exists; and thus the creature is
conceivable only as a phenomenal mode of the being of the
Creator."--_Limits of Religious Thought_, p. 81.

"God," a word which has _no significance_ except to the Reason: "as
necessarily determined,"--a phrase which belongs only to the
Understanding. The opposite is the truth: "to pass from absolute
essence." This can have no meaning except to the Pure Reason: "to
relative manifestation." This belongs to the Understanding. It
contradicts the other; and the process is absurd. The mind balks in the
attempt to think it. In creation there is no such process as "passing
from absolute essence to relative manifestation." The words imply that
God, in passing from the state of absolute essence, ceased to be
absolute essence, and became "relative manifestation." All this is
absurd; and is in the Understanding and Sense. God never _became_. The
Creator is still absolute essence, as before creation; and the
logician's this or that are both false; and his third possibility is not
a contradiction, but the truth. The fact of creation may be thus stated.
The infinite Person, freely according his will to the behest of his
worth, and yet equally free to not so accord his will, put forth from
himself the creative energy; and this under such modes, that he neither
lost nor gained by the act; but that, though the latter state was
diverse from the first, still neither was better than the other, but
both were equally good. Before creation, he possessed absolute plenitude
of endowments. All possible ideals were present before his eye. All
possible joy continued a changeless state in his sensibility. His will,
as choice, was absolute benevolence; and, as act, was competent to all
possible effort. To push the ideal out, and make it real, added nothing
to, and subtracted nothing from, his fulness.

The fact must be learned that muscular action and the working of pure
spirit are so diverse, that the inferior mode cannot be an illustration
of the superior. A change in a pure spirit, which neither adds nor
subtracts, leaves the good unchanged. Hence, when the infinite Person
created, he passed neither from better to worse, nor from worse to
better; but the two states, though diverse, were equally good.

We proceed now to the other extract. "Again, how can the relative," etc.
"If the Relative is a distinct reality from the absolute," then each is
_self-existent_, and independent. The sentence annihilates itself. "It
must be conceived as passing from non-existence into existence." The
image here is from the Sense, as usual, and vicious accordingly. It is,
that the soul is to look into void, and see, out of that void, existence
come, without there being any cause for that existence coming. This
would be the phenomenon to the Sense. And the Sense is utterly unable to
account for the phenomenon. The object in the Sense must appear as
_form_; but in the Reason it is idea. Mr. Mansel's presentation may well
be illustrated by a trick of jugglery. The performer stands before his
audience, dressed in tights, and presents the palms of his hands to the
spectators, apparently empty. He then closes his right hand, and then
opening it again, appears holding a bouquet of delicious flowers, which
he hands about to the astonished gazers. The bouquet seems to come from
nothing, _i. e._ to have no cause. It appears "to pass from
non-existence to existence." But common sense corrects the cheating
seeming, and asserts, "There is an adequate cause for the coming of the
bunch of flowers, though we cannot see it." Precisely similar is
creation. Could there have been a Sense present at that instant,
creation would have seemed to it a juggler's trick. Out of nothing
something would have seemed to come. But under the correcting guide of
the Pure Reason, an adequate cause is found. Before creation, the
infinite Person did not manifest himself; and so was actually alone. At
creation his power, which before was immanent, he now made emanent; and
put it forth in the forms chosen from his Reason, and according to the
requirement of his own worth. Nothing was added to God. That which was
ideal he now made actual. The form as Idea was one, the power as
Potentiality was another, and each was in him by itself. He put forth
the power into the form, the Potentiality into the Idea, and the
Universe was. Thus it was that "the Relative came into being." In the
same manner it might be shown how, all along through the writings of the
Limitists, the Understanding runs along by the Reason, and vitiates her
efforts to solve her problems. We shall have occasion to do something of
this farther on.

The topic now under discussion could not be esteemed finished without an
examination of the celebrated dictum, "To think is to condition." Those
who have held this to be universally true, have also received its
logical sequence, that to the finite intellect God cannot appear
self-comprehending. In our present light, the dictum is known to be, not
a universal, but only a partial, truth. It is incumbent, therefore, to
circumscribe its true sphere, and fix it there. We shall best enter upon
this labor by answering the question, What is thinking?

First. In general, and loosely, any mental operation is called thinking.
Second. Specifically, all acts of reflection are thinkings. Under this
head we notice two points. _a._ That act of the Understanding in which
an object presented by the Sense is analyzed, and its special and
generic elements noted, and is thus classified, and its relations
determined, is properly a thinking. Thus, in the object cat I
distinguish specifically that it is domestic, and generically that it is
carnivorous. _b._ That act of the finite spiritual person by which he
compares the judgments of the Understanding with the _a priori_ laws of
the Pure Reason, and by this final standard decides their truth or
error. Thus, the judgment of the young Indian warrior is, that he ought
to hunt down and slay the man who killed his father in battle. The
standard of Reason is, that Malice is criminal. This judgment is found
to involve malice, and so is found to be wrong. Third, the intuitions of
the reason. These, in the finite person, come _after_ a process of
reflection, and are partly consequent upon it; yet they take place in
another faculty, which is developed by this process; but they are such,
that by no process of reflection _alone_ could they be. Thinking, in the
Universal Genius, is the _sight_, at once and forever, of all possible
object of mental effort. It is necessary and _spontaneous_, and so is an
endowment, not an attainment; and is possessed without effort. We are
prepared now to entertain the following statements:--

A. So far as it represents thinking as the active, _i. e._ causative
ground, or agent of the condition, the dictum is not true. The fact of
the thinking is not, cannot be, the ground of the condition. The
condition of the object thought, whatever the form of thinking may be,
must lie as far back at least as the ground of the thinker. Thus, God's
self, as ground for his Genius, must also be ground for _all_
conditions. Yet men think of an object _in its conditions_. This is
because the same Being who constructed the objects in their conditions,
constructed also man as thinker, _correlated to those conditions_, so
that he should think upon things _as they are_. In this view, to think
is not condition, but is mental activity in the conditions already
imposed. Thus it is with the Understanding; and the process of thinking,
as above designated, goes on in accordance with the law stated in _a_,
of the second general definition. It follows, therefore,

B. That so far as the dictum expresses the fact, that within the sphere
of conditions proper,--observing the distinction of conditions into two
classes heretofore made,--the finite intellect must act under them, and
see those objects upon which they lie, accordingly,--as, for instance,
a geometrical figure must be seen in Time and Space,--so far it is true,
and no farther. For instance: To see an eagle flying, is to see it under
all the conditions imposed upon the bird as flying, and the observer as
seeing. But when men intuit the _a priori_ truth, Malice is criminal,
they perceive that it lies under no conditions proper, but is absolute
and universal. We perceive, then,

C. That for all mental operations which have as object pure laws and
ideal forms, and that Being in whom all these inhere, this dictum is not
true. The thinker may be conditioned in the proper sense of that term;
yet he entertains objects of thought which are unconditioned; and they
are not affected by it. Thus, it does not affect the universality of the
principle in morals above noted that I perceive it to be such, and that

Assuming, then, that by the dictum, To think is to condition, is meant,
not that the thinker, by the act of thinking, constructs the conditions,
but that he recognizes in himself, as thinking subject, and in the
object thought, the several conditions (proper) thereof,--the following
statements will define the province of this dictum.

1. The Universe as physical object, the observing Sense, and the
discursive Understanding, lie wholly within it.

2. Created spiritual persons, _as constituted beings,_ also lie wholly
within it. _But it extends no farther._ On the other hand,

3. Created spiritual persons, in their capacities to intuit pure laws,
and pure ideal forms; and those laws and forms themselves lie wholly
without it.

4. So also does God the absolute Being in whom those laws and forms
inhere. Or, in general terms,

When conditions (proper) already lie upon the object thought, since the
thinker must needs see the object under its conditions, it is true that,
To think is to condition. But so far as it is meant that thinking is
such a kind of operation that it cannot proceed except the object be
conditioned, it is not true; for there are processes of thought whose
objects are unconditioned.

The question, "What are Space and Time?" with which Mr. Spencer opens
his chapter on "Ultimate Scientific Ideas," introduces a subject common
to all the Limitists, and which, therefore, should be considered in this
part of our work. A remark made a few pages back, respecting an essay in
the "North American Review" for October 1864, applies with equal force
here in reference to another essay by the same writer, in the preceding
July number of that periodical. At most, his view can only be unfolded.
He has left nothing to be added. In discussing a subject so abstruse and
difficult as this, it would seem, in the present stage of human thought
at least, most satisfactory to set out from the Reason rather than the
Sense, from the idea rather than the phenomenon; and so will we do.

In general, then, it may be said that Space and Time are _a priori_
conditions of created being. The following extracts are in point. "Pure
Space, therefore, as given in the primitive intuition, is pure form for
any possible phenomenon. As unconjoined in the unity of any form, it is
given in the primitive intuition, and is a cognition necessary and
universal. Though now obtained from experience, and in chronological
order subsequent to experience, yet is it no deduction from experience,
nor at all given by experience; but it is wholly independent of all
experience, prior to it, and without which it were impossible that any
experience of outer object should be." "Pure Time, as given in the
intuition, is immediately beheld to be conditional for all possible
period, prior to any period being actually limited, and necessarily
continuing, though all bounded period be taken away."--_Rational
Psychology_, pp. 125, 128.

Again, a clearly defined distinction may be made between them as
conditions. Space is the _a priori_ condition of _material_ being.
Should a spiritual person, as the soul of a man, be stripped of all its
material appurtenances, and left to exist as pure spirit, it could hold
no communication with any other being but God; and no other being but he
could hold any communication with it. It would exist out of all relation
to Space. Not so, however, with Time. Time is the _a priori_ condition
of all created being, of the spiritual as well as material. In the case
just alluded to, the isolated spiritual person would have a
consciousness of succession and duration, although he would have no
standard by which to measure that duration, he could think in processes,
and only in processes, and thus would be necessarily related to Time.
Dr. Hickok has expressed this thus: "Space in reference to time has no
significancy. Time is the pure form for phenomena as given in the
internal sense only, and in these there can be only succession. The
inner phenomenon may endure in time, but can have neither length,
breadth, nor thickness in space. A thought, or other mental phenomenon,
may fill a period, but cannot have superficial or solid content; it may
be before or after another, but not above or below it, nor with any
outer or inner side."--_Rational Psychology_, p. 135.

Space and Time may also be distinguished thus: "Space has three
dimensions," or, rather, there can be three dimensions in
space,--length, breadth, and thickness. In other words, it is solid
room. "Time has but one dimension," or, rather, but one dimension can
enter into Time,--length. In Time there can only be procession. Space
and Time may then be called, the one "statical," the other "dynamical,"
illimitation. Following the essayist already referred to, they may be
defined as follows:

"Space is the infinite and indivisible Receptacle of Matter.

"Time is the infinite and indivisible Receptacle of Existence."

Both, then, are marked by receptivity, indivisibility, and
illimitability. The one is receptivity, that material object may come
into it; the other, that event may occur in it. There is for neither a
final unit nor any limit. All objects are divisible in Space, and all
periods in Time; and thus also are all limits comprehended, but they are
without limit. Turning now from these more general aspects of the
subject, a detailed examination may be conducted as follows.

The fundamental law given by the Reason is, as was seen above, that
Space and Time are _a priori_ conditions of created being. We can best
consider this law in its application to the facts, by observing two
general divisions, with two sub-divisions under each. Space and Time
have, then, two general phases, one within, and one without, the mind.
Each of these has two special phases. The former, one in the Sense, and
one in the Understanding. The latter, one within, and one without, the

First general phase within the mind. First special phase, in the Sense.
"As pure form in the primitive intuition, they are wholly limitless, and
void of any conjunction in unity, having themselves no figure nor
period, and having within themselves no figure nor period, but only pure
diversity, in which any possible conjunction of definite figures and
periods may, in some way, be effected." In other words, they are pure,
_a priori_, formal laws, which are conditional to the being of any sense
as the perceiver of a phenomenon; and yet this sense could present no
figure or period, till some figure or period was produced into it by an
external agency. As such necessary formal laws, Space and Time "have a
necessity of being independently of all phenomena." Or, in other words,
the fact that all phenomena _must_ appear in them, lies beyond the
province of power. This, however, is no more a limit to the Deity than
it is a limit to him that he cannot hate his creatures and be good. In
our experience the Sense gives two kinds of phenomena: the one the
actual phenomena of actual objects, the other, ideal phenomena with
ideal objects. The one is awakened by the presentation, in the physical
sense, of a material object, as a house; the other, by the activity of
the imaging faculty, engaged in constructing some form in the inner or
mental sense, from forms actually observed. Upon both alike the formal
law of Space and Time must lie.

Second special phase, in the Understanding. Although there is pure form,
if there was no more than this, no notion of a system of things could
be. Each object would have its own space, and each event its own time.
But one object and event could not be seen in any relation to another
object and event. In order that this shall be, there must be some ground
by which all the spaces and times of phenomena shall be joined into a
unity of Space and Time; so that all objects shall be seen in one Space,
and all events in one Time. "A notional connective for the phenomena may
determine these phenomena in their places and periods in the whole of
all space and of all time, and so may give both the phenomena and their
space and time in an objective experience." The operation of the
Understanding is, then, the connection, by a notional, of all particular
spaces and times; _i. e._ the space and time of each phenomenon in the
Sense, into a comprehensive unity of Space and Time, in which all
phenomena can be seen to occur; and thus a system can be. In a word, not
only must each phenomenon be seen in its own space and time, but all
phenomena must be seen in _one_ Space and Time. This connection of the
manifold into unity is the peculiar work of the Understanding. An
examination of the facts as above set forth enables us to construct a
general formula for the application to all minds of the fundamental law
given by the Reason. That law, that all objects must be seen in Space,
and all events in Time, involves the subordinate law:

_That no mind can observe material objects or any events except under
the conditions of Space and Time_; or, to change the phraseology, _Space
and Time are_ a priori _conditional to the being of any mind or faculty
in a mind capable of observing a material object or any event_. This
will, perhaps, be deemed to be, in substance, Kant's theory. However
that may be, this is true, but is only _a part of the truth_. The rest
will appear just below. The reader will notice that no exception is made
to the law here laid down, and will start at the thought that this law
lies upon the Deity equally as upon created beings. No exception is
made, because none can be truthfully made. The intellect is just as
unqualified in its assertion on this point as in those noticed on an
earlier page of this work. Equally with the laws of numbers does the law
of Space and Time condition all intellect. The Deity can no more see a
house out of all relation to Space and Time than he can see how to make
two and two five.

Second general phase, without the mind. First special phase, within the
Universe. All that we are now to examine is objective to us; and all the
questions which can arise are questions of fact. Let us search for the
fact carefully and hold it fearlessly. To recur to the general law. It
was found at the outset that Reason gave the idea of Space and Time as
pure conditions for matter and event. We are now to observe the pure
become the actual condition; or, in other words, we are to see the
condition _realized_. Since, then, we are to observe material objects
and events in a material system, it is fitting to use the Sense and the
Understanding; and our statements and conclusions will conform to those

We have a concept of the Universe as a vast system in the form of a
sphere in which all things are included. This spherical system is
complete, definite, limited, and so has boundaries. A portion of
"immeasurable void"--Space--has been occupied. Where there was nothing,
something has become. Now it is evident that the possibility of our
having a concept of the Universe, or of a space and a time in the
Universe, is based upon the presence of an actual, underlying,
all-pervading substance, which fills and forms the boundaries of the
Universe, and thus enables spaces and times to be. We have no concept
except as in limits, and those limits are conceived to be substance. In
other words, space is distance, and time is duration, in our concept.
Take away the boundaries which mark the distance, and the procession of
events which forms the duration, and in the concept pure negation is
left. To illustrate. Suppose there be in our presence a cubic yard of
vacuum. Is this vacuum an entity? Not at all. It can neither be
perceived by the Sense nor conceived by the Understanding. Yet it is a
space. Speaking carelessly, we should say that this cube was object to
us. Why? Because it is enclosed by substantial boundaries. All, then,
that is object, all that is entity, is substance. In our concept,
therefore, a space is solid distance within the substance, and the
totality of all distances in the Universe is conceived to be Space.
Again; suppose there pass before our mind a procession of events. One
event has a fixed recurrence. In our concept the procession of events is
a time, and the recurring event marks a period in time. The events
proceeding are all that there is in the concept; and apart from the
procession a conception of time is impossible. The procession of all the
events of the Universe, that is _duration_, is our concept of Time.
Thus, within the Universe, space is solid distance and time is duration;
and neither has any actuality except as the Universe is. Let us assume
for a moment that our concept is the final truth, and observe the
result. In that concept space is limited by matter, and matter is
conceived of as unlimited. This result is natural and necessary, because
matter, substance, "a space-filling force," is the underlying notional
upon which as ground any concept is possible. If matter is truly
illimitable, then materialistic pantheism, which is really atheism,
logically follows. Again; in our concept time is duration, and duration
is conceived of as unlimited. If so, the during event is unlimited. From
this hypothesis idealistic pantheism logically follows. But bring our
concept into the clear light, and under the searching eye of Reason, and
all ground for those systems vanishes instantly. Instead of finding
matter illimitable and the limit for a space, Space is seen to be
illimitable and pure condition, that matter may establish a limit within
it. And Time, instead of being duration, and so limited by the during
event, is found to be illimitable and pure condition, that event may
have duration in it. This brings us to the

Second special phase, without or independent of the Universe. We have
been considering facts in an objective experience, and have used
therefore the Sense and Understanding, as was proper. What we are now to
consider is a subject of which all experience is impossible. It can
therefore be examined only by that faculty which presents it, the Pure
Reason. Remove now from our presence all material object in Space, and
all during event in Time; in a word, remove the Universe, and what will
be left? As the Universe had a beginning, and both it and all things in
it are conditioned by Space and Time, so also let it have an end. Will
its conditions cease in its ceasing? Could another Universe arise, upon
which would be imposed no conditions of Space and Time? These questions
are answered in the statement of them. Those conditions must remain.
When we have abstracted from our _concept_ all substance and duration,
there is left only _void_. Hence, in our concept it would be proper to
say that without the Universe is void, and before the Universe there was
void. Also, that in void there is no thing, no where, and no when; or,
void is the negation of actual substance, space and time. But pure Space
and Time, as _a priori_ conditions that material object and during event
may be, have not ceased. There is still _room_, that an object may
become. There is still _opportunity_, that an event may occur. By the
Reason it is seen that these conditions have the same necessary being
for material object and occurring event, as the conditions of mental
activity have for mind; and they have their peculiar characteristics
exactly according with what they do condition, just as the laws of
thought have their peculiar characteristics, which exactly suit them to
what they condition. If there be a spiritual person, the moral law must
be given in the intuition as necessarily binding upon him; and this is
an _a priori_ condition of the being of such person. Precisely similar
is the relation between Space and Time as _a priori_ conditions, and
object and event upon which they lie. The moral law has its
characteristics, which fit it to condition spiritual person. Space and
Time have their characteristics, which fit them to condition object and
event. Space, then, as room, and Time as opportunity, and both as _a
priori_ conditions of a Universe, must have the same necessity of being
that God has. They _must_ be, as he _must_ be. But observe, they are
pure conditions, and no more. They are neither things nor persons. The
idea of them in the Reason is simple and unanalyzable. They can be
assigned their logical position, but further than this the mind cannot

The devout religious soul will start, perhaps, at some of the positions
stated above. We have not wrought to pain such soul, but only for truth,
and the clue of escape from all dilemmas. The only question to be raised
is, are they true? If a more patient investigation than we have given to
this subject shall show our positions false, then we shall only have
failed as others before us have; but we shall love the truth which shall
be found none the less. But if they shall be found true, then is it
certain that God always knew them so and was always pleased with them,
and no derogation to his dignity can come from the proclamation of them,
however much they may contravene hitherto cherished opinions. Most
blessed next after the Saviour's tender words of forgiveness are those
pure words of the apostle John, "No lie is of the truth."

The conclusions to which we have arrived enable us to state how it is
that primarily God was out of all relation to Space and Time. He was out
of all relation to Space, because he is not material object, thereby
having limits, form, and position in Space. He was out of all relation
to Time, because he holds immediately, and at once, all possible
objects of knowledge before the Eye of his mind. Hence he can learn
nothing, and can experience no process of thought. Within his mind no
event occurs, no substance endures. Yet, while this is true, it is
equally true that, as the Creator, he is conditioned by Space and Time,
just as he is conditioned by himself; and it may be found by future
examination that they are essential to that Self. But, whatever
conclusion may be arrived at respecting so difficult and abstract a
subject, this much is certain: God, as the infinite and absolute
spiritual Person, self-existent and supreme, is the great Fact; and
Space and Time, whatever they are, will, _can_ in no wise interfere with
and compromise his perfectness and supremacy. It is a pleasure to be
able to close this discussion with reflections profound and wise as
those contained in the following extract from the essay heretofore
alluded to.

"The reciprocal relations of Space, Time, and God, are veiled in
impenetrable darkness. Many minds hesitate to attribute real infinity to
Space and Time, lest it should conflict with the infinity of God. Such
timidity has but a slender title to respect. If the Laws of Thought
necessitate any conclusion whatever, they necessitate the conclusion
that Space and Time are each infinite; and if we cannot reconcile this
result with the infinity of God, there is no alternative but to accept
of scepticism with as good a grace as possible. No man is worthy to join
in the search for truth, who trembles at the sight of it when found. But
a profound faith in the unity of all truth destroys scepticism by
anticipation, and prophesies the solutions of reason. Space is infinite,
Time is infinite, God is infinite; three infinites coexist. Limitation
is possible only between existences of the same kind. There could not be
two infinite Spaces, two infinite Times, or two infinite Gods; but while
infinites of the same kind cannot coexist, infinites of unlike kinds
may. When an hour limits a rod, infinite Time will limit infinite Space;
when a year and an acre limit wisdom, holiness, and love, infinite Space
and Time will limit the infinite God. _But not before._ Time exists
ubiquitously, Space exists eternally, God exists ubiquitously and
eternally. The nature of the relations between the three infinites, so
long as Space and Time are ontologically incognizable, is utterly and
absolutely incomprehensible; but to assume contradiction, exclusion, or
mutual limitation to be among these relations, is as gratuitous as it is




It never formed any part of the plan of this work to give an extended
examination of the logician's system of metaphysics, or even to notice
it particularly. From the first, it was only proposed to attempt the
refutation of that peculiar theory which he enounced in his celebrated
essay, "The Philosophy of the Unconditioned," a monograph that has
generally been received as a fair and sufficient presentation thereof;
and which he supplemented, but never superseded. If the arguments
adduced, and illustrations presented, in the first part, in behalf of
the fact of the Pure Reason, are satisfactory, and the analysis and
attempted refutation of the celebrated dictum based upon two extremes,
an excluded middle and a mean, in the second part, are accepted as
sufficient, as also the criticisms upon certain general corollaries, and
the explanation of certain general questions, then, so far at least as
Sir William Hamilton is concerned, but little, if any, further remark
will be expected. A few subordinate passages in the essay above referred
to may, however, it is believed, be touched with profit by the hand of
criticism and explanation. To these, therefore, the reader's attention
is now called.

In remarking upon Cousin's philosophy, Hamilton says: "Now, it is
manifest that the whole doctrine of M. Cousin is involved in the
proposition, _that the Unconditioned, the Absolute, the Infinite, is
immediately known in consciousness, and this by difference, plurality,
and relation_." It is hardly necessary to repeat here the criticism,
that the terms infinite, absolute, &c. are entirely out of place when
used to express abstractions. As before, we ask, infinite--what? The
fact of abstraction is one of the greatest of limitations, and vitiates
every such utterance of the Limitists. The truth may be thus
stated:--The infinite Person, or the necessary principle as inhering in
that Person, is _immediately_ known in consciousness, and this, not by
difference, plurality, and relation, but by a direct intuition of the
Pure Reason. In this act the object seen--the idea--is held right in the
Reason's eye; and so is seen by itself and in itself. Hence it is not
known by difference, because there is no other object but the one before
that eye, with which to compare it. Neither is it known by plurality,
because it is seen by itself, and there is no other object contemplated,
with which to join it. Nor is it known by relation, because it is seen
to be what it is _in itself_, and as out of all relation. A little
below, in the same paragraph, Hamilton again remarks upon Cousin,
thus:--"The recognition of the absolute as a constitutive principle of
intelligence, our author regards as at once the condition and the end of
philosophy." The true idea, accurately stated, is as follows. The fact
that, by a constituting law of intelligence, the Pure Reason immediately
intuits absoluteness as the distinctive quality of _a priori_ first
principles, and of the infinite Person in whom they inhere, is the
condition, and the application of that fact is the end of philosophy.

These two erroneous positions the logician follows with his celebrated
"statement of the opinions which may be entertained regarding the
Unconditioned, as an immediate object of knowledge and of thought." The
four "opinions," to which he reduces all those held by philosophers, are
too well known to need quotation here. They are noticed now, only to
afford an opportunity for the presentation of a fifth, and, as it is
believed, the true opinion, which is as follows.

The infinite Person is "inconceivable," but is cognizable as a fact, is
known to be, and is, to a certain extent, known to be such and such; all
this, by an immediate intuition of the Pure Reason, of which the
spiritual person is definitely conscious; and that Person is so seen to
be primarily unconditioned, _i. e._ out of all relation, difference, and

"Inconceivable." As we have repeatedly said, this word has no force
except with regard to things in nature.

Is cognizable as a fact, &c. Nothing can be more certain than that an
_exhaustive_ knowledge of the Deity is impossible to any creature. But
equally certain is it, that, except as we have some true, positive,
_reliable_ knowledge of him _as he is_, we cannot be moral beings under
his moral government. Take, for instance, the moral law as the
expression of God's nature. 1. Either "God is love," or he is not
love--hate; or he is indifferent, _i. e._ love has no relation to him.
If the last alternative is true, then the other two have no relevancy to
the subject in hand. Upon such a supposition, it is unquestionably true
that he is utterly inscrutable. Then are we in just the condition which
the Limitists assert. But observe the results respecting ourselves. Our
whole moral nature is the most bitter, tantalizing falsehood which it is
possible for us to entertain as an object of knowledge. We feel that we
ought to love the perfect Being. At times we go starving for love to him
and beg that bread. He has no love to give. He never felt a pulsation of
affection. He sits alone on his icy throne, in a realm of eternal snow;
and, covered with the canopy, and shut in by the panoply, of inscrutable
mystery, he mocks our cry. We beg for bread. He gives us a stone. Does
such a picture instantly shock, yea, horrify, all our finer
sensibilities? Does the soul cry out in agony, her rejection of such a
conclusion? In that cry we hear the truth in God's voice; for he made
the soul. Still less can the thought be entertained that he is hate. It
is impossible, then, to think of God except as _love_. We know what love
is. We know what God is. There is a somewhat common to the Deity and
his spiritual creatures. This enables us to attain a final law, as

_In so far as God's creatures have faculties and capacities in common
with him, in so far do they know him positively; but in all matters to
which their peculiarities as creatures pertain, they only know him
negatively;_ i. e. _they know that he is the opposite of themselves._

That passage which was quoted in a former page, simply to prove that Sir
William Hamilton denied the reality of the Reason as distinct from the
Understanding, requires and will now receive a particular examination.
He says: "In the Kantian philosophy, both faculties perform the same
function; both seek the one in the many;--the Idea (Idee) is only the
Concept (Begriff) sublimated into the inconceivable; Reason only the
Understanding which has 'overleaped itself.'" In this sentence, and the
remarks which follow it, the logician shows that he neither comprehends
the assigned function and province of the Reason, nor possesses any
accurate knowledge of the mental phenomena upon which he passes
judgment. A diagnosis could not well be more thoroughly erroneous than
his. For "both faculties" do _not_ "perform the same function." Only the
Understanding seeks "the one in the many." The Reason seeks _the many in
the one_. The functions and modes of activity of the two faculties are
exactly opposite. The Understanding runs about through the universe, and
gathers up what facts it may, and concludes truth therefrom. The Reason
sees the truth _first_, as necessary _a priori_ law, and holding it up
as standard, measures facts by it, or uses the Sense to find the facts
in which it inheres. Besides, the author, in this assertion, is guilty
of a most glaring _petitio principii_. For, the very question at issue
is, whether "both faculties" do "perform the same function"; whether
"both" do "seek the one in the many." In order not to leave the hither
side of the question built upon a bare assertion, it will be proper to
revert to a few of those proofs adduced heretofore. The Reason sees the
truth first. Take now the assertion, Malice is criminal. Is this
primarily learned by experience; or is it an intuitive conviction, which
conditions experience. Or, in more general terms, does a child need to
be taught what guilt is, before it can feel guilty, as it is taught its
letters before it can read; or does the feeling of guilt arise within it
spontaneously, upon a breach of known law. If the latter be the true
experience, then it can only be accounted for upon the ground that an
idea of right and wrong, as an _a priori_ law, is organic in man; and,
by our definition, the presentation of this law to the attention in
consciousness is the act of the Reason. Upon such a theory the one
principle was not sought, and is not found, in the many acts, but the
many acts are compared with, and judged by, that one standard, which was
seen _first_, and as necessarily true. Take another illustration. All
religions, in accounting for the universe, have one common point of
agreement, which is, that some being or beings, superior to it and men,
produced it. And, except perhaps among the most degraded, the more
subtle notion of a final cause, though often developed in a crude form,
is associated with the other. These notions must be accounted for. How
shall it be done? Are they the result of experience? Then, the first
human beings had no such notions. But another and more palpable
objection arises. Are they the result of individual experience? Then
there would be as many religions as individuals. But, very ignorant
people have the experience,--persons who never learned anything but the
rudest forms of work, from the accumulated experience of others; nor by
their own experience, to make the smallest improvement in a simple
agricultural instrument. How, then, could they learn by experience one
of the profoundest speculative ideas? As a last resort, it may be said
they were taught it by philosophers. But this is negatived by the fact,
that philosophers do not, to any considerable extent, teach the people,
either immediately or mediately; but that generally those who have the
least philosophy have the largest influence. And what is most in point,
none of these hypotheses will account for the fact, that the gist of the
idea, however crude its form, is everywhere the same. Be it a Fetish, or
Brahm, or God, in the kernel final cause will be found. It would seem
that any candid mind must acknowledge that no combined effort of men,
were this possible, could secure such universal exactitude. But turn now
and examine any individual in the same direction, as we did just above,
respecting the question of right and wrong, and a plain answer will come
directly. The notion of first cause, however crude and rudimentary its
form, is organic. It arises, then, spontaneously, and the individual
takes it--"the one,"--and in it finds a reason for the phenomena of
nature--"the many,"--and is satisfied. And this is an experience not
peculiar to the philosopher; but is shared equally by the
illiterate,--those entirely unacquainted with scientific abstractions.
These illustrations might be carried to an almost indefinite length,
showing that commonly, in the every-day experiences of life, men are
accustomed not only to observe phenomena and form conclusions, as "It is
cloudy to-day, and may rain to-morrow," but also to measure phenomena by
an original and fixed standard, as, "This man is malicious, and
therefore wicked." Between the two modes of procedure, the following
distinction may always be observed. Conclusions are always doubtful,
only probable. Decisions are always certain. Conclusions give us what
may be, decisions what must be. The former result from concepts and
experience, the latter from intuitions and logical processes. Thus is
made plain the fact that, to give it the most favorable aspect, Sir
William Hamilton, in his eagerness to maintain his theory, has entirely
mistaken one class of human experiences, and so was led to deny the
actuality of the most profound and important faculty of the human mind.
In view of the foregoing results, one need not hesitate to say that,
whether he ever attempted it or not, Kant never "has clearly shown that
the idea of the unconditioned can have no objective reality," for it is
impossible to do this, the opposite being the truth. Its objective
reality is God; it therefore "conveys" to us the most important
"knowledge," and "involves" no "contradictions." Moreover,
unconditionedness is a "simple," "positive," "notion," and not "a
fasciculus of negations"; but is an attribute of God, who comprehends
all positives. A little after, Hamilton says: "And while he [Kant]
appropriated Reason as a specific faculty to take cognizance of these
negations, hypostatized as positive, under the Platonic name of
_Ideas_," &c. Here, again, the psychological question arises, Is the
Reason such a faculty? Are its supposed objects negations? Are they
hypostatized as positive? Evidently, if we establish an affirmative
answer to the first question, a negative to the others follows directly,
and the logician's system is a failure. Again, the discrimination of
thought into _positive_ and _negative_ is simply absurd. All thought is
_positive_. The phrase, negative thought, is only a convenient
expression for the refusal of the mind to think. But "Ideas" are not
thoughts at all, in the strict sense of that term. It refers to the
operations of the mind upon objects which have been presented. Ideas are
a part of such objects. All objects in the mind are positive. The
phrase, negative object, is a contradiction. But, without any deduction,
we see immediately that ideas are positives. The common consciousness of
the human race affirms this.

The following remark upon Cousin requires some notice. "For those who,
with M. Cousin, regard the notion of the unconditioned as a positive and
real knowledge of existence in its all-comprehensive unity, and who
consequently employ the terms _Absolute_, _Infinite_, _Unconditioned_,
as only various expressions for the same identity, are imperatively
bound to prove that their idea of _the One corresponds, either with that
Unconditioned we have distinguished as the Absolute, or with that
Unconditioned we have distinguished as the Infinite, or that it includes
both, or that it excludes both_. This they have not done, and, we
suspect, have never attempted to do." The italics are Hamilton's. The
above statement is invalid, for the following reasons. The Absolute,
therein named, has been shown to be irrelevant to the matter in hand,
and an absurdity. It is self-evident that the term "limited whole," as
applied to Space and Time, is a violation of the laws of thought. Since
we seek the truth, that Absolute must be rejected. Again, the
definitions of the terms absolute and infinite, which have been found
consistent, and pertinent to Space and Time, have been further found
irrelevant and meaningless, when applied to the Being, the One, who is
the Creator. That Being, existing primarily out of all relation to Space
and Time, must, if known at all, be studied, and known as he is. The
terms infinite and absolute will, of necessity, then, when applied to
him, have entirely different significations from what they will when
applied to Space and Time. So, then, no decision of questions arising in
this latter sphere will have other than a negative value in the former.
The questions in that sphere must be decided on their own merits, as
must those in this. What is really required, then, is, that the One, the
Person, be shown to be both absolute and infinite, and that these, as
qualities, consistently inhere in that _unity_. As this has already been
done in the first Part of this treatise, nothing need be added here.

Some pages afterwards, in again remarking upon M. Cousin, Hamilton
quotes from him as follows: "The condition of intelligence _is
difference_; and an act of knowledge is only possible where there exists
a plurality of terms." In a subsequent paragraph the essayist argues
from this, thus: "But, on the other hand, it is asserted, that the
condition of intelligence, as knowing, is plurality and difference;
consequently, the condition of the absolute as existing, and under which
it must be known, and the condition of intelligence, as capable of
knowing, are incompatible. For, if we suppose the absolute cognizable,
it must be identified either, first, with the subject knowing; or,
second, with the object known; or, third, with the indifference of
both." Rejecting the first two, Hamilton says: "The _third_ hypothesis,
on the other hand, is _contradictory of the plurality of intelligence_;
for, if the subject of consciousness be known as one, a plurality of
terms is not the necessary condition of intelligence. The alternative is
therefore necessary: Either the absolute cannot be known or conceived at
all, or our author is wrong in subjecting thought to the conditions of
plurality and difference."

In these extracts may be detected an error which, so far as the author
is informed, has been hitherto overlooked by philosophers. The logician
presents an alternative which is unquestionably valid. Yet with almost,
if not entire unanimity, writers have been accustomed to assign
plurality, relation, difference, and--to adopt a valuable suggestion of
Mr. Spencer--likeness, as conditions of all knowledge; and among them
those who have claimed for man a positive knowledge of the absolute. The
error by which they have been drawn into this contradiction is purely
psychological; and arises, like the other errors which we have pointed
out, from an attempt to carry over the laws of the animal nature, the
Sense and Understanding, by which man learns of, and concludes about,
things in nature, to the Pure Reason, by which he sees and knows, with
an _absolutely certain_ knowledge, principles and laws; and to subject
this faculty to those conditions. Now, there can be no doubt but that if
the logician's premiss is true, the conclusion is unavoidable. If "an
act of knowledge is only possible where there exists a plurality of
terms," then is it impossible that we should know God, _or that he
should know himself_. The logic is impregnable. But the conclusion is
revolting. What must be done, then? Erect some makeshift subterfuge of
mental impotence? It will not meet the exigency of the case. It will not
satisfy the demand of the soul. Nay, more, she casts it out utterly, as
a most gross insult. Unquestionably, but one course is left; and that is
so plain, that one cannot see how even a Limitist could have overlooked
it. Correct the premiss. Study out the true psychology, and that will
give us perfect consistency. Hold with a death-grip to the principle
that _every truth is in complete harmony with every other truth_; and
hold with no less tenacity to the principle that the human intellect is
true. And what is the true premiss which through an irrefutable logic
will give us a satisfactory, a true, an undoubted conclusion. This. A
plurality of terms is _not_ the necessary condition of intelligence; but
objects which are pure, simple, unanalyzable, may be directly known by
an intellect. Or, to be more explicit. Plurality, relation, difference,
and likeness, are necessary conditions of intelligence through the Sense
and Understanding; but they do not in the least degree lie upon the
Reason, which sees its objects as pure, simple ideas which are
_self-evident_, and, consequently, are not subject to those conditions.
Whatever knowledge we may have of "mammals," we undoubtedly gain under
the conditions of plurality, relation, difference, and likeness; for
"mammals" are things in nature. But absoluteness is a pure, simple,
unanalyzable idea in the Reason, and as such is seen and known by a
direct insight as out of all plurality, relation, difference, and
likeness: for this is a _quality_ of the self-existent Person, and so
belongs wholly to the sphere of the supernatural, and can be examined
only by a spiritual person who is also supernatural.

Let us illustrate these two kinds of knowledge. 1. The knowledge given
by the Sense and Understanding. This is of material objects. Take, for
example, an apple. The Sense observes it as one of many apples, and that
many characteristics belong to it as one apple. Among these, color,
skin, pulp, juices, flavor, &c. may be mentioned. It observes, also,
that it bears a relation to the stem and tree on which it grows, and, as
well, that its several qualities have relations among themselves. One
color belongs to the skin, another to the pulp. The skin, as cover,
relates to the pulp as covered, and the like. The apple, moreover, is
distinguished from other fruits by marks of difference and marks of
likeness. It has a different skin, a different pulp, and a different
flavor. Yet, it is like other fruits, in that it grows on a tree, and
possesses those marks just named, which, though differing among
themselves, according to the fruit in which they inhere, have a
commonality of kind, as compared with other objects. This
distinguishing, analyzing, and classifying of characteristics, and
connecting them into a unity, as an apple, is the work of the Sense and

2. The knowledge given by the Pure Reason. This is of _a priori_ laws,
of these laws combined in pure archetypal forms, and of God as the
Supreme Being who comprehends all laws and forms. A fundamental
difference in the two modes of activity immediately strikes one's
attention. In the former case, the mode was by distinguishment and
_analysis_. In the latter it is by comprehension and _synthesis_. Take
the idea of moral obligation to illustrate this topic. No one but a
Limitist will, it is believed, contend against the position of Dr
Hopkins, "that this idea of obligation or _oughtness_ is a simple idea."
This being once acceded, carries with it the whole theory which the
author seeks to maintain. How may "a simple idea" be known? It cannot be
distinguished or analyzed. Being simple, it is _sui generis_. Hence, it
cannot be known by plurality or relation, difference or likeness. If
known at all, it must be known _as it is in itself_, by a spontaneous
insight. Such, in fact, is the mode of the activity of the Pure Reason,
and such are the objects of that activity. In maintaining, then, the
doctrine of "intellectual intuition," M. Cousin was right, but wrong in
subjecting all knowledge "to the conditions of plurality and

Near the close of the essay under examination Sir Wm. Hamilton states
certain problems, which he is "confident" Cousin cannot solve. There is
nothing very difficult about them; and it is a wonder that he should
have so presented them. Following the passage--which is here
quoted--will be found what appear simple and easy solutions.

"But (to say nothing of remoter difficulties)--(1) how liberty can be
conceived, supposing always a plurality of modes of activity, without a
knowledge of that plurality;--(2) how a faculty can resolve to act by
preference in a particular manner, and not determine itself by final
causes;--(3) how intelligence can influence a blind power, without
operating as an efficient cause;--(4) or how, in fine, morality can be
founded on a liberty which at best only escapes necessity by taking
refuge with chance;--these are problems which M. Cousin, in none of his
works, has stated, and which we are confident he is unable to solve."

1. Liberty cannot be _conceived_. It must be intuited. There is "a
plurality of modes," and there is "a knowledge of that plurality." 2. "A
faculty" cannot resolve to act; cannot have a preference; and cannot
determine itself _at all_. Only a _spiritual person_ can _resolve_, can
have a preference, can determine. 3. Intelligence cannot influence.
Blind power cannot be influenced. Only a spiritual person can be
influenced, and he by object through the intelligence as medium, and
only he can be an efficient cause. 4. Morality cannot "be founded on a
liberty, which only escapes necessity by taking refuge with chance;"
and, what is more, such a liberty is impossible, and to speak of it as
possible is absurd. What vitiates the processes of thought of the
Limitists so largely, crops out very plainly here: viz., the employment
both in thinking and expressions of faculties, capacities, and
qualities, as if they possessed all the powers of persons. This habit is
thoroughly erroneous, and destructive of truth. The truth desired to
answer this whole passage, may be stated in exact terms thus: The
infinite and absolute spiritual Person, the ultimate and indestructible,
and indivisible and composite unit, possesses as a necessary quality of
personality pure liberty; which is freedom from compulsion or restraint
in the choice of one of two possible ends. This Person intuits a
multitude of modes of activity. He possesses also perfect wisdom, which
enables him, having chosen the right end, to determine with unerring
accuracy which one of all the modes of activity is the best to secure
the end. Involved in the choice of the end, is the determination to put
in force the best means for securing that end. Hence this Person decides
that the best mode shall _be_. He also possesses all-power. This is
_his_ endowment, not that of his intelligence. The intelligence is not
person, but _faculty_ in the person. So is it with the _power_. So then
this Person, intuiting through his intelligence what is befitting his
dignity, puts forth, in accordance therewith, his power; and is
efficient cause. Such a being is neither under necessity nor chance. He
is not under necessity, because there is no constraint which compels him
to choose the right end, rather than the wrong one. He is not under
chance, because he is _certain_ which is the best mode of action to gain
the end chosen. In this distinction between ends and modes of activity,
which has been so clearly set forth by Rev. Mark Hopkins, D. D., and in
the motions of spiritual persons in each sphere, lie the ground for
answering _all_ difficulties raised by the advocates of necessity or
chance. With these remarks we close the discussion of Hamilton's
philosophical system, and proceed to take up the teachings of his


This volume is one which will always awaken in the mind of the candid
and reflective reader a feeling of profound respect. The writer is
manifestly a deeply religious man. The book bears the marks of piety,
and an earnest search after the truth respecting that august Being whom
its author reverentially worships. However far wrong we may believe him
to have gone in his speculative theory, his devout spirit must ever
inspire esteem. Though it is ours to criticize and condemn the
intellectual principles upon which his work is based, we cannot but
desire to be like him, in rendering solemn homage to the Being he deems

In proceeding with our examination, all the defects which were formerly
noticed as belonging to the system of the Limitists will here be found
plainly observable. Following his teacher, Mr. Mansel holds the
Understanding to be the highest faculty of the human intellect, and the
consequent corollary that a judgment is its highest form of knowledge.
The word "conceive" he therefore uses as expressive of the act of the
mind in grasping together various marks into a concept, when that word
and act of mind are utterly irrelevant to the object to which he applies
them; and hence they can have no meaning as used. We shall see him speak
of "starting from the divine, and reasoning down to the human"; or of
"starting from the human, and reasoning up to the divine"; where, upon
the hypothesis that the two are entirely diverse, no reasoning process,
based upon either one, can reach the other. On the other hand, if any
knowledge of God is possible to the created mind, it is only on the
ground that there is a similarity, an exact likeness in certain
respects, between the two; in other words, that the Creator plainly
declared a simple fact, in literal language, when he said, "God made man
in his own image." If man's mind is wholly unlike God's mind, he cannot
know truth as God knows it. And if the human intellect is thus faulty,
man cannot be the subject of a moral government, for every subject of a
moral government is amenable to law. In order to be so amenable, he must
know the law _as it is_. No phantasmagoria of law, no silhouette will
do. It must be immediately seen, and known to be binding. Truth is
_one_. He, then, who sees it as it is, and knows it to be binding, sees
it as God sees it, and feels the same obligation that God feels. And
such an one must man be if he is a moral agent. Whether he is such an
agent or not, we will not argue here; since all governments and laws of
society are founded upon the hypothesis that he is, it may well be
assumed as granted.

Of the "three terms, familiar as household words," which Mr. Mansel, in
his second lecture, proceeds to examine, it is to be said, that "First
Cause," if properly mentioned at all, should have been put last; and
that "Infinite" and "Absolute" are not pertinent to Cause, but to
Person. So then when we consider "the Deity as He is," we consider him,
not as Cause, for this is _incidental_, but as the infinite and absolute
Person, for these three marks are _essential_. Further, these
last-mentioned terms express ideas in the Reason; while the term Cause
expresses "an _a priori_ Element of connection, and thus a primitive
understanding-conception." Hardly more satisfactory than his use of the
term Cause is his definition of the terms absolute and infinite. He
defines "the Absolute" to be "that which exists in and by itself, having
no necessary relation to any other Being," when it is rather the
exclusion of the possibility of any other Being. Again, he defines "the
Infinite" to be "that which is free from all possible limitation; that
than which a greater is inconceivable; and which, consequently, can
receive no additional attribute or mode of existence which it had not
from all eternity." "That which" means the thing which, for which is
neuter. Mr. Mansel's infinite is, then, the _Thing_. This _Thing_ "is
free from all possible limitation." How can that be when the Being he
thus defines is, must be, necessarily existent, and so is bound by one
of the greatest of limitations, the inability to cease to be. But some
light may be thrown upon his use of the term "limitation" by the
subsequent portions of his definition. The Thing "which is free from all
possible limitation" is "that than which a greater is inconceivable."
Moreover, this greatest of all possible things possesses all possible
"attributes," and is in every possible "mode of existence" "from all
eternity." Respecting the phrase "than which a greater is
inconceivable," two suppositions may be made. Either there may be a
thing "greater" than, and diverse from, all other things; or there may
be a thing greater than, and including all, other things. Probably the
latter is Mr. Mansel's thought; but it is Materialistic Pantheism. This
Being must be in every "mode of existence" "from all eternity."
Personality is a "mode of existence"; therefore this Being must forever
have been in that mode. But impersonality is also a mode of existence,
therefore this Being must forever have been in that mode. Yet again
these two modes are contradictory and mutually exclusive; then this
Being must have been from all eternity in two contradictory and mutually
exclusive modes of existence! Is further remark necessary to show
that Mr. Mansel's definition is thoroughly vitiated by the
understanding-conception that infinity is amount, and is, therefore,
utterly worthless? Can there be a thing so great as to be without
limits? Has greatness anything to do with infinity? Manifestly not. It
becomes necessary, then, to recur to and amplify those definitions which
we have already given to the terms he uses.

Absoluteness and infinity are qualities of the necessary Being.

Absoluteness is that quality of the necessary Being by which he is
endowed with self-existence, self-dependence, and totality. Or in other
words, having this quality, he is wholly independent of any other being;
and also the possibility of the existence of any other independent Being
is excluded; and so he is the Complete, the Final, upon whom all
possible beings must depend.

Infinity is that quality of the necessary Being which gives him
universality in the totality. It expresses the fact, that he possesses
all possible endowments in perfection.

Possessing these qualities, that Being is free from any external
restraint or limitation; but those restraints and limitations, which his
very constituting elements themselves impose, are not removed by these
qualities. For instance, the possession of Love, Mercy, Justice, Wisdom,
Power, and the like, are essential to God's entirety; and the possession
of them in _perfect harmony_ is essential to his perfectness in the
entirety. This fact of perfect harmony, exact balance, bars him from the
_undue_ exercise of any one of his attributes; or, concisely, his
perfection restrains him from being imperfect. We revert, then, to the
fundamental distinction, attained heretofore, between improper
limitations, or those which are involved in perfection; and proper
limitations, or those which are involved in deficiency and dependence;
and applying it here, we see that those limitations, which we speak of
as belonging to God, are not indicative of a lack, but rather are
necessarily incidental to that possession of all possible perfection
which constitutes him the Ultimate.

In this view infinity can have no relevancy to "number." It is not that
God has one, or one million endowments. It asks no question about the
number; and cares not for it. It is satisfied in the assertion that he
possesses _all that are possible_, and in perfect harmony. It is,
further, an idea, not a concept. It must be intuited, for it cannot be
"conceived." No analogy of "line" or "surface" has any pertinence;
because these are concepts, belonging wholly in the Understanding and
Sense, where no idea can come. Yet it may be, _is_, the quality of an
intelligence endowed with a limited number of attributes;--for there can
be no number without limitation, since the phrase unlimited number is a
contradiction of terms;--but this limitation involves no lack, because
there are no "others," which can be "thereby related to it, as cognate
or opposite modes of consciousness." Without doubt it is, in a certain
sense, true, that "the metaphysical representation of the Deity, as
absolute and infinite, must necessarily, as the profoundest
metaphysicians have acknowledged, amount to nothing less than the sum of
all reality." This sense is that all reality is by him, and for him, and
from him; and is utterly dependent upon him. But Hegel's conclusion by
no means follows, in which he says: "What kind of an Absolute Being is
that which does not contain in itself all that is actual, even evil
included." This is founded upon the suppressed premiss, that such a
Being _must_ do what he does, and his creatures _must_ do what they do;
and so evil must come. This much only can be admitted, and this may be
admitted, without derogating aught from God's perfectness: viz., that he
sees in the ideals of his Reason _how_ his laws may be violated, and so,
how sin may and will be in this moral system; but it is a perversion of
words to say that this knowledge on the part of God is evil.

The knowing how a moral agent may break the perfect law, is involved in
the knowing how such agent may keep that law. But the fact of the
knowledge does not involve any whit of consent to the act of violation.
On the other hand, it may, does, become the ground for the putting forth
of every wise effort to prevent that act. Again; evil is produced by
those persons whom God has made, who violate his moral laws. He being
perfectly wise and perfectly good, for perfectly wise and good reasons
sustains them in the ability to sin. There can be, in the nature of
things, no persons at all, without this ability to sin. But God does not
direct them to sin; neither when they do sin does any stain fall upon
him for sustaining their existence during their sinning. That definition
of the term absolute, upon which Hegel bases his assertion, is one fit
only for the Sense and Understanding; as if God was the physical sum of
all existence. It is Materialistic Pantheism. But by observing the
definitions and distinctions, which have been heretofore laid down, it
may be readily seen how an actual mode of existence, as that of finite
person, may be denied to God, and no lack be indicated thereby. Hegel's
blasphemy may, then, be answered as follows: God is the infinite and
absolute spiritual Person. Personality is the form of his being. The
form cannot be empty. Organized essence fills the form. Infinity and
absoluteness are _qualities_ of the Person as thus organized. The
quality of absoluteness, for instance, as transfusing the essence, is
the endowment of pure independence, and involves the exclusion of the
possibility of any other independent Being, and the possession of the
ability to create every possible dependent being. In so far, then, as
Hegel's assertion means that no being can exist, and do evil, except he
is created and sustained by the Deity, it is true. But in so far as it
means--and this is undoubtedly what Hegel did mean--that God must be the
efficient author of sin, that, forced by the iron rod of Fate, he must
produce evil, the assertion is utterly false, and could only have been
uttered by one who, having dwelt all his life in the gloomy cave of the
Understanding, possessed not even a tolerably correct notion of the true
nature of the subject he had in hand,--the character of God. From the
above considerations it is apparent that all the requirements of the
Reason are fulfilled when it is asserted that all things--the
Universe--are dependent upon God; and he is utterly independent.

The paragraphs next succeeding, which have been quoted with entire
approbation by Mr. Herbert Spencer, are thoroughly vitiated by their
author's indefensible assumption, that cause is "indispensable" to our
idea of the Deity. As was remarked above, the notion of cause is
incidental. The Deity may or may not become a cause, as he shall
decide. But he has no choice as to whether he shall be a person or not.
Hence we may freely admit that "the cause, as such, exists only in
relation to its effect: the cause is a cause of the effect; the
effect is an effect of the cause." It is also true that "the
conception"--idea--"of the Absolute implies a possible existence out of
all relation." The position we have taken is in advance of this, for we
say, involves an actual existence out of all relation. Introducing,
then, not "the idea of succession in time," but the idea of the logical
order, we rightly say, "the Absolute exists first by itself, and
afterwards becomes a Cause." Nor are we here "checked by the third
conception, that of the Infinite." "Causation is a possible mode of
existence," and yet "that which exists without causing" is infinite. How
is this? It is thus. Infinity is the universality of perfect endowment.
Now, taking as the point of departure the first creative nisus or effort
of the Deity, this is true. Before that act he was perfect in every
possible endowment, and accorded his choice thereto. He was able to
create, but did not, for a good and sufficient reason. In and after that
act, he was still perfect as before. That act then involved no
_essential_ change in God. But he was in one mode of being before, and
in another mode of being in and after that act. Yet he was equally
perfect, and equally blessed, before as after. What then follows? This:
that there was some good and sufficient reason why before that act he
should be a potential creator, and in that act he should become an
actual creator: and this reason preserves the perfection, _i. e._ the
infinity of God, equally in both modes. When, then, Mr. Mansel says, "if
Causation is a possible mode of existence, that which exists without
causing is not infinite, that which becomes a cause has passed beyond
its former limits," his utterance is prompted by that pantheistic
understanding-conception of God, which thinks him the sum of all that
was, and is, and ever shall be, or can be; and that in all this, he is
_actual_. On the other hand, as we have seen, all that is required to
fulfil the idea of infinity is, that the Being, whom it qualifies,
possesses all fulness, has all the forms and springs of being in
himself. It is optional with him whether he will create or not; and his
remaining out of all relation, or his creating a Universe, and thus
establishing relations to and for himself, in no way affect his
essential nature, _i. e._ his infinity. He is a person, possessing all
possible endowments, and in this does his infinity consist. In this
view, "creation at any particular moment of time" is seen to be the only
possible hypothesis by which to account for the Universe. Such a
_Person_, the necessary Being, must have been in existence before the
Universe; and his first act in producing that Universe would mark the
first moment of time. No "alternative of Pantheism" is, can be,
presented to the advocates of this theory. On the other hand, that
scheme is seen to be both impossible and absurd.

One cannot disagree with Mr. Mansel, when in the next paragraph he says,
that, "supposing the Absolute to become a cause, it will follow that it
operates by means of free will and consciousness." But the difficulties
which he then raises lie only in the Understanding, and may be explained
thus. Always in God's consciousness _the subject and object are
identical_. All that God is, is always present to his Eye. Hence all
relations always appear subordinate to, and dependent upon him; and it
is a misapprehension of the true idea to suppose, that any relation
which falls _in idea_ within him, and only becomes actual at his will,
is any proper limitation. Both subject and object are thus absolute,
being identical; and yet there is no contradiction.

The difficulty is further raised that there cannot be in the absolute
Being any interrelations, as of attributes among themselves, or of
attributes to the Being. This arises from an erroneous definition of the
term absolute. The definition heretofore given in this treatise presents
no such difficulty. The possession of these attributes and
interrelations is essential to the exclusion by then possessor of
another independent Being; and it is a perversion to so use a quality
which is essential to a being, that it shall militate against the
consistency of his being what he must be. If then "the almost unanimous
voice of philosophy, in pronouncing that the absolute is both one and
simple," uses the term "simple" in the same sense that it would have
when applied to the idea of moral obligation, viz., that it is
unanalyzable, then that voice is wrong, just as thoroughly as the voice
of antiquity in favor of the Ptolemaic system of Astronomy was wrong;
and is to be treated as that was. On such questions _opinions_ have no
weight. The search is after a knowledge which is sure, and which every
man may have within himself. We land, then, in no "inextricable
dilemma." The absolute Person we see to be conscious; and to possess
complexity in unity, universality in totality. By an immediate intuition
we know him as primarily out of all relation, plurality, difference, and
likeness; and yet as having, of his own self, established the Universe,
which is still entirely dependent upon him; from which he differs, and
with which he is not identified.

Again Mr. Mansel says: "A mental attribute to be conceived as infinite,
must be in actual exercise on every possible object: otherwise it is
potential only, with regard to those on which it is not exercised; and
an unrealized potentiality is a limitation." With our interpretation the
assertion is true and contains no puzzle. Every mental attribute of the
Deity is most assuredly "in actual exercise," upon every one of its
"possible objects" _as ideas_. But the objects are not therefore actual.
Neither is there any need that they should ever become so. He sees them
just as clearly, and knows them just as thoroughly as ideals, as he does
as actual objects. All ideal objects are "unrealized potentialities";
and yet they are the opposite of limitations proper. But this sentence,
as an expression of the thought which Mr. Mansel seemingly wished to
convey, is vitiated by the presence of that understanding-conception
that infinity is amount, which must be actual. Once regard infinity as
_quality_ of the necessarily existent Person, and it directly follows
that this or that act, of that Person, in no way disturbs that infinity.
The quality conditions the acting being; but the act of that being
cannot limit the quality. The quality is, that the act may be; not the
reverse. Hence the questions arising from the interrelations of Power
and Goodness, Justice and Mercy, are solved at once. Infinity as
quality, not amount, pervades them all, and holds them all in perfect
harmony, adjusting each to each, in a melody more beautiful than that of
the spheres. Even "the existence of Evil" is "compatible with that of"
this "perfectly good Being." He does not will that it shall be; neither
does he will that it shall not be. If he willed that it should not be,
and it was, then he would be "thwarted"; but only on such a hypothesis
can the conclusion follow. But he does will that certain creatures shall
be, who, though dependent upon him for existence and sustenance, are,
like him, final causes,--the final arbiters of their own destinies, who
in the choice of ends are unrestrained, and may choose good or ill. He
made these creatures, knowing that some of them would choose wrong, and
so evil would be: but _he_ did not will the evil. He only willed the
conditions upon which evil was possible, and placed all proper bars to
prevent the evil; and the _a priori_ facts of his immutable perfection
in endowments, and of his untarnished holiness, are decisive of the
consequent fact, that, in willing those conditions, God did the very
best possible deed. If it be further asserted that the fact, that the
Being who possesses all possible endowments in perfection could not
wisely prevent sin, is a limitation; and, further, that it were better
to have prevented sin by an unwise act than to have permitted it by a
wise act; it can only be replied: This is the same as to say, that it is
essential to God's perfection that he be imperfect; or, that it was
better for the perfect Being to violate his Self than to permit sin. If
any one in his thinking chooses to accept of such alternatives, there
remains no ground of argument with him; but only "a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the

Carrying on his presentation of difficulties, Mr. Mansel further
remarks: "Let us however suppose for an instant, that these difficulties
are surmounted, and the existence of the Absolute securely established
on the testimony of reason. Still we have not succeeded in reconciling
this idea with that of a Cause: we have done nothing towards explaining
how the absolute can give rise to the relative, the infinite to the
finite. If the condition of causal activity is a higher state than that
of quiescence, the absolute, whether acting voluntarily or
involuntarily, has passed from a condition of comparative imperfection
to one of comparative perfection; and therefore was not originally
perfect. If the state of activity is an inferior state to that of
quiescence, the Absolute, in becoming a cause, has lost its original
perfection." On this topic we can but repeat the argument heretofore
adduced. Let the supposition be entertained that perfection does not
belong to a state, but to God's nature, to what God _is_, as ground for
what God does, and standing in the logical order before his act; and it
will directly appear that a state of quiescence or a state of activity
in no way modifies his perfection. What God is, remains permanent and
perfect, and his acts are only manifestations of that permanent and
perfect. It follows, then, taking the first moment of time as the point
of departure, that, before that point, God was in a state of complete
blessedness, and that after that point he was also in such a state; and,
further, that while these two states are equal, there is not "complete
indifference," because there was a reason, clearly seen by the Divine
mind, why the passage from quiescence to activity should be when it was,
and as it was, and that this reason having been acknowledged in his
conduct, gives to the two states equality, and yet differentiates the
one from the other.

"Again, how can the Relative be conceived as coming into being?" It
cannot be _conceived_ at all. The faculty of the mind by which it forms
a concept--the discursive Understanding--is impotent to conceive what
cannot be conceived--the act of creation. The changes of matter can be
concluded into a system, but not the power by which the matter came to
be, and the changes were produced. If the how is known at all, it must
be seen. The laws of the process must be intuited, as also the process
as logically according with those laws. The following is believed to be
an intelligible account of the process, and an answer to the above
question. The absolute and infinite Person possesses as _a priori_
organic elements of his being, all possible endowments in perfect
harmony. Hence all laws, and all possible combinations of laws, are at
once and always present before the Eye of his Reason, which is thus
constituted Universal Genius. These combinations may be conveniently
named ideal forms. They arise spontaneously, being in no way dependent
upon his will, but are rather _a priori_ conditional of any creative
activity. So, too, they harmoniously arrange themselves into
systems,--archetypes of what may be, some of which may appear nobler,
and others inferior. This Person, being such as we have stated,
possesses also as endowment all power, and thereby excludes the
possibility of there being any "_other_" power. This power is adequate
to do all that _power_ can do,--to accomplish all that lies within the
province of power. So long as the Person sees fit not to exert his
power, his ideal forms will be only ideals, and the power will be simply
power. But whenever he shall see fit to send forth his power, and
organize it according to the ideal forms, the Universe will become. In
all this the Person, "of his own will," freely establishes whatever his
unerring wisdom shows is most worthy of his dignity; and so the
actualities and relations which he thus ordains are no proper limit or
restraint, for they in no way lessen his fulness, but are only a
manifestation of that fulness,--a declaration of his glory. In a word,
Creation is that executive act of God by which he combines with his
power that ideal system which he had chosen because best, or _it is the
organization of ample power according to perfect law_. If one shall now
ask, "How could he send forth the power?" it is to be replied that the
question is prompted by the curiosity of the "flesh," man's animal
nature; and since no representation--picture--can be made, no answer can
be furnished. It is not needed to know _how_ God is, or does anything,
but only that he does it. All the essential requirements of the problem
are met when it is ascertained in the light of the Reason, that all
fulness is in God, that from this fulness he established all other
beings and their natural relations, and that no relation is _imposed_
upon him by another. The view thus advanced avoids the evil of the
understanding-conception, that creation is the bringing of something out
of nothing. There is an actual self-existent ground, from which the
Universe is produced. Neither is the view pantheistic, for it starts
with the _a priori_ idea of an absolute and infinite Person who is
"before all things, and by whom all things consist,"--who organizes his
own power in accordance with his own ideals, and thus produces the
Universe, and all this by free will in self-consciousness.

On page eighty-four, in speaking "of the atheistic alternative," Mr.
Mansel makes use of the following language: "A limit is itself a
relation; and to conceive a limit as such, is virtually to acknowledge
the existence of a correlative on the other side of it." Upon reading
this sentence, some sensuous form spontaneously appears in the Sense.
Some object is conceived, and something outside it, that bounds it. But
let the idea be once formed of a Being who possesses all limitation
within himself, and for whom there is no "other side," nor any
"correlative," and the difficulty vanishes. We do not seek to account
for sensuous objects. It is pure Spirit whom we consider. We do not need
to form a concept of "a first moment in time," or "a first unit of
space," nor could we if we would. To do so would be for the faculty
which forms concepts to transcend the very laws of its organization.
What we need is, to see the fact that a Spirit is, who, possessing
personality as form, and absoluteness and infinity as qualities, thereby
contains all limits and the ground of all being in himself, and
antithetical to whom is only negation.

