صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Theology, Philosophy, and Philology.

561 power of the 'Innominato' is in every instance the moving spring of the machinery.

Dr. Onofrio, a crafty lawyer, obtains the concession of a hundred years of life, and of unlimited wealth, on conditions, the fulfilment of which he tries to evade, but of course overreaches himself. Tomaso and Pepina, husband and wife, who both wish to be young again, are told that the gift can be conferred upon either, but not on both. They compromise the matter by acccepting the one youth of mind and feeling, the other, youth of form. The clever, subtle way in which the misery which this produces is wrought out reminds one of Frederick P. Müller's exquisite Fountain of Youth.' Don Bucefalo and the Curate' delineate two misers trying to overreach each other, and the 'Innominato,' and who only exchange their own ills. The Confession of the . Innominato, which resolves the weird machinery of the whole, is as remarkable as Mrs. Veale's narrative of the apparition, and is told with as much straightforward seriousness.

Mr. Gilbert has, in his weird conceptions, created his own world. He moves in it with great care and mastery; and under the guise of fiction points wholesome and important morals. A French Country Family. By MADAME DE WITT, née Guizot.

Translated by the Author of John Halifax, Gentleman.'

London: Alexander Strahan. We hardly know how to account for the charm which this little book works upon us. As for story, there is none to tell; it is simply a description of every-day incident and conversation. It is a picture, and not a story; and so gentle and exquisite is the touch, that it charms us like a quiet landscape. It is thoroughly French, and yet Mrs. Craik has so transferred and naturalised the charm, that it produces no feeling of being an exotic. It will be an acquisition to nursery literature, as wholesome as it is charming. Robinson Crusoe. Edited after the Original Editions, with a

Biographical Introduction. By HENRY KINGSLEY. Lon

don: Macmillan & Co. Mr. Macmillan's 'Globe Editions' aim to supply in a cheap, scholarly, and elegant form, compendious reprints of our best English classics. The great success of the series proves how much they are needed. They are books that no library ought to be without,' and that are, probably, in most houses where books are rea at all; but even to literary men these complete and portable editions will be very useful, while ordinary readers are rescued from the inflictions of coarse paper, illegible type, and slovenly versions. We are glad to put · Robinson Crusoe' by the side of the Globe Shakspeare.' It is a book that wise men often read, and that literary men often refer to.

THEOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, AND PHILOLOGY. Chips from a German Workshop. By Max MULLER, M.A.

2 Vols. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. 1867. Quaint titles are very well in their way. This, however, is rather misleading to any incautious reader who does not remember the nature of the workshop in which the editor of the Rig Veda,' the author of the history of Sanscrit literature, and the lecturer on the science of language, has been passing the greater part of his laborious life. Though, with one or two exceptions, these brief essays are fragmentary and unsatisfying, and appear as mere by-play to their author's more deliberate undertakings, and though they suffer from the circumstance that they have had to make their appearance in the periodical press, and thus reveal an endeavour to illumine casual readers on abstruse themes in the shortest possible space of time, yet few men in England could have written them with equal authority or success. We have long been familiar with some of these treatises, particularly those on · Buddhism,' and The Buddhist Pilgrims,' on. The meaning of Nirvana,' and on • Comparative Mythology, either in carefully-preserved slips from the Times and other newspapers, or in the publications where they originally appeared. Mr. Max Müller has done well in republishing them. He has vindicated for the study of man, and of human thought and specu. lation, a place from which modern materialism is anxious to eject it. Surely there are no facts of such consummate interest, there are no phenomena of such awful import, as the thoughts and lives of mankind. Here, even on the Pantheistic theory, may be seen the highest evolution and efflorescence of the Cosmos, and it is of profound moment to know how before the dawn of physical science, and independently of Divine revelation, our forefathers have looked out from their mysterious prison-house upon the open secret of Heaven, and earth, and death, and eternity. Professor Max Müller is, perhaps, too fond of theorizing, and too sanguine in his claim to be founding a science of religion. Philosophies of religion have been common enough. Their authors hare simply endeavoured to place their own religious convictions in philosophical form, to build up from first principles of human thought, the dogmatic structure of their faith, and to show the philosophy, the rationale of doctrines, relations, emotions, and institutions, which have often been taken for granted. The author of the present essays has conceived a perfectly different task. It is this : assuming the existence of a multitude of religious faiths, and discerning their true character by a careful study of the original documents in which such faiths have been enshrined, he hopes to show that they, like language and government, have respectively undergone such changes and reactions, such progress, degradations, and reformations, as to indicate the working of some great natural law of evolution, and to provide the material for an inductive science. Mr. Müller has not established his principle, nor proceeded to anything like the same extent in vindication of the possibility of a science of religion, as he has done in elaborating a science of language; but he has provided considerable material, and suggests the existence of much more of the same kind. He contrives in this volume to show something of the nature, simplicity, and history of the Vedic religion, the development of it in the Brahmanas and Puranas, and the protest against the latter in the formation of Buddhist creed and community-a fact which is, without doubt, the most momentous phenomenon in the reli. gious history of mankind, next to the founding of Christianity. He gives a vivid account of the processes by which we have become acquainted with the sacred books of the Hindus and Buddhists, and some notion of the progress of Zend scholarship. He glances at Dr. Legge's edition of the Chinese classics, and at the efforts made to bring before us the earliest ideas of the Aztecs ; by his most interesting paper on Comparative Mythology,' he shows the links of subtle connection that exist between

