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An engagement has been entered into with the Metropolitan Drapers' Association for the abridgment of late hours of business, and THE STUDENT will henceforth be their accredited organ. The vast body of Young Men now suffering under this cruel system, must render such a step peculiarly appropriate ; and the Conductors are determined that all their energies shall be devoted to the advancement of the benevolent purposes of the Association, their connection with which they cannot but be proud to acknowledge.
As the retention of its title will imply, their Magazine will still be essentially a Student's Journal; indeed, the intellectual character of the work was deemed a paramount reason why its services should be employed in the manner specified; and, of course, such being the case, their aim will be still to increase its interest in this particular.
As further information, relative to its alteration, will soon be extensively circulated, it is not now necessary to enter more into detail; there is nothing remaining for them, therefore, but to return their grateful acknowledgments to their present subscribers, and, wishing them each farewell for the present, they hope to meet them under new and better auspices at the commencement of a happy new year.
THE STUDEN T.
THE CHRISTIAN STUDENT.
The vast domain of God's creation exhibits an unceasing activity and never-tiring energy. Star revolving around star, and system around system—the mighty comet traversing its eccentric orbit—the continuous development of organic existence and its concomitant decay—the silent but all-powerful processes which chemistry unfolds—prove that everything material is fraught with change, and that for wise and obvious purposes nature is thus continually upheld in her consistent and harmonious course.
But not less clearly can we trace this principle of restlessness and vigour in connexion with man's immortal spirit. The short span of time allotted him, stranger and sojourner as he is, is occupied in varied and multitudinous pursuits ; he cannot contemplate the universe around him, and remain a silent and paralyzed spectator. His spirit prompts him to action, and he obeys its dictates. Like many other most important and beneficial measures, he has however changed this into a curse; and although in the merchant, the politician, the philanthropist, the poet, and the philosopher, is seen the blessings this indomitable vitality bestows, yet how frequently does it exert itself in all that is base, destructive and unholy—to rouse and fire the passions—to injure and debase mankind—and to turn the image of the Creator into the vile and besotted brute. But when this commanding power is directed to the impulsion of mechanism formed and fitted by a master-hand— moulded and beautified by a divine artificer, the results produced are such as to raise man to so glorious a dignity and so lofty a standard, that all our previous conceptions of moral grandeur and true heroism are completely nullified and overwhelmed, and we are lost in admiration and wonder.
And we must now honestly and candidly confess, that no fairer or brighter picture is presented to our view in all the extensive ranks of sentient being than a sanctified mind—a real and practical Christain, devoting his energies of body and soul to the prosecution of science and philosophy—or one, claiming the title of philosopher, and bestowing his capacious endowments in exploring the wonders around him, animated with religious zeal, and a learner at Jesu's feet.
There appears to us to be so strict and wonderful an analogy between the doctrines of Christianity and the teachings of a sound Baconian philosophy, that when separated, all seems harsh and discordant; but when united, symmetry, beauty, and fitness conspicuously shine. The Christian Student ponders over the memorials of a mighty Redeemer's existence. With intensity of emotion he listens to the sublime truths He lived to unfold; with a vivid imagination he accompanies Him in his visits of blessedness and peace; he marks how the diseased and suffering are suddenly invigorated and revived; how the dead are raised; how the perturbed and disconsolate spirit is sympathised with and soothed ; and as his wrapt attention is directed to the expansive scenery around, and when from the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, and all the grandeur of the beautiful creation, are drawn forth doctrines pregnant with interest and truth, his soul is roused within him, and with a holy fervour he acqniesces in these lofty and practical lessons. All that his mind is here called to consider bears the impress of honesty and fact. No sophistries veiled in abstruse reasoning: no metaphysical jargon; no empiricism or mythos. His senses are summoned into exercise, and what he perceives with his bodily eyes, he is commanded to profit by and believe. Sound historical evidence is as competent (and we every day find it so) to convey ideas justly and impressively to our souls, as the most notorious facts that we have established by constant observation ; and therefore with his mind thoroughly imbued with the teachings of his high and glorified Master, he directs his attention again to the workings of nature. If such spirit-stirring precepts are to be extracted from the very surface of creation, he justly anticipates a fresh insight into the divine goodness, by searching with an humble disposition into the causes by which these effects are produced ; and thus the very circumstance of his attachment to Christianity, eminently qualifies him for a successful career as an experimental philosopher. And we do on the other hand think that philosophy is of a verity the handmaid of religion. It teaches man humility ; it leads him necessarily to pay an unbounded confidence in sound and authentic testimony. It cautions him against indulging his foolish imagination, and so cherishing preconceived ideas and blinding his judgment to obvious facts. It directs him to scatter to the winds his carefully-worked and fine-spun theories, and to bind himself with the chains of sober reality and truth ; and all these force him with an irresistible tendency to examine impartially and candidly the merits of Christian truth, and then the result may be safely left.
