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Juoffroy's Ethical System

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1845

Art. III. — Cours de Droit Naturel, professe a la Faculte des Lettres de Paris, par M. Tho. Jouffroy. Premiere Partie. Prolegomenes au Droit Naturel. Paris. 1835. 8vo.    2 Tomes.

This work has been translated into English by the Rev. William H. Channing, nephew of the late Dr. William Ellery Channing, published by Mr.  Ripley in his  Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, and adopted as a text-book of moral philosophy in the University of Cambridge. It has been read by many among us, been favorably noticed by several of our leading journals, and is, probably, as well known and as highly esteemed in our community as similar works on similar subjects generally are, or can be expected to be.

We ourselves were the first to bring the work to the notice of the American public, by a favorable review of it inserted in The Christian Examiner, for September, 1837. We then estimated the work very highly, and regarded it as a valuable contribution to moral science. As such we spoke of it ; as such we commended it; we honestly believed that it had solved the great ethical problems, and prepared the way for the construction, on the law of nature as discoverable by natural reason, of a complete and satisfactory system of ethics, which would endure as long as human nature should remain unaltered. Our review of the work, and the commendatory terms in which we have on several occasions spoken of it, have, no doubt, contributed somewhat to the favorable reception it has found in our community ; and we therefore feel it incumbent on us to assign at least some few of the reasons which have finally operated to change our views of it, and to induce us to reject its principal doctrines as insufficient, false, or mischievous.

We are not surprised that we should have approved this work at the time we did, for it issued from a school of philosophy to which we were then attached ; but nothing seems to us more unaccountable, now, than the confidence and warmth with which we received the teachings of that school, of which M. JoufFroy, if not one of the founders, was at least one of its most distinguished disciples, —unless, indeed, it be the fact, that they were also received by some of our friends, well qualified by age, experience, attainments, and natural ability to be our masters. Some eight or ten years ago, we regarded the Eclectic school as a glorious school, and counted it our highest felicity to be recognized by its master, M. Victor Cousin, as one of his disciples. Many amongst us, indeed, opposed it, but, unhappily, in bad temper, or on untenable grounds ; and their opposition tended only to confirm our confidence, increase our admiration, and inflame our devotion. But since the novelty has worn oft', and we have had leisure to recover our self-possession, and to look, with an undazzled eye, the school calmly and steadily in the face, we have found it utterly unsatisfactory, and utterly unable to solve a single important problem. It throws no light on any of the dark passages of human nature, gives no satisfactory explanation of the past history of our race, presents no consistent theory of the universe, and furnishes no solution of our future destiny. All too late for our personal credit as a philosopher have we discovered this ; for all too late for our credit as a philosopher, though we hope not all too late to make sure of our destiny as a man, have we discovered that philosophy, separated from supernatural revelation, is unable to solve any of the great problems of man or the universe.

Philosophy, taken strictly, is science deducing conclusions from principles obtained by the light of natural reason, and can arrive at no conclusion which is valid beyond the range of natural reason. But all the great problems of man and the universe lie beyond this range, and therefore, if solved at all, can be solved only by the aid of supernatural revelation. When we discovered this fact, we enlarged our definition of philosophy, and defined it science deducing conclusions from principles obtained both from reason and revelation. In this sense the word philosophy is used in all our writings for the last two or three years. But in this sense philosophy is made to embrace not only philosophy properly so called, but theology also. This usage of the word is unauthorized, is unnecessary, and tends to generate confusion. Moreover, there is a science of man and the universe, and even of the Author of man and the universe, deduced from principles furnished by natural reason, and distinct from theology, which is very true, and very important. This science, from the time of Pythagoras, has received the name of philosophy. This is its proper name, and this name it should be permitted to bear.

In defining philosophy to be science deducing its conclusions from natural reason alone, and in declaring it impotent to solve the great problems of the universe, we say nothing against reason, and imply no distrust of reason. We merely say, what all know to be true, that reason has its bounds, beyond which it cannot pass. All our faculties are good, and were given us to be exercised. Reason is man's distinguishing characteristic. It is this which distinguishes him from the animal world. It would, therefore, be absurd to forbid him to exercise his reason, the faculty which ennobles him and gives him his rank in the scale of being. Moreover, if we were to deny to man the exercise of his reason, or if we were even to distrust it, we should deny to him the possibility of having any well grounded faith, —indeed, of having any faith at all. For, though faith itself is never taken on the authority of reason, but on the veracity of God, who reveals it, yet the motives of credibil-ity are all addressed to reason, and reason judges supremely whether the witness for God be worthy of credit or not. All we ask is, that reason be confined to its legitimate province, and that men do not attempt to do by reason what they cannot do by it.

