[From Brownson’s Quarterly Review for July, 1856.]
Pere Gratry is writing on all parts of philosophy, which he divides into Theodicea, or Knowledge of God, Psychology, Logic, and Ethics. His Psychology and Ethics, we believe, are not yet published. His Logic, published last year, is now before us, and a more unsatisfactory book of its pretensions it has seldom been our lot to read. Not that it is not learned; not that it is not full of rich and striking views on particular questions of great interest, and admirable practical remarks for the conduct of reason, but that it makes logic a mere development of psychology, and nowhere enables us to fix its basis in the reason and nature of things. After reading him, we find our head full of ideas and half ideas, but wholly ignorant even of what the author means by logic, and less able, apparently, than we were before to understand what logic is, or should be.
Logic, in the enlarged sense in which Pere Gratry would seem to understand it, is the most important part of philosophy, and the only part, as detached from theology, on which we set much value. A work on logic, determining the principles and the use of reason, giving us the science as well as the art of reasoning, and showing its foundation in the real order of things, and conforming to the order of being, is a desideratum, and, if executed by a master hand, would be of great utility to the progress of true scientific culture. Such a work, we are very sure, Pere Gratry meditated, and such a work it is possible he believes he has given us; but such a work we do not find in the one before us. We say not that it is without value, for such a man as Pere Gratry cannot possibly write two large octavo volumes without saying something, nor without giving a salutary impulse to the minds of his readings. Some questions he has treated with much science and sagacity. His remarks on the Causes of our Errors are worth considering. His treatment of the question of Certainty, and his explanation of the Infinitesimal Calculus, are worthy of very high commendation. We were pleased to find him maintaining that certainty is in seeing and knowing, and that he very properly eliminates the impertinent question, “How do we know that know!” To know is all that it is to know that we know, since it is impossible to know without knowing, and knowing that it is we who know. We are much obliged to him for his proofs, in opposition to some Thomists, that St. Thomas teaches that God is the light of reason, and that it is in and by the Divine Intelligibility that we see and know whatever we do see and know. We should have been pleased if we had found him proving that God is the immediate object of the intellect, or, at least, more distinctly recognizing the fact, though possibly he does this in his psychology.
We have not the space at the present to enter at length into the questions these volumes raise, or to justify by citations and analyses the rather unfavorable judgment we have finally pronounced upon their author as a philosopher. The points on which we were most anxious to consult them were, the elucidation of the dialectic process of reason, and the refutation of Pantheism, which the author told us in his Theodicea he reserved for his Logic. Our readers will recollect that we expressed ourselves puzzled to determine what he meant by his dialectic method, which he seemed to regard as a universal solvent of the mysteries of God, man, and nature. It was evident that he believed that he had got hold of something of vast reach and utility, which had never been fully and systematically recognized, and which was to throw a new and clear light on the great metaphysical problems, give a new impulse to science, and render it living and fruitful; something which would identify, in their principle, metaphysics, ethics, poetry, prayer, and the infinitesimal calculus. We could not see this in his Theodicea, a singular medley of eloquence and mathematics, of philosophy and theology, of mystic views and discursive tendencies, and we waited impatiently for his Logic, to be put in possession of his wonderful dialectics.
Well, we have his Logic, and a full elucidation of this thaumaturgic or theurgic process of reason, and we find that it is simply as we supposed, what every philosopher of any note has always recognized, and what every body practices. Reason, he says, has two processes, the syllogistic, whose principle is the principle of identity, or, as others say, of contradiction, namely, what is, is; or, the same thing cannot be and not be at the same time; and the inductive, or dialectic process, whose principle is the principle of transcendence, by which we rise from the finite to the infinite, not by way of deduction, but by way of induction. The peculiarity of his system is in the stress he lays on the second process, and the explanation he gives of it. Man, he assumes, is placed in relation with God as his object, who is for him at once the intelligible and the desirable. The root of the dialectic process is in the reason as will or love, seeking good, aspiring to truth, not under the relation of the intelligible, but the desirable, ---Simply the practical reason of Kant, as distinguished from the pure or simple speculative reason. Hence the author takes reason sometimes as our intellectual, and at other times as our moral faculty, and jumbles together ethics and metaphysics in hopeless confusion. He confounds the faculty which commands us to seek truth and goodness with the faculty that apprehends them, or to which they are affirmed. Reason, taken as the general name for our rational nature, is resolvable, we admit, into intellect and will, and is the subjective principle of both intelligence and love. But to know and to love are not one and the same thing, nor the exercise of one and the same faculty. Either deny the distinction of faculties altogether, or preserve to each its distinctive character. Dialectics based on love, or the desire of good, is ethical, not intellectual, and cannot be given as a method or process of reason, regarded as our faculty of intelligence. In supposing the contrary, Pere Gratry fails to understand the language alike of Plato and of the Christian mystics. We are ready to concede that the soul rises to God only be using her two wings, intelligence and love, and that pure love to God is the best preparation of the intellect to know God, as our final cause, and to penetrate the mysteries either of nature or revelation; but it is by virtue of the intellect thus prepared, not by the love that prepares it, that the soul seizes and appropriates the truth. The intellect is the light of love, which, save as enlightened by it, is a blind instinct, or an unsatisfied craving for it knows not what. We reject, then, wholly the doctrine of Pere Gratry, which confounds dialectics with love, and identifies in principle metaphysics, poetry, prayer, and the infinitesimal calculus, as we reject the doctrine of the Transcendentalist Emerson, who identifies gravitation and purity of heart. Analogy is not identity.
We can, then, regard induction, or the dialectic process, only as an intellectual process, ---a process of reason only in the sense that reason stands for our general faculty of knowing,---the faculty by which alone we know, in all the regions and degrees of knowledge. So taken, what is the theurgic process?* (Footnote: We use the epithet, theurgic, here by design, for it was precisely the exaggeration or abuse of this process that led to the theurgy of the Neoplatonists, as any one may see who has studied Plotinus and Proclus. Pere Gratry stands much nearer the precipice down which tumbled the Neoplatonists than he imagines, and has need of all his piety and theology to save him. End Footnote)
He describes it as that process by which, from the finite, the soul, by a sudden bound or spring [elan], rises to the infinite or clears the abyss which separates the finite and infinite. It does not deduce the infinite from the finite, for the finite does not contain it; but it supports itself on the finite, as what Plato calls an hypothesis, and rises to that which transcends it, and which is infinite. The soul apprehending the finite leaps at once to the infinite, by suppressing mentally all bounds or limitations. This is as intelligible as any thing not true can be; but we cannot accept it, for it supposes that the finite is apprehensible in itself, without the apprehensions of the infinite, which is a mistake. What is not intelligible cannot be apprehended, and without the infinite the finite does not exist, and there is nothing finite for the intellect to apprehend. If only being is intelligible, as Pere Gratry himself maintains, we can apprehend things only as they are; and as the finite is not without the infinite, it cannot be apprehended without apprehension of the infinite. This is fatal to Pere Gratry’s method of attaining to the infinite, and proves that the mind does not and cannot go from the finite to the infinite, either by deduction or induction. He may say very truly, and it is what he does say substantially, that the soul does not find in the finite object, be it what it may, that in which it can repose, or that which satisfies either its desire to know, or its craving to love, and, therefore, is impelled by its own wants to look beyond it, and rise above it, to that which is not finite, to that which is infinite, and is God, the adequate object alike of intellect and will. But this does not solve the intellectual problem, prove that the finite is apprehensible alone, or that we seize the infinite by making the finite our starting point. The aspiration of the soul to the infinite, by which it rises above the finite, conceals already an intuition of the infinite, of God as the supreme Good of the soul; and it is this intuition, this apprehension, clear or confused, which prevents the soul from ever being satisfied with a limited intellectual object, or with a finite good. It aspires to the infinite, because the infinite is intuitively before it, and everything else is too mean and transitory to satisfy it. The fact that the soul, when acting accordingly to its pure and loving nature, does on view of the finite rise in its contemplation to the infinite, we very cheerfully concede, but that it in this way at first gets possession of the infinite, or comes intellectually into relation with it, we deny. The dialectic process, as explained by Pere Gratry, is a process, if he pleases, by which we are led to contemplate the infinite in the reflective order, not a process by which we find it, because it presupposes the intuition of the infinite.
