« הקודםהמשך »
on the other a mystery impenetrable may hang over the general design of creation. The lesson that there is a presiding intelligence, may shine most vividly forth in the details of the universeand yet the drift, or what we should term the policy of the universe, may be wrapt in profoundest secrecy from our view. The world may teem all over with the indications of contrivance—and yet the end which the contriver had in view, the moving cause which impelled him to the formation of the world, or the final destination that awaits it, may all baffle the comprehension of men, who nevertheless can read the inscription of a manifold and marvellous wisdom on every page in the volume of nature. So that on the one hand there may be overpowering light, while on the other there is hopeless and unconquerable darkness. In the workmanship of nature we behold an infinity of special adaptations to special objects, each of which bespeaks a sovereign mind that plans and purposes—yet there may the deepest obscurity hang over the question, what is the plan or purpose of this workmanship on the whole ? It is just as when looking to an individual man, we cannot but recognise the conceptions of an architect in the teeth, and the eyes, and the hands, and all the parts of manifest subserviency which belong to him—yet remain unable to solve the enigma of his being, or to fathom the general conception of the Divinity in thus ushering a creature to existence, that he may live in restless vanity, and die in despair. And what is true of an individual is true of a species or of a universe. Throughout, and in its separate parts, it may be pregnant with the notices of a Divinity-yet in reference both to its creation and its government, to the principle in which it originated and the consummation in which it issues, there may be an overhanging mysteryand man, all clear and confident on the question that God is, may abide notwithstanding in deepest ignorance of His purposes and His ways.
PROOFS FOR THE BEING AND CHARACTER
OF GOD IN THE CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN MIND.
General Considerations on the Evidence afforded by the Phenomena and Constitution of the Human Mind for the Being of a God.
1. THERE are many respects in which the evidence for a God, given forth by the constitution of the human body, differs from the evidence given forth by the constitution of the human spirit. It is with the latter evidence that we have now more peculiarly to deal; but at present we shall only advert to a few of its distinct and special characteristics. The subject will at length open into greater detail, and development—yet a brief preliminary exposition may be useful at the outset, should it only convey some notion of the difficulties and particularities of this branch of the argument.
2. A leading distinction between the material and the mental fabrications is, the far greater complexity of the former, at least greater to all human observation. Into that system of means which has been formed for the object of seeing, there enter at least twenty separate contingencies, the absence of any one of which would either derange the proper function of the eye, or altogether destroy it. We have no access to aught like the observation of a mental structure; and all of which our consciousness informs us is a succession of mental phenomena. Now in these we are sensible of nothing but a very simple antecedent followed up, and that generally on the instant, by a like simple consequent. We have the feeling and still more the purpose of benevolence, followed up by complacency. We have the feeling or purpose, and still more the execution of malignity, or rather the recollection of that execution, followed up by remorse. However manifold the apparatus may be which enables us to see an external object
-when the sight itself, instead of the consequent in a material succession, becomes the antecedent in a mental one; or, in other words, when it passes from a material to a purely mental process; then, as soon, does it pass from the complex into the simple; and, accordingly, the sight of distress is followed up, without the intervention of any curiously elaborated mechanism that we are at all conscious of, by an immediate feeling of compassion. These examples will, at least, suffice to mark a strong distinction between the two inquiries, and to show that the several arguments drawn from each must at least be formed of very different materials.
3. There are two distinct ways in which the mind can be viewed, and which constitute different modes of conception, rather than diversities of substantial and scientific doctrine. The mind may either be regarded as a congeries of different faculties; or as a simple and indivisible substance, with the susceptibility of passing into different states. By the former mode of viewing it, the memory, and the judgment, and the conscience, and the will, are conceived of as so many distinct but co-existent parts of mind, which is thus represented to us somewhat in the light of an organic structure, having separate members, each for the discharge of its own appropriate mental function or exercise. By the latter, which we deem also the more felicitous mode of viewing it, these distinct mental acts, instead of being referred to distinct parts of the mind, are conceived of as distinct acts of the whole mind, insomuch that the whole mind remembers, or the whole mind judges, or the whole mind wills, or, in short, the whole mind passes into various intellectual states or states of emotion, according to the circumstances by which at the time it is beset, or to the present nature of its employment. We might thus either regard the study of mind as a study in contemporaneous nature; and we should then, in the delineation of its various parts, be assigning to it a natural history,—or we might regard the study of mind as a study in successive nature; and we should then, in the description of its various states, be assigning to it a natural philosophy. When such a phrase as the anatomy of the human mind is employed by philosophers, we may safely guess that the former is the conception which they are inclined to form of it.* When such a phrase again