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versant only with bodies and their properties. It is the sum of human knowledge so far as reasoned about bodies. He refers all thought to sensation, and all sensation to matter and motion, sense being simply motion in the organs and interior parts of man's body, caused by external objects pressing either immediately or mediately the organ proper to each sense. The pressure, he holds, when continued by the mediation of the nerves, and other strings and membranes of the body to the brain, causes there a resistance or counterpressure which, because outward, seems to be some matter without, and consists as to the eye in a light or colour, to the ear in a sound, to the nostril in an odour, to the tongue and palate in a savour, and to the rest of the body in heat, cold, hardness, softness, and such other qualities as we discern by feeling; and when the action of an object is continued from the eyes, ears, and other organs to the heart, the real effect there is nothing but motion or endeavour, and the appearance or sense of that motion is delight or trouble of mind, pleasure or pain. He thus resolves mind into matter, thought and feeling into mechanical action.
And yet Hobbes was not the sort of man to make a mere materialist. The materialist must not think. If he think he will ask himself what matter is, and that is enough to break the sway of matter. Now Hobbes was a thinker. He accordingly put to himself the question, What is matter? The result was, that he found matter in the materialist sense virtually to vanish. He found that we know nothing of matter in itself; that what we know is what he calls "the seeming," "the apparition," "the phenomenon;" that colour is just what is seen, sound just what is heard, but not inherent qualities of objects independent of seeing and hearing; that the matter which he supposed to cause by its motions in our senses these and other perceptions of the material world, we cannot see, hear, or apprehend by any sense. No human sense has ever laid hold of it, or can describe a single quality it possesses. It is something utterly mysterious and unknown. Hobbes confessed all this. What right, then, had he to say that this mysterious matter was the substance and explanation of the world? None at all. Nay, had he been consistent he would have refused wholly to admit its existence. He would have said it was useless and unprovable. He would have been an idealist.
Besides, while Hobbes excluded religion from the sphere of what can be proved, he accepted it as matter of faith. He severed it from reason to rest it on authority. And in thus denying theology to be rational knowledge he did no more than Descartes and little more than Bacon, whose principles did not so logically lead to this issue as his. These three thinkers all referred theology and philosophy to entirely distinct sources. They represented the one as having nothing to do with the other; as having each an authority of its own; as having each a province in which for the other to enter is an act of usurpation. They drew the sharpest separation between reason and faith, philosophy and religion. They sought to save the one from the possibility of antagonism with the other, by describing them as quite unconnected in their principles, processes, and character. This was a reaction from the scholastic dogmatism which had ignored their real distinctions and endeavoured to make all science theological and all theology strict science. Hobbes professed himself to be an orthodox English Churchman. We have certainly no warrant to charge him with atheism.
The materialism even of Hobbes was thus incomplete. But no system of materialism more complete than his appeared in Great Britian until very recent times. When we remember the moral condition of the nation from the restoration of the Stuart dynasty in 1660 to the close of the eighteenth century, how low the general tone of spiritual life was throughout the whole period, how corrupt and profligate at certain dates, we can feel no surprise that numerous works were published in advocacy of materialistic tenets. The remarkable fact is one which our historians of
literature and philosophy have not attempted to explain—namely, that the authors of none of these works should have been thorough materialists. He is, of course, a very incomplete materialist who admits the necessity of a God to account for matter. But English materialism throughout the whole period specified was of this timid character. The materialism of Coward and of Dodwell, of Hartley and of Priestley, was limited to the spirituality of the soul. What materialism there was in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it must be added, was triumphantly answered. The refutations of materialism were not only far more numerous than the defences of it, but also, as a rule, much abler. Cudworth and More, Newton and Boyle, Clarke and Sherlock and Butler, headed a host of eminent men who took the field on the right side, and drove the materialists from every position which they ventured to take up. The history of materialism in England is the reverse of brilliant.
It was only when transplanted from England to France, in the generation before the Revolution, that materialism grew up to maturity. A variety of causes which have been often traced, and which it is unnecessary in this rapid survey to specify, had there prepared a soil suitable for its reception. And yet comparatively few of the philosophers popular in that sceptical and corrupt age had the hardihood to advocate it in its atheistical form. Voltaire despised it as sheer stupidity. Rousseau hated it with all his heart. Condillac argued against it with conviction and ability. It was only after he had drifted through various stages of deism and pantheism that Diderot settled in materialistic atheism. The adherents of this system did not become numerous until close on the eve of the Revolution. The men of this second generation who devoted themselves to its advocacy were fanatically zealous in its behalf; but they were also wholly destitute of originality, or even ingenuity, and without literary talent of any kind. Perhaps the best representatives of French materialism in the eighteenth century were La Mettrie and Von Holbach.1
The physician La Mettrie, in his 'Natural History of the Soul' (1745), his 'Man Machine' (1748), and other works, was the first frankly to declare himself a materialist. He was little thought of in his own day as a man, a physician, or a philosopher. It is characteristic of ours, however, that within the last few years several authors —Assdzat and Qu^pat in France, Lange and Du Bois-Reymond in Germany—should have tried to rehabilitate him, as it is called,—to prove that he was a most excellent person, better skilled in medicine than the rest of his profession, and an 1 See Appendix XI.