Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

correlation of the mechanical sort, we affirm that the con-
trivances discoverable in nature proclaim intelligence opera-
tive in nature. Here we are met at the threshold by the
objection that we know nothing about designs in nature;
the only reply we can make is, that we feel fully persuaded that
contrivance implies intention, and, therefore, intelligence, and
that we feel this necessity to be the same in the domain of
nature as in that of humanity. Still it is only a primitive belief.
But there is a further difficulty. The evidence carries us, at best,
only to the idea of necessary intelligence as the adequate explana-
tion of the mechanism of the universe. This, again, apart from
any other proof, is not infinite intelligence, but only intelligence
indefinite in degree—such intelligence as is demanded by the
system of nature; and, in addition, it is only intelligence and
nothing more. The argument does not lead us to the idea of
being and personality; and so, like the preceding argument,
it leaves faith dangling in mid-heaven and groping around
desperately for a firm support. We hasten to the next

6. The Homological + argument. As this phrase is a
stranger in the present category, we explain the meaning to
be an argument based on proofs of intelligence drawn from the
existence of intelligible methods-plans—in nature. We need
not ainplify the explanation or the argument. It is at once
apparent that, however convincing the proofs of intelligence,
the argument lands us exactly where the teleological did, and
faith feels itself afloat without an anchorage.
7. The Ontological argument.

Here we deal with essen-
tial realities--the ground and source of all cognizable modes
and attributes, whether contingent or uncontingent. We find
in our minds the necessary idea of existence, reality, and feel
impelled to predicate a necessary something distinct from the
world, and which constitutes the ground and reason of its
existence. This is the only argument furnished by reason which


* This "conclusion (that design is revealed in nature] could not bear, perhaps, the strictest transcendental critique;" Kant: "Critique of Pure Reason," p. 435. This objection is echoed and re-echoed in the pages of Hamilton, Spencer, and others.

+ This is the Cosmological argument of Cocker, or a branch of the PhysicoTheological of Kant.

attains to real being. There are three orders of cognizable manifestations, giving rise to three corresponding orders of ontological concepts.

I. Phenomena of the Objectivity, (extension, form, color, etc.) Ontological principles, applied to these phenomena, supply a form of real being, which is contingent, finite, and MATERIAL.

II. Phenomena of the Subjectivity, (the mental states.) Ontological principles, applied to these phenomena, supply a form of real being which is self-conscious, free, intelligent, moral, and IMMATERIAL, but still finite and conditioned.

III. Necessary Ideas. These are not properly phenomena of mind. The consciousness of their presence is such. No phenomena of the finite can claim a necessary existence. Some of the necessary ideas which reason discovers in its domain are the following: The ideas of, 1. Substance or Reality. 2. Causality, with its derivatives, Will, Liberty, Motivity, and Intelligence. 3. Intelligence. 4. Ethicality, (the idea of right and wrong.) 5. Duty. 6. Personality. 7. Unity. 8. Infinity. 9. Absolutivity. (Perhaps the 7th and 9th are also derivable from the idea of causality. Kant says Liberty is not directly cognized, but only a deduction from the concept of Duty, and deriving its objective, real existence from the reality of Duty; but in this he contradicts himself and the verdict of common consciousness.)

Ontological principles, applied to the existence of necessary ideas, supply necessary, infinite, and unconditioned Being as their subject. Therefore, the ontological argument shows that if necessary ideas exist, there is a necessary subject to which they must be referred as their adequate cause and ground. But there are necessary ideas :

(1.) Arising spontaneously in our own minds in presence of the phenomena of the external world, but transcending all which we can conceive of the extent, duration, or degrees of contingent existence, and clothing themselves with the attribute of absolutivity. Such are our transcendental ideas of substantivity, causality, intelligence, etc.

(2.) Further illustrated and emphasized by a thoughtful contemplation of the Kosmos.

For instance: Intelligence is exemplified in (a) Relations of contrivance,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

(the Teleological proof;) (6) Relations of plan, (the Homolo-
gical proof.)
Primordial Causality and its derivatives


are exemplified in
Self-determination, = Personality,

relations of cause and effect, (the Ætiological proof.)

These three, and other* similar modes of argumentation,
thus contribute predicates, which the Ontological argument
affirms of Real Being. These predicates, together with those
supplied directly and spontaneously by the mind, make up

the whole possible conception of Perfect Being, or DEITY.

Finally, we desire to direct attention to the fact that on whatever ultimate the last predicate of reason rests, we are obliged to accept it--though we do it cheerfully and necessarily-simply because the denial of it appears absurd. Simple, primitive belief, therefore, is the very root of the highest certainty attainable.

