Final causes — The four Aristotelian causes — Are there final causes in nature — Matter and form — Other causes only to realize the final causes — Cudworth — Adam Smith — The proofs number order etc. — Teleology — Anaxagoras — Socrates in the Phædo — Xenophon — Plato — Socrates on Anaxagoras — The causes together concrete — “Abstract” — Forces Clerk Maxwell — Heraclitus — Newton — Buckle — Descartes — Gassendi — Bacon on causes metaphysics and forms — The νου̃ς (nous) of Anaxagoras — Bacon on design — Reid Newton Hume on design — Newton.
Gifford Lecture the Third.
FEARING that we should find the present lecture dull I have been at considerable pains this week in the rewriting of it; for I desire to be at least intelligible if not interesting or popular. My reason for fear was that I had been led to speak at some length of final causes and the subject appeared a somewhat dry one. Still let it be as it may it is one that in such a course as this is unavoidable. For the very existence of our science the very existence of Natural Theology is bound up with the existence of final causes. Destroy final causes once for all and you destroy Natural Theology for ever.
The origin of the term as is well known lies in the Aristotelian quadruplicity of causes as such; final causes being but one of its members. We are told in our classrooms namely of material causes formal causes final causes and efficient causes; and the usual example given is that of a watch in regard to which the metals are the material causes; the wheels pinions cylinders etc. the formal causes; the watchmaker the efficient cause; and the pointing of the hour the final cause. Warmth is the final cause of a blanket; but so much sheep's wool is its material cause. The final cause of a bridge is the passage of a river; its material cause the stones; its formal cause the arch; and its efficient cause the architect with his workmen. Now though we can hardly say with Dr. Reid (WW. 526) that these four causes are but four shades of the same meaning we can certainly maintain that for the most part they constitute together but a single concrete; as we can readily see in the examples of the watch and the bridge. It is evident however that such examples as these let them be as explanatory as they may can have no application to or vitality in Natural Theology so far as in its very terms it is to be considered a manifestation of nature. That there are these causes existent in human affairs even to an almost endless extent is not the question. We have only to know a house or a ship or a canal or a railway or a telegraph or a garter or a shoe tie or a button or a knife fork and spoon to understand all that. But are there also such things in nature?—that is the question; and there are those who answer it in the affirmative; while there are others again who meet it with a direct negative. And this is the clash: here is the very edge—here is the very knot and point and core of the battle. The whole business of Natural Theology lies there—is there or is there not design? Is there or is there not a final cause in nature? If there be anything such in nature—if there be anything in nature that by very formation shows design purpose intention to have been its origin then there is also proof in nature of an efficient cause that gave at least form to matter. And in this way even in nature the four causes would be seen to constitute together but a single concrete quite as much and as manifestly as they do in art. Already indeed we can see as much as this to be at least the case with the material and the formal causes let it be as it may with the others. That is either apart is at once seen to be null. If matter were without form it would be incognizable a nonentity a void something nowhere to be seen or touched or heard. Lump-paste lump-clay lump-metal may seem formless to us and yet cognizable; but this is not so. Lump-paste lump-clay lump-metal are substances each with its own qualities; and these qualities are to each its form. The qualities of paste are not the qualities of clay; nor are these the qualities of metal. Consequently all three are distinguishable the one from the other. A substance without a quality were a nonens and a quality without a substance were but a fiction in the air. Matter if to be must be permeated by form; and equally form if to be must be realized by matter. Substance takes being from quality; quality actuality from substance. That is metaphysic; but it is seen to be as well physic—it is seen to have a physical existence; it is seen to be in rerum natura. Form is as it were the thought the soul of matter; and matter as it were the body the externale of form. So it is that a thing is understood when we see the externale in the internale; and quite as much the internale in the externale. Form and matter are the same synthesis or what is equally true they are the same antithesis. But taking it for granted that this will be readily admitted to be the case as regards matter and form it will not be so readily acknowledged we may assume that final causes are in similar vital relation with the material and formal ones. That these latter causes are but the vehicles in realization of final causes—this in fact is but the matter in dispute and can never be expected to be accepted by those who oppose final causes themselves. What we have presently historically to see however is precisely this doctrine in Greece—that material causes (with formal) are but the implements and instruments and scaffolding of final causes. It is in this mood that