Henry Boynton Smith Charles Hodge.

The Biblical repertory and Princeton review online

. (page 35 of 74)
Online LibraryHenry Boynton Smith Charles HodgeThe Biblical repertory and Princeton review → online text (page 35 of 74)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

principles of a system which for thirteen or fourteen years he
was engaged in teaching; and self-convicted of assiduously
labouring to introduce and inculcate a system utterly subver-
sive of religion and morality. Though our responsibility in
this matter is great, it is as nothing compared to his. For if we
are mistaken, what harm is done? We, in common with the
majority of his readers, have misconceived and misrepresented
the doctrines of an illustrious man ; and if convinced of our
mistake, we shall be glad to make every atonement. But if
Dr. Henry is mistaken, then he has been, and still is, labouring
to poison the very fountain of life.

4. The great ground of Dr. Henry's confidence, the fact
to which he constantly appeals in proof not only of stu-

Digitized byVjOOQlC

1856.] Couiin'i PhOoiophjf. 846

piditjy but of wilfal perversion on the part of onr reviewer, is
that Cousin ^^ strennonsly maintains doctrines precisely the
reverse of those imputed to him." This sentence he prints in
capitals to give it the greater emphasis. The proof of the
assertion which it contains, he finds in the fact that Cousin
discourses largely not only of Ood, but of his personality, and,
therefore, he cannot be a Pantheist; he discourses largely of lib-
erty and spontaneity, and, therefore, cannot be a fatalist; he
writes with eloquence and pathos on morals, and, therefore, cannot
deny the foundation of moral distinctions. This mode of argu-
ment seems to us to betray the most profound ignorance of the
nature of the question at issue. The most notorious Pantheists
do all that Cousin does. They speak largely of God, liberty and
virtue. They not only teach that God is a person, but they prove
it. They tell us wherein personality consists, what are its ne-
cessary conditions, and how God becomes a person. They dis-
cuss all the theories of liberty, and often decide in favour of the
right one. They examine every department of natural and
moral science, and write about them very much as other men.
Does this prove anything? Does the fact that Berkeley wrote
a treatise on ^^ Tar- water" prove that he was not an Idealist?
May not an Idealist write a dissertation on mechanics? If a
Pantheist may write discourses on chemistry or astronomy, why
may he not write on liberty or virtue? The controversy between
Theism and Pantheism lies back of all these questions. These
questions all relate to phenomena, and phenomena are admitted
by both parties. The facts of consciousness are the same for
both. Both therefore may examine, classify, and explain them.
The properties and the laws of matter are the same for the
advocates of the atomic theory, and for the advocates of the
dynamic theory, as to the ultimate principle of matter. It is,
therefore, perfectly consistent with the assumption that Cousin
is a Pantheist, that he discusses all the phenomena of nature
and of the mind ; that he examines the theory of beauty, and
proves that it cannot be resolved into the agreeable or the useful.
With equal consistency he may discuss the facts of conscious-
ness as they bear on the question of liberty, and show the dif-
ference between spontaneity and deliberation. So also he may,
as he actually does, examine the dififerent theories of virtue.

Digitized byVjOOQlC

846 The Princeton Review and [April

and prove that it is not founded on utility, or sentiment, or on the
arbitrary will of God ; that the Good is good in itself, and ought
to be pursued whatever be the consequence; that neither regard
for our own happiness, nor for the happiness of others, is the
ultimate motive in doing right. We very readily acknowledge
that there is much that is pure and elevating in what Cousin
has written on these subjects, and that he occupies much higher
grounds than the Epicureans or^followers of Paley. But what
does all this amount to ? Just nothing at all, so far as the
real point at issue is concerned. Yet it is mainly on this
ground, that Dr. Henry allows himself to use the unpardonable
language, in relation to the writer in this Review, which we have
quoted above. As it makes no difference whether a man is a
Materialist or Idealist, when he comes to discuss the phenome-
na of nature ; so it makes no difference whether he is a Theist
or a Pantheist, when he comes to discuss the phenomena of con-
sciousness. This is not saying that there is no difference be-
tween Materialism and Idealism, or between Theism and Pan-
theism. It is merely saying that the difference does not appear
in the discussion of phenomena. The world, as it addresses
itself to the senses, is the same to the man who thinks it all
matter, as it is to him who thinks it all mind, or to him who
thinks it all God. The one would be just as loath to put his
hand into the fire as either of the others. How futile then it
is to argue that a man does not think the fire is God, because
he talks and acts about it just as other men do; or that he does
not think the soul God, because he discusses its phenomena just
as they are discussed by others. nWe honestly think that Dr.
Henry is the most incompetent man in this whole sphere, whom
we have ever encountered, in print or out of it.

