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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
______________________________________
Madame de Staëland the Philosophy of "L'Allemagne"

by Joseph F. Charles,
Author of "Modern Thought and Modern Thinkers."
Volume 3, 1892/93, pgs. 24-30


PART 1

"Les grandes pensées viennent du coeur."

I.

Never were the words chosen for the motto of this essay more fully shown to be true than in the book which is its subject. The thought which they contain was once earnestly defended by Madame de Staël, whose own work was, in every case, the record of her experience. Her merest epitome of opinions other than her own, is rendered of permanent value by the living interest with which her touch invests it. To understand "L'Allemagne" we must look into the life of which it is almost unconsciously the expression; a knowledge of the biography of Madame de Staël must precede the study of her philosophy. As is so often the case with even the greatest of minds, her cradle supplied the mould in which her opinions were cast. She lived much in France, and had German blood in her veins, but she was intellectually neither French nor German. Born in Paris, but owing her true origin to that corner of the Lake of Geneva where Gibbon once had wooed her mother, and where, at Coppet, in later years, she found her home, she inherited those traditions of Protestantism which have made the social life of the Swiss so like the English. Her mother, the daughter of Pastor Curchod, brought into her nursery the severe moral tone, the reverence for the marriage tie, the austere belief in God, the lack of appreciation for the artistic and humorous sides of life, which are characteristic of the English middle class. Again and again in reading Madame de Staël one is reminded of Macaulay. With higher creative power, with, perhaps, a more brilliant imagination, she exhibits nearly all the qualities which make him the typical Englishman in literature. Clinging, like him, loosely to the creed of her childhood, she showed the same passionate devotion to work. She had the same rare gift of conversation, the same love for the society of men and women. Like him she turned away from theoretical contemplation. Abstract thought, in itself, had no charm for her. Philosophy must be brought into the market-place and shown to be the rule of practical life before it could win her interest. Literature on its human, personal side was as much her chosen field of labour as it was that of Macaulay; her aims for the good of her fellows were as lofty, and her efforts alike in letters and in politics as unselfish as his. It was then what may be called the English side of her character that was the heritage of Madame de Staël from her mother. Her father, the famous Minister of Finance, Necker, whose good intentions paved the way to the Revolution, gave her less in mental endowments, but far more in the way of intimate affection. From first to last an unbroken love existed between father and daughter. He was her refuge in all the troubles of her storm-tossed life, and, when he died, with a mind almost unhinged by grief, she directed her prayers to him, as though he was present in spirit, to counsel and support his wayward child. By a curious irony of fate, it was through his fault that she needed such an affection, for the husband whom he chose for her was totally unfit to guide the brilliant, restless, intellect committed to his charge. The great merit of the Baron von Staël-Holstein was that the King of Sweden guaranteed his position as ambassador in Paris, and thus prevented a separation of his bride from her old home. The wealth of Necker would have commanded any match, but religious difficulties narrowed the field of possible bridegrooms. No French Catholic could become a suitor, for it was not until four years after the marriage of Madame de Staël that, in 1788, the children of Protestants were rendered legitimate. Years afterwards, in thinking of the future of her own daughter, she exclaimed, "I will force her to make a marriage of affection," a cry which gave vent to the concentrated bitterness of a heartfelt sorrow.

Her own marriage was, in truth, the turning-point of the life of Madame de Staël. Hers was a soul created to live and to suffer. The devotion which she could neither offer nor claim at home was forced to seek its satisfaction restlessly abroad. The Comte de Narbonne and Benjamin Constant were the objects of her most passionate affection, and her deepest disappointment. True always to her conception of the ideal home, in which strength on the part of her husband, and purity on the side of the wife, united to form a feeling which "should prolong itself right on to death, and renew itself in heaven;" she was doomed to life-long suffering. Baffled and beaten back upon herself in every outpouring of her affection, she has recorded her own passionate yearnings and dissatisfaction in the chapter of L'Allemagne "On Love in Marriage." There she has drawn the picture of a life where "the same impulse serves, so to speak, for the beatings of two hearts," in order to protest alike against the facility of divorce in the Germany of her day, and the French morality of the previous century, which had reduced marriage to "the requisite condition for the enjoyment of having children." She claimed, as so many moralists have claimed fruitlessly before and since, that the same fidelity should be exacted from the man as from the woman. The sufferings of the neglected wife have never been more powerfully treated. "There is," she exclaims," in an unhappy marriage a force of anguish which leaves all the other pains of the world behind. The whole soul of a woman rests on conjugal attachment. To strive alone against your lot, to advance towards your coffin without a friend to be your stay, without a friend to regret your loss, is an isolation of which the deserts of Arabia give but a feeble idea. And, when the treasure of your youthful years has been given in vain, when you can no longer hope for the end of life the reflection of its earliest rays, when the twilight has nothing left which can recall the dawn, but comes, pale and discoloured, a livid spectre, the outrider of the night, your heart rises in revolt; you seem to have been robbed of the gifts of God upon earth." In vivid contrast with this broken age is painted the young warrior whose forehead is adorned by "a ray of purity taken from the crown of holy virgins." Day by day he seems "to choose afresh her whom he loves. Nature has given him a freedom without bounds." The time of trouble, if it some day must come, is far away; "his horse can carry him to the end of the world."

Such was the dream of the writer of the unhappy loves of Delphine and Corrine, books which add to the self-revelation of her soul. After the publication of the latter tragic love story, a keen critic declared that the problem was raised as to whether the very wealth of such an outpouring of affection did not preclude the possibility of its adequate return (Lady Blennerhasset, "Madame de Staël," Eng. trans., vol iii. p. 333.) Were this the case, we should be reduced to the frigid creed that the less high we pitch our expectations, the happier we shall be. The question, however, really resolves itself into what constitutes happiness-self-indulgence, and a low form of self-satisfaction, the growth of the inner life, or the good of others. If placid contentment be our ideal of bliss, lukewarm attachments and interests will best serve our needs; but if the intensity of life be the measure of its perfection, and it be judged not by what it receives, but by what it gives, we can contemplate its very shipwreck with a kind of forlorn satisfaction. Madame de Staël did everything in excess; the cat-like purr of satisfaction over her own fireside could never have been hers. As in love, so in politics, the strength of her feeling led her into constant danger. In the Revolution she risked her life to save a friend. After the Revolution, she arose, a solitary figure, to oppose Napoleon.

Her attitude puzzled the usurper. "What does she want?" he once inquired. "It is not what I want," she said, when she heard of the question, "but what I think." It was intolerable to the Corsican that any one should think in his neighbourhood, and so he banished her from Paris, and thus indirectly became the cause of her two greatest works, "Corinne" and "L'Allemagne."

On the journey to Italy, of which "Corinne" was the result, we cannot dwell. The visit to Germany was, in those days, a rarer feat. Between the French and the German characters, then as now, a great gulf was fixed. As has been well remarked by the most laborious of the biographers of Madame de Staël, "it lay in the innermost essence of the French philosophy of the eighteenth century and of the French Revolution that its logical consequence was to seek a visible solution for the whole problem of progress." (Lady Blennerhasset, "Madame de Staël," Eng. trans., vol iii. p. 78.) In a sense, this is true of more countries and of more centuries. As Butler long ago remarked, in words which Cardinal Newman since has made his own, "Man is impatient, and for precipitating things." It is not, however, true of the Germany in which Goethe and Kant, and Fichte and Schelling were at work. These men looked before and after, seeing how

"On the roaring loom of time

The living garment of the Godhead still is wrought."

a process which Madame de Staël was not fitted fully to comprehend. She came into the quiet domesticities of Weimar, her mind stored with memories of the luxurious follies of the court of Marie Antoinette, and the reckless dissipation of the mixed society which followed the Revolution. The contentment with which great thinkers lived on a pittance, the serene tranquillity with which they busied themselves with ideal contemplations amidst the ruins of political systems, filled her with admiration. A woman of the world, she knew far more of men and things than they, but she was ready to sit at their feet and learn their wisdom; a little too ready, indeed, for their complete satisfaction. Accustomed, like gods of Lucretius, calmly to haunt

"The lucid interspace of world and world,"

they found the inquisitive mortal somewhat distracting who burst in upon them-plain indeed in face, and almost awkward in body, but with a torrent of speech, and eyes from which the great soul "not only flashed, but hurled fire and flame." (Werner. Quoted by Sainte-Beuve, "Portraits de Femmes: Madame de Staël) Yet they made her welcome, then regarded her with curiosity, and expressed their opinions to each other with frankness. Goethe and Schiller took her up with something of the same indulgent wonder with which the giant in the fable allowed Tom Thumb to run about on the palm of his hand. The little creature, whose soul was filled with French politics, could not be expected to enter into the luminous conceptions of human destiny which were based upon a deep appreciation of Hellenic culture, and wrought out by the greatest intellects of the time. "Her nature, her feeling," wrote Schiller to Goethe, "is better than her metaphysics, and her fine understanding rises to the rank of genius. She insists upon explaining everything, on seeing into it, measuring it; she allows nothing dark, inaccessible. Whithersoever her touch cannot throw its light, there nothing exists for her." (Carlyle, "Miscellanies," vol ii. Appendix ii.) One can imagine the smile with which Goethe would greet this way of precipitating things. He met her, admired what was admirable in her, and at a later date summed her up: "To philosophise in society means to talk with vivacity about insoluble problems. This was her peculiar pleasure and passion." (Carlyle, "Miscellanies," vol ii. Appendix ii., "Schiller, Goethe, and de Staël," Appendix i., "Richter and de Staël" is worth attention.)

Unconscious, however, of the chasm between her mode of regarding the world and that of her hosts, she went intrepidly on, learning German, and gathering information from all sources. She came one day upon Fitche, who was then, as always, laboriously attempting to prove the universe to be a creation of the Ego or thinking self. Such a chance was not to be lost. Eagerly exclaiming that she had a quarter of an hour to spare, she asked him to explain his theory of the Ego.

The time was short, but perhaps struck by the obvious advantages of thus limiting the exposition of a German metaphysician, the philosopher began boldly enough. He had, however, mistaken his hearer; Madame de Staël could get at the heart of any system in less than a quarter of an hour. "Ah! I see," she interrupted. "Your system is perfectly illustrated by a story in Baron Munchausen's Travels. When the baron arrived once at the bank of a vast river, where there was neither a bridge nor ferry, nor even a poor boat or raft, he was at first quite confounded, quite in despair; until at last, his wits coming to his assistance, he took a good hold of his own sleeve and jumped himself over to the other side. Now, Monsieur Fichte, this I take it, is what you have done with your ich, you moi." (Lady Blennerhassett, "Madame de Staël," vol iii. pp. 81, 82.) As he turned crestfallen away, the philosopher must have felt that, however great the Germans might be in pure thought, in wit they were somewhat behind the French. It was nearly seven years after her first visit to Germany before Madame de Staël was ready to publish "L'Allemagne." During the interval she worked hard at the language, and enjoyed the advantage of constant intercourse with A.W. Schlegel, who lived with her in the capacity of tutor to her sons. The book was printed at Paris in 1810, and was just about to make its appearance in the world, when all copies were seized by the police and destroyed. Its fault was that it was not French in spirit. It praised other countries, and showed a way to improvement through foreign influences. Its destruction closed, by a dramatic episode, the long duel between Madame de Staël and Napoleon, with the apparent victory of the latter.

Eighty years afterwards we look back upon his empire as a thing wholly passed, while the book remains a lasting power. "There are only two things in the world," said the Emperor, "the sword and the mind. By the mind I mean the spirit of religious and civil institutions..In time the sword is always beaten by the mind." (Lady Blennerhasset, "Madame de Staël," vol iii. p. 327.)

(To be continued.)

MADAME DE STAËL AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF "L'ALLEMAGNE."

By Joseph F. Charles.

Author of "Modern Thought and Modern Thinkers."

"Les grandes pensées viennent du coeur."

II.

"L'Allemagne," suppressed in France, found a publisher, three years later, in London. It was at once recognized as a work of true genius. In the form of a review of German literature, art, philosophy and religion, it contained a fine criticism of life, and brought to the front a conception of culture which laid aside the narrow limits of nationality, and proclaimed the real unity of thought. For the service which it thus rendered to education, it received warm praise from Goethe. "It was a mighty implement," he said, " whereby, in the Chinese wall of prejudices which divided us from France, a broad gap was broken." (Carlyle, "Miscellanies," vol ii. appendix 2.) Ever since, the gap has been slowly widening in the wall which hems in the instructed classes of all nations, although in our English views of culture there still remains a considerable barrier of insular prejudice. It is not that we now look down upon the ideas which come from abroad, but we feel the difficulty of entering into systems of thought which have grown up among foreign influences, and so we too often slip into a condition of contented ignorance, and pass through life with the slenderest equipment alike of philosophic and literary knowledge.

There is, indeed, in the human mind a constant tendency to look at parts instead of wholes. Not only is the international unity of thought ignored in our habitual estimates of culture, but we draw sharp lines of distinction between the branches of knowledge with which we are familiar. We isolate philosophy, science, art, and religion, each within a ring-fence of its own, whereas in truth they depend closely upon one another, and are, in their expression, but phases of the comprehensive whole of literature. Not only can we often trace direct influence passing over from philosopher or man of science to poet, but we know that, in poetry and imaginative prose, the finest outcome of philosophic thought is frequently to be found. To have mastered Faust, for instance, is to have put oneself into a condition of study with appreciation the systems of contemporary philosophy. Of this truth Madame de Staël was perfectly aware. She had the great gift of the interpretative critic of a national literature, sympathy with its inspiring spirit. The lasting merit of "L'Allemagne" is that it causes us to breathe afresh the air which gave life to the teachers of Germany. Yet this very sympathy deprives it in some measure, of its value as an exponent of philosophic systems, which require in their treatment the dispassionate impartiality of the scientific mind.

The attitude in which Madame de Staël approached philosophy is indicated with her usual frankness. ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap 4.) She felt nothing of the need for building up a reasoned explanation of the universe, which was at the bottom of the laborious German speculation of her time, and so she failed to understand the full extent of its significance. Brought up in France, and familiar with the popular forms of more or less materialistic thought, she was conscious of "the mocking and sardonic laughter," (J. Morley, "Voltaire," chap v. p 232.) which has been declared to the be the note of French literature in the middle off the eighteenth century. (An account of French philosophic thought in this century is given to the English translation of Ueberweg's "History of Philosophy," vol ii. pp122-130.) At the present day it is the custom to account for this as the reaction against the tyranny of Church and State, and to feel its under-current of deep and abiding melancholy, but Madame de Staël had another explanation ready. "We have seen," she said, "within the last century in Europe, the birth and growth of a kind of mocking skepticism, of which the base is the philosophy which attributes all our ideas to our sensations." ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap 4.) This philosophy considers the soul "as passive," S and, adopting the ethics of utilitarianism, turns "all our efforts towards material prosperity." ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap 4.) In opposition to it, she welcomes the German idealism, in which she finds activity of the soul, freedom of the will, and the law of duty claimed as the prerogative of man.

The distinction between the two kinds of philosophy is real; the questions at issue between them have been debated as much since the time of Madame de Staël as before it, but with her the strictly philosophic point of view is obscured. Principles in her book assume personal forms; the glow of personal feeling takes the place of cold investigation. Into the Eden of the divine freedom of the spirit creeps the serpent of wicked sensational theory. He whispers his subtle suggestions; the thinker, forgetting his priceless heritage of liberty, his self-imposed obedience to the call of duty, eats the forbidden fruit of the philosophy of experience, and becomes a prey to every low and sordid impulse. Then in the time of his degradation he hears the message of the German prophets. His conscience is aroused. He embraces the system of Kant, and is saved.

There is a fine art in the way in which our sympathies are thus from the first enlisted against the philosophy of sensation. We can hardly forbear a cheer when we see it finally rolled lifeless in the dust; but to gain all that "L'Allemagne," can give us, we must not be carried away by the feelings of the writer. We must weigh the personal element exactly, subtract it, and then judge the result.

In the first place, we must not omit to notice that the spirit of Madame de Staël was profoundly religious. More and more in the years in which "L'Allemagne" was taking shape she was rendering homage to the claims of Christianity. To the wild excesses of the revolution a religious reaction was succeeding everywhere around her. The brother of her friend Schlegel had already joined the Church of Rome. He himself hesitated about following the example. "I am convinced," he wrote, "that the time is not far off when all Christians will re-unite in the old faith. The work of the Reformation is accomplished; the pride of human reason, which was evident in the first reformers, and still more in their successors, has guided us so ill, especially during the last century, that it has come into antagonism with itself and has destroyed itself. (Lady Blennerhassett, "Madame de Staël," vol iii. pp. 345-347. The whole passage, pp. 328-352, is worth attentive study by all who are interested in the growth of religious ideas in the mind of Madame de Staël.)

Such was the cry of despair which liberty, degenerated into licence, forced from the lips of one of the more generous friends of Madame de Staël. She had too firm a faith in the divine origin of reason to echo it herself. In words which deserve remembrance at every time of theological excitement, she wrote: "There are in the human spirit two perfectly distinct forces; the one inspires the desire of belief, the other that of examination. The one out of these faculties ought not to be satisfied at the expense of the other. Catholicism and Protestantism do notarise out of the fact that there have been Popes and a Luther. It is a poor way of considering history to attribute it to the action of chances. Protestantism and Catholicism exist in the human heart; they are moral powers, which display themselves in nations, because they exist in each individual. If, in religion, as in the other human affections, one can bring the desires of the imagination into union with those of the reason, there is peace in the man; but in him, as in the universe, the power of creation and that of destruction, faith and examination succeed one another." ("L'Allemagne," part iv. chap. 4) In this passage there is a trace of the mystic tendencies which constituted the only shadows in the clearly lighted recesses of Madame de Staël's mind. Christianity to her was no sharply defined act of dogmas, but "the revelation of the moral laws of man and of the universe." ("L'Allemagne," part iv. chap. 2) It displayed the stamp of divinity in all the ideas of genius, art and science; but, above all, it gave hope of an ultimate explanation of much that is beyond our present understanding, in the certainty which it afforded of life beyond the grave.

A firm belief in immortality was from the first the doctrine most characteristic of Madame de Staël. Where she learned it is shown in a touching letter to her mother, written when she left her parents for her husband's home. The thought of parting crushed her soul; she felt herself issuing forth upon a career of peril, and looked passionately back upon the influence which hitherto had been her stay. "I cannot describe, dearest mother, how I am strengthened by my love for you. You care so pure and innocent that every thought connected with you must be derived from heaven. I pray God to make me worthy of you. Happiness may come later on by degrees, or may not come at all; everything in this world must have an end, and you are so sure of a future life that neither can I have doubts on the subject." (Lady Blennerhasset, "Madame de Staël" vol I, p. 153.) A doctrine, thus recognised as her spiritual heritage, needed for her no intellectual support. "There is nothing," she said, "on this earth but beginnings;" (Lady Blennerhasset, "Madame de Staël" vol ii, p. 237.) and she never doubted that the continuations would come hereafter. Swayed thus by her predominant religious feelings, Madame de Staël approached the study of philosophy. On its threshold she heard the impatient question of men of the world: "What is the good of it? What end does it serve?"

Conscious that it, like music, was of "a noble inutility," she dismissed the question with another: "What end does everything that is beautiful serve if not the soul? It is the same with philosophy, which is the beauty of thought, which attests the dignity of man, which is able to occupy itself with the eternal and the invisible." ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap. 8) She thus declared herself to be interested only in the emotional and practical aspects of philosophy. The theory of metaphysics, she frankly admitted, had need of a faculty to which she was a stranger. ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap. 1.) She chose to dismiss theoretic questions in favour of the evangelical precept to judge the prophets by their works. "Whatever tends to immorality," she asserted, "can never be anything but a sophism," and so she set to work, not so much to weigh the actual results attained by German research, as to show how its tendency served to confute the systems of which she disapproved.

