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doctrine—which would be equally true of all immediate knowledge. But Porter postulates still other conditions as necessary to the existen; e and exercise of consciousness. Among these is discrimination. "Mere sensation must in its nature be felt by a sentient being. This involves some sort of apprehension of self, and may be called self-feeling, but is a state of comparative unconsciousness. Not till there is discrimination is there true consciousness." Is it so then that sensation cannot be known? No, for he says it is essential to its nature that it be felt, and certainly feeling is knowledge, though not of the highest kind, not perfect knowledge. The analysis, or even the expression, of feeling may call for the exercise of discrimination, but immediate knowledge does not require it. But further than this he assumes the necessity of spontaneous activity of mind, on the ground that absolute passivity cannot be known, that only as a part of self passes into act can there be knowledge. There is some truth here. Life is life only as it energizes and acts. It is equivalent to saying that the dead cannot be conscious. It must be construed strictly, however, to mean that intellectual faculties act independent of all else. If it be contended that voluntary activity is requisite to consciousness, the common experience of mankind telling of numerous instances when we are all too conscious in spite of volition, would refute the assertion.
Hamilton posits the same conditions, in part, as do Wayland and Porter. He affirms that consciousness is actual knowledge, now and here present, necessarily immediate; that the same modification must give, at first hands, the whole phenomenon—the original idea of the object. I cannot have a sensation and then become conscious of it. I cannot properly say that I know the tree immediately if I know it by having perceived it, and then, having a consciousness of the act, know it through the act. Here he finds ground for his peculiarity in maintaining that consciousness is equivalent to knowledge, inasmuch as no faculty can exist or act as a faculty of cognition independent of this general consciousness. To say that we perceive the tree, is to say that through the senses we become conscious of it, or know it. To perceive without being conscious of perception and its object, is to be doing nothing, and is nothing so far as knowledge is concerned. Such is the substance of his doctrine on actuality and immediacy of object, as gathered from his extended discussion of the subject, and in this we must heartily concur. But he asserts that besides these conditions consciousness implies discrimination, judgment, and memory. Here appears again the oft-repeated error of confounding the general with the special faculty. Discrimination and judgment need no further comment; but, as he makes a special point in favor of memory, we may do well to look at his arguments. Memory be deems an undeniable condition. This he judges necessary to a comparison of mental states implied in discrimination and judgment. This he deems requisite, too, to a knowledge of self which could only come through those acts. This relieves the question of the immediacy of the knowledge of self and personal identity. . We know self immediately, then, by knowing modifications, by discriminating and comparing, and finally by remembering and compounding, or combining universally present elements of these modifications. This would seem to be the real immediacy of his data of personality and personal identity, results of combined action of several faculties. But the act of self-consciousness in its simplicity does not require, nay, more, does not, in its normal, natural exercise, find discrimination and judgment as its conditions. It is only on the occasion of the exercise of other faculties, only in the general consciousness, that we find these acts and those of memory which these demand.
A brief summary of views on the subject of special conditions, therefore, shows that Porter has added to those deemed essential by Wayland, and that Hamilton's catalogue swells the number still more. Wayland finds, as necessary conditions, actuality and immediacy; Porter, actuality, immediacy, identity of object and act, discrimination, and spontaneous activity; Hamilton, actuality, immediacy, discrimination, judgment, and memory. We find that Wayland's assumptions are just; that Porter's additions are either doubtful or illegitimate; and that Hamilton in his confusion of terms and in stepping out of the true path of investigation, and seeking to place knowledge of self on a firmer basis—a basis it does not need, a basis which would not, if established, be firmer than it now has, in either case resting on the necessity of belief in view of the phenomena, has, in his doctrine of special conditions of consciousness, introduced some that would not stand the test.
T. M. Stewart.
Sburtleff College, Iii.
THERE can never be any real conflict between the facts of science and those of revelation. The truths of natural science and the truths of the spiritual science made known to us in the Scriptures can never contradict each other. There may be apparent conflict, arising from misinterpretations of the facts, or from our acceptance of assumptions which the facts do not warrant. There may be seeming contradictions, because of our failure rightly to apprehend intermediate or correlated truths. But that two propositions should be unquestionably true, and yet flatly contradict each other, is utterly inconceivable, because it is utterly impossible. In the nature of the case truth cannot contradict itself; nor can one truth set up against another truth, and charge it with falsehood.
