Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

their appropriateness, and are inevitably mitted as an integral, an essential, or as rejected. If God intervenes in human a permanent and necessary part of huaffairs only through the transcendental man life, that does not come in through side, only in the inherent and necessary humanity as the operating cause. The laws of human nature itself; if he be old French philosophers, a much wiser only the fixed, the permanent, the ne- and worthier set of men than we comcessary in human action, where is the monly allow-plain, straightforward. room for prayer, praise, sacrifice, or outspoken, and thesworn enemies of all devotion ? Who could pray to his own cant and humbug,-saw very clearly, instincts, sacrifice to the spontaneity of that on this principle, religion, since its his own nature, or build temples to the very essence is in the recognition and permanent, fixed, and necessary laws worship of a supernatural and superof his own activity? There would be human Providence, could not subsisi a no Divine Will to propitiate, no sove moment after men had once come to reign and efficacious Grace to suppli- see whence had originated their relicale,no extra-human Aid to be implored gious institutions, faith, and disciplines; or to be hoped for; no Divine Sympathy and, therefore, they said all plainly that for us in our trials, no solace in our religion originates in human weakness afflictions; do Divine Counsel to direct and ignorance. They considered relius in our doubts, and to guide us through gion, therefore, a reproach and a shame, the darkness which at times envelopes and as such condemned it, and labored us, to the clear radiance of Truth and to teach men philosophy; so that they Love. Do the proud oppress; do the should be able to cast it off, and live haughty insult; do the wicked tri- without it. The Germans saw this, umph, and trample the righteous in but shrunk from the conclusion. the dust; are the poor neglected, and Warm, and somewhat devout of heart, left to perish? there is no appeal to the they would retain religion; subtle of Divine Justice which may interpose, to brain, and speculatively inclined by a righteous God who may come to the temper and education, they would rerescue of the poor and the oppressed, tain philosophy; so they set themselves and overwhelm the wrong-doers with with right-down German earnesiness his judgments, and chastise them for 'at work to reconcile the two. They their insolence and want of love to their sought the source of religion, as a fact brethren; for God intervenes only in of human history, in human nature ilthe common sense of nations, the in- self, and found man endowed by nature stincts, or the spontaneous aspirations with a religious sense or faculty, which of the race, and these are always the some of them called Religiosity. Now, same, invariable in time and place; said they, the controversy must end. and, therefore, since impotent to prevent Here is religion a very element of man's iniquity, of course impotent to redress nature; it grows out of a fundamental it. Evidently, then, religion can be a want of his being, and therefore religion fact of human history, only so long as he has, and must, and will have, as we are destitute of philosophy. We long as he continues to be human. must cease to be religious the moment. This philosophy was imported into we are sufficiently enlightened to com- France by Madame de Staël and Benprehend the origin, naiure, and ten- jamin Constant, and in a modified form dencies of religious institutions. This was accepted by MM. Cousin and is what M. Cousin himself, on more Jouffroy. But, after all, this was mere than one occasion, significantly hints, ly a new version of the very doctrine of and it is what his friend and pupil the old philosophes. At first, it seemed Jouffroy expressly asserts.

to be something else, and many an We see here ihe fundamental vice inquirer thought he had found what he of modern philosophy itself, and in its was looking after. But alas! the dislater as well as in iis earlier develop- covery of the origin of religion in human ments. Its grand error is found in the nature destroyed the possibility of relipoint of

eparture of Cartesianism. giousness. The religiosity was struck Des Cartes assumes the sufficiency of from the list of human faculties, the Reason, as manifested in the individual moment it was discovered to be a facconsciousness, to account for all that uliy; because then it lost all its charcan appear in the life of humanity. acter of sacredness and authority, and Obviously, then, nothing can be ad- men who understood the secret, could

regard only as a mere sham or pretence common sense of nations," can only all religious exercises. Religion was explain what is common to all nations; no longer a law iroposed on me by a not by any means what each nation: lawgiver, but something growing out has in its life that is peculiar to itself. of my nature, standing on a level with We have seen that we cannot do it industry, politics, art, and the like. merely by the aid of climate and geoHere was no God to worship, but an graphy. The difference of races may do instinct to follow; no extra-mundane somewhat; but if we assume, or even sovereign to obey, but an internal law if we do not assume, that all the varieto develope. There was something ties of the human race have sprung like mockery in kneeling down to from the same family, this difference pray, for who should hear our prayers ? will be insufficient to account for all How could I, as an honest man, bring the diversities which we find in the my gift to the altar? The pious feeling, lives of different nations and individuals. the religious state of mind, was no lon- On this ground, we ask again, what ger possible. Our knowledge banishes shall we do with PROVIDENTIAL MEN, our religion, on the German system, who come at long intervals of time and as well as on the old French system. space, and by their superhuman virtue, There can be religion only where there intelligence, wisdom, love, and power is not only the belief in God, but a be- of sacrifice, found systems and eras, lief that God intervenes in human redeem and advance their race? Hisaffairs through the side of the Actual tory presents us, at least tradition preas well as through the side of the sents us, these men standing by the Transcendental ; for then only can there cradles of all nations, as the founders of be any room for religious exercises. their respective civilisations.