From the ground thus attained there is seen to result, not the dreary
Sahara of interminable contradictions, but the fair land of harmonious
consistency. A Spirit, sole, personal, self-conscious, the absolute and
infinite Person, is the Being we seek and have found; and upon such a
Being the soul of man may rest with the unquestioning trust of an infant
in its mother's arms. One cannot pass by unnoticed the beautiful spirit
of religious reverence which shines through the closing paragraphs of
this lecture. It is evident with what dissatisfaction the writer views
the sterile puzzles of which he has been treating, and what a relief it
is to turn from them to "the God who is 'gracious and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.'" The
wonder is, that he did not receive that presentation which his devout
spirit has made, as the truth--which it is--and say, "I will accept this
as final. My definitions and deductions shall accord with this highest
revelation. This shall be my standard of interpretation." Had he done
so, far other, and, as it is believed, more satisfactory and truthful
would have been the conclusions he would have given us.

In his third Lecture Mr. Mansel is occupied with an examination of the
human nature, for the purpose, if possible, of finding "some explanation
of the singular phenomenon of human thought," which he has just
developed. At the threshold of the investigation the fact of
consciousness appears, and he begins the statement of its conditions in
the following language: "Now, in the first place, the very conception of
Consciousness, in whatever mode it may be manifested, necessarily
implies _distinction between one object and another_. To be conscious we
must be conscious of something; and that something can only be known as
that which it is, by being distinguished from that which it is not." In
this statement Mr. Mansel unconsciously assumes as settled, the very
question at issue; for, the position maintained by one class of writers
is, that in certain of our mental operations, viz., in intuitions, the
mind sees a simple truth, idea, first principle, as it is, in itself,
and that there is no distinction in the act of knowledge. It is
unquestionably true that, in the examination of objects on the Sense,
and the conclusion of judgments in the Understanding, no object can come
into consciousness without implying a "distinction between one object
and another." But it is also evident that a first truth, to be known as
such, must be intuited--seen as it is in itself; and so directly known
to have the qualities of necessity and universality which constitute it
a first truth. Of this fact Sir William Hamilton seems to have been
aware, when he denied the actuality of the Reason,--perceiving,
doubtless, that only on the ground of such a denial was his own theory
tenable. But if it shall be admitted, as it would seem it must be, that
men have necessary and universal convictions, then it must also be
admitted that these convictions are not entertained by distinguishing
them from other mental operations, but that they are seen of themselves
to be true; and thus it appears that there are some modes of
consciousness which do not imply the "distinction" claimed. The
subsequent sentences seem capable of more than one interpretation. If
the author means that "the Infinite" cannot be infinite without he is
also finite, so that all distinction ceases, then his meaning is both
pantheistic and contradictory; for the word infinite has no meaning, if
it is not the opposite of finite, and to identify them is undoubtedly
Pantheism. Or if he means "that the Infinite cannot be distinguished" as
independent, from the Finite _as independent_, and thus, as possessing
some quality with which it was not endowed by the infinite Person, then
there can be no doubt of his correctness. But if, as would seem, his
idea of infinity is that of amount, is such that it appears
inconsistent, contradictory, for the infinite Person to retain his
infinity, and still create beings who are really other than himself, and
possessing, as quality, finiteness, which he cannot possess as quality,
then is his idea of what infinity is wrong. Infinity is quality, and the
capacity to thus create is essential to it. All that the Reason requires
is, that the finite be created by and wholly dependent upon the infinite
Person; then all the relations and conditions are only _improper_,--such
as that Person has established, and which, therefore, in no way diminish
his glory or detract from his fulness. When, then, Mr. Mansel says, "A
consciousness of the Infinite, as such, thus necessarily involves a
self-contradiction, for it implies the recognition, by limitation and
difference, of that which can only be given as unlimited and
indifferent," it is evident that he uses the term infinite to express
the understanding-conception of unlimited amount, which is not relevant
here, rather than the reason-idea of universality which is not
contradictory to a real distinction between the Infinite and finite.
There is also involved the unexpressed assumption that we have no
knowledge except of the limited and different, or, in other words, that
the Understanding is the highest faculty of the mind. It has already
been abundantly shown that this is erroneous,--that the Reason knows its
objects in themselves, as out of all relation, plurality, difference, or
likeness. Dropping now the abstract term "the infinite," and using the
concrete and proper form, we may say:

We are conscious of infinity, _i. e._ we are conscious that we see with
the eye of Reason infinity as a simple, _a priori_ idea; and that it is
quality of the Deity.

2. We are conscious of the infinite Person; in that we are conscious,
that we see with the eye of Reason the complex _a priori_ idea of a
perfect Person possessing independence and universality as qualities of
his Self. But we are not conscious of him in that we exhaustively
comprehend him. As is said elsewhere, we know that he is, and to a
certain extent, but not wholly what he is.

In further discussing this question Mansel is guilty of another grave
psychological error. He says, "Consciousness is essentially a
limitation, for it is the determination to one actual out of many
possible modifications." There is no truth in this sentence.
Consciousness is not a limitation; it is not a determination; it is not
a modification. It may be well to state here certain conclusions on this
assertion, which will be brought out in the fuller discussion of it,
when we come to speak of Mr. Spencer's book. Consciousness is _one_, and
retains that oneness throughout all modifications. These occur in the
unity as items of experience affect it. Doubtless Dr. Hickok's
illustration is the best possible. Consciousness is the _light_ in which
a spiritual person sees the modifications of himself, _i. e._ the
activity of his faculties and capacities. Like Space, only in a
different sphere, it is an illimitable indivisible unity, which is, that
all limits may be in it--that all objects may come into it. If, then,
only one modification--object--comes into it at a time, this is because
the faculties which see in its light are thus organized;--the being to
whom it belongs is partial; but there is nothing pertaining to
consciousness _as such_, which constitutes a limit,--which could bar the
infinite Person from seeing all things at once in its light. This
Person, then, so far as known, must be known as an actual absolute,
infinite Spirit, and hence no "thing"; and further as the originator and
sustainer of all "_things_,"--which, though dependent on him, in no way
take aught from him. He may be known also, as potentially everything, in
the sense that all possible combinations, or forms of objects, must ever
stand as ideals in his Reason; and he can, at his will, organize his
power in accordance therewith. But he must also be known as free to
create or not to create; and that the fact that many potential forms
remain such, in no way detracts from his infinity.

Another of Mr. Mansel's positions involve conclusions which, we feel
assured, he will utterly reject. He says, "If all thought is
limitation,--if whatever we conceive is, by the very act of conception,
regarded as finite,--the infinite, from a human point of view, is merely
a name for the absence of those conditions under which thought is
possible." "From a human point of view," and _we_, at least, can take no
other, what follows? That the Deity _can have no thoughts_; cannot know
what our thoughts are, or that we think. But three suppositions can be
made. Either he has no thoughts, is destitute of an intellect; or his
intellect is Universal Genius, and he sees all possible objects at once;
or there is a faculty different in kind from and higher than the Reason,
of which we have, can have, no knowledge. The first, though acknowledged
by Hamilton in a passage elsewhere quoted, and logically following from
the position taken by Mr. Mansel, is so abhorrent to the soul that it
must be unhesitatingly rejected. The second is the position advocated in
this treatise. The third is hinted at by Mr. Herbert Spencer. We reject
this third, because the Reason affirms it to be impossible; and because,
being unnecessary, by the law of parsimony it should not be allowed. To
advocate a position of which, in the very terms of it, the intellect can
have no possible shadow of knowledge, is, to say the least, no part of
the work of a philosopher. "The condition of consciousness is" not
"distinction" in the understanding-conception of that term. So
consciousness is not a limitation, though all limits when cognized are
seen in the light of consciousness. According to the philosophy we
advocate, God is a particular being, and is so known; yet he is not
known as "one thing out of many," but is known in himself, as being such
and such, and yet being _unique_. When Mr. Mansel says, "In assuming the
possibility of an infinite object of consciousness, I assume, therefore,
that it is at the same time limited and unlimited," he evidently uses
those terms with a signification pertinent only to the Understanding. He
is thinking of _amount_ under the forms of Space and Time; and so his
remark has no validity. He who thinks of God rightly, will think of him
as the infinite and absolute spiritual Person; and will define infinity
and absoluteness in accordance therewith.

If the views now advanced are presentations of truth, a consistent
rationalism _must_ attribute "consciousness to God." _We_ are always
conscious of "limitation and change," because partiality and growth are
organic with us. But we can perceive no peculiarity in consciousness,
which should produce such an effect. On the contrary we see, that if a
person has little knowledge, he will be conscious of so much and no
more. And if a person has great capabilities, and corresponding
information, he is conscious of just so much. Whence, it appears, that
the "limitation and change" spring from the nature of the constitution,
and not from the consciousness. If, then, there should be one Person who
possessed the sum of all excellencies, there could arise no reason from
consciousness why he should be conscious thereof.

Mr. Mansel names as the "second characteristic of Consciousness, that it
is only possible in the form of a _relation_. There must be a Subject,
or person conscious, and an Object or thing of which he is conscious."
This utterance, taken in the sense which Mr. Mansel wishes to convey,
involves the denial of consciousness to God. But upon the ground that
the subject and object in the Deity are always identical the difficulty
vanishes. But how can man be "conscious of the Absolute?" If by this is
meant, have an exhaustive comprehension of the absolute Person, the
experience is manifestly impossible. But man may have a certain
knowledge, _that_ such Person is without knowing in all respects _what_
he is, just as a child may know that an apple is, without knowing what
it is. Again Mr. Mansel uses the terms absolute and infinite to
represent a simple unanalyzable Being. In this he is guilty of
personifying an abstract term, and then reasoning with regard to the
Being as he would with regard to the term. Absoluteness is a simple
unanalyzable idea, but it is not God; it is only one quality of God. So
with infinity. God is universal complexity; and to reason of him as
unanalyzable simplicity is as absurd as to select the color of the
apple's skin, and call that the apple, and then reason from it about the
apple. So, then, though man cannot comprehend the absolute Person _as
such_, he has a positive idea of absoluteness, and a positive knowledge
that the Being is who is thus qualified. Upon the subsequent question
respecting the partiality of our knowledge of the infinite and absolute
Person, a remark made above may be repeated and amplified. We may have a
true, clear, thorough knowledge _that_ he exists without having an
exhaustive knowledge of _what_ he is. The former is necessary to us; the
latter impossible. So, too, the knowledge by us, of any _a priori_ law,
will be exhaustive. Yet while we know that it _must_ be such, and not
otherwise, it neither follows that we know all other _a priori_ laws,
nor that we know all the exemplifications of this one. And since, as we
have heretofore seen, neither absoluteness nor infinity relate to
number, and God is not material substance that can be broken into
"parts," but an organized Spirit, we see that we may consider the
elements of his organization in their logical order; and, remembering
that absoluteness and infinity as qualities pervade all, we may examine
his nature and attributes without impiety.

Mr. Mansel says further: "But in truth it is obvious, on a moment's
reflection, that neither the Absolute nor the Infinite can be
represented in the form of a whole composed of parts." This is
tantamount to saying, the spiritual cannot be represented under the form
of the material--a truth so evident as hardly to need so formal a
statement. But what the Divine means is, that that Being cannot be known
as having qualities and attributes which may be distinguished in and
from himself; which is an error. God is infinite. So is his Knowledge,
his Wisdom, his Holiness, his Love, &c. Yet these are distinguished from
each other, and from him. All this is consistent, because infinity is
_quality_, and permeates them all; and not amount, which jumbles them
all into a confused, _indistinguishable_ mass.

In speaking of "human consciousness" as "necessarily subject to the law
of Time," Mr. Mansel says, "Every object of whose existence we can be in
any way conscious is necessarily apprehended by us as succeeding in time
to some former object of consciousness, and as itself occupying a
certain portion of time." In so far as there is here expressed the law
of created beings, under which they must see objects, the remark is
true. But when Mr. Mansel proceeds further, and concludes that, because
we are under limitation in seeing the object, it is under the same
limitation, so far as we apprehend it in being seen, he asserts what is
a psychological error. To show this, take the mathematical axiom,
"Things which are equal to the same things, are equal to one another."
Except under the conditions of Time, we cannot see this, that is, we do,
must, occupy a time in observing it. But do we see that the axiom is
under any condition of Time? By no means. We see, directly, that it is,
_must be_, true, and that in itself it has no relation to Time. It is
thus _absolutely_ true; and as one of the ideas of the infinite and
absolute Person, it possesses these his qualities. We have, then, a
faculty, the Reason, which, while it sees its objects in succession, and
so under the law of Time, also sees that those objects, whether ideas,
or that Being to whom all ideas belong, are, _in themselves_, out of all
relation to Time. Thus is the created spiritual person endowed; thus is
he like God; thus does he know "the Infinite." Hence, "the command, so
often urged upon man by philosophers and theologians, 'In contemplating
God, transcend time,'" means, "In all your reflections upon God, behold
him in his true aspect, in the reason-idea, as out of all relation." It
is true that "to know the infinite" _exhaustively_, "the human mind must
itself be infinite." But this knowledge is not required of that mind.
Only that knowledge is required which is possible, viz., that the Deity
is, and what he is, _in so far as we are in his image_.

Again; personality is not "essentially a limitation and a relation," in
the sense that it necessarily detracts aught from any being who
possesses it. It rather adds,--is, indeed, a pure addition. We appear to
ourselves as limited and related, not because of our personality, but
because of our finiteness as _quality_ in the personality.

Hence we not only see no reason why the complete and universal Spirit
should not have personality, but we see that if he was destitute of it,
he must possess a lower form of being,--since this is the highest
possible form,--which would be an undoubted limitation; or, in other
words, we see that he must be a Person. In what Mr. Mansel subsequently
says upon this subject, he presents arguments for the personality of God
so strong, that one is bewildered with the question, "How could he
escape the conviction which they awaken? How could he reject the cry of
his spiritual nature, and accept the barren contradictions of his lower
mind?" Let us note a few sentences. "It is by consciousness alone that
we know that God exists, or that we are able to offer him any service.
It is only by conceiving Him as a Conscious Being, that we can stand in
any religious relation to Him at all,--that we can form such a
representation of Him as is demanded by our spiritual wants,
insufficient though it be to satisfy our intellectual curiosity."
"Personality comprises all that we know of that which exists; relation
to personality comprises all that we know of that which seems to exist.
And when, from the little world of man's consciousness and its objects,
we would lift up our eyes to the inexhaustible universe beyond, and ask
to whom all this is related, the highest existence is still the highest
personality, and the Source of all Being reveals Himself by His name, 'I
AM.'" "It is our duty, then, to think of God as personal; and it is our
duty to believe that He is infinite." We may at this point quote with
profit the words of that Book whose authority Mr. Mansel, without
doubt, most heartily acknowledges. "And for this cause God shall send
them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all
might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness." "I have not written unto you because ye know not the
truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." Either
God is personal or he is not. If he is, then all that we claim is
conceded. If he is not personal, and "it is our duty to think" of him as
personal, then it is our duty to think and believe a _falsehood_. This
no man, at least neither Mr. Mansel nor any other enlightened man, _can_
bring his mind to accept as a moral law. The soul instinctively asserts
that obligation lies parallel with _truth_, and "that no lie is of the
truth." So, then, there can be no duty except where truth is. And the
converse may also be accepted, viz.: Where an enlightened sense of duty
is, there is truth. When, therefore, so learned and truly spiritual a
man as Mr. Mansel asserts "that it is our duty to think God personal,
and believe him infinite," we unhesitatingly accept it as the utterance
of a great fundamental truth in that spiritual realm which is the
highest realm of being, and so, as one of the highest truths, and with
it we accept all its logical consequences. It is a safe rule anywhere,
that if two mental operations seem to clash, and one must be rejected,
man should cling to, and trust in the higher--the teaching of the nobler
nature. Thus will we do, and from the Divine's own ground will we see
the destruction of his philosophy. "It is our duty to think of God as
personal," because he is personal; and we know that he is personal
because it is our duty to think him so. We need pay no regard to the
perplexities of the Understanding. We soar with the eagle above the
clouds, and float ever in the light of the Sun. The teachings of the
Moral Sense are far more sure, safe, and satisfactory than any
discursions of the lower faculty. Therefore it is man's wisdom, in all
perplexity to heed the cry of his highest nature, and determine to
stand on its teachings, as his highest knowledge, interpret all
utterances by this, and reject all which contradict it. At the least,
the declaration of this faculty is _as_ valid as that of the lower, and
is to be more trusted in every disagreement, because higher. Still
further, no man would believe that God, in the most solemn, yea, awful
moment of his Self-revelation, would declare a lie. The bare thought,
fully formed, horrifies the soul as a blasphemy of the damned. Yet, in
that supreme act, in the solitude of the Sinaitic wilderness, to one of
the greatest, one of the profoundest, most devout of men, He revealed
Himself by the pregnant words, "I AM": the most positive, the most
unquestionable form in which He could utter the fact of His personality.
This, then, and all that is involved in it, we accept as truth; and all
perplexities must be interpreted by this surety.

In summing up the results to which an examination of the facts of
consciousness conducted him, Mr. Mansel utters the following
psychological error: "But a limit is necessarily conceived as a relation
between something within and something without itself; and the
consciousness of a limit of thought implies, though it does not directly
present to us, the existence of something of which we do not and cannot
think." Not so; for a limit may be seen to be wholly within the being to
whom it belongs, and so _not_ to be "a relation between something within
and something without itself." This is precisely the case with the
Deity. All relations and limits spring from within him, and there is
nothing "without" to establish the relation claimed. This absence of all
limit from without is rudely expressed in such common phrases as this:
"It must be so in the _nature of things_." This "nature of things" is,
in philosophical language, the system of _a priori_ laws of the
Universe, and these are necessary ideas in the Divine Reason. It
appears, then, that what must be in the nature of things, finds its
limits wholly within, and its relations established by the Deity.

With these remarks the author would close his criticism upon Mr.
Mansel's book. We start from entirely different bases, and these two
systems logically follow from their foundations. If Sir William Hamilton
is right in his psychology, his follower is unquestionably right in his
deductions. But if that psychology is partial, if besides the
Understanding there is the Reason, if above the judgment stands the
intuition, giving the final standard by which to measure that judgment,
then is the philosophical system of the Divine utterly fallacious. The
establishment of the validity of the Pure Reason is the annihilation of
"the Philosophy of the Unconditioned." On the ground which the author
has adopted, it is seen that "God is a spirit," infinite, absolute,
self-conscious, personal; and a consistent interpretation of these terms
has been given. We have found that certain objects may be seen as out of
all relation, plurality, difference, or likeness. Consciousness and
personality have also been found to involve no limit, in the proper
sense of that term. On the contrary, the one was ascertained to be the
light in which any or all objects might be seen under conditions of
Time, or at once; and that this seeing was according to the capacity
with which the being was endowed, and was not determined by any
peculiarity of the consciousness; while the other appeared to be the
highest possible form of existence, and that also in which God had
revealed himself. From such a ground it is possible to go forward and
construct a Rational Theology which shall verify by Reason the teachings
of the Bible.


In the criticisms heretofore made, some points, held in common by the
three writers named early in this work, have been, it may be, passed
over unnoticed. This was done, because, being held in common, it was
believed that an examination of them, as presented by the latest writer,
would be most satisfactory. Therefore, what was peculiar in thought or
expression to Sir Wm. Hamilton or Mr. Mansel, we have intended to notice
when speaking of those writers. But where Mr. Spencer seems to present
their very thought as his own, it has appeared better to remark upon it
in his latest form of expression. Mr. Spencer also holds views peculiar
to himself. These we shall examine in their place. And for convenience'
sake, what we have to say will take the form of a running commentary
upon those chapters entitled, "Ultimate Religious Ideas," "Ultimate
Scientific Ideas," "The Relativity of all Knowledge," and "The
Reconciliation." Before entering upon this, however, some general
remarks will be pertinent.

1. Like his teachers, Mr. Spencer believes that the Understanding is the
highest faculty of the human intellect. This is implied in the following
sentence: "Those imbecilities of the understanding that disclose
themselves when we try to answer the highest questions of objective
science, subjective science proves to be necessitated by the laws of
that understanding."--_First Principles_, p. 98.

His illustrations, also, are all, or nearly all, taken from sensuous
objects. In speaking of the Universe, evidently the _material_ Universe
is present to his mind. His questions refer to objects of sense, and he
shows plainly enough that any attempt to answer them by the Sense or
Understanding is futile. Hence he concludes that they cannot be
answered. But those who "know of a surety," that man is more than an
animal nature, containing a Sense and an Understanding; that he is also
a spiritual person, having an _Eye_, the pure Reason, which can _see_
straight to the central Truth, with a clearness and in a light which
dims and pales the noonday sun, know also that, and how, these
difficulties, insoluble to the lower faculties, are, in this noble
alembic, finally dissolved.

2. As Mr. Spencer follows his teachers in the psychology of man's
faculties, so does he also in the use of terms. Like them, he employs
only such terms as are pertinent to the Sense and Understanding. So also
with them he is at fault, in that he raises questions which no Sense or
Understanding could suggest even, questions whose very presence are
decisive that a Pure Reason is organic in man; and then is guilty of
applying to them terms entirely impertinent,--terms belonging only to
those lower tribunals before which these questions can never come. For
instance, he always employs the word "conceive" to express the effort of
the mind in presenting to itself the subjects now under discussion. In
some form of noun, verb, or adjective, this word seems to have rained
upon his pages; while such terms as "infinite period," "infinitely
divisible," "absolutely incompressible," "infinitesimal," and the like,
dot them repeatedly. Let us revert, then, a moment to the positions
attained in an earlier portion of this work. It was there found that the
word conceive was _utterly irrelevant_ to any subject except to objects
of Sense and the Understanding in its work of classifying them, or
generalizing from them, so, also, with regard to the other terms quoted,
it was found that they not only presented no object of thought to the
mind, but that the words had no relation to each other, and could not
properly be used together. For instance, infinite has no more relation
to, and can no more qualify period, than the points of the compass are
pertinent to, and can qualify the affections. The phrase, infinite
period, is simply absurd, and so also are the others. The words infinite
and absolute have nothing to do with amount of any sort. They can be
pertinent only to God and his _a priori_ ideas. Many, perhaps most of
the criticisms in detail we shall have to make, will be based on this
single misuse of words; which yet grows naturally out of that denial and
perversion of faculties which Mr. Spencer, in common with the other
Limitist writers, has attempted. On the other hand, it is to be
remembered, that, if we arrive at the truth at all, we must _intuit_ it;
we must either see it as a simple _a priori_ idea, or as a logical
deduction from such ideas.

3. A third, and graver error on Mr. Spencer's part is, that he goes on
propounding his questions, and asserting that they are insoluble,
apparently as unconscious as a sleeper in an enchanted castle that they
have all been solved, or at least that the principles on which it would
seem that they could be solved have been stated by a man of no mean
ability,--Dr. Hickok,--and that until the proposed solutions are
thoroughly analyzed and shown to be unsound, his own pages are idle. He
implies that there is no cognition higher than a conception, when some
very respectable writers have named intuitions as incomparably superior.
He speaks of the Understanding as if it were without question the
highest faculty of man's intellect, when no less a person than Coleridge
said it would satisfy his life's labor to have introduced into English
thinking the distinction between the Understanding, as "the faculty
judging according to sense," and the Reason, as "the power of universal
and necessary convictions," which, being such, must necessarily rank far
above the other. And finally he uses the words and phrases above
disallowed, and the faculties to which they belong, in an attempt to
prove, by the citation of a few items in an experience, what had already
been demonstrated by another in a process of as pure reasoning as
Calculus. No one, it is believed, can master the volume heretofore
alluded to, entitled "Rational Psychology," and so appreciate the
_demonstration_ therein contained, of the utter incompetency of the
Sense or Understanding to solve such questions as Mr. Spencer has raised
by his incident of the partridge, (p. 69,) and the utter irrelevancy to
them of the efforts of those faculties, without feeling how tame and
unsatisfactory in comparison is the evidence drawn from a few facts in a
sensuous experience. One cares not to see a half dozen proofs, more or
less that a theory is fallacious who has learned that, and why, the
theory _cannot_ be true. Let us now take up in order the chapters
heretofore mentioned.


The summing up of certain reflections with which this chapter opens,
concludes thus: "But that when our symbolic conceptions are such that no
cumulative or indirect processes of thought can enable us to ascertain
that there are corresponding actualities, nor any predictions be made
whose fulfilment can prove this, then they are altogether vicious and
illusive, and in no way distinguishable from pure fictions,"--p. 29. So
far very good; but his use of it is utterly unsound. "And now to
consider the bearings of this general truth on our immediate
topic--Ultimate Religious Ideas." But this "general truth" has _no_
bearings upon "ultimate religious ideas"; how then can you consider
them? _No_ ideas, and most of all religious ideas, are conceptions, or
the results of conceptions--or are the products of "cumulative or
indirect processes of thought." They are not results or products _at
all_. They are organic, are the spontaneous presentation of what is
inborn, and so must be directly seen to be known at all. Man might pile
up "cumulative processes of thought" for unnumbered ages, and might form
most exact conceptions of objects of Sense,--conceptions are not
possible of others,--and he could never creep up to the least and
faintest religious idea.

On the next page, speaking of "suppositions respecting the origin of the
Universe," Mr. Spencer says, "The deeper question is, whether any one of
them is even conceivable in the true sense of that word. Let us
successively test them." This is not necessary. It has already been
_demonstrated_ that a conception, or any effort of the Understanding,
cannot touch, or have relation to such topics. But it does not follow,
therefore, that no one of them is cognizable at all; which he implies.
Take the abstract notion of self-existence, for example. No "vague
symbolic conceptions," or any conception at all, of it _can be formed_.
A conception is possible only "under relation, difference, and
plurality." _This_ is a pure, simple idea, and so can only be known in
itself by a seeing--an immediate intuition. It is seen by itself, as out
of all relation. It is seen as simple, and so is learned by no
difference. It is seen as a unit, and so out of all plurality. The
discursive faculty cannot pass over it, because there are in it no
various points upon which that faculty may fasten. It may, perhaps,
better be expressed by the words pure independence. Again, it is _not_
properly "existence without a beginning," but rather, existence out of
all relation to beginning; and so it is an idea, out of all relation to
those faculties which are confined to objects that did begin. Because we
can "by no mental effort" "form a conception of existence without a
beginning," it does not follow that we cannot _see_ that a Being
existing out of all relation to beginning _is_. "To this let us add"
that the intuition of such a Being is a complete "explanation of the
Universe," and does make it "easier to understand" "that it existed an
hour ago, a day ago, a year ago"; for we see that this Being primarily
is _out of all relation to time_, that there is no such thing as an
"infinite period," the phrase being absurd; but that through all the
procession of events which we call time he _is_; and that before that
procession began--when there was no time, he was. Thus we see that all
events are based upon Him who is independent; and that time, in our
general use of it, is but the measure of what He produces. We arrive,
then, at the conclusion that the Universe is not self-existent, not
because self-existence cannot be object to the human mind, and be
clearly seen to be an attribute of one Being, but because the Universe
is primarily object to faculties in that mind, which cannot entertain
such a notion at all; and because this notion is _seen_ to be a
necessary idea in the province of that higher faculty which entertains
as objects both the idea and the Being to whom it primarily belongs.

The theory that the Universe is self-existent is Pantheism, and not the
theory that it is self-created, though this latter, in Mr. Spencer's
definition of it, seems only a phase of the other. To say that
"self-creation is potential existence passing into actual existence by
some inherent necessity," is only to remove self-existence one step
farther back, as he himself shows. Potential existence is either no
existence at all, or it is positive existence. If it is no existence,
then we have true self-creation; which is, that out of nothing, and with
no cause, actual existence starts itself. This is not only unthinkable,
but absurd. But if potential existence is positive, it needs to be
accounted for as much as actual. While, then, there can be no doubt as
to the validity of the conclusions to which Mr. Spencer arrives,
respecting the entire incompetency of the hypotheses of self-existence
and self-creation, to account for the Universe, the distinction made
above between self-existence as a true and self-creation as a pseudo
idea, and the fact that the true idea is a _reality_, should never be
lost sight of. By failing to discriminate--as in the Understanding he
could not do--between them, and by concluding both as objects alike
impossible to the human intellect, and for the same reasons, he has also
decided that the "commonly received or theistic hypothesis"--creation by
external agency--is equally untenable. In his examination of this, he
starts as usual with his ever-present, fallacious assumption, that this
is a "conception"; that it can be, _is_ founded upon a "cumulative
process of thought, or the fulfilment of predictions based on it."
These words, phrases, and notions, are all irrelevant. It is not a
conception, process, or prediction that we want; it is a _sight_. Hence,
no assumptions have to be made or granted. No "proceedings of a human
artificer" _can in the least degree_ "vaguely symbolize to us" the
"method after which the Universe" was "shaped." This differed in _kind_
from all possible human methods, and had not one element in common with

Mr. Spencer's remarks at this point upon Space do not appear to be well
grounded. "An immeasurable void"--Space--is not an entity, is _no_
thing, and therefore cannot "exist," neither is any explanation for it
needed. His question, "how came it so?" takes, then, this form: How came
immeasurable nothing to be nothing? Nothing needs no "explanation." It
is only _some_ thing which must be accounted for. The theory of creation
by external agency being, then, an adequate one to account for the
Universe, supplies the following statement. That Being who is primarily
out of all relation, produced, from himself, and by his immanent
power, into nothing--Space, room, the condition of material
existence,--something, matter and the Universe became. "The genesis of
the universe" having thus been explained and seen to be "the result of
external agency," we are ready to furnish for the question, "how came
there to be an external agency?" that true answer, which we have already
shadowed forth. That pure spiritual Person who is necessarily existent,
or self-existent, _i. e._ who possess pure independence as an essential
attribute, whose being is thus fixed, and is therefore without the
province of power, is the external agency which is needed. This Person,
differing in kind from the Universe, cannot be found in it, nor
concluded from it, but can only be known by being seen, and can only be
seen because man possesses the endowment of a spiritual _Eye_, like in
kind to His own All-seeing eye, by which spiritual things may be
discerned. This Person, being thus seen immediately, is known in a far
more satisfactory mode than he could be by any generalizations of the
Understanding, could he be represented in these at all. The knowledge of
Him is, like His self, _immutable_. We KNOW that we stand on the eternal
Rock. Our eye is illuminated with the unwavering Light which radiates
from the throne of God. Nor is this any hallucination of the rhapsodist.
It is the simple experience which every one enjoys who looks at pure
truth in itself. It is the Pure Reason seeing, by an immediate
intuition, God as pure spirit, revealed directly to itself. It is, then,
because self-existence is a pure, simple idea, organic in man, and seen
by him to be an attribute of God, that God is known to be the Creator of
the Universe. Having attained to this truth, we readily see that the
conclusions which Mr. Spencer states on pages 35, 36, as that
"self-existence is rigorously inconceivable"; that the theistic
hypothesis equally with the others is "literally unthinkable"; that "our
conception of self-existence can be formed only by joining with it the
notion of unlimited duration through past time"; so far as they imply
our destitution of knowledge on these topics, are the opposite of the
facts. We _see_, though we cannot "conceive," self-existence. The
theistic hypothesis becomes, therefore, literally thinkable. We see,
also, that unlimited duration is an absurdity; that duration must be
limited; and that self-existence involves existence out of all relation
to duration.

