Billeder på siden

virtue, or the common vinculum amongst the several modes or species of virtue (justice, temperance, etc.) this was the real question which he was answering. I have often remarked that the largest and most subtle source of error in philosophic speculations has been the confounding of the two great principles so much insisted on by the Leibnitzians, namely, the ratio cognoscendi and the ratio essendi. Paley believed himself to be assigning—it was his full purpose to assign- the ratio cognoscendi ; but, instead of that, unconsciously and surreptitiously, he has actually assigned the ratio essendi; and, after all, a false and imaginary ratio essendi.



Ir is remarkable—and, without a previous explanation, it might seem paradoxical to say it-that oftentimes under a continual accession of light important subjects grow more and more enigmatical. In times when nothing was explained, the student, torpid as his teacher, saw nothing which called for explanation all appeared one monotonous blank. But no sooner had an early twilight begun to solicit the creative faculties of the eye, than many dusky objects, with outlines imperfectly defined, began to converge the eye, and to strengthen the nascent interest of the spectator. It is true that light, in its final plenitude, is calculated to disperse all darkBut this effect belongs to its consummation. In its earlier and struggling states, light does but reveal darkness. It makes the darkness palpable and "visible." Of which we may see a sensible illustration in a gloomy glass-house, where the sullen lustre from the furnace does but mass and accumulate the thick darkness in the rear upon which the moving figures are relieved. Or we may see an intellectual illustration in the mind of the savage, on whose blank surface there exists no doubt or perplexity at all, none of the pains connected with 20



« ForrigeFortsæt »