The infinite obtained by the dialectic process is a pure abstraction, and the author himself concedes it. He goes into a long, elaborate, and even luminous dissertation on the application of dialectics to mathematics, and shows that in the infinitesimal calculus the mathematician follows rigidly with dialectic process. The infinite of the mathematicians, whether the infinitely little or the infinitely great, is obtained dialectically, by mentally disregarding or suppressing all finite quantities, or in finite quantities the conception of limits or bounds. But he concedes that the infinite thus obtained is a pure abstraction, a pure idea in the mind. “We attain,” he says, “by the infinitesimal calculus, applied to pure geometry, the abstract idea of the infinite. That is all. Is he abstract infinite God? No. It is nothing. It is the God of Hegel, and Hegel is an atheist.” The process in the infinitesimal calculus, he maintains, is the same as in metaphysics. In metaphysics, as in geometry, then, the dialectic process attains only to the abstract idea of the infinite, the God of Hegel, which is nothing. How, then, does his dialectics refute Hegel? How by it does he rise to the infinite as real and necessary being; or how does it aid him in refuting modern Pantheism, reserved for his Logic, and to be a capital part of it?
We do not say Pere Gratry recognizes only an abstract infinite. We do not pretend that he has recognized no principles that refute Hegel. This would be exceedingly unjust to him, and contrary to the fact. What we say is that he does neither by his dialectic process, which is his pretension. He has devoted the whole of his second book to a criticism on Hegel and the refutation of Pantheism. It is very unsatisfactory. The excellent author forgets himself, and declaims instead of discussing, and denounces instead of refuting. He does not appear to have mastered Hegel’s doctrine, and nowhere treats it fairly. We hold that in refuting an author it is our duty to reproduce his doctrine, at least so far as we intend to make it the subject of comment, as he holds it in his own mind, and so far explain it that our readers may see the truth which he misconceived and misapplied. There is no other honest way of dealing with an author’s system, or rendering our discussions of erroneous systems of any advantage to the truth. To cite passages from an author which verbally contradict our own doctrines, and then pronounce him as a fool, a sophist, a man whose God is darkness, and not light, is not becoming the dignity of philosophical discussion. Hegel did not profess to be an Atheist or a Pantheist; he denied that he was earlier. We have no right to suppose that he did not intend to avoid both, and that if he has fallen into either error he has been deceived. The proper way to treat him is to point out the source of his deception, and to show what in his principles or method has misled him. We have no right to treat otherwise such a man as Hegel, certainly one of the master minds of modern Germany. Pere Gratry has not so treated him, and it is almost impossible from his citations to comprehend Hegel’s error.
Hegel understands as well as Pere Gratry the dialectic method of Plato, and follows it with as much rigor. Applied to pure geometry Pere Gratry concedes that it gives only the abstract infinite, which he says is nothing. Hegel applies it to metaphysics, and finds that it gives him in the last analysis, pure abstract being das reine Seyn, which is nothing real or determinate, and therefore identical with not-being. Hence he concludes with strict logic, that, in this sense, being and not-being, Seyn und Nichtseyn, are identical. Having by his dialectics been able to obtain, as his primum philosophicum, only pure being, abstract being, identical with not-being, he is forced to construct the universe on the principle of the identity of opposites,---the fundamental principle, according to Pere Gratry, of the Hegelian Logic. All that is erroneous in the Hegelian system, and which Pere Gratry so unmercifully ridicules, follows with an invincible logic, from the assumption of pure being, abstract being, as his primum philosophicum, and Pere Gratry virtually admits that the dialectic process, regarded as a purely intellectual process, can give no other primum philosophicum. How, then, by his dialectic process refute Hegel? You say that to assert the identity of being and not-being contradicts the principle of identity, the principle of the syllogism, and is absurd. Be it so. But what else do you, when you identify your abstract infinite with being,, as you must do if left to your dialects alone? To say something and nothing are the same is a contradiction, and therefore false. But your abstract infinite, you say, is nothing; yet you must hold it to be something, or else what have you gained by your infinitesimal calculus? This abstract infinite, you say, is nothing, and yet you proceed to identify it with God, who is all being, being in its plentitude. What then do you but assert that something and nothing, or nothing and something are Identical! We are prepared to prove by the most rigid logic, that, without admitting the antinomies of Hegel, and conceiving God as that in which all contradictions meet and are identical, Pere Gratry, reduced to his dialectics alone, cannot assert any God or real being at all. That God is affirmed to him as real being, being in its plentitude, intuitively, in another than a dialectic manner, and therefore he is not driven to Hegelism, we readily concede; but taking his dialectics as he himself defines the process, there is not one of the Hegelian contradictions or absurdities that he can escape. He does not then, by his inductive process, refute Hegel, if he takes it as an intellectual process, and as a moral process it is not applicable to the case.
Nor does Pere Gratry succeed better in his refutation of Pantheism. Pantheism is the philosophical heresy of our times, into which all heterodox speculation of a little nerve is sure to run. The first labor of the Catholic philosopher should be to refute it. It is not enough to show that it contradicts what Kant calls the practical reason, and is irreconcilable with our moral instincts and necessities. We must show that it repugns, not merely the process or methods of reason, but the principles without which reason cannot operate at all. We must refute it in its principle and show its adherents that they mistake the principle of reason which leads them to adopt it. There is no philosophy recognized in the schools that does this, no prevalent, philosophy in Europe or America that furnishes us the means of doing it. The great masters, such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas of Aquinas, Malebranche and Gerdil, do not in general deal with it, and do not formally adapt their philosophy to its refutation. Pere Gratry ought to have been able to meet it, because he is a modern man, is untrammeled by the schools, no slave of routine, and is professedly aiming to adapt philosophy to the wants of the age. But fancying that he had found every thing in his dialectic method, and so carried away by that as not to see the gaps to be filled up in philosophy as transmitted to us by tradition, he has failed to do it systematically and effectually. Indeed, restricted to his dialectics as an intellectual process, he cannot himself escape Pantheism. He defines this process, as we have seen, to be the passage of the soul by a sudden bound from the finite to the infinite. Take any finite existence, fix the mind on what is positive in it, and suppress its limits, conceive it as unlimited, and you have God. This is Pantheism, pure Spinozism. Yet Pere Gratry says it.
The dialectic method was defended by Plato, and is according to him, that process by which we detect the real in the phenomenal, the ideal in the contingent, the general in the particular, the species in the individual, or in every particular object presented to our apprehension what he calls idea. The idea he holds to be the form, the essence, the reality of the thing, that which must be known in order to have real or scientific knowledge of the thing supposed. It is that which is not phenomenal, but real, permanent, persistent, positive. Now let us seize this, and say that, stripped of its limitations, it is god. We simply identify all reality, all substances with God, and represent all not God as merely phenomenal, which is very nearly what Plato himself does, for he excludes creation, and supposes not creatures created after the ideas in the Divine Mind, but these ideas themselves detached from the Divine Mind, to which they nevertheless adhere, or from which they are held suspended, and impressed on eternal matter as the seal upon the wax; that is, he supposed the production of existences not by creation, but by the union of matter and form. Dialectics, therefore, taken as the process by which we attain to the apprehension of God, necessarily conducts to Pantheism. The process is safe only when we can include in it the principium tertii intervenientis, as Hegel calls it, but which he misapprehends. This principium is the creative act of God, the only possible passage from the infinite to the finite, or from the finite to the infinite. The error of Hegel was in, misconceiving this fact, and that of Pere Gratry is in not perceiving that it is necessary to correct and legitimate his dialectics. As a theologian he believes in creation, as a dialectician he fails to recognize it.
Pere Gratry is the last man towards whom we would be unjust, for he is a man of learning, ability, and devoted heart and soul to Catholic truth. We repeat that he is no Hegelian, no Pantheist, and he recognizes, though timidly, that God affirms himself intuitively to us as the intelligible and the desirable. This is much, and more than he seems to think. He does not like to say that we have intuition of God, we suppose, because he finds that word consecrated by the theologians to the view of God in his essence, which the saints have in the beatific vision; but he maintains with St Augustine, the Greek Fathers, and all great Catholic philosophers, that God is himself the principle and end of our reason, and that he is the immediate object of reason, not as he is in himself indeed, but as the intelligible and the desirable, or the objective light of reason, and seen by reason as the eye sees the light in seeing the object it illumines. We call this view of God intuitive, for in it God immediately, directly, without any thing interposed between his light and the eye of the soul, presents and affirms his own being’ but Pere Gratry calls it an indirect and implicit view of God, which proves to us that he confounds the intuitive order with the reflective. He maintains, that in this view of God, we have present to the mind the real being which responds to the abstract idea of the infinite of the mathematicians. In this way, so far as it concerns himself, he undoubtedly escapes Hegelism, but not, as he supposes, by the inductive process of reason. He does it intuitively, not inductively.