Mr. Spencer then turns to the nature of the Universe, and says: "We find
ourselves on the one hand obliged to make certain assumptions, and yet,
on the other hand, we find these assumptions cannot be represented in
thought." Upon this it may be remarked:

1. What are here called assumptions are properly assertions, which man
makes, and cannot help making, except he deny himself;--necessary
convictions, first truths, first principles, _a priori_ ideas. They are
organic, and so are the foundation of all knowledge. They are not
results learned from lessons, but are _primary_, and conditional to an
ability to learn. But supposing them to be assumptions, having, at
most, no more groundwork than a vague guess, there devolves a labor
which Mr. Spencer and his coadjutors have never attempted, and which, we
are persuaded, they would find the most difficult of all, viz., to
account for the fact of these assumptions. For the question is pertinent
and urgent;

2. How came these assumptions to suggest themselves? Where, for
instance, did the notion of self come from? Analyze the rocks, study
plants and their growth, become familiar with animals and their habits,
or exhaust the Sense in an examination of man, and one can find no
notion of self. Yet the notion is, and is peculiar to man. How does it
arise? Is it "created by the slow action of natural causes?" How comes
it to belong, then, to the rudest aboriginal equally with the most
civilized and cultivated? Was it "created" from nothing or from
something? If from something, how came that something to be? We might
ask, Does not the presentation of any phenomenon involve the actuality
of a somewhat, in which that phenomenon inheres, and of a receptivity by
which it is appreciated? Does not the fact of this assumption, as a
mental phenomenon, involve the higher fact of some mental ground, some
form, some capacity, which is both organic to the mind, and organized in
the mind, in accordance with which the assumption is, and which
determines what it must be? Or are we to believe that these assumptions
are mere happenings, without law, and for which no reason can be
assigned? Again we press the question, How came these assumptions to
suggest themselves?

3. "These assumptions cannot be represented in thought." If "thought" is
restricted to that mental operation of the Understanding by which it
generalizes in accordance with the Sense, the statement is true. But if
it is meant, as seems to be implied, that the notions expressed in these
assumptions are not, cannot be, clearly and definitely known at all by
the mind, then it is directly contrary to the truth. The ideas presented
by the phrases are, as was seen above, clear and definite.

Since Mr. Spencer has quoted _in extenso_, and with entire approbation,
what Mr. Mansel says respecting "the Cause, the Absolute, and the
Infinite," we have placed the full examination of these topics in our
remarks upon Mr. Mansel's writings, and shall set down only a few brief
notes here.

Upon this topic Mr. Spencer admits that "we are obliged to suppose
_some_ cause"; or, in other words, that the notion of cause is organic.
Then we must "inevitably commit ourselves to the hypothesis of a First
Cause." Then, this First Cause "must be infinite." Then, "it must be
independent;" "or, to use the established word, it must be absolute."
One would almost suppose that a _rational_ man penned these decisions,
instead of one who denies that he has a _reason_. The illusion is
quickly dispelled, however, by the objections he lifts out of the dingy
ground-room of the Understanding. It is curious to observe in these
pages a fact which we have noticed before, in speaking of Sir William
Hamilton's works, viz.: how, on the same page, and in the same sentence,
the workings of the Understanding and Reason will run along side by
side, the former all the while befogging and hindering the latter. Mr.
Spencer's conclusions which we have quoted, and his objections which we
are to answer, are a striking exemplification of this. Frequently in his
remarks he uses the words limited and unlimited, as synonymous with
finite and infinite, when they are not so, and cannot be used
interchangeably with propriety. The former belong wholly in the Sense
and Understanding. The latter belong wholly in the Pure Reason. The
former pertain to material objects, to mental images of them, or to
number. The latter qualify only spiritual persons, and have no
pertinence elsewhere. Limitation is the conception of an object _as
bounded_. Illimitation is the conception of an object as without
boundaries. Rigidly, it is a simple negation of boundaries, and gives
nothing positive in the Concept. Finity or finiteness corresponds in the
Reason to limitation in the Sense and Understanding. It does not refer
to boundaries at all. It belongs only to created spiritual persons, and
expresses the fact that they are partial, and must grow and learn. Only
by its place in the antithesis does infinity correspond in the Reason to
illimitation in the lower faculties. It is _positive_, and is that
quality of the pure spirit which is otherwise known as _universality_.
It expresses the idea of _all possible endowments in perfect harmony_.
From his misuse of these terms Mr. Spencer is led to speak in an
irrelevant manner upon the question, "Is the First Cause finite or
infinite?" He uses words and treats the whole matter as if it were a
question of material substance, which might be "bounded," with a "region
surrounding its boundaries," and the like, which are as out of place as
to say white love or yellow kindness. His methods of thought on these
topics are also gravely erroneous. He attempts an analysis by the
logical Understanding, where a synthesis by the Reason is required,--a
synthesis which has already been given by our Creator to man as an
original idea. It is not necessary to examine some limited thing, or all
limited things, and wander around their boundaries to learn that the
First Cause is infinite. We need to make no discursus, but only to look
the idea of first cause through and through, and thoroughly analyze it,
to find all the truth. By such a process we would find all that Mr.
Spencer concedes that "we are obliged to suppose," and further, that
such a being _must be_ self-existent. And this conviction would be so
strong that the mind would rest itself in this decision: "A thousand
phantasmagoria of the imagination may be wrong," says the soul, "but
this I know must be true, or there is no truth in the Universe."

One sentence in the paragraph now under consideration deserves special
notice. It is this. "But if we admit that there can be some thing
uncaused, there is no reason to assume a cause for anything." This
"assumes" the truth of a major premise all _things_ are substantially
alike. If the word "thing" is restricted to its exact limits,--objects
of sense,--then the sentence pertains wholly to the Sense and
Understanding, and is true. But if, as it would seem, the implication is
meant that there are no other entities which can be object to the mind
except such "things," then it is a clear _petitio principii_. For the
very question at issue is, whether, in fact, there is not one
entity--"thing"--which so differs in kind from all others, that it is
uncaused, _i. e._ self-existent; and whether the admission that that
entity is uncaused does not, because of this seen difference, satisfy
the mind, and furnish a reasonable ground on which to account for the
subordinate causes which we observe by the Sense.

In speaking of the First Cause as "independent," he says, "but it can
have no necessary relation within itself. There can be nothing in it
which determines change, and yet nothing which prevents change. For if
it contains something which imposes such necessities or restraints, this
something must be a cause higher than the First Cause, which is absurd.
Thus, the First Cause must be in every sense perfect, complete, total,
including within itself all power, and transcending all law." We cannot
criticize this better, and mark how curiously truth and error are mixed
in it, than by so parodying it that only truth shall be stated. The
First Cause possesses within himself all possible relations as belonging
to his necessary ideals. Hence, change, in the exact sense of that term,
is impossible to him, for there is nothing for him to _change to_. This
is not invalidated by his passing from inaction to action; for creation
involves no change in God's nature or attributes, and so no real or
essential change, which is here meant. But he is the permanent, through
whom all changes become. He is not, then, a _simple_ unit, but is an
organized Being, who is ground for, and comprehends in a unity, all
possible laws, forms, and relations, as necessary elements of his
necessary existence,--as endowments which necessarily belong to him, and
are conditional of his pure independence. Hence, these restraints are
not "imposed" upon him, except as his existence is imposed upon him.
They belong to his Self, and are conditional of his being. So, then,
instead of "transcending all law," he is the embodiment of all law; and
his perfection is, that possessing this endowment, he accords his
conduct thereto. A being who should "transcend all law" would have no
reason why he should act, and no form how he should act, neither would
he be an organism, but would be pure lawlessness or pure chaos. Pure
chaos cannot organize order; pure lawlessness cannot establish law; and
so could not be the First Cause. As Mr. Spencer truly says, "we have no
alternative but to regard this First Cause as Infinite and Absolute."

And now having learned, by a true diagnosis of the mental activities,
that the positions we have gained are fixed, final, irrevocable; and
further, that they are not the "results" of "reasonings," but that first
there was a seeing, and then an analysis of what was seen, and that the
seeing is _true_, though every other experience be false; we _know_ that
our position is not "illusive," but that we stand on the rock; and that
what we have seen is no "symbolic conception of the illegitimate order,"
but is pure truth.

For the further consideration of this subject, the reader is referred
back to our remarks on that passage in Mr. Mansel's work, which Mr.
Spencer has quoted.

A few remarks upon his summing up, p. 43 _et seq._, will complete the
review of this chapter. "Passing over the consideration of credibility,
and confining ourselves to that of" consistency, we would find in any
rigorous analysis, that Atheism and Pantheism are self-contradictory;
but we _have found_ that Theism, "when rigorously analyzed," presents an
absolutely consistent system, in which all the difficulties of the
Understanding are explained to the person by the Reason, and is entirely
thinkable. Such a system, based upon the necessary convictions of man,
and justly commanding that these shall be the fixed standard, in
accordance with which all doubts and queries shall be dissolved and
decided, gives a rational satisfaction to man, and discloses to him his
eternal REST.

In proceeding to his final fact, which he derives as the permanent in
all religions, Mr. Spencer overlooks another equally permanent, equally
common, and incomparably more important fact, viz: that Fetishism,
Polytheism, Pantheism, and Monotheism,--all religions alike assert _that
a god created the Universe_. In other words, the great common element,
in all the popular modes of accounting for the vast system of things in
which we live is, _that it is the product of an agency external to
itself, and that the external agency is personal_. Take the case of the
rude aboriginal, who "assumes a separate personality behind every
phenomenon." He does not attempt to account for all objects. His mind is
too infantile, and he is too degraded to suspect that those material
objects which appear permanent need to be accounted for. It is only the
changes which seem to him to need a reason. Behind each change he
imagines a sort of personal power, superior to it and man, which
produces it, and this satisfies him. He inquires no further; yet he
looks in the same direction as the Monotheist. In this crude form of
belief, which is named Fetishism, we see that essential idea which can
be readily traced through all forms of religion, that some _personal_
being, external, and superior to the things that be, produced them. Nor
is Atheism a proper exception to this law. For Atheism is not a
religion, but the denial of all religion. It is not a doctrine of God,
but is a denial that there is any God; and what is most in point, it
never was a _popular_ belief, but is only a philosophical Sahara over
which a few caravans of speculative doubters and negatists wander.
Neither can Hindu pantheism be quoted against the position taken: for
Brahm is not the Universe; neither are Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Brahm
does not lose his individuality because the Universe is evolved from
him. _Now_ he is thought of as one, and the Universe as another,
although the Universe is thought to be a part of his essence, and
hereafter to be reabsorbed by him. _Now_, this part of his essence which
was _produced_ through Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, is _individualized_;
and so is one, while he is another. Thus, here also, the idea of a
proper external agency is preserved. The facts, then, are decisively in
favor of the proposition above laid down. "_Our_ investigation"
discloses "a fundamental verity in each religion." And the facts and the
verity find no consistent ground except in a pure Theism, and there they
do find perfect consistency and harmony.

It is required, finally, in closing the discussion of this chapter, to
account for the fact that, upon a single idea so many theories of God
have fastened themselves; or better, perhaps, that a single idea has
developed itself in so many forms. This cannot better be done than in
the language of that metaphysician, not second to Plato, the apostle
Paul. In his Epistle to the Romans, beginning at the 19th verse of the
1st chapter, he says: "Because that which may be known of God is
manifest to them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible
things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being
understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and
Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew
God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became
vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened:
professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the
glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible
man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." This
passage, which would be worthy the admiring study of ages, did it
possess no claim to be the teaching of that Being whom Mr. Spencer
asserts it is _impossible for us to know_, gives us in a popular form
the truth. Man, having organic in his mind the idea of God, and having
in the Universe an ample manifestation to the Sense, of the eternal
power and Godhead of the Creator of that Universe, corresponding to that
idea, perverted the manifestation to the Sense, and degraded the idea in
the Reason, to the service of base passion. By this degradation and
perversion the organic idea became so bedizened with the finery of
fancy formed in the Understanding, under the direction of the animal
nature, as to be lost to the popular mind,--the trappings only being
seen. When once the truth was thus lost sight of, and with it all that
restraint which a knowledge of the true God would impose, men became
vain in their imaginations; their fancy ran riot in all directions.
Cutting loose from all law, they plunged into every excess which could
be invented; and out of such a stimulated and teeming brain all manner
of vagaries were devised. This was the first stage; and of it we find
some historic hints in the biblical account of the times, during and
previous to the life of Abraham. Where secular history begins the human
race had passed into the second stage. Crystallization had begun.
Students were commencing the search for truth. Religion was taking upon
itself more distinct forms. The organic idea, which could not be wholly
obliterated, formed itself distinctly in the consciousness of some
gifted individuals, and philosophy began. Philosophy in its purest form,
as taught by Socrates and Plato, presented again the lost idea of pure
Theism. But the spirituality which enabled them to see the truth, lifted
them so far above the common people, that they could affect only a few.
And what was most disheartening, that same degradation which originally
lost to man the truth, now prevented him from receiving it. Thus it was
that by a binding of the Reason to the wheels of Passion, and discursing
through the world with the Understanding at the beck of the Sense, the
many forms of religion became.


On a former page we have already attempted a positive answer to the
question, "What are Space and Time," with which Mr. Spencer opens this
chapter. It was there found that, in general terms, they are _a priori_
conditions of created being; and, moreover, that they possess
characteristics suitable to what they condition, just as the _a priori_
conditions of the spiritual person possess characteristics suitable to
what they condition. It was further found that this general law is, from
the necessity of the case, realized both within the mind and without it;
that it is, must be, the form of thought for the perceiving subject,
corresponding to the condition of existence for the perceived object. It
also appeared that the Universe as object, and the Sense and
Understanding as faculties in the subject, thus corresponded; and
further, that these faculties could never transcend and comprehend Space
and Time, because these were the very conditions of their being;
moreover, that by them all spaces and times must be considered with
reference to the Universe, and apart from it could not be examined by
them at all. Yet it was further found that the Universe might in the
presence of the Reason be abstracted; and that, then, pure Space and
Time still remained as pure _a priori_ conditions, the one as _room_,
the other as _opportunity_, for the coming of created being. Space and
Time being such conditions, _and nothing more_, are entities only in the
same sense that the multiplication table and the moral law are entities.
They are _conditions_ suited to what they condition. In the light of
this result let us examine Mr. Spencer's teachings respecting them.

Strictly speaking, Space and Time do not "exist." If they exist (ex
sto), they must stand out somewhere and when. This of course involves
the being of a where and a when in which they can stand out; and that
where and when must needs be accounted for, and so on _ad infinitum_.
Again, Mr. Spencer would seem to speak, in his usual style, as if they,
in existing "objectively," had a _formal_ objective existence. Yet this,
in the very statement of it, appears absurd. The mind apprehends many
objects, which do not "exist." They only are. Thus, as has just been
said, Space and Time, as conditions of created being, _are_. They are
entities but not existences. They are _a priori_ entities, and so are
_necessarily_. By this they stand in the same category with all pure
laws, all first principles.

"Moreover, to deny that Space and Time are things, and so by implication
to call them nothings, involves the absurdity that there are two kinds
of nothings." This sentence "involves the absurdity" of assuming that
"nothing" is an entity. If I say that Space is nothing, I say that it
presents no content for a concept, and cannot, because there is no
content to be presented. It is then _blank_. Just so of Time. As
nothings they are, then, both equally blank, and destitute of meaning.
Now if Mr. Spencer wishes to hold that nothing represented by one word,
differs from nothing represented by another, we would not lay a straw in
his way, but yet would be much surprised if he led a large company.

Again, having decided that they are neither "nonentities nor the
attributes of entities, we have no choice but to consider them as
entities." But he then goes on to speak of them as "things," evidently
using the word in the same sense as if applying it to a material object,
as an apple or stone; thereby implying that entity and thing in that
sense are synonymous terms. Upon this leap in the dark, this blunder in
the use of language, he proceeds to build up a mountain of difficulties.
But once take away this foundation, once cease attempting "to represent
them in thought as things," and his difficulties vanish. Space is a
condition. Perhaps receptivity, indivisibility, and illimitability are
attributes. If so, it has attributes, for these certainly belong to it.
But whether these shall be called attributes or not, it is certain that
Space is, is a pure condition, is thus a positive object to the Reason,
is qualified by the characteristics named above; and all this without
any contradiction or other insuperable difficulty arising thereby. On
the ground now established, we learn that extension and Space are _not_
"convertible terms." Extension is an attribute of matter. Space is a
condition of phenomena. It is only all _physical_ "entities which we
actually know as such" that "are limited." From our standpoint, that
Space is _no_ thing, such remarks as "We find ourselves totally unable
to form any mental image of unbounded Space," appear painfully absurd.
"We find ourselves" just as "totally unable to form any mental image of
unbounded" love. Such phrases as "mental image" have _no relevancy_ to
either Space or Time. In criticizing Kant's doctrine, which we have
found _true_ as far as it goes, Mr. Spencer evinces a surprising lack of
knowledge of the facts in question. "In the first place," he says, "to
assert that Space and Time, as we are conscious of them, are subjective
conditions, is by implication to assert that they are not objective
realities." But the conclusion does not follow. If the reader will take
the trouble to construct the syllogism on which this is based, he will
at once perceive the absurdity of the logic. It may be said in general
that all conditions of a thinking being are both subjective and
objective: they are conditions of his being--subjective; and they are
objects of his examination and cognizance--objective. Is not the
multiplication table an objective reality, _i. e._, would it not remain
if he be destroyed? And yet is it not also a subjective law; and so was
it not originally discovered by introspection and reflection? Again he
says, "for that consciousness of Space and Time which we cannot rid
ourselves of, is the consciousness of them as existing objectively." Now
the fact is, that primarily we do not have _any_ consciousness of Space
and Time. _Consciousness has to do with phenomena._ When examining the
material Universe, the _objects_, and the objects as at a distance from
each other and as during, are what we are conscious of. For instance, I
view the planets Jupiter and Saturn. They appear as objects in my
consciousness. There is a distance between them; but this distance _is_
not, except as they _are_. If they are not, the word distance has no
meaning with reference to them. Take them away, and I have no
consciousness of distance as remaining. These planets continue in
existence. They endure. This endurance we call time, but if they should
cease, one could not think of endurance in connection with them as
remaining. Here we most freely and willingly agree with Mr. Spencer that
"the question is, What does consciousness directly testify?" but he will
find that consciousness on this side of the water testifies very
differently from his consciousness: as for instance in the two articles
in the "North American Review," heretofore alluded to. Here, "the direct
testimony of consciousness is," that spaces and times within the
Universe are without the mind; that Space and Time, as _a priori_
conditions for the possibility of formal object and during event, are
also without the mind; but the "testimony" is none the less clear and
"direct" that Space and Time are laws of thought in the mind
corresponding to the actualities without the mind. And the question may
be asked, it is believed with great force, If this last were not so, how
could the mind take any cognizance of the actuality? Again, most truly,
Space and Time "cannot be conceived to become non-existent even were the
mind to become non-existent." Much more strongly than this should the
truth be uttered. They could not become non-existent if the Universe
with every sentient being, yea, even--to make an impossible
supposition--if the Deity himself, should cease to be. In this they
differ no whit from the laws of Mathematics, of Logic, and of Morals.
These too would remain as well. Thus is again enforced the truth, which
has been stated heretofore, that Space and Time, as _a priori_
conditions of the Universe, stand in precisely the same relation to
material object and during event that the multiplication table does to
intellect, or the moral law to a spiritual person. It will now be
doubtless plain that Mr. Spencer's remarks sprang directly from the
lower faculties. The Sense in its very organization possesses Space and
Time as void forms into which objects may come. So also the
Understanding possesses the notional as connecting into a totality.
These faculties cannot be in a living man without acting. Activity is
their law. Hence images are ever arising and _must_ arise in the Sense,
and be connected in the Understanding, and all this in the forms and
conditions of Space and Time. He who thinks continually in these
conditions will always _imagine_ that Space and Time are only without
him--because he will be thinking only in the iron prison-house of the
imagining faculty--and so cannot transcend the conditions it imposes.
Now how shall one see these conditions? They do "exist objectively"; or,
to phrase it better, they have a true being independent of our minds. In
this sense, as we have seen, every _a priori_ condition must be
objective to the mind. What is objective to the Sense is not Space but a
space, _i. e._ a part of Space limited by matter; and, after all, it is
the boundaries which are the true object rather than the space, which
cannot be "conceived" of if the boundaries be removed. Without further
argument, is it not evident that there Space, like all other _a priori_
conditions, is object only to the Reason, and that as a condition of
material existence?

At the bottom of page 49 we have another of Mr. Spencer's psychological
errors:--"For if Space and Time are forms of thought, they can never be
thought of; since it is impossible for anything to be at once the _form_
of thought and the matter of thought." Although this topic has been
amply discussed elsewhere, it may not be uninstructive to recur to it
again. Exactly the opposite of Mr. Spencer's remark is the truth. The
question at issue here is one of those profound and subtile ones which
cannot be approached by argument, but can be decided only by a _seeing_.
It is a psychological question pertaining to the profoundest depths of
our being. If one says, "I see the forms of thought," and another, "I
cannot see them," neither impeaches the other. All that is left is to
stimulate the dull faculty of the one until he can see. The following
reflections may help us to see. Mr. Spencer's remark implies that we
have no higher faculty than the Sense and the Understanding. It implies,
also, that we can never have any _self_-knowledge, in the fundamental
signification of that phrase. We can observe the conduct of the mind,
and study and classify the results; but the laws, the constitution of
the activity itself must forever remain closed to us. As was said, when
speaking of this subject under a different phase, the eye cannot see and
study itself. It is a mechanical organism, capable only of reaction as
acted upon, capable only of seeing results, but never able to penetrate
to the hidden springs which underlie the event. Just so is it with the
Sense and Understanding. They are mere mechanical faculties capable of
acting as they are acted upon, but never able to go behind the
appearance to its final source. On such a hypothesis as this all science
is impossible, but most of all a science of the human mind. If man is
enclosed by such walls, no knowledge of his central self can be gained.
He may know what he _does_; but what he _is_, is as inscrutable to him
as what God is. As such a being, he is only a higher order of brute. He
has some dim perceptions, some vague feelings, but he has no
_knowledge_; he is _sure_ of nothing. He can reach no ground which is
ultimate, no _Rock_ which he knows is _immutable_. Is man such a being?
The longings and aspirations of the ages roll back an unceasing NO! He
is capable of placing himself before himself, of analyzing that self to
the very groundwork of his being. All the laws of his constitution, all
the forms of his activity, he can clearly and amply place before himself
and know them. And how is this? It is because God has endowed him with
an EYE like unto His own, which enables man to be self-comprehending, as
He is self-comprehending,--the Reason, with which man may read himself
as a child reads a book; that man can make "the _form_ of thought the
_matter_ of thought." True, the Understanding is shut out from any
consideration of the forms of thought; but man is not simply or mainly
an Understanding. He is, in his highest being, a spiritual person, whom
God has endowed with the faculty of VISION; and the great organic evil,
which the fall wrought into the world, was this very denial of the
spiritual light, and this crowding down and out of sight, of the
spiritual person beneath the animal nature, this denial of the essential
faculties of such person, and this elevation of the lower faculties of
the animal nature, the Sense and Understanding, into the highest place,
which is involved in all such teachings as we are criticizing.

Mr. Spencer's remarks upon "Matter" are no nearer the truth. In almost
his first sentence there is a grievous logical _faux pas_. He says:
"Matter is either infinitely divisible or it is not; no third
possibility can be named." Yet we will name one, as follows: _The
divisibility of matter has no relation to infinity_. And this _third_
supposition happens to be the truth. But it will be said that the
question should be stated thus: Either there is a limit to the
divisibility of matter, or there is no limit. This statement is
exhaustive, because limitation belongs to matter. Of these alternatives
there can be no hesitation which one to choose. There is a limit to the
divisibility of matter. This answer cannot be given by the physical
sense; for no one questions but what it is incapable of finding a limit.
The mental sense could not give it, because it is a question of actual
substance and not of ideal forms. The Reason gives the answer. Matter is
limited at both extremes. Its amount is definite, as are its final
elements. These "ultimate parts" have "an under and an upper surface, a
right and a left side." When, then, one of these parts shall be broken,
what results? Not _pieces_, as the materialist, thinking only in the
Sense, would have us believe. When a final "part" shall be broken, there
will remain _no matter_,--to the sense nothing. To it, the result would
be annihilation. But the Reason declares that there would be left _God's
power_ in its simplicity,--that final Unit out of which all diversity

The subsequent difficulties raised respecting the solidity of Matter may
be explained thus. And for convenience sake, we will limit the term
Matter to such substances as are object to the physical sense, like
granite, while Force shall be used to comprise those finer substances,
like the Ether, which are impalpable to the physical sense. Matter is
composed of very minute ultimate particles which do not touch, but which
are held together by Force. The space between the atoms, which would
otherwise be _in vacuo_, is _full_ of Force. We might be more exhaustive
in our analysis, and say--which would be true--that a space-filling
force composes the Universe; and that Matter is only Force in one of its
modifications. But without this the other statement is sufficient. When,
then, a portion of matter is compressed, the force which holds the
ultimate particles in their places is overcome by an external force, and
these particles are brought nearer together. Now, how is it with the
moving body and the collision? Bisect a line and see the truth.


A body with a mass of 4 is moving with a velocity of 4 along the line
from A to B. At C it meets another body with a mass of 4 at rest. From
thence the two move on towards B with a velocity of 2. What has
happened? In the body there was a certain amount of force, which set it
in motion and kept it in motion. And just here let us make a point. _No
force is ever lost or destroyed. It is only transferred._ When a bullet
is fired from a gun, it possesses at one _point_ a maximum of force.
From that point this force is steadily _transferred_ to the air and
other substances, until all that it received from the powder is spent.
But at any one point in its flight, the sum of the force which has been
transferred since the maximum, and of the force yet to be transferred,
will always equal the maximum. Now, how is it respecting the question
raised by Mr. Spencer? The instant of contact is a point in time, _not a
period_, and the transfer of force is instantaneous. C, then, is a
_point_, not a period, and the velocity on the one side is 4 and the
other side 2, while the momentum or force is exactly equal throughout
the line. If it is said that this proves that a body can pass from one
velocity to another without passing through the intermediate velocities,
we cannot help it. The above are the facts, and they give the truth. The
following sentence of Mr. Spencer is, at least, careless. "For when, of
two such units, one moving at velocity 4 strikes another at rest, the
striking unit must have its velocity 4 instantaneously reduced to
velocity 2; must pass from velocity 4 to velocity 2 without any lapse of
time, and without passing through intermediate velocities; must be
moving with velocities 4 and 2 at the same instant, which is
impossible." If there is any sense in the remark, "instantaneously" must
mean a _point_ of time _without period_. For, if any period is allowed,
the sentence has no meaning, since during that period "the striking
unit" passes through all "intermediate velocities." But if by
instantaneously he means _without period_, then the last clause of the
sentence is illogical, since instant there evidently means a period. For
if it means point, then it contradicts the first clause. There, it is
asserted that 4 was "_reduced_" to 2, _i. e._ that at one point the
velocity was 4, and at the next point it was 2, and that there was _no
time_ between. If 4 was instantaneously reduced to 2, then the velocity
2 was next after the velocity 4, and not coeval with it. Thus it appears
that these two clauses which were meant to be synonymous are

Bearing in mind what we have heretofore learned respecting atoms, we
shall not be troubled by the objections to the Newtonian theory which
follow. In reply to the question, "What is the constitution of these
units?" the answer, "We have no alternative but to regard each of them
as a small piece of matter," would be true if the Sense was the only
faculty which could examine them. But even upon this theory Mr.
Spencer's remarks "respecting the parts of which each atom consists,"
are entirely out of place; for the hypothesis that it is an ultimate
atom excludes the supposition of "parts," since that phrase has no
meaning except it refers to a final, indivisible, material unit. All
that the Sense could say, would be, "What this atom is I know not, but
that it is, and _is not divisible_, I believe." But when we see by the
Reason that the ultimate atom, when dissolved, becomes God's power, all
difficulty in the question vanishes. Having thus answered the above
objections, it is unnecessary to notice the similar ones raised against
Boscovich's theory, which is a modification of that of Newton.

Mr. Spencer next examines certain phenomena of motion. The fact that he
seeks for absolute motion by the _physical sense_, a faculty which was
only given us to perceive relative--phenomenal--motion, and is, _in its
kind_, incapable of finding the absolute motion, (for if it should see
it, it could not _know_ it,) is sufficient to condemn all that he has
said on this subject. For the presentations which he has made of the
phenomena given us by the Sense does not exhaust the subject. The
perplexities therein developed are all resolvable, as will appear
further on. The phenomena adduced on page 55 are, then, merely
_appearances_ in the physical sense; and the motion is merely relative.
In the first instance, the captain walks East with reference to the ship
and globe. In the second, he walks East with reference to the ship; the
ship sails West with reference to the globe; while the resultant motion
is, that he is _stationary_ with reference to this larger object. What,
then, can the Sense give us? Only resultant motion, at the most. So we
see that "our ideas of Motion" are not "illusive," but _deficient_. The
motion is just what it appears, measured from a given object. It is
_relative_, and this is all the Sense _can_ give. Our author
acknowledges that "we tacitly assume that there are real motions"; that
"we take for granted that there are fixed points in space, with respect
to which all motions are absolute; and we find it impossible to rid
ourselves of this idea." A question instantly arises, and it seems to be
one which he is bound to entertain, viz: How comes this idea to be? We
press this question upon Mr. Spencer, being persuaded that he will find
it much more perplexing than those he has entertained. Undoubtedly,
"absolute motion cannot even be imagined." _No_ motion can be imagined,
though the moving body may be. But by no means does it follow, "much
less known." This involves that the knowing faculty is inferior to, and
more circumscribed than, the imagining faculty, when the very opposite
is the fact. Neither does it follow from what is said in the paragraph
beginning with, "For motion is change of place," that "while we are
obliged to think that there is absolute motion, we find absolute motion
incomprehensible." The Universe is limited and bounded, and is a sphere.
We _may_ assume that the centre of the sphere is at rest. Instantly
absolute motion becomes comprehensible, for it is motion measured from
that point. Surely there can be no harm in the _supposition_. The Reason
shows us that the supposition is the truth; and that that centre is the
throne of the eternal God. In this view not only is motion, apart from
the "limitations of space," totally unthinkable, but it is absolutely
impossible. Motion _cannot_ be, except as a formal body is. Hence, to
speak of motion in "unlimited space" is simply absurd. Formal object
_cannot_ be, except as _thereby_ a limit is established in Space. Hence
it is evident that "absolute motion" is not motion with reference to
"unlimited Space," which would be the same as motion without a moving;
but is motion with reference to that point fixed in Space, around which
all things revolve, but which is itself at perfect rest.

"Another insuperable difficulty presents itself, when we contemplate the
transfer of Motion." Motion is simply the moving of a body, and _cannot
be transferred_. The _force_ which causes the motion is what is
transferred. All that can be said of motion is, that it is, that it
increases, that it diminishes, that it ceases. If the moving body
impinges upon another moving body, and causes it to move, it is not
motion that is transferred, but the force which causes the motion. The
motion in the impinging body is diminished, and a new motion is begun in
the body which was at rest. Again it is asked: "In what respect does a
body after impact differ from itself before impact?" And further on:
"The motion you say has been communicated. But how? What has been
communicated? The striking body has not transferred a _thing_ to the
body struck; and it is equally out of the question to say that it has
transferred an _attribute_." Observe now that a somewhat is
unquestionably communicated; and the question is:--What is it? Query.
Does Mr Spencer mean to comprehend the Universe in "thing" and
"attribute"? He would seem to. If he does, he gives a decision by
assertion without explanation or proof, which involves the very question
at issue, which is, Is the somewhat transferred a "thing" or an
"attribute"; and a decision directly contrary to the acknowledgment that
a somewhat has been communicated? On the above-named hypothesis his
statement should be as follows: A somewhat has been communicated.
"Thing" and "attribute" comprise all the Universe. Neither a thing, nor
an attribute has been communicated, _i. e._ no somewhat has been
communicated; which contradicts the evidence and the acknowledgment. If
on the other hand Mr. Spencer means that "thing" and "attribute"
comprise only a part of the Universe, then the question is not fairly
met. It may be more convenient for the moment to conclude the Universe
in the two terms thing and attribute; and then, as attribute is
essential to the object it qualifies, and so cannot be communicated, it
will follow that a thing has been communicated. This thing we call
force. It is not in hand now to inquire what force is. It is manifest to
the Sense that the body is in a different state after impact, than it
was before. Something has been put into the body, which, though not
directly appreciable to the Sense, is indirectly appreciable by the
results, and which is as real an addition as water is to a bowl, when
poured in. Before the impact the body was destitute of that kind of
force--motor force would be a convenient term--which tended to move it.
After the impact a sufficiency of that force was present to produce the
motion. It may be asked, where does this force go to when the motion
diminishes till the body stops. It passes into the substances which
cause the diminution until there is no surplus in the moving body, and
at the point of equilibrium motion ceases. If it be now asked, where
does this force ultimately go to, it is to be said that it comes from
God, and goes to God, who is the Final. The Sense gives only subordinate
answers, but the Reason leads us to the Supreme.