Theology, Philosophy, and Philology.

563 the highest ideals of all Aryan nations ; and by reference to the Norse traditions and Zulu nursery tales, he has swept round the world in his survey ; but it must be allowed that there are large regions which he has not traversed at all in these volumes, and it cannot be said that he has brought his erudite brochures into a connected whole, or pursued his varied themes with equal competence, or presented us with conclusions which would be of any great service in dealing with fresb departments or combinations of these various forms of faith. We do not dispute the possibility of constructing a science out of those phenomena of human beliefs which are due to the abiding peculiarities of the human mind, and to the calculable effect upon them of surrounding circumstances, and to the course which established religions will take when they affect a sufficient number of human beings so as to present all the well-known diversities of human life ; but the science would utterly fail in describing the starting-place of these faiths, the conspicuous originality of several weil-known historical religions, and the actual career they have run.

Within certain narrow limits interesting parallels are drawn by our author between Oriental and Hellenic myths, between the development, progress, and varieties of Buddhism and Christianity, and between Persian and Hebrew faith,—and no one is more alive than he to the huge errors which our ignorance might easily compact out of fanciful and mistaken analogies ; but these parallels must not render obscure to us the essential and fundamental differences between them. Thus Hebraism in its essence stands out distinct from Iranian and other dualism, in the fact that it has never even in the most modified sense deified evil. Buddhism, it is true, addressed itself to man as man, ignored caste, propounded a losty morality, spoke of the salvation and deliverance of the human race, originated priesthood, consecrated unselfishness and asceticism, founded monasteries, canonised saints, cultivated a propaganda, sent its missionaries to the four corners of Asia, produced martyrs by the hundred, and sent pilgrims by the thousand to its sacred shrines. In ail this there is more than a parallel to much that we see in Catholic Chris. tianity; but it is well to observe the fundamental difference between the position of Sakya-Muni and that of Christ, between Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhism discovered the misery and unreality of life, Christianity the blessedness, the reality, and eternity of life. Buddhism is based on the extinction of the body and its passions, and on the ultimate destruction of all consciousness. Christianity has always turned on the sanctity of common things, the redemption of the body, the possible consecration of all emotions, and their ultimate and eternal satisfaction. Buddhism is based on the irremissibility, Christianity on the forgiveness of sing. Buddha conceived himself superior to all gods and men, because an all but annihilated illusion; Christ establishes the reality of both by his actual relations to both, Professor Müller does not deny this; on the contrary, throughout his works there is a refreshing recognition of the Divine element of Christianity, and of its sublime and infinite superiority to the faiths which it has superseded, and also to the corrupt forms and sad accretions from which it has suffered. We owe a debt of obligation to him for these very thoughtful and instructive papers, and in conclusion merely suggest that he should not be in too great a hurry to create inductive sciences in regions where, with all his stores, the materials do not approximate completion, and have never presented any constant characteristics, but are always being exposed to the most unexpected, sudden, and cataclysmic changes. Let the facts be never so isolated, they may teach us reverence, humility, and charity.

