Imágenes de página

that they do not wish a liberty to do anything that is unrea• sonable.'*

A third says, I feel that I am free—that I have the power to do or not to do this and that. I acknowledge the influence of motives; that to act contrary to the greatest apparent good * would seem impossible; and that, therefore, if the will acts * contrary to it, it does perform a seeming impossibility ; I can• not explain all the mysteries of this fact, and I cannot admit

the certainty of volition as dependent on motive: it is con* tingent—absolutely contingent—but I feel that I am free.'

• I agree with you in that last fact of consciousness,' says a fourth ; but I fancy I can see one step further in the mystery, * though itself is accompanied with a new difficulty. I think that • volition as dependent on motive is inevitably certain, and not

contingent; but I do not admit that this certainty of volition, • which many call “ necessity,” is so called except from a resem• blance in the one fact of certainty; the causes and effects are

entirely different; so much so that, admitting the certainty of • the volitions on preponderant motive, so far from feeling as • I should do were the causes and effects physical, I feel that, * provided there be knowledge of duty and freedom from ex• ternal constraint, then still the agent is free, and even in pro

portion to the certainty of his acts. I acknowledge I cannot • see distinctly how this should be; how man is most free, when • his actions most seem to resemble machinery ; how he is most * virtuous, when he feels the motives to it to be irresistible ; and • how therefore God is most perfectly free in his goodness, • because to be anything else to him is morally impossible!

have, like the ordinary advocates for the union of body and mind, their insurmountable difficulties, essentially agree in the great facts of man's moral freedom, and all the consequences which result from it; in his being capable of praise and blame, of punishment and reward; the hypothesis of neither does, in fact, practically disturb the conditions of human action; and

* Locke says, “But to give a right view of this mistaken part of * liberty, let me ask, Would any one be a changeling because he is « less determined by wise considerations than a wise man? Is it • worth the name of freedom to be at liberty to play the fool, and ' draw shame and misery upon the man's self? ... If to break * loose from the conduct of reason be liberty, true liberty, madmen 6 and fools are the only freemen ; but yet, I think, nobody would

choose to be mad for the sake of such liberty, but he that is mad - already.' B. ii. c. 21. § 50.

therefore each party ought to abstain from the too customary invectives against the other. *

We cannot say that M. Cousin has quite exemplified this equity in dealing with Locke's system of liberty. He says, • Locke has then suppressed liberty, by refusing it to the will,

and by seeking it either in the thought or in the motive * power; he destroys it, and he believes that he has destroyed

the question itself of liberty. But the belief of the human race protests against the abolition of liberty, and the whole • history of philosophy protests against the abolition of the question.'t

If the above charge holds of Locke, it holds much more of Leibnitz; for ourselves, we think it holds of neither, and that of both as well as of all moderate advocates of the doctrine unwisely called that of moral necessity,' it may be said that they leave the question of human nature, and its conditions of duty, just where it was.

Meantime, it remains true, that in this as in so many other cases, speculation carried to its furthest limits, brings us in contact with facts, the reconciliation of which is beyond us, involving perplexities which are paradoxes, and which look like contradictions. We cannot believe that they are so, because they are, in effect, somehow reconciled, though we know not how; but since we find that seeming contradictions are, in fact, reconciled, it ought to inspire us with extreme docility and modesty in dealing with all mysteries merely on the ground that they are such, if we have independent evidence of the truth of the separate facts which constitute them. In relation to many such mysteries, whether of Nature, of Providence, or of Revelation, we are doubtless much in the condition of a child when asked such questions, as whether it is possible that quantities can be added ad infinitum, and yet the augmentations, though carried on for ever, never exceed a certain very small sum? He is confident that it cannot be, and says so. Yet a very trifling acquaintance with algebra suffices to show him that he was a child, and therefore spake as a child, and

understood as a child ;' and so it may be with us all, when we have advanced out of our present tutelage, and look at things in the light of eternity. I

* We cannot refrain from wishing that all philosophers, but especially all theologians, would carefully ponder the counsels of moderation, in relation to this subject, so admirably inculcated in Archbishop Whately's • Appendix' to King's Discourse on Predestination.'

† Lecture xxv. | That Locke regarded the problem as insoluble, and both parties

. A very felicitous illustration of all this, and with a reference to the very subject which has just occupied our attention, is given in Isaac Taylor's Essay on Jonathan Edwards' •Freedom

of the Will.' He surmises, that if the conic sections had not been derived from the cone, and some of the most startling mathematical properties of those curves had been given, with the demand that they should all be exhibited in union in one solid, the generality of mathematicians would at once have pronounced the problem insoluble.

