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pointed out the subjective origin of the theological conceptions of antiquity. Kant, in a brochure, of which M. Littré supplies a complete translation, has shewn that history is a natural phenomenon submitted to determined conditions ; but, at the same time, by giving to that axiom a metaphysical foundation, he has completely ruined his own theory. Finally, Condorcet, whilst seeing very clearly that a new period in the history of the world had arrived, allowed himself to be carried away by the prejudices which reigned amongst his contemporaries, and denounced the social institutions of ages gone by, instead of appreciating them impartially, and of acknowledging their adaptation to existing circumstances.
We have thus enumerated those who prepared the way for the success of M. Comte's doctrines; let us now see what these doctrines were in substance. We quote the following definitions from M. Littré's volume : “ Positive philosophy is the ensemble of human knowledge, disposed according to a certain order which allows us to understand both the connection of the various parts, and the unity of the whole. His new method enables us to draw from it general directions whereby we can best master, not only each branch, but also the entire cycle of knowledge. Positive philosophy is distinguished from theological philosophy and from metaphysical philosophy, inasmuch as it is of the same nature as the science from which it proceeds, whereas theology and metaphysics, being of a totally different nature, can neither guide the sciences nor be guided by them. The inductive sciences, theology, and metaphysics, have no common origin. That common origin exists only for positive philosophy and for the sciences.”
If our purpose, in the present article, were to discuss the merits of Positivism, and not merely to give a brief account of M. Littré's volume, we could easily prove that the definitions of the Comtian philosophy rest upon a limited and thoroughly incomplete view of the nature of science. Both M. Comte and M. Littré assume that all our knowledge is confined to an appreciation of natural phenomena, and of the laws which govern them; they say that there is no connection whatever between these phenomena on the one side, and the principles of either theology or metaphysics. So far they are right; but they deny that there are certain facts amenable to the test of theology and metaphysics, respectively, and here they are decidedly wrong. They ignore the truths that “ are spiritually discerned ;” and, engrossed by the world of sense, they attempt to raise up on the ruins of inan's noble nature the most withering of all systems. M. Comte, as we shall see presently, sacrificed, finally, logic to truth, by adınitting that certain facts cannot be accounted for from the data of mere empyricism ; but his followers, and M. Littré more particularly, protested energetically against what they called (and what really was) a want of consistency; they accepted the system in its results as well as in its principles, and deliberately passed a verdict of absurdity upon every fact that is not immediately and exclusively perceptible by the senses.
As one of the most distressing consequences of such a theory, let us
VEW SERIES.-- VOL. V., NO. X.
notice the new definition of history, for the enunciation of which M. Littré praises Kant : “ History is a natural phenomenon, submitted to certain conditions.” If we once admit this, we must give up altogether the responsible character of man, consider morality and immorality as mere words, and proclaim, as an axiom, the degrading theory of “accomplished facts." M. Littré regrets that Condorcet should have joined in the denunciations of Christianity made by Diderot, d'Holbach, and the other sensationalists of the last century. Christianity, he says, was a phenomenon which corresponded to a certain stage of civilisation : we know now that God is a quality, not a being, and that the ideal becomes real only in our own thoughts ; but our superior enlightenment should make us charitable, and we can surely place the religion of Christ in our museum of antiquities, side by side with the theologies of Zoroaster, Zeus, Confucius, and Buddha !
The second division of M. Littré's work presents to us, blended together, details of a biographical nature and questions of doctrine which are extremely important. We see M. Comte completely absorbed by his system, throwing into it all his energies, and sacrificing to the propagation of doctrines the numerous opportunities he had of establishing his reputation as a first-class mathematician. It is painful to find, even in our own times, the spirit of jealousy so rife amongst men of science; the entre-mangeries professorales, of which Bayle complained two hundred years ago, are particularly repulsive when they occur in matters where theological questions should not find admittance; and it was to them that M. Auguste Comte owed the loss of a situation he had filled during several years, at the Ecole Polytechnique, with the greatest success. He applied to M. Guizot, but without any satisfactory result, for the creation of a lectureship at the College de France, the subject of which would have been the history of science. His publisher, for fear of quarrelling with M. Arago, stooped to an act of dishonesty which issued in a law-suit. Finally, M. Auguste Comte, reduced to a state of quasi-beggary, would have been, probably, obliged to leave incomplete the labours upon which he placed so much value, if Messrs. Grote, Raikes Currie, and others, had not most generously got up an annual subscription, the results of which were sufficient to keep the philosopher from absolute want. This portion of the volume is illustrated with quotations from an interesting series of letters addressed by M. Comte to Mr. John Stuart Mill; it closes with the year 1842, when family difficulties necessitated a separation between Madame Comte and her husband. At that epoch the system of philosophy now known by the name of Positivism was completed; the entire edifice had been raised in the mind of its author, but at the cost of immense sacrifices both of health and of comfort.
