« PreviousContinue »
and which everywhere else stand as symbols of Divine blessings. Nothing could more happily find its place among the boughs than the myrtle, which is never anything but love and peace, the beginning and ending of all human joy and prosperity.
There is yet another scriptural association in which the myrtle becomes an object of interest. The original name of Esther, that beautiful damsel "of the tribe of Benjamin," born during the exile, and who became partner of the throne of Ahasuerus, as related in the curious chapter of ancient history which is called after her,—was Hadassah, and this was no doubt founded upon hadas, the Hebrew name, as above mentioned, of the pleasing and fragrant plant so well fitted for a feminine appellation. "Hadassah" corresponded with "Tamar," literally "a palm-tree," and with "Susannah," from shushan, a lily, and shows that our sweet modern names of girls, Lilian, Rose, Rosalind, and Viola, do no more than continue the practice of at least twenty-five centuries ago.
(To be continued.)
SKETCH OF THE SCIENCE OF PSYCHOLOGY
BASED ON SCRIPTURE AND REASON.1
BY THE LATE REV. W. WOODMAN.
CHAP. I.-THE FALLACY OF SUPPOSING THE SOUL NOT SUBJECT TO LAWS. WITH a certain class of philosophers it has become fashionable to deny that mind is amenable to law. The science of ontology, they affirm, 1 The family of the late Mr. Woodman have placed in our hands, and at our disposal, the manuscript, of which we now insert a part. Justice to the literary reputation of the author requires that we give here a note in his handwriting, which was attached to it :
"The following fragment contains the merest outline of the proposed treatment of the subject of Psychology in the intended work as far as it extends, and consists of the rough materials roughly thrown together. In preparing the work for the press, modifications and extensions will no doubt suggest themselves, and as regards the style, it will wear a different aspect when carefully worked up. "In addition, I have decided on introducing a chapter on the practical value of the study of the subject, etc. W. W."
If the author formed a correct estimate of what he has done and of what he could do, we have reason to lament that he did not live to supply us with the finished work. We think, however, that the "fragment" will do his memory no discredit, and that while it will be a pleasing reminiscence of him to many, his personal friends, and to the congregation to whom he so long and faithfully ministered, it will be acceptable to the Church at large, as a useful contribution to the understanding of an important subject. It will be concluded with the present volume.
eludes all attempts to reduce it to any definite formula. Whence they maintain that all that which falls within the range of man's successful inquiry is the positive. But positivism, as it is termed, is an old face under a new name, which can only impose on the ignorant or unthinking; it is simply materialism. But is materialism positive? It is true that it is the subject of laws, mechanical or chemical, etc.; but where is the positivism? Where, for instance, is the positive up or down, east or west, size or weight? These are simply relative. What we call above now, in twelve hours will be below-the zenith will have become the nadir. We have only to advance beyond any point eastward for it to become the west. Weight and measure are purely arbitrary, and so with the rest. The truly positive is the spiritual. The pure and good are the exalted; the low is the base. These are immutably so, and cannot be affected by any change of position or locality. The affinities and repulsions of the spirit are equally definable and certain in their laws, although it cannot be subjected to the alembic or crucible in the laboratory of the chemist.
The mistake seems to have arisen from the recognition of no other laws but those observable in the domain of outward nature, whereas it will be our object to show that the laws whereby the two are governed are as distinct as the subjects to which they refer.
Another fallacy prevails with those who conceive that the Word of God offers no information on the subject beyond the fact of the soul's existence. That the reverse of this is the case it will be our object to show. It is often argued that subjects relating to man's eternal interest are conveyed in a manner so simple that the most simple may readily understand. The force of this view in its general bearing is admitted. But it affords no valid argument against there being much in the Sacred Volume that a careful study and further acquaintance will disclose. When it is remembered that what is made so simple in the Bible is the mind of God Himself, in other words, the infinite Wisdom, two conclusions follow: first, that the adaptation of the infinite to the apprehension of finite perception at all, much more to the perceptions of the simple, and even those of childhood, implies an infinite adaptation and accommodation of the subjects of which it treats; and secondly, that there lies beyond the simplicity of its external form an infinitude of wisdom, the study of which admits of continual progression without exhaustion. It is thus that it makes the simple wise, etc. The knowledge possessed by the savage of the powers of the earth is extremely limited, and yet it feeds and clothes
him; but this is no argument against the discoveries whereby its hidden powers are now being utilized, and its capabilities of production extended among civilized nations. So, also, the fact that the simple can find instruction in the inspired pages suited to the requirements of his state affords no argument against the existence of an exhaustless fund of information which may be developed and utilized in the more advanced stages of Christian intelligence and perfection. So, it is believed, it will be found in regard to the soul; and that, so far from the pages of revelation being silent on the subject, definite information will on further examination be discoverable from its intimations.
CHAP. II.-MATTER AND SPIRIT.
