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Then you must concede intelligence, and then whatever is essential to the reality of intelligence. In conceding anything you concede necessarily all that by which it is what it is, and without which it could not be what it is. Intelligence is inconceivable without the intelligible, or some object capable of being known. So, in conceding intelligence, you necessarily concede the intelligible.* The intelligible is therefore something that is, is being, real being, too, not merely abstract or possible being, for without the real there is and can be no possible or abstract. The abstract, in that it is abstract, is
. nothing, and therefore unintelligible, that is to say, no object of knowledge or of the intellect. [?] The possible, as possible, is nothing but the power or ability of the real, and is apprehensible only in that power or ability.
“In itself, abstracted from the real, it is pure nullity, has no being, no existence, is not, and therefore is unintelligible, no object of intelligence or of intellect, on the principle that what is not is not intelligible. Consequently, to the reality of intelligence, a real intelligible is necessary, and since the reality of intelligence is undeniable, the intelligible must be asserted, and asserted as real, not as abstract or merely possible being. You are obliged to assert intelligence, but you cannot assert intelligence without asserting the intelligible, and you cannot assert the intelligible, without asserting something that really is, that is, without asserting real being. The real being thus asserted is either necessary and eterual being, being in itself, subsisting by and from itself, or it is contingent and therefore created being. One or the other we must say, for being which is neither necessary nor contingent, or which is both at once, is inconceivable, and cannot be asserted or supposed.
* In assenting to the fact of doubting the intelligible is the intelligence doubting, and there is required no other “intelligible,” which satisfies the require ment for something intelligible without postulating any reality besides the intelligence.
“Whatever is, in any sense, is either necessary and eternal, or contingent and created—is either being in itself, absolute being, or existence dependent on another for its being, and therefore is not without the necessary and eternal, on which it depends. If you say it is necessary and eternal being, you say it is God; if you say it is contingent being, you still assert the necessary and eternal, therefore God, because the contingent is neither possible nor intelligible without the necessary and eternal. The contingent, since it is or has its being only in the necessary and eternal, and since what is not, is not intelligible, is intelligible as the contingent, only in necessary and eternal being, the intelligible in itself, in which it has its being, and therefore is intelligibility. So in either case you cannot assert the intelligible without asserting necessary and eternal being; and therefore, since necessary and eternal being is God, without asserting God, or that God is; and since you must assert intelligence even to deny it, it follows that in every act of intelligence God is asserted, and that it is impossible, without self-contradiction, to deny his existence."
With great respect for the author of the above, I must say, when analyzed, it seems a web woven of words. Without preamble let us admit that God exists; yet those who believe in the eternity of matter believe also that all of the possibilities of life were infolded within it from the “beginning.” They hold that it had always the innate power of infinite expansion and differentiation, and that from it evolved mind and all the other phenomena of being. Besides infinite succession of being is no more difficult of comprehension than self-existent eternal being. While we conceive of space as illimitable, the idea of a limit to space being unthinkable, we can, as we have shown, conceive as well of a chain composed of links interminable extending through space. The truth is we may apprehend both or either, but can comprehend neither. We may, as shown by Herbert Spencer, “symbolize” time and space, but from an understanding of them we come as far as our minds fall short of infinite comprehension.
So much space has been given to the quotation on which reliance was placed that we must hasten to a conclusion of this chapter.
Ingersoll.-"Logic is not satisfied with assertion."
Lambert.-" Then it is not satisfied with your assertion in reference to it."
Certainly not. As an assertion merely, it carries no weight. It is a major premise, and if disputed must be proved. If selfevidenţ it need not be proved. We consider it as such. But will the good, honest priest demand that a disputant parse his sentences and embrace in his work a treatise on every subject he mentions? Surely the earth could not contain the book.
Lambert.-“ Logic as a science deals with principles, not assertions; and logic as an art deals with assertions only.”
The Father might have added, that logic, as a science, when applied to the elucidation of the grandest problems which can engage the attention of man, scorns the quibbles and subterfuges of the schoolmen and directs its aim to the exposition of truth only. I speak of logic with a soul back of it; not the kind which amuses itself with the jumping-jacks of technicality.
Ingersoll.—“A fact is a legal-tender.”
Listen to the rare profundity and excruciating logic of the Father's reply!
Lambert.-"A counterfeit is a fact; is it a legal-tender ? "
Yes, as a counterfeit it is. It is a legal-tender fact in court to convict the one who made or circulated it with criminal intent. But in the well understood sense in which Mr. Ingersoll used the word, it is not a fact, but a lie.
The same sophistical spirit pervades the balance of Chapter VI. Not content with animadverting the statement that "assertions and miracles are spurious coin," the good priest inserts the word "all" before “ assertions." Were the Father's self-appointed task to construe and not to misconstrue, he, as the commentator of Ingersoll, would have inserted inere in place of “ all.” In other words, “mere assertion is not proof."
Ingersoll.—“Reason is the result of all experience.”
This is incorrect, but quite as true as the Father's dictum, that “mind and reason are identical.” Imagination is as much an attribute of mind as reason, yet imagination is not synonymous with mind. “Reason," says the Father, “is the soul or intellect itself in conscious action.” Does not the soul act in its loves and affectional longings? Yet who will say that love is the synonym of reason, or of mind ? Certainly no father who, in vengeance, chases an eloping couple!
Here we gladly leave the field of Metaphysics, always unsatisfying to popular desire, and turn to that book with which a priest of the infallible church is supposed to be conversant. This brings us to the real subject and substance of the controversy as raised by Mr. Ingersoll: "Is all of the Bible inspired ?"
In other words, were the writers of the Old and New Testament so illuminated and controlled by the Spirit of God that they were enabled to write, and did write, the several books of the Bible, true as to all matters of fact, morals and doctrines therein set forth? To this question we now address ourselves, following, as we must, the path marked out to us by our guide, the Father.
REPLY TO CHAPTER VII.
Father Lambert on the Æsthetic-Art Culture-Painting and Sculpture--The
Jews as an Art Cultivating People Contrasted with Greeks, Romans, etc.—The Father's Definition of Art too Contracted—“The Roving Lecturer.”
We must now follow the Father into the regions of the æsthetic, where he luxuriates in much that is beautiful, and states some things that are true. Art studies are delightful, even to those who are not proficients in art culture; and such may be thankful that if they cannot create, they may, at least, wonder and adore.
Ingersoll.—“In passing it may be well enough to say that the commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth,' was the absolute death of art; and that not until after the destruction of Jerusalem was there a Hebrew painter or sculptor.”
Here it is alleged that the above command was a prohibition of two arts--painting and sculpture. I do not think it was so intended, however the Jews may have interpreted it. It would seem that a fair criticism would construe the words as limiting the making of works of art in so far only as they were intended to be used for devotional purposes. How Hebrew fastidiousness may have construed the prohibition I am not able to say. But
But the Father has done little to disprove