Cudworth says “To take away all final causes from the things of nature is the very spirit of atheism: it is no prejudice or fallacy imposed on ourselves to think that the frame and system of this whole world was contrived by a perfect understanding and mind.” As another modern illustration we may say that there is a passage in the Theory of Moral Sentiments which almost bears out the supposition that even Adam Smith saw the one set of causes to be but the complement of the other. “In every part of the universe” he says “we observe means adjusted with the nicest artifice to the ends which they are intended to produce; and in the mechanism of a plant or animal body admire how everything is contrived for advancing the two great purposes of nature the support of the individual and the propagation of the species. But in these and in all such objects we still distinguish the efficient from the final cause of their several motions and organizations. The digestion of the food the circulation of the blood and the secretion of the several juices which are drawn from it are operations all of them necessary for the great purposes of animal life; yet we never endeavour to account for them from those purposes as from their efficient causes nor imagine that the blood circulates or the food digests of its own accord and with a view or intention to the purposes of circulation or digestion.” That is we never fancy that the one side suffices. The “purposes” which are the final causes do not alone and by themselves realize themselves; neither do we imagine of the blood and the food which are the material causes that the one circulates or the other digests of its own accord. Plainly Adam Smith here has excellently caught sight of the two sides abstract idle dead apart but concrete energetic busy living and life-giving in unity. Of course I need not remark that his efficient is the usual material: he says efficient here because what he speaks of is the matter or material operant.
With these anticipatory explanations I may now proceed. In regard to the history of the proofs for the Being of a God we are now arrived as has been said within sight of Greece. As I am not intending at present to expatiate on these proofs themselves; so I shall not take up your time with any rehearsal of the various classifications and designations proposed in their regard by the various authorities. It shall be enough for us that all of these with whatever peculiarity of dressing come in the end to the three arguments in and with which Kant assumes to comprehend and exhaust the subject. That is there is first the Cosmological; second the Teleological; and third the Ontological argument. There is no dispute as to the position of this last. That argument the ontological one does not appear in history until in the time of Anselm Christianity has been for centuries the dominant religion in Europe. About the order of the two others there has been some little difference; Kant characterizing the teleological argument as the oldest and Hegel postponing it to the cosmological. It has been usual however to speak of the latter in connection with Aristotle and at all events it seems on the whole more convenient to begin with the teleological argument. Begin with which we may however and let them be separated from each other as they may be in time the three after all do constitute together but the three undulations of a single wave which wave is but a natural rise and ascent to God on the part of man's own thought with man's own experience and consciousness as the object before him.
The word Teleology (due as a word probably to Wolff) has in its meaning at all events always been associated with the name of Anaxagoras. He so far as history teaches is the acknowledged originator of the idea. That is to be admitted. There can be no doubt that whatever others may seem to have said in the same direction it was Anaxagoras who for the first time in Greece perhaps in the world spoke of the beauty and order in the universe being due to a designing mind. We have but to look to the single fragment of his lost work πϵρὶ φύσϵως which (the fragment) has been preserved to us by Simplicius to become aware of such clearness and fulness on the part of Anaxagoras in his conception of the νου̑ς nous as could not fail to impress on his successors the necessary problem generally of what is meant by teleology and must perfectly justify as well the position which has been assigned to him at their head. “Nous (Intelligence)” he says there “is infinite and absolute free from admixture with anything else alone by itself; it is omniscient and omnipotent and has disposed all things in order and in beauty within the encompassing whole where the stars are and the sun and the moon and æther and the air.” This beyond doubt is fairly to characterize Mind as the ultimate causality of the universe and of the order and design we see in it; and very certainly most amply does the general voice of antiquity confirm the gloss. For one Socrates in the Phædo gives very full testimony to this effect. He had heard a book of Anaxagoras' read he says in which it was mainiained that νου̑ς which may be translated mind understanding reason was the disposing and arranging principle in the universe and he had been mightily pleased therewith. For it seemed to him right and excellently well that an intelligence should be recognised as the cause of all things inasmuch as in that case everything would find itself precisely where it was best that it should be; so that accordingly such consideration would directly lead us to a perfect explanation of anything in the world around us which we might be curious to understand. In a personal reference for example it became a man to ask whether for himself or others only what was best. To know that was the same thing as to know what was worst; for in a single cognition both lay (the proposition which is more familiar to us now-a-days perhaps as the dictum de vero; that the truth namely is the index sui et falsi). But it is this that has specially struck the mind of Socrates. What an inestimable good it will be to come to understand everything by being made to see that an intelligence has placed it precisely where it is best for it! Nothing could better have suited him than such a doctrine. What was as it should be justice right reason moral and intellectual truth—that was the special quest of Socrates at all times. Socrates is understood to have had no favour for Meteorologia speculation into things celestial. Nay Xenophon introduces him as calling this very Anaxagoras mad in the special reference (Mem. iv. 7. 6). Not but that Socrates as we may see further has his own interest in cosmologia if not in meteorologia. It is only as characteristic of him indeed that he should be made to say here: “It appeared to me ϵὐ̑ ϵ̓́χϵιν—it appeared to me to be excellently well that the Nous should be the cause of all things;” for it certainly belonged to his very inmost and dearest thought that all things should be found to be framed and arranged by intelligence and disposed according to what is best. There are other expressions in Plato not always in the mouth of Socrates quite to the same effect as regards the Nous of Anaxagoras holding and disposing all things at its own sovereign hest. Such expressions are to be found in the Laws (967 B) for example and in the Cratylus (400 A 413 C) more than once. But it is this great passage in the Phædo that must be considered the locus proprius on the point. Socrates in it dwells at very considerable length on the whole matter. It may almost be referred to actually has been referred to as an example and proof of Socrates' polylogia his Redseligkeit his loquacity and as Smollett says clack. In point of fact there is no fuller reference to the consideration in debate to be found anywhere and Socrates does seem to have taken occasion from it to deliver himself in full freedom unrestrictedly at large. He expatiates positively on the expectations which Anaxagoras had conjured up in him expectations quite contradictorily meteorological after all seeing that in great measure they concern the shape of the earth the sun and the moon and the comparative courses of the stars—he expatiates at great length on these expectations positively and he would not have given them up he says πολλου̑ for a great deal. Then he expatiates at equal length on his disappointments negatively when most eagerly possessing himself of the books and most keenly reading them he found the man making no use whatever of the Nous but on the contrary in all actual explanations of things calling in only mechanical causes airs and æthers and waters and other ἄτοπα the like quite as before!—just as though says Socrates it should be first affirmed of Socrates that he did all that he did by his own understanding and then sapiently subjoined as if by way of example that it was because of such and such bones and tendons so and so constructed that he sat there the real reason being that it seemed to the Athenians best to condemn Socrates and to himself best to abide the result. “Else by the dog” he exclaims “methinks these bones and tendons would long ere this have been somewhere about Megara or the Bœotian confines transported thither on the thought of what seemed best.”
We see here that Socrates not only understood the principle of Anaxagoras with Anaxagoras' own further stultification of it but also perfectly the distinction between final and mechanical causes. Proximately it was certainly because of certain bodily antecedents that Socrates remained as he did sitting in prison; but as certainly for all that it was the resolution of his own mind that was the final cause. Here too this also is to be seen that the two sorts of causes do not remain abstract that is as Bacon (compare the De Augmentis in its correspondent part with The Advancement of Learning ii. 8. 2) explains the word abstract “severed” or “dissevered” from all else; but that they are in rerum natura concretely associated. The centrifugal force in the revolution of the planets is not the same as the centripetal: rather the one is directly the reverse or the opposite of the other. Nevertheless in the words of Mr. Clerk Maxwell they are “merely partial and different aspects of the same stress.” In point of fact as already seen in regard to form and matter this synthesis in antithesis this one of two this breadth of a duality in the unity of strain seems to be the cosmical truth and alone valid. There cannot be action without reaction; and the one abiding reality is the single nisus between that conjoins no less than it disjoins. It is the τὸ ἀντίξουν συμφϵ́ρον the coherent disherent attributed to Heraclitus by Aristotle who adds “that the fairest harmony results from differents and that all things are produced from strife” (Eth. Nic. viii. 1). The two sides it would seem though they stand over against each other and are absolutely opposed the one to the other do not for all that subvert or destroy each other but on the contrary even in and by their opposition conserve and maintain each other.
And so it precisely is with Socrates here. The bones and tendons that keep him in prison would in themselves be no better than null were it not for the volition that animates them; and neither would this volition itself be anything were it not for the bones and tendons that realize it. Reaction depends on action centrifugal force on centripetal force repulsion on attraction and even energy must have its support in corporeity. It is Newton himself who says Virtus sine substantia subsistere non potest.
Authorities however are largely neglected now-a-days and it is widely the fashion at present to have changed all that—it is widely the fashion indeed not only to separate final and efficient (or mechanical) causes as irreconcilable the one with the other but even to destroy those before these. And this even by reference to such philosophers as Descartes and Bacon. Mr. Buckle for one is very apt to rise authoritatively on triumphant toes in this matter as regards both. And indeed both philosophers can be quoted as though they were minded each to dispute the truth of final causes. But for all that suppose we do not simply accept the allegation—suppose on the contrary that as in the case of Charles II. and the dead fish we examine rather into its truth perhaps we shall find that the accompaniment of a grain of salt may not prove altogether superfluous. As regards Descartes for example it will not be found that he at all denied the existence of final causes; and if he discouraged which he undoubtedly did the inquisition of them his reason his motive was not that he respected them less but that he respected the place and perfection of the Deity more. Any prohibition in the case of the former arose wholly and solely from devotion in the case of the latter. In fact there can be no doubt that what wholly and solely determined him here was the peculiarity of his conception in regard to the Divine Being. That conception was so high that it appeared presumptuous to Descartes to make one as it were in the counsels of the Eternal as regards the creation of the world at the same time that our limited faculties ran the risk in such a daring of seeing imperfection where there was perfection alone. Gassendi I may observe has a remarkable answer to Descartes here the foundation of which is entirely the reference to design (see in Descartes at Med. IV.).
As regards Bacon it is on him that the greatest stress is laid for the rejection of final causes; but perhaps even in his case as I have suggested it may not be necessary to take the allegation au pied de la lettre. Formal causes final causes metaphysic itself—and it is in place here to name metaphysic for such causes with the whole logos of God constitute the very contents of metaphysic—formal causes final causes metaphysic itself Lord Bacon would seem to have thought of and respected as much as anything whatever in physic itself. I hold The Advancement of Learning alone to be sufficient to prove this. That work in numberless editions is quite possibly in the hands of everybody and it constitutes the original English form of what is known as the De Augmentis Scientiarum. Really one has only to look at it to be immediately impressed with an utter surprise that any one should ever have considered its author an enemy of what is known as the metaphysical region of inquiry. By the easy trick of isolating words and clauses we may make any writer argue on any side we please; and so it has been done with Bacon. The seventh section of the seventh chapter of the second book of The Advancement of Learning for example he begins in this way: “The second part of metaphysic is the inquiry of final causes which I am moved to report not as omitted but as misplaced. And yet if it were but a fault in order I would not speak of it…but the handling of final causes mixed with the rest in physical inquiries hath intercepted the severe and diligent inquiry of all real and physical causes.” The correspondent Latin is to the same effect: “Tractatio enim causarum finalium in physicis in quisitionem causarum physicarum expulit et dejecit.” There can be no doubt from such words then but that it was a decided opinion of Bacon's that the “handling” the tractatio of final causes “mixed with the rest in physical inquiries” has expelled and ejected the inquisition of physical causes. And I do not suppose there is any one who will deny this. It is matter of the commonest information that the earliest physical explanations were largely rendered impure and untrustworthy by the reference of phenomena not to literal antecedents but to figured agencies. Perhaps we have not lost the same habit even in these days of enlightenment. Falling bodies do not any longer seek the earth by appetite perhaps; but we have still many other such like tropes in abundance.
