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press of that age, with the twelve (!) commandments for its charter, and for its responsible editor, God! (!!!)”
On the whole, however, the sense outweighs the bombast; and M. Souvestre is a man who takes the side of order, right, and religion, against the socialism of the day. He appears to be a man who writes for his bread, and therefore often writes about things concerning which it would be more prudent for him to read; and we cannot quite excuse him from sometimes concealing (to use a mild term) his Catholicity, out of respect to the Protestant and Republican Swiss who listened to him and paid him. The second extract is a case in point.
Journal of a Voyage to the Polar Seas, by J. R. Bellot (Journal d'un Voyage uux Mers polaires, par J. R. Bellot). Paris, Perrotin, 1854. The interest of this journal, of which but a small portion was prepared for the press by M. Bellot's own hand, but which justifies the high expectations that were entertained of him, is much increased to Englishmen by the circumstances of his death, which he met in the service of our countrymen. Every one will be glad to read the private journal of the intrepid and generous young Frenchman. The editor, M. Lemer, has allowed to pass, if he did not himself commit, some most egregious blunders in the scraps of English which occur at intervals throughout the book. We thought that our English editors went as far as the path of error was practicable. We have read, for instance, of the pleasures of smoking in the valleys of Algeria under the shade of the grenadiers (meaning pomegranate-trees) ; but such faults occur in long translations, at intervals of several pages: here, not a scrap of English can occur without mistakes almost as ridiculous. Thus the epigraph of the memoir is a sentence from a letter of Colonel Sabine: “In promise I have rarely seen his equal, an (sic) never his superior ;” which is translated, “ En vérité, j'ai rarement trouvé son égal, jamais son supérieur !" Well
may the translator put the note of admiration to the end of this most ingenious perversion of Colonel Sabine's opinion; though we have no doubt it was done in good faith, and after an infinite turning over of dictionaries to find a more literal translation of the word promise ; but after all, it shows rather a liberal than a correct view of human nature, to make promise synonymous with performance. Throughout the book the English words are nearly always as ludicrously disfigured; thus, at p. 35, we read of the fable : plenty pouder, plenty killed. At p. 69,
cros to Melville bay ;” p. 65,"mow blindness” (snow blindness), &c. &c. At p. 104, we have the celebrated motto of Nelson, “ England expects every one to make his duty.” At p. 405, Captain Kennedy is called “a matter-of-fast man.” How the gallant captain likes the imputation we cannot say; but really we think we are entitled to call an editor incompetent, when he allows such mistakes to pass. Such blunders in French words would not be tolerated for a moment in an English editor of an English book.
Religious Philosophy; Earth and Heuven: by J. Reynaud (Philosophie religieuse ; Terre et Ciel : par M. Jean Reynaud). Paris, Furne, 1854. This pretence at a religious book, with its motto Transitoriis quære æterna, is a mere egotistical attempt to shuffle the author's private inventions into the place of the dogmas of religion. France, he says, requires theological study, especialờy considering the sad, fatal, and offensive tendencies to return to mediæval systems. Such a reaction could only be momentary ; to be stable, religious philosophy must clothe itself in a dress similar to that which M. Jean Reynaud is pleased to provide for her. Two items of this gentleman's system will suffice to show its
character. As a man of science, he prefers the cosmogony of the Zendavesta to that of Moses (p. 108); and as a theologian, he tells us that there is no definite doctrine on the time of the creation of souls; and therefore he proposes that of their simultaneous creation with the soul of the first man, involving the pre-existence of all Adam's posterity. We have read several pages of the book without finding a single thought clearly and simply expressed; every thing is involved in a mist of conceited bombast.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF ST. THOMAS.
To the Editor of the Rambler. DEAR SIR,-I am afraid I did not make my meaning quite clear in the article on “Magic," with which your correspondent W. finds fault. I never intended to attack St. Thomas as a theologian, nor to hint for a moment that he really held the views which I maintained might be deduced from his philosophical principles. I objected to these principles, not as leading to such results in St. Thomas, whose philosophy was always corrected by his theology, but as liable to lead to such results in others, where the safeguards of faith were wanting. In philosophy St. Thomas is a follower of Aristotle ; and if I have a right to criticise the heathen philosopher, I have the same right to “ try my hand” on the metaphysics of his Christian follower, because “in philosophicis, quæ ad fidem non spectant, dicta SS. Patrum non sunt majoris authoritatis quam dictā Philosophorum quos sequuntur" (St. Thos. in 2. Sent, dis. 14. art. 2. 0. et ad 1). It is not correct to suppose that in attacking his philosophy I cast a slur on the “holy doctor,” or defile “ the pure fountain of Catholic theology." No philosopher has ever yet steered clear of all rocks and shoals; and St. Thomas, I am convinced, would be the last to assume such a prerogative for himself.
