图书图片
PDF
ePub

i

retor

" Hyl. It cannot be otherwise : but then the fruit would only seem to grov upon the stem of the rose-tree, and not really grow.

Phil. It seems to me, that in this case Omnipotence itself can cause only the appearance of growing. The rose-tree must therefore be changed into the citron-tree; or, to speak more accurately, the thorn must be annihilated, and the citron-tree put in its place.

Hyl. It is plain that, in this case, what has been supposed would be effected yet less, that is, a communication of properties.

Phil. The citron must then be created, and united with the rose-stem; but how? The stem yields no fluid with which the fruit can be fed.

Hyl. The Almighty provides it out of the air, or by some other means.

Phil. True. Suppose now the stock to perish : has the citron lost any thing besides its supporter ?

Hyl. Certainly not, since it neither grew out of the stock, nor was nourished by it: put how does this apply to our inquiry?

Phil. I believe we are not far from its solution. It is granted that matter in its own nature cannot think ; that is, by virtue of its interior structure it is capable of a boundless variety of forms, colours, and motions, but not of thought.

Hyl. I grant that Descartes has proved this.

Phil. The base of the power to think is not more in matter than the germ of the citron is in the rose-tree. Should God communicate to matter the power to think, must he not then create this especial power, and conjoin it with matter?

"Hyl. It must be so according to our present example.

Phil. But in this way matter would only seem to think, and the power to think would no more be a property of matter, than the citron would really grow upon the rose-tree.

Hyl. I must admit it.

Phil. The question, then, is properly, not whether the Almighty can communicate to matter the property of thinking - for this is impossible: but whether he can create a power to think, and connect it with a material systein. And see, my friend, this is what our Creator has really done. He has united with a certain portion of organized matter an especially created power, and they make conjointly the living creature, man. As the fruit was lodged upon a foreign stem, so the power to think is connected with organized matter. The latter shall be dissolved, and the former shall lose only its transieut supporter."

As a great part of the answer to the third question is hypothetical, and, though not discordant with acknowledged anatomical facts, was written without the benefit of more recent discoveries, I shall only annex the concluding passage :

" Since the brain is the organ of the soul, it must feel all the changes and every disorder of which that is the subject In dissolution, that organ is no longer united with the soul, and its functions, as the organ of its feelings, must therefore cease. The soul cannot be dissolved like the brain, for it does not consist, as that does, of parts which are joined together according to the laws of a corporeal nature. It is an indivisible unity, which cannot be subjected to the laws of mechanism. Either it must cease to be, or it retires upon a central organ, which cannot be dissolved together with the brain : and, perhaps, as is the usual process of 'nature, with the destruction of the brain, it acquires a new organization. In all nature there is no decomposition without a new composition, no destruction of one form without the commencement in its invisible particles of a new form, which reveals itself in time to the senses. Every destruction tends to a formation, every death builds the way to a new life. To him who considers this conjecture too bold, there remains only the annihilation of the soul; for as dissolution of

VOL. Y.

parts is out of the question, in no other way can a purely simple nature cease to exist, and a power to think must either actually think or cease to be.”

In a subsequent part of the treatise the author states his reasons for the opinion, that ihe soul can neither feel nor think unless united with a portion of organized matter, an opinion in which, he says, most philosophers will agree with him. He might have added the higher authority of its accordance with the scripture doctrine of the resurrection of the body.

« But where do we find annihilation in all nature? What particle in the universe is lost? What original power is ever for a moment inert? The compound is dissolved; one body is moved by another; the direction of one force is changed by another; here there is a composition, there a resolution of forces; but extinction is not in nature. The physical forces of all bodies united cannot annihilate a sun-moat, cannot suspend the motive power of a single atom. They may act upon it, but not without suffering a change themselves. How small soever this change may be, it proves the existence of the reacting power, and shews the effect of a force which all nature cannot overcome.”

When D'Alembert asks, how we can conceive two substances which have no common property to act upon one another, Mendelssohn replies by another question, Can we conceive better how matter acts upon matter? Is mutual action explained at all by the similitude of substances? When D'Alembert asks, what difference we can imagine, according to our custom of thinking, between absolute nothing, and a nature which is not matter, our German Metaphysician replies,

“M, D'Alembert defines matter, that which is extended and impenetrable: both extension and impenetrability are ideas which have, strictly speaking, their seat in the soul; but we ascribe the exciting causes of them to an external object, and this object we name matter : the subject in which the ideas exist we name the soul: with what reason do we affirm the subject must have, of pecessity, the property of the object ? Matter is at last (it is all we know of it) a nature that can excite in the soul the ideas of extension and impenetrability. Custom, we are told, says that the soul is nothing, if it is not ma. terial ; that is, reason replies, a nature which has the ideas of extension and impenetrability is nothing if it cannot also excite them. With what reason can this be maintained? Between existence and non-existence there is a gulf which nature cannot pass : it can no more reduce into nothing, than create out of nothing. Here I ask not more for the soul than is conceded to me for every atom of steam ; not more for the power to think, than is admitted in every simple power of motion. Were it the power of a compound being, the aggregate force might be resolved into its elements; but since it is not composed of elements, it cannot be destroyed in this way; and it is impossible for all the powers of nature to effect its total annihilation.”

