[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


From the Edinburgh Review.

1. Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Eighth edition, pp. 60. 8vo. London.
By J. A. FRoude,
M. A., Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.
12mo. London: pp. 227.

2. The Nemesis of Faith.

honey," and to both of whom the promise of a rich inheritance there, was given-and, in due time, amply redeemed. Or, rather, if we might be permitted to pursue the same vein a little further, and throw over our shoulders for a moment 3. Popular Christianity, its Transition State and that mantle of allegory which none but Bunyan Probable Development. By F. J. FOXTON, could wear long and successfully, we should repB. A.; formerly of Pembroke College, Ox-resent Reason and Faith as twin-born beingsford, and Perpetual Curate of Stoke Prior the one in form and features the image of manly and Docklow, Herefordshire. 12mo. Lonbeauty-the other, of feminine grace and gentledon: pp. 226. ness; but to each of whom, alas! was allotted a sad privation. While the bright eyes of Reason are full of piercing and restless intelligence, his ear is closed to sound; and while Faith has an ear of exquisite delicacy, on her sightless orbs, as she lifts them towards heaven, the sunbeam plays in vain. Hand in hand the brother and sister, in all mutual love, pursue their way, through a world on which, like ours, day breaks and night falls alternate; by day the eyes of Reason are the guide of Faith, and by night the ear of Faith is the guide of Reason. As is wont with those who labor under these privations respectively, Reason is apt to be eager, impetuous, impatient of that instruction which his infirmity will not permit him readily to apprehend; while Faith, gentle and docile, is ever willing to listen to the voice by which alone truth and wisdom can effectually reach her.

"REASON and Faith," says one of our old divines, with the quaintness characteristic of his day, "resemble the two sons of the patriarch; Reason is the firstborn, but Faith inherits the blessing." The image is ingenious, and the antithesis striking; but nevertheless the sentiment is far from just. It is hardly right to represent Faith as younger than Reason: the fact undoubtedly being, that human creatures trust and believe, long before they reason or know. But the truth is, that both Reason and Faith are coeval with the nature of man, and were designed to dwell in his heart together. In truth they are, and were, and, in such creatures as ourselves, must be, reciprocally complementary-neither can exclude the other. It is as impossible to exercise an acceptable faith without reason for so exercising it-that is, without exercising reason while we exercise faith,* -as it is to apprehend by our reason, exclusive of faith, all the truths on which we are daily compelled to act, whether in relation to this world or the next. Neither is it right to represent either of them as failing of the promised heritage, except as both may fail alike, by perversion from their true end, and depravation of their genuine nature; for if to the faith of which the New Testament speaks so much, a peculiar blessing is promised, it is evident from that same volume that it is not a "faith without reason,' "faith without works," which is any more than a approved by the Author of Christianity. And this is sufficiently proved by the injunction be ready to give a reason for the hope"-and therefore for the faith-" which is in us."



If, therefore, we were to imitate the quaintness of the old divine, on whose dictum we have been commenting, we should rather compare Reason and Faith to the two trusty spies, "faithful among the faithless," who confirmed each other's report of" that good land which flowed with milk and * Let it not be said that we are here playing upon an ambiguity in the word reason ;-considered in the first clause as an argument; and in the second, as the characteristic endowment of our species. The distinction between reason and reasoning (though most important) does not affect our statement; for though reason may be exercised where there is no giving of reasons, there can be no giving of reasons without the exercise of reason. VOL. XXIV. 1



It has been shown by Butler, in the fourth and fifth chapters (Part I.) of his great work, that the entire constitution and condition of man, viewed in relation to the present world alone, and consequently all the analogies derived from that fact in relation to a future world, suggest the conclusion that we are here the subjects of a probationary discipline, or in a course of education for another state of existence. But it has not, perhaps, been sufficiently insisted on, that if in the actual course of that education, of which enlightened obedience to the "law of virtue," as Butler expresses it, or, which is the same thing, to the dictates of supreme wisdom and goodness, is the great end, we give an unchecked ascendency to either Reason or Faith, we vitiate the whole process. The chief instrument by which that process is carried on is not Reason alone, or Faith alone, but their wellbalanced and reciprocal interaction. It is a system of alternate checks and limitations, in which Reason does not supersede Faith, nor Faith encroach on Reason. But our meaning will be more evident when we have made one or two remarks on what are conceived to be their respective provinces.

In the domain of Reason men generally include, 1st, what are called "intuitions," 2d, “ necessary deductions" from them; and 3d, deductions from their own direct "experience;" while in the domain of Faith are ranked all truths and propositione

which are received, not without reasons indeed, than, from mere ignorance of the mode in which but for reasons underived from the intrinsic evidence these difficulties can be solved, he can infer them (whether intuitive or deductive, or from our own to be false. "Probabilities," says Bishop Butler, experience) of the propositions themselves ;-for" are to us the very guide of life;" and when the reasons (such as credible testimony, for example) extrinsic to the proper meaning and significance of such propositions: although such reasons, by accumulation and convergency, may be capable of subduing the force of any difficulties or improbabilities, which cannot be demonstrated to involve absolute contradictions.*

probabilities arise out of evidence on which we are competent to pronounce, and the improbabilities merely from our surmises, where we have no evidence to deal with, and perhaps, from the limitation of our capacities, could not deal with it, if we had it, it is not difficult to see what course practical wisdom tells man he ought to pursue; and which he always does pursue, whatever difficulties beset him-in all cases except one!

In receiving important doctrines on the strength of such evidence, and in holding to them against the perplexities they involve, or, what is harder Such is that strict union-that mutual dependstill, against the prejudices they oppose, every ence of Reason and Faith-which would seem to exercise of an intelligent faith will, on analysis, be the great law under which the moral school in be found to consist; its only necessary limit will which we are being educated is conducted. This be proven contradictions in the propositions sub- law is equally, or almost equally, its characteristic, mitted to it; for, then, no evidence can justify whether we regard man simply in his present belief, or even render it possible. But no other condition, or in his present in relation to his future difficulties, however great, will justify unbelief, condition-as an inhabitant only of this world, or where man has all that he can justly demand—a candidate for another; and to this law, by a series evidence such in its nature as he can deal with, of analogies as striking as any of those which and on which he is accustomed to act in his most Butler has pointed out, (and on which we heartily important affairs in this world, (thus admitting its wish his comprehensive genius had expended a validity,) and such in amount as to render it more chapter or two,) Christianity, in the demands it likely that the doctrines it substantiates are true, makes on both principles conjointly, is evidently adapted.

*Of the first kind of truths, or those perceived by intuition, we have examples in what are called "selfevident axioms," "and fundamental laws" or "conditions of thought," which no wise inan has ever attempted to prove. Of the second, we have examples in the whole fabric of mathematical science, reared from its basis of axioms and definitions, as well as in every other necessary deduction from admitted premises. The third virtually includes any conclusion in science based on direct experiment, or observation; though the belief of the truth even of Newton's system of the world, when received as Locke says he received, and as the generality of men receive it– without being able to follow the steps by which the great geometer proves his conclusions-may be represented rather as an act of Faith than an act of Reason; as much so as a belief in the truth of Christianity, founded on its historic and other evidences. The greater part of men's knowledge, indeed, even of science-even the greater part of a scientific man's knowledge of science, based as it is on testimony alone, (and which so often compels him to renounce to-day what he thought certain yesterday,) may be not unjustly considered as more allied to Faith than Reason. It may be said, perhaps, that the above classification of the truths received by Reason and Faith respectively is arbitrary: that even as to some of their alleged sources, they are not always clearly distinguishable; that the evidence of experience may in some sort be reduced to testimony-that of sense; and testimony reduced to experience-that of human veracity under given circumstances; both being founded on the observed uniformity of certain phenomena under similar conditions. We admit the truth of this; and we admit it the more willingly, as it shows that so inextricably intertwined are the roots both of Reason and Faith in our nature, that no definitions that can be framed will completely separate them; none that will not involve many phenomena which may be said to fall under the dominion of one as much as of the other. We have been content, for our practical purpose, without any too subtle refinement, to take the line of demarcation which is, perhaps, as obvious as any, and as generally recognized. Few would say that a generalized inference from direct experiment was not matter of reason rather than of faith; though an act of faith is involved in the process; and few would not call confidence in testimony where probabilities were nearly balanced, by the name of faith rather than reason, though an act of reason is involved in that process. We are much more anxious to show their general involution with one another than the points of discrimination between