If the view adopted be true, Mr. Spencer's halving and halving again
"the rate of movement forever," is irrelevant. It is not a _mental
operation_ but an _actual fact_ which is to be accounted for. Take a
striking illustration. A ball lying on smooth ice is struck with a
hockey. Away it goes skimming over the glassy surface with a steadily
diminishing velocity till it ceases. It starts, it proceeds, it stops.
These are the facts; and the mental operation must accord with them.
There is put into the ball, at the instant of contact, a certain amount
of motor force. From that instant onward, that force flows out of the
ball into the resisting substances by which it is surrounded, until none
is left. And it is just as pertinent to ask how all the water can flow
out of a pail, as how all the motor force can flow out of a moving
substance. "The smallest movement is separated" by no more of "an
impassable gap from no movement," _than it is from a larger movement
above it_. That which will account for a movement four becoming two,
will account for a movement two becoming zero. The "puzzle," then, may
be explained thus. Time is the procession of events. Let it be
represented by a line. Take a point in that line, which will then mark
its division but represent _no period_. On one side of that point is
rest; on the other motion. That point is the point of contact, and
occupies no period. At this point the motion is maximum. The force
instantly begins to flow off, and continues in a steady stream until
none is left, and the body is again at rest. Here, also, we take a
point. This is the point of zero. It again divides the line. Before the
bisection is motion; after the bisection is rest. All this cannot be
perceived by the Sense, nor conceived by the Understanding. It is seen
by the Reason. Now observe the actual phenomenon. The ball starts,
proceeds, stops. From maximum to zero there is a steady diminution, or
nearly enough so for the experiment; at least the diminution can be
averaged for the illustration. Then comparing motion with time, the same
difficulty falls upon the one as the other. If the motion is halved, the
time must be; and so, "mentally," it is impossible to imagine how a
moment of time can pass. To the halving faculty--the Sense--this is
true, and so we are compelled to correct our course of procedure. This
it is. The Sense and Understanding being impotent to discover an
absolute unit of any kind, the Sense _assumes_ for itself what meets all
practical want--a standard unit, by which it measures parts in Space and
Time. So motion must be measured by some assumed standard; and as, like
time,--duration,--it can be represented by a line, let them have a
common standard. Suppose, then, that the ball's flight occupies ten
minutes of time. The line from m to z will be divided into ten exactly
equal spaces; and it will be no more difficult to account for the flow
of force from 10 to 9, than from 1 to 0. Also let it be observed that
the force, like time, is a unit, which the Sense, for its convenience,
divides into parts; but that neither those parts, nor any parts, have
any real existence. As Time is an indivisible whole, measured off for
convenience, so any given force is such a whole, and is so measured off.
All this appearing and measuring are phenomenal in the Sense. It is the
Reason which sees that they can be _only_ phenomenal, and that behind
the appearance is pure Spirit--God, who is primarily out of all

On page 58, near the close of his illustration of the chair, Mr. Spencer
says: "It suffices to remark that since the force as known to us is an
affection of consciousness, we cannot conceive the force as existing in
the chair under the same form without endowing the chair with
consciousness." This very strange assertion can only be true, provided a
major premiss, No force can be conceived to exist without involving an
affection of consciousness in the object in which it _apparently_
inheres, is true. Such a premiss seems worse than absurd; it seems
silly. We cannot learn that force exists, without our consciousness is
affected thereby; but this is a very different thing from our being
unable to conceive of a force as _existing_, without there is a
consciousness in the object through which it _appears_. If Mr. Spencer
had said that no force can be, without being exerted, and no force can
be exerted, without an affection of the consciousness of the exertor, he
would have uttered the truth. We would then have the following result.
Primarily all force is exerted by the Deity; and he is conscious
thereof. He draws the chair down just as really as though the hand were
visible. Secondarily spiritual persons are endowed by their Creator with
the ability to exert his force for their uses, and so I lift the chair.
The great error, which appears on every page of Mr. Spencer's book and
invalidates all his conclusions, shows itself fully here. He presents
images from the Sense, and then tries to satisfy the Reason--the faculty
which calls for an absolute account--by the analyses of that Sense. His
attempt to "halve the rate," his remark that "the smallest movement is
separated by an impassable gap from no movement," and many such, are
only pertinent to the Sense, can never be explained by the Sense, and
are found by the Reason to need, and be capable of, no such kind of
explanation as the Sense attempts; but that the phenomena are
appearances in _wholes_, whose partitions cannot be absolute, and that
these wholes are accounted for by the being of an absolute and infinite
Person--God, who is utterly impalpable to the Sense, and can be known
only by the Reason.

The improper use of the Sense mentioned above, is, if possible, more
emphatically exemplified in the remarks upon "the connection between
Force and Matter." "Our ultimate test of Matter is the ability to
resist." This is true to the Sense, but no farther. "Resist" what? Other
matter, of course. Thus is the sensuousness made manifest. In the Sense,
then, we have a material object. But Force is not object to the Sense
directly, but only indirectly by its effects through Matter. The Sense,
in its percept, deems the force other than the matter. Hence it is
really no more difficult for the Sense to answer the question, How could
the Sun send a force through 95,000,000 of miles of void to the Earth
and hold it, than through solid rock that distance? All that the Sense
_can do_ is to present the phenomena. It is utterly impotent to account
for the least of them.

In the following passage, on page 61, Mr. Spencer seems to have been
unaccountably led astray. He says: "Let the atoms be twice as far apart,
and their attractions and repulsions will both be reduced to one fourth
of their present amounts. Let them be brought within half the distance,
and then attractions and repulsions will both be quadrupled. Whence it
follows that this matter will as readily as not assume any other
density; and can offer no resistance to any external agents." Now if
this be true, there can be no "external agents" to which to offer any
"resistance." It is simply to assert that all force neutralizes itself;
and that matter is impossible. But the conclusion does not "follow." It
is evidently based on the supposition that the "attractions and
repulsions" are _contra_-acting forces which exactly balance each other,
and so the molecules are held in their position by _no_ force. Instead
of this, they are _co_-acting forces, which are wholly expended in
holding the molecules in their places. The repulsions, then, are
expended in resisting pressure from without which seeks to crowd the
particles in upon themselves and thus disturb their equilibrium; while
the attractions are expended in holding the particles down to their
natural distance from each other when any disturbing force attempts to
separate them. Hence, referring to the two cases mentioned, in the first
instance the power of resistance is reduced to one fourth, and this
corresponds with the fact; and in the second instance the power of
resistance is increased fourfold, and this corresponds with the fact.

We thus arrive at the end of Mr. Spencer's remarks concerning the
material Universe and of our strictures thereon. Perhaps the reader's
mind cannot better be satisfied as to the validity of these strictures
than by presenting an outline of the system furnished by the Reason, and
upon which they are based.

The Reason gives, by a direct and immediate intuition, and as a
necessary _a priori_ idea, God. This is a _spontaneous_, synthetical
act, precisely the same in kind with that which gives a simple _a
priori_ principle, as idea. In it the Reason intuits, not a single
principle seen to be necessary simply, but the fact that all possible
principles _must_ be combined in a perfectly harmonious unity, in a
single Being, who thereby possesses all possible endowments; and so is
utterly independent, and is seen to be the absolute and infinite Person,
the perfect Spirit. This act is no conclusion of the One from the many
in a synthetical judgment, but is entirely different. It is the
necessary seeing of the many in the One; and so is not a judgment but an
intuition, not a guess but a certainty. God, then, is known, when known
at all, not "by plurality, difference, and relation," but by an
_immediate_ insight into his unity, and so is directly known as he is.
And the whole Universe is, that creatures might be, to whom this
revelation was possible. Among the other necessary endowments which this
intuition reveals, is that of immanent power commensurate with his
dignity, and adequate to realize in actual creatures the necessary _a
priori_ ideas, which he also possesses as endowments. Power is, then, a
simple idea, incapable of analysis; and which cannot therefore be
defined, except by synonymous terms; and to which President Hopkins's
remark upon moral obligation is equally pertinent; viz: "that we can
only state the occasion on which it arises." From these data the _a
priori_ idea of the Universe may be developed as follows:--

God, the absolute and infinite Person, possesses, as inherent endowment
forever immanent in himself, Universal Genius; which is at once capacity
and faculty, in which he sees, and by which he sees, all possible ideas,
and these in all possible combinations or ideals. Thus has he all
possible knowledge. From the various ideal systems which thus are, he,
having perfect wisdom, and according his choice to the behest of his own
worth, selects that one which is thus seen to be best; and thereby
determines the forms and laws under which the Universe shall become. He
also possesses, as inherent endowment, all power; _i. e._ the ability to
realize every one of his ideals; but _not_ the ability to violate the
natural laws of his being, as to make two and two five. The ideal system
is only ideal: the power is simply power; and so long as the two remain
isolated, no-thing will be. Therefore, in order to the realization of
his ideal, it must be combined with the power; _i. e._, the power must
be organized according to the ideal. How, then, can the power, having
been sent forth from God, be organized? Thus. If the power goes forth in
its simplicity, it will be expended uselessly, because there is no
substance upon which it may be exercised. It follows, then, that, if
exercised at all, it must be exercised upon _itself_. When, therefore,
God would create the Universe, he sent forth two "pencils," or columns
of power, of equal and sufficient volume, which, acting upon each other
from opposite directions, just held each other in balance, and thus
force was. These two "pencils," thus balancing each other, would result
in a sphere of "space-filling force." The point of contact would
determine the first place in Space, and the first point in Time; from
which, if attainable, an absolute measure of each could be made. All we
have now attained is the single duality "space-filling force," which is
wholly homogeneous, is of sufficient volume to constitute the Universe,
and yet by no means _is_ the Universe. There is only Chaos, "without
form and void, and darkness" is "upon the face of the deep." Now must
"the Spirit of God move upon the face of the waters"; then through vast
and to us immeasurable periods of time, through cycle and epicycle, the
work of organization will go on. Ever moving under forms laid down in
the _a priori_ ideal, God's power turns upon itself, as out of the crush
of elemental chaos the Universe is being evolved. During this process,
whatever of the force is to act under the law of heat in the _a priori_
ideal, assumes that form and the heat force becomes; whatever is to act
under the law of magnetism, assumes that form, and magnetic force
becomes; so of light, and the various forms of matter. At length, in the
revolution of the cycles, the Universe attains that degree of
preparation which fits it for living things to be, and the life force is
organized; and by degrees all its various forms are brought forth. After
another vast period that point is reached when an animal may be
organized, which shall be the dwelling-place for a time of a being whose
life is utterly different in kind from any animal life, and man appears.
Now in all these vast processes, be it observed that God is personally
present, that the first energy was his, and that every subsequent
energizing act is his special and personal act. He organized the
duality, force. He then organized this force into heat-force,
light-force, magnetic-force, matter-force, life-force, and soul-force.
And so it is that his personal supervision and energy is actually
present in every atom of the Universe. When we turn from this process of
thought to the sensible facts, and speak of granite, sandstone, schist,
clay, herbage, animals, yes, of the thousand kinds of substance which
appear to the eye, it is to be remembered that all these are but _forms
to the Sense_ of that "reason-conception," force,--that primal duality,
which power acting upon itself becomes. Now as the machine can never
carve any other image than those for which it is specially constructed,
and must work just as it is made to work, so the Sense, which is purely
mechanical, can never do any other than the work for which it was made,
can never transcend the laws of its organization. It can only give
forms--results, but is impotent to go behind them. It can only say _that
things are_, but never say _what_ or _why_ they are.

Seen in the light of the theory which has thus been presented, Mr.
Spencer's difficulties vanish. Matter is force. Motion is matter
affected by another form of force. The "puzzle" of motion and rest is
only phenomenal to the Sense; it is an appearance of force acting
through another force. It may also be said that the Universe is solid
force. There is no void in it. There is no nook, no crevice or cranny,
that is not full of force. To seek, then, for some medium through which
force may traverse vast distances, is the perfection of superfluity.
From centre to circumference it is present, and controls all things, and
is all things. So it is no more difficult to see how force reaches forth
and holds worlds in their place, than how it draws down the pebble which
a boy has thrown into the air. It is no substance which must travel over
the distance, it is rather an inflexible rod which swings the worlds
round in their orbits. Whether, then, we look at calcined crags or
lilies of the valley, whether astronomy, or geology, or chemistry be our
study, the objects grouped under those sciences will be found to be
equally the results of this one force, acting under different laws, and
taking upon itself different forms, and becoming different objects.

That faculty and that line of thought, which have given so readily the
solution of the difficulties brought to view by Mr. Spencer's
examination of the outer world, will afford us an easier solution, if
possible, of the difficulties which he has raised respecting the inner
world. That which is not of us, but is far from us, may perchance be
imperfectly known; but ourselves, what we are, and the laws of our
being, may be certainly and accurately known. And this is the highest
knowledge. It may be important, as an element of culture, that we become
acquainted with many facts respecting the outer world. It cannot but be
of the utmost importance, that we know ourselves; for thus only can we
fulfil the behest of that likeness to God, in which we were originally
created. We seek for, we may obtain, we _have obtained_ knowledge in the
inner world,--a knowledge sure, steadfast, immutable.

It seems to be more than a mere verbal criticism, rather a fundamental
one, that it is not "our states of consciousness" which "occur in
succession"; but that the modifications in our consciousness so occur.
Consciousness is _one_, and retains that oneness throughout all
modifications. These occur in the unity, as items of experience affect
it. Is this series of modifications "of consciousness infinite or
finite"? To this question experience _can_ give no answer. All
experiments are irrelevant; because these can only be after the faculty
of consciousness is. They can go no further back than the _forms_ of the
activity. These they may find, but they cannot account for. A law lies
on all those powers by which an experiment may be made, which forever
estops them from attaining to the substance of the power which lies back
of the form. The eye cannot examine itself. The Sense, as mental
capacity for the reception of impressions, cannot analyze its
constituents. The Understanding, as connective faculty concluding in
judgments, is impotent to discover why it must judge one way and not
another. It is only when we ascend to the Reason that we reach the
region of true knowledge. Here, overlooking, analyzing all the conduct
of the lower powers, and holding the self right in the full blaze of the
Eye of self, Man attains a true and fundamental _self-knowledge_. From
this Mount of Vision we know that infinity and finiteness have no
pertinence to modifications of consciousness, or in fact to any series.
We attain to the further knowledge that this series is, _must be_,
limited; because the constituted beings, in whom it in each case
inheres, are limited, and had a beginning. It matters not now to inquire
how a self-conscious person could be created. It is sufficient to know
that one has been created. This fact involves the further fact that
consciousness, as an actuality, began in the order of nature, after the
being to whom it belongs as endowment, or, in other words, an
organization must be, before the modifications which inhere in that
organization can become. The attainment of this as necessary law is far
more satisfactory than any experience could be, were it possible; for we
can never know but that an experience may be modified; but a law given
in the intuition is immutable. The fact, ascertained many pages back,
that the subject and the object are identical under the final
examination of the Reason, enables us to attain the present end of the
chain. The question is one of fact, and is purely psychological. It
cannot be passed upon, or in any way interfered with, by logical
processes. It is only by examination, by seeing, that the truth can be
known. Faraday ridiculed as preposterous the pretension that a vessel
propelled by steam could cross the ocean, and demonstrated, to his
entire satisfaction, the impossibility of the event. Yet the Savannah
crossed, and laughed at him. Just so here, all arguing is folly. The
question is one of fact in experience. And upon it the soul gives
undoubted answer, as we have stated. Nor is it so difficult, as some
would have us believe, to see how this may be. Consciousness is an
indivisible unity, and, as we have before seen, may best be defined as
the light in which the person intuits his own acts and activities. This
unity is abiding, and is ground for the modifications. It is, then,
_now_, and the person now knows what the present modification _is_. The
person does not need to look to memory and learn what the former
modification was. It immediately knows what the modification _is_ now.
Thus a simple attainment of the psychological truth through a careful
examination dispels as a morning mist the whole cloud of Mr. Spencer's
difficulties. Well might President Hopkins say, "The only question is,
what is it that consciousness gives? If we say that it does thus give
both the subject and the object, that simple affirmation sweeps away in
a moment the whole basis of the ideal and skeptical philosophy. It
becomes as the spear of Ithuriel, and its simple touch will change what
seemed whole continents of solid speculation into mere banks of German
fog." We have learned, then, that it is not possible, or necessary,
either to "perceive" or "conceive" the terminations of consciousness,
because this involves the discovery, by _mechanical_ faculties, of their
own being and state before they became activities on the one hand, which
is a contradiction, and on the other an utter transcending of the sphere
of their capability, the attempt to do which would be a greater folly
than would be that of the hand to see Jupiter. But we have intuited the
law, which declares the necessity of a beginning for us and all
creatures; and we ever live in the light of the present end. When, then,
Mr. Spencer says that "Consciousness implies perpetual change and the
perpetual establishment of relations between its successive phases," we
know that he has uttered a fundamental psychological error, in fact,
that almost the opposite is the truth. Consciousness is the permanent,
the abiding, the changeless. It is the light of the personal Eye. Into
it all changes come; but they are only _incidental_. In the finite and
partial person, they come, because such person _must grow_; and so,
because of his partiality and incompleteness, they become necessary
incidents; but let there be a Person having all knowledge, who therefore
cannot learn, having all perfection, who therefore cannot change, and it
is plain that these facts in no way interfere with his consciousness.
All variety is immanent in its light, and no change can come into it
because _there is no change to come_; but this Person sees _all_ his
endowments _at once_, in the unity of this his light, just as we see
_some_ of our endowments in the unity of this our light. The change is
not in the consciousness, but in the objects which come into it. This
view also disposes of the theory that "any mental affection must be
known as like these foregoing ones or unlike those"; that, "if it is not
thought of in connection with others--not distinguished or identified by
comparison with others, it is not recognized--is not a state of
consciousness at all." Such comparison we have found only incidental in
consciousness, pertaining to things in the Sense and Understanding and
not essential. Thus does a true psychology dissipate all these
difficulties as a true cosmology explained the perplexities "of Motion
and Rest."

Take another step and we can answer the question "What is this that
thinks?" It is a spiritual person. What, then, is a spiritual person? A
substance--a kind of force--the nature of which we need inquire about no
further than to know that it is suitable to the use which is made of it,
which is organized, according to a set of constituting laws, into such
spiritual person. The substance without the laws would be simple
substance, and nothing more. The laws without the substance would be
only laws, and could give no being having no ground in which to inhere.
But the substance as ground and the complete set of laws as inhering in
the ground, and being its organization when combined, become a spiritual
person who thinks. The _ego_, that is the sense of personality, is only
one of the forms of activity of this being, and therefore cannot be said
to think. The pages now before us are all vitiated by the theory that
"successive impressions and ideas constitute consciousness." Once attain
to the true psychology of the person, and learn that consciousness is as
stated above,--an abiding light into which modifications come,--and
there arises no difficulty in believing in the reality of self, and in
entirely justifying that belief by Reason. Yea, more, from such a
standpoint it is utter unreason, the height of folly, to doubt for an
instant, for immanent and central in the light of Reason lies the solemn
fact of man's selfhood. We arrive, then, directly at Mr. Spencer's
conclusion, that "Clearly, a true cognition of self implies a state in
which the knowing and the known are one--in which subject and object are
identified," and we _know_ that such a state is an actuality. Mr. Mansel
may hold that such an assertion is the annihilation of both, but he is
wholly wrong. The Savannah has crossed the Atlantic.

We attain, then, exactly the opposite result from Mr. Spencer. We have
seen that "Ultimate Scientific Ideas are all" presentative "of
realities" which can "be comprehended." We have, indeed, found it to be
true, that, "after no matter how great a progress in the colligation of
facts and the establishment of generalizations ever wider and
wider,--after the merging of limited and derivative truths in truths
that are larger and deeper, has been carried no matter how far,--the
fundamental truth remains as much beyond reach as ever." But having
learned this, we do not arrive at the conclusion that "the explanation
of that which is explicable does but bring out into greater clearness
the inexplicableness of that which remains behind." On the other hand we
know that such a conclusion is erroneous, and _that the method by which
it is reached is a false method, and utterly irrelevant to the object
sought_. Could this lesson but be thoroughly learned, Mr. Spencer's
work, and our work, would not have been in vain. Only by a method
differing from this IN KIND--a method in which there is no "colligation
of facts," and no "generalizations" concluded therefrom, but a simple,
direct insight into Pure Truth--can "the fundamental truth" be known;
and thus it may be known by every human soul. "_God made man in his own
image._" In our scheme there is ample room for the man of Science, with
the eye of Sense, to run through the Universe, and gather facts. With
telescope and microscope, he may pursue them, and capture innumerable
multitudes of them. But having done this, we count it folly to attempt
to generalize truth therefrom. But holding up the facts in the clear
light of Reason, and searching them through and through, we _see_ in
them the immutable principle, known by a spontaneous, immediate,
intuitive knowledge to be immutable, and thus we "_know the truth_."


In the opening of this chapter, Mr. Spencer states the result, which, in
his opinion, philosophy has attained as follows: "All possible
conceptions have been one by one tried and found wanting; and so the
entire field of speculation has been gradually exhausted without
positive result; the only result arrived at being the negative one above
stated--that the reality existing behind all appearances is, and must
ever be, unknown." He then sets down a considerable list of names of
philosophers, who are claimed by Sir William Hamilton as supporters of
that position. Such a parade of names may be grateful to the feelings of
the Limitists, but it is no support to their cause. The questions at
issue are of such a nature that no array of dignities, of learning, of
profound _opinions_, can have a feather's weight in the decision. For
instance, take Problem XLVII, of the first book of Euclid. What weight
have human opinion with reference to its validity? Though a thousand
mathematicians should deny its truth, it would be just as convincing as
now; and when a thousand mathematicians assert its truth, they add no
item to the vividness of the conviction. The school-boy, who never heard
of one of them, when he first reads it, knows it must be so, and that
this is an inevitable necessity, beyond the possibility of any power or
will to change. On principles simple, fixed, and final, just like those
of mathematics, seen by the same Eye and known with the same
intellectual certainty, and by logical processes just as pure,
conclusive, _demonstrative_ as those of geometry, _and by such alone_,
can the questions now before us be settled. But though names and
opinions have no weight in the final decision, though a demonstration is
demanded and must be given, still it is interesting to note the absence
of two names, representatives of a class, which must ever awaken, among
the devout and pure-hearted, attention and love, and whose teachings,
however unnoticed by Mr. Spencer, are a leaven working in the minds and
hearts of men, which develop with continually increasing distinctness
the solemn and sublime truth, that the human mind is capable of absolute
knowledge. Plato, with serious, yea, sad countenance, the butt of jeer
and scoff from the wits and comedians of his day, went about teaching
those who hung upon his lips, that in every human soul were Ideas which
God had implanted, and which were final truth. And Jesus Christ, with a
countenance more beautifully serious, more sweetly sad, said to those
Jews which believed on him, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my
disciples indeed; _and ye shall know the truth_, and the truth shall
make you free." It may seem to men who grope about in the dismal cavern
of the animal nature--the Sense and Understanding--wise to refuse the
light, and reject the truths of the Pure Reason and the God-man, and to
call the motley conglomeration of facts which they gather, but cannot
explain, philosophy; but no soul which craves "the Higher Life" will,
can be satisfied with such attainments. It yearns for, it cries after,
yea, with ceaseless iteration it urges its supplication for the highest
truth; and it shall attain to it, because God, in giving the tongue to
cry, gave also the Eye to see. The Spiritual person in man, made in the
very image of God, can never be satisfied till, stripped of the weight
of the animal nature, it sees with its own Eye the Pure Reason, God as
the Highest Truth. And to bring it by culture, by every possible
manifestation of his wondrous nature, up to this high Mount of Vision,
is one object of God in his system of the Universe.

The teaching of the Word--that august personage, "who came forth from
God, and went to God," has been alluded to above. It deserves more than
an allusion, more than any notice which can be given it here. It is
astonishing, though perhaps not wholly unaccountable, that the writings
of the apostles John and Paul have received so little attention from
the metaphysicians of the world, as declarations of metaphysical truths.
Even the most devout students of them do not seem to have appreciated
their inestimable value in this regard. The reason for this undoubtedly
is, that their transcendent importance as declarations of religious
truth has shone with such dazzling effulgence upon the eyes of those who
have loved them, that the lesser, but harmoniously combining beams of a
true spiritual philosophy have been unnoticed in the glory of the nobler
light. It will not, therefore, we trust, be deemed irreverent to say
that, laying aside all questions of the Divinity of Christ, or of the
inspiration of the Bible, and considering the writings of John and Paul
merely as human productions, written at some time nobody knows when, and
by some men nobody knows who, they are the most wonderful revelations,
the profoundest metaphysical treatises the world has ever seen. In them
the highest truths, those most difficult of attainment by processes of
reflection, are stated in simple, clear language, and _they answer
exactly to the teachings of the Reason_. Upon this, President Hopkins
says: "The identity which we found in the last lecture between the
teaching of the constitution of man and the law of God, was not sought.
The result was reached because the analysis would go there. I was myself
surprised at the exactness of the coincidence." Nor is this coincidence
to be observed simply in the statement of the moral law. In all
questions pertaining to man's nature and state, the two will be found in
exact accord. No law is affirmed by either, but is accorded to by the
other. In fine, whoever wrote the Book must have had an accurate and
exhaustive knowledge of Man, about whom he wrote. Without any reference
then to their religious bearings, but simply as expositions of
metaphysical truths, the writings of the two authors named deserve our
most careful attention. What we seek for are laws, final, fixed laws,
which are seen by a direct intuition to be such; and these writings are
of great value, because they cultivate and assist the Reason in its
search for these highest Truths.

One need have no hesitation, then, in rejecting the authority of Mr.
Spencer's names, aye, even if they were a thousand more. We seek for,
and can obtain, that which he cannot give us--a demonstration; which he
cannot give us because he denies the very existence of that faculty by
which alone a demonstration is possible. As his empiricism is worthless,
so is his rationality. No "deduction" from any "_product_ of thought, or
process of thought," is in any way applicable to the question in hand.
Intuitions are the mental actions needed. Light is neither product nor
process. We pass over, then, his whole illustration of the partridge. It
proves nothing. He leads us through an interminable series of questions
to no goal; and says there is none. He gives the soul a stone, when it
cries for bread. One sentence of his is doubtless true. "Manifestly, as
the _most_ general cognition at which we arrive cannot be reduced to a
more general one, it cannot be understood." Of course not. When the
Understanding has attained to the last generalization _by these very
terms_, it cannot go any farther. But by no means does his conclusion
follow, that "Of necessity, therefore, explanation must eventually bring
us down to the inexplicable. The deepest truth which we can get at must
be unaccountable. Comprehension must become something other than
comprehension, before the ultimate fact can be comprehended." How shall
we account for the last generalization, and show this conclusion to be
false? Thus. Hitherto there have been, properly speaking, no
comprehensions, only perceptions in the Sense and connections in the
Understanding. "The sense _distinguishes_ quality and _conjoins_
quantity; the understanding _connects_ phenomena; the reason
_comprehends_ the whole operation of both." The Reason, then, overseeing
the operations of the lower faculties, and possessing within itself the
_a priori_ laws in accordance with which they are, _sees_ directly and
immediately why they are, and thus comprehends and accounts for them. It
sees that there is an end to every process of generalization; and it
then sees, what the Understanding could never guess, that _after_--in
the order of our procedure--the last generalization there is an eternal
truth, in accordance with which process and conclusion were and must be.
There remains, then, no inexplicable, for the final truth is seen and
known in its very self.

The passages quoted at this point from Hamilton and Mansel have been
heretofore examined, and need no further notice. We will pass on then to
his subsequent reflections upon them. It is worthy of remark, as a
general criticism upon these comments, that there is scarcely one, if
there is a single expression in the remainder of this chapter, which
does not refer to the animal nature and its functions. The illustrations
are from the material world, and the terms and expressions are suited
thereto. With reference to objects in the Sense, and connections in the
Understanding, the "fundamental condition of thought," which Mr. Spencer
supplies, is unquestionably valuable. There is "likeness" as well as
"relation, plurality, and difference." But observe that both these laws
alike are pertinent only to the Sense and Understanding, that they
belong to _things in nature_, and consequently have no pertinence to the
questions now before us. We are discussing _ideas_, not _things_; and
those are simple, and can only be seen, while these are complex, and may
be perceived, distinguished, and conceived. If any one shall doubt that
Mr. Spencer is wholly occupied with things in nature, it would seem that
after having read p. 80, he could doubt no longer. "Animals," "species
or genus," "mammals, birds, reptiles, or fishes," are objects by which
he illustrates his subject. And one is forced to exclaim, "How can he
speak of such things when they have nothing to do with the matter in
hand? What have God and infinity and absoluteness to do with 'mammals,
birds, reptiles, or fishes'? If we can know only these, why speak of
those?" It would seem that the instant they are thus set together and
contrasted, the soul must cry out with an irrepressible cry, "It is by
an utterly different faculty, and in entirely other modes, that I dwell
upon God and the questions concerning him. These modes of the animal
nature, by which I know 'mammals,' are different in kind from those of
the spiritual person, by which I know God and the eternal truth." And
when this distinction becomes clearly appreciated and fixed in one's
mind, and the query arises, how could a man so confound the two, and
make utter confusion of the subject, as the Limitists have done, he can
hardly refrain from quoting Romans I. 20 _et seq._ against them.

Let us observe now Mr. Spencer's corollary. "A cognition of the Real as
distinguished from the Phenomenal must, if it exists, conform to this
law of cognition in general. The First Cause, the Infinite, the
Absolute, to be known at all, must be classed. To be positively thought
of, it must be thought of as such or such--as of this or that kind." To
begin with the law which is here asserted, is _not_ a "general" law, and
so does not lie upon all cognition. It is only a special law, and lies
only upon a particular kind of cognition. This has been already
abundantly shown; yet we reproduce one line of proof. No mathematical
law comes under his law of cognition; neither can he, nor any other
Limitist, make it appear that it does so come. His law is law only for
things in nature, and not for principles. Since then all ideas are known
in themselves--are _self-evident_, and since God, infinity, and
absoluteness are ideas, they are known in themselves, and need not be
classed. So his corollary falls to the ground. Can we have any "sensible
experience" of God? Most certainly not. Yet we can have just as much a
sensible experience of him as of any other person--of parent, wife, or
child. Did you ever see a person--a soul? No. Can you see--"have
sensible experience of"--a soul? No. What is it, then, that we have such
experience of? Plainly the body--that material frame through which the
soul manifests itself. The Universe is that material system through
which God manifests himself to those spiritual persons whom he has made;
and that manifestation is the same in kind as that of a created soul
through the body which is given it. It follows then,--and not only from
this, but it may be shown by further illustration,--that every other
person is just as really inscrutable to us as God is; and further, that,
if we can study and comprehend the soul of our wife or child, we can
with equal certainty study, and to some extent comprehend, the soul of
God. Or, in other words, if man is only an animal nature, having a Sense
and Understanding, all personality is an insoluble mystery; all
spiritual persons are alike utterly inscrutable. And this is so,
because, upon the hypothesis taken, man is destitute of any faculty
which can catch a glimpse of such object. A Sense and Understanding can
no more see, or in any possible manner take cognizance of, a spiritual
person than a man born blind can see the sun. Again, we say he is
destitute of the faculty. Will Mr. Spencer deny the fact of the idea of
personality? Will he assert that man has no such notion? Let him once
admit that he has, and in that admission is involved the admission of
the reality of that faculty by which we know God, for the faculty which
cognizes personality, and cognizes God, is one and the same.