J. M.

ON THE CHRONOLOGY AND ARRANGEMENT OF THE GOSPEL NAR

RATIVES.

(Continued from Vol. IV. p. 768.) BEFORE proceeding in the course which we have prescribed to ourselves, it seems desirable to give our readers a view of the contents of Mr. Greswell's volumes ; partly to enable them to judge whether the “ Dissertations upon the Principles and Arrangement of a Harmony of the Gospels” are likely to afford them the information they may desire to obtain from the work; and partly as a justification of some of our strictures in our former article.

Subjoined to the Preface is a “ Synopsis of the Preliminary* Dissertations," which is designed to “ facilitate the comprehension of their mutual coherency, and to give the reader a clearer perception of the number and variety of the topics discussed.” The work, the author says he is aware, must at first sight appear “ irregular and unconnected;" but he maintains that “ there is, in reality, an intimate relation between the several subjects of the Dissertations, and the order in which one follows or precedes another."

Notwithstanding the aid of the Synopsis, however, it seems by no means feasible to frame any thing like a consistent, orderly whole from the treatises forming this work; and nothing that appears in it countenances the belief that Mr. Greswell's whole plan was laid before he commenced the execution of it. Even if method and coherency can be discovered in the general arrangement of the work, there is often a great want of unity in the parts of the several Dissertations. And separate from the author's extreme diffuseDess, and immethodical style of writing, there is much which, for the object, is totally irrelevant, having no further connexion with it than that which earnestness of investigation sometimes establishes in the mind of the inquirer, by magnifying distant parts till they appear to him at least contiguous, while, in reality, they have little or no relation to each other.

The “ fundamental principle" of his work, he states (p. xiii), rests “ on the truth of the following propositions: 1. That the three last Gospels are regular compositions : 2. T'hat St. Matthew's Gospel is partly regular and partly irregular: 3. That each of the Gospels was written in the order in which it stands ; 4. That the Gospels last written in every instance were supplementary to the prior." Mr. G. means to assert, in the last proposition, that each Gospel is supplementary to those preceding it in the order of composition ; which order, he maintains, is the same as that in which we find the Gospels in the common text; so that Mark was supplementary to Matthew, Luke to Matthew and Mark, and John to all the three. That the Gospel of Mark was supplementary to the Gospel of Matthew is obviously inconsistent with the phenomena of each; and that Mr. G. should burden the system of his Harmony with so gratuitous a difficulty, must be truly surprising to those who have not observed that, by the strength of his conviction, and the facility with which he overlooks difficulties, he often contrives to transmute objections against his opinions into imposing arguments for

them.

The “ fundamental principle" to which Mr. Greswell refers, we have not discovered ; unless, indeed, it consists of the four propositions on which it rests : but this is not improbable, as there runs throughout his work a hasty vagueness of expression, by which, we apprehend, he has often deceived himself, and may mislead some of his readers.

The first volume consists of thirteen Dissertations, “ with a number of Appendixes, or Supplementary Dissertations, where the nature of the case required them.” “The first three (the author says) are all subservient to the fundamental principle of the work, considered as preparatory to a Har

• This epithet, no where else employed, refers to the Harmony which was framed agreeably to the Dissertations.

mony of the Gospels ;" and they are intended to support the four propositions already stated.

In so extensive and voluminous a work, we might reasonably expect to find a good Alphabetical Index of subjects : but all the aid of this kind is a Table of Contents; and though this seems intended for an analysis of the Dissertations, it is so inadequate to the object, that it gives no intimation of various topics in them which we had marked for consideration.

The titles of the three first Dissertations are, “On the Regularity of the Gospels, and on their Supplemental Relation to each other-Historical Investigation of the Times (Dates) and Order of the Three First Gospels-On the Irregularity of St. Matthew's Gospel.” Maintaining, in the course of them, several positions which are incapable of proof, and some which are inconsistent with each other, and arguing from these as if they were established by his reasonings, there is little on which the mind can rest with the satisfaction which the author obviously feels in his own conclusions; and, indeed, in various cases the reasoning itself appears destitute of solidity. When we come to consider the “ peculiar texture of each gospel"—our second division-we shall have occasion to advert to some of Mr. Greswell's opinions on the subject : here we will only point out two or three of those positions which afford an exemplification of some of our strictures.

