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miracles. He puts aside entirely the cardinal truths, that, though, doubtless, as forming a part of God's ordered plan, they may be spoken of as physical facts, still, for us, they are moral facts, and that He who rose is not the one man out of so many millions whose resurrection is to be proved by the testimony of witnesses, but He of whom His prophets bare witness that, being God, it was impossible for Him to be holden of death. Still, as we have hinted, truth, though one, commends itself in different ways to different minds, and some may find proofs, or at any rate confirmation, for their belief in Mr. Babbage's reasonings. We must remark that his chapters on this subject in the Ninth Bridgewater Treatise are in an earnest sober style, far better than the flippancy which (even more than his boundless conceit) mars the theological passages in his latest work. His want of unction' is even more offensive than that of the African Bishop. A law of nature is surely our expression of the way in which God works hitherto; a miracle is the way in which He who knows what is in man meets the free will which, since it has been bestowed on man as his differentia, must be, not done away with, but moved by such means as will act upon it. No one seeks to establish the interference theory,' as of a bungling workman, which Mr. Babbage is so fond of setting up that he may show how superior is the notion of the Godhead to which his own hypothesis leads. But, so long as we believe in a personal God, working on the wills and affections of men, we shall shrink from using language which, however harmless as Mr. Babbage understands it, will assuredly for most people lead to mere pantheistic fatalism. One strong argument against using the calculating engine as a Christian advocate is furnished by Mr. Babbage himself. If, after thirty years of conviction, based on the phenomena of higher arithmetic, he is found to write in the flippant, patronising style of which we complain, surely we have a right to say, with Dr. Whewell, in his Bridgewater Treatise (in a passage which excites our author's fiercest wrath), mechanical philosophers and mathematicians can give us no help when we ascend to the First Cause and Supreme Ruler ' of the universe. Nay, they are in some respects less likely 'than men engaged in other pursuits to make any clear advance 'towards such a subject of speculation.'
Except the chapters on Miracles there is not much in the Ninth Bridgewater Treatise. The oft-quoted vagary of the eternal calculating engine is brought in as evidence of design from the changing of laws in natural events. The language in which the analogy is drawn out becomes unconsciously profane, as when God is spoken of as taking advantage of altered circumstances,' just as the operator with the engine slips in, when he can,
a differently perforated card. Then there is a chapter against Fate, which proves nothing, and, indeed, states little except the author's conviction that the civilization of Western Europe is due, not to Christianity, but to Printing. Throughout there is the same irreverence of which we have given so many instances; God's fore-ordering of all things is illustrated by the example of a squire in a mountain country, who saves a blind postman from being drowned at a broken bridge. You may either suppose him to do so by dashing forward on horseback just as lie sees the bridge giving way under pressure of the torrent, while the blind man is walking unconsciously along the causeway; or he may have had a great deal of rain the day before, while out shooting, and so, reflecting that the bridge will probably be swept down, he may send a servant round another way to meet the postman, and give him timely warning. The former instance, we are told, illustrates the special providence' theory as generally understood; the latter 'magnifies the Creator, and 'elevates our notions of His design; for surely the benevolence which organizes its beneficent contrivances beforehand is at least as high as that which acts from sudden impulse, and, when guided by knowledge, it is likely to be of far more value to its subjects than when acting from feeling. On one point Mr. Babbage makes some curious and interesting remarks. Quoting Wollaston as to the fact that certain sounds audible by some are inaudible by others, he supposes that in the after state “the bodily organ of hearing may be so sensitive as to vibrate with infinitesimal motions of the air. Imagine, in addition, the attention able to be fixed on one class of vibrations, and the punished offender will hear his own words, the very words, 'perhaps, that caused his condemnation, still ringing in his ears.'
This strange deduction from the laws of nature opens a field for interesting and harmless speculation. We have no fault to find with the two chapters on the Permanent Impression of our Words,' and • Thoughts on the Nature of Future Punishments,' in which it is drawn out. Indeed (as we have said) the tone of the Treatise' is decidedly less irreverent than that of the Passages.' We find nothing in the former work at all approaching in profaneness to several of his recent remarks about the Trinity. Mr. Babbage is very explicit ; 'the idea is entirely destructive of truth and number. A strange instance, this, of want of appreciative power; a really superior man utterly misconceives a doctrine which any Hindoo of moderate
1 This would have enabled Spinoza to believe miracles, for he says, ' Nothing can happen in nature which opposes its universal laws, or which does not result from those same laws.'
capacity finds no difficulty in understanding. Alas! őow aléov ήμισυ πάντος. .
Now it merely remains for us to ask one question; Is Mr. Babbage in earnest when, on the one hand, he talks of mechanism doing instead of mind, and when, on the other, he loads his pages with rubbish of worthless anecdotes about his own sayings and doings ? Or, being a philosopher, does he purposely affect the cynical style, just to show, first, what is the natural tendency of all our idle talk about 'unchangeable law,' how it leads straight to materialistic-panthesim, if not to atheism; and, next, how ridiculous an autobiography is, unless it is so managed as to be of all books the most delightful? Is it possible that our author, with his . Phocion-like appetite for unpopularity,' has gibbeted himself in order to give a lesson to those who write their own memoirs? We do not think so; we believe that both the reasoning and the vanity are genuine. And, certainly, we never met a book which contains such an abundant supply of the latter.