But we have far transcended our prescribed limits, and must conclude, though we have not said all that we intended to say even on the first two Books of the Essay. We had penned some observations on Locke's relations to Nominalism' and on some other subjects; we had also written, in extenso, on certain points discussed in his tractates on Civil Government, and • Education, and in some of his other writings. We mention this, not that we doubt that the suppression of so much matter will be very cordially acquiesced in by the reader; nor can we say we feel any reluctance to this course ourselves, for we are as weary as he can be ; but to account for the apparent omission of several topics which it might be expected that a general critique on Locke would embrace. We shall be well content, however, if the observations we have offered should in any instance give our youthful readers a more just conception of the character and value of Locke's philosophy than, we think, is always current in the present day; or stimulate them to make themselves masters of his principal writings; - assured that there are few

as provided with irrefutable arguments, is most powerfully stated in one of his letters to Molyneux :- 'If you will argue for or against liberty from consequences, I will not undertake to answer you. For I own freely to you the weakness of my understanding, that though it be unquestionable, that there is omnipotence and omniscience in • God our maker, yet I cannot make freedom in man consistent with

omnipotence and omniscience in God, though I am as fully persuaded of both as of any truths I most firmly assent to; and there'fore I have long left off the consideration of that question, resolving all into this short conclusion—that, if it be possible for God to make a free agent, then man is free, though I see not the way of it.' Sir W. Hamilton has stated the same conviction with great eloquence in a pote to Reid, p. 602. "The champions of the opposite doctrines • are at once resistless in assault and impotent in defence. Each is 'hewn down and appears to die under the home thrusts of bis adver

sary; but each again recovers life from the very death of his antagonist; and to borrow a simile, both are like the heroes in Valhalla, 'ready in a moment to amuse themselves anew in the same bloodless ! and interminable encounter.'

philosophers who will teach them more truth or, on the whole, with less error; and none- absolutely none — who will exercise a more salutary influence in the formation and discipline of their entire habits of mind.

ART. III.-1. Histoire des Réfugiés Protestants de France de

puis la Revocation de l' Edit de Nantes jusqu'à nos jours. Par

M. Ch. Weiss. 2 vols. 12mo. Paris : 1853. 2. Histoire de la Littérature Française à l'étranger depuis le Commencement du 17e Siècle. Par M. A. SAYOUS. 2 vols. 8vo.

Paris : 1853. 3. Histoire Philosophique de l'Académie de Prusse depuis Leibnitz

jusqu'à Schelling, particulièrement sous Frédéric le Grand. Par

M. CHR. BARTHOLMÈS. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris: 1851. 4. History of the Protestants of France, from the Commencement of the Reformation to the present Time. Translated from the French of G. de FÉLICE, D.D. 2 vols. 8vo. London:

1853. W E hail the appearance of M. Weiss's book with pleasure,

though it is not exactly the sort of work which we should have wished. We shall say presently, how we have been to a certain degree disappointed by the general tenor of his history; still it is but fair to mention at first the merits which give a real value to these volumes, and render them worthy of an attentive perusal.

The history of the French Protestant refugees, whom religious persecution scattered over Europe, and even on the opposite shores of the Atlantic, is one of the most interesting episodes in the annals of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." Here was a subject ready for a living picture, with much unity in it and as much diversity : thousands of exiles, stamped with the same national features, cast abroad in the same storm into different regions and exposed to perpetual vicissitudes of fortune, until they are at last assimilated with the hospitable populations who have afforded them a shelter. Yet the subject, attractive as it may seem, had not been treated as a whole before the attempt of M. Weiss. Separate portions of it had, indeed, been supplied at long intervals by competent writers. Thus, as far back as 1690, we meet with an excellent description of the establishment of the French refugees in the electorate of Brandenburg, written by one of the leading men in the rising colony, Charles Ancillon, the son of David, an eminent pastor of Metz, who had been generously welcomed by the Great Elector, and whose family, during many generations, proved a precious accession to their new country. A century later, from 1782 to 1800, two masters of the French schools at Berlin, Erman and Reclam, published nine volumes of memoirs on the same subject, and both of them died without having finished the task they had intended to perform. This work, though composed with great diffuseness, forms a very useful collection, and those who are alarmed by its bulk, may find a serviceable abridgment of it in the Appendix to Dohm's Denkwürdigkeiten.'

The refugees who settled in England waited longer for a history of their fortunes, but they at length found a chronicler in Mr. Southerden Burn, who having been appointed, in 1843, secretary to the commission for collecting the non-parochial registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials, undertook the work of extricating from the papers committed to his hands all the profitable matter they could yield. He has thence drawn an authentic sketch of the French, Walloon, Dutch and other foreign Protestant congregations harboured in England since the reign of Henry VIII., in the form of a catalogue raisonné of those curious archives, full of particulars, dates, family names and quotations; being rather well-arranged materials of a book than the book itself. Lastly, the descendant of a refugee' published, two years ago, a summary account of the calamities which the revocation of the Edict of Nantes inflicted on the Reformed Churches of France. The essay deserves attention, though it is written in a puritanical tone, and disguised under the strange title of · The Witnesses in Sackcloth.'. Luckily, the book is better than its title: half of it is filled with a literary and bibliographical appendix, including accurate notices of many tracts and pamphlets (some of them rare or manuscript), descriptive of subsequent events in the history of the French refugees after their dispersion.

These were the predecessors of M. Weiss, in detached portions of the subject which he has undertaken to treat as a whole. He has amply profited by the researches of Ancillon, Erman, and Reclam for Prussia, and by Burn's indications for England; he has completed the illustration which they had given of the subject with fresh inquiries of his own, and he has also extended his researches to branches they had not touched; he has followed the refugees to Holland and Switzerland, to the northern countries of Europe, and to America. His work is simply written, clearly divided, and conceived and executed in a laudable spirit of impartiality. The author evidently strives, in dealing with many delicate questions, to avoid offence to the

« AnteriorContinuar »