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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/41

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EVOLUTION AND ETHICS.

duction and destruction, in each of which every human being has his transmigratory representative, Gautama proceeded to eliminate substance altogether; and to reduce the cosmos to a mere flow of sensations, emotions, volitions, and thoughts, devoid of any substratum. As on the surface of a stream of water we 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 mtimately 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 intelligent 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, 1.) "Natura, inquit, hæc mihi præstat. Non intelligis te, quum hoc dicis, mutare Nomen Deo? Quid enim est aliud Natura, quam Deus, et divina ratio, toti mundo et partibus ejus inserta? Quoties voles, tibi licet aliter hune auctorem rerum nostrarum compellare, et Jovem illum optimum et maximum rite dices, et tonantem, et statorem: qui non, ut historici tradiderunt, ex eo quod post votum susceptum acies Romanorum fugientum stetit, sed quod stant beneficio ejus omnia, stator, stabilitorque est: hunc eundem et fatum si dixeris, non mentieris, nam quum fatum nihil aliud est, quam series implexa causarum, ille est prima omnium causa, ea qua cæteræ pendent." ["Nature," says my opponent, "gives me all this." Do you not perceive when you say this that you merely speak of God under another name, for what is Nature but God and divine reason, which pervades the universe and all its parts? You may address the author of our world by as many different titles as you please; you may rightly call him Jupiter, Best and Greatest, and the Thunderer, or the Stayer, so called, not because, as the historians tell us, he stayed the flight of the Roman army in answer to the prayer of Romulus, but because all things continue in their stay through his goodness. If you were to call this same personage Fate, you would not lie; for since fate is nothing more than a connected chain of causes, he is the first cause of all, upon which all the rest depend.—Bohn's translation.] It would appear, therefore, that the good bishop is somewhat hard upon the "heathen," of whose words his own might be a paraphrase. There is yet another direction in which Berkeley's philosophy, I will not say agrees with Gautama's, but at any rate helps to make a fundamental dogma of Buddhism intelligible. "I find I can excite ideas in my mind at pleasure, and vary and shift the scene as often as I think fit. It is no more than willing, and straightway this or that idea arises in my fancy: and by the same power, it is obliterated, and makes way for another. This making and unmaking of ideas doth very properly denominate the mind active. Thus much is certain and grounded on experience. . . ." (Principles, xxviii.) A good many of us, I fancy, have reason to think that experience tells them very much the contrary; and are painfully familiar with the obsession of the mind by ideas which can not be obliterated by any effort of the will and steadily refuse to make way for any others. But what I desire to point out is that if Gautama was equally confident that he could "make and unmake" ideas—then, since he had resolved self into a group of ideal phantoms—the possibility of abolishing self by volition naturally followed.