صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

square of the hypothenuse of a right-angled triangled is equal to the square of both its sides. In the discussion of this problem, the knowing and calculating faculties present the successive elements of the figures, and instantly, as each is produced, the reason perceives their relative values, and by their association in combination determines the truth of the conclusion. The same is true of theories involving the correlation of forces, whether natural or mechanical, whose laws reason can only determine by the aid of other faculties.

In all the foregoing examples, as well as in numerous others, the reason does not act until some elements of relation, either of causation, adaptation, or proportion, are presented to its view; and whenever that is done, reason instantly perceives each relation, and its law; and whenever the complement of individual relations and their laws is made up, reason perceives their mutual relation of adaptation, and determines their theory. Defects and errors in rational theories are due less to the imperfection of the rational process than to the imperfect presentment of facts by the knowing faculties. Ās, in logic, the major and minor must both exist, and must both be true, or the conclusion is uncertain, so all the elements of a rational theory must be present and certain, or the theory will be defective; and if any of the elements are false, the theory is erroneous. It is common to attribute errors in rational theories to the defectiveness of reason, yet nothing can be farther from the truth, for reason, being normal, is as infallible as normal eyesight. Werner, spent his whole life in a champaign country, the superposition of whose rocks was uniform and undisturbed, inferred from this uniformity his Neptunian theory, according to which all rocks have been formed by sedimentary deposition ; but his pupil, Von Buch, extending his travels into volcanic regions and countries abounding in hills and mountains, was impelled to adopt the theory of upheaval by igneous agency, and his reason compelled him to abandon the errors of the Neptunian theory, and adopt the truths of the Plutonian theory. In this instance, it is apparent that the defectiveness of the Neptunian system theory arose from the imperfectness of the facts from which it was inferred, while the superior truthfulness of the Plutonian theory resulted from the broader basis of facts upon which it was founded.

Ratiocination is involved in demonstrating the truth of a postulate or proposition apagogically, or by the

conkey of its logicang is the most for the pur.

accepontrary and tests, the ada divine 1

mathematical process called reductio ad absurdum, by assuming the converse to be true, and demonstrating the fallacy or absurdity of its logical or mathematical conclusion. This method of reasoning is the most common of any in practical use, and is often resorted to for the purpose of determining by proof the truth of theories which, in consequence of the imperfection of human faculties, had before rested in some degree of uncertainty. In this, as in all ratiocination, the laws of relation, or ratio, form the constituent in the conclusion which is due to the action of the faculty of reason. Even as to the transcendental truth of the being and attribute of the self-existent Intinite, the revelation of the perceptive function of reason is fortified, and the understanding is confirmed in its acceptance of the truth, by apagogical assumptions of the contrary and their fallacious conclusions.

Tried by all tests, the adamantine integrity of the sublime central truth of the divine Infinity becomes more and more obvious to human understanding, and the mind--which at first received the intuitive perception of pure reason with trembling and fearful joy, a joy qualified by a shade of doubt, deepened by a consciousness of the importance of the subject--at length is brought to rest in a perfect and unquestioning confidence, fast anchored to what it can no longer doubt will remain unmoved, though all things else should tremble to their fall. The solid rocks, through whose cleft summits uplifted to the skies volcanic fires blaze forth in awful splendor, descending, sink below the surface of the earth, and form the immovable basis on which rest and from which are produced both soil, and all the varied forms of vegetable and animal organization, with which the earth is covered ; and, likewise, the sublime truth of the infinite divine, constitutes the grand fundamental basis from which all true systems of divine, moral, and social philosophy originate, and on which alone any theory concerning them can securely rest.

The unity of the Divine is a truth of which the human mind with difficulty arrives at a perfect comprehension, although reason determines it as necessary to infinitude. Man is several in faculties, as in numbers, and in contemplating the Supreme Being, thinks of him as several, and speaks understandingly of the divine power, wisdom, and goodness, as he would of those attributes in a superior man, as well as of subdivisions of these imputed attributes, such as love, hatred, benevolence, justice,

truth, &c., equal in number, and, as he imagines similar in function to the moral, intellectual, and affectional faculties of man; nor do many good men deem that they well understand the Supreme Being in his relation to his creatures, until they have satisfactorily imagined to themselves in what manner each one of all these attributes is exercised. It might be a thankless and unprofitable task to attempt to uproot these deeply-seated ideas from many devout minds, but those who desire to know all truths that may be known will find their attempts to conceive of the divine unity aided by reflecting that in every divine action, whether of creation, sustentation, or administration, power, wisdom, and goodness are equally manifested, as being employed consentaneously and in perfect harmony; and by considering how utterly impossible it is to imagine, in this view, that either of these supreme attributes, supposing them to be infinite and equal, could permit an act to be done in which each should not have an equal share; or, to state the idea in other words and more broadly, how an infinitely good being could do a bad action, or an infinitely wise being could do an unwise action, or how an infinitely powerful being could be susceptible of weakness ; and hence, as these attributes are manifestly equal and infinite, and there can be no plurality of infinity--they are necessarily one.