Nor is W. correct in alleging that I have misquoted St. Thomas. In one sentence I (or the printer-for you know that I had not the opportunity of correcting the proofs) inadvertently omitted the word virtute, and said that the cause contains the effects, instead of in virtue (which means more than in posse) contains them; but this is of no in portance, for the question was not whether the cause contains the effects, but whether the knowing faculty contains the thing known. I have asserted that the principles of St. Thomas's philosophy are these; that unless the knowing faculty in some real and actual though immaterial way contains the thing known, all knowledge is impossible, — that knowledge is a function of the mode in which the thing is contained in the intellect: “Quanto perfectius est cognitum in cognoscente, tanto perfectior est modus cognitionis.”. It was my own conclusion, that whatever the intellect contains and possesses, it also has power over; and I quoted the words “ as the cause contains the effect," to show that St. Thomas also seems to recognise the analogy between the possession of a thing in the intellective faculty, and the possession of a thing in the causative faculty, i.e. the power to effect it. The word virtute has nothing to do with this analogy; for whatever the intellect com
prehends, it must comprehend actu, not simply in posse. If it comprehends things, they are actual things ; if ideas, actual ideas.
My second “ misquotation,” which is word for word in accordance with the reading of the best edition, that of Venice, as reprinted by the Abbé Migne,-“ intellectus cognoscit esse lapidis in propriâ naturâ," decides this question, and shows that the intellect possesses the object, not in symbol or representation, but in essence and in propria naturâ ; not materially, but immaterially; still in a real essential way, not merely representatively and by interpretation.
My third step was to show how this principle might be perverted to the worst results if applied to the knowledge of God. In 1 Sum. 9, 14, art. 6, St. Thomas inquires how God knows things different from Him: self. Taking for granted the old principle that all knowledge requires some sort of real presence of the thing known in the intellect, he is forced to attribute to God's essence a participation of somewhat belonging to created things,—not their matter, nor their substance, nor their qualities, nor their nature, but their perfections: “Quidquid perfectionis est in quacumque creaturû, totum præexistit et continetur in Deo secundum modum excellentem.” Now what is this perfection, that can be separate from a thing and yet belong to it? It is (partly at least) the form which constitutes the thing in its individual reality-“ Omnis forma per quam quælibet res in propria specie constituitur, perfectio quædam est : et sic omnia in Deo præexistunt,” &c. Now we all know what the form is in the Peripatetic philosophy. All things consist of matter and form, one being as necessary for the individual existence as the other; matter cannot really exist without form, and therefore the form is in fact the essential and real constitutive element of the thing. Now if we say that this form, that the forms of all things, pre-exist in the essence of God, the result must be ultimately a confusion between God and creatures, unless the conclusion is fenced-off by such distinctions as “modo eminentiori,"
,” “ secundum modum excellentem," and the like, which save the theology at the expense of the precision of the philosophy.
W. falls head over ears into this very pond ; he tells us that “the nature of God embraces all that is contained in the natures below Him." Now I am as far as possible from accusing, W. of confusing God with creatures; but I say that his language leads logically to such confusion.
It is not my duty to prove St. Thomas consistent, but simply that he has said what I have quoted from him. The quotations may or may not prove my point; but a person will be rather bold who denies the realism of St. Thomas, to such an extent as to separate entirely the thing from the idea of the thing. It is the obscure but ever-present notion of the essential reality of the idea, and the necessary connection it has with the substance of the thing known, which rendered the philosophy of the schools impotent against the pretences of magic.
I do not pretend that St. Thomas was always consistent in this realism ; indeed I can quote one place where he appears to reduce the knowledge of God to a mere knowledge of the image, like ours (i. q. 14. art. 5. o.): Deus “alia a se videt non in ipsis, sed in ipso, in quantum essentia sua continet similitudinem aliorum ab ipso." Yet here again it is only by maintaining the essential and objective reality of this similitudo in the intellect that the realist philosophy can make out that God really sees external things in their essence.
Like W., I find that it is very unsatisfactory to have to cram a controversy like this into two pages; and I must conclude by assuring him that I mean no disrespect to St. Thomas, as a saint or a doctor, when I repudiate parts of his philosophy; and that when I deduce absurd
conclusions from this philosophy, I do not intend to imply that St. Thomas would have received them for a moment. I need hardly add, that I intend no personal offence to any one; and as I do not pretend to offer any advice to W., I hope he will excuse me if I do not accept his.
I am, dear Sir, yours very sincerely,
THE WRITER OF THE ARTICLE ON MAGIC.
P.S. With reference to the danger of the Thomist philosophy leading to the doctrine that “created intellect is of the same nature with the divine," allow me to quote a sentence from a late work of Father Ventura, in which he is attempting to renew scholastic philosophy in France, in opposition to the modified Cartesianism which at present reigns there (Essai sur l' Origine des Idées. 1854):
*** It is not wonderful that the human mind should guess right, should form true ideas of things, ideas which correspond exactly to their natures. Illuminated by God, it is not astonishing that it should in a measure see things as God Himself sees them. Partaking of the same light whereby God from all eternity formed in Himself the ideas of things, participatio luminis dirini, it is not astonishing that the human mind should form concerning eternal things the same ideas that God Himself has of them; and that it should do, by God's permission, by grace, that which God does by nature.”
Hence, as the knowledge of God is the cause of things (Sum. i. q. 14. art. 8), and as we partake of this knowledge, our knowledge is also in its measure the cause of things--even of external things. This is the doctrine of the magicians, and it is logically necessary from the premises of the Thomist philosophy.
ND OF VOL. II.
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