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latter, and is unable of itself to do more than re-form the materials introduced by sensation,' and this duality of mental phenomena both agreeing in declaring to my consciousness' the fact of their being no necessity for a God,' and that which is particular-speaking to but one person of something another is ignorant of, and being part and parcel of the human species (which are the same everywhere), cannot give the slightest proof of the argument in dispute. You say that consciousness is the strongest evidence.' I ask you did you ever know of evidence' without consciousness?' If you did not, why say that it is the strongest,' thus admitting other evidence independent of consciousness' 'to a person, of which evidence I am entirely ignorant in any case whatever.
Consciousness being (as I have before stated) the aggregate impressions made upon the mind through the senses, classified by reflection, augmented by experience, and knit together by memory, cannot be separated from the evidence of sense, or demonstration. And 'intuitional certainty being higher than formal deduction,' when it is the ultimate of DEDUCTION, for I challenge my opponent to produce a single case in which 'intuitional certainty succeeded before formal induction' took place, in any science where facts are conce
ncerned, providing the intuition” succeeded without a knowledge of the facts in question.
A great artist can enter a picture gallery and pass judgment on the works of art brought þefore his view—and by the first glance he can discern the salient points of the picture, and pass intuitively, a correct judgment, but this sentence has been gained by years of study, comprising a thorough deduction of the various properties of colour and shade, design and effect. The same with a sense of the beautiful.
We praise a man who can amidst poverty and misery select an English bride, with a straight figure, good complexion, Grecian contour, and sylph-like appearance; we say, that though poor, he has an intuitional' reverence for the symmetry of woman, the grand in humanity. But take an Arab's feeling of the artistic form of woman-he sees it in a fat and bloated form, with a rotundity of figure which destroys all our notions of elegance in structure and agility in action.
Yet this is his intuitional feeling, and how can we reconcile the two. We cannot : they are the results of a different educational treatment, which proves the idea of 'intuition' to be merely a process of instruction, and an atmosphere of circumstances peculiar to an individual, but which is not general to all.
I shall not stay to notice your feelings, I pass on to your arguments. You say, "As you so obligingly inform me that matter through the influence of all its properties, performs its necessitated chemical processes,' will you have the kindness to inform me by whom or by what these processes are necessitated, and where it got the properties which you ascribe to it ?" In the first place, I should have stated my meaning 'more explicitly by stating, “ Matter acting upon matter” through the influences of its respective properties, &c., performs its necessitated chemical processes. If you require to know the simplest fact of chemistry, I can inform you the difference of a mechanical combination of portions of matter and natural chemical affinitions, which change one portion of matter by the action of another. But on this subject you will require no infor, mation which I can give you. You ask where it got the properties which I ascribe to it? I answer, from itself, that the properties of inatter are a portion of the existence of matter, and cannot be separated from matter; if you can show me a single case where this statement is not true, I shall thank you.
You ask me to define · Matter and Nature. I answer, firstly, everything is 'matter' which occupies SPACE, and that which occupies space is found in three states--solid, liquid, or aeriform, and in no other form, each of these states of
113 matter being distinguished by size, figure, colour, &c., and in organized nervous matter-possessing faculties for perception, sensation, &c., and a remembrance of other states of being, which are not matter itself, but a quality of matter resulting from material organization, like the perfume arising from the leaves of a rose, which perfume is the result of the flower and cannot be abstracted from it-consequently, can have no existence separate from the rose. Secondly, nature' is a word with a double meaning, used in relation to God, it means the aggregate of all existence, in relation to a fractional part of matter, it means its ascertained properties. You enquire further, 'Do you possess omni. presence and omniscience that you tell me matter NEVER is annihilated? Will the oracle then, please to inform me, if ever mind is reduced to nothing?. But supposing you could prove that matter never is, would that be any evidence that matter never can be annihilated ?' I do not possess either omnipresence or omniscience, yet, I am in receipt of sufficient information to enable me to answer, without any fear of presumption being laid to my charge. Listen to the language of our eatest Natural Philosopher on this subject
