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est ignorance. A traveller through Mexico is struck with what appear to be monuments of the piety of the Spanish government. Large and magnificent churches were built and richly endowed wherever needed, and in no country was more ample provision made for the material support of religion; and yet in no country was the religious and secular instruction of the people more shamefully neglected. The clergy were permitted to administer the sacraments if they saw proper, and were assigned an honorable place in processions, but an arbitrary and jealous government took good care that they should content themselves with giving the least possible amount of instruction, and do nothing to create a great, energetic, and enlightened people. Despotic Spain wanted loyal subjects, not free and enlightened citi
The state of religion in Cuba, the Queen of the Antilles, is most deplorable, and would gain immensely by the annexation of the island to the American Union. It is hard for any but a courtier or the servile tool of some grandee to be made a bishop or to be appointed to a benefice, and if a bishop or a priest should really attempt to discharge the duties of his office, he would be thwarted by the civil authorities. In all despotic countries the Church, whatever the external splendor she may exhibit, is crippled in her power, is reduced to a sort of gilded slavery. The clergy, confined to the narrowest sphere possible, lose their independence and manliness of character, become indolent and luxurious, servile and selfseeking, and neglectful of the duties of their charge. The people are left to perish. Nothing but the storms created by revolutions or new heresies can purify the atmosphere, and prepare the way for their resuscitation. explain that imbecility which we so often meet in old Catholic populations, where the Church has for a long time enjoyed the protection of the temporal authority.
Yet it is so pleasant to have the protection of the civil ruler, to have the state take care of the temporal wants of the Church, that many Catholics are prone to think that it cannot be purchased at too high a price. Hence their delight in the present state of things in France, and their fulsome adulation of the new Emperor. To obtain the imperial protection for religion they are willing to surrender to the newly elected monarch all their rights as men, and all the rights of the nation. Yet, unless all our
information is erroneous, the external respect gained for the Church in France but ill atones for the reaction going on in the minds of the intelligent classes against Catholicity. The political press in France is not allowed one particle of freedom, but in return the Presse and the Siècle are free to blaspheme religion to their heart's content. Churches are built, repaired, or embellished, but the Church is losing much of what she gained under Louis Philippe and the Republic. Experience proves that what is best for the Church is not imperial or royal protection, but freedom and independence. We cannot make all men monks, nor can we convert the world into a cloister. It will not do to proceed as if the evangelical counsels were precepts. We must take men as we find them. If we ask too much, we shall get nothing. Rational liberty is a natural right, and men will not, unless brutalized, be content with slavery: If power exacts too much, men do and will resist it, and if they find religion associated with it, apparently its accomplice, they will resist religion also. To identify the Catholic cause with Louis Napoleon, or any other Cæsar, and to make the Church in any degree responsible for his government, were to alienate the affections of every lover of constitutional government or political freedom.
We do not attack the imperial régime in France. It is not our business to do it, and we are not disposed to do it, if it were. We have no hostility to the Emperor, and should be sorry to see any disaster befall him. Were we a citizen of France, we should demean ourselves as a loyal subject; but as an American Catholic we owe him no allegiance, and protest against being required to admire or uphold the Cæsarism he is fastening upon his beautiful country. If Frenchmen like it, that is their affair; if they choose to defend it, they have a right to do so, providing they defend it in their character of Frenchmen, for themselves, not as Catholics, for the whole Catholic world. For ourselves we take our stand on the side of constitutional government, and demand as our right both political and religious freedom. We believe the less connection the Church has with the state, especially in our times, the better. It was not without significance that Gregory the Sixteenth was accustomed to add, “ From our protectors, O Lord, deliver us.” The lay society has relapsed into Paganism, and the Church has
VOL. III. NO. III.
once more to resume her character as a Missionary Church, and to rely on herself, and not on the state. A new martyr age not unlikely awaits us, and we must not suffer it to find us unprepared. The Church is spread through all lands, but there is now no Christendom, and the Church is as free with us, and as independent, as in the most Catholic state in Europe, notwithstanding all the KnowNothing opposition we have to encounter. She is freer than she would be if the government professed to be her protector, and she will yet prove to be the grand protector of our American liberty. Leave our Church to herself, that is all we ask, and leave us our equal rights as Catholics with others, and we are content. Give us an open field and fair play, and we ask no more.
We have no fears for our religion. It can survive the rough and tumble of even American life, and maintain herself in any kind of encounter to which she may be exposed, if not hampered by the so-called protection of the government.