These Unquestionably God intervenes in men cannot come as the ordinary dehuman affairs through the necessary velopments of humanity, for humanity and invariable laws of nature and of hu- cannot of itself surpass iis uniform type. manity-what we call his intervention What shall we say of them ? Shall through the side of the Transcendental; we boldly deny their existence as indibut this intervention is not what we viduals, and with Vico declare them

call, nor what the religious world has vast collective beings; understanding I always called, PROVIDENCE. This in- by Homer, not

tervention is ontological, and the relation it implies is not that of Providence, “The blind old bard of Scio's rocky isle,” but that of Creation. Unless we adopt pantheism outright, and make the ac but a long series of bards and rhapsotion of man and of God one and identi- dists, the Homerides; nay, not the cal, to say that God intervenes only Homerides merely, but the whole Greek under the relation of Creator, is to as- people embodying itself and history, sume that he has in creating man given through the whole epoch of its earlier him all that he ever gives him, made and heroic life, in a sublime Iliad, and in the very elements of his nature all a didactic Odyssey ? Shall we say that the provision for his whole life, here or there was no Moses, but the Jewish hereafter, that man needs, or that he people, emancipating themselves from does or will make for him. Now, this servitude,who obtain after various trials is precisely what we understand, not and vicissitudes a country, and establish | by Providence, but by the denial of a fixed code of laws, political, civil, and | Providence.

religious ? And Zoroaster, and PythaBut as we showed, in our former goras, and Plato, and Confucius, the article, though from another point of heroes, sages, poets, prophets, and view, this theory of the non-intervention philosophers, founders of states and of Providence, save through the fixed empires, the benefactors of the race, and permanent laws of human nature, whose very names cast a spell over will not suffice to explain and account us, and make us thrill with ihe love for the facts of human history. By it of glory-must these all dissolve at we may explain and account for what the first touch of criticism, as spectres is fixed, permanent, uniform in history; at the approach of morning light, and but how explain by its light, or ac- leave us to be dissipated and deadened count for what is exceptional, variable, in the vague and indeterminate masses individual, diverse ? ' Vico, by his heaving and rolling in a wild, madden,

ing chaos, borne blindly, without per- him, watching over him with a tender ceiving why or wherefore, hither and love ; and intervenes to aid his growth, thither, by every wind that sweeps and the accomplishment of his destiny. over them? As well strike the Divinity. This brings us to from heaven, as dispeople the earth of II. The Religious VIEW OF PROVI its heroes. No; ihese Providential DENCE. In our former article we obMen, these Angels of God, these Mes. jected to M. Cousin's doctrine that it sengers of truth and love, were not gave no place to human freedom; we mere fictions, the mere impersonations object to it now, that it gives no place of the thoughts, feelings, and deeds of to the Divine freedom. Unquestionthe masses in their respective nations; ably, M. Cousin asserts that the human but they were great and glorious REAL- me, as Leibnitz contends, is a force, a ITIES,

almost the only realities on which cause, and really is no further than it is the eye can seize and repose, through free; but in tracing virtually, if not all the long visia of the past. No; expressly, all the facts of history to the critics and philosophers, having spoiled Impersonal Reason, and assigning to the us of our God, do in common charity reflective reason, in which alone the spare us the glorious army of saints me intervenes, only a retrospective and martyrs, heroes, prophets, apostles, agency, he renders ihis liberty of the and sages, by whom our race has been me altogether un productive, and thereredeemed and blessed. To spare us fore as good as no me at all. Unquesthese is not to rob the masses of their tionably also, he asserts, and it is a glory, for their glory is that ihey love, capital point in his philosophy, that and reverence, and cherish the memory God is cause, and substance, or being, of these, and profit by their diviner only in that he is cause; therefore de lives.