It was here that she fell into her greatest mistake, and showed most clearly, her lack of philosophic grasp. She judged the ultimate tendencies of systems by the tone of contemporary society in France. We who live in a more serious age, and have seen a philosophy based upon experience the guide of noble lives, can afford to regret the precipitation of her utterances. We can see that in leaving out of consideration the first of her three divisions of metaphysics, which she loosely called "the mystery of creation," and turning to the second, "the formation of ideas in the human mind," she was, in reality, destroying her own support. ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap. 1.) In any case, the study of the mind of man must be closely linked with that of the system of which he is a part. Fichte saw this, Schelling, and her exposition of their teaching was inadequate, because she failed to understand how profound and far-reaching was their central conception. And yet in one point of the account of Schelling, as well as in her chapter "On the Contemplation of Nature," ("L'Allemagne," part iii. chap. 9.) she strikingly anticipated the Pantheistic and semi-Pantheistic developments of nineteenth-century thought, which have followed the new revelation of the greatness of the universe, the new delight in the grandeur of scenery. It has been said of Madame de Staël that she lived for years under the shadow of the Alps, and never described them; and it is a commonplace of criticism to compare our present admiration of the awful in nature, and the religious feelings to which it gives rise, with the eighteenth-century delight in what was merely pretty. We forget, however, the dangers with which mountain passes bristled then, and that facility for travel may be one at least of the causes of that facile delight in mountain scenery which seems so incongruous on the lips of many who express it. Madame de Staël had more than a modern tourist's appreciation of many of the aspects of nature. There is a deep and touching melancholy, almost reaching the finer moods of de Senancour, in the thoughts which its beauty inspired, especially if, as in the following passage, the scene were one of calm and peace: "When, at evening, on the edge of the landscape, the sky seems well-nigh to touch the earth, the imagination figures for itself, beyond the horizon, a refuge for hope, a fatherland for love; and nature seems silently to repeat that man is immortal." ("L'Allemagne," part iv. chap. 9.)

But nature had other and harder lessons for a soul so truthful. Poison lurked in the sweetest flowers, lightning was ready to burst from the clouds on the brightest days. Destruction and decay met her eyes where she looked for orderly government after a human pattern. The earthly life of man, with his petty ambitions and narrow possibilities, she felt, could not be the object and end of a system so vast, and yet she could not rest in a belief which kept divine purpose out of the universe. With a touch of her usual certainty, she concluded her subject: "The true final causes of nature are its relations with our soul and with our immortal lot; the physical objects themselves have a destiny which is not limited to the short existence of men here below. They are there to unite in the development of our thoughts, in the work of our moral life. The phenomena of nature ought not to be only understood after the laws of matter, however well combined they are; they have a meaning in philosophy and an end in religion, of which the most attentive study will never be able to recognise the full extent." ("L'Allemagne," part iv. chap. 9.) The woman who could write thus was not much behind the later poet to whom the fuller teachings of an advanced science seemed to point:

"To one far-off divine event,

To which the whole creation moves."

III.

It is not every thinker who can test a system by the aid of contemporary events, but Madame de Staël was offered this advantage in the French Revolution, which showed, in the most dramatic manner, the struggle between the various ethical and political theories which were current in her time. Eager here, as everywhere, for the precipitation of things, she failed to comprehend how deep and slowly working were the forces around her. We have seen that she identified the cause of true morality with the independent origin of mind, and thought that the utilitarian theory of ethics, based upon the philosophy of experience, could only issue in a luxurious selfishness. It was on the political field that the practical test was to be applied, but here she regarded mankind too much as a collection of individuals to grasp the slow development of the race. With nearly all the finer minds which watched with sympathy the earlier phases of the Revolution, she looked for the emancipation of the individual as its only outcome. "Nothing," observed Kant, "can be more terrible than that the actions of one man should be subject to the will of another"; ("Posthumous Fragments" Ueberweg. "Hist. Philosophy," vol. Ii. p. 102 English Translation.) and to many it seemed that, with the removal of constraining tyranny, the enjoyment of true liberty would be at once attained. Men who had seen America cast of the English yoke, expected that France, freed from a more galling rule, would settle down at once into as tranquil a course of civil government. They forgot that the citizens of the United States had merely substituted a republican government for a monarchical government, and had not found themselves obliged to work out a policy in which individual freedom should be guarded and sustained by law. In France a transition was still necessary across the gulf which separated the ideas of the mediaeval Church from those of the modern world. In England and Germany this change had come slowly, almost without observation, in the wake of the Reformation, whereas, among the French, it followed in a moment the sudden audacious attack which Voltaire and his and his disciples opened in the Church, proving, as Mr. John Morley has well observed, that a "virulent dissolution in the biting acids of Voltairism" ("Voltaire" chap. v., p. 220) is a far less safe remedy for moral and social evils than the slow working of the Protestant spirit.

This slowness of growth, through which alone the child among the nations becomes a man, was lost upon Madame de Staël. The whole interplay of crude individualism and crude socialism which marked the movements of the Revolution was beyond her comprehension. (The individualistic and socialistic tendencies of the Revolution are clearly shown in the interesting little book of Mr. Symes, "The French Revolution") She could not foresee that henceforward the questions of the rival ethical systems, so far as they affected politics, would be solved, not in the chamber of the solitary philosopher or economist, but, on a wide scale, in daily intercourse, to meet the needs of rough and ready men of toil. In practice the appeal to selfishness which she feared in the utilitarian theory, is checked by the ever-growing acknowledgment that each man is in some sense his brother's keeper. This idea has even assumed philosophic shape under the influence of the doctrine of evolution, in the theory that society is an organism governed, like other organisms, by laws, which we must discover and obey, for the preservation and development of its various parts. On the field of politics the philosophy which is based on experience has thus assumed a form and a moral power of which she never dreamed. That she foresaw much of the development of thought in religion, morals, and politics is everywhere clear in "L'Allemagne," and the mere fact that after eighty years the book retains its suggestiveness, points to the sagacity of its writer. The friends who gathered round her at Coppet have long passed away, but we still feel, as they felt, the spell of genius which, in her earnest striving after truth and usefulness, brought Madame de Staël, in spite of all her imperfections, so close to the great verities of human life. Around the Lake of Geneva cling memories of interesting figures in modern literature-Voltaire, Rousseau, Gibbon, Byron, Shelley, de Senancour, Matthew Arnold. They have brought many and varied gifts to the cause of human progress, but all yield to the mistress of Coppet in the buoyant enthusiasm with which she tirelessly worked for good. "L'Allemagne" may mark the close of the eighteenth century, yet still more it shows the preparation for the far higher work of the nineteenth; for it is inspired with that spirit which the later musings of Matthew Arnold at Glion recognised as the note of the new era, when

"The world's great order dawns in sheen,

After long darkness rude,

Divinelier imaged, clearer seen,

With happier zeal pursued."

