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another whereof they suddenly applaud themselves.” Weeping arises from the loss of power, “and is caused by such accidents as suddenly take away some vehement hope, or some prop of their power; and they are most subject to it that rely principally on helps external, such as women and children.” Sir Isaac Newton, according to this theory of Hobbes, ought to have been the greatest wag in the universe. When
“The bark that held a prince went down,” and the waters of the English Channel rolled over a nation's hope him in whom mingled the blood of the Norman Rolla and the Saxon Alfred, Henry I. sustained no “loss of power” great enough to account for the fact that
“He never smiled again.” Shakspeare, who knew more of human nature than the philosopher, has left us a scene that the theory of Hobbes fails to explain; nevertheless, a scene sanctioned by every feeling of the human heart. It tells us of an Othello
“Of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum.” Was it loss of power that Othello wept? What was power to him, with the lifeless form of Desdemona ?
Mr. Hallam fancies he sees now and then a style of illustration that Hobbes must have learnt from the great master of Inductive Science. If 80, Bacon might have envied his pupil that happy expression in the Leviathan, “ Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools." Certainly, under his second class of fallacies, the idola specủs, Bacon might have quoted Hobbes as an example. Surely no man was ever more led away by a favourite idea, or stuck to it more pertinaciously than did our philosopher.
The Leviathan is Hobbes' chief work. It contains the sum and substance of his ideas, whether on political, mental, or moral subjects. It was written, as we have said, with the design of upholding despotism. Mr. Hallam's recent analysis of it will render it needless for us to give more than a short sketch, which we now propose to do. It is divided into four parts. The first part treats of man, for the state is but an artificial man; so to consider that, it is necessary first to consider “the matter thereof and the artificer, both which is man.” In the first chapter, he publishes his theory of sensation, the source from which Locke and the English metaphysicians borrowed. All single thoughts Hobbes traces to sense. “ There is no conception in a man's mind which hath not at first, totally or in part, been begotten upon the organs of sense. The rest are derived from that original. Imagination is nothing but decaying sense.” Thus dogmatically does he express a theory manifestly false; for how is it that we love to revel in the images of the past ? to call up and linger amongst
“ The intelligible forms of ancient poets-
Or chasms, and wat’ry depths ?" Imagination fading, old and past is memory. “So that imagination and memory are but one thing." Our imaginations when asleep are dreams, and are the reverse of our waking imaginations," the motion," in his own materialist language, “when we are awake beginning at one end, and when we dream at another.” “ The imagination raised by words or other voluntary signs, is understanding. A train of such imaginations is mental discourse.” In the third chapter, we find the theory of associations, -touched on by Locke, and more fully developed by Hartley,—which has been generally referred to Hobbes. Mr. Coleridge, however, in his Biographia Literaria, has denied him this honour, because Descartes' work, De Methodo, in which there is an intimation of the same doctrine, preceded Hobbes' De Naturd Humand by a year. If Mr. Coleridge is correct, they have neither of them any right to the merit of the discovery; for it is to be found not only in the writings of Descartes and Hobbes, but in the still rarer writings of Melancthon, of Ammerbac, of Ludovicus Vives, and, finally, it is to be first met with in Aristotle. The truth is, as a writer in the Edinburgh Review has remarked, “ Hobbes has a strict claim to the merit of originality in this respect; because he is the first writer who laid down this principle, as the sole and universal law of connection among our ideas." (Ed. Rev. vol. xxviii.) Mental discourse is of two kinds, unguided and regulated. The former he thus happily illustrates: 'In a discourse of our present civil war, what could seem more impertinent than to ask, as one did, What was the value of a Roman penny? Yet the coherence to me was manifest enough; for the thought of the war introduced the thought of the delivering up the king to his enemies; the thought of that brought in the thought of the delivering up of Christ; and that again the thought of thirty pence; and hence easily followed that malicious question."
The fourth chapter, on speech, is very valuable. It contains the germ of that theory which Horne Tooke afterwards worked out in his misnamed Diversions; also expositions of the absurdities of the schoolmen, a class Hobbes would never let alone.
“We can have no idea of God. When we believe the Scriptures, we believe not in God, but the church.” “If Livy says the gods made once : cow speak, and we believe it not, we distrust not God therein, but Livy." This is written by a man who called himself a good Christian.
In the ninth chapter, we have a chart of the several subjects of science, which Mr. Hallam rightly says was one of the worst ever propounded.
We have next an analysis of the passions, full of paradoxes. He reduces everything into love of power; the value of a man is what would be given for the use of his power; to love a man is to value him for his power. Whatever is an argument or sign of power is honourable.