cessarily asserting his freedom, for a Moreover, this theory which recog. cause not free is no cause—the cause nizes God, not in the exceptional, the being not in it, but in that which binds individual, and the diverse, but merely or necessitates it. But in his account in the fixed, the uniform, the identical, of the Divine intervention, he recognizes and the necessary, in human history, that intervention only in creation. It refutes itself. Nothing is a more uni- is, as we have seen, solely an ontologiform, universal, and permanent fact of cal intervention, coming through the history, than this very belief that Provi- side of our permanent nature, affecting dence intervenes in human affairs on us in the fixed and unalterable laws of the side of the ACTUAL, as well as on our being, and not through our life, our the side of the Transcendental. All actions, and reaching our substantive ages and nations have believed in not existence through our phenomenal exonly a general but a special Providence istence. Therefore, whatever freedom -a Providence intervening for indi- there was in creating us, there can be viduals and nations, and through spe- none in governing or controlling us. The cially appointed nations and individuals Divine Action is limited, restrained by as agents, or ministers. According to the laws or nature of the creature. the theory in question, this belief can God can act only in these laws; nay, have resulted only from the presence these laws are his action. There is of God in human nature, and therefore and can be no Divine influx but these must have the highest stamp of truth laws themselves. Consequently, God the theory does or can recognize. If is not and cannot be free to correct their the theory be true, this belief must be action, or to give them a new directrue; therefore, if the theory be true, tion, or an additional force, as may be the theory itself must be false. required for the greatest good of the

The error of the advocates of this race, unless we lose them entirely and theory, arises from their assuming fall into absolute pantheism. From the that all in the life of humanity must be first point of view, we lose man, from a development of humanity itself. But the last, we lose God. humanity does not suffice for itself. The simple objection we here raise The Creator has not merely created to M. Cousin is that he recognizes he man, placed him here, and left him to Divine intervention in human affairs the natural workings of the original only in the nature with which he has principles of his being, as the Epicu- created or creates us. As this nature, reans teach, but he remains ever near according to him, is fixed and unalter

[ocr errors]

able, we have and can have no free in- of sight, that his history is conceived tervention of Providence in the actual and written; also because he is among affairs of individuals or of nations. It the earliest of those who have attempiseems to us that a little attention to ed a universal history. This work has the language of an Apostle would have had a great reputation, and it must be rectified this theory. It is, says St. owned that it is written with great Paul, whom we dare quore as a philo- eloquence and power, with the force sopher as well as an inspired apostle, if and dignity becoming an eminent preindeed the former is not presupposed in late of the Church; yet regarded as a the latter-it is in God that “we live history, it is unquestionably very deand move and have our being.". M. fective--defective considering the state Cousin says it is in God that we have of historical knowledge at the time it our being. Our ontological existence was written, and much more so now. given, our whole phenomenal existence Its merit is that it is written from the is given. But if ihis were so, why did point of view of Providence, and designthe Apostle not stop with saying, “ in ed to show the active intervention of God we have our being ?". But our Providence in the affairs of this world ontological or substantive existence to reward and to punish, to solace and being given, our whole phenomenal to succor, and especially its intervenexistence, that is to say, all the facts' tion in the rise, progress, and decline of our lives, all that we can exhibit in of states and empires. But the Prelate our actual living and acting, is not sees seldom the people,-seldom congiven. All does not flow out of the descends to bestow a thought on the laws of our own being or the original domestic and every day life of the principles of our nature. Our actual masses; he dwells in the Temple, or lives exhibit the presence of other prin- follows the Court and the Camp. ciples and agencies, and among these The French claim for Bossuet the is that to which all the world gives the high honor of having been the first to name of Providence. “In him we live conceive the plan of a universal histoand move." We depend on God for ry, written in a philosophic spirit, from our being; he, as it were, stands under a given point of view; but possibly us, and upholds, continues us in being without sufficient foundation. Bossuet's by the continued presence-active pre- originality is more in the execution sence, for God is never a mere looker than in the conception of his work, the on--of his creative energy. So far M. plan of which was given him by the Cousin. But we, who are thus created, Church itself, was indicated in Genesis, constituted, as active forces, are yet un- and had been rough-sketched, at least, able to act, or to produce in our own by St. Augustine in his Civitate Dei. sphere, that is, to live and move. We Moreover, the History of the World, are equally dependent on God, on the by Sir Walter Raleigh, which preceded! other side, on the presence, the active the Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle intervention of God for the conditions of by more than half a century, is conlife and motion. This last intervention, ceived in the same spirit, written from inasmuch as it is super-natural, not re- the same point of view, and with virstricted to our mere natures, but comes tually the same thought. Sir Walter in and affects our lives, and the prin- finished only a third part of his work ciples of our nature through our living, as originally designed; but he has, in and therefore not bound by them, is the the masterly preface to the part comtrue providential intervention. It is a pleted, sketched the plan of the whole. free intervention, and therefore implies As a mere history, though by no means the Divine Sovereignty. It enables us to without its merit, it unquestionably feel that God is free at any moment to falls far below the work of the Cathointervene in our behalf, to reward us for lic Prelate ; but the Preface and Introour virtues, to console us in our afflic- ductory. Chapters, philosophical and tions, to redress our grievances, and to theological, are written with great punish us for our offences.