Art. III. — Institutes of Metaphysic: the Theory of know
ing and Being. By JAMES F. FERRIER, A. B. Oxon., Professor of Moral Philosophy and Political Economy, St. Andrews. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. 1854. 12mo. pp. 530.
This work of Professor Ferrier claims the attention of the reader, as something more than an ordinary work on philosophy. It is earnest and original; its pretensions are bold, and deserve a careful examination. It purports to be a closely reasoned system of philosophy, and if its doctrines are deduced with all the exactness of mathematical demonstration from the proposition with which it starts, and this first proposition itself is also true and evident, a great work has been accomplished, something certain has been established in philosophy, and so clearly demonstrated that it can no more be called in question than a proposition of Euclid. Has the author succeeded in this grand attempt? Does his work merit the title with which he has honored it? Has he really given us the Institutes of Metaphysics ? This is what we propose briefly to examine in the present article.
The system may be stated in a few words. The starting point of the author's philosophy is expressed in Proposition First: “ Along with whatever any intelligence knows, it must, as the ground or condition of its knowledge, have some cognizance of itself.” Hence the true and complete object of every cognition is the thing and one's self together, or subject plus object; the former is the universal and necessary, the latter the particular and contingent element of the object of every cognition ; neither is cognizable by itself. These two elements constitute the absolute in cognition, the mininum scibile, and may be expressed as the synthesis of subject plus object; as matter mecum; thoughts or mental states whatsoever together with the self or subject; the universal in union with the particular; or the ego or mind in any determinate condition, with any thought or thing present to it.
Ignorance is an intellectual defect, a privation of something which is consistent with the nature of intelligence ; it is a privation of knowledge. Hence it is remediable; or there can only be ignorance of that which it is possible to know. Therefore object plus subject, the mininum of knowledge, is also the mininum of ignorance. Having thus examined the universal conditions of all knowledge and of all ignorance, we come to their application in the third part of the work, which is called Ontology, the object of which is to determine the nature of true and absolute existence. Absolute existence, or that which truly is, is either what we know or what we are ignorant of, or what we neither know nor are ignorant of. But that which we neither know nor are ignorant of is the contradictory which absolute existence cannot be. It must therefore be either what we know, or what we are ignorant of, which has been proved to be object plus subject. This is the conclusion to which the author leads us: Absolute existence is the synthesis of the subject and object,
the union of the universal and the particular, — the concretion of the ego and the non-ego; in other words, the only true, and real, and independent existences are minds-together-with-that-which-they-apprehend.” This proposition is followed by another, with which the author concludes his work, in which he limits the number of absolute existences, and declares that one only is necessary, "and that existence is a supreme, and infinite, and everlasting Mind in synthesis with all things.”
In this conclusion is contained the whole error of pantheism, the denial of all particular existence, and the assertion of one single absolute existence. Does the author intend this? We cannot say that he does, yet his whole work shows an acquaintance with the German philosophers who have asserted this same error, which would convict him of a consciousness of the tendency of his doctrine. But before judging his conclusions let us examine his arguments, and, to begin at the beginning, his First Proposition is as follows: “ Along with whatever any intelligence knows, it must, as the ground or condition of its knowledge, have some cognizance of itself.” This seems undeniable, and sufficiently evident without need of demonstration. The author does not attempt to prove this proposition, but makes on it these remarks:
“ There is always a latent reference of one's perceptions and thoughts to one's self as the person who experiences them, which proves that, however deeply we may be engrossed with the objects before us, we are never stripped entirely of the consciousness of ourselves. And this is all that our proposition contends for. There is a calm, unobtrusive current of self-consciousness flowing on in company with all our knowledge, and during every moment of our waking existence ; and this self-consciousness is the ground or condition of all our other consciousness. Nine hundred and ninety-nine parts of our attention may be always devoted to the thing or business we have in hand : it is sufficient for our argument if it be admitted that the thousandth part, or even a smaller fraction of it, is perpetually directed upon ourselves."
“ If this first proposition is not very clearly confirmed by experience, it is at any rate not refuted by that authority. No one, by any effort of the mind, can ever apprehend a thing to the entire exclusion of himself. A man cannot wittingly leave himself altogether out of his account, and proceed to the consideration of the objects by which he is surrounded. On the contrary, he will find that, nolens volens, he carries himself consciously along with him, faint though the consciousness may be, in all the scenes