It is matter then of the commonest information that the earliest physical explanations were apt to be disfigured or sublimed by all manner of metaphors tropes and personifications. So it was as Bacon righteously complains that real physical causes were apt to be pushed out or overlaid. We will all readily grant that; but we must also say with Bacon despite any such abuse and Bacon points to no more that the general problem of final causes is sufficiently to be respected. Final causes constitute to Bacon the second part of metaphysic as the subject of forms constitutes to him the first. And Bacon does not at all speak ill of metaphysic. “Natural science or theory” he says in The Advancement of Learning (ii. 7. 2) is divided into physic and metaphysic.” The latter word metaphysic he adds is used by him “in a differing sense from that that is received.” For us here then it becomes necessary to know what that “differing sense” is; and Bacon on that head leaves us in no difficulty. In the first place we have (3) this: “I intend philosophia prima summary philosophy and metaphysic which heretofore have been confounded as one to be two distinct things;” and in the second place these words: “Natural theology which heretofore hath been handled confusedly with metaphysic I have inclosed and bounded by itself.” It appears thus that in the eyes of Bacon metaphysic must lose two main sciences or disciplines that formerly belonged to it. Nevertheless it must be said that even to Bacon metaphysic must still remain a very sovereign region of human intelligence. In “what is left remaining for metaphysic” (his own words) he directly rules that “physic should contemplate that which is inherent in matter and therefore transitory; and metaphysic that which is abstracted and fixed; and again that physic should handle that which supposeth in nature only a being and moving and natural necessity; and metaphysic should handle that which supposeth further in nature a reason understanding and platform or idea. … Physic inquireth and handleth the material and efficient causes: metaphysic handleth the formal and final causes.” This then is to give to metaphysic a serious and principal rôle. While physic contemplates in nature only what is external metaphysic contemplates in the same nature the reason the understanding the idea. It is important to observe that reference to nature: the reason the understanding the idea of metaphysic according to Bacon is a reason an understanding an idea that is actually in nature and no mere figure of speech no mere figment of phantasy. But what under metaphysic are called reason understanding and idea are also called and precisely in the same pages formal and final causes. Formal and final causes are to Bacon therefore each a reason an understanding an idea that is in nature; and I can hardly think that any metaphysician even in these days would wish for them a deeper place or a more essential function. Bacon insists very much on formal causes: he is even inclined to place them in a region by themselves a region that is to be a sort of reformed and improved and renovated “natural magic” as he calls it. Bacon laments (5) that formal causes “may seem to be nugatory and void because of the received and inveterate opinion that the inquisition of man is not competent to find out essential forms and true differences.” He for his part holds that “the invention of forms is of all other parts of knowledge the worthiest to be sought if it be possible to be found. And as for the possibility they are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they can see nothing but sea.” Of these forms “the essences (upheld by matter) of all creatures do consist.” In short Bacon would seem to have in mind both Plato and Aristotle when they will have us pass beyond all externality to the internality itself which reason alone touches (οὑ̑ αὐτὸς ὁ λόγος ἅπτϵται) the ὄντως ὄντα which are as Schelling interprets the very “subjects of what is predicted of the ὄντα”. Such then are the forms of Bacon the very subjects of things which reason itself touches. And no less decided is Bacon as regards metaphysic in its reference to final causes. “Both causes” he says (7) “physical and metaphysical are true and compatible the one declaring an intention the other a consequence only” for “men are extremely deceived if they think there is an enmity between them.” “Physic carrieth men in narrow and restrained ways subject to many accidents of impediments imitating the ordinary flexuous courses of nature;” but everywhere broad are the ways for the wise in metaphysic “which doth enfranchise the power of man unto the greatest liberty and possibility of works and effects” (6). Bacon in fact has not a word to say against metaphysic or final causes but only against their “abuse” when they happen to be “misplaced.”