The error of philosophers is not in their using reason, but in using it unreasonably, — in fancying that by its aid alone they can discover the true end of man, and determine the rules according to which he should conduct his life ; or, in other words, in imagining that philosophy may, supersede revelation by taking cognizance of the same matters. Our modern philosophers, on the one hand, magnify beyond all reason the power of reason, and imagine they obtain results from it which they obtain only, directly or indirectly, from supernatural revelation ; or, on the other hand, professing to accept supernatural revelation, unduly depress, under pretence of explaining it, and reduce the mysteries of faith to mere propositions of philosophy. This last is the error of the Eclectic school. It professes to accept all the mysteries of faith, but that, in accepting, it explains them ; and at first sight it seems to do what it professes. It is this which deceives us. We read its productions. We find all the consecrated terms of faith, in name at least, all the dogmas the most rigid orthodoxy can insist upon our believing, and we do not readily see what is wanting. All is explained ; all seems perfectly clear and easy ; we are enraptured, and exclaim, All hail, glorious and triumphant philosophy ! But as soon as we begin to look a little deeper, to penetrate a little below the surface, we discover, that, if we have the orthodox terms, we have by no means the orthodox sense. The proposition, Hve took to be the dogma of faith, turns out to be merely a proposition of philosophy, and the explanation of the mystery to be simply its rejection. The Christianity we seemed to have grasped with a firm hold, and which we felt so able to demonstrate, proves to be merely a cold speculation and a chilling infidelity.
The Eclectic school falls into a fatal error,—that of assuming that religion and philosophy do not differ as to their matter, but only as to their form. Faith is the truth, but the truth enveloped ; philosophy is the same truth, but developed. This is M. Cousin's doctrine ; it was also M. JoufTroy's. But as the truth developed and possessed in the clear light of philosophy is much superior to truth enveloped in the mystic folds of faith, so philosophy is superior to religion. Yet, as all cannot rise to this clear vision, or obtain the transcendent lucidity of the Eclectic philosophy, so philosophy, with a generous condescension, a noble pity for human weakness, deigns to take religion under its protection, and to extend the hand to the ignorant masses who are still enveloped in its folds ! Thus, M. Joufi'roy contends that Christianity must needs recoil before the advance of philosophy, and finally disappear, when all the world become philosophers. No doubt, faith loses itself where vision begins, but the error is in assuming that faith embraces no matters which transcend the reach of philosophy. The matter of faith and philosophy is not one and the same.. The matter of philosophy is what is intrinsically evident to natural reason ; the matter of faith is that portion of universal truth which God has been pleased to reveal, which is intrinsically inevident to reason. Fides est credere quod non vicles, says St. Augustine : Faith is, to believe that which you see not;—or, as says the blessed Apostle Paul, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things which appear not, — Jlrgumentum non apparentium." (Heb. xi. 1.) The matter of faith, then, is not the matter of philosophy, but transcends it, and is that before which philosophy must bow down and worship.

M. Cousin is right in representing faith as obscure, but wrong in predicating this obscurity of the form under which its matter is apprehended. He is wholly mistaken, when he makes faith the enthusiastic perception of truth, clothing itself in the picturesque forms of poetry, and expressing itself only in the hymn and the chant, it is not faith, but devotion consequent upon faith, that demands sacred hymns and chants. The dogmas of faith, as laid down in the Credo, are expressed in forms as clear, as precise, as exact, as sober, as philosophy herself can aspire to. The dogmas of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, of Transubstantiation, as formal propositions to be believed, are as simple and as intelligible as the proposition, two and two make four. They are, no doubt, great and impenetrable mysteries ; but the mystery is not in the form, but in the matter, — not in the expression, but in the thought. This single fact overthrows the whole Eclectic theory concerning divine revelation and the difference between religion and philosophy.

The Eclectic school, the modern German schools, and even our liberal Christians, as they call themselves, really reject all supernatural revelation, in believing themselves able to explain its mysteries. To explain, in the sense these understand it, is to make intrinsically evident to natural reason. They wish to explain the mysteries, that is, to find in them some intrinsic evidence of their truth, so that they may believe them without being obliged to take them on the authority of Him who reveals them. But nothing can be made intrinsically evident to reason, whose intrinsic truth transcends reason, or, what is the same thing, is not naturally knowable by reason. The contents of supernatural revelation are matters whose intrinsic truth transcends natural reason. For if not, they would not need to be supernaturally revealed, and we should have with supernatural revelation no more than we might have without it. Consequently, the contents of supernatural revelation, or the matter revealed, are necessarily inexplicable to natural reason, and therefore the attempt to explain its mysteries is only to attempt to prove that they are not matters supernaturally revealed.

A supernatural revelation must necessarily contain mysteries. A mystery is something whose intrinsic truth is inevident to natural reason, and therefore inexplicable to natural reason. A pretended revelation, containing no mysteries, would be proved at once not to be supernatural, because it would be all explicable to natural reason. It might be true, we grant; but its truth would be truth pertaining to the natural order, not to the supernatural order. The simple question is, Has God made us a revelation of truths of the supernatural order ? If not, we are left to the light of nature, and it is idle to talk of divine revelation^ If he has, then these truths must needs be mysteries, intrinsically inevident, though extrinsically evident; that is, evident, not because we apprehend their internal reasonableness and truth, but because the authority of God revealing them is ample vyarrant of their truth. We do not, in saying that they are intrinsically inevident, say that it is unreasonable to believe them. Far from it. Nothing is more reasonable than to be-lieveon the veracity of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived ; nothing, in fact, would be more unreasonable than not to believe God on his word. Our philosophers and liberal Christians, then, instead of seeking to explain the mysteries, should ask rather if God has revealed them, or if we have sufficient grounds for believing that he has revealed them. We cannot conclude from the1 internal reasonableness of the doctrine to the fact of revelation, but we must conclude from the fact of revelation to the internal reasonableness.
The pretended explanation of a real mystery is never its explanation, but always its rejection. This is evident from the language of our liberal Christians themselves. They are great in explaining the mysteries. After philosophizing awhile on a mystery, they seize, as they imagine, its real significance, and exclaim, " See, all the world has been wondering away about this for eighteen centuries. And yet it means only this." But what have they in reality done ? Why, they have merely pared the mystery down, fitted it to the narrow apertures of their own minds, and called this explaining it, comprehending it! It becomes under their process a mighty little affair, and they have reason to wonder that the world should have made so much ado about it. So they go through with all the mysteries of faith, one after another, and having eliminated all that is mysterious in them, that is, all that rises above the natural order, they call what remains liberal Christianity, rational religion, adapted to the wants of this enlightened age,—just what it demands to recall it to faith, and to save it from the terrible scourge of infidelity !