Men often speak, indeed, as if the exercise of faith was excluded from their condition as inhabiBut it requires but a tants of the present world. very slight consideration to show that the boasted prerogative of reason is here also that of a limited monarch; and that its attempts to make itself absolute can only end in its own dethronement, and, after successive revolutions. in all the anarchy of absolute pyrrhonism.


For in the intellectual and moral education of man, considered merely as a citizen of the present world, we see the constant and inseparable union of the two principles, and provision made for their perpetual exercise. He cannot advance a step, indeed, without both. We see faith demanded not only amidst the dependence and ignorance in which childhood and youth are passed; not only in the whole process by which we acquire the imperfect knowledge which is to fit us for being men ; but to the very last we may be truly said to believe far more than we know. Indeed," says Butler, "the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence with which we are obliged to take up in the daily course of life, is scarce to be expressed." Nay, in an intelligible sense, even the "primary truths," or "first principles," or "fundamental laws of thought," or "self-evident maxims," or "intuitions," or by whatever other names philosophers have been pleased to designate them, which, in a special sense, are the very province of reason, as contradistinguished from "reasoning" or logical deduction, may be said almost as truly to depend on faith as on reason for their reception.* For the only

*Common language seems to indicate this: since we call that disposition of mind which leads some men to deny the above fundamental truths, (or affect to deny them,)





ground for believing them true is that man cannot | am confident," says one," that I never do cease help so believing them! The same may be said to think—not even in the soundest sleep.” You of that great fact, without which the whole world do, for a long time, every night of your life," exwould be at a stand-still-a belief in the uniformity claims another, equally confident and equally ignoof the phenomena of external nature; that the rant. "Where do I exist?" it goes on. same sun, for example, which rose yesterday and I in the brain? Am I in the whole body? to-day, will rise again to-morrow. That this can- I anywhere? Am I nowhere?" "I cannot have not be demonstrated, is admitted on all hands; and any local existence, for I know I am immaterial,” that it is not absolutely proved from experience is says one. "I have a local existence, because I evident, both from the fact that experience cannot am material," says another. "I have a local exprove anything future, and from the fact that the istence, though I am not material," says a third uniformity supposed is only accepted as partially "Are my habitual actions voluntary," it exclaims and transiently true; the great bulk of mankind, however rapid they become; though I am uneven while they so confidently act upon that uni- conscious of these volitions when they have attained formity, rejecting the idea of its being an eternal a certain rapidity; or do I become a mere automauniformity. Every theist believes that the order ton as respects such actions? and therefore an auof the universe once began to be; and every Chris- tomaton nine times out of ten, when I act at all?” tian and most other men believe that it will also To this query two opposite answers are given by one day cease to be. different minds; and by others, perhaps wiser. none at all; while, often, opposite answers are given by the same mind at different times. In like manner has every action, every operation, every emotion of the mind been made the subject of endless doubt and disputation. Surely if, as Soame Jenyns imagined, the infirmities of man, and even graver evils, were permitted in order to afford amusement to superior intelligences, and make the angels laugh, few things could afford them better sport than the perplexities of this child of clay engaged in the study of himself. "Alas!" exclaims at last the baffled spirit of this babe in intellect, as he surveys his shattered toys-his broken theories of metaphysics, I know that I am; but what I am-where I am-even how I act—not only what is my essence, but what even my mode of operation-of all this I know nothing; and, boast of reason as I may, all that I think on these points is matter of opinion—or is matter of faith!" He resembles, in fact, nothing so much as a kitten first introduced to its own image in a mirror : she runs to the back of it, she leaps over it, she turns and twists, and jumps and frisks, in all directions, in the vain attempt to reach the fair illusion; and, at length, turns away in weariness from that incomprehensible enigma-the image of herself!

