dijous, 25 d’agost de 2016

Take, again, that strange identification of the Gallic Hercules with his analogue Napoleon. How, as a jay taught by Talma, he at the Tuillcries apes the fine birds and court splendour of the old regime (p. 294). Then read the quatrain at p. 297, where the simple soldier reaches empire, and so strikes close analogy again with Cromwell. Then read (p. 300) that awful curse fulminated, when counsel shall die out of the shaven head ; see Sclavonia gather (p. 303), and old Moscow burn, whilst the eagle (p. 304) is beaten back with a swarm of birds, and hovers to its fall at Leipsic* • Touching this curse to fall on Napoleon, a somewhat singular analogy arises in comparing with it the axiom laid down by Thomasius, quoted in Bruncker's "Hist. Crit. Phllos.," v.488. He says that the spirit is, as it were, resident in the centre of all bodies, and thence emits rays, so extending matter. But where it draws back the rays from the circumference of the material to the centre, it soon dissolves and corrupts the body. Si vera radios ex circumfereniia materia spiritus attrahat ad centrum, resolvitur corpus et corrumpitur. If we suppose this to have taken place at the epileptic seizure of Napoleon, the mental attack becomes an image or antitype of the battle of Leipsic, when the swarm of birds beat back the eagle. An interpreter, such as Joseph, could have told him the meaning of the dream or swoon. The defeat was first of all rehearsed in the soldier's own brain. XXll PREFACE. I do not deem it necessary to particularize any further ; for if all this gathered into one conspectus is not enough to carry conviction home to the mind of any one ; and, make the reader know that at Salon, three hundred and odd years since, there lived a Frenchman, who saw all this in visions of the night, interpretative speech accompanying, and set it down at first in too clear prose, and secondly in rythmic riddles afterwards ; why, then, I think that fifty times more evidence, thrown in upon the top, could carry no conviction with it. I have said many things about science and its modern tendencies that will be deemed foolish by some, and by others undeservedly severe, so that a few words upon it seem necessary here. If the word "science" merely means the study of nature, it has my admiration as a pursuit. But if it means know- ledge, I say it is an absolute misnomer. There is no true knowledge out of wisdom, and all that is wisdom in man is comprised in his veneration of Deity. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." It is evident, that what we call science in this day, does not tend that way at all. But, to take it briefly another way, if you do not know the first cause of anything, you can only attain to a knowledge of relativities, but never of anything as it is in itself Your methods can have neither beginning nor end. Hence a man can only attain to relative knowledge which, in the strict meaning of PREFACE. xxm words, is not knowledge at all. Thus science is impossible. Those, who pretend to science, talk much now about an Atomic Theory. They speak of their atom, con- trary to its etymology, as being a thing infinitely divisible. This they adopt as a subterfuge, that no one may be able to drive them home. But if you leave them to their own devices, — their own chemical analyses, quantitative and qualitative, when they get beyond vapour, leave them in possession of a nothing to divide. It is then they approach Deity in minimis; but for the cloud upon their sight they cannot see Him. Such men apprehend nothing except through the intellect ; but the perfect intellect yields only half the man. It can only deal with the subject-matter furnished to it by the senses. There is, high-placed above it, the spirit of life ; which possesses a sense of its own, and by this the heart and head are inter- linked. When the ideas (for lack of a better word) of these two are thought into harmony,— or, what Coleridge would call " unity,"— then, and then only, is the comment of the whole man perfect. Take this for an axiom : If you believe your sense, you may be right ; if you believe your senses, you are out of them. Cogito ergo sum (" I think therefore I am ") has been accredited to Descartes as wisdom for a long time. It is nonsense. It is a proof gathered from the action of the intellect alone, and is a critique XXIV PREFACE. physical, rather than metaphysical, and here can afford no proof of anything. Another word about Atoms, and I must have done, or this will not be a preface, but a metaphysical treatise ; and though that may be greatly wanted, this is not the place for it. Yet, as I have arraigned science, it becomes advisable that I should furnish to the competent reader a spot or foothold, where being placed, he may, if he will, command my meaning. In the Chaldaic oracles there occur two curious lines ; I quote them below that there may be no equivoca- tion possible.* " Now, these fabricate individual things (ro urnfxa, atoms), and sensible objects, and corporeal things, and things classed under matter." The Neoplatonists said that ideas were an emanation of the divine fire. Plato said very much the same thing of the human soul itself An atom thus becomes a fiery individuality (atomic) ; not, observe, what the nonsensical chemist of to-day calls it, — when by his terrene fire he has reached vapour, — an infinitely divisible atom, but a particle indivisible ; that, having traversed all the forms, goes out at the other end of matter ; or back again in a chariot of fire to the idea it started from. The world's Opifex made it by fire, and the tradition of Elias is that it will be dissolved by fire at last ; but what, friend, should it prove that * Ot Se Ta &To^a Kol alaBTjTa iruMtovpyovcn Stanley's " Hist. Chald. Phil.," p. 43.

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