One of the best stories which Mr. Babbage tells (for he does tell some good ones) is this: The late Sir Harris Nicholas was • calling on Lord A- Said his Lordship, “I feel uncom
monly stupid this morning, my wits are all gone to the dogs.” «« Poor dogs!" pathetically replied Sir Harris.' And so say ive, · Poor friends and relations! A hard time of it, truly, you 'must have, compelled to listen for ever to the philosopher's “self-laudation, and to hear The Engine praised every hour of the day, without being taught how to understand its principle and working
Fichte, somewhere, has some strange dreamy talk about the great I.' He shows how all the phenomena of the universe may be accounted for, after a fashion, if, instead of the multitude of causes and effects, we suppose one Being, including in his single self all existing consciousness, to lie in blissful trance in the midst of space, while all the shows of things unroll themselves (panorama-wise) before him. Things would appear to go on the same as we ordinarily suppose them to do, though life would be nothing but a picture upon which, at times, our 'great l's' personality would seem projected so that he might appear to be taking a part in it. Such is the German's dream; the Cambridge philosopher has made it a reality; he is the great I,' no phantasm, no immaterial being,' but a very tangible, often, we are sure, a very disagreeable, entity. He and his machine are the sole realities, and all the shows of the outer world are developed merely in surbordination to them. Seriously, this is not progress in the sense in which we understand it, or in which we think it is understood by Christian people in general.
Art. II.-1. Essays on Practical Education. By Maria and
R. L. EDGEWORTH. Third Edition. Johnson. 1811.
2. L'Education Progressive. Par Mme. NECKER DE SAUSSURE.
Third Edition Paris. 1856.
3. Principles of Education. By the Author of Amy Herbert,'
PROBABLY no thoughtful woman, with any connexion between her mind and her pen, has failed to think at least of composing a treatise on education. If she have children, she has personal experiences to record; if she have not, she has watched and compared her friends' methods and their results, and has a full belief that lookers on see most of the
Thus it has come to pass that during the last century, ever since Locke and Rousseau gave the first impulse, every generation has produced its educational essays, adapted to each variety of opinion therein prevalent. Rousseau was done into something more nearly approaching to English common-sense by Richard Lovell Edgeworth and his daughter, and was worked up into French religious sentiment and moderate practicability by Madame de Genlis; whose clever dilution of him (with a strong flavour of lemon-peel of her own) set off Hannah More and Mrs. Trimmer to work out the real truths into their rightful connexion with religion; and somewhat later, the admirable Madame Necker, daughter of the great Saussure, and wife to a cousin of Madame de Staël, produced a very admirable and deeply-thought-out book, which is perhaps hardly' as much read in England as it ought to be. Since that time there have been far more books than we can here enumerate, the produce of ladies of every shade of sentiment, but none perhaps of intrinsic originality and merit, or by authors of literary name standing high enough to be long recollected. The book which has called forth our present observations—Principles of Education--has the recommendation of being by an author of considerable reputation, and of long experience in that portion of the subject to which she has devoted herself; and it is well that the matter should be set before the present generation by an undoubted authority, who will find her way everywhere.
In fact, every generation does need a fresh lesson on this
subject. There are certain commonplaces that a certain class of persons constantly require to have brought out freshly dished up for them. Just as some ladies will buy the same material, not under its former title, but labelled, 'Quite new,'—so they will let a brown-leather or drab-paper book stand in a dusty, corner, and would regard its counsel not to give a baby what it cries for, and never to be under the influence of passion when punishing it, as quite ancient and useless; whereas the very same advice, in a new magenta or mauve cover would appear quite apposite and worthy of attention. But this is not all. Every generation has its own varieties of folly and of wisdom, and requires a different voice to argue with it on the expedience of its habits, or the means of preparing the young to meet with the peculiar trials of the age.
One of the sayings of Northcote was, that an augmentative assertion was not so much a wall as a buttress-projecting somewhat, in order to strengthen the really straight line. There is something of this kind in the architecture of all these essays on education. There is a good deal of straight wall building of a permanent and commendable kind, the same in all ages (such for instance as the above-quoted foundation brick, the granting nothing that is cried for), but there is besides a good deal of buttress architecture, often against the siege artillery of the common enemy, but sometimes, it must be owned, against dangers, real or fancied, to your own private bit of wall; and this produces a somewhat eccentric style of fortification. Indeed, it has been known to happen, that the very buttresses of one generation have become so obnoxious to the next that they are left to become the weakest parts, and to need much fresh repair by the third.
Let us glance back. Religious and secular writers alike at first starting advanced their outworks against baby dissipation and children's balls. Hannah More spoke so strongly against them that she was even set up in effigy in a London ball room, with a rod in her hand to punish such naughty doings. Madame de Genlis graphically drew her poor little Adèle rouged and hooped, and cruelly left by her mother to acquire an experience by eating every ice and meringue that came in her way, and then remaining unpitied under their effects. The Edgeworths would have the even course of study and occupation absolutely unbroken, dreading the child's unsettled, weary mind, both in the anticipation and the reaction. They are even dryly, gruftly indifferent as to birthdays.
66 Will you—not now, but when you've time—will you tell me why you never keep my birthday? Why you never make any difference between that day and
other day? (" And will you, Rosamond-not now, but when you have time to think