Must we, then, confess that all our knowledge rests on a basis which admits of doubt? Never was a more important question raised in the whole annals of humanity. It is of supreme importance to discern the absolute and irrecusable validity of the primitive beliefs. They are the molecules of philosophy. In the last analysis of our knowledge we find an element which we hesitate to pronounce knowledge, because it is only belief; and we are not satisfied to pronounce it belief, because we feel that it is knowledge. All our knowledge resolves itself into primitive judginents which we affirm, because we intuit, the reality. Intuitive knowledge is identical with primitive belief, and philosophy is but a deduction from intuitive knowledge.

It was not our purpose to attempt to enforce the authority of the primitive beliefs, but merely to point them out as the

Similarly we might frame an Ethical argument, based on the principles of ethicality as major, and the demonstrations of justice in the world as minor, premise; also an Agathological argument, based on the idea of goodness and its manifestations in nature. But these arguments, guided by nature, reach only to indefinite intelligence, causality, justice, and goodness, when we are obliged to turn to the reason to furnish the concepts of absolute attributes; and still another effort of reason is demanded to view these absolutes as modes of Being.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

key-stones of human knowledge, and to reinind the reader that the impeachment of one is the dethronement of all. To attack the authority of the belief in efficient causality is not only to launch us upon a universe of chance, but to surround us, as Fichte confessed, by a phantasınagoria of unrealities and illusions. To dishonor our belief in Absolute Being as the ground of our necessary idea of Absolute Being, is, by a fell touch, to break the electric communication which unites the world of finite existence with the realm of eternal Realities, and plunge the unhappy soul into the abyss of nihilism. On the contrary, to assert the authority of our belief in the reality either of the external world or of the world within ourselves, is, by implication, to announce the authority of that universal faith of humanity which affirms Supreme Divinity; it is to recognize intelligence, power, goodness, justice, in the ordinations of the visible universe, and to make these attributes the predicates of the Absolute and Perfect Being revealed in the inmost chamber of human reason.



“When a great country scatters in some vast and fertile wilderness the seeds of a civilized population, fosters and protects the infant community through the period of helplessness, and rears it into a mighty nation, the measure is not only beneficial to mankind, but may answer as a mercantile speculation.”--MACAULAY'S ESSAYS.

As we have arrived at the semi-centennial anniversary of the landing of the first Negro colonists from the United States on the shores of Liberia, and their occupation of Cape Mesuradom which events took place January 7, 1822, and April 25, 1822 we have thought it a fitting time to take a brief survey of those operations which have succeeded in rearing from a feeble beginning an independent, sovereign community on the western coast of Africa. We have before us the “Memorial of the American Colonization Society,” published in 1867, at the close of the first fifty years of its labors. It contains the following articles : Minutes of the Fiftieth Annual Meeting; Address of the President of the Society, J. H. B. Latrobe;

[ocr errors]

Selections from the Annual Report; Address of President
Warner of Liberia ; Historical Discourse by Dr. Joseph Tracy;
Address by Bishop Clark, followed by an Appendix containing
the Liberian Declaration of Independence and Constitution,
the first President's Inaugural, showing affairs as they appeared
then, and the President's Annual Message for 1866, showing
matters as they are now. Also, a table of Chief Magistrates,
table of emigrants, and table of the annual receipts of the So-
ciety since its organization.

It was quite fitting that Dr. Joseph Tracy, the venerable
Secretary of the Massachusetts Colonization Society, should
have been selected to deliver the Historical Discourse. Pos-
sessed of a mind disciplined by New England culture, of re-
markable patience of research, with singular affection for
every detail of colonization and Liberian history, and an
extraordinary capacity of collecting and treasuring them, he
has accu mulated a minute and special knowledge of Liberia,
her origin, condition, and necessities, equal to, and in many
respects surpassing, that of the oldest and most intelligent

Dr. Tracy informs us that the origin of the idea of colonizing blacks from the United States in Africa cannot be attributed to any single individual. “ The sentiment gushed forth at many points, so that many persons have been named as the originators of the enterprise.” But prominent among those to whom the credit belongs of having promulgated the idea of “ a definite plan for a colony, with its agricultural, mechanical, and commercial interests, are Rev. Samuel Hopkins and Rev. Ezra Stiles of Newport, R. I., and Dr. William Thornton, “a young man from the West Indies.'"

The close of the administration of James Madison witnessed the inauguration of the colonization scheme. The country had just begun to recover from the depression occasioned by the war with England. A political campaign was just over, and spirit of hopefulness for the future had begun to be felt by the American people. It was a fit time for the founding of a great association, which, having for its object the promotion of the highest philanthropic and political ends, was destined to unite men of all parties.

For more than one hundred and fifty years the transatlantic

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »