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able, from natural reason alone, to demonstrate the insufficiency of natural reason. If we mistake not, reason herself proclaims her own insufficiency, and affirms the necessity of something beyond her reach to serve for our guidance.
It is not our purpose to attempt a complete statement of M. Jouffroy's ethical system ; we can give only a brief outline of its more prominent features, and this only so far as we propose to make them the subject of a few disconnected comments. M. Jouffroy has rightly seen that man must have an end or destiny in order to be the subject of a moral law, and that this end or destiny must be known before we can proceed to establish the rules according to which man should govern bimself in the conduct of life. The first inquiry, then, is, Has man a destiny? He decides that he has, and a destiny which is not accomplished in this life; therefore man must live a life or lives beyond this life. The second question is, What is man's destiny ? The answer to this question is the great affair. Does M. Jouffroy answer it, and answer it correctly and adequately? This is what principally concerns us in our present remarks ; and what we proceed to inquire.
“What distinguishes one being from another,” says M. Jouffroy, “is organization. It is this which distinguishes a plant from a mineral, an animal of one species from an animal of another species. Each being has its proper nature, and, because it has its proper nature, it is predestinated by that nature to a certain end. If the end of the bee, for instance, is not that of the lion, if that of the lion is not that of man, the sole reason is to be found in the difference of their nature. Each being, then, is organized for a certain end; so that we may, from a perfect knowledge of its nature, deduce its destination or end. The end of a being is what is called its good. There is, then, an absolute identity between the good of a being and its end. Its good is, to fulfil its destiny, to go to the end for which it has been organized."
Man is created with a specific nature, and by that nature is predestinated to a certain end, which is his good. This nature has certain primitive tendencies, which begin to operate as soon as man begins to exist, and each to go to a special end, each seeking its special satisfaction, which is its special good. The satisfaction of a tendency is the good of that tendency. The satisfaction of all man's tendencies, that is, the sum of the particular satisfactions of all his tendencies taken separately, is the total good of the individual man.
These natural tendencies, which Gall and Spurzheim call faculties, and which are the primitive forces of human nature, have each their particular end, towards which each incessantly tends. But experience soon teaches us, that, if these tendencies be left to their instinctive or spontaneous action, one will seek its satisfaction at the expense of another, and hence confusion and disorder will be produced in the bosom of the individual, which will distract him from his veritable destiny. This experience teaches him the necessity of subordinating all these separate tendencies to one common end, which may be called the greatest good or interest of the individual.
A little larger experience teaches the individual that there are other men besides himself in existence, each with his particular destiny, and that one man seeks his good, or his interest, at the expense of another, which produces disorder, confusion, in the bosom of the race.
Thence arises a new conception, that of the greatest good of the race, to which the individual must subordinate his own good. But having arrived here, and reason developing itself more and more, he learns that there are other beings in the universe besides men; he rises to the conception of the good of the universe, which is universal order, absolute good, and finds that it is his duty to labor for universal order, which is man's highest moral conception.
But the universe is composed of parts, and the good of the whole is nothing but the sum of the good of the parts. So it matters very little, as to the result, whether the individual labors in view of the good of the universe, of the good of the race, of himself alone, or leaves himself to be borne along by his instinctive tendencies, each seeking its own special satisfaction. The universe is so constructed, that universal order is alike promoted, secured, whether man merely obeys his instincts, acts from supreme selfishness, supreme philanthropy, or from pure regard to absolute good. A very convenient morality!
The satisfaction of a tendency is followed by a certain sensation which we call pleasure ; its disappointment, by a certain sensation which we call pain. The pleasurable sensations generalized are called happiness, and whatever tends to produce them is called useful; the painful sensations generalized are what we term unhappiness, and whatever tends to produce them is termed hurtful. Hence the ideas of pleasure and pain, useful and hurtful, happiness and unhappiness, which we must be careful to distinguish from good and evil. Good is gaining our end, fulfilling our destiny ; evil is failing to do so; and either would be precisely what it now is, were we so made as to be incapable of receiving pleasure or of suffering pain. So, also, when we labor for absolute good, we approve ourselves, which is called moral approbation, and this moral approbation is followed by an internal satisfaction which is termed moral pleasure ; and when we fail to do so, we condemn ourselves, which is termed moral blame, followed by a moral pain which is termed remorse. But the moral pleasure is not moral good, nor is it an end to be sought ; the remorse is not moral evil, nor an end to be shunned. Both are mere accidents accompanying our actions, but wholly unrelated to our end or destiny ; and are never to be taken into the account in our endeavour to determine what is good or evil, the end we are to seek or to avoid.
That this system indicates, on the part of its author, very great ingenuity, as well as much and even profound reflection, we have no disposition to deny ; but it cannot teach us so much of ethics, even as a science, as knows the boy who has simply learned his catechism. This is entirely owing to the fault of its method. M. Jouffroy was a psychologist, and sought to construct his ethical system by the simple study of human nature. But the study of human nature alone can give us, at best, only man's natural destiny, and furnish us only with the rules for fulfilling it. To fulfil our natural destiny, or the destiny indicated by our nature, is merely to fulfil our nature itself, to perfect it, or to realize its bighest type. But this is not the end for which God made us, and to which he bids us aspire. We know from revelation that we are made for a supernatural destiny, to which we do not, and cannot, attain by natural development, but by an obedience possible only on condition of the infused habit of supernatural grace.
