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the garb of mathematics or physics, may enter into all calculations and developments of human life.

But now this decision of Kant with regard to the limits and possibilities of human knowledge, excludes, you will perceive, a great deal that we regard as highly important in the circle of human ideas. If we must renounce as elements of human knowledge, all that does not come over to us by a fixed channel from the world of experience, then we must exclude the idea of the universe itself; for all we know of it by experience are a few passing phenomena: and we must also exclude the knowledge of the soul; for no one can have any positive experience of it either: and lastly, we must exclude the Deity from the region of knowledge; for "no man hath seen God at any time." Kant shews clearly enough that we cannot very well avoid forming these ideas in the mind; the ideas of a universe, of a soul, and of a Supreme Being; but true to his philosophy, he affirms and demonstrates that they are ideas of which we can make no practical or scientific use,-mere regulative conceptions of the mind, involving us in endless anomalies the moment we begin to expand them into a veritable science, or to apply them to any subject of real investigation.

Do you think, then, that Kant was really rash, thoughtless, or sceptical, when he thus traced with bold hand the limits of the human reason, and excluded some of the greatest, most practical, and most sacred ideas from its domains? Do you think that he was going to sit down content with this dreary result, and see unmoved an impassable chasm opening itself between the possibilities of human knowledge on the one side, and the aspirations of human hope on the other? No-far from it. It was just because of his intense faith in moral convictions that he could let speculation follow its course quite undisturbed by the result; knowing, as he well did, that he could fall back upon the moral nature-upon the

practical reason, as a source of true knowledge, still higher and more indubitable than any of the possible results of mere speculation. Little, therefore, it mattered to him into what paralogisms, anomalies, or antinomies (as he calls them), the pure reason might fall, in its gropings after transcendental truth: little did it matter how the very highest ideas might elude its grasp, and altogether escape verification; in the moral nature of man and its high behests, he could more than restore all that had been lost-virtue, right, conscience, the soul, the eternal lawgiver, the immortal reward; these were all to be affirmed, verified, and so grounded in the deepest human convictions, that no harassing speculations should henceforth be ever able to reach the solid rock on which they were built, as fixed moral elements of human faith.

True it is, that subsequent speculation wrested from the Kantian principles the apology for a whole system of Scepticism; true it is, that speculation even now seeks to assail from time to time the very convictions which Kant sought to place for ever beyond its reach: but the only reason why this is possible, is that we have not the same clear, steady, and unwavering faith as he had, in the moraĺ nature of man; that what with material interests on the one side, and too many feeble theologies which usurp without supplying the place of virtue, on the other, our confidence in moral truth is cold and halfhearted; and we seek to make up by sense, or by tradition, or by authority, or by symbolism, or by logical argumentation, what is palpable enough to the pure moral nature: but, if not grasped firmly, there can in truth never be made really palpable anyhow else.

I profess to you, that I know nothing in the entire history of moral science, more grand in itself, and more strengthening to the soul, than Kant's whole "Critique upon the practical Reason or Moral Nature of Man." Just as, in the "Critique of pure Reason,"

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he had sought out and detected the universal ele-
ments of all our rational knowledge, and shewn how
these universal elements enter into the whole mass
of our ideas,—so in the Critique of the practical Rea-
son he has stripped away all the minor motives which
act upon us, and sunk down, as it were, to those uni-
versal principles or laws of action which are imposed,
by the very force of our being, upon the human will.
These moral laws, observe, are the regulating prin-
ciples of the will, independently of any material con-
ditions, or of any calculations of self-interest; they
form an imperative, a categoric imperative, that says
to us-"Do this, and avoid that," with a voice that
heeds not any of the lower motives which clamour
around us, but penetrates through them all, and car-
ries an authority with it to the inmost soul, which no
other voice on earth can emulate, much less over-
throw. The great principle which Kant has thus
brought out to light as the guide of human action, is
the necessity of always following the universal laws
of moral truth;-those laws which carry with them
a sacred obligation to every being who possesses a
reason and a will. "Act always (is his maxim)
in such a way that the ground of your conduct might
form a universal law of action to the world." Can
anything, I ask, in moral precept, be deeper in its
meaning, wider in its range, broader in its conse-
quences, higher in its aims-than this?
Let every

act you perform, stand before the world as a model
or a law of action for each intelligent and account-
able being the universe contains. Bring your will to
act spontaneously by the maxims of universal moral
order. How are all the pleadings of a false casuistry
silenced by this great and all-embracing precept!
Cases there are, when looked at alone, in which other
motives will plead their cause, with a fair and too
often a fatal eloquence. Here, perhaps, the senses
affirm their power, and ask why any impulse should
be planted within us, only to be restrained and sub-

dued: but moral order replies-What would you think if those of your actions which are prompted by sense and passion, were to become each a universal law of action to the world? Here, at another time, self-interest dictates the course you should pursue, and pleads a practical and material necessity in its favour: but moral order replies-How and in what condition would you exist, if all the world were to take this dictate of self-interest as the universal law of human conduct? Here, in another place, bigotry and fanaticism break through the common rights existing between man and man, and plead the interests of religious truth as their justification: but moral order replies-Religious truth in this sense means your religious opinion; and what if all the world elevated your act into a maxim, and difference of opinion was held universally amongst men to exclude from the claims either of social intercourse, justice, or charity?

I need not pursue these illustrations of the Kantian maxim further. Enough, I am sure, has been said to shew what a broad and sweeping significance it involves. To my mind it goes further than any moral system of modern times, in giving depth and universality to moral obligation: and when we consider that moral idea is the real subjective basis from which all religious conviction must primarily spring; that it forms (if I may so say) the substratum out of which all our notions of what is sacred and divine must be moulded;-we cannot, I think, fail to appreciate such a service as one for which the world may be thankful.

Let me conclude this brief description of Kant's moral principles by a quotation from his own words: words replete with wisdom and goodness. "Two things," he says, "fill my soul with an ever-renewed wonder and reverence, the oftener and the more deeply they are contemplated-the starry heavens above me, and the moral law within me. Neither

the one nor the other ought I to seek and grope for, as though veiled in partial darkness, or lying in a region beyond the power of human sight: I see them, in fact, clearly before me, and link them on immediately to the very consciousness of my existence. The first begins from the very point which I occupy in the world of sense, and widens the connection in which I stand with it, out into immensity, with worlds upon worlds, and systems upon systems; nay, still more, into the boundless ages of their periodic motion, their beginning, and their duration. The second begins from my invisible self, my own personality; and places me in a world which has a real infinitude, though only cognisant by the understanding: a world to which I feel that I am bound not by a mere accidental, but by a universal and a necessary relation. The first contemplation-that of the numberless worlds around me-annihilates my own importance, as being but a mere material existence, which must soon render up the matter of which it was made, to the Planet to which it belongs, after having run its little course of life and being. The second contemplation, on the other hand-that of the moral law within me-elevates my worth as an Intelligence infinitely; elevates it through my own personality, in which the moral law reveals to me a life independent of the entire world of sense or mere animal existence. For such a life is shewn abundantly in the whole moral structure and destiny of my being; neither is it confined to the conditions and limits of this state of existence, but in its significance and in its moral indications stretches out beyond it into infinity itself."

But now some may be inclined to rejoin-These, after all, are mere moral speculations: but how were they carried out in actual life? Did Kant sustain the character of being a type of moral personality in his life, as well as in his speculation? Life is made up of a thousand elements-elements in which the

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