Although we do not like certain of Mr. Spencer's terms, yet, to please
him, we will use them. Some conclusions, then, may be expressed thus:
God as the Deity cannot be "classed"; he is unique. This is involved in
the very terms by which we designate him. Yet we cognize him, but this
is by an immediate intuition, in which we know him as he is in himself.
"We shall see him as he is," says the apostle; and some foretastes of
that transcendent revelation are vouchsafed us here on earth. But the
infinite Person, _as person_, must be "assimilated" with other persons.
Yet his infinity and absoluteness, _as such_, cannot be "grouped." And
yet again, _as qualities_, they can be "grouped" with other qualities.
Unquestionably between the Creator, _as such_, and the created, _as
such_, "there must be a distinction transcending any of the distinctions
existing between different divisions of the created." God as
self-existent differs in kind from man as dependent, and this difference
continues irrevocable; while that same God and that same man are _alike_
in kind _as persons_. This is true, because all spiritual persons are
composite beings; and while the essential elements of a spiritual person
are common to created persons and the uncreated Person, there are
_other_ characteristics, _not essential_ to personality, which belong
some to the created, and some to the uncreated, and differentiate them.
Or, in other words, God as person, and man as person, are alike. Yet
they are diverse in kind, and so diverse in kind that it is out of the
range of possibility for that diversity to be removed. How can this be
explained? Evidently thus. There are _qualities_ transfusing the
personality which cannot be interchangeable, and which constitute the
diversity. Personality is _form_ of being. Qualities transfuse the form.
Absoluteness and infinity are qualities which belong to one Person, and
are such that they thereby exclude the possibility of their belonging to
any other person; and so they constitute that one to whom they belong,
unique and supreme. Dependence and partiality are also qualities of a
spiritual person, but are qualities of the created spiritual person, and
are such as must always subordinate that person to the other. In each
instance it is, "_in the nature of things_," impossible for either to
pass over and become the other. Each is what he is by the terms of his
being, and must stay so.

But from all this it by no means follows that the dependent spiritual
person can have no knowledge of the independent spiritual Person. On the
other hand, it is the high glory of the independent spiritual Person,
that he can create another being "in his own image," to whom he can
communicate a knowledge of himself. "Like as a father pitieth his
children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him." Out of the fact of
his Father-hood and our childhood, comes that solemn, and, to the loving
soul, joyful fact, that he teaches us the highest knowledge just as
really as our earthly parents teach us earthly knowledge. This he could
not do if we had not the capacity to receive the knowledge; and we could
not have had the capacity, except he had been able, in "the nature of
things," and willing to bestow it upon us. While, then, God as "the
Unconditioned cannot be classed," and so as unconditioned we do not know
him "as of such or such kind," after the manner of the Understanding,
yet we may, do, "see him as he is," do know that he is, and is
unconditioned, through the insight of the Reason, the eye of the
spiritual person, and what it is to be unconditioned.

We now reach a passage which has filled us with unqualified amazement.
As much as we had familiarized ourselves with the materialistic
teachings of the Limitists, we confess that we were utterly unprepared
to meet, even in Mr. Spencer's writings, a theory of man so ineffably
degrading, and uttered with so calm and naïve an unconsciousness of the
degradation it involved, as the following. Although for want of room his
illustrations are omitted, it is believed that the following extracts
give a fair and ample presentation of his doctrine.

"All vital actions, considered not separately but in their ensemble,
have for their final purpose the balancing of certain outer processes by
certain inner processes.

"There are unceasing external forces, tending to bring the matter of
which organic bodies consist, into that state of stable equilibrium
displayed by inorganic bodies; there are internal forces by which this
tendency is constantly antagonized; and the perpetual changes which
constitute Life may be regarded as incidental to the maintenance of the

"When we contemplate the lower kinds of life, we see that the
correspondences thus maintained are direct and simple; as in a plant,
the vitality of which mainly consists in osmotic and chemical actions
responding to the coexistence of light, heat, water, and carbonic acid
around it. But in animals, and especially in the higher orders of them,
the correspondences become extremely complex. Materials for growth and
repair not being, like those which plants require, everywhere present,
but being widely dispersed and under special forms, have to be formed,
to be secured, and to be reduced to a fit state for assimilation....

"What is that process by which food when swallowed is reduced to a fit
form for assimilation, but a set of mechanical and chemical actions
responding to the mechanical and chemical actions which distinguish the
food? Whence it becomes manifest, that, while Life in its simplest form
is the correspondence of certain inner physico-chemical actions with
certain outer physico-chemical actions, each advance to a higher form of
Life consists in a better preservation of this primary correspondence by
the establishment of other correspondences. Divesting this conception of
all superfluities, and reducing it to its most abstract shape, we see
that Life is definable as the continuous adjustment of internal
relations to external relations. And when we so define it, we discover
that the physical and the psychial life are equally comprehended by the
definition. We perceive that this, which we call intelligence, shows
itself when the external relations to which the internal ones are
adjusted begin to be numerous, complex, and remote in time and space;
that every advance in Intelligence essentially consists in the
establishment of more varied, more complete, and more involved
adjustments; and that even the highest achievements of science are
resolvable into mental relations of coexistence and sequence, so
coördinated as exactly to tally with certain relations of coexistence
and sequence that occur externally....

"And lastly let it be noted that what we call _truth_, guiding us to
successful action and the consequent maintenance of life, is simply the
accurate correspondence of subjective to objective relations; while
_error_, leading to failure and therefore towards death, is the absence
of such accurate correspondence.

"If, then, Life in all its manifestations, inclusive of Intelligence in
its highest forms, consists in the continuous adjustment of internal
relations to external relations, the necessarily relative character of
our knowledge becomes obvious. The simplest cognition being the
establishment of some connection between subjective states, answering to
some connection between objective agencies; and each successively more
complex cognition being the establishment of some more involved
connection of such states, answering to some more involved connection of
such agencies; it is clear that the process, no matter how far it be
carried, can never bring within the reach of Intelligence either the
states themselves or the agencies themselves."

Or, to condense Mr. Spencer's whole teaching into a few plain every-day
words, Man is an animal, and only an animal, differing nowhat from the
dog and chimpanzee, except in the fact that his life "consists in the
establishment of more varied, more complete, and more involved
adjustments," than the life of said dog and chimpanzee. Mark
particularly the sententious diction of this newly arisen sage. Forget
not one syllable of the profound and most important knowledge he would
impart. "Life in all its manifestations, inclusive of Intelligence in
its highest forms, consists in the continuous adjustment of internal
relations to external relations." See, there is not a limit, not a
qualification to the assertion! Now turn back a page or two, reader, if
thou hast this wonderful philosophy by thee, and gazing, as into a cage
in a menagerie, see the being its author would teach thee that thou art.
From the highest to the lowest forms, life is one. In its lower forms,
life is a set of "direct and simple" "correspondences." "But in animals,
_and especially in the higher orders of them_," and, of course, most
especially in the human animal as the highest order, "the
correspondences become extremely complex." As much as to say, reader,
you are not exactly a plant, nor are you yet of quite so low a type as
the chimpanzee aforesaid; but the difference is no serious matter. You
do not differ half as much from the chimpanzee as the chimpanzee does
from the forest he roves in. All the difference there is between you and
him is, that the machinery by which "the continuous adjustment of
internal relations to external relations" is carried on, is more
"complex" in you than in the chimpanzee. He roams the forest, inhabits
some cave or hollow tree, and lives on the food which nature
spontaneously offers to his hairy hand. You cut down the forest,
construct a house, and live on the food which some degree of skill has
prepared. He constructs no clothing, nor any covering to shield him from
the inclemency of the weather, but is satisfied with tawny, shaggy
covering, which nature has provided. You on the contrary are destitute
of such a covering, and rob the sheep, and kill the silk-worm, to supply
the lack. But in all this there is no _difference in kind_. The
mechanism by which life is sustained in you is more "complex," it is
true, than that by which life is sustained in him; there arise,
therefore, larger needs, and the corresponding "intelligence" to supply
those needs. But sweet thought, cheering thought, oh how it supports the
soul! Your life in its highest form is only this animal life,--is only
the constructive force by which that "extremely complex" machinery
carries on "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external
relations." All other notions of life are "superfluities."

Reader, in view of the teaching of this new and widely heralded sage,
how many "superfluities" must you and I strip off from our "conception"
of life! And with what bitter disappointment and deep sadness should we
take up our lamentation for man, and say: How art thou fallen, oh man!
thou noblest denizen of earth; yea, how art thou cast down to the
ground. But a little ago we believed thee a spiritual being; that thou
hadst a nature too noble to rot with the beasts among the clods; that
thou wast made fit to live with angels and thy Creator, God. But a
little ago we believed thee possessed of a psychical life--a soul; that
thou wouldst live forever beyond the stars; and that this soul's life
was wholly occupied in the consideration of "heavenly and divine
things." A little ago we believed in holiness, and that thou,
consecrating thyself to pure and loving employments, shouldst become
purer and more beautiful, nobler and more lovely, until perfect love
should cast out all fear, and thou shouldst then see God face to face,
and rejoice in the sunlight of his smiling countenance. But all this is
changed now. Our belief has been found to be a cheat, a bitter mockery
to the soul. We have sat at the feet of the English sage, and learned
how dismally different is our destiny. Painful is it, oh reader, to
listen; and the words of our teacher sweep like a sirocco over the
heart; yet we cannot choose but hear.

"The pyschical life"--the life of the soul, "the immortal spark of
fire,"--and the physical life "are _equally_ definable as the continuous
adjustment of internal relations to external relations." We had supposed
that intelligence in its highest forms was wholly occupied with the
contemplation of God and his laws, and the great end of being, and all
those tremendous questions which we had thought fitted to occupy the
activities of a spiritual person. We are undeceived now. We find we have
shot towards the pole opposite to the truth. Now "we perceive that this
which we call Intelligence shows itself when the external relations to
which the internal ones are adjusted begin to be numerous, complex, and
remote in time or space; that _every advance in Intelligence essentially
consists in the establishment of more varied, more complete, and more
involved adjustments; and that even the highest achievements of science_
are resolvable into mental relations of coexistence and sequence, so
coördinated as _exactly to tally_ with certain relations of coexistence
and sequence that occur externally." In such relations consists the life
of the "caterpillar." In such relations, _only a little "more
complex,"_ consists the life of "the sparrow." Such relations only does
"the fowler" observe; such only does "the chemist" know. This is the
path by which we are led to the last, the highest "truth" which man can
attain. Thus do we learn "that what we call _truth_, guiding us to
successful action, and the consequent maintenance of life, is _simply_
the accurate correspondence of subjective to objective relations; while
error, leading to failure and therefore towards death, is the absence of
such accurate correspondence." What a noble life, oh, reader, what an
exalted destiny thine is here declared to be! The largest effort of
thine intelligence, "the highest achievement of science," yea, the total
object of the life of thy soul,--thy "psychial" life,--is to attain such
exceeding skill in the construction of a shelter, in the fitting of
apparel, in the preparation of food, in a word, in securing "the
accurate correspondence of subjective to objective relations," and thus
in attaining the "_truth_" which shall guide "us to successful action
and the consequent maintenance of life," that we shall secure forever
our animal existence on earth. Study patiently thy lesson, oh human
animal! Con it o'er and o'er. Who knows but thou mayest yet attain to
this acme of the perfection of thy nature, though it be far below what
thou hadst once fondly expected,--mayest attain a perfect knowledge of
the "_truth_," and a perfect skill in the application of that truth, _i.
e._ in "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external
relations"; and so be guided "to successful action, and the consequent
maintenance of life," whereby thou shalt elude forever that merciless
hunter who pursues thee,--the grim man-stalker, the skeleton Death. But
when bending all thy energies, yea, all the powers of thy soul, to this
task, thou mayest recur at some unfortunate moment to the dreams and
aspirations which have hitherto lain like golden sunlight on thy
pathway. Let no vain regret for what seemed thy nobler destiny ever
sadden thy day, or deepen the darkness of thy night. True, thou didst
deem thyself capable of something higher than "the continuous
adjustment of internal relations to external relations"; didst often
occupy thyself with contemplating those "things which eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard"; didst deem thyself a son of God, and "a joint-heir with
Jesus Christ," "of things incorruptible and undefiled, and which fade
not away, eternal in the heavens"; didst sometimes seem to see, with
faith's triumphant gaze, those glorious scenes which thou wouldst
traverse when in the spirit-land thou shouldst lead a pure spiritual
life with other spirits, where all earthliness had been stripped off,
all tears had been wiped away, and perfect holiness was thine through
all eternity. But all these visions were only dreams; they wholly
deluded thee. We have learned from the lips of this latest English sage
that thy god is thy belly, and that thou must mind earthly things, so as
to keep up "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external
relations." Such being thy lot, and to fulfil such a lot being "the
highest achievement of science," permit not thyself to be disturbed by
those old-fashioned and sometimes troublesome notions that "_truth_" and
those "achievements" pertained to a spiritual person in spiritual
relations to God as the moral Governor of the Universe; that man was
bound to know the truth and obey it; that his "errors" were violations
of perfect law,--the truth he knew,--were _crimes_ against Him who is
"of too pure eyes to behold iniquity, and cannot look upon sin with the
least degree of allowance"; that for these crimes there impended a just
penalty--an appalling punishment; and that the only real "failure" was
the failure to repent of and forsake the crimes, and thus escape the
penalty. Far other is the fact, as thou wilt learn from this wise man's
book. As he teaches us, the only "error" we can make, is, to miss in
maintaining perfectly "the continuous adjustment of internal relations
to external relations,"--is to eat too much roast beef and plum-pudding
at dinner, or to wear too scanty or too thick clothing, or to expose
one's self imprudently in a storm, or by some other carelessness which
may produce "the absence of such accurate correspondence" as shall
secure unending life, and so lead to his only "failure"--the advance
"towards death." When, then, oh reader! by some unfortunate mischance,
some "error" into which thine ignorance hath led thee, thou hast
rendered thy "failure" inevitable, and art surely descending "towards
death," hesitate not to sing with heedless hilarity the old Epicurean
song, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die."

    Sing and be gay
    The livelong day,
    Thinking no whit of to-morrow.
    Enjoy while you may
    All pleasure and play,
    For after death is no sorrow.

Thou hast committed thine only "error" in not maintaining "the accurate
correspondence"; thou hast fallen upon thine only "failure," the
inevitable advance "towards death." Than death no greater evil can
befall thee, and that is already sure. Then let "dance and song," and
"women and wine," bestow some snatches of pleasure upon thy fleeting

Delightful philosophy, is it not, reader? Poor unfortunate man, and
especially poor, befooled, cheated, hopeless Christian man, who has
these many years cherished those vain, deceitful dreams of which we
spoke a little ago! To be brought down from such lofty aspirations; to
be made to know that he is only an animal; that "Life in all its
manifestations, inclusive of Intelligence in its highest forms, consists
in the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external
relations." Do you not join with me in pitying him?

And such is the philosophy which is heralded to us from over the sea as
the newly found and wonderful truth, which is to satisfy the hungering
soul of man and still its persistent cry for bread. And this is the
teacher, mocking that painful cry with such chaff, whom newspaper after
newspaper, and periodical after periodical on this side the water, even
to those we love best and cherish most, have pronounced one of the
profoundest essayists of the day. Perhaps he can give us some sage
remarks upon "laughter," as it is observed in the human animal, and on
that point compare therewith other animals. But, speaking in all
sincerity after the manner of the Book of Common Prayer, we can but say,
"From all such philosophers and philosophies, good Lord deliver us."

Few, perhaps none of our readers, will desire to see a denial in terms
of such a theory. When a man, aspiring to be a philosopher, advances the
doctrine that not only is "Life in its simplest form"--the animal
life--"the correspondence of certain inner physico-chemical actions with
certain outer physico-chemical actions," but that "_each advance to a
higher form of Life_ consists in a better preservation of this primary
correspondence"; and when, proceeding further, and to be explicit, he
asserts that not only "the physical," _but also "the psychical life_ are
_equally_" but "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to
external relations"; and when, still further to insult man, and to utter
his insult in the most positive, extreme, and unmistakable terms, he
asserts "that even the highest achievements of science are resolvable
into mental relations of coexistence and sequence, so coördinated as
exactly to tally with certain relations of coexistence and sequence that
occur externally,"--that is, that the highest science is the attainment
of a perfect cuisine; in a word, when a human being in this nineteenth
century offers to his fellows as the loftiest attainment of philosophy
the tenet that the highest form of life cognizable by man is an animal
life, and that man can have no other knowledge of himself than as an
animal, of a little higher grade, it is true, than other animals, but
not different in kind, then the healthy soul, when such a doctrine is
presented to it, will reject it as instantaneously as a healthy stomach
rejects a roll of tobacco.

With what a sense of relief does one turn from a system of philosophy
which, when stripped of its garb of well-chosen words and large
sounding, plausible phrases, appears in such vile shape and hideous
proportions, to the teachings of that pure and noble instructor of our
youth, that man who, by his gentle, benignant mien, so beautifully
illustrates the spirit and life of the Apostle John,--Rev. Mark Hopkins,
D. D., President of Williams College. No one who has read his "Lectures
on Moral Science," and no lover of truth should fail to do so, will
desire an apology for inserting the following extract, wherein is
presented a theory upon which the soul of man can rest, as at home the
soldier rests, who has just been released from the Libby or Salisbury

"And here, again, we have three great forces with their products. These
are the vegetable, the animal, and the rational life.

"Of these, vegetable life is the lowest. Its products are as strictly
conditional for animal life as chemical affinity is for vegetable, for
the animal is nourished by nothing that has not been previously
elaborated by the vegetable. 'The profit of the earth is for all; the
king himself is served by the field.'

"Again, we have the animal and sensitive life, capable of enjoyment and
suffering, and having the instincts necessary to its preservation.
_This_, as man is now constituted, _is conditional for his rational
life_. The rational has its roots in that, and manifests itself only
through the organization which that builds up.

"_We have, then, finally and highest of all, this rational and moral
life, by which man is made in the image of God._ In man, as thus
constituted, we first find a being who is capable of choosing his own
end, or, rather, of choosing or rejecting the end indicated by his whole
nature. This is moral freedom, _and in this is the precise point of
transition from all that is below to that which is highest_. For
everything below man the end is necessitated. Whatever choice there may
be in the agency of animals of means for the attainment of their
end,--and they have one somewhat wide,--they have none in respect to the
end itself. This, for our purpose, and for all purposes, is the
characteristic distinction, so long sought, between man and the brute.
Man determines his own end; the end of the brute is necessitated. Up to
man everything is driven to its end by a force working from without or
from behind; but for him the pillar of cloud and of fire puts itself in
front, and he follows it or not, as he chooses.

"In the above cases it will be seen that the process is one of the
addition of new forces, with a constant limitation of the field within
which the forces act.... It is to be noticed, however, that while the
field of each added and superior force is narrowed, yet nothing is
dropped. Each lower force shoots through, and combines itself with all
that is higher. Because he is rational, man is not the less subject to
gravitation and cohesion and chemical affinity. He has also the organic
life that belongs to the animal. In him none of these are dropped; _but
the rational life is united with and superinduced upon all these_, so
that man is not only a microcosm, but is the natural head and ruler of
the world. He partakes of all that is below him, _and becomes man by the
addition of something higher_.... Here, then, is our model and law. Have
we a lower sensitive and animal nature? Let that nature be cherished and
expanded by all its innocent and legitimate enjoyments, for it is an
end. But--and here we find the limit--let it be cherished _only as
subservient to the higher intellectual life_, for it is also a means."
The italics are ours.

Satisfactory, true, and self-sustained as is this theory,--and it is one
which like a granite Gothic spire lifts itself high and calm into the
atmosphere, standing firm and immovable in its own clear and
self-evident truth, unshaken by a thousand assaulting materialistic
storms,--we would buttress it with the utterances of other of the
earth's noble ones; and this we do not because it is in any degree
needful, but because our mind loves to linger round the theme, and to
gather the concurrent thought of various rarely endowed minds upon this
subject. Exactly in point is the following--one of many passages which
might be selected from the works of that profoundest of English
metaphysicians and theologians, S. T. Coleridge:--

"And here let me observe that the difficulty and delicacy of this
investigation are greatly increased by our not considering the
understanding (even our own) in itself, and as it would be were it not
accompanied with and modified by the coöperation of the will, the moral
feeling, and that faculty, perhaps best distinguished by the name of
Reason, of determining that which is universal and necessary, of fixing
laws and principles whether speculative or practical, and of
contemplating a final purpose or end. This intelligent will--having a
self-conscious purpose, under the guidance and light of the reason, by
which its acts are made to bear as a whole upon some end in and for
itself, and to which the understanding is subservient as an organ or the
faculty of selecting and appropriating the means--seems best to account
for that progressiveness of the human race, _which so evidently marks an
insurmountable distinction and impassable barrier between man and the
inferior animals, but which would be inexplicable, were there no
other difference than in the degree of their intellectual
faculties_."--_Works_, Vol. I. p. 371. The italics are ours.

The attention of the reader may with profit be also directed to the
words of another metaphysician, who has been much longer known, and has
enjoyed a wider fame than either of those just mentioned; and whose
teachings, however little weight they may seem to have with Mr. Spencer,
have been these many years, and still are received and studied with
profound respect and loving carefulness by multitudes of persons. We
refer to the apostle Paul, "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to
those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after
the spirit." That is, who do not walk after the law of the animal
nature, but who do walk after the law of the spiritual person, for it is
of this great psychological distinction that the apostle so fully and
continually speaks. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the
things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit, the things of
the spirit. For the minding of the flesh is death, but the minding of
the spirit is life and peace; because the minding of the flesh as enmity
against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can
be." _Romans_ VIII. 1, 5, 6, 7. This I say, then, "Walk in the spirit
and fulfil not the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the
spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one
to the other."--_Galatians_ V. 16, 17.

Upon these passages it should be remarked, by way of explanation, that
our translators in writing the word spirit with a capital, and thus
intimating that it is the Holy Spirit of God which is meant, have led
their readers astray. The apostle's repeated use of that term, in
contrasting the flesh with the spirit, appears decisive of the fact that
he is contrasting, in all such passages, the animal nature with the
spiritual person. But if any one is startled by this position and thinks
to reject it, let him bear in mind that the law of the spiritual person
in man and of the Holy Spirit of God is _identical_.

The reader will hardly desire from us what his own mind will have
already accomplished--the construction in our own terms, and the
contrasting of the system above embodied with that presented by Mr.
Spencer. The human being, Man, is a twofold being, "flesh" and "spirit,"
an animal nature and a spiritual person. In the animal nature are the
Sense and the Understanding. In the spiritual person are the Reason, the
spiritual Sensibilities, and the Will. The animal nature is common to
man and the brutes. The spiritual person is common to man and God. It is
manifest, then, that there is "an insurmountable distinction and
impassable barrier" not only "between man and the inferior animals," but
between man as spiritual person, and man as animal nature, and that this
is a greater distinction than any other in the Universe, except that
which exists between the Creator and the created. What relation, then,
do these so widely diverse natures bear to each other? Evidently that
which President Hopkins has assigned. "Because he is rational, man is
not the less subject to gravitation and cohesion and chemical affinity.
He has also the organic life that belongs to the plant, and the
sensitive and instinctive life that belongs to the animal." Thus far his
life "is the correspondence of certain inner physico-chemical actions
with certain outer physico-chemical actions,"--undoubtedly "consists in
the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations";
and being the highest order of animal, his life "consists in the
establishment of more varied, more complete, and more involved
adjustments" than that of any other animal. What, then, is this life
for? "This, as man is now constituted, is _conditional for his rational
life_." "The rational life is united with and _superinduced upon all
these_." As God made man, and in the natural order, the "flesh," the
animal life, is wholly subordinate to the "spirit," the spiritual life.
And the spirit, or spiritual person of which Paul writes so much,--does
this also, this "Intelligence in its highest form," consist "in the
continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations"? Are
the words of the apostle a cheat, a lie, when he says, "For if ye live
after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the spirit"--_i. e._ by
living with the help of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the law of
the spiritual person--"do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live?"
And are Mr. Spencer's words, in which he teaches exactly the opposite
doctrine, true? wherein he says: "And lastly let it be noted that what
we call truth," &c., (see _ante_, p. 168,) wherein he teaches that "if
ye live after the flesh," if you are guided by "_truth_," if you are
able perfectly to maintain "the accurate correspondence of subjective to
objective relations," "ye shall not surely die," you will attain to what
is _successful action_, the preservation of "life," of "the continuous
adjustment of internal relations to external relations," of the animal
life, and thus your bodies will live forever--the highest good for man;
but if you "mortify the deeds of the body," if you pay little heed to
"the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations,"
you will meet with "_error_, leading to failure and therefore towards
death,"--the death of the body, the highest evil which can befall
man,--and so "ye shall" not "live." Proceeding in the direction already
taken, we find that in his normal condition the spiritual person would
not be chiefly, much less exclusively, occupied with attending to "the
continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations," but
would only regard these in so far as is necessary to preserve the body
as the ground through which, in accordance with the present dispensation
of God's providence, that person may exert himself and employ his
energies upon those objects which belong to his peculiar sphere, even
the laws and duties of spiritual beings. The person would indeed employ
his superior faculties to assist the lower nature in the preservation of
its animal life, but this only as a means. God has ordained that through
this means that person shall develop and manifest himself; yet the life,
continuance in being, of the soul, is in no way dependent on this means.
Strip away the whole animal nature, take from man his body, his Sense
and Understanding, leave him--as he would then be--with no possible
medium of communication with the Universe, and he, the I am, the
spiritual person, would remain intact, as active as ever. He would have
lost none of his capacity to see laws and appreciate their force; he
would feel the _bindingness_ of obligation just as before; and finally,
he would be just as able as in the earlier state to make a choice of an
ultimate end, though he would be unable to make a single motion towards
putting that choice into effect. The spiritual person, then, being such
that he has in himself no element of decomposition, has no need, for the
preservation of his own existence, to be continually occupied with
efforts to maintain "the accurate correspondence of subjective to
objective relations." Yet activity is his law, and, moreover, an
activity having objects which accord with this his indestructible
nature. With what then will such a being naturally occupy himself? There
is for him no danger of decay. He possesses within himself the laws and
ideals of his action. As such, and created, he is near of kin to that
august Being in whoso image he was created. His laws are the created
person's laws. The end of the Creator should be that also of the
created. But God is infinite, while the soul starts a babe, an
undeveloped germ, and must begin to learn at the alphabet of knowledge.
What nobler, what more sublime and satisfactory occupation could this
being, endowed with the faculties of a God, find, than to employ all his
power in the contemplation of the eternal laws of the Universe, _i. e._
to the acquisition of an intimate acquaintance with himself and God; and
to bend all his energies to the realization by his own efforts of that
part in the Universe which God had assigned him, _i. e._, to accord his
will entirely with God's will. This course of life, a spiritual person
standing in his normal relation to an animal nature, would pursue as
spontaneously as if it were the law of his being. But this which we have
portrayed is not the course which human beings do pursue. By no means.
One great evil, at least, that "the Fall" brought upon the race of man,
is, that human beings are born into the world with the spiritual person
all submerged by the animal nature; or, to use Paul's figure, the spirit
is enslaved by the flesh; and such is the extent of this that many,
perhaps most, men are born and grow up and die, and never know that they
have any souls; and finally there arise, as there have arisen through
all the ages, just such philosophers as Sir William Hamilton and Mr.
Spencer, who in substance deny that men are spiritual persons at all,
who say that the highest knowledge is a generalization in the
Understanding, a form of a knowledge common to man and the brutes, and
that "the highest achievements of science are resolvable into mental
relations of coexistence and sequence, so coördinated as exactly to
tally with certain relations of coexistence and sequence that occur
externally." It is this evil, organic in man, that Paul portrays so
vividly; and it is against men who teach such doctrines that he thunders
his maledictions.

We have spoken above of the spiritual person as diverse from, superior
to, and superinduced upon, the animal nature. This is his _position_ in
the logical order. We have also spoken of him as submerged under the
animal nature, as enslaved to the flesh. By such figures do we strive to
express the awfully degraded _condition_ in which every human being is
born into the world. And mark, this is simply a natural degradation. Let
us then, as philosophers, carry our examination one step farther and
ask: In this state of things what would be the fitting occupation of the
spiritual person. Is it that "continuous adjustment"? He turns from it
with loathing. Already he has served the "flesh" a long and grievous
bondage. Manifestly, then, he should struggle with all his might to
regain his normal condition to become naturally good as well as morally
good,--he should fill his soul with thoughts of God, and then he should
make every rational exertion to induce others to follow in his

We attain, then, a far different result from Mr. Spencer. "The highest
achievements of science" for us, our "truth," guiding us "to successful
action," is that pure _a priori_ truth, the eternal law of God which is
written in us, and given to us for our guidance to what is truly
"successful action,"--the accordance of our wills with the will of God.

What we now reach, and what yet remains to be considered of this
chapter, is that passage in which Mr. Spencer enounces, as he believes,
a new principle of philosophy, a principle which will symmetrize and
complete the Hamiltonian system, and thus establish it as the true and
final science for mankind. Since we do not view this principle in the
same light with Mr. Spencer, and especially since it is our intention to
turn it upon what he has heretofore written, and demolish that with it,
there might arise a feeling in many minds that the whole passage should
be quoted, that there might be no doubt as to his meaning. This we
should willingly do, did our space permit. Yet it seems not in the least
necessary. That part of the passage which contains the gist of the
subject, followed by a candid epitome of his arguments and
illustrations, would appear to be ample for a fair and sufficiently full
presentation of his theory, and for a basis upon which we might safely
build our criticism. These then will be given.

"There still remains the final question--What must we say concerning
that which transcends knowledge? Are we to rest wholly in the
consciousness of phenomena? Is the result of inquiry to exclude utterly
from our minds everything but the relative; or must we also believe in
something beyond the relative?

"The answer of pure logic is held to be, that by the limits of our
intelligence we are rigorously confined within the relative; and that
anything transcending the relative can be thought of only as a pure
negation, or as a non-existence. 'The _absolute_ is conceived merely by
a negation of conceivability,' writes Sir William Hamilton. 'The
_Absolute_ and the _Infinite_,' says Mr. Mansel, 'are thus, like the
_Inconceivable_ and the _Imperceptible_, names indicating, not an object
of thought or of consciousness at all, but the mere absence of the
conditions under which consciousness is possible.' From each of which
extracts may be deduced the conclusion, that, since reason cannot
warrant us in affirming the positive existence of what is cognizable
only as a negation, we cannot rationally affirm the positive existence
of anything beyond phenomena.

"Unavoidable as this conclusion seems, it involves, I think, a grave
error. If the premiss be granted, the inference must doubtless be
admitted; but the premiss, in the form presented by Sir William Hamilton
and Mr. Mansel, is not strictly true. Though, in the foregoing pages,
the arguments used by these writers to show that the Absolute is
unknowable, have been approvingly quoted; and though these arguments
have been enforced by others equally thoroughgoing, yet there remains to
be stated a qualification, which saves us from that scepticism otherwise
necessitated. It is not to be denied that so long as we confine
ourselves to the purely logical aspect of the question, the propositions
quoted above must be accepted in their entirety; but when we contemplate
its more general, or psychological aspect, we find that these
propositions are imperfect statements of the truth; omitting, or
rather excluding, as they do, an all-important fact. To speak
specifically:--Besides that _definite_ consciousness of which Logic
formulates the laws, there is also an _indefinite_ consciousness which
cannot be formulated. Besides complete thoughts, and besides the
thoughts which, though incomplete, admit of completion, there are
thoughts which it is impossible to complete, and yet which are still
real, in the sense that they are normal affections of the intellect.

