Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/16

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BÖHME

is an immediate, instinctive sense which guides all men to the acceptance of certain truths (notitiæ communes). This sense is the natural product of the instinct of self-preservation, which is another instance of the operation of divine predestination. The following propositions are instinctive truths of this order: Two contradictory propositions cannot both he true; There is a first cause of all things; No one should do anything towards another which he would be unwilling to suffer in return. According to Cherbury, even natural religion rests on an instinctive foundation, an inner revelation experienced by every human soul. The evidences of this revelation consist of the fact that we have capacities and impulses which finite objects fail to satisfy. The following five propositions contain the essence of all religion: There is a Supreme Being; This Being must be worshipped; The truest worship consists of virtuous living and a pious disposition; Atonement for sin must be made by penitence; There are rewards and punishments after the present life. Questions which go beyond these five propositions need give us no concern.

Jacob Böhme (1575-1624), the Gorlitz cobbler, and the profoundest religious thinker of this period, does not intend to oppose positive religion, as is the case with Bodin and Cherbury. He means to be a good Lutheran. He simply wishes to furnish a philosophy which will harmonize with Protestantism. Although a mere artisan, the influence of mysticism and natural science gave rise to grave doubts in Böhme’s mind. He accepted the Copernican astronomy. He could no longer regard the earth as the center of the universe. But must it not follow therefore that man is but a negligible quantity in the universe, and is it not true that the great world proc-