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against himself; that as he supposed Descartes to believe in the existence of innate ideas, inscribed, so to speak, on the substance of the soul, so his own opponents represented him as denying that any of the modifications of thought are due to any source but sensation. It is an instructive example, not only of the difficulty of writing on metaphysical subjects so as to guard against misapprehension, but of the necessity of using the utmost caution as well as candour in interpreting the language of those we criticise.

Whatever Locke thought or did not think, it is surely time that the ancient controversy on this subject, which has lasted from the Theætetus of Plato to the Lectures of Cousin, should cease. The expenditure of thought, and toil, and print upon it has been enormous; more than enough has been surely written to indicate how it should be settled; or if not, it may be feared that it is among the questions which will never be settled. In that case, it would be well at all events to sign a truce, and not allow so large a portion of the energies of mental philosophers to expend themselves on the origin of our knowledge, for many of them are so arrested here that they seem never fairly to get beyond the origin. They are rocking the cradle of our notions all their days. Neither is it well that the student should be so continually detained in this dark vestibule of mental science. But in truth the controversy has been brought to that pass by perpetual sifting and discussion, that it may be hoped something far better than a truce may be anticipated. The combatants no longer look exclusively on the same side of the shield; nor, which were hardly more wise, more frequently or more intently on the one side than on the other. If ever' Eclecticism' in philosophy, which is apt to be

regarded with much the same suspicion as a Coalition Ministry, be desirable and practicable, it is assuredly here. There is every reason, indeed, why philosophers should unite; for with the exception of a few mystics on the one side, who would make each human soul little short of an 'inspired oracle' to itself, and so emancipate it from the vulgar necessities of instruction and experience altogether, and a few extravagant sensationalists on the other, who would make man little better than a sort of superior hog, all parties are pretty well agreed in the admission of the conjoint, inseparably blended, and equally indispensable elements and conditions, internal and external, involved in the development of the human mind and in the origin of all our knowledge. It is not so much, now-a-days, by denying the necessity of either class of conditions, as in asserting for the other more than is justly due, and exaggerating their relative claims, that philosophers differ. And it is precisely here, that if a truce is not to be expected, yet at least a wise forbearance may be practicable and is necessary; for if philosophers are now agreed, as we imagine they are pretty well, in their principles, they may afford to differ about the details. Differ about them, they probably always will; for the conjoint influences on which our knowledge depends, come into play at a time and in modes when the mind is incapable of distinctly tracing its own acts, and the result of the mysterious process is already complete before the analysis begins. This result, like a product of chemical affinities, is as different from the elements which enter into it as the hyacinth from the bulb or the soil whose conjoint influence produced it; or as a diamond from the elements out of which it was mysteriously manufactured in the darkness of the mine. As M. Cousin

well puts it, 'La pensée est un fleuve qu'on ne remonte pas aisément; sa source, comme celle du Nil, est un mystère.'*

These considerations ought surely to restrict the details of the dispute to reasonable limits; since, if those details are incapable of being determined with such precision as to satisfy different minds (which seems probable alike from the nature of the questions and the experience of the history of philosophy), it is pure waste of time and toil to renew at every stage this ancient strife.

But there is yet a stronger reason for wishing that philosophers may cordially join their forces in asserting the principles which the long polemics of the subject have now pretty generally established. The question as to whether many of our purely speculative maxims be more due to experience or to the fundamental laws of belief, is, after all, a matter of comparatively little practical moment; if the controversy be pursued beyond a certain point, the result will simply be a loss of time to the philosopher, and perhaps to the unhappy reader of his subtleties a loss of patience; but the notions themselves, and their practical results, will not be affected by any theory. The case, however, is widely different with regard to those more remote or more obscure notions, involving theological or moral truth, which depend, for their due evolution, on a sedulous attention to both the essential conditions of the normal development of the human mind. In relation to these, any undue aggrandise. ment, either of the doctrine of intuitive beliefs or the influence of external experience, (of which last education and culture are but an extension, or rather one

* Seizième Leçon.

of the forms,) is attended with the most pernicious results. The moment men begin to take up with either idea to the exclusion of the other, they are capable of running into the most extravagant errors, and ignore at once the importance of one of the essential complements of human development. Thus the advocate on one side is apt to say, 'The idea of God is a primary intuition of the human mind: all men have it, none are without it, and it is essentially one and the same in all.' What says M. Cousin, in reference to Locke's statement, that the argument for the being of God from universal consent' is in strict truth an argument from an immense majority? (the force of which Locke says he does not deny). 'I deny,' says M. Cousin, that there are people who have no idea of a God; and here the Cartesian philosophy and all idealistic philosophy takes sure ground, proving beyond reply, that the idea of God being at bottom, that of the infinite, of perfection, of unity, and of absolute existence, cannot but be found in every man whose reason is ever so little developed.' We can only say that we are very happy to hear it; we thought that in France at least, there were some few who denied any such idea, though their intellect is not 'a little developed.'* We can but say with Locke


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*It is curious that some of the more recent advocates of innate laws of thought have pleaded for a more normal operation of them than the elder and, as has been often supposed, more rigid champions of innate ideas' would contend for. Thus we have just seen that Leibnitz says, 'that it is sufficient to suppose,' not that they necessarily manifest themselves, but that they can be discovered by an effort of attention, on occasions offered by the senses.' Descartes, in a curious passage in one of his letters, in which he expresses his surprise at the absurd interpretation put on his theory of 'innate ideas,' says even of that of a Deity, 'Although the idea of God is imprinted on our minds in such a sense

to Stillingfleet, 'I would crave leave to ask your Lordship, was there ever in the world an atheist or not? if not, what need is there of raising a question about the being of God, when nobody questions it? What need of provisional arguments against a fault from which mankind are so wholly free, and which by a universal consent they may be presumed to be secure from?' In this case, by virtue of assuming not only that there are fundamental laws of human thought, but that they must take a normal development, undue stress is laid on that rudimentary impression of a Deity of which even he who worships a cat, a monkey, or a block of stone, is not wholly destitute; and men are apt to under-estimate the necessity of that careful and just culture by which alone this cardinal truth can admit of complete extrication and a just development. It is forgotten that the want of that development makes all the difference between an ennobling and elevating idea of God, and one of which not only Locke, but many more would say, that they question whether it would not be as well to be without it altogether.

Again, the advocate on the same side is apt to say,

that every person has within himself the faculty of knowing Him, it does not follow that there may not have been many individuals who have passed through life without ever making this idea a distinct object of apprehension.' It were hard to discover any radical difference between such sentiments and those of Locke, who says, 'From the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth. I presume I

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may say that we more certainly know that there is a God than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach, which we cannot miss if we will but apply our minds to it. . (B. iv. ch. 10.)

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