But though by the view of God which he recognizes, he is able to assert the infinite as real and necessary being, he does not yet escape Pantheism; for he does not, in his Logic, recognize any intuition of the creative act of God. He tells us in the preface to his Theodicea, that the question of creation will be treated in the Philosophy of Nature; but the refutation of Pantheism belongs to logic. Hence, he must suppose it possible to refute Pantheism without establishing the fact of creation. As a theologian, he holds, of course, the fact of creation, but as a logician he seems to have no use for it, although as a logician he pretends to refute Pantheism! The creative act cannot be deduced from the intuition of God, as real and necessary being, or the judgment, being is, nor can it be ascended to inductively from the finite; for without the creative act of God, the finite does not exist, and therefore is not apprehensible. We can apprehend things only as they are in the order of being. The finite is only in and by the creative act , and therefore can be apprehended only in apprehending that act itself. This important fact Pere Gratry entirely overlooks, and consequently, thought he asserts what we call intuition of God, he cannot assert any finite existences distinct from God, and created by him. All his erudition, all his citations from Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas, together with all his excessive admiration of the great philosophers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries fail to save his system, and to satisfy the necessities of a logic that is to refute modern Pantheists. Either we have intuition of the creative act of real and necessary being, as well as of real and necessary being himself, or it surpasses the power of human reason to prove creation; and if creation is not proved, Pantheism is not and cannot be refuted. This is what Pere Gratry seems not to have duly considered. Neither Plato nor Aristotle had any conception of creation. Both explained the production of existences as the union of pre-existing matter and form, and both, therefore, were at bottom Pantheists. Neither, therefore, did or could give us a logic that refutes Pantheism. The fathers and the scholastics were saved from Pantheism by Christian theology, and not having to combat directly philosophical Pantheism, they did not perceive the full defect of the Platonic or Aristotelian logic, nor feel the necessity of amending it. Subsequent philosophers have contented themselves with attempts to prove creation by logic, without considering that there is and can be no true logic that does not make the intuition of the creative act of God enter into its principium. The scholastic doctrine borrowed from Plato and Aristotle, that the intellect sees things only in their ideas or species, and that we apprehend individuals only by their phantasms, or the senses, or itself places philosophy on the route to Pantheism. This doctrine contains an error which arises from that other doctrine of Plato and Aristotle, that things are produced by the union of matter and form, which is true only when we add, mediante actu divino creative, always expressly or tacitly added by St. Thomas, but never by Plato or Aristotle, and seldom by our own philosophers not of the very first grade. The form is usually identified immediately with the idea, the species, and matter is described to be in potential ad formam. Matter and form, then, are but the possibilities of a real individual existence. Their union is simply the union of two possibilities, and how can it give real existence? O+O=A is a formula which we believe is not admissible in any system of mathematics. Yet this formula is the basis of the Aristotelian Logic, still the logic of our schools. Ideas, genera, and species, are simply the possibilities of things, and distinguished from God, are simple abstractions, and purely subjective. They are real, only in God, as the types, or models of things, which he does or may create, eternal in his essence, and identical with it. The union of these with matter described as simply in potential ad formam, that this, the possibility of their determination, does not give existences, for it gives nothing real extra Deum, and we have only God regarded as the possibility of things, which is pure Pantheism. The debate between the old Nominalists and Realists has been suspended rather than terminated. The Nominalists maintained that all real existences exist as individuals. So far they were right. Nothing real exists in genera or species; that is, genera and species do not exist in created nature. But when they added, that genera and species, or universals, are empty words, they were wrong, because they are real in God, as the types of models after which he does or may create existences. The Realists, in asserting their reality, if they meant by it their reality in God as the Divine ideas, types, or models of things, were right; but if they considered them as having reality when distinguished from God, and therefore not God, they were decidedly wrong; for that would suppose that things may exist in general and not in particular, in specie and not in individuo. Some of them seem to have held this, for they were greatly troubled with the question of individuation—the real pons asinorum of the schoolmen. Holding that God creates existences in genera and species, they were obliged to ask, what are individuals, and how are they produced? As created individuals are said to be composed of matter and form, and matter being only the possibility of formal determination, they defined the individual to be the determination of the species, which supposes the individuality to be a mere circumscription or limitation of the species. This in turn implied that the individual is negative, and as an individual has no real existence at all, and is real only in the species, the idea, the form, as Plato and Aristotle both taught. Now come in with your dialectics, which seizes the general in the particular, the species in the individual, and you are on the declivity to modern Pantheism. The scholastic doctrine is true, if you amend it by saying that God creates individual existences, and all existences in individuo, after genera and species, or ideas, types or models, which are eternal in his own mind or essence, as the architect builds a temple after an idea, plan, or model in his own mind. The genera and species are not the reality of things, --the error of Pantheism, ---but the possibilities of things, and are really related to real existences only mediante actu creative divino, as the Creator to the creature. We can say the individual is the determination of the species, only when we understand determination in the sense of creation from nothing.
Undoubtedly, we see things in the intelligible species, in their ideas, as the schoolmen teach, for we see all things in God; but we see them as they are, not as they are not. As in God, they are possible, not actually existing things. What we see in God is God, who is their possibility. Hence things, as seen in God, are merely possible things, not actually existing things, distinct from God. We see actual things not in God, but by him; not in their ideas or species, where they are only possible, but by him; since God is the light of our reason, and we see all that we do see by his light,--- the intellectus agens of St. Thomas, which furnishes the species intelligibiles, by which we apprehend intelligibles. What we see are things, individual things, as they really exist; not simply the species, or idea exemplaris, as St. Thomas himself teaches, in maintaining that the intelligible species is not that in which the mind terminates, but that by which it attains to or knows intelligibles, or real existences. It is not true, that the intellect apprehends only genera and species, or, in the language of Plato, ideas; it apprehends by them individuals, and things themselves, against Rosmini and the Sensists, who maintain that individual, or real, determinate existences are only apprehended by the senses, or known, as the schoolmen would say, only by their phantasms.
The Aristotelian Logic amended in the sense we have here indicated would have answered the wants of our age, and if Pere Gratry had so amended it, he would have done an immense service to philosophical science. But he is not aware that it needs amendment in its principles, and he seems to imagine that the nearer we can restore it to the state in which Aristotle left it, the better. He has done nothing for the principles of Logic; he has only given new prominence to the dialectic process, which the eighteenth century had neglected, but which in so far as it is an intellectual process, or a process of the intellect as distinguished from the will, had already received as much prominence as he gives it, from the heterodox philosophers of Germany, and had been proved by them to conduct to Pantheism. He grapples only with the question of method, which is a secondary question, and should follow, not precede, the question of principles. The methods or processes of reason are given in reason itself, and are always followed by every one who reasons, by the unlettered peasant, or simple rustic, as faithfully and as rigidly as by a St. Thomas or St. Augustine. But no man can reason without data, principles, or what we call the premum logicum. Unhappily for philosophy, the question of principles, since Descartes appeared with his ignorance, frivolity, and philosophical ineptness, which even respectable men have not disdained to admire, has been postponed to that of method, and in fact all philosophy has been reduced by no less an authority than Victor Cousin to simple method. All philosophy, says the brilliant Frenchman, is in method. Given a philosopher’s method, it is easy to determine his philosophy. But method does not give principles, for every method presupposes them. The primum logicum is attainable neither deductively nor inductively; for neither deduction nor induction can proceed without a datum, something known, as its principium, or point of departure. Now without determining this, without fixing the first principles, which are neither subjective reason nor its processes or modes of activity, we have no basis for our logic, and can have no logical science. We may, indeed, have logic as an art, but not as a science. This principle, or this Primum, that which logic presupposes, is the only point in our logical treatises that is defective, or inaccurately treated. There was no need of a new work on logic as an art, for to logic as an art nothing could be added, and nothing was needed to be added to it as practiced in the schools. As an art it was perfected by the ancients. The defect is in logic as a science, and precisely in regard to its principle or foundation.
