« PreviousContinue »
which conducts rigorously and incontestibly to certainty. Now this is what has been wanting to all philosophic schools. Scholasticism is the least incomplete, when, starting from revelation, it rests unshaken on its divine foundation, and never deserts the formula of absolute verity. But in its exposition, in the deductions it makes from immutable principles, it often enters the domain of opinion, because, starting from revelation, it does not admit the inductive counter-process as its corrective. Hence the astonishing diversity of opinions which divide the schools of deductive theology.
To resume in few words the subject, as far as we have gone
Man is double, having an animal and a spiritual nature, at war with one another.
His spiritual nature is also double, being made up of reason and sentiment, the one a finite, the other an indefinite faculty, and this antinomy is productive of antagonism.
In morals and politics there is no certainty, but a conflict between man's individual wants and the wants of society.
Authority, which holds society together, and liberty, that which determines the individuality of man, are constantly opposed.
Religion and philosophy are in opposition, for religion assumes the supernatural, and cannot exist without the supernatural, and philosophy denies what is not demonstrable, and only exists on condition of holding for true that alone which is demonstrable.
Reason cannot act without faith, and faith is impotent without reason, nevertheless they are opposed, and tend to invade each other's territory, and to destroy one another.
Admitting the necessity of faith of some sort, there are two methods of reasoning, the inductive and the deductive, and these are opposed to one another and have been held to exclude one another.
Therefore man, in all his relations, is in a state of antinomy; and this antinomy must change into antagonism, unless he admit the existence of a God as a fundamental, indemonstrable axiom, the basis of all certainty, the conciliator of all antinomies.
All things tend to unity. It is the universal law of life. This is no theory, it is a fact. At the same time, all beings tend to individualize themselves. This also is no theory, it is a fact. Here are two opposed facts, and yet practically there is no opposition.
Philosophy and science endeavour, by isolating one object or class of objects, by specializing every branch of human knowledge, to attain certainty. To know anything perfectly, the attention must be concentrated on that alone. Thus science is necessarily, and exclusively, analytical.
We have only a finite knowledge of things; the conditions of our nature do not permit us to embrace with one glance of the mind the entirety of any thing in all its relations, much less the totality of all things in all their aspects. We are obliged to examine them successively, one by one, so as to distinguish them. To the peasant all flowers are flowers, there is no distinction; but if he concentrate his attention on them, he separates the dandelion from the daisy, the hawthorn from the rose. A more attentive student will discover distinctions between roses, hawthorns and daisies. He will separate rose from brier, and hawthorn from blackthorn, and daisy from oxeye. A more exclusive botanist devotes himself to roses alone, or to daisies alone. We have eininent botanists whose specialities are mosses, willows or algids.
So too in the study of man. Some attach themselves to mankind as a race, others take man in particular, others dissect man with the scalpel, weigh him, dissolve him in acids, test him with the blow-pipe, and tabulate him as so much phosphorus, so much lime and so much carbon. Others again study him as a psychological phenomenon, and dissect his ideas and arrange them artificially.
But this constant analysis and specialization can only give one aspect of the truth, and the natural philosopher and psychologist forget that synthesis is as necessary as analysis.
To separate is to destroy unity, to kill life. Analysis is the disintegration of life, synthesis is its reintegration.
This is precisely what science has forgotten, and it is that which religion,—the Christian religion, at least, undertakes to supply.
Christianity claims to synthesize what science analyzes. Synthesis without analysis is nothing but uniformity. Analysis without synthesis is nothing but diversity.
Therefore science and religion are each necessary, the one to distinguish individualities, the other to bring individualities into unity.
This proposition will appear more evident from the sequel.
THE CONCILIATION OF ANTINOMIES
“ The whole round earth is every way
TENNYSON: MORTE D'ARTHUR.
The conciliation of antinomies a law of the universe-Man the union of
antinomical forms—The idea of the Indefinite-conciliates religion and philosophy-speciality leads to error- —the method of Hegel-applied to man-Life is motion between ever-moving poles-Advance toward the absolute—The existence of God follows the acceptance of the Hegelian axiom— The three moments—the three phases of the Ideal - The good, the true and the beautiful are inseparable—The application to Christianity of the Hegelian method—Its fertility.
JHE world presents us with a picture of unity and dis
tinction—unity without uniformity, and distinction without antagonism.
We may say that the law of the universe seems to be infinite analysis infinitely synthesized. There is universal antinomy, universally conciliated.
But when we examine man, a creature with free will, we find that he is capable of turning distinction into opposition, of making scission and separation; and then duality and contradiction begin.
Let us study that law, not in its deviation producing duality, but in its antinomical conception, producing unity.
Everywhere, around us and within us, we see that radical antinomy. The whole astronomic order resolves itself into attraction and repulsion-a centripetal and a centrifugal force; the chemical order into the antinomy of positive and negative electricity, decomposing substances and recomposing them. The whole visible universe presents the antinomy of light and darkness, movement and repose, force and matter, heat and cold, the one and the multiple. The order of life is resumed in the antinomy of the individual and the species, the particular and the general; the order of our sentiments in that of happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain; that of our conceptions in the antinomy of the ideal and the real; that of our will in the conditions of activity and passivity.
If we specialize one of these features and oppose it to the other, we break the order of the universe; we introduce antagonism where there was only antinomy.
In considering man, made up of body and spirit, we must not regard him as body alone, or as spirit alone. The analysis of his body by the anatomist and chemist is satisfactory so long as it is not opposed to the analysis of the spirit by the metaphysician. It is not the body composed of flesh and blood and bones which I feel to be the 1-myself; it is not the soul, composed of reason, will, and feeling, which I consider as the I-myself; but it is the two combined. My feeling in this matter is in perfect accordance with the law of the universe noted above.
The true definition of man is the union of two complex terms, not the specializing of one term to the exclusion of the other.
In the former chapter I pointed out another antinomy in man, faith and reason. The philosopher is impressed with a desire to separate reason from faith, and put it by