Biographical incidents do not occur very plentifully in the third part of M. Littré's volume. The establishment of the Positivist society, the lectures delivered by M. Comte at the Palais Royal, his last illness, and his death—such are the principal facts we notice. The letters to Miss Martineau, and to M. Célestin de Blignières, are the
chief documents from which our author has quoted. An episode, however, makes this portion of the work particularly interesting, and forms the subject of a very curious discussion, the conclusion of which is a decided statement of dissent, on M. Littré's part, from what he calls the modified views of his master. During the first manifestation of his philosophical theories, M. Auguste Comte had carefully expressed his intention of discarding every religious idea. "The final septematization of ethical laws, cleared of all theological conceptions, was to rest immediately and irrevocably upon the ensemble of positivist philosophy.” In 1815, however, as we have already hinted, M. Comte discarded the word philosophy, to adopt that of religion, and, according to M. Littré's remark, the spiritual power became for him a truly religious one.
It is somewhat singular that, after proclaiming, towards the earlier part of his career, that the reign both of theology and metaphysics was gone for ever, M. Comte should have ended by confessing that the human mind cannot help believing in the existence of an independent will, or of independent wills, which interfere in the administration of this world. We have not to discuss the character of this complete change of opinion, nor is it our business to examine the causes which led to it; but if we place ourselves on the standpoint of Positivism, we are compelled to say, with M. Littré, that never was any declaration made more fatal to the very elements of that scientific theory which M. Auguste Comte's genius has invested with so much notoriety. The fundamental axiom of Positivism may be stated thus :—The human mind is necessarily neither metaphysical nor theological ; its passage through both these phases is only one of transition. If, on the contrary, we admit the late evolution of Comtianism, we must declare that the theological element is an indispensable element in our character; and this first step once taken, shall we hesitate for a single moment in preferring, to the crude and withering conceptions of M. Comte, Christianity, that system which has renovated the world and enlightened man as to his true destiny ? In short, M. Littré blames severely his master for having, in the Politique Positive, abandoned the inductive ground upon which he had built his philosophical structure, and he proves that the empyrical method is perfectly incompatible with a priori theories. The question here is one, not of entente cordiale, but of choice.
The last chapter of the interesting work we have been noticing is taken up by a kind of résumé, in which M. Littré brings prominently forward the principal traits of M. Comte's character, and also the most salient features of his system. One author acknowledges that at present there is a serious gap in the scheme of Positivism, for it
says absolutely nothing about ethics, aesthetics, and psychology. The filling up of this gap will be the task of M. Comte's disciples, and from the ground which their common doctrines have already gained, M. Littré anticipates the final triumph of a system appealing exclusively, he says, to experience and to reason.
The Syntax and Synonyms of the Greek Testament. By WILLIAM
WEBSTER, M.A., late Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge, recently of King's College, London. London and Oxford: Riving
tons. We hail this work as one of the most genuine and useful contributions to sacred literature that have appeared of late years in this country. Mr. Webster is already favourably known by an edition of the Greek Testament, in conjunction with Mr. Wilkinson, which may justly be characterized as the best suited for the less learned class of readers. But the present work possesses both greater claims and greater value.
Mr. Webster has not unjustly raised the standard of revolt against the German teachers, who have been very unreasonably supposed to monopolize all the scholarship of the day, and has found in the late Dr. Donaldson a better and more philosophical guide on points of grammar than Winer, and altogether a grammarian to whom we do not think Germany can bring forward a rival. We have no doubt that Mr. Webster's work will speedily reach a second edition, and we heartily recommend our readers to give it their assistance in doing so. It is with a view to throwing out hints for the consideration of the author for a second edition that we now procced to criticise a few matters of detail in this excellent work.