Pere Gratry has thrown no light on the principles of logic, and has done nothing to fix its point of departure. He does not understand, if he does, he does not show it, that logic must follow the order of reality, and therefore that the primum logicum must be coincident with the first principle of things. His grand error is in regarding logic as a development of psychology. Logic, he says in his Theodicea, “is the development of psychology, and studies the soul in its Intelligence, and the laws of that intelligence.” This is a capital error, and necessarily vitiates his whole logical system, and renders it impossible for him to give us a logic of the least conceivable scientific value. A logic which has its basis in psychology, and merely developes the human faculty of intelligence, can never assert objective reality. This Kant has forever demonstrated in his Critik der reinen Vernunft, and Pere Gratry, if he did but know it, is at bottom, as a philosopher simply a Kantian, and implicitly contains Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. His speculative reason, like Kant’s, leads simply to nihilism, and he has to fall back on the practical reason, or the moral reason, in order to assert any reality at all; that is, he asserts, God, man and nature, because there would be great practical inconvenience in denying them. The Aristotelian Logic was defective, but not false; Pere Gratry’s is far inferior, and far otherwise objectionable. Aristotle’s ontology was defective, and hence the defect of his logic, but he was incapable of the folly of making his logic simply a development of psychology. Pere Gratry professes profound admiration for Plato and Aristotle. How happens it, then, that he did not learn from them that logic must proceed from a primum ontologicum, and develop the order of things, not merely the order of conceptions? Logic must have its principles in ontology, or it can give only the soul and its affections, and develop itself only in abstractions, which are all, inasmuch as abstractions, purely subjective, the human mind itself.
No doubt, Pere Gratry holds that there must be reality to correspond to the conceptions of the mind; but his misfortune is that he supposes the mind passes from itself to the objective reality, and that the ontological and the psychological are successive, not simultaneous in the order of thought. His Logic is not based on the ontological, but is an instrument by which the mind is to attain to it. Thus he makes perception a sort of induction, by which we pass from the internal impression to the external object. But this passage is impossible. The Idealists have settled that point. The perception is itself objective, and in perceiving it we recognize ourselves as the recipient of its affirmation. His ontology he asserts as a theologian, on his faith as a Christian, not as a philosopher, by virtue of natural reason; and his book really retains traces of the errors of the Traditionalists. The great Catholic philosophers whom he cites, till we are almost weary of seeing their names, may not have developed sufficiently on all points their ontological principles, but they never make them an induction or a deduction from the psychological or subjective, and never lay down principles which imply that the ontological is not intuitively evident to natural reason.
The truth is, as we apprehend it, that Logic is a mixed science, but in so far as it is ideal or necessary, it is ontological and rests on an ontological basis given intuitively and simultaneously with the empirical or psychological. “Deus similitude est rerum omnium,” God is the similitude of all things, that is, all things, created things, have their type or idea exemplaris in him, and imitate or copy his creative act in order of second causes. Pere Gratry maintains that all creatures have their type in God and copy him. It is the common doctrine of St. Augustine, St. Thomas, and all great philosophers. The point that he may be disposed to dispute is that creatures, as second causes, imitate the creative act of God; for his grand defect is in contemplating God solely in his being, and not in his creative act, and as final cause rather than as first cause, in which respect he shows himself more of a mystic than metaphysician. But either creatures are second causes or they are not. If not, they are merely phenomenal, and we must be Pantheists, for the essence of Pantheism is in denying the second causes. If creatures are second causes, then, as they have confessedly their type or exemplar in God, they must in order of second causes copy or imitate the divine creative act.
Logic proceeds from the proposition or judgment, and every proposition or judgment must have three terms, subject, predicate, and copula. The ultimate basis of logic must be the divine proposition or judgment, which is a real ontological judgment, and which the proposition or judgment in the order of second causes must copy or imitate. Now to determine the real scientific basis of logic, we must determine what is this divine proposition or judgment, copied or imitated by the human; for this is the true, real primum logicum. It must be the primum ontologicum, or principal of things, or our logic will not conform to the order of reality, and will give us an abstract world, a world of pure mental conceptions, not the world of real existences. The principle of things is not real and necessary being, or the simple judgment. Being is, for that, we have seen, implies Pantheism. The principle of things is not God regarded as simple being, but God creating things, since things, as distinct from God, can exist only by his creative act. The true primum ontologicum is, Being or God creating things or real existences. The ontological or divine judgment then must be, God creates existences. God creates existences is then the primum logicum. This is a judgment or proposition, for it has the three terms, subject, predicate, and copula. Real and necessary being is the subject, and is not and cannot be either predicate or copula; for real and necessary being cannot be created, or the predicate of any subject, but itself. Things or existences are a true predicate, for they do not exist, that is, are not being in themselves, and are only as joined to the subject. Creates is a true copula, and joins the predicate to the subject, and the only copula conceivable, for existences are predicable of God only mediante his creative act, since it is only by that act that they are at all. It is ontological, because it expresses the real order of things. This, then, is the divine proposition, the exemplar of ours, and the true ontological basis of logic, which logic does not find, but which it presupposes, and without which it is not conceivable.
This divine judgment being the exemplar, and therefore the first cause of ours, and without which the human proposition which copies it is as impossible as human existence itself without the creative act of god, must be affirmed intuitively to us by God himself. To suppose that we by our own efforts attain to it, and obtain possession of it, would be an error of precisely the same character with that of supposing we can create ourselves as existences. We do not and cannot exist as rational or logical beings without it. It must be divinely affirmed to us in intuition, as the very condition of our being capable of acting as rational beings, or of exercising reason, and therefore must be affirmed or communicated in the same act that creates us reasonable or intelligent beings. It is not innate in the sense of pertaining to our subjective nature, but is connate, an invariable, and permanent fact, reason itself, in the sense of objective reason; not, indeed, our reason, but its divine light, which enlightens every man coming into this world, and without which our reason would be as the eye without the external light. Pere Gratry cannot really object to this, for up to a certain point he maintains it, and proves not only that it is the doctrine of St. Augustine, but also of St. Thomas, which some Thomists deny. The only objection any one can make to it is in supposing that intuition, like reflection, is our act, and therefore that implies our natural ability, without God, to see God, which is not admissible. But in the intuition it is God himself acting, the Divine Judgment affirming itself, and we are only the recipients of the intuition, as we are in the case of every intuition. We are in all intuition simply spectators, and are active only in the sense of receiving it.
This judgment is affirmed in the intuition ontologically in all terms. Here is the only point where Pere Gratry would separate from us. He concedes the subject, real and necessary being, that is, God affirms himself to the view of the soul, and that our intellect is constituted by the intuition of the Divine Reason or intelligibility, and that it can see only by the light of God that enlightens it. Hence he resolves all certainty into the veracity of God. But he does not seem to understand that the intuition---view, he calls it---embraces at once the whole judgment simultaneously in its three terms, and in their actuality. But without the three terms it is no real judgment. We suspect that while he would concede the subject is affirmed immediately as real and necessary being, he is inclined to regard the predicate and copula as affirmed only in their possibility, or idea. But this reduces the proposition to the simple judgment, Being is, for the creative act and existences in their possibility or idea are included in the subject, since as possible or ideal they are real only in real being, and are identically the Divine Essence. To be a real proposition the judgment must affirm the predicate and copula, not in idea only, but also in their actuality, that is, real and necessary being actually creates actual existences. So that we have no room to ask whether God actually creates existences or not.
The ontological basis of logic is this ontological proposition, intuitively affirmed, and a logic based on this Primum will conform to the other of things, for it starts from the ontological data which include all things in their real relation. God and existences include all reality, and the creative act expresses the real relation between God and existences, and contains the principle of all relation. This divine proposition is the type of every proposition, and is repeated or imitated in every proposition, in the order of second causes, whatever the matter to which it refers. In the divine proposition the subject places the predicate, for the copula is the creative act; so in the order of second causes, the subject places its predicate, and the nexus is not merely passive as logicians too often pretend. The predicate is joined to the subject by the act of the subject, as in the syllogism, the premises produce or place the conclusion. The recognition of this would have enabled Pere Gratry to have given a briefer and a far more satisfactory account of the infinite in geometry. The infinite in geometry belongs to the ideal part of mathematics, and the ideal always and everywhere is God, real and necessary being. The mathematical infinite is not an abstraction, though the mind may consider it in abstracto, when acting in the order of reflection, but an intuition of God, and without that intuition the infinitesimal calculus were an impossible absurdity.
Now what we want is a logic constructed on the basis of the divine ontological proposition intuitively affirming itself. Neither Plato nor Aristotle could have constructed such a logic, because both misconceived the copula. The Fathers and mediaeval doctors did not misconceive the copula or creative act, but they did not give its formula with the other two terms. Since Descartes there has been no philosophy worth naming in Europe. Gioberti has supplied the gap left in the logic of the schools, but his memory is in bad odor. M. Branchereau, who merits well of philosophy, has attempted to supply, and with some success, on Gioberti’s principles, the important gap in the Aristotelian Logic, and has produced a very good text-book, but unhappily with too much of the abstruseness and dry technicality of the later scholastics. He has all the abstractions which belong to logic as a development of psychology, as if here wrote more to conceal than openly to express the truth. He does not seem to feel himself free to express fully his convictions. A true ontological logic, that will proceed from the real principle of things and follow the order of reality, is still a desideratum, and he who will prepare and publish it, will render an important service to philosophy, and even to theology. We are passing through one of these crises which render old forms obsolete, and demand new scientific forms and expressions, to meet the new errors and heresies that spring up. It is for us Catholics to meet and satisfy this demand, and nowhere are Catholics more free to do it than they are here, in this republican country.
In our last number we gave a brief and hasty notice of the Abbe Gratry’s profound and learned work, and intimated that we might resume on a future occasion our examination of it. We regret that we have not seen the author’s promised work on Logic, in which he had proposed to develop and vindicate his geometrical method of providing the existence of God, for it is possible that he may in that work have advanced something which will require us in some respects to modify the objections we urged in our former article against that method. We should be glad to find the author in the right, for he is a man from whom we do not like to dissent, and from whom we cannot dissent without an uncomfortable feeling. But as at present informed, we must abide by the objections to his method which we have urged. We are bound in justice to the excellent author, certainly one of the ablest and most learned men in France, and with whom we have numerous points of sympathy, to confess that the more deeply we study his volumes, the more highly do we appreciate them; and we are not a little pleased to find that they have meet with a success very unusual in the case of works so really learned and profound. We see that they have some time since passed to a second edition, and perhaps a third edition may already be called for. The author is just such a man as France in our times of needs, and he can hardly fail to exert a wide and salutary influence on the French mind. He is in a good sense a man of his age, and admirably fitted to bring out and render popular those great philosophical principles, which are now so much needed to reconcile conflicting parties, and to restore to full vigor and activity our expiring intellectual life. Amid the despotism of an exaggerated supernaturalism and a new-fangled Cesarism on the one hand, and the no less odious despotism of socialism, Red Republicanism, or centralized democracy, on the other, it is refreshing to hear a free voice speak out in true manly tones, in defense alike of a reason and of revelation. Even one such voice goes far to redeem the age. It proves that our God has not abandoned us to our own folly and wickedness, and that we are still under his gracious providence. Whatever faults we have found or may still find with the author on certain points, we look upon him as one whom god has raised up to render most important services, in these unhappy times, to the cause of truth, both natural and revealed. The real differences us and M. Gratry, in regard to philosophical matters, are not, we apprehend, after all, so great as they appear. Every man who really philosophizes who really thinks, and not merely repeats, has his own special point of view, and in some respects a language of his own. No two men approach the same problems under precisely the same aspect, or use even the same general terminology in precisely the same sense. M. Gratry denies that we have or can have naturally direct and immediate intuition of God, and maintains that our natural view of him is indirect and implicit only; yet we think a few words of mutual explanation would show that there is between him and us no essential difference even on this point. He maintains, after St. Augustine, Malebranche, and Fenelon, that we see things by the light of God (la lumiere de Dieu), which alone renders them visible either to the senses or the intellect. What more have we ourselves said?
The light of god, which renders things visible or intelligible to us, is, according to the author, as well as according to St. Augustine, and Fenelon, God himself, in relation with our intellective faculty, and therefore not distinguishable from God. It is the divine intelligibility, and therefore the divine being itself. It must be either God or something created, quid creatum; for there is no intermediate existence between God and creature. Whatever is not creature is God, and whatever is not god is creature. The author does not hold that this light is created, for he distinguishes it with Fenelon from our light or reason. He represents it as the light of our light, the reason of our reason, the medium by which created intelligences see or apprehend the world and our own soul. It must then be not creature, but God as Fenelon asserts, when he asks, “Is not this the God I seek?”
But if God is the light which enlightened every man coming into this world, if he is the light by which we see our own soul and created things, the medium by which they are visible to us, we do not see how the author can deny direct and immediate intuition of God. He vindicates the right to explain intellectual vision by the analogy of sensible vision. Now in sensible vision the light is that which first strikes the eye, and is that which is first, directly, and immediately seen. Other objects are seen by it as the medium of their visibility. IN intellectual vision it must, if the analogy holds, be the same. Then the view of God as the light, or intuition of God as the intellectual, cannot be indirect and implicit only, as the author maintains, but must, on his own principles, be direct and immediate.
We must bear in mind that God is intelligible in himself, that is, intelligible without any borrowing light, and that all creatures in themselves are unintelligible. Objects are invisible in the dark, and are visible only when illumined by a borrowed light. St. Thomas teaches that man, that is, the human soul, is in itself unintelligible. This being so, it follows necessarily that created things can be intelligible to a created or participated reason, such as is ours, only as rendered intelligible or as illuminated by an uncreated light, that is, by the light of God, or the light of his own eternal being; that is, again, only as enlightened by him, or made intelligible by his own intelligibility. He then is himself the medium of their visibility, and of our apprehension of them. Then, since the medium must be immediate, for if not we should be obliged to suppose an infinite series of mediums, and is that which is seen itself without a medium, we are forced to say, with Malebranche, that “we see creatures by God,” and that our view of him is direct and immediate, unless we are prepared to say that we can see objectives by the light without seeing the light itself.
The author shrinks from this conclusion, and says: “the soul in the present state does not see God directly. It sees itself and its ideas in the light of God, as the eye sees objects in the light of day. But to see the day is not the same thing as to see the sun itself, although the day comes from the sun; to see colors and he forms of objects is still not to see the sun, although forms are visible only under the sun, and colors are only the very light of the sun, broken, refracted, and partially reflected by objects. So it is impossible to say that every idea, every view, every cognition, is immediately and directly an intuition of God, although there can be no idea without God, and every cognition implies God, as every sensible vision implies the day, and the sun’s presence as its source.” This is very well said, and would be conclusive against us if we were at liberty to suppose a distinction between God and his light, analogues to that between the sun and the day, or between the sun and the light. The sun elicits the light, but is not itself the light: it makes, in the order of second causes, the day, but is not itself the day. The analogy therefore will not hold, for God is himself in his own being the light, and not simply its occasion or cause. To distinguish the light from God, as we distinguish the day from the sun, would be to make the light a creature, something created, and therefore in the last analysis to identify it with our own created reason, or with the created objects rendered visible or intelligible by it. We must therefore reject the distinction, and say, not indeed that every idea, every view, every cognition, is a direct and immediate intuition of God, but that in every idea, view, or cognition there is immediate and direct intuition of him, as in every vision there is sensible object is seen.
But in sensible vision, though we directly and immediately see the light, that is, see it without any medium between it and the eye, we do not see it in and by itself alone. We apprehend the light only in apprehending the object it illuminates, and only as it reflected from the illuminated object to the eye. So in intellectual vision, we directly and immediately, in the same sense, apprehend God, but not in and by himself alone. We apprehend him only in apprehending creature’s inminous by his light, and only as he, so to speak, is reflected or mirrored by them. Here we are not left to doubt or speculation, for St.Paul says expressly, Videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate,- We see God per speculum; that is, in a mirror. To see him in himself, to see him alone, by himself, separate from the perception of the illuminated object, is not naturally possible; for if it were, the beatific vision would be possible without the ens supernatural, or light of glory. If therefore what the author means to deny is that we see God in himself, directly and immediately by himself, not as reflected or mirrored by his works, we fully agree with him. But this no catholic, not even Gioberti, ever affirms. What we mean by the direct and immediate intuition of God is, not that we see him separate from his works, in himself, but that we see him without any medium between him and the eye of mind. As between the eye and the light, the intuition of the light is direct and immediate, just as much so when reflected from the illuminated body as when seen by and in itself; so as the light which is God strikes the eye without any thing between it and the object it illuminated, we say we have direct and immediate intuition of God, although he strikes the eye only in illuminating created things.
The author says that Malebranche, instead of saying, “We see that creatures by God,” should have said, with St. Paul, “We see creatures.” As we understand the matter, we ought to say both. St. Paul nowhere teaches that we can see creatures without God illuminating them, and we certainly see nothing in what we hold inconsistent with what he says of our seeing him by creatures. Invisibilia ipsius, a creatura mundi, per ea que facta sunt, intellect, conspiciuntur; sempiterna quoque ejus virtus, et divinitas, is truth for us as well as for our author. We believe both propositions may be and are true. The dispute arises from the faet that most philosophers overlook the primitive synthesis of thought. Malebranche says truly that it is by God that we see creatures, but having assumed very unnecessarily that we see God without creatures, and that it is in him that we see creatures, he was unable to affirm logically any actual creatures at all; for creatures seen in God are their ideas or archetypes, possible creatures, not actually existing creatures. He had a possible creator and a possible creation, nothing more, and in order to explain our perception of actual existences he was obliged to resort to what is called occasionalism, and to assume that our ideas of things are produced in us by the immediate and direct action of Gog on occasion of our impressions and sensations. Spinoza and our modern Germans, starting with the same assumption that God is seen or apprehended without creatures, lose creation itself, and fall into unmitigated pantheism. Startled by this conclusion, our author says we must say, “We see God by creatures.” But if he understands by this that we can see creatures without seeing God, he will owe it to his theology, not to his philosophy, if he does not lose God and fall into unmitigated atheism. Indeed, nearly all ancient and modern philosophy tends, when not corrected by theology, to one or the other of these two errors.
The only way to avoid both errors is to recognize the fact that the primitive thought is a synthesis, and that God and creature in their real relation are given primitively and simultaneously, in one and the same intuition, neither, chronologically considered, prior to the other. Modern philosophy can boast of having stated and established two important facts, which had not previously been clearly and distinctly recognized. These facts are,--1. That thought is the joint product of subject and object, and can be the product of neither alone. Therefore both must precede thought, be independent of it, and therefore really exist. Here is the refutation of both idealism and skepticism. 2. That thought is not only a synthesis inasmuch as it includes both subject and object in their join activity, but is also a synthesis inasmuch as it embraces the object synthesis, or God and creatures in their real relation in the order of being. Philosophers long disputed about the passage from the subjective to the objective, and from the objective to the subjective. It is now seen that there is no passage from the one to the other, and that none is needed, because one is never given in thought without the other, but both are given simultaneously, though distinctively. Philosophers have also disputed about a scientific passage from the idea of creature to that of God, and from the idea of God to that of creature. We think it has been conclusively shown that no such passage is possible or needful, for both terms in their real relation are given immediately and simultaneously in the primitive intuition, and neither is left to be deduced from the other. We never think God without thinking creature, nor creature without thinking God. The one term is never apprehended without the other and never the one save by the apprehension of the other, any more than we can apprehend the light without the body illuminated, or the body without the light that illuminates it. If philosophy, as we hold, has succeeded in establishing these two capital facts, it has at length succeeded in harmonizing itself with theology, and placing itself in perfect accord with revelation,--one of the great aims of the Abbe Gratry in the volumes before us.
All sound philosophy, as we many years ago maintained, must be synthetic. The grand error of philosophers in all ages has been in overlooking the primitive synthesis of thought, and endeavoring to deduce all natural truth from a single term. M. Victor Cousin saw this error, and sought to avoid it by what he called eclecticism; but unhappily his eclecticism was no genuine eclecticism at all, but a crude syncretism. Pierre Leroux saw clearly enough where M. cousin failed, and recognized and distinctly set forth the synthesis of thought as to subject and object, but failed to recognize the synthesis in the object, or he ideal synthesis. Gioberti, with a rare sagacity, detects the objective, or ideal synthesis, and shows that the intuitive object is the synthesis of being and existence in their real relation, expressed in the formula, being creates existences, Ens creat existentias; and thus escapes the syncretism of Cousin and the pantheism of Leroux. The other synthesis, the one so fully developed and so greatly exaggerated by Leroux, Gioberti seems, as far as we are acquainted with his writings, to have left undeveloped. He implies it, but clearly and distinctly apprehended it. Consequently he fails to present to the common philosophic understanding a psychology in harmony with his ontology, which is the principal reason, we suspect, why his ontology has encountered so much violent opposition. He is understood either as neglecting psychology or as deducing it from his ontology, and therefore is supposed to favor pantheism; whereas his real doctrine, is that the psychological and the ontological are given simultaneously, the one by the other, and never the one without the other. This he affirms over and over again; but this he does not show, as he might by the analysis of thought regarded as a fact of consciousness. On this point he might have profited by Leroux, for whom as an intellectual man he expresses a contempt which we are very far from sharing.
The merit of Leroux is not in discovering, but in developing the fact, that both subject and object enter into every thought. What concerns the object, the ontological element of thought, Gioberti has well developed, but he has left undetermined, in great obscurity, the psychological element, or the part of the subject. Undoubtly the object, the ideal formula, according to Gioberti, presents and affirms itself, to the subject, or the human reason, which has and must have its part in the affirmation; for it is that apprehends what is presented and affirmed. It will no more do to assert the pure passivity of the subject in the fact of intuition, that the pure passivity of the object. Thought is always psychological as well as ontological, subjective as well as objective; and we can never be more certain that the object presents itself, than we are that we apprehended it. This apprehension or this intuition of the object is a subjective act, as well as an objective act, for in fact it is the joint action of two concurrent activities. Gioberti implies, indeed concedes, this; but he passes it over to lightly, and makes, apparently at least, too little of the subjective activity. The subject enters actively into every intuition, as well as into every reflection.
But the subject enters for what it is, according to the laws of its own nature, and therefore philosophy must analyze the subject as well as the object; an as the psychological is not explicable without the ontological, so is the ontological not explicable to us without the psychological. As we have recognized an objective synthesis, and a synthesis of subject and object, so must we in fact recognize a subjective synthesis; for the subject in all its operations acts as it is and according to its own nature. Man is defined by the schoolmen to be a rational animal, and reason includes at once and indissolubly intellect and will, the faculty of apprehending the true and that of inspiring to the good,--of knowing and of loving. Every thought Is at once a perception of intellection and aspiration, or of knowing and loving, that M. Gratry devotes no inconsiderable portion of his work. In most of our philosophical systems, knowing and loving, intellection and aspiration, are disjoined, and regarded as operating in some sense independently one of the other, and hence science is presented without life, and morality without light. The one is blind, the other is lifeless. Our systems therefore do not accord with reality, for in actual life reason operates as understanding and will, intellect and love. To bring our systems into harmony with reality, we must then, in addition to the two synthesis we have already signalized, add a third, that of intellect and will, perception and aspiration, or knowledge and love.
We here experience some difficulty in expressing our meaning, for nearly all the terms we must have been on one side or another abused. When we speak of rational love we are in danger of being understood to speak of sensitive love, or of favoring modern sentimentalism. The Greek Eros in our times is confounded with the Greek Anteros, and erotic have only a bad sense. The difficulty is to speak of rational love without being misunderstood, on the one hand, to speak of the operations of free-will, or on the other, of the love of the senses, or carnal love. The love of which Plato speaks is in our sensual age reduced to a licentious love. Nevertheless love is a word we must use, and the love or affection which Plato represents as one wing of the soul must be recognized, and reaffirmed.
In reason as a faculty of the human soul we must distinguish three things, intellect, will, and free-will. Free – will, arbitrium liberium, is the subjective principle of all virtue and morality strictly so called; but we must distinguish it from will taken generally. Free-will is simply the faculty of election, and without it man could be the subject neither of praise nor blame. But all our theologians distinguish between will and free-will, the voluntarioum and the liberum. Cousin makes the distinction a distinction between the spontaneous will and the reflective will, the in deliberate and the deliberate, which we may accept, if we confine our praise or blame to the acts of deliberate will.
Now if we consider will in this sense as distinguished from free-will, which in us is deliberate, not spontaneous, we shall find with St. Thomas, that it is appetitive, and really the element of what Plato calls love, or of rational love as distinguished from love of the senses. It operates rationally, but indeliberatly. Its essential nature is to become one with its object, the nature of all love, and, if we consider it, of all violation. Being an integral element of reason or the rational soul, it necessarily enters into every rational operation of man, and plays an undivided part in every thought. Hence it is that every object of the mind is apprehended alike as the object of intellect and of will, of knowledge and of love, therefore under the forms of the true and the good. We can then give in our philosophical systems a correct account neither of the subject nor of the object, -- in the barbrons language of some writers, the me and the not- me (le moi et le nom-moi), -- without recognizing both intellect and will; for as the subject can operate only in concurrence with the object, it could not operate at all were the object not simultaneously the object of both, and therefore under the aspect apprehended good as well as true.
But though soul operates simultaneously in all its operations as intellect and will, the will is the commanding faculty, the monarch of the mind, as it has sometimes been called, and it is in some sense as its servant, not as its master, that the intellect operates. The motive power of all intellectual life is the will, love, the love of good. This love of the good is resolved by many into the desire of happiness, or of our own beatitude, and hence the desire of happiness is said to be the spring and motive of all our natural actions. That there is in this love of good a reference to self, to our own good, is certain from the fact that the subject enters into all its operations; but as the object also enters, there is also a love of the object, of the good for its own sake, and in the purest and highest kind of love, the soul seeks the union desired by giving itself wholly to the object, rather than by appropriating the object to itself. But be this as it may, this love of good is at the bottom of our whole intellectual life. It is the spring and motive, or rather mobile, of all our actions, and must therefore hold the first place in our philosophy, whether we speak of the subject or of the object.
The great merit of M. Gratry, in our view, consists in his recognition and development of his truth, --in taking his point of departure in reason on the side of love rather than on the side of intellect, and in the object under the form of the good rather than under the form of the true. In our previous article we pointed out the dangers to which this mode of considering the question is exposed, especially that of falling into an unintelligible mysticism on the one hand, or an unintelligent sentimentalism on the other. But this danger does not grow out of M. Gratry’s doctrine itself, or even in his statements taken in themselves. It grows out of the perversion of men’s minds and hearts in our times, which leads them to misapprehend or misinterpret the truth, however clearly and guardedly expressed. But this is a risk that must be run. The doctrine is sound and important, and perhaps the danger will much diminish, if we are careful to state what M. Gratry does not take the trouble to state, that will is a rational faculty, and therefore the love we speak of is not a blind love. Reason, which is alike the general faculty of knowing and loving, exists always in its unity, and its operations are simultaneously knowing and loving, and therefore in the love itself there is not only the desire, but the intuition, of good. Individuals differ, and in some the knowing and in others greater grace of love. Science may in this predominate over love; in that, love over science. Not every saint of equal heroic love is qualified to be a doctor of the church. True heroic love may be found in souls of no great intellectual capacity, and with but little knowledge. Nevertheless, rational love is never wholly blind, and in all love there is intellectual apprehension, more or less full, more or less distinct, of its object.
Love is the aspiration of the soul to good, whether it be to process the good by giving itself to its object, or by appropriating its object to itself. In either case it is alike an aspiration. This aspiration is the genuine platonic love, without which the soul cannot rise even by science of God. It is the other wing of the soul by which it rises to the empyrean, to “the First Good and First fair.” IN this aspiration of the soul, this love, this craving for good, is the source of the universal belief in God. It is not by any process of reasoning, whether deductive or inductive, whether syllogistic or dialectic, that men are primarily led to believe in God. They believe in his existence as the supreme Good, because they naturally, in their own natures, aspire to him, and are carried away by a natural prayer of the heart towards him. When the word of God falls on their ears, it expresses or it names what their hearts have already believed and loved, though without a name. And this aspiration is no mean proof of the existence of God, because it is not, we must remember, a purely subjective phenomenon, and because it is not a mere blind craving, but includes a real intuition---obscure if you will, yet real—of its object, and therefore of God as the supreme Good. It is indeed the testimony of the heart, but at the same time the testimony of the highest reason, and therefore worthy of the highest confidence.
Now, bearing in mind that love is the spring of our whole rational life, it follows that the true point of view for philosophy is to consider man primarily as loving or aspiring, rather than as perceiving and knowing. It must consider him primarily under his moral relations, therefore under the point of view of his end or destiny, or as related to God as the end craved, or the good to which the soul aspires. This is what our author maintains with much clearness and force. Hence he considers theodicy as the answer to the wants of the heart, to the soul’s love of good, before considering it as the answer to the questions of pure intellect. Understood as we have endeavored to explain it, we like this, because it conforms to the order of life, and redeems philosophy from the dead and repulsive abstractions, beneath which it has been buried, and renders it living and attractive.
Taking his point of departure in love or the souls aspiration to good, the author easily demonstrates that no created good, that no good less than God, The Supreme good, can fill the soul and satisfy its love. He does not even stop here. He further shows that even God, as attainable by our natural powers, cannot completely satisfy the natural wants of the soul, and therefore concludes that there can be for man no natural adequate beatitude, and that for his complete satisfaction is necessary. In this way he passes from philosophy to revelation, form reason to faith, and shows the connecting link between the natural and supernatural, and the accord of nature and grace.
But here the author touches debatable ground, and has a powerful theological school against him. The author’s doctrine seems to imply that man naturally aspires to the supernatural, and that his natural wants even cannot be satisfied without the beatific vision, or the vision of God as he is in himself. This would imply that the beatific vision is due to man’s nature, for that it is due to nature which is necessary to the realization of its end. Certain it is, that the supernatural can never be due to the natural, and therefore the beatific vision, if due to man’s nature, must have been naturally possible, and therefore natural, not supernatural. But it certainly is not naturally possible to man as we know find him. Then man by transgression must have lost a part of his nature, some of his natural powers, and then God could not have created him, seclusa ratione culpae, as he is now born, which is a condemned proposition. It is the 55th proposition of Baius: Deus non potuisset ab initio talem creare hominem, quails nunc nascitur. That only can be called natural which is of pure nature, and that only is pure nature in which God might have originally created us, if he had chosen. Now, as beatific vision is confessedly supernatural, it must be in every sense above our natural powers, and consequently can be no object of natural desire, one necessary to satisfy the soul’s natural craving for beatitude, especially if in every desire there is even an obscure perception of the object.
There is undoubtly some force in this reasoning, but perhaps it is not conclusive. The proposition of Baius was not condemned by St. Pius the fifth as false in every sense, but solely in the sense of its asserters, as we are told in the Papal Bull itself. The doctrine of the author, moreover, has been maintained since the condemnation of Baius, by a host of eminent theologians, without the least mark of censure, and is certainly a free opinion at least, as is evident from the fact that these volumes themselves were examined at Rome by the consulter of the index, and declared to contain nothing contrary to faith. We must also remark, that, though God could have created us in the state of pure nature, it is certain that he did not, at least did not leave us in that state. He might, we doubt not, have created us for a purely natural beatitude, but we believe it is allowable to say that he has not. Man was originally intended by his maker for supernatural destiny, no indeed to be gained by his natural powers, but by the supernatural elevation and assistance of grace. Strictly speaking, man has no natural destiny, and is destined only to s supernatural heaven or to a supernatural hell. In reasoning of man now, we must take him as he is. He certainly has no complete natural beatitude, and the actual wants of his soul certainly cannot be satisfied with anything less than the beatific vision. Yet it may be that theses wants do not in all respects belong to the soul as pure nature, and it may be that they are to some extent due to the secret operations of grace, which will not suffer us to find repose anywhere this side of our supernatural destiny. Take man as we find him to-day, and it is certainly true that nothing short of the beatific vision can satisfy his longing to love, or completely fill his soul. And whether this is the result of pure nature or of the secret operations of grace, the argument for the supernatural is equally strong.
It is no part of our office to enter into the dispute on this point between the Augustioans and the Jesuits, for both are Catholics without reproach. But this much is, we think, certain, that man, as we now find him, in the present decree of God, as say the theologians, has in fact no natural destiny; and nothing natural, not even the natural vision of God, which is only a vision per speculum, not an intuitive vision of his essence, can satisfy the wants of his soul. He certainly has desires both know and to love which transcend the whole natural order. He has these desires prior to faith. Whether theses desires belong to him as pure nature or not, certain it is that he has them, and with them enters into all his acts, or rational operations. It is impossible to find a mind which has not aspirations beyond nature, and which nothing in nature can satisfy. Every man proves it in his own experience. The natural vision of God is insufficient to satisfy our craving to know, for it is remarkable that Reason, when she has attained the ultimate limits of rational knowledge, seems to herself to know perfectly well that there is an infinite unknown reality beyond. She never can persuade herself that the limits of what she knows are the limits of what is. Know how explain this? How explain knowledge, if we may say so, of the unknown and the naturally unknowable. Gioberti explains it by claiming for man a faculty of super intelligence, of seizing, in some sense, the super intelligible, and regards it as the soul’s secret apprehension of her own potentiality. We do not attempt to explain it; we only call attention to it as a fact, a mysterious fact, no doubt, but a fact of last importance. We do not know how to explain it, but we are disposed to regard it as the natural aptitude of the soul for the supernatural, by virtue of which the supernatural is as it were linked with the natural, joined on to it, and so that it can elevate that natural without superseding it. From this it would follow that in the highest sense man is completed, perfected, only in the supernatural, which is, if we understand it, the doctrine of St. Thomas, and which should be the case, if man was originally intended for supernatural, not a natural, destiny.