All this comes from assuming that the matter of faith and philosophy is one and the same, and that faith and philosophy differ only as to their form. The matter of both is assumed to belong to the natural order, and hence philosophy is able to strip from faith its mysterious robes, and present its naked truth to the natural understanding. Delusion all! Philosophy concerns solely truths naturally cognoscible, and faith, truths only supernaturally cognoscible, and of course, till we are super-naturally elevated to see them in themselves, intrinsically inev-ident. There is no use in quarrelling with this fact. We either believe such truths on the authority of God's word duly accredited, or we do not believe them at all. It is idle, then, to think of bringing men to faith in Christianity by attempting to divest Christianity of its mysteries. We do not, by such a process, convert the unbeliever to the gospel, but the gospel to the unbeliever, as we ourselves did in our Charles Elwood, or the Infidel Converted. Our liberal Christians make a sad mistake. They find men, perverted by a false philosophy, rejecting the gospel because they will not believe what is not intrinsically evident to their natural reason ; and instead of undertaking to prove to them that God has really revealed these mysteries which they refuse to believe, and that nothing is more reasonable than to believe God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, they foolishly, not to say impiously, set to work to prove that these mysteries are at bottom no mysteries, and that the gospel contains nothing which transcends reason, or whose internal reasonableness and truth are not obvious even to an ordinary understanding. They may, indeed, in this way, adapt Christianity to the age, but not to the wants of the age.    They conform to the infidelity and corruptions of the age,
instead of resisting them. They deceive themselves, if they think they are promoting faith in our holy religion by laboring to bring its teachings within the scope of human philosophy. They but lessen the matter to be believed, without augmenting faith. He who rejects a single dogma, because it appears to him unreasonable, has no true faith in a single article of revelation. The whole of revelation is unreasonable and incredible, if you consult only its intrinsic evidence ; but in the last degree reasonable and credible, if you look only to the veracity of God who makes the revelation, and to the evidence of the fact that he has made it. He who will not take God's word for much cannot consistently take it for little. He who will reject the doctrine of the Trinity, because it is incomprehensible, is a miserable logician, if he can believe any doctrine whatever, because God has revealed it. This process of rationalizing Christianity, so much in vogue among liberal Christians, does no good, gains no one to the faith, but keeps men from it, and renders conversions more difficult and hopeless.
What we have said of the Eclectic school in general, we may say of M. Jouffroy in particular. Yet, personally, we would treat M. Jouffroy with great tenderness. He was a believer before he became acquainted with M. Cousin ; and we hope he recovered his faith before he died, although we have no evidence of the fact. M. Cousin's philosophy perverted his understanding, destroyed his faith, and plunged him into infidelity. Our indignation is not so much against him who was the unhappy victim, as against the master who misled him. His ethical system we reject, because it is constructed upon principles derivable solely from natural reason, and natural reason cannot furnish adequate and safe rules for the conduct of life. We do not dispute the reality of the law of nature (droit naturel); we admit that ethics is a science, but a science whose chief fundamental principles must be borrowed from faith, the supernatural revelation which God has made us. We believe God has made us a revelation of truths pertaining to the supernatural order, and because it was necessary for the conduct of life that we should know them. Believing this, we cannot believe in the sufficiency or safety of rules which are deduced from natural reason alone. If natural reason could have sufficed for our guidance, no supernatural revelation would have been needed or made. From the fact, that such revelation has been made, we may infer its necessity ; and from its necessity, that it is perilous to disregard it.    We think, also, that we are able, from natural reason alone, to demonstrate the insufficiency of natural reason. If we mistake not, reason herself proclaims her own insufficiency, and affirms the necessity of something beyond her reach to serve for our guidance.

It is not our purpose to attempt a complete statement of M. Jouffroy's ethical system ; we can give only a brief outline of its more prominent features, and this only so far as we propose to make them the subject of a few disconnected comments. M. .Jouffroy has rightly seen that man must have an end or destiny in order to be the subject of a moral law, and that this end or destiny must be known before we can proceed to establish the rules according to which man should govern himself in the conduct of life. The first inquiry, then, is, Has man a destiny ? He decides that he has, and a destiny which is not accomplished in this life ; therefore man must live a life or lives beyond this life. The second question is, What is man's destiny ? The answer to this question is the great affair. Does M. Jouffroy answer it, and answer it correctly and adequately ? This is what principally concerns us in our present remarks; and what we proceed to inquire.

" What distinguishes one being from another," says M. Jouffroy, " is organization. It is this which distinguishes a plant from a mineral, an animal of one species from an animal of another species. Each being has its proper nature, and, because it has its proper nature, it is predestinated by that nature to a certain end. If the end of the bee, for instance, is not that of the lion, if that of the lion is not that of man, the sole reason is to be found in the difference of their nature. Each being, then, is organized for a certain end; so that we may, from a perfect knowledge of its nature, deduce its destination or end. The end of a being is what is called its good. There is, then, an absolute identity between the good of a being and its end. Its good is, to fulfil its destiny, to go to the end for which it has been organized."

Man is created with a specific nature, and by that nature iu predestinated to a certain end, which is his good. This nature has certain primitive tendencies, which begin to operate as soon as man begins to exist, and each to go to a special end, each seeking its special satisfaction, which is its special good. The satisfaction of a tendency is the good of that tendency. The satisfaction of all man's tendencies, that is, the sum of the particular satisfactions of all his tendencies taken separately, is the total good of the individual man.