JOSEPH F. CHARLES

III.

The word philosophy has for some time been considerably out of favour. It is thus with all words of very extended signification; they are the object of the blessings or curses of the human race, according to the happy or unhappy circumstances in which they are employed. But, notwithstanding the abuse or praise of individuals, or nations, the value of philosophy, liberty, and of religion does not change. Man may curse the sun, love or life. He has suffered, and has found himself being consumed by these forces of Nature, but for all that would he extinguish them?

Among the different branches of philosophy, metaphysics has more especially employed the German mind. The subjects with which it is concerned may be divided into three classes: the first is occupied with the mystery of creation, that is to say, with the infinite in all things; the second with the formation of the ideas of the human mind; and the third with the exercise of our faculties without investigating their origin. The first of these studies, that which concerns itself with the secret of the universe, was cultivated by the Greeks, as it is now by the Germans. It cannot be denied that such an inquiry, however sublime in principle, makes us feel our weakness at each step, and discouragement must follow our fruitless efforts. The utility of the third class of metaphysical observations, that which confines itself to the knowledge of the acts of our understanding, can hardly be contested; but this utility is limited to the circle of our daily experiences. The philosophical meditations of the second class, those which are directed to the nature of the soul and the origin of our ideas, appear to me by far the most interesting. It is not probable that we shall ever know the eternal truths which explain the existence of this world; the longing to do so, which we experience, is but one of those noble thought which attract us toward another life. But the faculty of self-examination has not been given to us for no purpose. Doubtless we employ that faculty when we take note of the working of our own mind, such as it is. At the same time, in reaching higher, in endeavouring to learn whether that mind acts spontaneously, or if it needs external objects to provoke its action, we shall have further light on man's free will, and consequently on the nature of vice and virtue. A number of moral and religious questions depend on the way in which we account for the origin and formation of our ideas. It is the diversity of systems on this point, more than anything else, which separates the German and French philosophers. It is easy to understand that if the difference is at the source it will show itself in the whole course.

There are two methods of contemplating the metaphysics of the understanding: either in theory, or by results. The examination of the theory requires a capacity to which I do not pretend; but it is easy to observe the influence of a given metaphysical opinion on the development of mind and soul. Scripture tells us we must judge the prophets by their works. This maxim will also guide us amongst the different schools of philosophy; for all that which belongs to immorality can never be a mere sophism. This life can have no value unless it subserves to the religious education of our heart; unless it prepares for a higher destiny by the free choice of virtue on earth. Metaphysics, social institutions, arts, and sciences can only be prized in so far as they assist the moral perfecting of man. That is a touchstone that is given to both the learned and the ignorant; for if the knowledge of the means belongs only to the initiated, the results are plain to all men.

It is necessary to have the habit of the method of reasoning used in geometry fully to comprehend metaphysics. In this science, as in that of arithmetic, the smallest link missed destroys the whole chain of evidence. Metaphysical reasonings are more abstract but not less precise than those of mathematics, and yet their object is indefinite. In metaphysics the two most opposite faculties must be united, imagination and reasoning. It is a cloud that must be measured with the same exactitude as a field, and no study requires a greater intensity of attention. Nevertheless, in all these highest questions there is always a point of view open to every one, and it is that which I propose to seize and to present.

One day I was asking Fichte, one of the greatest thinkers of Germany, if he could not instruct me in his system of ethics rather than in his metaphysics. The one depends on the other, he replied to me. That saying was a deep one. It suggests all the motives for the interest one must needs take in philosophy.

One has been accustomed to consider philosophy as destructive of faith. If that were the case, it would be the true enemy of man. But that is not true of the doctrine of Plato, nor of that of the Germans. They regard feeling as the primitive fact of the soul, and philosophic reasoning as only destined to investigate the meaning of that fact.

The enigma of the universe has been the object of the fruitless meditations of many men worth indeed of admiration, since they felt themselves called to something higher than this world. Noble souls wander ceaselessly around the abyss of infinite thought, but the human mind wearies itself in vain in its efforts to scale the heavens.

The origin of though has occupied all true philosophers. Are there two natures in man? If there is but one, is it soul or matter? If two, are ideas produced by the senses, or are they born in the soul, or are they a mixture of the action of external objects and of our spiritual faculties? To these three questions, which have in all time divided the philosophical world, is attached the further question which concerns virtue more immediately--whether necessity or free will govern the actions of men?

In the ancient world necessity arose from the will of the gods; in modern times we attribute necessity to circumstances. Necessity among the ancients was but a foil to free-will, for the will of man struggled against events, and moral resistance was invincible. Modern fatalism, on the contrary, necessarily destroys the belief in free-will. If circumstances make us such as we are, we cannot oppose their ascendancy. If external objects are the cause of all that takes place in our soul, what independent thought can free us from their influence? The fatalism which came from heaven filled the soul with a holy terror, whilst the once that binds us to earth can but degrade us. What is the use of all this questioning? one may say; to which may be replied, Of what use is any other? For what can be more important for man than to know if he is truly responsible for his actions, and what is the connection of the power of the will with the rule of circumstances over it? What would conscience be if our habits alone had given it birth? If it were only the product of the sounds, the colours, the sense--in a word, of the general circumstances that had environed us in our infancy? Metaphysics, which seek to discover what is the source of our ideas, must necessarily therefore powerfully affect the nature and strength of our will. This philosophy therefore is both the highest and most necessary knowledge, and the advocates of the supreme utility, that is, of moral modern utility, cannot afford to despise it.

MADAME DE STAEL AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF "L'ALLEMAGNE."

By Joseph F. Charles, Author of "Modern Thought and Modern Thinkers," "Le grandes pensées viennent du coeur."

III.

The word philosophy has for some time been considerably out of favour. It is thus with all words of very extended signification; they are the object of the blessings or curses of the human race, according to the happy or unhappy circumstances in which they are employed. But, notwithstanding the abuse or praise of individuals, or nations, the value of philosophy, liberty, and of religion does not change. Man may curse the sun, love or life. He has suffered, and has found himself being consumed by these forces of Nature, but for all that would he extinguish them?