"Observe in the first place, that every one of the arguments by which
the relativity of our knowledge is demonstrated, distinctly postulates
the positive existence of something beyond the relative. To say that we
cannot know the Absolute, is, by implication, to affirm that there _is_
an Absolute. In the very denial of our power to learn _what_ the
Absolute is, there lies hidden the assumption _that_ it is; and the
making of this assumption proves that the Absolute has been present to
the mind, not as a nothing but as a something. Similarly with every step
in the reasoning by which this doctrine is upheld. The Noumenon,
everywhere named as the antithesis of the Phenomenon, is throughout
necessarily thought of as an actuality. It is rigorously impossible to
conceive that our knowledge is a knowledge of Appearances only, without
at the same time conceiving a Reality of which they are appearances; for
appearance without reality is unthinkable." After carrying on this train
of argument a little further, he reaches this just and decisive result.
"Clearly, then, the very demonstration that a _definite_ consciousness
of the Absolute is impossible to us, unavoidably presupposes an
indefinite consciousness of it." Carrying the argument further, he says:
"Perhaps the best way of showing that, by the necessary conditions of
thought, we are obliged to form a positive though vague consciousness
of this which transcends distinct consciousness, is to analyze our
conception of the antithesis between Relative and Absolute." He follows
the presentation of certain "antinomies of thought" with an extract from
Sir William Hamilton's words, in which the logician enounces his
doctrine that in "correlatives" "the positive alone is real, the
negative is only an abstraction of the other"; or, in other words, the
one gives a substance of some kind in the mind, the other gives simply
nothingness, void, absolute negation. Criticizing this, Mr. Spencer is
unquestionably right in saying: "Now the assertion that of such
contradictories 'the negative is _only_ an abstraction of the
other'--'is _nothing else_ than its negation'--is not true. In such
correlatives as Equal and Unequal, it is obvious enough that the
negative concept contains something besides the negation of the positive
one; for the things of which equality is denied are not abolished from
consciousness by the denial. And the fact overlooked by Sir William
Hamilton is, that the like holds, even with those correlatives of which
the negative is inconceivable, in the strict sense of the word."
Proceeding with his argument, he establishes, by ample illustration, the
fact that a "something constitutes our consciousness of the Non-relative
or Absolute." He afterwards shows plainly by quotations, "that both Sir
William Hamilton and Mr. Mansel do," in certain places, "distinctly
imply that our consciousness of the Absolute, indefinite though it is,
is positive not negative." Further on he argues thus: "Though Philosophy
condemns successively each attempted conception of the Absolute; though
it proves to us that the Absolute is not this, nor that, nor that;
though in obedience to it we negative, one after another, each idea as
it arises; yet as we cannot expel the entire contents of consciousness,
there ever remains behind an element which passes into new shapes. The
continual negation of each particular form and limit simply results in
the more or less complete abstraction of all forms and limits, and so
ends in an indefinite consciousness of the unformed and unlimited."
Thus he brings us to "the ultimate difficulty--How can there possibly be
constituted a consciousness of the unformed and unlimited, when, by its
very nature, consciousness is possible only under forms and limits?"
This he accounts for by by hypostatizing a "raw material" in
consciousness which is, must be, present. He presents his conclusion as
follows: "By its very nature, therefore, this ultimate mental element is
at once necessarily indefinite and necessarily indestructible. Our
consciousness of the unconditioned being literally the unconditioned
consciousness, or raw material of thought, to which in thinking we give
definite forms, it follows that an ever-present sense of real existence
is the very basis of our intelligence." ...

"To sum up this somewhat too elaborate argument:--We have seen how, in
the very assertion that all our knowledge, properly so called, is
Relative, there is involved the assertion that there exists a
Non-relative. We have seen how, in each step of the argument by which
this doctrine is established, the same assumption is made. We have seen
how, from the very necessity of thinking in relations, it follows that
the Relative itself is inconceivable, except as related to a real
Non-relative. We have seen that, unless a real Non-relative or Absolute
be postulated, the Relative itself becomes absolute, and so brings the
argument to a contradiction. And on contemplating the process of
thought, we have equally seen how impossible it is to get rid of the
consciousness of an actuality lying behind appearances; and how, from
this impossibility, results our indestructible belief in that

The approval which has been accorded to certain of the arguments adduced
by Mr. Spencer in favor of his especial point, that the Absolute is a
positive somewhat in consciousness, and to that point as established,
must not be supposed to apply also to that hypothesis of "indefinite
consciousness" by which he attempts to reconcile this position with his
former teachings. On the contrary, it will be our purpose hereafter to
show that this hypothesis is a complete fallacy.

As against the positions taken by Sir William Hamilton and Mr. Mansel,
Mr. Spencer's argument may unquestionably be deemed decisive. Admitting
the logical accuracy of their reasoning, he very justly turns from the
logical to the psychological aspect of the subject, takes exception to
their premiss, shows conclusively that it is fallacious, and gives an
approximate, though unfortunately a very partial and defective
presentation of the truth. Indeed, the main issue which must now be made
with him is whether the position he has here taken, and which he puts
forth as that peculiar element in his philosophical system, that new
truth, which shall harmonize Hamiltonian Limitism with the facts of
human nature, is not, when carried to its logical results, in
diametrical and irreconcilable antagonism to that whole system, and all
that he has before written, and so does not annihilate them. It will be
our present endeavor to show that such is the result.

Perhaps we cannot better examine Mr. Spencer's theory than, first, to
take up what we believe to be the element of truth in it, and carry out
this to its logical results; and afterwards to present what seem to be
the elements of error, and show them to be such.

1. "We are obliged to form a positive though vague consciousness of"
"the Absolute." Without criticizing his use here of consciousness as if
it were a faculty of knowledge, and remembering that we cannot have a
consciousness of anything without having a knowledge commensurate with
that consciousness, we will see that Mr. Spencer's assertion is
tantamount to saying, We have a positive knowledge that the Absolute is.
It does not seem that he himself can disallow this. Grant this, and our
whole system follows, as does also the fallacy of his own. Our argument
will proceed thus. Logic is the science of the pure laws of thought, and
is mathematically accurate, and is absolute. Being such, it is law for
all intellect, for God as well as man. But three positions can be taken.
Either it is true for the Deity, or else it is false for him, or else
it has no reference to him. In the last instance God is Chaos; in the
second he and man are in organic contradiction, and he created man so;
the first is the one now advocated. The second and third hypotheses
refute themselves in the statement of them. Nothing remains but the
position taken that the laws of Logic lie equally on God and man. One of
those laws is, that, if any assertion is true, all that is logically
involved in it is true; in other words, all truth is in absolute and
perfect harmony. This is fundamental to the possibility of Logic. Now
apply this law to the psychological premiss of Mr. Spencer, that we have
a positive knowledge that the Absolute is. A better form of expression
would be, The absolute Being is. It follows then that he is in a _mode_,
has a _formal_ being. But three hypotheses are possible. He is in no
mode, he is in one mode; he is in all modes. If he is in no mode, there
is no form, no order, no law for his being; which is to say, he is
Chaos. Chaos is not God, for Chaos cannot organize an orderly being, and
men are orderly beings, and were created. If he is in all modes, he is
in a state of utter contradiction. God "is all in every part." He is
then all infinite, and all finite. Infinity and finiteness are
contradictory and mutually exclusive qualities. God is wholly possessed
of contradictory and mutually exclusive qualities, which is more than
unthinkable--it is absurd. He is, must be, then, in one mode. Let us
pause here for a moment and observe that we have clearly established,
from Mr. Spencer's own premiss, the fact that God _is limited_. He must
be in one mode to the exclusion of all other modes. He is limited then
by the necessity to be what he is; and if he could become what he is
not, he would not have been absolute. Since he is absolute, he is, to
the exclusion of the possibility of any other independent Being. Other
beings are, and must therefore be, dependent on and subordinate to him.
Since he is superior to all other beings he must be in the highest
possible mode of being. Personality is the highest possible mode of
being. This will appear from the following considerations. A person,
possesses the reason and law of his action, and the capacity to act,
within himself, and is thus a _final cause_. No higher form of being
than this can be needed, and so by the law of parsimony a hypothesis of
any other must be excluded. God is then a person.

We have now brought the argument to that point where its connection with
the system advocated in this treatise is manifest. If the links are well
wrought, and the chain complete, not only is this system firmly grounded
upon Mr. Spencer's premiss, but, as was intimated on an early page, he
has in this his special point given partial utterance to what, once
established, involves the fallacy not only of all he has written before,
but as well of the whole Limitist Philosophy. It remains now to remark
upon the errors in his form of expressing the truth.

2. Mr. Spencer's error is twofold. He treats of consciousness as a
faculty of knowledge. He speaks of a "vague," an "indefinite
consciousness." Let us examine these in their order.

_a._ He treats of consciousness as a faculty of knowledge. In this he
uses the term in the inexact, careless, popular manner, rather than with
due precision. As has been observed on a former page, consciousness is
the light in which the person sees his faculties act. Thus some feeling
is affected. This feeling is cognized by the intellectual faculty, and
of this the person is conscious. Hence it is an elliptical expression to
say "I am conscious of the feeling." The full form being "I am conscious
that I know the feeling." Thus is it with all man's activities. Applying
this to the case in hand, it appears, not that we are conscious of the
Absolute, but that we are conscious that the proper intellectual
faculty, the Pure Reason, presents what absoluteness is, and that the
absolute Person is, and through this presentation--intuition--the
spiritual person knows these facts. We repeat, then, our position:
consciousness is the indivisible unity, the light in which the person
sees all his faculties and capacities act; and so is to be considered as
different in kind from them all as the peculiar and unique endowment of
a spiritual person.

_b._ Mr. Spencer speaks of a "vague," an "indefinite consciousness." The
expression "vague consciousness" being a popular and very common one,
deserves a careful examination, and this we hope to give it, keeping in
mind meantime the position already attained.

The phrase is used in some such connection as this, "I have a vague or
undefined consciousness of impending evil." Let us analyze this
experience. In doing so it will be observed that the consciousness, or
rather the seeing by the person in the light of consciousness, is
positive, clear, and definite, and is the apprehension of a feeling.
Again, the feeling is positive and distinct; it is a feeling of dread,
of threatening danger. What, then, is vague--is undefined? This. That
cause which produces the feeling lies without the reach of the cognitive
faculties, and of course cannot be known; because what produces the
feeling is unknown, the intellectual apprehension experiences a sense of
vagueness; and this it instinctively carries over and applies to the
feeling. Yet really the sense of vagueness arises from an ignorance of
the cause of the feeling. Strictly speaking, then, it is not
consciousness that is vague; and so Mr. Spencer's "_indefinite_
consciousness, which cannot be formulated," has no foundation in fact.
But this may be shown by another line of thought. Consciousness is
commensurate with knowledge, _i. e._, man can have no knowledge except
he is conscious of that knowledge; neither can he have any consciousness
except he knows that the consciousness is, and what the consciousness
is, _i. e._, what he is conscious of. Now all knowledge is definite; it
is only ignorance that is indefinite. When we say that our knowledge of
an object is indefinite, we mean that we partly know its
characteristics, and are partly ignorant of them. Thus then also the
result above stated follows; and what Mr. Spencer calls "_indefinite_
consciousness" is a "_definite_ consciousness" that we partly know, and
are partly ignorant of the object under consideration.

In the last paragraph but one, of the chapter now under consideration,
Mr. Spencer makes a most extraordinary assertion respecting
consciousness, which, when examined in the light of the positions we
have advocated, affords another decisive evidence of the fallacy of his
theory. We quote it again, that the reader may not miss of giving it
full attention. "By its very nature, therefore, this ultimate mental
element is at once necessarily indefinite and necessarily
indestructible. Our consciousness of the unconditioned being literally
_the unconditioned consciousness_, or _raw material of thought_, to
which in thinking we give definite forms, it follows that an
ever-present sense of real existence is the very basis of our
intelligence." Upon reading this passage, the question spontaneously
arises, What does the writer mean? and it is a question which is not so
easily answered. More than one interpretation may be assigned, as will
appear upon examination. A problem is given. To find what the "raw
material of thought" is. Since man has thoughts, there must be in him
the "raw material of thought"--the crude thought-ore which he smelts
down in the blast-furnace of the Understanding, giving forth in its
stead the refined metal--exact thought. We must then proceed to attain
our answer by analyzing man's natural organization.

Since man is a complex, constituted being, there is necessarily a
logical order to the parts which are combined in the complexity. He may
be considered as a substance in which a constitution inheres, _i. e._,
which is organized according to a _set_ of fixed laws, and that set of
laws may be stated in their logical order. It is sufficient, however,
for our purpose to consider him as an organized substance, the
organization being such that he is a person--a selfhood, _self-active_
and capable of self-examination. The raw material of _all_ the
activities of such a person is this organized substance. Take away the
substance, and there remains only the set of laws as _abstract_ ideas.
Again, take away the set of laws, and the substance is simple,
unorganized substance. In the combining of the two the person becomes.
These, then, are all there is of the person, and therefore in these must
the raw material be. From this position it follows directly that any
capacity or faculty, or, in general, every activity of the person, is
the substance acting in accordance with the law which determines that
form of the activity. To explain the term, form of activity. There is a
_set_ of laws. Each law, by itself, is a simple law, and is incapable of
organizing a substance into a being. But when these laws are considered,
as they naturally stand in the Divine Reason, in relation to each other,
it is seen that this, their standing together, constitutes ideals, or
forms of being and activity. To illustrate from an earthly object. The
law of gravitation alone could not organize a Universe; neither could
the law of cohesion, nor of centripetal, nor centrifugal force, nor any
other one law. All these laws must be acting together,--or rather all
these laws must stand together in perfect harmony, according to their
own nature, thus constituting an ideal form, in accordance with which
God may create this Universe. For an illustration of our topic in its
highest form, the reader is referred to those pages of Dr. Hickok's
"Rational Psychology," where he analyzes personality into its elements
of Spontaneity, Autonomy, and Liberty. From that examination it is
sufficiently evident that either of these alone cannot organize a
person, but that all three must be present in order to constitute such a
being. There are, then, various forms of activity in the person, as
Reason, Sensibility, and Will, in each of which the organized substance
acts in a mode or form, and this form is determined by the set of
organizing laws. Consciousness also is such a form. The "raw material of
thought," then, must be this substance considered under the peculiar
form of activity which we call consciousness, but _before the substance
thus formulated has been awakened into activity by those circumstances
which are naturally suited to it, for bringing it into action_. Now,
by the very terms of the statement it is evident that the substance thus
organized in this form, or, to use the common term, consciousness
considered apart from and prior to its activity, can never be known _by
experience_, i. e., _we can never be conscious of an unconscious state_.
"Unconditioned consciousness" is consciousness considered as quiescent
because in it have been awakened no "definite forms"--no "thinking." "In
the nature of things," then, it is impossible to be conscious of an
"unconditioned consciousness." Yet Mr. Spencer says that "our
consciousness of the unconditioned," which he has already asserted and
proved, is a "positive," and therefore an active state; is identical
with, is "literally the unconditioned consciousness," or consciousness
in its quiescent state, considered before it had been awakened into
activity, which is far more absurd than what was just above shown to be
a contradiction.

To escape such a result, a less objectionable interpretation may be
given to the dictum in hand. It may be said that it looks upon
consciousness only as an activity, and in the logical order after its
action has begun. We are, then, conscious, and in this is positive
action, but no definite object is present which gives a form in
consciousness, and so consciousness _returns upon itself_. We are
conscious that we are conscious, which is an awkward way of saying that
we are self-conscious, or, more concisely yet, that we are conscious;
for accurately this is all, and this is the same as to say that the
subject and object are identical in this act. The conclusion from this
hypothesis is one which we judge Mr. Spencer will be very loath to
accept, and yet it seems logically to follow. Indeed, in a sentence we
are about to quote, he seems to make a most marked distinction between
self-consciousness and this "consciousness of the unconditioned," which
he calls its "obverse."

But whatever Mr. Spencer's notion of the "raw material of thought" is,
what more especially claims our attention and is most strange, is his
application of that notion. To present this more clearly, we will quote
further from the passage already under examination. "As we can in
successive mental acts get rid of all particular conditions, and replace
them by others, but cannot get rid of that undifferentiated substance of
consciousness, which is conditioned anew in every thought, there ever
remains with us a sense of that which exists persistently and
independently of conditions. At the same time that by the laws of
thought we are rigorously prevented from forming a conception of
absolute existence, we are by the laws of thought equally prevented from
ridding ourselves of the consciousness of absolute existence: this
consciousness being, as we here see, the obverse of our
self-consciousness." Now, by comparing this extract with the other,
which it immediately follows, it seems plain that Mr. Spencer uses as
synonymous the phrases "consciousness of the unconditioned,"
"unconditioned consciousness," "raw material of thought,"
"undifferentiated substance of consciousness," and "consciousness of
absolute existence." Let us note, now, certain conclusions, which seem
to follow from this use of language. We are conscious "of absolute
existence." No person can be conscious except he is conscious of some
state or condition of his being. Absolute existence is, therefore, a
state or condition of our being. Also this "consciousness of absolute
existence"--as it seems _our_ absolute existence--is the "raw material
of thought." But, again, as was shown above, this "raw material," this
"undifferentiated substance of consciousness," if it is anything, is
consciousness considered as capacity, and in the logical order before it
becomes, or is, active; and it further appeared that of this quiescent
state we could have no knowledge by experience. But since the above
phrases are synonymous, it follows that "consciousness of absolute
existence" is the "undifferentiated substance of consciousness," is a
consciousness of which we can have no knowledge by experience, is a
consciousness of which we can have no consciousness. Is this

It would be but fair to suppose that there is some fact which Mr.
Spencer has endeavored to express in the language we are criticizing.
There is such a fact, a statement of which will complete this criticism.
Unquestionably, in self-examination, a man may abstract all "successive
mental acts," may consider himself as he is, in the logical order before
he _has experiences_. In this he will find "that an ever-present sense
of real existence is the very basis of our intelligence"; or, in other
words, that it is an organic law of our being that there cannot be an
experience without a being to entertain the experience; and hence that
it is impossible for a man to think or act, except on the assumption
that he is. But all this has nothing to do with a "consciousness of the
unconditioned," or of "absolute existence"; for our existence is not
absolute, and it is _our_ existence of which we are conscious. The
reality and abidingness of _our_ existence is ground for _our_
experience, nothing more. Even if it were possible for us to have a
consciousness of our state before any experience, or to actually now
abstract all experience, and be conscious of our consciousness
unmodified by any object, _i. e._ to be conscious of unconsciousness,
this would not be a "consciousness of absolute existence." We could find
no more in it, and deduce no more from it, than that our existence was
involved in our experience. Such a consciousness would indeed appear
"unconditioned" by the coming into it of any activity, which would
give a form in it; but this would give us no notion of true
unconditionedness--true "absolute existence." This consciousness, though
undisturbed by any experience, would yet be conditioned, would have been
created, and be dependent upon God for continuance in existence, and for
a chance to come into circumstances, where it could be modified by
experiences, and so could grow. While, then, Mr. Spencer's theory gives
us the fact of the notion of the necessity of our existence to our
experience, it in no way accounts for the fact of our consciousness of
the unconditioned, be that what it may.

But to return from this considerable digression to the result which was
attained a few pages back, viz: that what Mr. Spencer calls
"_indefinite_ consciousness" is a "_definite_ consciousness" that we
partly know, and are partly ignorant of the object under consideration.
Let this conclusion be applied to the topic which immediately concerns
us,--the character of God.

But three suppositions are possible. Either we know nothing of God, not
even that he is; or we have a partial knowledge of him, we know that he
is, and all which we can logically deduce from this; or we know him
exhaustively. The latter, no one pretends, and therefore it needs no
notice. The first, even if our own arguments are not deemed
satisfactory, has been thoroughly refuted by Mr. Spencer, and so is to
be set aside. Only the second remains. Respecting this, his position is
that we know that God is and no more. Admit this for a moment. We are
conscious then of a positive, certain, inalienable knowledge that God
is; but that with reference to any and all questions which may arise
concerning him we are in total ignorance. Here, again, it is apparent
that it is not our consciousness or knowledge that is vague; it is our

We might suggest the question--of what use can it be to man to know that
God is, and be utterly and necessarily, yea, organically ignorant of
what he is? Let the reader answer the question to his own mind. It is
required to show how the theory advocated in this book will appear in
the light of the second hypothesis above stated.

Man knows that God is, and what God is so far as he can logically deduce
it from this premiss; but, in so far as God is such, that he cannot be
thus known, except wherein he makes a direct revelation to us, he must
be forever inscrutable. To illustrate. If the fact that God is, be
admitted, it logically follows that he must be self-existent.
Self-existence is a positive idea in the Reason, and so here is a second
element of knowledge respecting the Deity. Thus we may go on through
all that it is possible to deduce, and the system thus wrought will be
The Science of Natural Theology, a science as pure and sure as pure
equations. Its results will be what God must be. Looking into the
Universe we will find what must be corresponding with what is, and our
knowledge will be complete. Again, in many regards God may be utterly
inscrutable to us, since he may possess characteristics which we cannot
attain by logical deductions. For instance, let it be granted that the
doctrine of the Trinity is true--that there are three persons in one
Godhead. This would be a fact which man could never attain, could never
make the faintest guess at. He might, unaided, attain to the belief that
God would forgive; he might, with the profound and sad-eyed man of
Greece, become convinced that some god must come from heaven to lead men
to the truth; but the notion of the Trinity could never come to him,
except God himself with carefulness revealed it. Respecting those
matters of which we cannot know except by revelation, this only can be
demanded; and this by inherent endowment man has a right to demand; viz:
that what is revealed shall not contradict the law already "written in
the heart." Yet, once more, there are certain characteristics of God
that must forever be utterly inscrutable to every created being, and
this, because such is their nature and relation to the Deity, that one
cannot be endowed with a faculty capable of attaining the knowledge in
question. Such for instance are the questions, How is God self-existent,
how could he be eternal, how exercise his power, and the like? These are
questions respecting which no possible reason can arise why we should
know them, except the gratification of curiosity, which in reality is no
reason at all, and therefore the inability in question is no detriment
to man.

By the discussion which may now be brought to a close, two positions
seem to be established. 1. That we have, as Mr. Spencer affirms, a
positive consciousness that the absolute Being is, and that this and all
which we can logically deduce from this are objects of knowledge to us;
in other words, that the system advocated in this volume directly
follows from that premiss. 2. That any doctrine of "indefinite
consciousness" is erroneous, that the vagueness is not in consciousness,
but in our knowledge; and further, that the hypothesis of a
consciousness of the "raw material of thought" is absurd.


It would naturally seem, that, after what is believed to be the thorough
refutation of the limitist scheme, which has been given in the preceding
comments on Mr. Spencer's three philosophical chapters, the one named in
our heading would need scarce more than a notice. But so far is this
from being the case, that some of the worst features in the results of
his system stand out in clearest relief here. Before proceeding to
consider these, let us note a most important admission. He speaks of his
conclusion as bringing "the results of speculation into harmony with
those of common sense," and then makes the, for him, extraordinary
statement, "Common Sense asserts the existence of reality." In these two
remarks it would appear to be implied that Common Sense is a final
standard with which any position most be reconciled. The question
instantly arises, What is Common Sense? The writer has never seen a
definition, and would submit for the reader's consideration the

Common Sense _is the practical Pure Reason_; it is that faculty by which
the spiritual person sees in the light of consciousness the _a priori_
law as inherent in the fact presented by the Sense.

For the sake of completeness its complement may be defined thus:

Judgment is the practical Understanding; it is that faculty by which
the spiritual person selects such means as he thinks so conformed to
that law thus intuited, as to be best suited to accomplish the object in

A man has good Common Sense, who quickly sees the informing law in the
fact; and good judgment, who skilfully selects and adapts his means to
the circumstances of the case, and the end sought. Of course it will not
be understood that it is herein implied that every person who exercises
this faculty has a defined and systematic knowledge of it.

The reader will readily see the results which directly follow from Mr.
Spencer's premiss. It is true that "Common Sense asserts the existence
of a reality," and this assertion is true; but with equal truth does it
assert the law of logic; that, if a premiss is true, _all that is
logically involved in it is true_. It appears, then, that Mr. Spencer
has unwittingly acknowledged the fundamental principle of what may be
called the Coleridgian system, the psychological fact of the Pure
Reason, and thus again has furnished a basis for the demolition of his

It was said above that some of the evil results of Mr. Spencer's system
assumed in this chapter their worst phases. This remark is illustrated
in the following extract: "We are obliged to regard every phenomenon as
a manifestation of some Power by which we are acted upon; phenomena
being, so far as we can ascertain, unlimited in their diffusion, we are
obliged to regard this Power as omnipresent; and criticism teaches us
that this Power is wholly incomprehensible. In this consciousness of an
Incomprehensible Omnipresent Power we have just that consciousness on
which Religion dwells. And so we arrive at the point where Religion and
Science coalesce." The evils referred to may be developed as follows:
"We are obliged to regard every phenomenon as a manifestation of some
Power by which we are acted upon." This may be expressed in another form
thus: Every phenomenon is a manifestation of some Power by which we are
acted upon. Some doubt may arise respecting the precise meaning of this
sentence, unless the exact signification of the term phenomenon be
ascertained. It might be confined to material appearances, appreciable
by one of the five senses. But the context seems to leave no doubt but
that Mr. Spencer uses it in the wider sense of every somewhat in the
Universe, since he speaks of "phenomena" as "unlimited." Putting the
definition for the term, the sentence stands: Every somewhat in the
Universe is "a manifestation of some Power by which we are acted upon."
It follows, then, that there is no somewhat in the Universe, except we
are acted upon by it. Our being arises to be accounted for. Either we
began to be, and were created, or the ground of our being is in
ourselves, our being is pure independence, and nothing further is to be
asked. This latter will be rejected. Then we were created. But we were
not created by Mr. Spencer's "some Power," because it only _acts upon
us_. In his creation, man was not acted upon, because there was no man
to be acted upon; but in that act a being was originated _who might be
acted upon_. Then, however, we came into being, another than "some
Power" was the cause of us. But the act of creating man was a somewhat.
Every somewhat _in_ the Universe is "a manifestation of some Power."
This is not such a manifestation. Therefore the creation of man took
place outside the Universe. Or does Mr. Spencer prefer to say that the
creation of man is "a manifestation of some Power acting upon" him!

The position above taken seems the more favorable one for Mr. Spencer.
If, to avoid the difficulties which spring from it, he limits the term
phenomenon, as for instance to material appearances, then his assertion
that phenomena are unlimited is a contradiction, and he has no ground on
which to establish the omnipresence of his Power.

But another line of criticism may be pursued. Strictly speaking, all
events are phenomena. Let there be named an event which is universally
known and acknowledged, and which, in the nature of the case, cannot be
"a manifestation of some Power by which we are acted upon," and in that
statement also will the errors of the passage under consideration be
established. The experience by the human soul of a sense of guilt, of a
consciousness of ill-desert, is such an event. No "Power" can make a
sinless soul feel guilty; no "Power" _can relieve a sinful soul from
feeling guilty_. The feeling of guilt does not arise from the defiance
of Power, _it arises from the violation of Law_. And not only may this
experience be named, but every other experience of the moral nature of
man. In this connection let it be observed that Mr. Spencer always
elsewhere uses the term phenomenon to represent material phenomena in
the material universe. Throughout all his pages the reader is challenged
to find a single instance in which he attempts to account for any other
phenomena than these and their concomitants, the affections of the
intellect in the animal nature. Indeed, so thoroughly is his philosophy
vitiated by this omission, that one could never learn from anything he
has said in these pages, that man had a moral nature at all, that there
were any phenomena of sin and repentance which needed to be accounted
for. In this, Sir William Hamilton and Mr. Mansel are just as bad as he.
Yet in this the Limitists have done well; it is impossible, on the basis
of their system, to render such an account. To test the matter, the
following problem is presented.

To account, on the basis of the Limitist Philosophy, for the fact that
the nations of men have universally made public acknowledgment of their
guilt, in having violated the law of a superior being; and that they
have offered propitiatory sacrifices therefor, except in the case of
those persons and nations who have received the Bible, or have learned
through the Koran one of its leading features, that there is but one
God, and who in either case believe that the needful sacrifice has
already been made.

Another pernicious result of the system under examination is, that it
affords no better ground for the doctrine of Deity's omnipresence than
_experience_. Mr. Spencer's words are: "phenomena being, _so far as we
can ascertain_, unlimited in their diffusion, we are obliged to regard
this Power as omnipresent." Now, if he, or one of his friends, should
happen to get wings some day, and should just take a turn through space,
and should happen also to find a limit to phenomena, and, skirting in
astonishment along that boundary, should happen to light upon an open
place and a bridge, which invited them to pass across to another sphere
or system of phenomena, made by another "Power,"--said bridge being
constructed "'alf and 'alf" by the two aforesaid Powers,--then there
would be nothing to do but for the said explorer to fly back again to
England, as fast as ever he could, and relate to all the other Limitists
his new experience; and they, having no ground on which to argue against
or above experience, must needs receive the declaration of their
colaborator, with its inevitable conclusion, that the Power by which we
are here acted upon is limited, and so is not omnipresent. But when,
instead of such a fallacious philosophy, men shall receive the doctrine,
based not upon human experience, but upon God's inborn ideas that
phenomena are limited and God is omnipresent, and that upon these facts
experience can afford no decision, we shall begin to eliminate the real
difficulties of philosophy, and to approach the attainment of the unison
between human philosophy and the Divine Philosophy.

Attached to the above is the conclusion reached by Mr. Spencer in an
earlier part of his work, that "criticism teaches us that this Power is
wholly incomprehensible." We might, it is believed, ask with pertinence,
What better, then, is man than the brute? But the subject is recurred to
at this time, only to quote against this position a sentence from a
somewhat older book than "First Principles," a book which, did it
deserve no other regard than as a human production, would seem, from its
perfect agreement with the facts of human nature, to be the true basis
for all philosophy. The sentence is this: "Beloved, let us love one
another, for love is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God,

But the gross materialism of Mr. Spencer's philosophy presents its worst
phase in his completed doctrine of God. Mark. A "phenomenon" is "a
manifestation of some Power." "In this consciousness of an
Incomprehensible Omnipresent Power we have just that consciousness on
which Religion dwells. And so we arrive at the point where Religion and
Science coalesce." An "Incomprehensible Omnipresent Power" is all the
Deity Mr. Spencer allows to mankind. This Power is omnipresent, so that
we can never escape it; and incomprehensible, so that we can never know
the law of its action, or even if it have a law. At any moment it may
fall on us and crush us. At any moment this globe may become one vast
Vesuvius, and all its cities Herculaneums and Pompeiis. Of such a Deity
the children of men may either live in continual dread, or in continual
disregard; they may either spend their lives clad in sackcloth, or
purple and fine linen; bread and water may be their fare, or their table
may be spread like that of Dives; by merciless mortification of the
flesh, by scourges and iron chains, they may seek to propitiate, if
possible, this incomprehensible, omnipresent Power; or, reckless of
consequences, they may laugh and dance and be gay, saying, we know
nothing of this Power, he may crush us any moment, let us take the good
of life while we can. The symbols of such a Deity are the "rough and
ragged rocks," the hills, the snow-crowned mountains Titan-piled; the
avalanche starting with ominous thunder, to rush with crash and roar and
terrible destruction upon the hapless village beneath it; the flood
gathering its waters from vast ranges of hills into a single valley,
spreading into great lakes, drowning cattle, carrying off houses and
their agonized inhabitants, sweeping away dams, rending bridges from
their foundations, in fine, ruthlessly destroying the little gatherings
of man, and leaving the country, over which its devastating waters
flowed, a mournful desolation; and finally, perhaps the completest
symbol of all may be found in that collection of the united streams and
lakes of tens upon tens of thousands of miles of the earth's surface,
into the aorta of the world, over the rough, rocky bed of which the
crowded waters rush and roar, with rage and foam, until they come
suddenly to the swift tremendous plunge of Niagara.