That which is positively known, either in science or revelation, will always be encompassed with a larger field of uncertainty, obscurity and mystery. And this is the region for the free play of loose conjecture and bold assumption. It is greatly to be deplored that in either branch of inquiry there are those who assert what is, at best, but mere hypothesis, with as much confidence and positiveness as if it were unquestionably true. There are scientists who assume to know what is not known; who affirm the truth of their own theories, when those theories should be consigned to their proper place in the region of conjecture. There are theologians, too, who assert their own theories of interpretation with a confidence that the facts do not warrant, and who venture to contradict the conclusions of science, if those conclusions do not square with their theoretical assumptions. Either party—the scientists as against revelation, and the theologians as against modern science—employ themselves, with endless persistence and infinite self-satisfaction, in gibbetting and demolishing their men of straw. We need a more careful and thorough sorting and sifting of the materials of knowledge. We want the known kept distinct and separate from the unknown. We want the line of distinction drawn definitely and cleariy between the questionable and the unquestioned.
The realm of the natural is the true province of the scientist. But though he may be skillful and profound iu scientific research, it does not follow that he will be competent to master all the problems which theology presents. The realm of the supernatural is the special province of the theologian. But though he may be learned and profound in his department, it does not follow that he will be competent to judge of the merits of all scientific theories. False judgments and contradictions will abound, until the distinction between the natural and the supernatural is clearly defined, and constantly kept in view.
Nature is always impressing us with her varied exhibitions of power. This is the first and most obvious impression which we receive from any of her operations, and is fundamental to our conception of nature. Let us then begin with this fundamental conception.
Power may be defined as the application of force to overcome resistance. At least, our impression of power is gained from such application of force; and the greatness of the resistance overcome is the measure of the power exerted. No matter how great, or how various the forces; so long as they lie in equilibrium, and therefore at rest, they give us no idea of power. But let the silence of this equilibrium be broken; let these forces begin to move, so that one resists the action of another, and one overcomes another; and at once, in this war of forces, we gain the impression of power.
For instance, there is a certain amount of physical force in the arm of a man; but it gives no impression of power while hanging loosely by his side. There is also a latent force in a stone, namely, gravity. But no power is exerted while it rests upon the ground. But, let that arm be put forth to move that stone, that is, t , overcome the resisting gravity, and there is an exertion of power just in proportion to the amount of the resisting gravity.
We shall not be far from the truth if we define power as force in action. Now, the various forces of nature fill up, so to speak, and constitute, the sum total of nature, so that no force ever acts without overcoming resistance, and, therefore, not without an exhibition of power of some sort—physical, chemical, dynamical, vital.
We may further observe that, in every exercise of power, we have the two essential elements of causation, namely, cause and effect. The overcoming force is the cause. The result of its operation, the displacement of other forces, or its modification of them, is what we call the effect.
It will readily be perceived how necessarily these two terms of causation are connected together. The exercise of power produces its inevitable result. It follows with a certainty in which the mind comes at length to rest as absolute. And hence follows that proposition that figures so largely in modern philosophy; that every effect must have a cause, and a cause adequate to produce the effect. And hence, too, the doctrine of necessity, which forms the basis of some of our speculative systems, and even of some theologies.
Now, instances will occur to every one in which that which is the acting cause is itself an effect of an antecedent cause, and this of another, and so on; establishing thus a chain of causation, which we can conceive as extended indefinitely. Thus motion is propagated, and thus power is variously applied.
As the various forces of nature make up the whole of natrue, and all her powers are but the action and reaction of these forces, we conclude that all objects, and all events, are bound together by a universal system of causation. Now one cause producing a single effect, and now a single cause producing a great variety of effects, and again a single effect being the result of the combined operation of a great variety of causes; but all contributing to make up the order and harmony, the variety and beauty, of external nature. It is solely by the operation of cause and effect that the whole machinery of nature is carried on. Natural laws are all only varied exhibitions of this one fundamental law, that like causes, in like circumstances, will produce like effects.
For instance, it is a law that water, standing with its surface exposed to the atmosphere, will evaporate. It is also a law of nature that watery vapor, ascending to the higher regions of the atmosphere, will become condensed. It is by this simple but beautiful arrangement of evaporation and condensation, that we have so constantly supplied to us "rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."