These natural tendencies,  which  Gall and Spurzheim call faculties, and which are the primitive forces of human nature, have each their particular end, towards which each incessantly tends. But experience soon teaches us, that, if these tendencies be left to their instinctive or spontaneous action, one will seek its satisfaction at the expense of another, and hence confusion and disorder will be produced in the bosom of the individual, which will distract him from his veritable destiny. This experience teaches him the necessity of subordinating all these separate tendencies to one common end, which may be called the greatest good or interest of the individual. A little larger experience teaches the individual that there are other men besides himself in existence, each with his particular destiny, and that one man seeks his good, or his interest, at the expense of another, which produces disorder, confusion, in the bosom of the race. Thence arises a new conception, that of the greatest good of the race, to which the individual must subordinate his own good. But having arrived here, and reason developing itself more and more, he learns that there are other beings in the universe besides men ; he rises to the conception of the good of the universe, which is universal order, absolute good, and finds that it is his duty to labor for universal order, which is man's highest moral conception.

But the universe is composed of parts, and the good of the whole is nothing but the sum of the good of the parts. So it matters very little, as to the result, whether the individual labors in view of the good of the universe, of the good of the race, of himself alone, or leaves himself to be borne along by his instinctive tendencies, each seeking its own special satisfaction. The universe is so constructed, that universal order is alike promoted, secured, whether man merely obeys his instincts, acts from supreme selfishness, supreme philanthropy, or from pure regard to absolute good.    A very convenient morality !

The satisfaction of a tendency is followed by a certain sensation which we call pleasure ; its disappointment, by a certain sensation which we call pain. The pleasurable sensations generalized are called happiness, and whatever tends to produce them is called useful; the painful sensations generalized are what we term unhappiness, and whatever tends to produce them is termed hurtful. Hence the ideas of pleasure and pain, useful and hurtful, happiness and unhappiness, which we must be careful to distinguish from good and evil. Good is gaining our end, fulfilling our destiny ; evil is failing to do so ; and either would be precisely what it now is, were we so made as to be incapable of receiving pleasure or of suffering pain.
So, also, when we labor for absolute good, we approve ourselves, which is called moral approbation, and this moral approbation is followed by an internal satisfaction which is termed moral pleasure ; and when we fail to do so, we condemn ourselves, which is termed moral blame, followed by a moral pain which is termed remorse. But the moral pleasure is not moral good, nor is it an end to be sought ; the remorse is not moral evil, nor an end to be shunned. Both are mere accidents accompanying our actions, but wholly unrelated to our end or destiny ; and are never to be taken into the account in our endeavour to determine what is good or evil, the end we are to seek or to avoid.

. That this system indicates, on the part of its author, very great ingenuity, as well as much and even profound reflection, we have no disposition to deny ; but it cannot teach us so much of ethics, even as a science, as knows the boy who has simply learned his catechism. This is entirely owing to the fault of its method. M. Jouffroy was a psychologist, and sought to construct his ethical system by the simple study of human nature. But the study of human nature alone can give us, at best, only man's natural destiny, and furnish us only with the rules for fulfilling it. To fulfil our natural destiny, or the destiny indicated by our nature, is merely to fulfil our nature itself, to perfect it, or to realize its highest type. But this is not the end for which God made us, and to which he bids us aspire. We know from revelation that we are made for a supernatural destiny, to which we do not, and cannot, attain by natural development, but by an obedience possible only on condition of the infused habit of supernatural grace.

So far, in fact, is the fulfilment of our natural destiny, or, what is the same thing, the perfecting of our nature, the means, or condition even, of attaining to our supernatural destiny, that it is only as we attain to our supernatural destiny, that our nature itself is or can be fulfilled or perfected. This supernatural end being the veritable end, that for which we were created, our nature is wounded whenever separated from it, and groans in pain whenever left to itself. Hence the disappointment we all experience in every case of merely natural satisfaction, whether of intellectual, sensual, or even philanthropic tendencies. ^ None of our tendencies are really satisfied by their natural objects, even when fully gained. This is the sad experience ol all men, and is so because to gain these objects was not the end for which we were made. But this last is a fact which we can hardly learn  from the study of human nature alone. This study can disclose to us only the end to which we are predestinated by our nature ; and from experience we can learn only that the gaining of this end does not satisfy our nature ; — which may, indeed, lead us to suspect that our natural destiny is not, after all, our veritable destiny.

Nor does M. Jouffroy get beyond our natural destiny, even by admitting a life after this life. Man, he reasons, has capa-cities, —natural capacities, which are not and cannot be fulfilled in this life. Our destiny is not accomplished in this world. But, in creating us with these capacities, the Creator has given us a pledge of the means and conditions of their fulfilment. Hence another life, in which may be completed the destiny begun, but left unfinished, here. But this only demonstrates a future natural existence, not the life and immortality brought to light through the gospel. It is not the " eternal life " promised as the reward of the just. It is only a prolongation, in another state, of our present life. Its admission is not the admission of a supernatural destiny, nor of an end to which we may not attain by our natural strength and development, provided our natural existence be but continued. Hence, the admission of this future prolonged existence would demand no rules for the conduqt of life, which would not be demanded, in like manner, in case our existence terminated at the grave.

But we take higher ground, and deny that from nature alone it is possible to conclude even to our natural destiny. The destiny of a being is its final cause, that for which it exists, which it is the purpose of its being to accomplish. But nature nowhere reveals to natural reason final causes. We know from reason that all created existences must have a final cause, as well as a first cause ; for we know from reason the existence of God, and even his eternal power and Godhead, that he is wise and good, and must therefore act to a wise and good end. We know, therefore, that the universe has a final cause, that each particular being of the universe has its final cause, and that this cause is wise and good. But what this final cause or end is, we cannot, either in the case of the whole or of a part, in a single respect, from the study of nature alone, ever ascertain. I may, perhaps, from the study of the nature of the bee, ascertain that it is fitted to make honey, and infer that it was designed to make honey ; but to make honey is not the final cause of the bee, for to what end shall it make honey ? To live ? But to what end live ? We may, from the study of man's nature, ascertain that it is adapted to the' performance of certain functions, and hence infer that he was intended to perform them ; but this tells us nothing of the final cause of his existence. To what end perform these functions ? So as to perfect his nature ? But to what end perfect his nature ? Why, the end of man is to perfect his nature. Man was originally created imperfect; his law is progress ; his end is perfection. That is to say, the end of man is to be perfect man ! But what is perfect man for ? That the end of imperfect man, that is, of incomplete man, quoad incomplete, is to become perfect, we do not doubt ; but this is not our question. When we ask what is the end of man, we ask the end of perfected no less than of unperfected man. Man was not made imperfect ; but suppose he was, and suppose that by progressive development he has become perfect, what now does he exist for ?