Among the different branches of philosophy, metaphysics has more especially employed the German mind. The subjects with which it is concerned may be divided into three classes: the first is occupied with the mystery of creation, that is to say, with the infinite in all things; the second with the formation of the ideas of the human mind; and the third with the exercise of our faculties without investigating their origin. The first of these studies, that which concerns itself with the secret of the universe, was cultivated by the Greeks, as it is now by the Germans. It cannot be denied that such an inquiry, however sublime in principle, makes us feel our weakness at each step, and discouragement must follow our fruitless efforts. The utility of the third class of metaphysical observations, that which confines itself to the knowledge of the acts of our understanding, can hardly be contested; but this utility is limited to the circle of our daily experiences. The philosophical meditations of the second class, those which are directed to the nature of the soul and the origin of our ideas, appear to me by far the most interesting. It is not probable that we shall ever know the eternal truths which explain the existence of this world; the longing to do so, which we experience, is but one of those noble thought which attract us toward another life. But the faculty of self-examination has not been given to us for no purpose. Doubtless we employ that faculty when we take note of the working of our own mind, such as it is. At the same time, in reaching higher, in endeavouring to learn whether that mind acts spontaneously, or if it needs external objects to provoke its action, we shall have further light on man's free will, and consequently on the nature of vice and virtue. A number of moral and religious questions depend on the way in which we account for the origin and formation of our ideas. It is the diversity of systems on this point, more than anything else, which separates the German and French philosophers. It is easy to understand that if the difference is at the source it will show itself in the whole course.

There are two methods of contemplating the metaphysics of the understanding: either in theory, or by results. The examination of the theory requires a capacity to which I do not pretend; but it is easy to observe the influence of a given metaphysical opinion on the development of mind and soul. Scripture tells us we must judge the prophets by their works. This maxim will also guide us amongst the different schools of philosophy; for all that which belongs to immorality can never be a mere sophism. This life can have no value unless it subserves to the religious education of our heart; unless it prepares for a higher destiny by the free choice of virtue on earth. Metaphysics, social institutions, arts, and sciences can only be prized in so far as they assist the moral perfecting of man. That is a touchstone that is given to both the learned and the ignorant; for if the knowledge of the means belongs only to the initiated, the results are plain to all men.

It is necessary to have the habit of the method of reasoning used in geometry fully to comprehend metaphysics. In this science, as in that of arithmetic, the smallest link missed destroys the whole chain of evidence. Metaphysical reasonings are more abstract but not less precise than those of mathematics, and yet their object is indefinite. In metaphysics the two most opposite faculties must be united, imagination and reasoning. It is a cloud that must be measured with the same exactitude as a field, and no study requires a greater intensity of attention. Nevertheless, in all these highest questions there is always a point of view open to every one, and it is that which I propose to seize and to present.

One day I was asking Fichte, one of the greatest thinkers of Germany, if he could not instruct me in his system of ethics rather than in his metaphysics. The one depends on the other, he replied to me. That saying was a deep one. It suggests all the motives for the interest one must needs take in philosophy.

One has been accustomed to consider philosophy as destructive of faith. If that were the case, it would be the true enemy of man. But that is not true of the doctrine of Plato, nor of that of the Germans. They regard feeling as the primitive fact of the soul, and philosophic reasoning as only destined to investigate the meaning of that fact.

The enigma of the universe has been the object of the fruitless meditations of many men worth indeed of admiration, since they felt themselves called to something higher than this world. Noble souls wander ceaselessly around the abyss of infinite thought, but the human mind wearies itself in vain in its efforts to scale the heavens.

The origin of though has occupied all true philosophers. Are there two natures in man? If there is but one, is it soul or matter? If two, are ideas produced by the senses, or are they born in the soul, or are they a mixture of the action of external objects and of our spiritual faculties? To these three questions, which have in all time divided the philosophical world, is attached the further question which concerns virtue more immediately--whether necessity or free will govern the actions of men? In the ancient world necessity arose from the will of the gods; in modern times we attribute necessity to circumstances. Necessity among the ancients was but a foil to free-will, for the will of man struggled against events, and moral resistance was invincible. Modern fatalism, on the contrary, necessarily destroys the belief in free-will. If circumstances make us such as we are, we cannot oppose their ascendancy. If external objects are the cause of all that takes place in our soul, what independent thought can free us from their influence? The fatalism which came from heaven filled the soul with a holy terror, whilst the once that binds us to earth can but degrade us. What is the use of all this questioning? one may say; to which may be replied, Of what use is any other? For what can be more important for man than to know if he is truly responsible for his actions, and what is the connection of the power of the will with the rule of circumstances over it? What would conscience be if our habits alone had given it birth? If it were only the product of the sounds, the colours, the sense--in a word, of the general circumstances that had environed us in our infancy? Metaphysics, which seek to discover what is the source of our ideas, must necessarily therefore powerfully affect the nature and strength of our will. This philosophy therefore is both the highest and most necessary knowledge, and the advocates of the supreme utility, that is, of moral modern utility, cannot afford to despise it.

IV.

Concerning English Philosophy (Translated by Mrs. Lane)

All seems to attest the existence of a double nature in us. The influence of our senses and that of our soul divide our being, and according as philosophy inclines to one or the other, opinions and sentiments are diametrically opposed. The rule of the senses and that of the mind can also be designated in other terms. There is in man that which perishes with earthly existence, that which mere experience acquires, and that which moral instinct inspires, the finite and the infinite. But in whatever manner one may express oneself it must always be agreed that there are two differing life principles in a creature subject to death, yet destined for immortality.

The tendency to spiritualism has always been very strongly manifested among the peoples of the north, and even before the introduction of Christianity this inclination is distinctly visible even amidst the violence of warlike passions.

The Greeks believed in external marvels, the Germanic nations in spiritual phenomena. All their poetry is filled with presentiments, omens, and heart-discerned prophecies; and whilst the Greeks sought their pleasure in union with nature, the races of the north raised themselves to their Creator by religious feelings. In the south Paganism hallowed physical phenomena. In the north was an inclination to believe in magic, because it attributes to the spirit of man an unlimited power over the material world. The soul and nature, free-will and necessity, divide the domain of existence; according to whether we place the dominion in ourselves or external to us, we are the sons of heaven or the slaves of earth.

At the time of the Renaissance some persons turned their attention to scholastic subtleties in metaphysics, others, to the superstitions of magic; the art of observation governed no longer the domain of the senses, nor enthusiasm, that of the soul. With few exceptions there was neither experience nor observation to be found amongst the philosophers, when a giant arose in the person of Bacon. Never have the morals of nature nor the experiences of thought been so well understood by so great an intellect. There is not a sentence in one of his writings that does not presuppose years of reflection and study. He vivifies metaphysics by the knowledge of the human heart. He can generalise facts through philosophy. In physical sciences he has created the art of experiment; but it does not follow, as some would have us believe, that he is an exclusive partisan of that system which bases all ideas on sensation. He admits inspiration in all that concerns the soul, and believes it even necessary to interpret physical phenomena on general principles. But in his time there were still alchemists, diviners, and sorcerers. Religion was so little understood in the greater part of Europe that it was believed that this source of all truths forbade some truths. Bacon was struck with these errors. His century was prone to superstition as ours is to incredulity. In his time he sought to give honour to experimental philosophy; now he would feel the necessity to revive the internal source of morality, and to remind man that he exists in himself by feeling and will. When the times are superstitious, the spirit of observation is dulled, the physical world little known; when times are incredulous, enthusiasm no longer exists and there is no knowledge of the soul or of heaven.