The Physiology and Pathology of the Int. B-EKSSA,

M.D., London. London: Macmillan asa ca There have been at least three views ertezetes ! to the nature and relation of mind and matter, eaca sis : stot defenders. According to one, alter is tże ce sa t'e unverse, and wiat we call str.t-pheaonesa sze case. cat1918, or results of modifications of matter. This the pare, beld by all sensationalista, from Parinenides datozess of the present day. Such do not hesitate to make brais the season of thought in exactly the same way as the liver sectees Le Senei theory, which goes to the opposite extreme, treats bitta? 25 css theory, which goes to the opposite extreme, treats 23:27 CETS subjective creation of spirit. It is mind projeeted bio u creare form. This has been virtually the position of all codes idees tot has been systematically developed in the German post-Kauce. A third class of thinkers hold that matter and spirit are not POSATS elements, but that each is only a mcdification of a third and yoxsa ciple fuperior to both. According to this extending opinion, as forsis of existence are but manifestations or modifications of iorce ; oze e sss of its modications is called spirit, the other is styled matter. Tte abore remarks will enable us to understand Dr. Maudsles's position. The successful pursuit of the physical sciences, and especially of physiclogy, has given rise to many attempts to solve the problems of philosophy by the facts of sensible observation. Physiological observation had been already introduced into the investigation of mental phenomena by Abercrombie, Bain, and Spencer, but the volume before us is the first attempt in this country, by a professed physiologist, to grasp under one view the normal and abnormal phenomena of the nerrous system, and to treat them exclusively as observed facts. For the first time the phenomena of sound and unsound mind are made inseparable parts of one and the same inquiry. Hitherto they have been handled by two different classes of persons, but here they are united in one common science. Dr. Maudsley treats the psychological method of interrogating consciousness in the same way as Bacon did the physics of the schools. Ile maintains that metaphysics have long been sinking into merited contempt, and that they are cultivated only by dreamers in professorial chairs, by ambitious youths who have an attack of metaphysics as children have an attack of measles, and by dabblers in the science, who remain youths all their life long. The rest of mankind have as little regard for metaphysics as they have for scholastic theology. He more. over renounces empirical psychology, so successfully pursued from Descartes to Sir W. Hamilton, and regrets that J. S. Mill, while an expositor of Comte, should have committed himself to the psychological method. According to our author, self-consciousness is too narrow a basis for a truly inductive psychology, inasmuch as its revelations extend only to conscious states, while there exist also pre-conscious and extra-con. scious facts, of which it takes no cognizance. Mind and consciousness are far from being co-extensive. Nay, more ; consciousness is not reliable in the testimony it bears. Descartes' fundamental proposition is refuted by the madman's delusion. The metaphysical notion of mind as a peculiar entity is to be carefully discarded as a mere abstraction, an imaginary substance. The opposite proposition, that brain secretes thought, as the liver secretes bile, is not a correct expression of facts. Mind, he says, is best described as a natural force or energy, manifested to us only

Theology, Philosophy, and Philology.


through certain changes in matter. The modes of force vary with the kinds of matter. The highest kind of matter with which we are acquainted is nerve-tissue, and its corresponding force is nerve-force. This highest development of forces necessarily implies the existence of all the subordinate natural forces. Man, as the highest development of nature, implicitly contains all lower developments, and the history of mankind is the history of the highest and latest organic development of nature. Idea’ as well as 'mind' is a metaphysical entity. The 80called fundamental ideas have no permanent value or absolute truth as expressions of certain fundamental relations between man and nature. An idea is the result of an organic evolution in the appropriate nervecentres, gradually completed by a succession of kindred experiences. The cells of the cerebral ganglia form the sensory perceptions into ideas, by shaping them into an organic unity, after they have grasped the essential and rejected the unessential. In treating of the emotions, physiological observation yields no new light. The author is compelled to assume an organization of the nervous structure so delicate as to elude the survey of the senses. We find him here guilty of doing the thing against which he is constantly exclaiming. Is it less erroneous to assume the existence of a nervous than of a metaphysical entity ? Moreover, in adopting and praising Spinoza's account of the passions, he is paying homage to the old psychology, which is certainly inconsistent with his constant denunciations of it. When treating of volition, he urges us to dismiss from the mind the metaphysical conception of it as an entity of constant and uniform power. What is generally called will is the final reaction after deliberation, and, like other mɔdes of action of nerve-element, is a resultant of molecular change in some one nervous centre. What we call design in volition is purely a physical necessity, being the result of cerebral adaptation to the varieties of external impressions, and not a mental act evincing a power transcending experience. The will is the highest force in nature, the last consummate blossom of all her marvellous efforts. “It represents,' he says, not very lucidly, 'the exqui

sitely adapted reaction of man to the best insight into the relations in 'which he moves. Having concisely described our author's leading positions, we must briefly express our misgiving in regard to the soundness of some of his doctrines. We think him wrong in rejecting any one of the above-mentioned views of the nature and relation of mind and matter, because there is in each of them an element of truth, and because each has rendered important services. The first has established the truth that our spirit-nature is closely connected with and greatly affected by the physical; the second has served to save us from the gross materialism which would make us but a part of the vast mechanism of the material universe, bound and governed by the same laws; the third teaches us that the two realms are linked together by the closest ties, and constitute an organic whole. We deny, however, that either is a sublimation or concretion of the other, and that each of these elements is but a different form of one essence superior to both. Again, even if it be true that metaphysics have fallen into the neglect depicted by the author (which we beg respectfully to deny), is it so long ago since physics have set out on the right course, that it is hopeless that metaphysics should ever make a similar start ? May not metaphysics, Achilles-like, start and overtake its former companion in bondage, receive the torch which physics, through mere impotency, is compelled to surrender, and carry it into regions of being where the latter cannot plant its foot? Physiologists ought to be the last to prophesy.

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »