Puslapio vaizdai

We are afraid the Professor in this last sentence will be thought instead of answering the objection to have got a little confused and to have conceded it. The idea, the divine truth, is the principle or medium of the demonstration, or proof, but not of the knowledge of the existence of God, for it is God, and its existence is known immediately and directly prior to the commencement of the demonstration, as it has been throughout the object of the author to prove. What he really means, however, is that the idea, our own existence, and that of the world are an intermediary between the existence of God and our knowledge of his existence in the order of reflection, not in the order of intuition, and in this he is substantially correct. Intuition gives us the real order, and in the real order necessary truth or the Idea and God are identical, but we do not know intuitively that the idea, real and necessary being, is what in the order of reflection is meant by the word God. This identity is precisely what requires to be demonstrated, and the demonstration of this is what is meant by the demonstration of the existence of God. The process of demonstration suggested by the author, so understood, is legitimate and conclusive. He has right to add :

“ Therefore the doctrine of the presence of God in reason in no sense enfeebles


of the proofs of the existence of God, and in no respect disturbs the ordinary method of demonstrating it. On the contrary, it explains and justifies it. It is still true to say with the Scriptures, with St. Paul and St. Thomas, that we know God, and raise ourse'ves to him by the spectacle of the world and the human soul."-p. 266.

The last objection the author considers is the most formidable of all in the minds of our theologians. We have briefly answered it ourselves in the beginning of the present article, but it may be well to hear the answer of the author, who is a theologian, as well as a philosopher.

" It is a principle of faith that in this life and by our natural powers we do not and cannot see the Divine essence; that the sight of this essence is disproportioned to our forces, and to our merits, that it is the essential object of supernatural grace, and that it is reserved, in its perfection, to a future lise, as the recompense of faith and charity. This high doctrine is clearly taught in the Sacred Scriptures : Deum nemo vidit unquam.... Videmus nunc per speculum in ænigmate, tunc autem facie ad faciem... Nunc cognosco ex parte, tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum... Cum apparuerit, similes ei erimus, quoniam videbimus eum sicuti est.' The possibility and the gratuity of this vision of the divine essence is a doctrinal point attested and preserved by a unanimous tradition, and established by St. Thomas in the twelfth Question of the first part of his Summa, with the superiority and power of his reason.

* But it is, on the other hand, no less certain by scriptures and tradition, that divine truth, the Divine Word himself

, is the real teacher of our souls. He is the light which enlighteneth every man coming into this world; Lux quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundo. Before St. Jolin, the psalmist had said that God had stamped our souls with an impression of his light: Signasti super nos lumen vultus tui. This second truth has been established by us in the whole of this Course. Our only object has been to prove it to conscience and reason, and to show that it the true philosophical tradition. The point now is to reconcile these two truths, which appear, at first sight, to contradict one another. But there is no contradiction in the case. The direct view of divine truth and of God himself in this truth is not and cannot be the vision of the Divine Essence, because that vision consists in seeing God face to face : nd in knowing him as he is in himself

. Now this natural view of divine truth is essentially distinct from this perfect, this sublime vision. In fact, the view face to face is not only a direct view, but also a perfect view, without clouds or shadows. But the natural view is very imperfect; by it we see only a few essences, a few laws, and these only dimly and with great difficulty.

" But it may, nevertheless, be objected that the supernatural and beatific vision of God differs from the natural view only in degree, and then the two modes of participation, and consequently the natural and the supernatural are not essentially different. This objection would indeed appear formidable, if the supernatural vision were the participation in the divine only as it is representative of creatures. But it is something more than that; it is the view of God such as he is in himself, sicuti est; cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum. A profound theology distinguishes, in fact, in the Divinity two different aspects : God in himself, that is to say, in his simplicity and his Trinity, his interior life, and God in his relations with creation, God the archetype of creation, that is to say, bearing in his intelligence the ideas and laws of real and possible creations. The divine truth which enlightens us here below manifests to us some few of these ideas, some few of these laws. We know that both are images of the Divine Essence; but in them we recognize rather the essence of creatures than the Divine Essence itself. We in no sense see that essence in itself, for we do not see the relation of infinite multiplicity to infinite unity. The view of the infinite Essence would show

us on the contrary how the infinite multiplicity of ideas and laws which are in the divine thought, in so much as it conceives creations, forms only one and the same perfectly simple idea, proceeds always from a single act always immanent. We should see, as far as it is given to the creature to see, how this multiplicity is resolved into the most perfect unity, how when we rise to the highest thoughts we conceive, indeed, that God sees in himself, in his perfect simplicity, an infinity of degrees of being, all which are an image, a representation of his essence; we conceive, indeed, that he sees out of him, in real or possible creations, the limits or relations implied by this infinite multitude of copies of pure and unalterable essence; we conceive, in fine, that this multiplicity introduces no division, no composition, no limit into infinite siinplicity; our reason conceives the strict necessity of this infinite perfection, but without being able to explain and comprehend it.

The view of the Divine Essence would not only unveil in part the relations of God with creation, it would also enable us, as far as given to the creature, to penetrate the mystery of the divine life itself, to see how the divine substance is common to the three infinite and equal Persons, who form only one and the same Divinity.”—pp. 266-270.

We see in this answer a satisfactory refutation of the objection, but the author, we hope, will pardon us, if we say we also find in it some looseness of expression, and some inexactness even of thought. Will he forgive us, if we say that he does not appear to us to be fully master of the ontological method, and sometimes speaks as a conceptualist rather than as an intuitionist? The distinction of aspects in God is a distinctio rationis ratiocinata, as say the theologians, not a distinction in re, in our manner of conceiving, not in the manner in which God really exists and is intuitively affirmed to us. The ideas in the Divine mind, which are the types and possibilities of creatures, are not images or representations of the Divine Essence, but that Essence itself, as St. Thomas expressly teaches, when he says :

“Idea in Deo nihil est aliud quiam essentia Dei.” To make them the image of the Divine Essence would, it seems to us, place them in the Word or second Person distinctively, and deny intelligence to the Father and the Holy Ghost. Intelligence and will belong to the essence, the nature, and are, therefore, one in the three Persons of the Godhead. Ideas in the Divine mind are types, not of the Divine Essence, but of existences which God does or may create, and hence St. Thomas says, “Deus simi


litudo est rerum omnium.” The Divine intelligence is not representative of the Divine Essence, but is that essence itself. This is the doctrine the learned author holds as well as we, and is the same sense in which he says St. Augustine and the Christian Fathers generally understood Plato against Aristotle and some others who pretend that Plato held ideas to be separate individual existences. The real answer to the objection is not that we do not intuitively apprehend the essence of God, for in God no distinction between his essence and his existence,-his essentia and his esse, -is admissible, but that we see his essence only extrinsically, only in its relation to creatures, not intrinsically, as it is in itself; and therefore we are quite willing to say that we see God only in seeing his works, as in external vision we see the light only in seeing the objects it illumines and renders visible. The ideal formula-Ens creat existentias-contains indeed the three terms of a judgment, subject, predicate and copula ; but the three terms are not given distinctly, in three separate intuitions ; they are given as a synthesis in one and the same intuition. God-Ens-is given not alone, but as the subject of the predicate, existentias or creation. Now the view of God as the subject of the predicate creature,—a predicate joined to him by his own free voluntary act ad extra, placing or creating it, can hardly be confounded with that intrinsic view of God as he is in himself, in his own interior life and being enjoyed as their reward by the Saints in heaven. If the ideal formula be accepted, we see God, in natural intuition, only as the subject of the predicate, and therefore only in conjunction with the creatures placed and illumined by the light of his own being. This is the way we understand our natural intuition of God, and it seems to us to harmonize perfectly with the teachings of St. Paul. Understanding now that real and necessary being, though intuitively given, is distinguished from tbe other two terms of the formula, and proved to be God, only discursively, or by reflection and reasoning, we cannot for the life of us see any reason why the discursionists should hesitate to adopt the intuitive method, or why they should wish to keep up any longer a controversy with the ontologists. Every theologian, however psychologically inclined, is obliged, the very moment he comes to set forth and explain theology, natural or supernatural, to adopt the ontological method, and all great theologians, as M. Maret proves in the volume before us, have been avowedly ontologists.

We have dwelt so long on the first part of M. Maret's volume, the presence of God in reason, and the exposition and defence of the intuitive method, or the Platonic doctrine of ideas as rectified by St. Augustine and Christian theology, that we must reluctantly reserve to a future article the consideration of the still more important second part, which treats of the insuificiency of reason, and the necessity of Divine Revelation. The necessity of Divine Revelation and the character of the supernatural is for our age and country the question of questions, for the real doubt we have to combat is the doubt of Christianity as the supernatural order. The age accepts Christianity as the best expression of natural religion that has been made, but it refuses to believe in the reality of a supernatural order properly so called. M. Maret sees this, and seeks to remove the doubt of the supernatural without producing a deeper and more fatal doubt, that of the natural. In establishing the presence of God in reason as its principle and light, he has established the high prerogative of reason, indicated its dignity, and obtained a solid basis

a for his demonstrations. He has asserted and defended the necessary preamble to faith, and notwithstanding the few criticisms we have offered, certainly in no captious or disrespectful spirit, has given us a book of solid merit, and rendered to philosophy a service which those who best understand the subject will appreciate the highest.

ART. IV.-The Incoming Administration, -Slavery, the

Slave Trade, and Central America. The Democratic party have succeeded in electing their candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the Union. They have won the victory at the polls, but the far more difficult task awaits them of turning that victory to the common good of the country. Mr. Buchanan is a

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