What, then, of evil? some will ask. The answer is plain. Good, the synonym of God, alone, is infinite; evil is finite, an effect and instrument of good. Within the embracement of infinity, evil has its birth and death, its origin and its end. Nothing, in the moral any more than in the physical universe, can exist which is not an effect of the infinite cause. If this answer fails to satisfy any one who believes that God is infinite, he will profit by the attempt to frame any other rational answer to his inquiry. We learn to become reconciled to this truth, when, by experience and observation, we come to understand and believe that they love most to whom most is forgiven, that sorrows and afflictions chasten the affections, subdue the passions and discipline the soul, giving it the supremacy over the impulses of the animal nature, and thus enabling it by freer exercise to develop its strength and enlarge its capacities for the enjoyment of celestial beatitude; and that even Death, the very king of terrors, opens the portals of immortal life.

Every truth is in harmony with every other truth;

but especially is this to be affirmed of the one truth of the infinite unity, the grand key-note, to which all other truths respond - in perfect diapason,” each contributing to swell the volume of the sublime symphony of universal harmony.

Art. 1.-1. View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages.

By HENRY HALLAM. 2. Legende der Heiligan, (Chronicles of the Saints), Art. St.

Thomas, von F. X. WENINGER. 3. Euvres complètes de A. F. OZANAM. 8 tomes. 8vo. Paris,

1853. 4. Opera D. Thomce, 17 vols., fol. Romce, 1570.

The history of the Middle Ages in its bearing on literature and civilization has lately been engaging the earnest attention of some of the best cultivated and untrammelled intellects, and their researches have earned for them fame and honour. In English literature, Hallam, Maitland, and a writer in Blackwood's Magazine have particu. larly distinguished themselves in this field ; but to German writers is perhaps due the credit of having taken the lead in the enterprise; and foremost among these stand Hurtur, * Voigt, and others of minor reputation. Still the palm of success in mediæval researches, must unquestionably be awarded to a French writer, the late lamented M. Ozanam, whose premature decease in 1853, at the age of about forty years, has deprived literature of one of its best exemplars, and society of one of its brightest ornaments.

There are some writers who see nothing great or worthy of commendation but in the remote ages of antiquity, Christian or Pagan as their predilection may be, -while there are others who take opposite views, and can see nothing deserving of praise or admiration, but in recent or modern times ; and both parties have to a great extent ignored the Middle Ages, as if these ages were devoid of all interest. For our own part we belong to neither school exclusively. We see much to admire, as well as to condemn, in remote antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages; and we are sorry that we have to say the same in regard to our own times. But let us not be misunder

* Histoire du Pope Innocent III. et de ses Contemporains, traduite de l'Allemand.

men, a have the name

stood : upon the whole we are well pleased and thankful that our own lot has been cast in the 19th century “ with all its faults," yet, this shall not deter us from giving due praise

“ wherever found, Whether on Heathen or on Christian ground." The whole period of the Middle Ages extending from the eighth to the thirteenth century, has been by some sciolists called the “dark ages,” but if there were any solid foun. dation for this name, it ought in all fairness and candour to be limited to the first two or three centuries of that period. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries assuredly produced men, and women too, that for their genius and erudition would have merited halos of glory in any age or nation whatever. The names of St. Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Vincent de Beauvais; and of Roger Bacon (sometimes known under the name of Friar Bacon), Alexander of Hales, John Duns Scotis and St. Bonaventure will ever continue to illustrate with an enviable effulgence, the latter centuries of the middle ages.

We design in this article to speak more particularly of St. Thomas and of his writings, and in introducing him to our readers we feel confident that whatever they may think of his religion, they will be much pleased with the man himself, with his moral beauty, his unassuming manners, his amiable disposition, but above all with his gigantic intellect, his penetrating genius, and his vast literary labours. And as they will naturally desire to know something of the history of such a man, we will, before noticing his writings, present them an outline of his life. It may be proper to premise that in the books he has received several names, as Thomas Aquino, Thomas of Aquin, Thomas of Acquin, &c., * but the name we have given him appears to us the most correct one, and the one by which he is more generally known.

If nobility of birth could have added any thing to the éclat of his personal excellence, Thomas Aquinas was certainly not deficient in this respect. His biographers mention that he was son to Landulph, count of Aquino and lord of Loretto and Belcastro. His mother, Theodora, was daughter to the count of Theate. On the father's side he was nearly related to St. Louis, king of France, and to the last eniperors of Germany, and connected with most of the royal houses of Europe ; while on the mother's side

* He is also called Doctor Angelicus, Scholoe Angelus, Aquila theologorum.

VOL. XVII.-NO. XXXIII. 6

« السابقةمتابعة »