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have "shuffled off this mortal coil," we believe and feel sure that the thing is utterly impossible, and therefore willingly hold to the old and all but universal belief that our mortal tenements of clay are the habitations of something higher and better than themselves.
But even supposing that the vague language which materialists employ could conceal from us the fact, that on their hypothesis it seems inevitable that every thought must be a material product of some kind or other, it must be held that if a particular arrangement of the particles of matter gives origin to thought, or "mentality" in Mr. Cromwell's language, it is a process different from, and contrary to, any analogy or fact of which we have knowledge throughout the rest of nature. The supporters of such a doctrine must maintain that this arrangement both forms a new substance-an organized body— and something quite different from, and additional to, either the particles taken separately, or the organized body itself—the sum of them combined together.* Further, while it does not seem possible to conceive any arrangement of material particles by which mental processes are evolved, only grant the existence of these mental processes, which it is impossible to deny, because the fact is forced on us by every act of consciousness, and we find it possible, at least, to devise hypotheses which will account for all the phenomena we call material. And this naturally conducts us to the last book on our list, 'Man and his Dwelling Place,' where something like this is vainly attempted.
'Man and his Dwelling Place' is an extremely thoughtful, ingenious, and amiable book. It appears to have been written with the view of reconciling certain theological opinions, and obviating certain theological difficulties, by a view of the nature of the material world in which we live; which, after all, and in spite of all the author's ingenuity and learning, which are evidently very considerable, slips through our fingers, and baffles all our attempts at comprehension. Matter, according to our author, is not inert, but spiritually active; the perceived inertness is merely phenomenal, and due to the defectiveness or deadness of man. Language like this may admit of three interpretations; it may either involve the old pantheistic notion of the Anima Mundi, which the evident piety of the author forbids us to believe it can mean; or it may mean little more than language in ordinary use among certain religionists implies-the evanescent character and utter unsatisfactoriness of all terrestrial things, and that their power over us (the power of the phenomena, in our author's language) results only from the spiritual deadness of man -a sense in which the author seems occasionally to employ it; or it may mean a tertium quid, but what that is, we confess that we have laboured honestly, but all in vain, to make out.
"Man feels that which is apart from him to be inert, not because it is as he feels it, but because of his own condition; if his feeling were true, he would feel himself in presence only of existence that is spiritual, it is through a want in him that his feeling is caused to be untrue."t
* Vide Lord Brougham's Dissertations on Natural Theology.
"Nature is not truly, and in itself, such as it is to man's feeling; that which man feels to be differs from that which is apart from him by defect."
Such passages as these occur everywhere in this book, they are multiplied, extended, and ramified over all the subjects that can well be considered as related to philosophy and science; but the continually recurring idea is, that all our notions are wrong, because we mistake the phenomenal for the real-that which appears for that which is, and thus by reason of defect or deadness in ourselves we see only a physical or inert world, or nature or universe around us, where, if we were alive, as God and the Bible intend to make us, we should behold the whole of Nature to be full of true spiritual activity. It must be quite evident that there is a great deal of verbal quibbling in all this. We do not mean this in any sense disparaging to our author, who is evidently a man of perfectly upright purpose, as well as of great compass both of mind and information. But everybody knows, who is at all conversant with such subjects, how difficult it is to find language sufficiently exact to express the subtle ideas which such writers originate and seek to diffuse. And, on the other hand, how easily a man may mislead or bewilder both his readers and himself, by language used in a sense different from its common acceptation, and which may be employed to denote sometimes one thing, sometimes another. It is impossible to go over a book whose scope is so wide, and whose subjects are so varied. We have chapters on the most important topics of science, of religion, of philosophy, and of ethics; besides five Dialogues, in which the leading ideas are reproduced, and extended, and placed in different points of view. The whole is written in a grave, earnest spirit, and with a deep and melancholy sympathy with humanity, especially in relation to the insoluble problems by which it is beset, and which, in spite of the author's ardent anticipations, we fear he leaves unsolved and unsolvable still. His tone has a great charm for minds of a certain character; but instead of attempting to follow him, we will, as a contrast to our last writer, Mr. Cromwell, very shortly notice his chapter on Idealism.
If we turn from Man and his Dwelling Place' with its tone of grave, almost sad, eloquence, to the cool, calm, subtle reasoning of the metaphysical supporters of Idealism, or to its refutation by its opponents, from good, old, sagacious Dr. Reid downwards, we cannot fail to be struck with the prodigious difference. Our author evidently looks with kindness on any speculation that appears to invalidate the trustworthiness of the human faculties, because this seems to favour the reception of his favourite dogma; indeed, he seems only, or chiefly at least, to regard idealism as a necessary step in the progress of the human mind, to the evolution of the great truth-the spiritual activity of the universe.
But, let us ask him, if the reasoning of the Idealists be adopted, where are we to end? will there not be many beliefs subverted, and many views overthrown, which he and we alike would devoutly wish to maintain? Nay, is there any resting-place for the sole of our foot
short of a universal and dreary Pyrrhonism? The author's favourite illustration, which is, that the moon appears to us a luminous disc in the bright nocturnal sky, and that the brilliant stars, which are "the poetry of heaven," appear like shining points glittering in brightness above us; yet, that the one is an opaque mass, and the others are the centres of vast systems, can stand him in no stead either in the support of Idealism, or of his own still more incomprehensible views, unless he can show where the alleged defect in man lies, wherein it consists, and how it operates. Astronomers have shown how, from the laws of light and the influence of distance, the aspect of the heavens must be what it is, and can be nothing else. Let him give us clear definitions of what he means, statements of unquestionable fact, and intelligible processes of reasoning similar to what astronomers have furnished us with in their case, and then we may feel that he has made such progress as to require consideration. But for anything of this kind we have searched the book, attractive and interesting in tone and spirit as we willingly admit it to be, but we have searched in vain.
The hypothesis of the non-existence of matter rests upon consequences logically deduced from certain assumed views of the mode in which external objects are presented to the mind. And its overthrow was effected by showing that these views had no foundation in fact, but were themselves entirely gratuitous and hypothetical, by giving literally a purely inductive account of the faculty of perception. No philosopher of the Scotch or Common Sense School, as it has been called, ever thought of offering any logical proof of the existence of matter, but maintains its existence to be an inevitable and irresistible conviction of our nature, anterior to any reasoning whatever. It is quite beside the mark, therefore, to complain, as our author does, that the Idealistic logic has not been successfully assailed. The objections lie not to the logic but to the postulates on which it professes to rest; and the affirmation of those who, keeping to their natural sense of things, maintain the existence of a material universe, is that their belief is a necessary and fundamental intuition of our nature that it is uuiversal-that it can neither be assailed nor defended by principles more evident than itself that even those who profess to doubt or deny it share the common belief, or at least are constrained to speak and act as if they shared it. These, we think, are the tests of an intuitive principle of belief laid down by Father Buffier, an old, but very acute writer. At all events there seems no one principle of our nature to which they apply more perfectly than the one we have been thus shortly discussing.
But so eager is our author to obtain the alliance of any view or principle from which he thinks he can derive aid, that not only does he look with favour upon Idealism, but he has a good word to say for Positivism, which, with considerable ingenuity, he strives to make out to be a kind of extreme Idealism, affirming strenuously that Positivism, which professes to deal only with relations, ignoring the absolute, the real essence of things, has not any tendency to Atheism, and maintaining it to be the very reverse of Materialism. The chapter on Posi
tivism, though short, is even more obscure than most of the book, and towards its close, the author almost seems to repent of his opening eulogiums, and points out in strong language how the fruits of this system, fair and promising though they be, like those of Pandemonium in Milton's glorious poem, turn to ashes to our taste. The same fatal objection lies against Positivism as against Idealism-the ineradicable conviction that our powers and faculties are truthful and trustworthy; if we deny this either in terms or in any way, however circuitous, there is no rest for the sole of our foot. The moment you have proved, if it were possible, the untruthfulness of our intuitive convictions respecting Causation, you have likewise annihilated the basis of the very principles on which your philosophy rests.