The first chapter is on the peculiarities of Hellenistic Greek. In this we think the question, whether our Lord and his disciples spoke Greek, especially in Galilee, as well as the vernacular Aramaic of Judæa proper, ought to have been considered at length, instead of being dismissed with the remark that “it is highly important to bear in mind the caution given by Michaelis, Syriace locutum Jesum, non Græce.” Recent writers hare brought forward considerations of no small weight to shew that the Greek language was more or less at home both in Galilee of the Gentiles and in Decapolis. We would also remind Mr. Webster that, under the Plantagenets, English was scarcely a formed language, and that the Greek of Pericles would rather correspond to the English of the days of Elizabeth. perhaps, after all, not to be regretted that the best English scholars have scarcely, as yet, applied themselves to the elucidation of Hellenistic Greek. Had they done so, the results they have arrived at, which have proved so valuable to Mr. Webster, might have been looked upon with suspicion, like the deductions of party writers of the present day, whereas their indirect and unconscious evidence as to the principles and practice of the Greek language, to be applied by others to the Greek Testament, is scarcely to be over-estimated.
The second chapter is on the formation of words. We scarcely think that kiois means simply “the thing created,” but is rather equivalent to a kind or class of created things, so that one ktious contains many κτίσματα. We are happy to find our derivation of επιούσιος adopted by Mr. Webster. We find mpwtótokos néons krioews, explained
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, " J. S. L., for April, 1863, p. 108.
(p. 23) as equivalent to born before all the creation, for the Word was the instrument of creation. We are rather disposed to consider the right explanation to be, that the Son occupies the position of first-born of or in every creation, the angels being considered as one ktious, the human race another. The Son is the chief of angels, and the chief of mankind. Comparing page 25 with page 248, we find an inconsistency in the explanation of aptayuòv in Philip. ii. 6, 7. In page 25, we read that "the transition is very easy from the actus rapiendi to the res rapienda, from the act of seizing to the object worth seizing.” But in page 248, we find the passage translated, “He did not consider the being on an equality with God a matter to be deprived of, but He emptied Himself;" thus making sprayuòv indicate rather a res abripienda than a res rapienda, a matter to be deprived of, instead of “an object worth having."
The syntax proper commences with Chapter II., and is worked out with considerable care and research; but we received the book too late to do more than notice a few matters that drew our attention at first glance. The accusative of cognate signification and its derivative, the adverbial accusative, justly receive a greater share of attention than is generally paid to them. In Heb. iv. 2, we doubt whether o Loyos tös àxons is correctly referred to the genitive of predominating quality, akosis being considered as denoting “hearing," and the phrase being understood to signify the word uttered in order to be heard. 'Axon is so commonly used in the LXX. in the sense of “report," e. g., hath believed our report,” that we think there is great probability of ó lóros añs acoís signifying “the word of hearsay,” or “report," rather than that of “hearing.”
In Chapter VI., page 87, some very excellent observations are quoted from Wordsworth, on the distinction between åuapteîv and åpaptávelv with reference to 1 John iii. 9. "The Apostle does not say, où ovvutai å uapteîv, he cannot fall into sin by ignorance, error, or infirmity." He uses åpuptávelv, he cannot be a habitual sinner. We have the more pleasure in doing justice to what is good in Wordsworth, because we cannot but feel and think that his real scholarship has been, to a very great extent, prevented from having fair play by his determined prejudices and à priori theology, to which he often endeavours to bend phenomena, instead of adapting himself to them. In page 96, it is scarcely sufficient to say, “No difficulty ought to be felt with the following expressions, where the reflective ? reflexive) pronoun is sometimes supplied : Mark iv. 29, őtav zapaðið ó kaptos, etc." To our mind, Herodotus's expression, toll Oeoû napaôcôortos, “if God permit," offers a better explanation of the passage from St. Mark than the otherwise justly enunciated principles of the intransitive verb. And a good deal more explanation of many of the passages quoted in page 96 is really necessary. Analogies ought to have been pointed out which, we hope, will be pointed out in a future edition. This portion of the work is simply too brief.
On page 99, we would simply remark that repléxei is used for