According to Hobbes, there is no such thing as the finis ultimus ar summum bonum. Pope was quite right when he said, or sung,
“ Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest." All our actions are prompted by a desire of power; hence when we receive more benefits from one we deem an equal than we can repay, we in reality hate him, as his power is more than ours.
In his thirteenth chapter, Hobbes treats of the origin of government, and joins the rival theories of his time—the contract of the philosophers, and the patriarchal theory of the clergy. A majority of fifty-three over forty. six, in the House of Lords, shortly after decided that the former was the theory of our Constitution in 1688. “ All men are equal by nature, and in a state of war.” The evils of tyranny are nothing to those of a state of
nature. There can be but three kinds of government-democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. The latter form is preferable, as the monarch has no private interests of his own-each member of an assembly has his own interests to attend to as well as those of the body politic; when they clash, of course, he will prefer the former. The monarch must have unlimited power; the subject must submit without a murmur. “In the third chapter of Genesis, God says to Adam, 'Hast thou eaten?' or as if he should say, Dost thou that owest me obedience take upon thee to judge of my commandments? Whereby," says Hobbes, gravely, “it is clearly, though allegorically, signified that the commands of them that have the right to command are not by their subjects to be censured nor disputed!” We only know of one parallel to this decidedly original comment upon the fall of our first parents; namely, that of the Inquisitor, who saw in the whole proceeding the very model of the Holy Inquisition, and who quoted, as a precedent for the confiscation of the goods of heretics, the sentence of expulsion from Eden.
Hobbes might well protest against the king's transferring his powers, and specify more particularly the power of raising money and the disposal of the militia. A standing army was Wentworth's favourite scheme. The possession of the purse has been the grand check of the English Commons against the encroachments of royalty. On the Peninsula, at one time, their liberties were more developed than ours. The Parliament of Burgos preceded our first Parliament by a hundred years; but in England alone were grants from the Commons accompanied with concessions from the crown. Centuries of oppression and injustice, in which the withering blight of the despot and the monk have desolated there, is the best comment on the historical fact. To this weakening of the power of the monarch, this division of a house against itself, Hobbes attributed the civil war. Happily the opinion expressed in the conclusion of the following passage has not yet been realized: “If there had not been,” he says, “first an opinion received of the greatest part of England that these powers were divided between the King, and the Lords, and the House of Commons, the people had never been divided and fallen into this civil war; first between them that disagreed in policies, and after between the dissenters about the liberty of religion, which have so instructed men in this point of sovereign right that there be but few now in England that do not see that these rights are inseparable and will be so generally acknowledged at the next return of peace, and so continue till their miseries are forgotten, and no longer, except the vulgar are better taught than they have hitherto been.” This extract is taken from the second part of the Leviathan, which treats of a Commonwealth. We think we have quoted sufficient to give an idea of the despotism Hobbes sought to establish,
The concluding parts are headed thus “Of a Christian Commonwealth," and “ The Kingdom of Darkness.” In every sense, they are the worst and most worthless parts of his performance. His doxy was his own. Ordinary interpretations of Scriptures, common-sense views, are all put to flight, when our giant takes the field. Texts have been often, are still misquoted; but Hobbes blunders on self-satisfied—writing black white and white black, as no one ever did before or has done since. Talk of perversion of Scripture! After reading Hobbes you can be surprised at nothing. The fifthmonarchy men themselves never ventured on more original expositions of sacred writ than did our cool and dogmatic philosopher.
We have reserved till now, as more appropriate, Hobbes' theory of religion. “It arises from four things: opinion of ghosts, ignorance of second causes, devotion towards what men fear, and taking of things casual for prognostics." After all these it is true that “Ignorance is the mother of devotion." All that would liberalize and humanize mankind is unnecessary, nay positively worthless. Then we would say, Let the bats nestle and the ivy cling around the walls of our Alma Mater
“Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.” But let us listen to our philosopher now that he has seated himself in the chair of the divine. The sovereign of the land in which we dwell alone has the right to choose our religion for us. “Those books of Scripture only are canonical, that is law, in every nation, which are established for such by the sovereign authority. Every man ought to consider who is the sovereign prophet, that is to say, who it is that is God's vicegerent ou earth, and hath next, under God, the authority of judging Christian men, and to observe for a rule that doctrine which, in the name of God, he hath commanded to be taught. For when Christian men take not their own sovereign for God's prophet, they must either take their own dreams for the prophecy they mean to be governed by, and the tumour of their own hearts for the Spirit of God; or they must suffer themselves to be led away by some strange prince; or by some of their fellow-subjects that can bewitch them, by slumber of their government, into rebellion, without other miracle to confirm their calling than sometimes an extraordinary success and impunity; and by this means destroying all laws, both human and divine, reduce all order, government, and society to the first chaos of violence and civil war.” It seems there is more piety and principle in the toast “ Church and State” than some imagine. To proceed,
“The kingdom of God means the kingdom of the King that dwells in heaven. When divines talk of the kingdom of heaven, they understand spiritually what was spoken of his reign on earth. We have no proof of the immortality of the soul from the nature of man. It is a mere promise, and will not take place till after the resurrection. The salvation the Scriptares lead us to expect is on earth; heaven is the throne of God, the earth is his footstool. It is not right that the subject should have a place so high as his throne or higher than his footstool.”