vigor and majesty of thought, with a We have made Bossuet, a celebrated pathos, a richness and a magnificence of Catholic Bishop, author of the Discours style and language, hardly surpassed, sur l'Histoire Universelle, the repre. if equalled, by anything of the kind sentative of this religious view of Provi- we are acquainted with, and show, dence, because it is from it, as his point among other things, how little philoso

EMPIRES

phy has really advanced since the pre- to the laws of God, as displayed in his iended reforms introduced by Bacon and providential dealings with mankind. Descartes.

He sought to inculcate the wholesome But if Sir Walter, as is the case, lesson, always inculcated by the Cathoasserts the fact of Providence, and un- lic Church, and always needing to be dertakes 10 write the History of the inculcated, whether the political soveWorld, in order to establish its cer- reignty be vested in the one, the few, tainty, and to illustrate its operation in or the many, that there is a King of human affairs, and must, therefore, kings, a Power above the state, who is take precedence of Bossuet; he does the true Sovereign, and whose laws can not, it must be admitted, seem to have never be transgressed with impunity. clearly and distinctly conceived of his- Nor this only; he everywhere sought tory itself as the realization of a grand to show, by implicaiion, however, Providential Scheme, and therefore can- rather than by express assertion, what not with strict propriety, notwithstand- the English Solomon, James the First, ing his philosophy and philosophic in his Remonstrance for the Divine spirit, be ranked among philosophical Right of Kings, in reply to an Oration historians. Perhaps, after all, Bossuet of the Cardinal du Perron, undertakes is the first not to conceive of history to controvert, namely, that this true as the realization of this providential Sovereign, this King of kings, Law of scheme, for that, as we have said, was laws, to which the civil magistrate given him by the Church, and to some owes allegiance, has on earth even, a extent by the Jewish History recorded visible embodiment, and a representain the Scriptures; but the first, while tive, other than that which may be asserting the supernatural intervention conceived of as existing in the staie it. of Providence, io develope the system- self. He therefore contends for two atic character of this intervention, and to give a regular and continuous history 1. The Empire of the People of God, of it, in iis relations and connexions the RELIGIOUS. with the more mundane history of 2. The Empire of men, the POLITICAL. states and empires.

In his view, these TWO EMPIRES are Saint Augustine had conceived, and not co-ordinate, though co-existing; to some extent sketched the history of nor does he make the first subordinate the rise and progress of two CITIES, 10 the second, raising the civil power one of which he called the “ City of over the ecclesiastical—the human this world,” whose end is destruction, over the Divine--as do the Anglicans the other of which be called the “City in their theory of the Reformation; and of God," whose end is to remain for as does James, especially in his Reever the empire of the saints, and the monstrance, or defence of kings; but habitation of the just. Here is un he makes the Religious Empire, which questionably the germ of the Discours derives its authority immediately from sur l'Histoire Universelle. But Saint God hinself, supreme, and proclaims Augustine wrote not as the historian, it from his episcopal chair as the law but as the polemic and the dogmatist; of the political power;-a doctrine while Bossuet writes almost always as humbling to the pride of kings, and the simple historian, only as the histo- which, through the long period from rian of principles rather than of mere the establishment of the Barbarians on facts and details. Heis writing for the the ruins of the Roman Empire down instruction of the Dauphin, and his de- to the Reformation in the sixteenth sign is indeed to prepare his royal pupil, century, had caused an almost unbroken should Providence call him to the war between the civil government and throne, for the proper discharge of his the ecclesiastical. Protestantism, unduties as sovereign of France. He der its social aspect--not to speak of it writes, therefore, from the point of under its theological aspect, with view of religion and politics, with the which we have now no concern-is the evident design of showing from the successful protest on the part of the history of God's providence, and that civil magistrate-civil governmentsof renowned states and empires, that no against this doctrine, then asserted by policy of a prince, however wise to mere the Church,and still its doctrine, though human apprehension, can ever be suc- for the present suffered to lie in abeycessful, if it in any respect runs counter ance.

« AnteriorContinuar »