The attempt that is frequently, we might say constantly, made to extend the notion of mere antecedence and sequence, as being all that we perceive in Physical Causation, to a full account of the whole doctrine of cause and effect, appears to us to be an attempt to take possession of the whole battle-field on which the principles of Natural Theology must be maintained, or impugned, during a time of truce. Nobody doubts that, so far as physical phenomena are concerned, antecedence and sequence are all that we perceive; the power of the antecedent to produce the sequence is not seen or known previous to experience; but to deny the idea of power, or to affirm that mere priority of occurrence is all that mankind mean by cause, not only subverts the foundations of religion, but is a statement utterly at variance with those fundamental principles of belief which are utterly ineradicable from the human mind, and any tampering with which ultimately lays the axe to the root of even those principles which Positivism accepts, and on which her conclusions rest. We do not think any supposed compatibility of Positivism with the author's favourite speculation will induce us to look with favour on its principles, or to regard them as necessary parts of the training we are to undergo for the reception of his favourite speculation. In Sir William Hamilton's very able but fragmentary and difficult Essay on the Unconditioned, some steps are taken, and some principles are evolved, which might help us a little to a view of the real limits of our inquiries imposed upon us by our nature in speculative philosophy, especially where it is conterminous with natural theology; but the style of that very acute and able thinker is so arid, and does so bristle with technicalities and logical forms, that his views, where they are perfectly sound and true, will be long in being fully mixed with the mighty stream of popular opinion, and influencing it as their value and importance entitle them to do; besides, with reverence we must say, that, deep as our obligations are to Sir William Hamilton, for restoring a sound philosophy to our confidence, and for expanding it, even he himself has scarcely escaped what we must venture to call the contamination of German mystification and vagueness.
This is not the place to discuss such matters, but we cannot forbear alluding, in our conclusion of this article, to the very great importance of attending to and settling, so far as can be done, the limits of re
ligious and philosophical speculations as a means of restraining minds often of a high order within just bounds. When these are passed, when we abandon, what Bishop Butler calls, our natural sense of things, when we quit those fundamental laws of belief which lie at the bottom of all our knowledge, convictions, and faith, when we leave these, especially when we proceed on the assumption that the mind of man does not truly respond to the facts of nature, we get on insecure and dangerous ground; and however beautiful, and however devout in appearance, the speculations that may follow, the instability of the foundation on which they rest exposes them to be subverted and replaced by speculations as baseless as themselves, and as plausible, though possibly of a character utterly opposite.
1. A Treatise on Human Physiology; designed for the Use of Students and Practitioners of Medicine. By JOHN C. DALTON, Jun., M.D. -Philadelphia, 1859. pp. 608.
2. Outlines of Physiology. By JOHN HUGHES BENNETT, M.D., F.R.S.E., Professor of the Institutes of Medicine, and Senior Professor of Clinical Medicine, in the University of Edinburgh. -1858. pp. 247.
WE recently reviewed two foreign works on physiology; one a "Treatise," in French, by Monsieur Longet; the other a "Textbook," in German, by Dr. Funke. Each of these works having given us a tolerably clear idea of the present state of physiological science in the countries to which their authors respectively belong, we wish now to introduce to the notice of our readers two other works on the same subject, which, although written in our mother tongue, are nevertheless the representatives of two different nations. The first of these works is a large volume of some six hundred pages, by Dr. Dalton, the Professor of Physiology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. The last is a small book by Professor Bennett, of Edinburgh. As these two works bear as little internal as external resemblance, we shall not attempt to review them conjointly, but will give a separate outline of each.
Until within a very recent date, American works on Physiology were almost entirely unknown in Europe-a circumstance solely due to the fact of their being little else than crude compilations of European works. Within the last few years, however, a great change has taken place for the better; and our friends on the other side of the Atlantic can now boast of possessing manuals equalled by few, and excelled by none, of our own. In Dr. Dalton's treatise we are glad to find a valuable addition to physiological literature. It is well illustrated by woodcuts; and although strictly speaking a work on human physiology, the author has very judiciously given illustrations
* British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review, p. 380. April, 1859.