At a season when the march of the human mind had no assured track, Bacon employed all his faculties to trace the road which experimental philosophy must follow, and his writings still serve as guides to those who wish to study Nature. As Secretary of State, he had been long occupied in administration and politics, and the strongest minds are those which unite the taste for meditation with business habits. Bacon was in both respects a prodigious intellect; but the same defect which showed itself in his character showed itself also in his philosophy. He was not sufficiently virtuous to feel entirely what man's moral liberty should be, although he can scarcely be compared to the materialists of the last century, and his successes have pushed his theory of experience far beyond his intention. He is far, I repeat, from attributing all our ideas to our sensations, and from considering investigation as the only method of discovery. He often follows a more adventurous course, and only employs experimental logic to put aside the prejudices which encumber his path. It is in the force of his genius alone that he trusts for advance.

Luther once said that the human mind was like a drunken peasant on horseback; when he is raised on one side he falls on the other. Thus man has been always balancing between his two natures. Either his thoughts are all abstracted from his sensations, or his sensations absorb all his thoughts, and he attributes everything alternately to the one or the other source. It seems to me that now the moment has arrived for a permanent doctrine, that metaphysics must submit to a revolution similar to that which Copernicus made in the system of the world. Our soul must be replaced in the centre, in like manner as the sun, round which external objects trace their course, and from which they borrow their light.

The genealogical tree of human knowledge, in which each science corresponds to a given faculty, is, doubtless, one of the titles of Bacon to the admiration of posterity. But his greatest glory is that he has proclaimed that it is impossible to separate one science from another, and that all are united in a general philosophy. He is not the author of that anatomical method which considers intellectual qualities each apart, and seems to misunderstand the admirable unity of the moral being. Feeling, imagination, reason, all help each other. Each of these faculties would be a disease, a weakness instead of a force, if it were not modified or completed by our whole nature. The arithmetical sciences need imagination at a certain height. Imagination, in its turn, must lean on an exact knowledge of nature. Reason appears the one of these faculties which could most easily dispense with the others, and yet if one were entirely devoid of imagination and feeling, one might, as it were, dry up, and become reason-mad, and, seeing nothing in life but calculation and material interests, deceive oneself as much in the characters and affections of men as would an enthusiast who fancied he saw everywhere disinterestedness and love. A false system of education is followed when the endeavour is to develop exclusively one or another quality of the mind. To devote oneself to one faculty is to take up an intellectual profession. Milton truly says that education is useless unless it fits a man for every employment either or war or of peace. The true object of education is to make a man a man. Only to know of a science that which is peculiar to it, is to apply to liberal studies that mechanical labour which belongs only to mechanical arts. When we arrive at that height, when each science touches all the others in some points, then we are near the region of universal ideas, and the air which comes thence gives life to all our thoughts. The soul is a hearth whose warmth radiates through the senses. It is in this warmth that existence consists. All the observations and all the efforts of philosophers must be turned towards the ego, centre, and motor of our sentiments and of our ideas. Doubtless the incompleteness of language compels us to use erroneous expressions; one must repeat, according to custom, such a man has reason, or imagination, or feeling, but if one wanted to be comprehended in one word, one need only say, "He has soul, he has much soul." It is that divine breath which makes the complete man.

More is taught by love of the mysteries of the soul than by the most subtle metaphysics. One does not become attached to any given quality in the person preferred, and the poets only repeat a great philosophic truth when they say, I love, but know not why, for that indescribable wherefore is the completeness and harmony which we recognize by love, by admiration, and by all those sentiments which reveal to us all that is deepest and most secret in the heart of another.

Analysis, being only able to examine by dissection, can only apply to dead nature, but it is a clumsy instrument to investigate that which is alive; and if it is difficult to define in words the living conception, which represents things to us in their completeness, it is precisely because this conception is akin to the very being of these things. To divide for the purpose of understanding is in philosophy but a sign of weakness, as it is in politics to divide in order to rule.

Bacon held, more than has been thought, that philosophy of ideas which has constantly appeared under different forms from Plato downwards.

Nevertheless, the success of his analytical method in the exact sciences has necessarily had an influence on his system of metaphysics. Others have taken in a sense more absolute than he had ever published it himself his doctrine of sensation considered as the origin of ideas. We can see clearly the influence of this doctrine in the two schools it has produced, those of Hobbes and Locke.

Hobbes held absolutely that philosophy which derives all our ideas from the impressions of our senses. He did not shrink from the consequences, and says boldly that the soul is subject to necessity, even as society to despotism. He admits the necessity for sensation for thought, and that of force for action. He annihilates moral liberty, even as civil liberty, truly believing that the one depends on the other.

The cultus of noble and pure sentiment is so solidly founded in England by its political and religious institutions that mental speculations could never overthrow these imposing supports. Hobbes had few partisans in his own country, but the influence of Locke was more general. As his character was moral and religious, he did not allow himself any of those corrupting deductions which must necessarily be derived from his system of metaphysics, and the majority of his compatriots, in adopting it, have had, like himself, the noble inconsistency of separating results from principles; whilst Hume and the French philosophers, having admitted his system, applied it in a much more logical manner.

The metaphysics of Locke have had no other effect on minds in England but to dull a little of their natural originality. If even they have dried up the source of great philosophical thought, they cannot destroy the religious sentiment. But this system of metaphysics, received in the rest of Europe except Germany, has been one of the principal sources of the immorality which has been formulated as a theory in order the better to secure its practice.

Locke has particularly endeavoured to prove that there is nothing innate in the soul. He was right, in so far as he always mingled in the sense of the word idea of development created by experience. The ideas thus conceived are the result of the objects that excite them, of the comparisons which join them, and of the language which facilitates the combination. But it is not so with the sentiments, the dispositions, the faculties, which constitute the laws of the human understanding, as attraction and repulsion constitute those of physical nature.

One thing worthy of remark is the argument which Locke is obliged to employ to prove that what was in the soul comes to us through our senses. If this argument leads to truth, doubtless one must surmount the moral repugnance it inspires; but, as a general rule, one may believe this repugnance to be an infallible sign of what one has to avoid. Locke wished to demonstrate that the consciousness of good and evil was not innate in man, and that he only recognised right and wrong, like red and blue, by experience. He sought carefully to this end, accounts of countries where customs and laws honoured crime, those in which it was a duty to kill one's enemy, to despise marriage, to put to death your father when he is old. He collected attentively all that travellers have related of cruelties that become custom. What, then, can be a system which inspires a man as virtuous as Locke with a thirst for such knowledge?