These, we conceive, in some small degree are the mutual benefits that religion and science confer. Both proceeding from the throne of the Eternal, appealing to experience and fact; both resting for their reception on one and the same ground, and that which can never be overturned; both are entitled to our unlimited confidence: and while true philosophy exists, religion will ever find devoted vassals and allies ; and while religion holds its sway, mighty intellects will venerate philosophy, and devote their lives to its service. Our remarks are more than borne out by fact. A Boyle, a Bacon, a Locke, a Newton, a Pascal, a Fenelon ; Babbage, Bell, Buckland, and Whewell, guarantee our assertions. And now we would take leave of our readers, by assuring them that the object of this journal shall always be to illustrate the views we have here advocated ; and we do most sincerely hope, that every individual who peruses our pages, will reflect seriously on the opinions we have advanced, and we doubt not, by God's favour, the result will show that every such individnal has become a Christian Student.
NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.–No. I.
* Man, the servant and interpreter of nature, understands and reduces to practice just so much as he has actually experienced of nature's laws; more he can neither know nor achieve."-Bacon's Novum ORGANON.
The principles of a sound inductive philosophy, grasped by the minds of a Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, having led to such important and overwhelming results, deserve our brief consideration, previously to introducing to the attention of our readers a general outline of the results educed from experiment and observation. The names we have mentioned, together with others to whom we shall presently refer, point to a period of very limited antiquity, and therefore it will be necessary to glance at the causes that operated so long and so powerfully in blinding men's judgments, and in subjecting them to the trammels of a harassing and sophistical philosophy. Passing over, however, any consideration of those great fountains of learning, the Italic and Ionic schools, founded by Pythagoras and Thales, together with the famous men who supported each system, or endeavoured to combine the two, we at once proceed to notice the mysticism of the Aristotelian philosophy, because as this succeeded almost entirely every other system, and reigned altogether predominant, so it was with this the illustrious Bacon had to contend, and the follies resulting from this that paved the way for that bright light and noble standard we now enjoy.
Born at Stagira, * B.C. 384, and educated in the school of Plato, this acute and powerful genius saw the necessity of a reform in the existing philosophy, and accordingly became the founder of a new sect called the Peripatetics, and his first desire appears to have been to classify the unconnected scraps that gleamed from the works of the learned, and place each in its proper position. He considered that the part of philosophy was to discover the abstract elements, or, as he termed them, the universals, from which everything in nature sprang ; to ascertain the causes of the creations around him, and this not by d-posteriori * A city of the Thracian Chersonese.
investigation or experiment, but by d-priori abstract reasoning. Thus, on contemplating certain external objects, his aim was first to define the impression the mind received consequent on such observation, then thoroughly to analyze the definition thus given, and to see in what respect it differed distinctly from the definition of other external objects; and the difference being again defined, he assumed to point to that abstract element, or essence, or universal, on which the class of objects under notice depended.
Whether he considered that the words in which the definition was conveyed really were the properties of the body, and not mere arbitrary sounds; and whether consequent on this, if he separated that which was distinctive or essential to the body, from that which was common to others or non-essential to this, we are not prepared to assert; but this much is undeniable, and we doubt not our readers will agree with us, that so far from gaining an insight into the nature of the physical principles of laws, he had filled his mind with a mere jargon of words and unintelligible notions, and his conclusions were quite consistent with the mode by which they were sought; matter, form, and privation, were asserted to be the origin of all things, or the universals, from whence every particular had arisen.
In addition to the abstruseness and manifest fallacy of this plan of philosophical investigation, which could only procluce results coincident with the original survey, however they might be analyzed and arranged; he asserted his opinions with such dogmatical assurance, that it required a mind far removed from the common order to take upon himself even to question the soundness of Aristotle's views, and more especially since popular prejudice and feeling was ready instantly to decry and even persecute any who doubted the correctness of his principles.
We cannot be surprised then that Lord Bacon should dwell so long on the causes that effectually operate to produce error in every enquiry, and which he classes under “idols of the tribe;" “ idols of the den;" “idols of the market;” and “ idols of the theatre;” in the first of which he dilates on the prejudices that obstruct the pursuit of truth arising from preconceived notions — imagination — the intense desire to sift the incomprehensible—the influence of the affections over the judgment the incompetency of the sensual organs—and the love of abstract reasoning and generalization, rather than tedious research and experiment. He also shows how prejudices arising from some favourite theory, and a desire to make that theory applicable to certain operations in nature, leads men far from truth; as also the imperfection of language to express all our ideas, which produces perplexity and doubt, as one individual may understand a term in a manner altogether different from another, and there appears no way of correcting this but by lucid definitions, to which however the same objections attach ; and lastly, he mentions the bad effects produced by the promulgation of visionary and enthusiastic ideas. Men are so enchanted by their novelty and romance, and they fit in so well with those imaginings that seem to elevate and lift them from the present sphere of existence, that truth has no chance