The author sets out with maintaining (p. 3), that “no history, as such, whatever be the subject to which it relates, can, consistently with its own nature and purposes, disregard the order of time.” He also maintains the inspiration and infallibility of the gospels; and yet speaks of St. Mark (p. 34) as rectifying the transpositions of St. Matthew, and supplying his deficiencies; and in vindication of the original and equal authority of the former, he afterwards appeals (p. 23) to his “ rectification of the order of St. Matthew where that was inverted and irregular.” He even asserts, (p. 40,) that “it is just and reasonable, and necessary to the joint authority of all, that we should allow to each a separate and an equal weight. Admit their common inspiration, (he adds,) and we have no other alternative.”

What, then, can we say to the case where, according to St. Matthew (ch. viii. 5—10), the centurion came to Jesus, and himself intreated him to heal his servant; while St. Luke's narrative (ch. vii. 6, 7) expressly shews that the centurion did not come to him? Each account cannot have an equal weight, because both could not be the fact. No difficulty whatever exists, if we allow that each recorded the occurrence according to the best of his knowledge; and it is easy to perceive how that of St. Matthew may have originated, (especially if he were not himself an eye-witness,) from the transaction as recorded by St. Luke with circumstantial detail. It was the custom in the East for the messenger to deliver his message in the very words of his employer; and the words of the centurion thus delivered would naturally be referred to the centurion himself as present, by those who did not themselves hear the details from accurately-informed eye-witnesses; and might be so referred even by some of those eye-witnesses.

As to the instructions of Christ, the apostles surely stood upon a different footing from others; since they received from their Lord (John xiv. 26) the promise of miraculous aid in the recollecting of his declarations. This does not require us to suppose that the very words were brought to their recollection ; but it affords solid ground for a perfect reposing confidence in their record, as it respects the import of his declarations. But in recording his actions, and the events which befel him, where is there even a plausible reason for the supposition that they or the other evangelists were inspired ? The hypothesis that all were inspired, and equally so, is alike gratuitous, and baneful to the credibility of the whole. The doctrine of the Inspiration of the Scriptures at large, has made more unbelievers than any other cause, except the vices of professing Christians - Mr. Greswell seems prepared to admit every thing. “ The consequence of a common inspiration," he adds to the passage already quoted from p. 40, " is a common infallibility-and, in a common infallibility, there can be no difference in degree nor variety of kind-all must be alike infallible, or none could be so." —He must have written and even printed this before he entered into all the minutiæ which the construction of his Harmony brought before him. In many parts he writes as those may who are not burdened by so groundless an hypothesis.

We may observe before we proceed, that when giving (p. 46) coincident passages in Matthew and Luke which, he contends, were not identical in time, he quotes the Received Text of Luke xi. 2-4. There seems to us no room to doubt that the prayer in Luke was delivered at an earlier period than the Sermon on the Mount, in which the prayer according to which we are to pray was delivered; and that the two prayers were not identical, we entirely agree with Mr. Greswell; but when he was pointing out coincidences, he should surely have employed a text which, as every critic must allow, at least approaches more nearly to the original than the Received Text. In this case, the differences between the prayer in Matthew and that in the amended text of Luke strike the mind more than their agreement. In the following parallel we arrange St. Matthew's text according to the plan adopted by Mr. Greswell in p. 47, and throughout his Harmony; ema ploying Griesbach's text in Luke. Matthew vi. 9—13.

Lake xi. 2–4.
Πατερ ημων,

Πατερ,
δεν τοις ουρανους,
αγιασθήτω το ονομα σου"

αγιασθήτω το ονομα σου
ελθετω η βασιλεια σου"

ελθετω σου η βασιλεια:
γενηθήτω το θελημα σου,
ες εν ουρανό, και επι της γης
τον αρτον ημων, τον επιουσιον,

τον αρτον ημων, τον επιουσιον,
δος ημιν σημερον"

διδου ημιν το καθημεραν. και αφες ημιν

και αφες ημιν τα οφειληματα ημων,

τας αμαρτιας ήμων, ως και ημεις αφιεμεν

και γαρ αυτοι αφιεμεν τους οφειληταις ημων"

παντι οφειλοντι ήμιν" και μη εισενεγκης ήμας

και μη εισενεγκης ήμας εις πειρασμον

εις πειρασμον. αλλα δυσαι ήμας

απο του πονηρου. (Mr. G. does not copy the Doxology

found in the R. T. of Matthew.)

The conclusions to which the author comes near the close of the Third Dissertation “ On the Irregularities of St. Matthew's Gospel" -are stated in the following paragraph; and this gives a fair specimen of the system of assertion and inference which too much pervades the work:

“ It cannot, then, now be doubted whether St. Matthew's Gospel is safely to be made, throughout, the basis of a Harmony for the rest -- or not. The argument of those learned men [who they are, Mr. G. does not give his readers the means of knowing who contend that, because he would write as

« 上一页继续 »