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on the defence."

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Of the Ecclesiastical Review, of which The Dolphin is the edition for the
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THE
ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.



Third Series— Vol. VII.— (XXVII).— November, 190a.— No. 5.



BSIDGINe THE GRAVE.

(Second Paper.)

The relations of the known and the knower are infinitely complicated,
and a genial, whole-hearted, popular-science way of formulating
them will not suffice. The only possible path to understanding
them lies through metaphysical subtlety; and Idealism and
Erkenntnissthearie must say their say before the natural science
assumption that thoughts "know'' things grows clear. — ^James,
Physiology — Epilogue.

The having of general ideas is that which puts a perfect distinction
betwixt man and brutes, and is an excellency which the ^ulties
of brutes do by no means attain to. For it is evident we observe
no footsteps in them of making use of general signs for universal
ideas ; from which we have reason to imagine that they have not
the faculty of abstracting, or making general ideas, since they
have no use of words, or any other general signs. — Locke, Of
Human Understanding y Bk. 2 ; c. 11 ; § 10.

Mind and Abstraction.

THE human mind, then, as we have seen, forms ideas of super-
sensible and spiritual things. Words embodying such ideas are
to be found in the language of every people. True, it forms these
ideas not without the aid of the imagination, which is an organic
faculty, and uses some part of the brain as its organ. The imagina-
tion, however, only furnishes it with images of sensible objects,
which come in originally through the gateways of sense, or, rather.



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464 THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.

are wrought in the outer sense by the action of some external
object or stimulus.

But, though the mind does form ideas of things that are
beyond the ken of sense, from images of material objects and from
self-reflection, it is not of such things it forms its first ideas. The
connatural object of the human mind lies in the material universe,
in the world of sense. All of man's knowledge comes originally
through the senses. But the mind sees in that which sense pre-
sents to it something that sense does not perceive. It has an
incomparably wider range of vision and deeper insight than sense.
It ransacks every comer of the universe, and grasps the inner
nature of things. It goes down even into the bowels of the earth,
and reaches out beyond the farthest of the fixed stars. It dwells
in the past as if in its own realm, and pierces the veil of the future,
foretelling with precision effects that are yet unborn in the wombs
of their causes.

The soul of man is larger than the sky.
Deeper than ocean, or the abysmal dark
Of the unfathomed centre.

Now, the root of its transcendent power is its spirituality. It
is not material, nor tied down to a bodily organ, nor hampered
with it in its operations. The proof of this that we are now to
consider is that even things material, even things of the sensible
order, it conceives of after an immaterial or spiritual manner.

First of all we must try to get some clear notion of how we
come by our ideas of these things. Impressions of them are pro-
duced in the outer sense, and afterwards reproduced in imagina-
tion. Acting on these sensible impressions or images, the mind
forms ideas which, as ideas, are like the objects they represent.
But, as modifications of the mind, they are like the mind, spiritual
— without extension, without color, without any of the properties
of matter as such. We find an analogous process in the phe-
nomenon of bodily vision, which is akin to intellectual vision.
The light of the sun, which, though material, is a very subtle
agent, acts on the external object, and causes an image of it to
result in the eye — an image which is itself, as such, a true picture
of the extended material object, yet as an entity, as a modification



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BRIDGING THE GRA VE, 465

of the organ of sight, possesses the subtle properties of the agent
that produced it.

But the image, which is the offspring of sunlight and psychic
energy, is not spiritual. It belongs to the material order of being,
and possesses some, at least, of the properties of matter, such as
extension and color, though these qualities in it are not stable, as
they are in nature, but flitting and evanescent.** The same is to
be said of the image formed by the imagination, which is but a
copy of the original impression made on the organ of sight. It, too,
is of the material order, and is extended. Now, it is impossible for
a psychical faculty that is tied to a bodily org^n, and reacts on its

'^ If the lake, which mirrors on its calm sur£Eu:e the surrounding hills, with all
their wealth of variegated color, were a sentient thing, it would react on its environ-
ment in the form of a visual sensation.

There is a striking passage in the Phaedo—ont of many — touching the supremacy
in man of thought and volition, and the mind's intrinsic independence of matter,
which is the root of its freedom. Socrates, on the eve of his death, is explaining to
his friends how he came to be sitting there in prison, awaiting his doom, when he
could have gone free :

<' I might compare him [Anaxagoras] to a person who began by maintaining
generally that mind is the cause of the actions of Socrates, but who, when he
endeavored to explain the causes of my several actions in detail, went on to show that
I sit here because my body is made up of bones and muscles ; and the bones, as he
would say, are hard and have joints which divide them, and the muscles are elastic,
and they cover the bones, which have also a covering or environment of flesh and
skin which contains them ; and as the bones are lifted at their joints by the contraction
or relaxation of the muscles, I am able to bend my limbs, and this is why I am sitting
here in a curved posture ; — that is what he would say, and he would have a similar
explanation of my talking to you, which he would attribute to sound, and air, and
hearing, and he would assign ten thousand other causes of the same sort, forgetting
to mention the true cause, which is, that the Athenians have thought fit to condenm
me, and accordingly I have thought it better and more right to remain here and
undergo my sentence ; for I am inclined to think that these muscles and bones of
mine would have gone off long ago to Megara or Boeoda — by the dog of Egypt they
would, if they had been moved only by their own idea of what was best, and if I had
not chosen as the better and nobler part, instead of playing truant and running away»
to undergo any punishment which the State inflicts. There is surely a strange con-
fusion of causes and conditions in all this. It may be said, indeed, that without bones
and muscles and the other parts of the body I cannot execute my purposes. But to-
say that I do as I do because of them, and that this is the way in which mind acts»
and not from the choice of the best, is a very careless and idle mode of speaking.
I wonder that they cannot distinguish the cause from the condition [soul from body,
mind from brain and nerves], which the many, feeling about in the dark, are always
mistaking and misnaming.*' (From Professor Jowett's translation, second edition.)



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466 THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.

object in and through that organ, to form an impression or image
that will not have, at least, the material attribute of extension.
But the mind (using the word in its highest sense to denote the
intellect) forms to itself ideas of material things, which have neither
extension nor any attribute that belongs to matter. The process
by which it does so, and which is known as abstraction, is in-
trinsically impossible to any faculty that is of the material order,
or that works with a bodily organ. This follows (i) from the
nature of abstraction ; (2) from the nature of general and abstract
ideas.

By the faculty of abstiaction is meant the power which the
mind has to conceive, or form an idea, of an attribute or thing,
without any other attribute or thing that it may be physically
bound up with in the outer world.** Thus we form an idea of white-
ness, without any of the other attributes that exist with it in a
given subject, and without the subject itself; of enei^, one of
the ultimate constituents of the physical world, without its twin
constituent, which we call matter ; of the essential nature of a
•class, in the abstract, without any of the individual attributes, as
humanity (in its first intention) ; of the essential nature of a
class, in the concrete, without any of the individual attributes as
man, dog, etc.j in fine, of any one aspect of a thing, without
the other aspects. In the physical world, whiteness as such,
energy as such, humanity as such, man as such, do not exist
Only the concrete, individual subjects exist in nature ; viz., white
things, material agents (bodies in which energy is lodged), man-
kind (humanity in the collective sense), and individual men
(Peter, John, etc.). But the concept of whiteness as such, the
concept of energy as such, the concept of humanity as such,



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