There are, as M. Gratry after the theologians maintains, two degrees of the divine intelligibility, or of knowledge of God,--knowledge of God per speculum, a knowledge of him by his works of the light which illuminates them, and the knowledge of God in his essence, as he is in himself. The first is within the powers of natural reason, the second is not, and is possible only ion heaven by the light of glory. But these two degrees are connected even in this life, by supernatural faith, which, resting on the first as its basis or preamble is a begging or a foretaste of the second. There are then really three degrees or stages in the knowledge of God, philosophy, faith, and the beatific vision. The last two are supernatural, the first is natural. But is the natural without any connecting link with the supernatural? Must as of faith to the beatific vision? If we examine the great philosophers, Gentile as well as Christian, we shall find a distinct recognition of the first two degrees of knowledge of God which we have described, but a confession that one of them is not naturally attainable. Whence this recognition by Philosophy of the existence of an order of knowledge confessedly beyond her reach? All men naturally, that is, prior to faith, aspire to it, at least implicitly, and find no real repose short of it. Whence this aspiration to the unseen, the unknown, and the naturally unknowable? Does it not result from some aptitude in the soul for the supernatural, a consciousness that we neither possess it nor know what it is? As every perception is also an aspiration, and as every man does perceive, in perceiving God per speculum, that the infinite is, though he perceives not what it is, why may we not say that man naturally aspires to the infinite, and that in this aspiration there is in some sense a natural basis of supernatural faith? Faith, and even the beatific vision, though above reason, cannot be wholly foreign to it; for if they were, how could what we say of them have any meaning for the natural understanding? It seems to us, therefore, that the three degrees of the divine intelligibility are to be considered, not as three separate itineraries, but as three stages in one and the same itinerary of the soul to God. Philosophy, if worthy of the name, has then a natural aptitude for supernatural faith, and conducts to faith, as faith conducts to the perfect knowledge of God in the beatific vision. This, if we understand our author, is what he holds, and what he has attempted in these volumes to bring out and establish, and, so far as we are able to judge of such profound matters, with complete success.
Our readers will readily excuse us from doing more here than stating as well as we are able the doctrine of the author. We shrink from its discussion, as being altogether beyond our depth. But they will see, if this doctrine be admissible, that, while it confines philosophy within the sphere of the natural, it removes all discrepancy between it and faith, and enables the natural understanding to perceive the unity of man’s whole intellectual life, or at least the possibility of such unity. Revelation gives us a foretaste of a knowledge of God far above that which is possible by natural reason alone; but revelation must be made to reason, as its subject, and there must be in some sense of fusion of the natural and supernatural into one uniform light, or else the revelation would be to us as if it were not. But this could not be if reason had not in itself a certain aptitude for the supernatural, if reason were not the preamble to faith, as faith is the preamble to the beatific vision. Supposing this to be so, all true philosophy, though falling always below faith, though never faith itself, yet conducts to faith, and finds its complement in it; and therefore all those intellectual systems, called Philosophy, which conduct to doubt or skepticism, are false, and unworthy of the least attention.
The doctrine here asserted is the reverse of that of the Eclectic school founded by M. Cousin. That school regards faith as symbolic of the truths attainable by natural reason, and therefore as the preamble to philosophy, and destined to disappear in the light of natural science. It places faith below philosophy, and harmonizes them by making philosophy a higher form of intellectual apprehension than faith,-- that is, by simply denying the truths revealed by faith, and recognizing no truths but those evident to natural reason. Faith is supposed to fade away in the clearer light of philosophy, instead of philosophy finding its complement in the higher truths revealed by faith. Catholic dogma is all very true, says this school, but it is the truth of the natural order expressed in a poetical or symbolical form, adapted to the wants of the simple, the rude, and the vulgar. It is not the office of philosophy to deny catholic dogma, but to disengage the natural truth from the poetic form, and express it ion a clear, distinct, and scientific form. For the vulgar, the mass of the people, dogma is necessary; but for philosophers, the elite of the race, it ceases to be necessary, because they have science, and where science begins, faith ends. But unhappily for this school, our natural science ends where faith begins, and is never a complete science, and, without that higher order of truth of which faith is a foretaste, can never rest satisfied with itself.
Faith undoubtedly is in some sense symbolic, and so far the Eclectics are right. But of what is the symbolic? Faith undoubtly ends where the light of science begins; but of what science? The error is, not in assuming faith to be symbolical, but in assuming that it is symbolical of the truths naturally apprehensible, and that the science in which it ends is natural science, the science attainable by the natural light of reason, instead of that superior science attainable only in heaven by the light of glory. Faith is a medium science between the two sciences, beginning where natural science ends, and ending where the supernatural science, or the science off the blessed, begins, and partakes in some sense of the nature of both. Instead, then, of pitying the poor people who have only faith, we should pity the poor philosophers who have only philosophy. There is no exaggeration in saying that the youngest child who has learned his Catechism is above them, and is introduced to an order of reality far above anything they have attained to,--not because the Catechism supersedes natural science, but because it adds to the highest philosophy the revelation of an order of truth for ever above and beyond the reach of the profoundest philosopher.
But to return. The itinerary of the soul to God includes, as we have seen, three stages, reason, faith, the beatific vision, and the true and direct science of God is complete only in the last stage. Without undertaking to explain here the precise relation of these stages to one another, we wish to remark, that through them all the itinerary is one and the same, and is the itinerary of one and the same soul, or rational subject. What is begun in reason is completed only in the beatific vision. “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.” The journey terminates, and we can repose, only when we have attained to direct and immediate knowledge of God in his essence, or as he is himself. Of course this last and perfect degree of science is not obtained by a simple development of our natural powers, and is obtained only by supernatural elevation of our natural powers, first, by grace of faith, and, second, by the light of glory. As the natural desire of the soul to know cannot be completely satisfied, in the present providence of God, without this last degree of science, it follows that it is only in this that the soul can find its supreme good, or the object adequate to satisfy its natural craving to love. We do not, of course, pretend that man is naturally able to love God as so beheld, because he is not naturally able so to behold him; and though love may surpass science, and as it were overflow it, we cannot love what we do not in some degree intellectually apprehend. We do not say, by any means, that God could not have so made man that he would have been satisfied with that knowledge of him which is per speculum, but we do say, that as we find him now, even prior to faith, he does not so exist. Hence we learn that the soul can find its supreme good only in the complete knowledge and perfect love of God, and that this knowledge and love are not naturally attainable.
Without faith our philosophy is incomplete, and without the intuitive vision of god, in patria, our faith cannot be perfected. To this conclusion we are conducted by all sound philosophy. As reason is able to detect her own limits, and to be well assured of the knowable infinitely surpassing the known, so philosophy is able to detect her own insufficiency, and to assert the necessity, in order to appease the cravings of the soul, of faith or supernatural revelation. Reason itself is able to assert God, and to assert him as the final cause as well as the first cause of our existence. It is able, not to secure us unaided our supreme god, but to tell us that our supreme good is in the knowledge and love of God, who is the Supreme Good itself. It tells us, that we have a supreme good, and where that supreme good is to be found; but it cannot show it to us, tell what it is, or of itself obtain it for us. For this last, grace is necessary to enlighten the understanding and to elevate the will, that is, to make us a revelation of God in a sense above that in which he is naturally apprehensible. It is idle, then, for any of us to seek any real and permanent good save as elevated by grace and guided by faith, or, in other words, without the teachings and sacraments of the church.
This has been admirably set forth by Father Hecker in his exceedingly interesting and profound work, entitled, Questions of the Soul. Assuming the great truths which underlie M. Gratry’s philosophy,--that man loves as well as knows, and that every one of his thoughts Is an aspiration, a real demand for good, ---he shows what are the natural and unceasing wants of the soul, and that these wants cannot be satisfied out of the Catholic church; but that in that Church Almighty God, in the excess of his bounty, has made the most ample provision for their complete satisfaction. The vain sophist, the unhappy worldling, may not believe this, but we can tell either, that it is in strict accordance with the deepest and truest philosophy.
It will be seen from what we have said, that M. Gratry has really given us a living and practical philosophy. It explains our moral and intellectual constitution, and harmonizes reason and faith. It thus satisfies the intellect. It harmonizes intellect and love by showing the innate synthesis of perception and aspiration, of science and morality. He harmonizes thus our whole intellectual and moral life, and shows that, while all genuine love is rational, all rational operations have union with God, as the supreme good of the soul, or as the supreme good in itself, for their end. He does not war with the Schoolmen, but he presents their teachings in a more life-giving form to our age, that will be as salutary as powerful. We most cordially commend his work, notwithstanding the few faults we have found with it, to all lovers of sound philosophy.