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physical nomenclature, were originally metaphorical, and some have remained transparently metaphorical, in spite of long usage, through their whole history. Stewart somewhere complains that mental philosophers have so freely resorted to metaphor; forgetting wha yet none knew better than himself, that it is inevitable. 'Unhappy Mind!' an ancient Platonist might exclaim;' so strictly is it united to that mad yokefellow, Matter, so immersed in that abominable and utterly depraved an, that it can find a tongue only by its aid; it cannot utter a syllable of its most essential and appropriate facts of consciousness, except in symbols themselves furnished by matter, and through a grossly material medium.' The immaterial mind, when it has formed its sublime and refined notions, can render them visible to others, or represent them even to itself, only by the help of fancy and imagination, and must dress them in the garment supplied from their fantastical wardrobe. Descartes himself
cannot enunciate the first great truth-the foundation-stone of all his philosophy, -' Je pense,' - that operation which is the primordial fact of consciousness, and the essential characteristic and prerogative of an immaterial substance,' without begging of matter (which, however, still waits to be created by his logic), a word originally significant of that gravity which is one of its grossest properties! To such artifices is the reason of man reduced. It is as if a philosopher, having excogitated and elaborated some subtle theory, went straight to a poet, to beg him to be its interpreter to mankind; or as if a mathematician, having defined his triangles, circles, and parallelograms, repaired to a carpenter to construct them. Psyche is, no question, immaterial and im
mortal; but every movement and every flutter is by the aid of material pinions.
We often hear of Descartes' 'celebrated argument' for the existence of God. In fact he has not only, as some say, 'two,' and as M. Jules Simon and others say, 'three,' but even more; all deduced however, unquestionably, from his views of the constitution of the mind itself, and all having the advantage, or the disadvantage (as the reader pleases) of being independent of the discovery or even the existence of an external world. They have all been sometimes called by courtesy à priori arguments, though some of them are as much deductions à posteriori (the elements, however, being from the mind not from the material universe) as those which are usually so called; that is, they are from effects to causes, and from effects manifesting a certain nature to a cause manifesting a similar nature. But we will give the summary of the several arguments as found in the first pages of the First Part of the 'Principia,'-certainly the most mature, perhaps the most logical form which his many expositions of his philosophical principles assumed. The same arguments, however, in substance will be found in his Method,' his 'Meditations,' and his 'Replies to the Objections' elicited by the last work.
§ 14. 'In as much as necessary existence is involved in our conception of God, we justly infer that God exists.' This is properly the Cartesian argument — if it be not rather called that of Anselm-to say nothing of the very similar one, constructed and confuted by Thomas Aquinas, as cited by Caterus in his objections to the 3rd Meditation of Descartes.
§§ 17, 18. 'In proportion as the objective perfection of any of our ideas is greater, in that proportion its cause must be greater: Hence, again, it is concluded
that God exists.' Another variation of the above argument of Aquinas.
§ 20. 'We are made not by ourselves, but by God; (some external cause); hence, God exists.' A deduction à posteriori.
§ 21. The preservation of our life, which depends not on ourselves, suffices to demonstrate the existence of God.' A deduction à posteriori.
The principal argument here, and which is generally called, par excellence, the Cartesian, is the first. 'I have the idea of an infinite and perfect being; but that idea includes his existence as one of his perfections; for he would not be a perfect being, if he did not exist; therefore the idea of such a being involves his existence.' In this notion, exclaim Leibnitz and a multitude of other critics, Descartes was anticipated by Anselm. N'importe; it is of little consequence to trace the parentage of what has appeared to the generality of thinkers a transparent paralogism; and, as it seems to us, most justly. A poet might as well affirm that, because he can conceive, in virtue of his faculty of idealising reality, a scene of beauty more perfect than nature presents, and that its greatest perfection would be its existence, such a scene must actually exist. On the fallacy lurking in the expression, that the idea of a perfect being involves existence as one of its perfections, some exceedingly acute remarks have been made by Brooke Taylor* and other writers; but without going into these subtleties, we imagine there is not one in a million who would for a moment be willing to suspend this cardinal truth on any such notion as that of the necessary objective
* Cited in Hallam's Literature of Europe. Criticism on Descartes, vol. iii. pp. 237, 238.
existence of God, merely because the mind has such an idea.
Another modification of Descartes' favourite argument is founded on the assertion that the idea of God in the mind cannot have been made in the mind, because the mind cannot unmake it. Ergò, God exists. To this it has been justly replied, that it would be difficult to prove the objective reality of every notion, which the mind in accordance with its laws has clearly fabricated, but which it cannot afterwards by any act of the will destroy; and by those who flatter themselves that the notion of God could and would be naturally fabricated out of the combination and aggregation of all known perfections seen in man, the force of this argument would be denied.
Another modification of the argument from the idea of God, though in strictness a deduction à posteriori - is this, 'I have the idea of a being infinite and eternal: How came I by this idea? I am a finite and imperfect being, and I cannot have given it to myself; there must be at least as much reality in the cause as in the effect.' As one of his critics remarks, there does not seem much difference between this, and saying, 'I am, and am conscious I did not bestow existence on myself: therefore I owe it ultimately to another.' But Descartes also avails himself of this form of the argument, though he seems to prefer the former. Either of them is in the ordinary form of the deduction à posteriori-from effect to cause, only the premises are exclusive of external phenomena and are derived simply from the facts of consciousness. And to most men, this argument will be cogent enough for the proof, in the last resort, of some cause of our existence, not itself derived; though they may reject the superfluous clause Descartes has added, for if I
had bestowed existence on myself, I should, doubtless, have conferred all other perfections.' If there be any one who has the front to say that he has bestowed existence on himself, he would, we apprehend, be little likely to flinch from saying that he has also bestowed all possible perfections on himself at least for aught he knows!
We are far from denying that there is great force in the argument for the divine existence derived from the constitution of the human mind, when properly stated. It requires to be presented, however, in a different form, and must also occupy a totally different place to what it does in Descarte's philosophy. That the human mind, as it gradually unfolds, under an external stimulus indeed, but in harmony with its own original laws of thought, which impose upon it a certain course of development, does very generally (we may say, almost universally) arrive at some notions of a deity, is a matter of undeniable experience. This general fact requires to be accounted for as much as any other; and how can it be accounted for so naturally as by the supposition that man is thus constituted, because that being to whom it thus apparently bears uniform testimony has thus constituted him? But then this argument is quite different from that of Descartes. This last presupposes, not simply a constitution of mind which, developing pari passu with the intuition of an external world, and by contact with it, will necessarily evolve the idea of God, but such an idea as, even if dependent in fact for its development on external influences, enables us, and alone enables us by its internal light, to infer the actual existence of an external world. So far again as the argument depends for its cogency on the uniformity of the phenomenon, as it is manifested in the mind of man