So far, in fact, is the fulfilment of our natural destiny, or, what is the same thing, the perfecting of our nature, the means, or condition even, of attaining to our supernatural destiny, that it is only as we attain to our supernatural destiny, that our nature itself is or can be fulfilled or perfected. This supernatural end being the veritable end, that for which we were created, our nature is wounded whenever separated from it, and groans in pain whenever left to itself. Hence the disappointment we all experience in every case of merely natural satisfaction, whether of intellectual, sensual, or even philanthropic tendencies. None of our tendencies are really satisfied by their natural objects, even when fully gained. This is the sad experience of all men, and is so because to gain these objects was not the end for which we were made. But this last is a fact which we can hardly learn from the study of human nature alone. This study can disclose to us only the end to which we are predestinated by our nature ; and from experience we can learn only that the gaining of this end does not satisfy our nature ; which may, indeed, lead us to suspect that our natural destiny is not, after all, our veritable destiny.
Nor does M. Jouffroy get beyond our natural destiny, even by admitting a life after this life. Man, he reasons, has capacities, - natural capacities, which are not and cannot be fulfilled in this life. Our destiny is not accomplished in this world. But, in creating us with these capacities, the Creator has given us a pledge of the means and conditions of their fulfilment. Hence another life, in which may be completed the destiny begun, but left unfinished, here. But this only demonstrates a future natural existence, not the life and immortality brought to light through the gospel. It is not the “ eternal life” promised as the reward of the just. It is only a prolongation, in another state, of our present life. Its admission is not the admission of a supernatural destiny, nor of an end to which we may not attain by our natural strength and development, provided our natural existence be but continued. Hence, the admission of this future prolonged existence would demand no rules for the conduct of life, which would not be demanded, in like manner, in case our existence terminated at the grave.
But we take higher ground, and deny that from nature alone it is possible to conclude even to our natural destiny. The destiny of a being is its final cause, that for which it exists, which it is the purpose of its being to accomplish. But nature nowhere reveals to natural reason final causes.
We know from reason that all created existences must have a final cause, as well as a first cause ; for we know from reason the existence of God, and even his eternal power and Godhead, that he is wise and good, and must therefore act to a wise and good end. We know, therefore, that the universe has a final cause, that each particular being of the universe has its final cause, and that this cause is wise and good. But what this final cause or end is, we cannot, either in the case of the whole or of a part, in a single respect, from the study of nature alone, ever ascertain. I perhaps, from the study of the nature of the bee, ascertain that it is fitted to make honey, and infer that it was designed to make honey; but to make honey is not the final cause of the bee, for to what end shall it make honey? To live? But to what end live? We may, from the study of man's nature, ascertain that it is adapted to the performance of certain functions, and hence infer that he was intended to perform them ;
but this tells us nothing of the final cause of his existence. To what end perform these functions ? So as to perfect his nature? But to what end perfect his nature? Why, the end of man is to perfect his nature. Man was originally created imperfect; his law is progress ; his end is perfection. That is to say, the end of man is to be perfect man! But what is perfect man for? That the end of imperfect man, that is, of incomplete man, quoad incomplete, is to become perfect, we do not doubt ; but this is not our question. When we ask what is the end of man, we ask the end of perfected no less than of unperfected man.
Man was not made imperfect; but suppose he was, and suppose that by progressive development he has become perfect, what now does he exist for ?
M. Jouffroy says, man is predestinated by his nature to a certain end, which is his destiny, and that by a perfect knowledge of man's nature we may know what this destiny is. But this destiny, according to his own system, is simply the satisfaction of my natural tendencies, by gaining the natural objects they seek. These tendencies are myself. Consequently, my destiny is to satisfy myself. But what is myself for? I have a natural tendency to eat, to drink, to sleep, &c. Was I made for the simple purpose of eating, drinking, sleeping, &c.? Of course not. For what, then, was I made ? To fulfil my destiny. What is my destiny? The satisfaction of my tendencies. But to what end satisfy my tendencies ? So that I may exist as a perfect man. But to what end exist as perfect man ? To satisfy my tendencies ! “ The millions,” body says, “live to dig, and dig to live.” Nature turns for ever in a vicious circle.
M. Jouffroy, it may be said, gets out of it. He identifies our destiny with our good. We are to satisfy our natural tendencies because that is our good, and it is our good because it is a fragment of the good of the race, which is a fragment of universal good, identical with universal order, which is absolute good. But wherefore is universal order good ? Universal order is ultimate, and we are not required to go beyond the ultimate. But we deinand the proof that universal order is ultimate. It may, indeed, be as far as your system can carry you, but are you sure it is as far as the truth requires you to go ? Does the universe exist solely for the purpose of realizing order ? What is order ? The proper arrangement or adjustment of the several parts ; nothing more, nothing less. So the universe exists for the sole purpose of having all its parts adjusted, or properly arranged ! VOL. II. NO. I.