We come now to the main question : Is Cousin's philosophy
pantheistical ? This is the most important question in itself,
and also as it concerns the reputation of our lamented friend.
If an affirmative answer to this question is proved to be the
correct and only one, then our friend stands acquitted, and his
accuser stands condemned. It will be remembered that we do
not understand by Pantheism the doctrine that the universe is
God ; we do not charge Cousin with holding or teaching that
doctrine which he expressly repudiates. We mean by Pan-

Digitized byVjOOQlC

1856.] OouMtn'i PhUoMophy. 847

theism the modern German doctrine, that God is the only real
existence of which the universe of mind and nature is the phenor
menon. That this is truly Pantheism, we have the concession
of Dr. Henry himself. "Pantheism," he says, "in the strict
sense of the term, is the confounding of God with the universe —
denying his distinct substantial existence, and making him
merely the collective all of things. It may be of two sorts;
material^ when the substantial existence of spiritual being is
denied, and matter is made the only substance of which the
collective all of the universe is composed ; or ideal^ when the
substantial existence of matter is denied, and spiritual being
made the only substance. Pantheism, in the less proper mean*
ing of the word, is the confounding of the universe with God —
making God the sole substantial existence, and the universe of
mind and matter merely phenomena, thereby destroying human
personality, freedom, &c. Now, Cousin not only does not
teach Pantheism in either of these forms, but, on the contrary,
clearly and abundantly exposes and confutes them all."
p. xviii. That form of Pantheism, then, which makes God the
only substantial existence of which the universe of mind and
matter is the phenomenon, destroys human personality and
freedom. The whole question, therefore, is whether Cousin
teaches that mind and matter 3re phenomena of which God
is the sul^stance. Having reduced the controversy to this singly
point, we shall endeavour to show, first, that as a historical fact
Cousin adopted more or less fully the modern philosophy of
'Germany; secondly, that modern German philosophy invoMes
the doctrine of Pantheism in the form above stated; and
thirdly, that Cousin's system, as unfolded by himself, involves
the same doctrine.

The first of these points rests on, the testimony of compe-
tent witnesses. In 1817 — 18 Cousin visited Germany. He
met Hegel at Heidelberg, whom he speaks of as being at that
time known only as a distinguished disciple of Schelling. In
1818 he spent a month with Schelling in Munich, and was thus,
as he says, introduced to a clearer knowledge of his philoso-
phy. In 1821, ho dedicated one of his works to Schelling and
Hegel, as Amicis et MagiatriSj philosophiae praesentis dticibus.
In 1826, he spent some time in Berlin with Hegel and his

Digitized byVjOOQlC

848 The Princeton Review and [Apbh

principal followers, and was more tborongblj indoctrinated in
his system. From this time he was in correspondence with the
now acknowledged head of the German school, whom he was wont
to address as Mon Maitre. In one of his letters he says to
him, ^'J'attends vdtre Encyclop^ie. J'en attraperai ton-
jours quelque chose, et tacherai d'ajuster k ma taille qnelques
lambeaux de vos grandes pens^es." In another letter, he says,
*< Je veux me former, Hegel; j'ai done tant pour ma conduite,
que pour ma publication d'avis austere, et je Tattends de Yous*
Bous ce rapport, Vous me deves de temps en temps une lettre
s^rieuse." Again, he says, ^* Paries, parlez, mon ami, mes
oreilles et mon ame Yens sent ouvertes. Si vous n'aves pas
le temps de m'^crire, dictez k d'Henning, Hotho, Michelet,
Cans, Forster quelques pages AUemandes en caractferes Latins;
ou, comme TEmperenr Napoleon, faites r6diger Ydtre pens^e,
et corrigez en la redaction, que Yous m'enverrez."

In 1838, Cousin published in the preface to the third edition
of his Philosophical Fragments, an account of his intercourse
with Schelling and Hegel, and gives in many points the prefer-
ence to the former. This disconcerted the friends of Hegel,
who attributed the great change in Cousin's estimate of these
two great leaders, which took place between 1828 and 1883, to
Hegel's having refused to review Cousin's Fragments, and
Schelling having done him that favour. This they felt the
more, because that article was made the vehicle of Schelling's
first open assault against his former associate and friend. The
facts above stated, however, abundantly prove that Cousin
avowed himself, what every one knew he was, the disciple of
the leaders of the German Pantheistic school.^ They were
his recognized masters.