M. Jouffroy says, man is predestinated by his nature to a certain end, which is his destiny, and that by a perfect knowledge of man's nature we may know what this destiny is. But this destiny, according to his own system, is simply the satisfaction of my natural tendencies, by gaining the natural objects they seek. These tendencies are myself. Consequently, my destiny is to satisfy myself. But what is myself for ? I have a natural tendency to eat, to drink, to sleep, &c. Was I made for the simple purpose of eating, drinking, sleeping, &c? Of course not, For what, then, was I made ? To fulfil my destiny. What is my destiny ? The satisfaction of my tendencies. But to what end satisfy my tendencies ? So that I may exist as a perfect man. But to what end exist as perfect man ? To satisfy my tendencies ! " The millions," somebody says, "live to dig, and dig to live." Nature turns for ever in a vicious circle.

Not so. M. JoufTroy, it may be said, gets out of it. He identifies our destiny with our good. We are to satisfy our natural tendencies because that is our good, and it is our good because it is a fragment of the good of the race, which is a fragment of universal good, identical with universal order, which is absolute good. But wherefore is universal order good ? Universal order is ultimate, and we are not required to go beyond the ultimate. But we demand the proof that universal order is ultimate. It may, indeed, be as far as your system can carry you, but are you sure it is as far as the truth requires you to go ? Does the universe exist solely for the purpose of realizing order ? What is order ? The proper arrangement or adjustment of the several parts ; nothing more, nothing less. So the universe exists for the sole purpose of having all its parts adjusted, or properly arranged !

Order is nothing in itself, but is a mere state or condition. We may as properly ask why order is good, as why this or that particular act is good. Order is, no doubt, good as a means or condition ; but that it is good as an end cannot be conceived. If we ask why universal order is good, — we can answer, because it is the necessary condition of securing to all the beings of the universe free scope to develope their nature and satisfy their natural tendencies,—that is, free scope to accomplish what M. JoufTroy calls their destiny. It is not that accomplishment, but its condition. It therefore leaves us to turn, as before, in our vicious circle. To what end the satisfaction of a given natural tendency ? The total satisfaction of the individual. The total satisfaction of the individual ? The total satisfaction of the race. The total satisfaction of the race ? The total satisfaction of the universe. The total satisfaction of the universe ? The establishment of universal order. The establishment of universal order ? The establishment of the necessary condition of the satisfaction of the natural tendencies of all and of each. " The millions live to dig, and dig to live."

We must be careful, M. Jouffroy admonishes us, not to confound the satisfaction of a tendency with the pleasure which follows it. The pleasure is no part of the satisfaction, but its simple accident. It is not the good, but its attendant, and therefore is not the end to be sought. The good is solely in gaining the natural object of the tendency. This must not be forgotten. Now, the point to be proved is, that the gaining of this object, which is what is meant by satisfying a natural tendency, is good. Is it good, and for what reason ? This is what we want shown.

Now, good may be taken in two senses ; absolutely, as the end, and relatively, as the means of gaining the end. The satisfaction of our tendencies is not good in the first sense, unless we are prepared to say that we live to eat, instead of saying that we eat to live. Is it good in the second sense ? But how can we answer, till we know what is our destiny, and what are the means of fulfilling it ?

M. JoufTroy assumes it to be good in both senses. It is good as an end to the individual, because it is his destiny ; good as a means, because it contributes to absolute good. But it cannot be good as a means, unless it is also good as an end ; for the absolute good of which M. JoufTroy speaks is nothing but the aggregate goods of the several parts of which the universe is composed.    It can, then, contain nothing not to be found in the parts. The total satisfaction, in universal order, of the natural tendencies of the universe can be called good, only on condition that the satisfaction of the tendencies of each of the parts is in itself good without relation to the sum total. When, therefore, M. JoufTroy pronounces the satisfaction of my tendencies good, because by satisfying them and establishing order in my own bosom I contribute to absolute good, he merely begs the question.

Nor is this all. M. JoufTroy really admits no absolute good. A good, which is the mere aggregate or sum total of separate goods, is not absolute; for absolute good must be independent, self-subsisting and self-sufficing. It is a contradiction in terms to say, that what depends on the several beings of the universe, and is made up of their separate goods, is absolute ; for destroy these separate goods and it would be dissolved. But we can at any time resolve it into these separate goods, and thus dissolve or destroy it. These separate goods themselves, moreover, can be good only by virtue of participating of absolute good. They cannot compose it, because they must participate of it or not be good. If independent of them there is no absolute good, of which they can participate, and by virtue of which they are good, there can be no good at all, neither absolute good nor relative good. The absolute must precede the relative, for the relative exists only in relation to the absolute. Then, either there is an absolute good existing in itself, independent of all partial and relative goods, neither diminished nor augmented by them, or there is no good. If independent, it is not made up of the separate goods of individuals, and then the satisfaction of my tendencies cannot be good because it goes to make up the sum total of the good of the universe, or because necessary to make up absolute good.