It may be said, whether these facts are sad or not, the important thing is whether they are true. They may be true: but what does that signify? Do we not know from our own experience that circumstances--that is to say, external objects--affect our manner of interpreting our duties? Enlarge these circumstances and you will find the cause of the errors of nations. But are there nations or races which deny that there are duties? Has any one ever maintained that there is no signification in the idea of right and wrong? The explanation may differ, but the conviction of the principle is everywhere the same; and in that conviction consists the primitive impress that is found in all human beings.

When a savage kills his aged father he believes he is doing him a service. He does not do it in his own interest, but in that of his father. The act is horrible; but is nevertheless conscientious, and if he is deficient in enlightenment it does not follow that he is deficient in virtue. The senses, that is to say, the external objects that surround him, blind him. The secret instinct that constitutes the hatred of vice and the respect for virtue does not exist the less in him, though experience has deceived him as to the manner in which such instinct should be manifested in action. To prefer others to yourself, when virtue commands it, is precisely the essence of the highest morality, and this noble instinct of the soul, in direct opposition to physical instinct, is inherent in our nature. If it could be acquired it could also be lost, but it is immovable because it is innate. It is possible to do evil believing you are doing good; it is possible to be criminal, knowingly and willingly; but it is not possible to admit as truth a contradiction, justice as injustice.

Indifference to good and evil is usually the result of a petrified civilisation, and this indifference is a far stronger argument against an innate conscience than the gross errors of savages. But the most sceptical men, if they are in any way oppressed, appeal to justice as if they had believed in it all their lives; and if their affections are tyrannised over, they invoke the name of equity with as much force as the most austere moralists. As soon as enthusiasm, be it of indignation or love, takes possession of our soul, it causes the sacred writing of eternal law to reappear.

If the chances of birth or of education make a man what he is, how could we condemn his actions? If our whole will is but the result of external influences, each might appeal to his particular circumstances as a motive for his conduct; and often these circumstances differ as much between inhabitants of the same country, as between an Asiatic and a European. If, therefore, environment were to become the divinity of mortals, it would be fair for each man to have a morality, or rather an absence of morality of his own; and to prevent the harm that the senses might counsel, there could be no sound argument to oppose, but only public authority to punish.

Therefore, if public authority commanded wickedness, the question would be resolved; let ideas be the offspring of the senses, and the result would be the most complete depravity.

The proofs of the spirituality of the soul cannot be found in the empire of the senses which rule the visible world. But the invisible world cannot be subjected to them. If the doctrine of spontaneous ideas is not admitted, if thought and sentiment depend on the senses, how can the soul in such a slavery be immaterial? And if, as no one can deny, most of the facts transmitted by the senses are subject to error, what ca a moral being be, who acts only when excited by external objects? and of objects, indeed, of which the appearance is often false.

A French philosopher says--using a very degrading expression--that thought is only a material product of the brain. This deplorable definition is the natural result of that philosophy which attributes to our senses the origin of all our ideas. If it is thus it is reasonable to laugh at all that is spiritual, and to call incomprehensible what cannot be touched. If our soul is but attenuated matter, set in motion by other elements more or less coarse, amidst which it has also the disadvantage of being passive; if our impressions and recollections are but the prolonged vibrations of an instrument played on by chance; then there are but fibres in our brain, and physical forces in the world, and all can be explained according to natural law. There may remain some little difficulties as to the origin of things and the aim of our existence, but the question is simplified, and reason counsels us to suppress the longings and hopes that genius, love, and religion arouse in us. Man would be but another machine in the great mechanism of the universe. His faculties would be but driving-wheels, his morality, calculation, and his worship, success.

Locke, believing in the depth of his soul in the existence of God, establishes his belief, without perceiving it, on reasons which are all beyond the sphere of experience. He affirms there is an eternal principle, a first cause of all causes. He enters thus into the sphere of the infinite, and the infinite is beyond all experience. But Locke had, at the same time, such a fear that the idea of God should be considered innate in man; it seemed to him so absurd that the Creator should have condescended like a great artist, to have engraved His name on our soul, that he strove to discover in all the accounts of travellers some people who had no religious belief. It can, I think, be boldly affirmed that such a people does not exist. The motion that raises us to the supreme intelligence is found in the genius of Newton, and in the soul of the poor savage, who worships the stone on which he was reposed. No man has ever held to this world alone, and all have felt in the depth of their heart at some period of their life an indescribable attraction for the supernatural. But how comes it that a man so religious as Locke persists in changing the fundamental character of faith into an accidental knowledge that chance may give or take away? I repeat, the tendency of a doctrine must always be reckoned in the judgment we give on the truth of that doctrine, for in theory the good and the true are inseparable.

All that is visible speaks to man of beginning and end, of decay and destruction. A divine spark in our only indication of immortality. From which of our senses does it come? All our senses struggle against it, and yet it triumphs over all. What, may one say, do not the means, adapted to ends, the marvels of the universe, the splendour of the heavens, attest the magnificence and goodness of the Creator? The text of Nature contradicts itself. We see in it the indications of evil and of good in almost equal proportions, and this is so, to enable man to exercise his liberty of choice between opposing probabilities, between balanced fears and hopes. The starry heaven appears to us as the threshold of divinity, but the evils and vices of man dull the celestial fires. One only voice, without words, but not without harmony, weak but irresistible, proclaims God in the depth of our heart. All that is really beautiful in man is the fruit of what he experiences internally and spontaneously. Every heroic action is inspired by moral liberty: the act of devoting oneself to the Divine will, that act which all our senses combat, and which enthusiasm alone inspires, is so noble and so pure that the angels themselves, virtuous by nature, and without hindrance, might envy it to man.

That philosophy which displaces the centre of life by supposing that its impulse comes from outside, strips man of his liberty and destroys itself; for there is no spiritual nature when it is so intimately related to the physical nature, that it is only for the sake of human dignity that they are distinguished. This philosophy is only consistent when, as in France, it is the source of materialism founded on the senses; and of the morality founded on interest. The abstract theory of this system took birth in England, but its consequences were not recognised. France had not the glory of discovery, but truly that of the application. In Germany since Leibnitz, the system and its consequences have been resisted, and it is well worthy of enlightened and religious men in all countries to examine, whether principles of which the results are so disastrous should be considered as incontrovertible truths.

Shaftesbury, Hutchinson, Smith, Reid, Dugald-Stewart, have studied the operations of our intellect with rare sagacity; the works of Dugald-Stewart in particular comprise so perfect a theory of the intellectual faculties that it may be considered the natural history of the moral being. Each person must recognise in it some portion of himself; whatever opinion one may have adopted as to the origin of ideas, no one can deny the utility of a work which has as its aim their course and direction. But it is not enough to observe the development of our faculties, it is necessary to descend to their source, so as to understand the nature and the independence of the will of man.

It cannot be considered as an idle question, that which endeavours to know if the soul has the power of feeling and thinking of itself. It is the question of Hamlet, "To be, or not to be?"