That he became a disciple of Schelling, and enamoured of
his system, is also stated by Sir William Hamilton, in his ex-
amination of Cousin's theory, originally published in the Edin-
burgh Review. Sir William Hamilton says : ^^ If we compare
the philosophy of Cousin with the philosophy of Schelling, we
at once perceive that the former is a disciple, though by no
means a servile disciple, of the latter. The scholar, though

* See RoeenkrAOZ*! Leben UegtVn, pp. 368—373.

Digitized byVjOOQlC

1856.] CouHft'i Philosophy. 849

enamoured of his master's system as a whole, is safficientlj aware
of the two insuperable difficnlties of that theory. He saw that
if he pitched the absolute so high, it was impossible to deduce
from it the relative; and he felt, probably, that the intellectual
intuition — a stumbling-block to himself — would be arrant fool-
ishness in the eyes of his countrymen. Cousin and Schelling
agree that as philosophy is the science of the unconditioned,
the unconditioned must be within the compass of science.
They agree that the unconditioned is known, and immediately
known; and they agree that intelligence, as competent to the
unconditioned, is impersonal, infinite, divine. But while they
coincide in the fact of the absolute, as known, they are dia-
metrically opposed as to the mode in which they attempt to
realize this knowledge ; each regarding as the climax of con-
tradiction, the manner in which the other endeavours to bring
human reason and the absolute into proportion. According to
Schelling, Cousin's absolute is only a relative; according to
Cousin, Schelling's knowledge of the absolute is a negation of
thought itself. Cousin declares the condition of all knowledge
to be plurality and difference ; and Schelling, that the condi-
tion, under which alone a knowledge of the absolute becomes
possible, is indifference and unity. The one thus denies a
notion of the absolute to consciousness; while the other affirmd
that consciousness is implied in every act of intelligence."*

The differences between Schelling, Hegel, and Cousin, all
lie outside of the doctrine which we wish to show is common to
them all. They all agree in making the Finite the phenomenon
of the Infinite. They differ in their methods of arriving at the
knowledge of the Infinite, and in their mode of explaining how
the one passes into the other. The only object for which we
cite the testimony of Sir William Hamilton is to prove that
Cousin was regarded as a disciple of Schelling, and as having
adopted his system as a whole, not as distinguished from that
of Hegel, but as distinguished from those of Kant, and other
tbeistical philosophers.

The difficulties attending Schelling's method, rather than

* See Diicoerions on PhilcMophj and Literature, &c., by Sir William Hamilton.
Harper's edition, p. 30.

VOL. xxvui. — NO. n. 46

Digitized byVjOOQlC

S50 The Princeton Review and [April

dissatisfaction with bis results, seem to bave inclined biiOy for a
time, to the special school of Hegel, though he appears to have
subsequently returned to his first love. Michelet, (not the
French historian, but the Berlin Professor,) says, "that after
Cousin, subsequently to his visit to Berlin, in 1826, carried to
France the principles of Hegel's doctrine, which von Henning,
Hotho, and myself had systematically discussed with him, and
especially after he bad found such favour with the French
public, by means of Hegel's views of history, the Hegelian
philosophy ceased to be confined within the limits of Germany,
and obtained an European reputation. This is one of the most
important of the services of Cousin."* On a subsequent page,
he says that Cousin had given "universality and an European
reputation to the Hegelian philosophy;" and a little further on,
he adds that although Cousin "took so much doctrine from
Hegel, he still adhered to the stand*point of psychology, and
to its method, which he had derived from the Scottish philoso-
phy, and from the doctrines of Royer*Collard." Here again,
the difference between Cousin and his German masters is con-
fined to method, and not to results* That Cousin introduced the
Hegelian philosophy into France, is the fact attested. This
we consider sufficient, so far as the first point is concerned. It
is indeed a matter of common fame, a fact all but universally
recognized, that the wonderful success of Cousin as a public
lecturer was due not more to his genius and eloquence, than
to his having popularized the abstruse philosophy of Germany;
for the reception of which, with its intoxicating doctrines, the
youth of France were fully prepared. Nothing stood in its
Way; there was no reigning philosophy; the materialism of the
revolutionary period had died out; the doctrines of Beid had
gained but slight hold of the public mind; and, therefore, when
Cousin appeared, teaching a new system, apparently original,f