Now, before M. JoufTroy can pronounce the satisfaction of my tendencies good, he must prove that by satisfying them I participate of absolute good, of the good in itself, self-subsisting and self-sufficing. Is he able to do this ? Is he able to say what absolute good is ? This is an ontological question, and must be answered before we can answer what is good psychologically. But, unhappily, M. JoufTroy denies the possibility of attaining to ontological existence. He confines philosophy within the sphere of psychology, and denies that it can attain to ontology, or know the reality of any thing lying back of the psychological phenomena. Hence, he has never considered absolute good in an ontological sense, as absolutely existing ; but has considered it merely as phenomenal, or as  an aggregate of phenomena ; which is pure atheism. If he had fixed in his mind, that there can be no particular good but by virtue of participating of absolute good, he never would have defined our good to be the fulfilment of our nature or the satisfaction of our tendencies ; for he would have seen that this satisfaction could have been good only on condition of its causing us to participate of absolute good, the good in itself. Nor would he, in the next place, have sought to legitimate this satisfaction and prove it to be good, on the ground of its contributing to absolute good ; for he would have seen that absolute good precedes relative good, and is not made up of separate, partial goods, but is that by virtue of which they themselves are.

But we ought, in justice to M. JoiifTroy, to say, that he does not consider this satisfaction in relation to absolute good for the purpose of settling the question of good, so much as for settling that of virtue. He regards it as good in itself, as we began by stating. Good is to gain the end for which we were made, which, according to him, is nothing but what we have called the satisfaction of our tendencies. This is good. But, if this be good, what is virtue ? It is this question, rather than the question of good, which has preoccupied him, at least in those of his works which have been published. But having, perhaps too hastily, decided that good is fulfilling our natural destiny, or attaining to the end indicated by our nature, which is, as we have seen, simply obtaining the natural objects craved by our tendencies, he has passed on to the question of virtue, and asked, if this satisfaction of our nature be good, wherein consists our virtue ? The common sense of mankind revolts at the assertion, that a man is virtuous solely in seeking his own natural satisfaction. It pronounces such a man selfish, and, if not vicious, at least void of merit. Yet, man ought to seek good ; and if the satisfaction of his own nature be good, he ought to seek it. How shall he vindicate his right to seek it, and prove that in seeking it he may be meritorious ? Here is the question, and it seems to us what M. Jouffroy has regarded as the principal ethical problem.
To get at his answer to this question, we must take up a portion of his system which we have not yet presented. We must remember that he is a psychologist, and is concerned only with what he calls the moral facts of human nature. In studying these facts, he is led to recognize in the life of man, as developed in this world, four epochs : — 1. The instinctive epoch, which begins as soon as man exists, and in which man does not act from motives, but follows instinctively his natural tendencies, and obeys them without the least reflection. He is not properly moral in this epoch, performs, in fact, no moral act, and is neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy, — is not a man with faculties, but a thing with properties. This epoch is of uncertain duration, but with many, perhaps the majority, it lasts through life. — 2. The selfish epoch ; in which man governs his tendencies by reason and directs them to a common end, to wit, his own individual interest. He now acts from a rational motive, but not a moral motive. — 3. The benevolent epoch ; in which man seeks to subordinate his own interest to the interest of other beings beside himself, and to make the general good of other beings the motive of his conduct. In this epoch he is translated out of selfishness, but hardly into the region of morality. — 4. The moral epoch. In this epoch, his reason developed, man perceives that the universe tends to a common end, to wit, universal order, or absolute good. The realization of absolute good becomes now his motive, the end to which he directs all his efforts. Now he is moral, virtuous, meritorious.

1. This sounds well, but it will hardly bear examination. Virtue, we grant, is in the will or motive from which we act; but we are not able to act from purely disinterested motives, as M. J ouffroy himself seems to admit; consequently, we cannot will this absolute good in the purely disinterested sense demanded. It is impossible for man to will without more or less reference to himself. In our moments of exaltation we may fancy we put ourselves entirely out of the question, and can will our own damnation, as our Hopkinsian friends teach ; but we deceive ourselves. We do not even love God disinterestedly.    Some one says,

"God ! I would fear thee, though I feared not hell; And love thee, though I had no hopes of heaven," — and with truth, if he means no other hell than that of not loving, and no other heaven than that of loving. We always seek to possess what we love, and in some sense do possess it. In loving God, we in some degree participate of his infinite beauty and goodness, and if we did not, we would not and could not love him. In love, charity, we are united to him, and he to us ; we become one with him. Is not this the highest reward we can conceive of? and what but reference to this reward, this ineffable joy which we experience in this love, makes us will to persist in loving ? What but the desire of possessing this in a still greater degree draws us nearer and nearer to God, and fills us more and more with his divine charity ? Assume that in loving God we found not this reward, this ineffable joy, that we in fact gained nothing, tasted nothing, — could we love him ? Nay, what is more to our purpose, could we will to love him ?    What would be the motive of such a will ?

Moreover, virtue and duty are closely related, for virtue is always obligatory, and may be enforced as a duty. But how enforce a duty without appeal to rewards or punishments ? If I gain nothing by doing my duty, and lose nothing by not doing it, I am the same whether I do it or not. How, then, find any motives to persuade me to do it, or to dissuade me from neglecting it ? The good I am to will is absolute good ; then it is independent of me, and remains unaffected, let me will what I may. What motives, then, can influence me to will it, save such motives as appeal directly or indirectly to my own good or evil ?

But we may be told, this good we are to will is the good of others, and that the motive to do good to others without hope of reward is sufficient to induce us to will it. But, in the first place, it is not yet settled, that what I am required to will is for the good of others. It is called universal order, absolute good ; but, at bottom, it is merely the satisfaction by each being of all its natural tendencies. Whether this is good or not can be determined only by determining what is good in itself, which 3VI. Jouffroy has not done. In the second place, the simple willing of the good of others is not virtue. I must will their good, as my own, for the sake of absolute goodness, in order to be virtuous, according to our author himself.