One of the most obvious cases, says Sir J. Herschel, of apparent destruction is, when anything is ground to dust and scattered to the winds. But it is one thing to grind a fabric to powder, and another to annihilate its materials, scattered as they may be, they must fall somewhere, and continue, if only as ingredients of the soil, to perform their humble but useful part in the economy of nature. The destruction produced by fire is more striking. In many cases, as in the burning of a piece of charcoal or taper, there is no smoke nothing visibly dissipated and carried away; the burning body wastes and disappears, while nothing seems to be produced but warmth and light, which we are not in the habit of considering as substances, and when all has disappeared, except perhaps some trifling ashes, we naturally enough suppose it is gone, lost, destroyed. But when the question is examined more exactly, we detect in the invisible stream of heated air which ascends from the glowing coal or flaming wax, the whole ponderable
matter only united in a new combi. nation with the air and dissolved in it. Yet, so far from being destroyed, it has only become again what it was before it existed in charcoal or an active agent in the business of the world and a main support of animal and vegetable life, and is still susceptible of running again and again the same round as circumstances may determine; so that for ought we can see to the contrary, the same identical atom may be concealed for thousands of centuries in a limestone rock; may at length be quarried, set free in the lime kilns, mix with the air, absorbed from it by plants, and in succession become part of the frame of myriads of living beings, till some concurrence of events consigns it once more to a long repose, which, however, 'no way unfits it again from resuming its former activity. This is the opinion of the greatest living authority on the subject of the indestructibility of matter; and if this cannot be overturned then my argument is irrefutable in the eternity of matter, and consequently, there is no necessity for the 'existence of a God.' You ask me if matter never CAN BE annihilated ?' I have nothing to do with 'may be's, or can be's, the fact is, what I advocate, it cannot now be annihilated, therefore, there is no presump
as to the future being contradictory to the present in this instance. You want to know 'If mind is ever reduced to nothing?' I am ignorant of mind, except as a property of organized nervous matter, and when the machinery which regulates the human organs and their functions is destroyed – how can I expect mind to
o continue its existence independent of its organs. How do I know that God never has interfered to prevent the ordinary effects of food and flame,' and, if he does not always interfere, even to save useful lives, am I a better judge of what is wisest and best for the universe than he ?
In this case, sir, you reason upon the existence of the assumption about which we are in dispute, contrary to logie and subsersive of the principles of
I know, by common experience, vessels are sunk with hundreds of Christians in them, as well as towns and villages are destroyed by flood and fame, accidents hourly oeeur, in which Christians' lives are lost-their families plunged into misery or poverty--and from this result their children grow up hardened in crime, and progenitors of sin to such a degree as to endanger the morals of the community, and all this, in a many cases, might have been averted, if God existed and CHOSE to save his children, on their supplications to Him. No human father would neglect their cry, providing he knew their wants, and had the power of alleviating them; and as happiness is preferable to misery all the world over, and knowing that if God existed, he would rescue the human race, (according to his word) therefore, I was justified (by universal experience) in asserting the above.ón ch Doulang sa 0+ I find my communication is growing too long. I, therefore, pass over to your only attempt to prove a creation, in If you carefully examine the strata of the earth, you will find that there have been successive creations of animal an vegetable life, and that there was a period when there was neither. Creation then, whatever you make of it, is a fact. Here then is the pith of the whole question and if atheism is to be judged by it, it is still safe. True, in geology, we find different STRATA as well as different vegetables, reptiles, and animals
, imbedded in the remains of this strata--the history of the antediluvian world is written upon the leaves of the great'stone book' but there is no mention of 'creation. We find an adaptation of vegetables to what we call the primary rocks, and a successive gradation in point of intricacy of strueture in succeeding strata. The one petrified in its grave and replaced by another, whether we look in the great Lias deposits, or the ice-bound tomb of the Megatherium. These simply are CHANGES pot creations--besides these are but organisms, and if they were CREATED it would not affect my argument—if my opponent can prove from geology, that there was a commencement of matter, (not its forms) then I yield up the point, not before ; and thus I dispose of geological facts,'
deny ing that proof can be advanced in support of matters' 'creation " from any part of geological evidence. This sir, closes my case in reply to your first letter, and from the facts previously advanced and now defended, I consider there is no necessity for the existence of a God.'s prints sidstreets on 9 YTAN 03 tot osa 119 gw 0 20 0 W. H. JOHNSON, Huddersfield.
Hon. Sec. 8. 8.
REPLY TO LETTER III.