But perhaps the most striking example of the helplessness to which man is soon reduced if he relies upon his reason alone, is the spectacle of the issue of his investigations into that which one would imagine he must know most intimately, if he knows anything; and that is, his own naturehis own mind. There is something, to one who reflects long enough upon it, inexpressibly whimsical in the questions which the mind is forever putting to itself respecting itself; and to which the said mind returns from its dark caverns only an echo. We are apt, when we speculate about the mind, to forget for the moment, that it is at once the querist and the oracle; and to regard it as something out of itself, like a mineral in the hands of the analytic chemist. We cannot fully enter into the absurdities of its condition, except by remembering that it is our own wise selves who so grotesquely bewilder us. The mind, on such occasions, takes itself (if we may so speak) into its own hands, turns itself about as a savage would a watch, or a monkey a letter; interrogates itself, listens to the echo of its own voice, and is obliged, after all, to lay itself down again with a very puzzled expression-and acknowledge that of its very self, itself knows little or nothing! "I am material," exclaims one of these whimsical beings, to whom the heaven-descended" Know thyself" would seem to have been ironically addressed. "No!-immaterial," says another. "I am both material and immaterial," exclaims, perhaps, the very same mind at different times."" Thought itself may be matter modified," says one. "Rather," says another of the same perplexed species, "matter is thought modified; for what you call matter is but a phenomenon." "Both are independent and totally distinct substances, mysteriously, inexplicably conjoined," says a third. "How they are conjoined we know no more than the dead. Not so much, perhaps." "Do I ever cease to think," says the mind to itself, "even in sleep? Is not my essence thought?" "You ought to know your own essence best," all creation will reply. "I not by a word which indicates the opposite of reason, but the opposite of faith-Scepticism, Unbelief, Incredulity.



One would imagine-perhaps not untruly—that the Divine Creator had subjected us to these difficulties-and especially that incomprehensible trilemma--that there is an union and interaction of two totally distinct substances, or that matter is but thought, or that thought is but matter-one of which must be true, and all of which approach as near to mutual contradictions as can well be conceived-for the very purpose of rebuking the presumption of man, and of teaching him humility; that He had left these obscurities at the very threshold-nay, within the very mansion of the mind itself-for the express purpose of deterring man from playing the dogmatizing fool when he looked abroad. Yet, in spite of his raggedness and poverty at home, no sooner does man look out of his dusky dwelling, than, like Goldsmith's little Beau, who, in his garret up five pair of stairs, boasts of his friendship with lords, he is apt to assume

airs of magnificence, and, glancing at the Infinite object of man's moral education here; and to justify both the partial evidence addressed to his reason, and the abundant difficulties which it leaves to his faith. “The evidence of religion," says Butler,

through his little eye-glass, to affect an intimate acquaintance with the most respectable secrets of the universe!

tion, how far soever it is from being satisfactory as to the purposes of curiosity, or any other: and, indeed, it answers the purposes of the former in several respects which it would not do if it were as over-bearing as is required.' Or as Pascal beautifully puts it:-" There is light enough for those whose sincere wish is to see-and darkness enough to confound those of an opposite disposition."†

Analogy," part 2, chap. viii.

It is undeniable, then, that the perplexities which" is fully sufficient for all the purposes of probauniformly puzzle man in the physical world, and even in the little world of his own mind, when he passes a certain limit, are just as unmanageable as those found in the moral constitution and government of the universe, or in the disclosures of the volume of Revelation. In both we find abundance of inexplicable difficulties; sometimes arising from our absolute ignorance, and perhaps quite as often from our partial knowledge. These difficulties are probably left on the pages of both volumes for some of the same reasons; many of them, it may be, because even the commentary of the Creator himself could not render them plain to a finite understanding, though a necessary and salutary exercise of our humility may be involved in their reception; others, if not purely (which seems not probable) yet partly for the sake of exercising and training that humility, as an essential part of the education of a child; others, surmountable, indeed, in the progress of knowledge and by prolonged effort of the human intellect, may be designed to stimulate that intellect to strenuous action and healthy effort as well as to supply, in their solution, as time rolls on, an ever-accumulating mass of proofs of the profundity of the wisdom which has so far anticipated all the wisdom of man; and of the divine origin of both the great books which he is privileged to study as a pupil, and even to illustrate as a commentator-but the text of which he cannot alter.