It should be further noticed, that this philosophy is in direct
antagonism with that of the Bible,--that, if Spencerianism is true, the
Bible is a falsehood and cheat. Instead of Mr. Spencer's "Power," the
Bible presents us a doctrine of God as follows: "And God said unto
Moses, I AM THAT I AM. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the
children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."--_Exodus_ IV. 14. This
declaration, the most highly metaphysical of any but one man ever heard,
all the Limitists, even devout Mr. Mansel, either in distinct terms, or
by implication, deny. That other declaration is this: "Beloved, let us
love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born
of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; _for God
is love_."--1 _John_ IV. 7, 8. Direct as is the antagonism between the
two philosophies now presented, the later one appears in an especially
bad light from the fact, that, being very recent and supported by a mere
handful of men, its advocates have utterly neglected to take any notice
of the other and elder one, although the adherents of this may be
numbered by millions, and among them have been and are many of the
ablest of earth's thinkers. True, the great majority of Bible readers do
not study it as a philosophical treatise, but rather as a book of
religious and spiritual instruction; yet, since it is the most
profoundly philosophical book which has ever been in the hands of man,
and professedly teaches us not only the philosophy of man, but also the
philosophy of God, it certainly would seem that the advocates of the new
and innovating system should have taken up that one which it sought to
supplant, and have made an attempt, commensurate with the magnitude of
the work before them, to show its position to be fallacious and
unworthy of regard. Instead of this they have nowhere recognized the
existence even of this philosophy except in the single instance of a
quotation by Mr. Mansel, in which he seems tacitly to acknowledge the
antagonism we have noted. In Mr. Spencer's volume this neglect is
especially noteworthy. Judging from internal evidence, one would much
sooner conclude that it was written by a Hindu pundit, in a temple of
Buddha, than by an Englishman, in a land of Bibles and Christian
churches. Now, although the Bible may stand in his estimation no higher
than the Bahgavat-Gita, yet the mere fact that it is, and that it
presents a most profound philosophy, which is so largely received in his
own and neighboring nations, made it imperative upon him not only to
take some notice of it, but to meet and answer it, as we have indicated

Another fault in Mr. Spencer's philosophy, one which he will be less
willing to admit, perhaps, than the above, and, at the same time, one
which will be more likely forcibly to move a certain class of mind, is,
that it is in direct antagonism to human nature. Not only is the Bible a
falsehood and a cheat, if Mr. Spencer's philosophical system is true,
but human nature is equally a falsehood and a cheat. To specify. Human
nature universally considers God, or its gods, as persons; or, in other
words, all human beings, or at least with very rare exceptions,
spontaneously ascribe personality to Deity. This position is in no wise
negatived by the fact of the Buddhist priesthood of India, or of a class
of philosophical atheists in any other country. Man is endowed with the
power of self-education; and if an individual sees, in the religion in
which he is brought up, some inconsistency, which he, thinking it, as it
may be, integral, for philosophical reasons rejects, and all religion
with it, he may educate himself into speculative atheism. But no child
is an atheist. Not even Shelley became such, until he had dashed against
some of the distorted and monstrous _human_ theologies of his day. But
counting all the Buddhists, and all the German atheists, and all the
English atheists, and all the American atheists, and all other atheists
wherever they may be found, they will not number one tenth of the human
race. On what ground can the unanimity of the other nine tenths be
accounted for? There appears none possible, but that the notion that God
is a person, _is organic in human nature_. Another equally universal and
spontaneous utterance of mankind is, that there is a likeness, in some
way, between God and man. There are the grossest, and in many instances
most degrading modes of representing this; but under them all, and
through them all, the indelible notion appears. The unanimity and
pertinacity of this notion, appearing in every part of the globe, and
under every variety of circumstance, and reappearing after every
revolution, which, tearing down old customs and worships, established
new ones, can without doubt only be accounted for on the precise ground
of the other,--that the notion _is organic in man_. A third utterance of
the human race, standing in the same category with these two, is, that
the Deity can be propitiated by sacrifice. This also has had revolting,
yea most hideous and unrighteous forms of expression, even to human
sacrifices. But the notion has remained indestructible through all ages,
and must therefore be accounted for, as have been the others. Over
against the I AM, which human nature presents and the Bible supports;
over against Him in whose image man and the Bible say man was created;
and over against Him who, those two still agreeing witnesses also
affirm, is moved by his great heart of Love to have mercy on those
creatures who come to him with repentance, Mr. Spencer gives us, as the
result of _Science_, an incomprehensible omnipresent _Power_; only a
Power, nothing more; and that "utterly inscrutable." For our part,
whatever others may do, we will believe in human nature and the Bible.
On the truthfulness of these two witnesses, as on the Central Rock in
the Universe, we plant ourselves. Here do we find our Gibraltar.

Mr. Spencer further says that on the consciousness of this Power
"Religion dwells." Now, so far is this assertion from according with the
fact, that on his hypothesis it is impossible to account for the
presence of religion as a constitutive element of the human race.
Religion was primarily worship, the reverential acknowledgment, by the
sinless creature, of the authority of the Creator, combined with the
adoration of His absolute Holiness; but since sin has marred the race,
it has been coupled with the offering in some forms of a propitiatory
sacrifice. But if the Deity is only Power; or equally, if this is all
the notion we can form of him, we are utterly at a loss to find aught in
him to worship, much less can we account for the fact of the religious
nature in us, and most of all are we confounded by the persistent
assertion, by this religions nature, of the personality and mercy of
God, for Power can be neither personal nor merciful.

Mr. Spencer proceeds to strengthen as well as he can his position by
stating that "from age to age Science has continually defeated it
(Religion) wherever they have come into collision, and has obliged it to
relinquish one or more of its positions." In this assertion, also, he
manifests either a want of acquaintance with the facts or a failure to
comprehend their significance. Religion may properly be divided into two

1. Those religions which have appeared to grow up spontaneously among
men, having all the errors and deformities which a fleshly imagination
would produce.

2. The religion of Jesus Christ.

1. From the three great ideas mentioned above, no Science has ever
driven even the religions of this class. It has, indeed, corrected many
_forms of expression_, and has sometimes driven _individuals_, who
failed to distinguish between the form, and the idea which the form
overlies, into a rejection of the truth itself.

2. Respecting the religion of Jesus Christ, Mr. Spencer's remark has no
shadow of foundation. Since the beginning of its promulgation by
Jehovah, and especially since the completion of that promulgation by
our Saviour and his apostles, not one whit of its practical law or its
philosophy has been abated; nay, more, to-day, in these American States,
there may be found a more widespread, thoroughly believed, firmly held,
and intelligent conviction of God's personality, and personal
supervision of the affairs of men, of his Fatherhood, and of that
fatherhood exercised in bringing "order out of confusion," in so
conducting the most terrible of conflicts, that it shall manifestly
redound, not only to the glory of himself, but to the very best good of
man, so manifestly to so great a good, that all the loss of life, and
all the suffering, is felt to be not worthy to be compared to the good
achieved, and that too _most strongly by the sufferers_, than was ever
before manifested by any nation under heaven. The truth is, that, in
spite of all its efforts to the contrary, criticism has ever been
utterly impotent to eliminate from human thinking the elements we have
presented. Its utmost triumph has been to force a change in the form of
expression; and in the Bible it meets with forms of expression which it
ever has been, is now, and ever shall be, as helpless to change as a
paralytic would be to overturn the Himalaya.

The discussion of the topic immediately in hand may perhaps be now
properly closed with the simple allusion to a single fact. Just as far
as a race of human beings descends in the gradations of degradation,
just so far does it come to look upon Deity simply as power. African
Fetishism is the doctrine that Deity is an incomprehensible power,
rendered into the form of a popular religion; only the religion stands
one step higher than the philosophy, in that it assumes a sort of
personality for the Power.

On page 102 the following extract will be found: "And now observe that
all along, the agent which has effected the purification has been
Science. We habitually overlook the fact that this has been one of its
functions. Religion ignores its immense debt to Science; and Science is
scarcely at all conscious how much Religion owes it. Yet it is
demonstrable that every step by which Religion has progressed from its
first low conception to the comparatively high one it has now reached,
Science has helped it, or rather forced it to take; and that even now,
Science is urging further steps in the same direction." In this passage
half truths are so sweepingly asserted as universal that it becomes
simply untrue. The evil may be stand under two heads.

1. It is too philosophical. Mr. Spencer undertakes to be altogether too
profound. Since he has observed that certain changes for the better have
been made in some human religions, by the study of the natural sciences,
he jumps to the conclusion that religion has been under a state of
steady growth; and of course readily assumes--for there is not a shadow
of other basis for his assertion--that the "first" "conception" of
religion was very "low." This assumption we utterly deny, and demand of
Mr. Spencer his proof. For ourselves we are willing to come down from
the impregnable fortresses of the Bible upon the common ground of the
Grecian Mythology, and on this do battle against him. In this we are
taught that the Golden Age came _first_, in which was a life of spotless
purity; after which were the silver and brazen ages, and the Iron Age in
which was crime, and the "low conception" of religion came _last_. How
marked is the general agreement of this with the Bible account!

2. But more and worse may be charged on this passage than that it is too
philosophical. Mr. Spencer constructs his philosophy first and cuts his
facts to match it. This is a common mistake among men, and which they
are unconscious of. Now the fact is, Science was _not_ "the agent which
effected the purification." Religion owes a very small debt to Science.
Science can never be more than a supplement, "a handmaid" to Religion.
Religion's first position was not a low one, but nearly the highest.
Afterwards it sunk very low; but men sunk it there. Science never
"helped it" or "forced it" one atom upwards. Science alone only degrades
Religion and gives new wings and hands to crime. This will be
especially manifest to those who remember what Mr. Spencer's doctrine of
Science is. He says: "That even the _highest_ achievements of Science
are resolvable into mental relations of coexistence and sequence, so
coördinated as exactly to tally with certain relations of coexistence
and sequence that occur externally." Of course the highest _object_ of
Science will be "_truth_"; and this, our teacher tells us, "is simply
the accurate correspondence of subjective to objective relations." To
interpret. A science of medicine, a science of ablutions, a science of
clothing, a science of ventilation, a science of temperature, and to
some largely, to many chiefly, a science of _cookery_ do, combined,
constitute Science, and the preservation of the body is its highest
attainment. Is this Science "the agent which has effected the
purification of Religion?" What then is the truth?

"Lo this have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have
sought out many inventions."--_Eccl._ VII. 29. The first religion was a
communion with God. The Creator taught man, as a father would his
children. But when man sinned, he began to seek out many inventions, and
sank to that awful state of degradation hinted at in the fragmentary
sketches of the popular manners and customs of the times of
Abraham,--_Gen._ XII. XXV.; which Paul epitomizes with such fiery vigor
in the first chapter of Romans, and which may be found fully paralleled
in our own day. At the proper time, God took mankind in hand, and began
to develop his great plan for giving purity to religion. So he raised up
Moses, and gave to Israel the Levitical law. Or if Mr. Spencer shall
deny the biblical account of the origin of the five books of Moses, he
at least cannot deny that they have a being; and, placing them on the
same ground of examination and criticism as Herodotus, that they were
written more than a thousand years before the Christian era. Now mark.
Whoever wrote them, they remained as they were first framed, and no one
of the prophets, who came after, added one new idea. They only
emphasized and amplified "The Law." So far then as this part of
Religion was concerned, Science never helped a particle. Yea, more, the
words to Moses in the wilderness were never paralleled in the utterances
of man before the Christian era.

"In the fulness of time God sent his own Son." However defective was the
former dispensation, he, who appeared to most of the men of his day as
only a carpenter's son, declared to mankind the final and perfect truth.
As the system taught by Moses was not the result of any philosophical
developments, but was incomparably superior to the religion of the most
civilized people of the world, at whose court Moses was brought up, and
was manifestly constructed _de novo_, and from some kind of revelation,
so this, which the carpenter's son taught, was incomparably superior to
any utterance which the human soul had up to that time, or has since,
made. It comes forth at once complete and pure. It utters the highest
principles in the simplest language. Indeed, nothing new was left to say
when John finished his writing; and the canon might well be closed. And
since that day, has Religion advanced? Not a syllable. The purest water
is drank at the old fountain. But it will be said that the cause of
Religion among men has advanced. Very true, but Science did not advance
it. You can yet count the years on your fingers since men of Science
generally ceased to be strenuously hostile to Religion. Religion, in
every instance, has advanced just where it has gone back, and drank at
the old fountains. Who, then, has purified Religion? God is "the agent
which has effected the purification." God is he to whom Religion owes
"its immense debt," not Science. He it is who has brought her up to her
present high position.

When, now, we see how completely Mr. Spencer--to use a commonplace but
very forcible phrase--has "ruled God out of the ring," how impertinent
seems his rebuke, administered a few pages further on, in the passage
beginning, "Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious," to
those who believe that God means what he says, and that men may know
him. These men at least stand on a far higher plane than he who teaches
that an "incomprehensible omnipresent Power" is all there is for us to
worship, and his words will sound to them like the crackling of thorns
under a pot.

There does not appear in this chapter any further topic that has not
already been touched upon. With these remarks, then, the examination of
this chapter, and of Mr. Spencer's First Principles, may be closed.


If it has ever been the reader's lot to examine Paley's "Evidences of
Christianity," or the "Sermons of President Dwight on the Existence of
God"; and if he has risen from their perusal with a feeling of utter
unsatisfaction, enduring the same craving for a sure truth harassing as
before, he will have partly shared the experience which drove the author
forward, until he arrived at the foundation principles of this treatise.
Those works, and all of that class are, for the object they have in
view, worthless; not because the various statements they make are
untrue, not because elegant language and beauty of style are wanting;
but because they are radically defective in that, their _method_ is
irrelevant to the subject in hand; because in all the arguments that
have been or can be brought forward there is nothing decisive and final;
because the skeptic can thrust the sharp sword of his criticism through
every one of them; because, in fine, the very root of the matter, their
method itself is false, and men have attempted to establish by a series
of arguments what must be ground for the possibility of an argument, and
can only be established by the opposite, the _a priori_ method. Though
the Limitist Philosophy has no positive value, it has this negative one,
that it has established, by the most thorough-going criticism, the
worthlessness of the _a posteriori_ processes of thought on the matter
in hand. Yea, more, the existence of _any_ spiritual person cannot be
proved in that way. You can prove that the boy's body climbs the tree;
but never that he has a soul. This is always taken for granted. Lest the
author should appear singular in this view, he would call the attention
of the reader to a passage in Coleridge's writings in which he at once
sets forth the beauty of the style and incompetency of the logic of Dr.
Paley's book. "I have, I am aware, in this present work, furnished
occasion for a charge of having expressed myself with slight and
irreverence of celebrated names, especially of the late Dr. Paley. O, if
I were fond and ambitious of literary honor, of public applause, how
well content should I be to excite but one third of the admiration
which, in my inmost being, I feel for the head and heart of Paley! And
how gladly would I surrender all hope of contemporary praise, could I
even approach to the incomparable grace, propriety, and persuasive
facility of his writings! But on this very account, I feel myself bound
in conscience _to throw the whole force of my intellect in the way of
this triumphal car_, on which the tutelary genius of modern idolatry is
borne, even at the risk of being crushed under the wheels."

Instead of the method now condemned, there is one taught us in the Book,
and the only one taught us there, which is open to every human being,
for which every human being has the faculty, and respecting which all
that is needed is, that the person exercise what he already has. The boy
could not learn his arithmetic, except he set himself resolutely to his
task; and no man can learn of God, except he also fulfils the
conditions, except he consecrate himself wholly to the acquisition of
this knowledge, except his soul is poured out in love to God; "for every
one that _loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God_." We come then to the
knowledge of God by a direct and immediate act of the soul. The Reason,
the Sensibility, and the Will, give forth their combined and highest
action in the attainment of this knowledge. As an intellectual
achievement, this is the highest possible to the Reason. She attains
then, to the Ultima Thule of all effort, and of this she is fully
conscious. Nor is there awakened any feverish complaining that there are
no more worlds to conquer. In the contemplation of the ineffable
Goodness she finds her everlasting occupation, and her eternal rest.
Plainly, then, both Reason and Revelation teach but a single, and that
the _a priori_ method, by which to establish for man the fact of the
being of God. Let us buttress this conclusion with other lines of

Reader, now that it is suggested to you, does it not seem in the highest
degree improbable, that the most important truths which can pertain to
man, truths which do not concern primarily the affairs of this life, but
of his most exalted life, the life of the spiritual person as the
companion of its Creator, should be based upon an inferior, less
satisfactory, and less adequate foundation of knowledge, than those of
our childhood's studies, of the arithmetic and the algebra? The boy who
cons the first pages of his arithmetical text-book, soon learns what he
knows to be _self-evident_ truths. He who should offer to _prove_ the
truth of the multiplication-table, would only expose himself to
ridicule. When the boy has attained to youth, and advanced in his
studies, the pages of the algebra and geometry are laid before him, and
he finds new and higher orders of self-evident truths. Would any
evidence, any argument, strengthen his conviction of the validity of the
axioms? Yea, rather, if one should begin to offer arguments, would he
not instinctively and rightfully feel that the confession was thereby
tacitly made, that self-evidence was not satisfactory; and would he not,
finding his spontaneous impulse, and his education, so contradictory, be
_liable_ to fall into complete skepticism? If now there be this
spontaneous, yea, abiding, yea, unalterable, yea, universal conviction
respecting matters of subordinate importance, can it be possible,--I
repeat the question, for it seems to carry with it irresistibly its own
and the decisive answer,--can it be possible that the decisions of
questions of the highest moment, that the knowledge of the principles of
our moral being and of the moral government to which we are amenable,
and most of all of the Governor who is at once Creator, Lawgiver, and
Judge, is not based on at least equally spontaneous, yea, abiding, yea,
unalterable, yea, universal convictions? And when the teacher seemingly,
and may it not with truth be said _actually_, distrusting the
reliability of such a conviction, goes about to bolster up his belief,
and the belief of his pupil, in the existence of God, and thereto rakes
together, with painstaking labor, many sticks and straws of evidence,
instead of looking up to the truth which shines directly down upon him
with steady ineffable effulgence, is it at all strange that the
sharper-eyed pupil, keenly appreciating the contradiction between his
spontaneous conviction and his teaching, should become uncertain which
to follow, a doubter, and finally a confirmed skeptic? If, then, it is
incredible that the fundamental principles of man's moral nature--that
to which all the other elements of his being are subordinate, and for
which they were created--are established on inferior grounds, and those
less satisfactory than the grounds of other principles; and if, on the
other hand, the conviction is irresistible, that they are established on
the highest grounds, and since the truths of mathematics are also based
on the highest ground, self-evidence, and since there can be none higher
than the highest, it follows that the moral principles of the Universe,
so far as they can be known by man, have _precisely the same foundation
of truthfulness as the principles of mathematics--they are_

But some good Reader will check at the result now attained because it
involves the position that the human Reason is the final standard of
truth for man. Good reader, this position is involved, and is true; and
for the sake of Christ's religion it must be taken. The only possible
ground for a thoroughly satisfactory and thoroughly unanswerable
Christian Philosophy, is the principle that _The human Reason is the
final standard of truth for man_.

It has been customary for the devout Bible-reader to esteem that book as
his final standard; and to such an extent in many instances has his
reverential regard for it been carried, that the expression will hardly
be too strong for truth, that it has become an object of worship; and
upon the mind of such a one the above assertion will produce a shock.
While the author would treat with respect every religious feeling, he
would still remind such a person that the Bible is the moral school-book
of the spiritual person in man, which God himself prepared for man's
use, and must in every case be inferior and subordinate to the being
whom it was meant to educate; and furthermore, that, by the very fact of
making man, God established in him the standard, and the right to
require that this fact be recognized. Mark, God made the standard and
thus established the right. This principle may be supported by the
following considerations:

1. The church universally has acted upon it; and none have employed it
more vigorously than those who have in terms most bitterly opposed it.
One of the class just referred to affirms that the Bible is the standard
of truth. "Admit," says a friend standing by, "that it would be if it
were what it purports to be; but what evidence is there that this is the
case." Thereupon the champion presents evidence from the fathers, and
evidence from the book itself; and finally closes by saying, that such
an array of evidence is ample to satisfy any _reasonable_ man of its
truth and validity. His argument is undoubtedly satisfactory; but if he
has not appealed to a reasonable man, _i. e._ to the Reason, _i. e._, if
he has not acknowledged a standard for _the_ standard, and thus has not
tacitly, unconsciously and yet decisively employed the Reason as the
highest standard of truth, then his conduct has for us no adequate

2. Nicodemus and Christ, in express terms, recognized the validity of
this standard. Said the ruler to Christ, "We know that thou art a
teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest,
except God be with him."--_John_ III. 2. In these words, he both
recognized the validity of the standard, and the fact that its
requirements had been met. But decisively emphatic are the words of our
Saviour: "If I had not done among them the works which none other man
did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me
and my Father."--_John_ XV. 24. As if he had said, "While I appeared
among them simply as a man, I had no right to claim from them a belief
in my mission; but when I had given them adequate and ample evidence of
my heavenly character, when, in a word, I had by my works satisfied all
the rational demands for evidence which they could make, then no excuse
remained for their rejection of me."

The doctrine of this treatise, that man may know the truth, and know
God, is one which will never be too largely reflected upon by the human
mind, or too fully illustrated in human thought. In no better strain can
we bring our work to a close than by offering some reflections on those
words of Jesus Christ which have formed the title of our book.

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 'If ye continue in
my word, _then_ are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.'"--_John_ VIII. 31, 32. Throughout
all the acts of Christ, as recorded in John and especially during the
last days of his life, there may be traced the marks of a super-human
effort to express to the Jews, in the most skilful manner, the nature
and purport of his mission. He appeared to them a man; and yet it would
seem as if the Godhead in him struggled with language to overcome its
infirmities, and express with perfectest skill his extraordinary
character and work. But "he came unto his own, and his own received him
not." Being then such, even the Divine Man, Jesus Christ possessed in
his own right _an absolute and exhaustive metaphysic_. We study out some
laws in some of their applications; he knew all laws in all their
applications. In these his last days he was engaged in making the most
profound and highly philosophical revelations to his followers that one
being ever made to another. Or does the reader prefer to call them
religious? Very well: for here Religion and Philosophy are identical.
Being engaged in such a labor, it is certain that no merely human
teacher ever used words with the careful balancing, the skilful
selection, the certain exactitude, that Jesus did. Hence in the most
emphatic sense may it be said, that, whether he used figurative or
literal language, he meant just what he said. The terms used in the text
quoted are literal terms, and undoubtedly the passage is to be taken in
its most literal signification. In these words then, in this passage of
the highest philosophical import, is to be found the basis of the whole
_a priori_ philosophy. They were spoken of the most important truths,
those which pertain to the soul's everlasting welfare; but as the
greater includes the less, so do they include all lesser science. In
positive and unmistakable terms has Christ declared the fact of
knowledge. God knows all truth. In so far as we also know the truth, in
so far are we like him. And mark, this is knowledge, a purely
intellectual act. Love is indeed a _condition_ of the act, but it is not
the very act itself.

On this subject it is believed that the Christian church has failed to
assert the most accurate doctrine. Too generally has this knowledge been
termed a spiritual knowledge, meaning thereby, a sort of an impression
of happiness made upon the spiritual sensibility; and this state of
bliss has been represented as in the highest degree desirable. Beyond
all question it is true, that, when the spiritual person, with the eye
of Reason, sees, and thus knows the truth, seeing it and knowing it
because his whole being, will, and intellect is consecrated to, wrapt in
the effort, and he is searching for it as for hid treasures, there will
roll over his soul some ripples of that ineffable Delight which is a
boundless ocean in Deity. But this state of the Sensibility follows
after, and is dependent upon, the act of love, and the act of knowledge.
There should be, there was made in Christ's mind, a distinction in the
various psychical modifications of him who had sold all that he had to
buy the one pearl. The words of Christ are to be taken, then, as the
words of the perfect philosopher, and the perfect religionist. Bearing,
as he did, the destiny of a world on his heart, and burdened beyond all
utterance by the mighty load, his soul was full of the theme for which
he was suffering, he could speak to man only of his highest needs and
his highest capabilities. The truth which man may know, then, is not
only eternal,--all truth is eternal,--but it is that eternal truth most
important to him, the _a priori_ laws of the spiritual person and of all
his relations. The what he is, the why he is, and the what he ought to
become, are the objects of his examination. When, then, a spiritual
person has performed his highest act, the act of unconditional and
entire consecration to the search after the truth, _i. e._ to God; and
when, having done this he ever after puts away all lusts of the flesh,
he shall in this condition become absorbed, wrapt away in the
contemplation of the truth; then his spiritual eye will be open, and
will dart with its far-glancing, searching gaze throughout the mysteries
of the Universe, and he will know the truth. Before, when he was
absorbed in the pursuit of the things of Sense, he could see almost no
_a priori_ principles at all, and what he did see, only in their
practical bearing upon those material and transitory things which perish
with their using; but now balancing himself on tireless pinion in the
upper ether, anon he stoops to notice the largest and highest and most
important of those objects which formerly with so much painful and
painstaking labor he climbed the rugged heights of sense to examine, and
having touched upon them cursorily, to supply the need of the hour, he
again spreads his powerful God-given wings of faith and love, and soars
upward, upward, upward, towards the eternal Sun, the infinite Person,
the final Truth, God. Then does he come to comprehend, "to KNOW, with
all saints, what is the height and depth and length and breadth of the
love of God." Then do the pure _a priori_ laws, especially those of the
relations of spiritual persons, _i. e._ of the moral government of God,
come full into the field of his vision. Then in the clear blaze, in the
noonday effulgence of the ineffable, eternal Sun, does he see the Law
which binds God as it binds man,--that Law so terrible in its demands
upon him who had violated it, that the infinite Person himself could
find no other way of escape for sinning man but in sending "his
only-begotten Son into the world." And he who is lifted up to this
knowledge needs no other revelation. All other knowledge is a child's
lesson-book to him. All lower study is tasteless; all lower life is
neglected, forgotten. He studies forever the pure equations of truth; he
lives in the bosom of God. Such an one may all his life-long have been
utterly ignorant of books. A poor negro on some rice plantation, he may
have learned of God only by the hearing of the ear, but by one act, in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he has passed all the gradations of
earthly knowledge, and taken his seat on the topmost form in heaven. He
received little instruction from men; but forevermore God is his

This of which we have been speaking is, be it remembered, no rhapsody of
the imagination. It is a simple literal fact respecting man's intellect.
It is the same in kind, though of far nobler import, as if upon this act
of consecration there should be revealed to every consecrated one, in a
sudden overwhelming burst of light, the whole _a priori_ system of the
physical Universe. This is not so revealed because it is not essential,
and so would only gratify curiosity. The other and the higher is
revealed, because it is essential to man's spiritual life.

In the culminating act, then, of a spiritual person, in the unreserved,
the absolute consecration of the whole being to the search after truth,
do we find that common goal to which an _a priori_ philosophy inevitably
leads us, and which the purest, Christ's, religion teaches us. Thus does
it appear that in their highest idea Philosophy and Religion are
identical. The Rock upon which both alike are grounded is eternal. The
principles of both have the highest possible evidence, for they are
self-evident; and, having them given by the intuition of the Reason, a
man can cipher out the whole natural scheme of the Universe as he would
cipher out a problem in equations. He has not done it, because he is
wicked; and God has given him the Bible, as the mathematical astronomy
of the moral heavens, as a school-book to lead him back to the goal of
his lost purity.

How beautiful, then, art thou, O Religion, supernal daughter of the
Deity! how noble in thy magnificent preëminence! how dazzling in thy
transcendent loveliness! Thou sittest afar on a throne of pearl; thy
diadem the Morning Stars, thy robe the glory of God. Founded is thy
throne on Eternity; and from eternity to eternity all thy laws are
enduring truth. Sitting thus, O Queen, more firmly throned than the
snow-capped mountains, calmer than the ocean's depths, in the surety of
thy self-conscious integrity and truth, thou mayest, with mien of
noblest dignity, in unwavering confidence, throw down the gauntlet of
thy challenge to the assembled doubters of the Universe.

It may be that to some minds, unaccustomed to venturing out fearlessly
on the ocean of thought, with an unwavering trust in the pole-star truth
in the human soul, certain of the positions attained and maintained in
this volume will seem to involve the destruction of all essential
distinction between the Creator and the created. If the universe is a
definite and limited object, some created being may, at some period,
come to know every atom of it. Moreover, if there is a definite number
of the qualities and attributes--the endowments of Deity, some one may
learn the number, and what they are, and come at length to have a
knowledge equal to God's knowledge. Even if this possibility should be
admitted,--which it is not, for a reason to appear further on,--yet it
would in no way involve that the creature had, in any the least degree,
reduced the difference in _kind_ which subsists between him and the
Creator. A consideration of the following distinctive marks will, it
would seem, be decisive upon this point.

God is self-existent. His creatures are dependent upon him.
Self-existence is an essential, inherent, untransferable attribute of
Deity; and so is not a possible attainment for any creature. Every
creature is necessarily dependent upon the Creator every moment, for his
continuance in being. Let him attain ever so high a state of knowledge;
let him, if the supposition were rational, acquire a knowledge equal to
that of Deity; let him be endowed with all the power he could use, and
he would not have made, nor could he make an effort even, in the
direction of removing his dependence upon his Creator. In the very
height of his glory, in the acme of his attainment, it would need only
that God rest an instant, cease to sustain him, and he would not be, he
would have gone out, as the light goes out on a burner when one turns
the faucet.

Again, the mode by which their knowledge is attained is different in
kind; and the creature never can acquire the Creator's mode. The Deity
possesses his knowledge as a necessary endowment, given to him at once,
by a spontaneous intuition. Hence he could never learn, for there was no
knowledge which he did not already possess. Thus he is out of all
relation to Time. The creature, on the other hand, can never acquire any
knowledge except through processes; and, what is more, can never review
the knowledge already acquired, except by a process which occupies a
time. This relation of the creature to Time is organic; and this
distinction between the creature and Creator is thus also irremovable.

Another organic distinction is that observed in the mode of seeing
ideals. The Divine Reason not only gives ideas, _a priori_ laws, but it
gives all possible images, which those laws, standing in their natural
relations to each other, can become. Thus all ideals are realized to
him, whether the creative energy goes forth, and power is organized in
accordance therewith, or not. Here again the creature is of the opposite
kind. The creature can never have an idea until he has been educated by
contact with a material universe; and then can never construct an ideal,
except he have first seen the elements of that ideal realized in
material forms. To illustrate: The infant has no ideas; and there is no
radical difference between the beginning of a human being and any other
created spiritual person. He has a rudimentary Reason, but it must grow
before it can make its presentations, and the means of its education
must be a material system. Let a spiritual person be created, and set in
the Universe, utterly isolated, with no medium of communication, and it
would stay forever just what it was at the beginning, a dry seed. The
necessity of alliance with a material Universe is equally apparent in
the mature spiritual person. Such a one cannot construct a single ideal,
except he have seen all the elements already in material forms. He who
will attempt to construct an ideal of any _thing_, which never has been,
as a griffin, and not put into it any form of animals which have been on
earth, will immediately appreciate the unquestionableness of this
position. Therefore it is that no one can, "by searching, find out God."
The creature can only learn what the Creator declares to him.

Still another element of distinction, equally marked and decisive as
those just named, may be mentioned. The Deity possesses as inherent and
immanent endowment Power, or the ability of himself to realize his
ideals in objects. Thus is he the Creator. If this were not so, there
could have been no Universe, for there was no substance and no one to
furnish a substance but he. The creature, on the other hand, cannot
receive as a gift, neither attain by culture the power to create. Hence
he can only realize his ideals in materials furnished to his hand.
Pigments and brushes and chisels and marble must be before painters and
sculptors can become.

Each and every one of the distinctions above made is _organic_. They
cannot be eliminated. In fact their removal is not a possible object of
effort. The creature may _wish_ them removed; but no line of thought can
be studied out by which a movement can be made towards the attainment of
that wish. It would seem, then, that, such being the facts, the fullest
scope might fearlessly be allowed to the legitimate use of every power
of the creature. Such, it is believed, is God's design.


Transcriber's Note:

Archaic/multiple spellings and punctuation of the original have been

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