* Oeschichte der Letzten Systeme der Philosophie in ]>eatachlAnd Ton Kant bis
Hegel. Von Dr. Carl Ludwig Michelet, toL ii., pp. 686, 687, and 689.

f It must strike every reader of Cousin's Lectures with surprise, that while he
•0 frequently mentions Kant to praise and to refute him, he seldom or never says
anything of SchelUng or Hegel, from whom the staple of his philosophy is so
largely dfawn. He aeems to his readers to have taken up the subject aa it was left
by Kant, and worked out his results without any intervening steps.

Digitized byVjOOQlC

1856.] <UiUin'$ PhUoiophjf. 851

and recommended by a mode of presentation peraplcaotis and
captivating, his saccess was without parallel in modern times.

If CoQsin adopted the German philosophy, it becomes neces-
sary to inquire, what that philosophy is. Cousin says, truly^
that it is impossible to understand the doctrine of Plato, with-
out understanding the systems which precede and follow it. It
is no less impossible to understand Cousin without understand-*
ing something of those systems whence his own, as to all its
great principles, is derived, and of which it is merely a modifi-
cation. The comparative anatomist is enabled to determine
the genus, the species, and often even the variety to which an
animal, whether extant or fossil, belongs, from a single bone, and
much more readily from the whole skeleton. This, however^
could not be done without a previous knowledge of the various
cognate types of animal nature. So it is easy for any reader
tolerably conversant with the history of philosophy, to deter«
mine from a few pages of a writer, with what school he stands
affiliated; though, without that knowledge, he would be as much
in the dark as a man ignorant of anatomy in the presence of
the bones of some unknown animal. We propose, tlKrefore, to
give a brief statement as perspicuous as we can make it, of the
modem German philosophy, as indispensable to any proper
apprehension of the true character of the system of Cousin*
Strauss, the famous author of the Life of Christ, in the Introduc-
tion to his Dogmatik, says that all the modern systems of
philosophy may be divided into two classes ; the one, the The-
istic philosophy of Leibnitz and Wolf; the other, the Panthe-
istic philosophy of Spinoza, Schelling and Hegel. It is not
the peculiar doctrine of Spinoza, as distinguished, from that of
Schelling, nor the doctrine of Schelling as distinguished from
that of Hegel, that we propose to endeavour to state ; but the
leading features of the system common to them all, which, un-
less we are entirely mistaken, will be found to include that of
Cousin also.

The distinctive title of this system is Monism,* as distin-

* This ia the most recently adopted designation. It is the Greek equiya-
lent to the German AUeinheitslehre,^ all-oneness; or Identitatslehre, the doC'
trine of Identity, employed by Schelling. Hegel calls his system "Absolute
Idealism," which amounts to the same thing.

Digitized byVjOOQlC

852 The Princeton Review and [April

guished on the one hand from PantheiBm^ (in one of its forms,)
and on the other from Theism. It is the doctrine of one Be-
ing. God is, and beside him there is nothing. God is every
thing. He is the one existence of which nature and mind are
the movements; the one substance of which they are the phe-
nomena; the absolute reason of which all things are the ideas.
This is the result to which this philosophy has arrived. How
has this result been reached?

The end of all philosophy is to give a rational solution of the
problem of being. Whether it adopts the a priori method to
the exclusion of the a posteriori; whether it starts from reasoa
or experience, or whether it attempts to combine the two me-
thods, the thing which philosophy proposes to do, is to explain
how things are. God, nature and man, are the elements of
the problem which philosophy undertakes to solve. Of the two
latter, we have, by common consent, in one sense or another,
immediate knowledge. But as they do not contain within
themselves the solution of their own existence, we cannot stop
with them. Whatever it may be called, there must be some
being, eitlf^r distinct from nature and mind, and the cause of
them, or which includes them as the manifestations of itself.

The first point, therefore, to be determined is, what that
being is ; the second, in what relation he stands to the universe
of nature and of mind ; and the third, the consequences of the
Bolation thus arrived at.