TO W. H. JOHNSON,
You appear either unable or unwilling to understand my argument from 'consciousness. Our thinking readers will perceive that you have not met it at all. Let me render it to you again, in different, and, if possible, in simpler language,
you may have still greater difficulty in evading its force. Of the substrata of mind and of matter, we know nothing, We know of mind and matter only through their phenomena. That they
are not identical or alike is obvious from the entire dissimilarity of these phenomena. Between them there is scarcely a solitary point of resemblance. We have cognizance of the phenomena of mind through our consciousness, of the phenomena of matter hrough our sensations. But we know our sensations only through our con
Could we but see him, say they, as we see a man, we should believe that he is, and believing obey his commands. But alas, we need only open our eyes to see the sovereign Lord of all things with a more full and clear view, than we do any of our fellow-creatures. A human spirit or person is not perceived by sense, as not being an idea; when therefore we see the colour, size, figure and motions of man, we perceive only certain sensations or ideas excited in our own minds; and these being exhibited to our view in sundry distinct collections, serve to mark out unto us the existence of finite and created spirits like ourselves. Hence it is plain, we do not see a man, if by man is meant that which lives, moves, perceives and thinks as we do : but only such a collection of ideas, as directs us to think there is a distinct principle of thought and motion like to ourselves, accompanying and represented by it. And after the same manner we see God; all the difference is, that some one finite and narrow assemblage of ideas denotes a particular mind, whethersoever we direct our view, we do at all times and in all places perceive manifest tokens of Divinity: everything we see, hear, feel, or anywise perceive by sense, being a sign or effect of the power of God;
as is the perception of those very motions, which are produced by men. There is not any one mark that denotes a man, or effect produced by him, which doth not more strongly evince the being of that Spirit who is the author of nature.
It is quite clear that you know nothing of the idealism of Berkeley, but from Lewes's Biographical Dictionary on Philosophy.
Another extract from his own works will make you deeply repent your rashness in referring to him.
"Some truths there are, * says the Bishop of Cloyne, so near and obvious to the mindst that a man need only open his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be
so vino grey092 W Works of George Berkeley, D.D., in 3 yols., page 26.
B 5 10 gradeixe
to wit, that all the choir of heaven and furniture of the earth, in a word, all those bodies which compose the frame of the world, have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being is to be perceived or known; that, consequently, so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind, or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some eternal spirit; it being perfectly unintelligible, and involving all the absurdity of abstraction, to attribute to any single part of them and existence independent of a spirit.
From what has been said, it follows there is not any other substance than spirit, or that which perceives.'
If further proof were necessary that Berkeley denied the materiality of the world, I could quote scores of passages from his writings. But as your letter occupies far more than the allotted space, I must necessarily be brief, Berkeley's theory was this - That our ideas, and nothing else, are the real objects of our knowledge. That it is not in some imaginary substratum called matter, of which we have no sensible evidence, but in our ideas which are the immediate objects of perception, that all mankind believe; with great ability, he assailed the various hypotheses by which the existence of matter had been vindicated; and endeavoured to show that the very essence of an object is for it to be perceived by the mind. He strongly asserted the impossibility of ever finding a proof that our sensations are occasioned by objects actually material, since it it is as easy for the Deity to produce them in us without such objects as with them. And if you once allow the fundamental axiom that all our knowledge of the external world is representative and not presentative, that it is mediate and not direct, it is difficult to perceive how his conclusion can be svoided. All the passages which you have taken from Lewes only prove that Berkeley did not deny a related and phenomenal world; they do not disprove his rejection of its materiality. The matter in which he believed was its phenomena; that which is seen, felt, tasted, and touched. The merest tyro in philosophy knows that Berkeley's was a system of idealism, and not of sensationalism as you affirm. He admits the testimony of the senses; but argues that matter is not perceivable by the senses but only its phenomena. According to him, sensation does not give us any information regarding a material world, it only bears testimony to certain modes and changes in our own minds, which might be produced without any objective reality apart from us.
You seem to hesitate at nothing in order to make out your position. You seem careless how many unfounded assertions you make. You give us definitions ? as readily as you would eat strawberries. If one does not suit another may. If one is proved worthless and untenable, with the utmost sang froid, you coin another. Consciousness is the aggregate knowledge of the senses !!! • Logic is the thorough knowledge of any subject, of the means and end of any domestic problem !I!! Shade of the Stagyrite ! listen to the Yorkshire champion of secularism, 'the philosophy of the people of the nineteenth century !
With such definitions as those there is little likelihood of our agreeing upon the fundamental facts of reasoning, or the ultimate criterion of truth. There must be certain fundemental data of reasoning and if natural consciousness does not supply these data, will you tell me what does ? Will you tell me how
you can have any knowledge of your sensations but through your consciousness; and then, explain to me, how you came to assert that consciousness ‘is the aggregate knowledge of all the senses ?'. Whatever you may say to the contrary, nothing can be more philosophical than to build upon the primary data of consciousness, and the very slightest reflection will satisfy you, that, however originating, these data are not our sensations.
I still hold, then, that there is a knowledge of which we have a greater certainty than that which comes to us through the senses. If you will attempt to prove the existence of that material world, which you seem to regard as the only existence, you will speedily perceive this. You can never prove the existence of a NON-EGO without supposing the existence of an EGO. Every