Matter and spirit stand in a kind of parallelism to each other. Some have denied the existence of matter, others that of spirit. Some resolve the former into impressions which are taken for reality, others maintain that spirit resolves itself into the properties of the material. In the treatment of the subject under consideration in these pages, the inquiry is not only an important but an essential preliminary in the investigation. Those who favour materialism urge that a definition of spirit amounts to the negation of all properties, and contend that that which possesses no properties can be no existence. Admitting the solidity of this argument if the premises be correct, it yet demands that, ere we concede this conclusion, we should certify ourselves of the truth of the statement that a definition of spirit consists in the negation of all property; for if it be proved that spirit has properties, it must be a real entity; and if these have nothing in common with those, spirit must be admitted to have a distinct existence. No definition of any existence can be furnished beyond that of its properties. We know, for instance, the general properties of matter; but its essence lies beyond the power of our investigation. So with spirit, if what it is in itself eludes our grasp, so it does in the case of the material; if, on the contrary, the predicates and properties of spirit admit of an intelligible definition, the evidence of the existence of spirit is equally irresistible with that of matter. The properties of matter are solidity and extension-that is, no two particles of matter can occupy the same space at the same time, whilst extension involves bulk, and the larger the amount of matter the greater the bulk; and we estimate it either by measures of capacity or gravity. That the mind also is capable of expansion and growth is a truth universally recog
nized. That which possesses this capability must be a real existence. But the expansion of mind does not involve increase in bulk. Neither can the emotions of the mind be measured by the modes employed with matter. Love, affection, or sentiment is not to be computed by the yard, the gallon, or the cwt. The motion of matter likewise is mechanical. The law of locomotion through space, whereby it requires a period of time proportioned to the distance traversed at any given rate, is not affected by the velocity with which any body travels. It obtains equally with light and electricity as with the old stage-waggon. But thought visits the remotest point in space as instantaneously as the nearest object. If it be urged that thought does not travel, the argument is not affected thereby. By locomotion distant places are brought present; but places and persons are brought present to the thoughts altogether irrespectively of either time or distance. Thought, indeed, spurns space. In travelling from place to place, every step of the intervening distance must be traversed; whilst to trace a journey in thought would not require more than ordinary effort. The same is true with regard to time. Events follow each other in chronological sequence; but they are recalled to the recollection independently of the order in which they occurred.
Equally distinct are the forces whereby the two are respectively moved. The mechanical power of the steam-engine, the force of gravitation, or the attraction of chemical affinity, has no influence over the mind. The forces which move the soul are moral. Its attractions and affinities are mental. Love is the great motive force which moves the mind; but it cannot move matter except through the intervention of the powers proper to material existence. The mind can employ
these, but these cannot employ the mind.
But although the predicates of mind are thus distinct from those of matter, there is no property in the latter which has not its analogue in the former. A popular writer on infidelity, in arguing that mind is only a property of matter, and consequently is nothing separate from matter, remarks that the property of brightness may be imparted to steel without any addition of substance. This is true enough; but the brightness of steel cannot be imparted to the intellect, nor that of the intellect to steel. Steel is the basis of the one, the intellect of the other; and that which forms the basis of a property must be other than a property. The property of a property is a contradiction in terms. The warmth of the affections, again, is not the caloric that can be measured by the thermometer; it is notwithstanding equally real.
The elasticity of the mind is equally real but equally distinct from the elasticity of metals or gases. The same remarks are applicable to mental elevation, enlarged conceptions, etc. The operations of the mind bear out the same facts. To weigh the reasons presented to the mind, or fathom the depth of a problem, are operations having nothing in common with the corresponding ones in nature. But the time would fail to enumerate all the details connected with such as solidity of judgment, acuteness of intellect, etc. say, that these predicates of the mind are as intelligible as any predicates of matter. They are not mere imaginary distinctions, but are recognized by every intelligent person; and the distinctions being real, the subject which forms the substratum on which they rest must be equally real.
this subject, Suffice it to
CHAP. III.-THE RELATION OF THE SOUL TO SPIRIT.
In pursuing our inquiries we shall have to avail ourselves of the analogy offered by the body, since the relationship of the latter to the outward world will help to illustrate the relation of the former to its world. It has been truly said that the world was made for man. The outward universe is not only formed to subserve the uses of the body; but all the phenomena and arcana of the one are collated and epitomized in the other. Not only do all the substances of the material universe contribute materials for the structure of the human fabric; but it has its own magnetism, its own chemistry, and its own mechanical forces, resulting from its connection with the soul.
The point however which most interests our present inquiry is that, when in its normal condition, it stands in perfect relationship to the world to which it belongs. Without an eye to take cognizance of the sun's light and the objects rendered visible by its means, the ear and other senses, this universe would be a blank to man, and man to the universe. This relationship also extends to the internal organs and their functions. The respiration of the lungs preserves a vital connection between the body and the universe, essential to its union with the soul, etc.
Some have contended that all the phenomena of what is called mind are the result of the operation of the material world through the But careful reflection will demonstrate this to be a fundamental fallacy. For if mind were simply the sum total of physical sensations, animals, the superior orders of which have senses more perfect and more acute than we possess, would excel the human