2. Virtue consists in willing the supreme good ; but the universal order we are required to will is not the supreme good, for it is merely the sum total of the separate goods of the several parts or beings which make up the universe. Supreme good is, as we have seen, the good in itself, that by participation of which this or that is good. How, then, in willing this universal order, am I virtuous ? Suppose I do act in reference to it, what is my merit, since I am not acting in reference to the supreme good ? Will it be said, that virtue, consisting entirely in the will, cannot be destroyed by a mistake of the understanding ? We do not deny this. A man may, doubt- * less, be virtuous in acting from the motive here supposed, but only on condition of invincible ignorance ; for a mistake of the understanding is no less culpable than perversity of will, if possible to be avoided. But the object of moral science is to enlighten the understanding.    It will hardly do,  then, for a
writer, who professes to give us ethical science, to give us a system which renders virtue possible only to the invincibly ignorant.

3. This doctrine of virtue makes virtue and its opposite practically the same. The acts to be performed are the same, whatever the motive from which we act. This M. JoufFroy is careful to inform us. What is done is the same in all cases, to wit, — the satisfaction of our natural tendencies. This is what we are to do, whether we obey instinct, act from selfishness, benevolence, or a view of universal order. So far as actions and results are concerned, it matters not what is the motive from which we act. The sole difference is in the view we take of the reason for doing what we do. Practically, the supremely selfish man is as good as the supremely virtuous man, and receives and does as much good. What superiority, then, has virtue ? Why is it better to be virtuous than to be not virtuous ? Why are we bound to be virtuous ? Where is the obligation ? I am to promote universal good by promoting my own ; and I have a right to promote my own personal good, because it is a fragment of universal good. This is the doctrine. If I do it for the sake of myself, I am selfish ; if for the sake of universal good, I am meritorious. Meritorious for what ? What have I really done ? Simply, found out a reason for being selfish ; the method of being, with purely disinterested motives, supremely selfish. But what is the merit of disinterested motives themselves, especially if they have no tendency to lead to disinterested external acts ? The practical rule, and the only practical rule of life, — this sublime system, which makes a man live solely for himself, for the purpose of promoting universal good, — is, Look out for number one ; let each take care of himself, and then all will be taken care of. I am revelling in every luxury, satisfying to the utmost all my natural tendencies, — primitive passions, as Charles Fourier names them, — while the poor beggar stands shivering and starving at my gate ; but, for his consolation, I send him my servant to assure him that he may go in peace and be thankful, for I am doing all in my power to augment the good of all beings by augmenting my own ! Admirable morality this, and worthy of being early instilled into the minds and the hearts of our New England youth !
But enough. M. JoufFroy talks largely and learnedly of man's destiny, of individual good, universal good, and absolute good ; but he fails utterly to tell us what is our real destiny, what is good, and, a fortiori, what are the rules which should
govern us in the conduct of life.    A puny Eclecticism runs through his whole work, and the vain attempt is everywhere made  to  accept and harmonize in one consistent whole the leading principles of contradictory schools.    Much is said, but nothing is  done.    We rise from the  study of his system as uninstructed in all that relates to the end for which God made us, or the means of attaining to that end, as we were before. No theoretical problem is solved, no practical difficulty removed,   no wise practical  suggestion  offered.     We are amused and misled by words.    We seem at moments to have grasped somewhat; but we  open our hand and find we have nothing. We might as well have attempted to catch a handful of smoke. M. JoufTroy's first great mistake is in not perceiving clearly and steadily, that good, if good there be, must be independent, self-subsisting, set before us, and not contained in us.    The first ethical problem is necessarily,  What is good ?    It is the old question of the summum bonum ; and till this is answered, we cannot proceed a single step in the construction  of the science of ethics, whether speculative or practical.    Now, this question M. Jouftroy does not answer, or, at least, not correctly.    He, indeed, contends that order is the supreme good, but wrongly ; for order is but a mere state or condition,  wholly dependent on the parts ordered, and good only as the means of enabling the beings ordered to gain good.

His next mistake is in confounding the end for which we were made with the mere fulfilment of our nature, or the realization of its most perfect type. According to him, our nature contains its destiny in itself; which is to say, that man is his own final cause. But man can no more be his own final cause than his own first cause. None but a self-existent and self-subsistent being can be its own final cause. Man is neither self-existent nor self-subsistent. This final cause, or end he is to gain, is therefore not in himself, but out of himself, — something not possessed, but to be attained to.
The second great ethical problem is that of obligation. The first is the problem of good, and its solution reveals to us the end to be sought. The- second establishes our duty to seek that end,—not only stating the fact that we feel we ought to seek it, but disclosing the grounds of the obligation. This is the problem which M. Joufiroy has chiefly labored in the volumes before us. There can be no morals unless there is a moral law, and none if a law which does not bind. Now, after all his labor, M. JoufTroy fails entirely to establish the reality of such law.   He recognizes no lawgiver but human nature.   Man,
then, is under no law, but the law imposed by his own nature, which is to say, no law at all. Why am I bound to obey the law of my nature ?

