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and invective; but let any one attempt the translation of some eminent German writer in philosophy, or matters of taste, noting down the expressive words for which there is no equivalent, and Mr. Hallam's boast of copiousness will certainly be uttered in a less confident tone.
People who may be offended by words which are not used at boarding-schools and in magazines, would do well never to think of mental philosophy. Without a technical language it is impossible to treat such a science, or any of its branches. Abstract words are very much wanted in English. I think it absolutely necessary to form them from adjectives accompanied by the article, as the Particular, the Universal. In such cases a capital letter should be used, to show that the adjective has been changed into a substantive. Subsume is a word formed according to the best analogy. We have consume, resume, and others of the same family. Subsume is to draw a thing so as to take it under; absorb it. No better word could be found to express the operation of the mind, by which a superior class, or Universal, draws the inferior under itself.
Aug. 22nd. One of the difficulties with which Mental Philosophy has to contend in England is that of forming a proper nomenclature. The same difficulty, in various degrees, exists among all nations. The Philosopher in the infancy of the Science, is obliged to adopt words in common use, in order to express notions which they do not convey to the mass of the people. This new employment of words is quite offensive to that multitude who, because they receive a certain degree of instruction, however groundless and unconnected it may be, assume a right to be infallible in regard to their own language. Where, however, as in Germany, philosophy becomes a fashion, this difficulty is easily overcome; for there is a numerous class who feel vain of using any newly-proposed nomenclature. But such a fashion is not likely to appear in England. Add to this the stiff nature of the English language itself—a language made up of fragments which resist every modification which composition and flexion make easy to others. Even that which has been done by Englishmen in Mental Philosophy, increases the difficulty; for we have already a half-established nomenclature in Locke, and in the works of the Scotch School. Unfortunately it is so loose, so unconnected into a system, that it must add to the inevitable confusion of philosophical investigation under such circumstances. If I should be able to carry on my German studies, I intend to take every possible pains to form a consistent metaphysical nomenclature. My principal guide shall be the old nomenclature of the Schoolmen, because it has long been incorporated with the common languages of Europe, though most people are not aware
of the fact, and its terms may more easily be confined to a certain shade of their present vague signification, than could be done with entirely new ones. I intend to collect gradually a small dictionary of such terms, changing and modifying them according to the progress of my knowledge of German Philosophy. Whenever I find an old English word fit for the purpose in contemplation, I shall make no scruple of reviving it.
Aug. 23rd. In proportion to my progress in the study of J.H. Fichte's philosophy,* is the occasional delight-one above every pleasure I am acquainted with—which possesses my mind in the contemplation of the highest spiritual truths. I have had during my life what might be called religious acquiescences—it is only now, since I cast off all pretended oracles, and applied exclusively to that within my own mind, that I have had religious convictions.
“But how can the mass of mankind be left to follow that arduous intellectual path ?” My first answer is : that if there is no other, thoroughly consistent with truth, we must not try to mend God's works by our deceitful contrivances.—How strange that people should be constantly speaking of faith in God, while their whole conduct in these matters shows that they feel the greatest distrust in the laws of mind which He has established! What are all the sacerdotal religions over the face of the world, but human contrivances, more or less grounded on erroneous views, which, though frequently acknowledged imperfect, and even mischievous, are nevertheless cherished and supported, from a fear that mankind must go to ruin, if these old, rotten props of civilization and morality should be removed ? A wonderful inconsistency! to believe on the one hand that man is the noblest work of the Deity, and on the other to fear that such a work must be patched up with the filthiest rags of superstition and error! With those who shelter themselves behind Original Sin, I will not exchange a word—they are out of the reach of reasoning.
* I am not a follower of the Metaphysics of Kant, or Fichte, i. e. I au not a pure Idealist or Nihilist; but I delight in the Moral portions of their Works.
That man must work his way into the moral and intellectual rank for which he is designed, appears most clearly from his past and present condition. The peculiar mischief of the error to which I allude is, that its supporters would fix mankind upon a peculiar spot, in the line of this originally intended progress. This is essentially implied in the notion of that personal revelation which is supposed to be made to some privileged person, in order that it may remain as an infallible, and consequently unchangeable rule, for ever. This view is in direct contradiction with the fact, that mankind was, by God, intended
for progress. If mankind is progressive, the intellectual and moral model, at which he must aim, must be constantly assuming more and more distinct forms, That model is indeed one, and unchangeable, but the perception of its true forms must be gradual: distance and darkness—the weakness of the unpractised intellectual eye, must distort those forms, at all times, to the view of men who are, either individually or collectively, children. But here is the melancholy effect of all sacerdotal religions. At some one stage of this infancy a (supposed) perfect revelation of the infinite model is published, and, however perfect in itself, is at once blended with the imperfect conceptions of those who record it; and this imperfect sketch is placed for ever under the guardianship of superstitious fear, between the Mind's eye and the true model of divine perfection, whose direct revelations of goodness and beauty it hopelessly intercepts.
The permission of such evils would be a greater difficulty to the belief of a personal Deity, tban all the bodily sufferings of the sensitive creation, if a provision to remedy them might not be discovered by a deep and dispassionate examination of the subject. The universality and power of the religious tendency in man are undeniable. It must be granted that, like all other tendencies, its first activity takes a wrong direction. The religious tendency of man appears, without exception, in the shape of Idolatry. Man cannot help believing in an intelligent, personal Power above him; but that power appears to him perfectly