“If we are commanded by our lawful prince to say we do not believe in Christianity, we are to do so. Profession with the tongue is but an external thing, and no more than any other gesture whereby we signify our obedience. To pray to the king voluntarily for fair weather, or for anything else which God can do for us, is divine worship and idolatry; on the other side, if a king compel a man to it by the terror of death, or other great corporal punishment, it is not idolatry.”
Hobbes is very fond of quoting Scripture when it suits his purpose. He appears to have read the Bible at any rate with care; and yet to have forgotten what took place upon the plains of Dura. Three young men there bent to no idol, to no monarch-acted very differently from the conduct Hobbes recommends; yet, as far as we know, the Book of Daniel, judging by his own test, is as canonical as any other.
But we stop. Hobbes carries us to what we regret to write is debateable ground, and which we fear will long remain so. Any one, however, can see that his conduct is blameable; that, whilst professing to support Christi
anity, he is in reality undermining it; that, whilst he wears the face of a friend, he has the heart of a foe. His code of morality is anything but that of the New Testament; its principles are selfish and base the golden rules of the sycophant, the parasite, and the slave-unworthy of the philosopher-debasing to the man.
This brings us at once to the first, the flagrant defect in his system, the absence of all what we call moral sentiments. He finds no place for what we consider just and unjust, good and bad. So far as they are laid down by laws, they exist and have claims on us; but no further. Take away the law, and the words have no meaning, are nonsense, are empty and confusing as the jargon of the schools “good and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions, which in different tempers, customs, and doctrines of men are different." Again, in a state of nature nothing is unjust " the notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice." What a false and degrading view of the eternal principles of right and wrong! They are dependent on the laws of no man, of no set of men; their origin is something infinitely higher than the vote of a parliament, or the decree of a king. Men the most abandoned have always owned their presence and their power. Where the business is not his own, a vicious man will judge rightly; the unjust man, in an affair that does not concern bimself, will judge correctly. In a similar case, the judgment of the intemperate man will be according to the rule of moderation; passion may mislead, crime may madden, but as the laws of morality are themselves unchangeable, so man's consciousness has in every age and clime responded to them. Aye, and nothing—no sophism, no conventional form, no depth of debauchery-can effectually erase them, written as they are with the finger of the Godhead on the heart of man. Hobbes sacrificed everything to a darling theory.
Another defect is the degrading tone of selfishness which runs through his analysis of man. Hobbes has no idea of generosity. Every man is a villanous Iago, with kindness in his eyes, and smiles on his lip, and hate and treachery in his heart. Theologians of the strictest doctrines, advocates of tenets the most humbling to human nature, have never stripped man so thoroughly of all that is generous and good. Hobbes reduces everything to a cool and calculating system of selfishness. The heroine of Northumberland, when she flew to the help of the shipwrecked and the perishing, was according to Hobbes looking for the reward and praise which, from Johnny Groats' to the Land's End and back, was heaped upon the highspirited maiden. The annals of the past, rich in heroic story, tell us of a Quintus Curtius who to save his country sacrificed his life. Some forty years back, a senior wrangler, with golden prospects opening around him, young, talented, admired, beloved from the venerable halls of Cambridge, from the bosom of his family, from the object of his early love and tenderest vows-his own heart bleeding all the while, tore himself away, went forth to proclaim the gospel to the worshippers of Vishnu on the sultry plains of India, and died a martyr to the Cross amongst the men of a foreign clime and tongue. A plain English gentleman made the tour of the principal jails and lazerettos of Europe, to relieve the forlorn, to rescue the captive, to save the perishing, and fell a victim to his generosity amongst the half-civilized Russians on the shores of the Black Sea. In our own day, one, whom we need not name, cheers the wretched outcasts from their