It is a principle of the philosophy under consideration, that
intelligence implies consciousness, and that consciousness sup-
poses a difference between the subject and object. Every act of
consciousness necessarily supposes that we distinguish the self
from what is not self; the ego from the non-ego. Consciousness,
therefore, implies limitation. We limit ourselves by distinguish-
ing ourselves from what is not ourselves. But limitation is, by
the very force of the word, inconsistent with the Infinite. The
Infinite or Absolute, (terms used as equivalent by the German
school, though distinguished by Sir William Hamilton,) is the
unlimited. Consciousness, therefore, cannot be predicated of the
Infinite ; nor can intelligence, for intelligence implies conscious-
ness. Suppose we abstract from matter all its properties, its
extension, resistance, weight, its chemical affinities, &c., what

Digitized byVjOOQlC

1856.] Oou$in's PhOoiophy. 858

remains? Nothing that is knowable— that is, nothing of
vhich anything can be affirmed or denied; or suppose we
abstract from mind all thought, sensation, emotion, affection,
Ac, and what remains? Again nothing of which anything
can be affirmed or denied. So if you abstract the Finite from
the Infinite, you leave nothing but a mere potentiality, a cause,
power, substance,— call it what you will, it is still an unknown
quantity. In order to know itself, or to be known, it must
become finite. It must become objective to itself. The Infi-
nite thus passes into the Finite, i. «., into the universe of nature
and mind. God has no existenee out of the world, any more
than life exists out of things living.

This determines the second point above mentioned, viz. the
relation of the Infinite to the Finite ; or, if you please, of God
to the universe. It is a relation of identity. The universe is
consubstantial and coeternal with God. Still, the latter is not
exhausted in the former, any more than the mind is exhausted
in its acts. The universe is finite, God is infinite. The uni-
verse is effect, God is cause. Nevertheless, the universe is
God in the sense that it is, for the time being, the whole life,
intelligence, and consciousness of God. Take from God the
life, intelligence and consciousness of the universe, and you
leave an unknown quantity. The universe, therefore, is the
self-revelation of God, i. «., the revelation of God to himself.
It is the life of God. All that is in God is in the universe, not
as a dead or stagnant pool, but as an ever-fiowing stream. The
water of a river is the river; but the water which fills its banks
is not always the same water. It is constantly varying its
course, its currents, its eddies, its form, its contents. Thus
the universe is the ever*flowing stream of the life of God;
now this, now that; now in one form, now in another; inex-
haustible in its source, and endless in its fiow. The universe,
therefore, and all that it contains, are mere moments in the life
of God. All acts are his acts, all feeling is his feeling, all
thought is his thought, all consciousness is his consciousness*
God is the only being, of which the universe is the manifesta-
tion ; he is the only substance, of which the universe is the

The third point to be considered is the consequences which

Digitized byVjOOQlC

854 The Princeton Jteview and [Apexk

flow from this theor j, or the ^applications made of it. These
reach very far.

1. As to the nature of God. Although he may be said to be
a person, in so far as he cornea to self consciousness, the indis-
pensable condition of personality in man, yet he is not a persoa
as distinguished from other persons. He comes to personality
as he comes to consciousness. He is a Werdende Personlich-
keit, or all-comprehending person. The Finite and Infinite
together constitute God, and it is only of the Infinite as realized
in. the Finite, we can predicate intelligence, moral excellence
or knowledge. The moral excellence of God is the goodness
of his creatures ; his omniscience is the sum of their know-'
ledge; his omnipotence is the causality of all that is, and that
is to be, and nothing more. There is nothing, in God which ia
not in the universe, and in its progress. God is just as much
an object of knowledge as nature or the soul. We know God
as fully as we know ourselves. '^

2. As the Infinite is the substance of which the Finite is the
phenomenon ; and the Infinite being spirit, and the essence of
spirit being thought, the Infinite and Finite are resolved into
thought. The latest designation of the system is therefore
Absolute Idealism, a name chosen by Hegel himself. God and
man are identical. The Infinite in becoming Finite becomea
man ; and as this is an eternal process, without beginning and
without end, man is eternal. God is ia himself, but he exists
only in man. Nature is unconscious, it does not know itself^
and therefore God is nonconscious in nature. His real exist-
ence as a conscious intelligence is in man. And as man exists
in very different degrees of development, God is in some men
in a much higher sense than in others; just as reason is in a
higher state in a man of science than in an infant. And as

Online LibraryHenry Boynton Smith Charles HodgeThe Biblical repertory and Princeton review → online text (page 35 of 74)