But, for submitting to us many profound and insoluble problems, the second of the above reasons -the training of the intellect and heart of man to submission to the Supreme Intelligence-would alone be sufficient. For if, as is indicated by everything in human nature, by the constitution of the world as adapted to that nature, and by the representations of Scripture, which are in analogy with both, the present world is but the school of man in this the childhood of his being, to prepare him for the enjoyment of an immortal manhood in another, everything might be expected to be subordinated to this great end; and as the end of that education can be no other than an enlightened obedience to God, the harmonious and concurrent exercise of reason and faith becomes absolutely necessary-not of reason to the exclusion of faith, for otherwise there would be no adequate test of man's docility and submission; nor of a faith that would assert itself, not only independent of reason, but in contradiction to it-which would not be what God requires, and what alone can quadrate with that intelligent nature He has impressed on His offspring a reasonable obedience. Implicit obedience, then, to the dictates of an all-perfect wisdom, exercised amidst many difficulties and perplexities, as so many tests of sincerity, and yet sustained by evidences which justify the conclusions which involve them, would seem to be the great

+" Pensées." Faugère's edition, tom. ii. p. 151. The views here developed will be found an expansion of some brief hints at the close of the article on Pascal's "Life and prevented us from more than touching these topies. We Genius," (Ed. Review, Jan. 1847,) though our space then may add that we gladly take this opportunity of pointing the attention of our readers to a tract of Archbishop Whately's, entitled "The example of children as proposed to Christians," which his grace, having been struck with a coincidence between some of the thoughts in the tract and those expressed in the "Review," did us the favor to transmit to us. Had we seen the tract before, we should have been glad to illustrate and confirm our own views by those of this highly gifted prelate. We whole of the remarkable volume in which it is now inearnestly recommend the tract in question (as well as the corporated, "Essays on some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion") to the perusal of our readers, and at the same time venture to express our conviction (having been led by the circumstances above mentioned to a fuller acquaintance with his grace's theological writings than we had previously possessed) that, though this lucid and eloquent writer may, for obvious reasons, be most widely known by his "Logic and Rhetoric," the time will come when his theological works will be, if not more widely read, still more highly prized. To great powers of argument and illustration, and delightful transparency of dietion and style, he adds a higher quality still-and a very rare quality it is--an evident and intense honesty of purpose, an absorbing desire to arrive at the exact truth, and to state it with perfect fairness and with the just limitations. Without pretending to agree with all that Arch(though he carries his readers with him as frequently as bishop Whately has written on the subject of Theology, any writer with whom we are acquainted,) we may remark that in relation to that whole class of subjects, to which the present essay has reference, we know of no writer of the present day whose contributions are more numerous or more valuable. The highly ingenious ironical brochure, entitled "Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Bonaparte ;" the Essays above mentioned, "On some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion;" those "On some of the Dangers to Christian Faith," and on the "Errors of Romanism;" the work on the "Kingdom of Christ," not to mention others, are well worthy of universal perusal. They abound in views both original and just, stated with all the author's aptness of illustration and transparency of language. We may remark, too, that in many of his occasional sermons, he has incidentally added many most beautiful fragments to that ever accumulating mass of internal evidence which the Scriptures themselves supply in their very structure, and which is evolved by diligent investigation of the relation and coherence of one part of them with another. We are als rejoiced to see that a small and unpretending, but very powerful, little tract, by the same writer, entitled, "Introductory Lessons on Christian Evidences," has passed the European languages, and, amongst the rest, very rethrough many editions, has been translated into most of cently into German, with an appropriate preface, by Professor Abeltzhauser, of the University of Dublin. It shows to demonstration that as much of the evidence of Christianity as is necessary for conviction may be made perfectly clear to the meanest capacity; and that, in spite of the assertions of Rome and of Oxford to the contrary, the apostolic injunction to every Christian to be ready to render a reason "for the hope that is in him,"-some

« VorigeDoorgaan »