Failing to establish a real moral law, M. Jouffroy of course fails to establish the possibility of virtue, of merit; for virtue can be found only in obedience, actual or intentional, to the moral law. But if no moral law, then no virtue, then no merit, no praise, no blame. M. Jouffroy really comes to this conclusion ; for he recognizes no distinction in actions but such as exists solely in the mind of the actor. We say, then, with truth, that his whole system, as a system, whatever the ingenuity, learning, and ability it indicates, is a complete failure, and leaves us no wiser than it found us.
This mournful result was the necessary consequence of M. Jouffroy's vicious method. From the study of man's nature it is impossible to conclude to man's destiny or end, or to deduce the rules for the conduct of his life; because man was not^ made to follow nature, but God. This is the grand fact which the author began by discarding, and hence all his mistakes and errors. Having begun wrong, started in the wrong direction, no speed he could make could bring him to the right termination. The faster he travelled, the farther he departed from the truth. Yet he errs only in common with all our great German, English, and Scotch moralists. All these, or nearly all, adopt the rule, that we must follow nature, and assume that the end to be sought is the perfection of our nature. M. Jouffroy tells us that we are predestinated by our organization to a certain end, which is our good. Follow nature, and you will gain it.  Here the fulfilment of our nature, or the complete satisfaction of our natural tendencies, is assumed to be the good Obtain this, and you obtain good. This is the case also with our h ounerists. M. Jouffroy and Charles Fourier adopt precisely the same ethical system, with this simple difference, — that what the one calls tendencies the other calls passions, what the one terms order the other terms harmony. Absolute good with the former is universal order, with the latter it is universal harmony; the means of attaining to it is with the one the satisfaction of our natural tendencies, with the other the satisfaction ot the primitive passions. And even this, not because by this satisfaction the individual is placed in relation with an order or harmony which exists independent of him ; but because bV establishing order or harmony in the individual, it contributes so much towards the general order or harmony of the universe. It is not good for the reason that it participates of absolute good, but because it contributes to it; and it can contribute to it only on condition of its being good in itself, that is to say, itself the absolute good ! Now, what authority has any man for saying that this satisfaction is absolutely good in itself ?

But it is vain to tell us to follow nature. Nature herself recoils from her own teachings, and universally shrieks out, "Save me from myself." They who follow her as ultimate never find good. She herself sees that she is not sufficient for herself, — that there must be something above her, of which we must participate, or there is no good for us. But at the same time she sees and feels that she is impotent to discover what that something is, or to elevate us to its participation. This is demonstrated by the fact, that natural reason itself rejects all the great ethical systems founded on natural reason alone, and is daily seeking and concocting new systems, to yield in turn to others still newer, and thus on for ever. Nature never satisfies nature. Nature never finds her good in herself. We may gain all the natural objects craved by our natural tendencies or passions, and still ask, from the depths of our souls, "Who will show us any good ?" Our tendencies grow, and demand more, the more we obtain ; they become morbidly active, crying out, like the daughters of the horseleech, " Give, give ! " or they become satiated, surcharged, wearied, and, all things palling on our hearts and senses, we cry out with the Preacher, " Vanitas vanitatum, vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas."

We take the wrong road. It is not in following nature alone that we find the country we seek. Not in that direction lies our veritable good. The sad experience of all ages and climes proclaims it in a voice too loud not to be heard, too distinct not to be understood. True wisdom requires us to return from our weary wanderings to the fountain of living waters. If nature could have sufficed, no other teacher would have been vouchsafed us ; no supernatural revelation, as we have said, would have been needed, none would have been made. But a supernatural revelation has been made, and because we needed it for our guide in the conduct of life. In the light of this revelation all becomes plain and easy. The problem of our destiny ceases to be a problem. Man was made, not for a natural, but a supernatural destiny ; not for pleasure, not for happiness, but for beatitude, which consists in our being elevated by the light of glory to know and love God as he is in himself, with a knowledge and love, though different in degree, yet the same in kind as the knowledge and love with which God knows and loves  himself.    Here is our sublime destiny. We have but to remember that God is infinite truth, wisdom, beauty, goodness, and to consider what is the joy the soul finds in knowing and loving truth, wisdom, beauty, goodness, to be assured that eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what is reserved for us in the heaven to which we are destined. God made us that we might become partakers of his own infinite blessedness, because he is good and delights to communicate his goodness.

To this blessedness we are not naturally equal, we do not attain to it by natural development, the famous "self-culture," of which in these days we hear so much ; because it is not the fulfilment of our nature, the realization of its most perfect type, but something far transcending nature, graciously bestowed by our Heavenly Father. A Goethe, with his long life of study, with his "many-sided" culture, bringing his whole nature to the highest possible state of perfection, is farther from it than the little child over whom the priest has just pronounced the baptismal formula. It is hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes, that no flesh may glory in the presence of God. Here learn the vanity of all your earth-born greatness and wisdom, of all that the wisdom of this world applauds. Not by the wisdom to which we attain by natural culture and development,— not by a vain philosophy which sees neither behind nor before, — not even by natural elevation, nobility, kindness, and love, do we attain to the end to which our God in his ineffable goodness has appointed us. The great man of the earth must become as the little child, the rich man poor as the poorest beggar, and the wise man as the fool. All pride must humble itself, all towering thoughts be brought down, all self-importance, all self-confidence, be laid aside; meek and lowly in heart, we must bow down at the foot of the altar, and receive it as a free bounty, which we have done nothing to merit, and could do nothing to merit. Behold us, O Lord ! We are nothing, — yea, less than nothing ; do unto us according to thy will, — not according to ours.

Human pride revolts at this. We shrink from this profound humility. We would have the reward, we would possess the infinite beatitude; but we would earn it by our own labor, win it by our own stout hearts and strong arms ; we would receive it not as a largess, but as a due, and claim it as our right. Hence it is that we seek in human nature, by means which nature alone has placed in our hands, to wring out the secrets we must know, and to gain the end without which there is no true life for us. Hence your JoufFroys, Fouriers, and others, construct systems of morals resting on nature alone, and seek from the simple study of man to ascertain his destiny and determine the rules after which he should govern his conduct. But let them pass. Heed them not. They can only divert you from the truth, alienate you from your God, and debar you from heaven. Return to your God ; take his revelation for your guide, let him be your ethical teacher ; and from him who is your beginning and your end, in whom you live, move, and have your being, learn your destiny, and obtain the means of fulfilling it.