Page:Evolution and Ethics.djvu/55

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Taking the words cited, as they stand, they amount to the denial of the possibility of any knowledge of substance. 'Matter' having been resolved into mere affections of 'spirit,' 'spirit' melts away into an admittedly inconceivable and unknowable hypostasis of thought and power—consequently the existence of anything in the universe beyond a flow of phenomena, is a purely hypothetical assumption. Indeed, a pyrrhonist might raise the objection that if 'esse' is "percipi" spirit itself can have no existence except as a perception, hypostatized into a 'self' or as a perception of some other spirit. In the former case, objective reality vanishes; in the latter, there would seem to be the need of an infinite series of spirits each perceiving the others.

It is curious to observe how very closely the phraseology of Berkeley sometimes approaches that of the Stoics: thus (cxlviii.) "It seems to be a general pretence of the unthinking herd that they cannot see God......But, alas, we need only open our eyes to see the Sovereign Lord of all things with a more full and clear view, than we do any of our fellow creatures......we do at all times and in all places perceive manifest tokens of the Divinity: everything we see, hear, feel, or any wise perceive by sense, being a sign or effect of the power of God"......cxlix. "It is therefore plain, that nothing can be more evident to any one that is capable of the least reflection, than the existence of God, or a spirit who is intimately present to our minds producing in them all that variety of ideas or sensations, which continually affect us, on whom we have an absolute and entire dependence, in short, in whom we live and move and have our being." cl. [But you will say hath Nature no share in the production of natural things and must they be all ascribed to the immediate and sole operation of God?......if by Nature is meant some being distinct from God, as well as from the laws of nature and things perceived by sense, I must confess that word is to me an empty sound, without any intelligible meaning annexed to it.] Nature in this acceptation is a vain Chimæra introduced by those heathens, who had not just notions of the omnipresence and infinite perfection of God."

(Compare Seneca, De Beneficiis, iv. 7.)

"Natura, inquit, hæc mihi præstat. Non intelligis te, quum hoc dicis, mutare Nomen Deo? Quid enim est aliud Natura