We have now left Anaxagoras and his commentators a long way behind us as though we had forgotten them and started off into quite another region. “What concerns us with Anaxagoras however is the νου̑ς; and the νου̑ς means for us design at the same time that the forces of design the realizing agents of design are final causes. It is with Anaxagoras that design comes in that final causes first make their appearance; and it is here and now where there is question of Anaxagoras that there should be question also of that part of metaphysic which embraces the consideration of such causes. And here evidently it was impossible to avoid the relative discussion especially of Bacon in regard to whom it has hitherto been received as an established commonplace that he is the declared foe—the foe à l'outrance of anything and everything that concerns the subject of final causes. It is indeed surprising that with such a common English book before us as The Advancement of Learning any such opinion should ever have been so unconditionally expressed. Even of Natural Theology Bacon's deliberate utterances are such as may surprise not a few. He directly says for example “As concerning divine philosophy or natural theology it is that knowledge or rudiment of knowledge concerning God which may be obtained by the contemplation of His creatures; which knowledge may be truly termed divine in respect of the object and natural in respect of the light. … Wherefore by the contemplation of nature to induce and enforce the acknowledgment of God and to demonstrate His power providence and goodness is an excellent argument and hath been excellently handled by divers” (Adv. of Learn. ii. 6. 1). “It is an assured truth and a conclusion of experience” he says elsewhere in the same work (i. 1. 3) “that a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism but a further proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion. For in the entrance of philosophy when the second causes which are next unto the senses do offer themselves to the mind of man if it dwell and stay there it may induce some oblivion of the highest cause; but when a man passeth on farther and seeth the dependence of causes and the works of Providence then according to the allegory of the poets he will easily believe that the highest link of nature's chain must needs be tied to the foot of Jupiter's chair.” Lastly here as regards Bacon we may refer to that grand passage in the Essays that begins: “I had rather believe all the fables in the ‘Legend’ and the ‘Talmud’ and the ‘Alcoran’ than that this universal frame is without a mind.” Even of the fool it is not credible to Bacon that he hath thought if he hath said in his heart There is no God. Even the fool Bacon thinks must have said it only as it were “by rote to himself.” That is an excellent idea the only speaking by rote! “Atheism” as he says further “is rather in the lip than in the heart of man.” “For certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit he is a base and ignoble creature.” Surely then in every way it is a noble testimony that Bacon bears to final causes to metaphysic and to Natural Theology.
Of the teleological argument Dr. Reid says that “it has this peculiar advantage that it gathers strength as human knowledge advances and is more convincing at present than it was some centuries ago.” This was all very well when the “present” was a present that had before it a second edition of the Principia of Newton in which it was mentioned as a thing understood that said Principia were a praesidium munitissimum a most perfect defence against the impetus atheorum the sallies of atheists—and a present that had before it also at the hands of Lagrange an irrefutable demonstration of the stability of the universe: it was all very well for that “present” with its Newtons and Lagranges to hug itself on its own security and more or less directly gird at Alphonso of Castile but what of this “present” that is our present? Our task now is not as the task then. Then even a Hume who sought in his somewhat narrow ingenious way to reason us out of both soul and body and the universe out of God felt forced even by necessity to speak thus: “Were men led into the apprehension of invisible intelligent power by a contemplation of the works of nature they could never possibly entertain any conception but of one single being who bestowed existence and order on this vast machine and adjusted all its parts according to one regular plan or connected system.…All things in the universe are evidently of a piece. Everything is adjusted to everything. One design prevails through the whole. And this uniformity leads the mind to acknowledge one author.…Adam rising at once in Paradise and in the full perfection of his faculties would naturally as represented by Milton be astonished at the glorious appearance of nature—the heavens the air the earth his own organs and members; and would be led to ask whence this wonderful scene arose” (Nat. Hist. of Rel. sections i and ii.). When it is the sceptical Hume that speaks thus we do not wonder to find the pious Newton always expressing himself with the profoundest reverence and admiration of the divinity he saw everywhere in the mighty scheme of the universe that was for the first time perhaps discovered in all its mightiness only to him. The writers that treat of the life and works of Newton always refer to this. There are his queries in his Optics as “Whence is it that nature does nothing in vain; and whence arises all that order and beauty which we see in the world? How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art; and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in optics and the ear without knowledge of sounds?” Then with all else there is that marvellous scholium generale in the third book of the Principia: “Cum unaquaeque spatii particula sit semper et unumquodque durationis indivisibile momentum sit ubique certe rerum omnium Fabricator et Dominus non erit nunquam nusquam.” (“As every particle of space is always and every indivisible moment of duration is everywhere assuredly the Fabricator and Lord of all things will not be never nowhere.”) Quite in place here is that colossal conception on the part of Newton of the vast infinity of space being the sensorium of Deity. In the course of what follows the above words Newton exclaims: “Deus est unus et idem Deus semper et ubique;” and farther on “hunc cognoscimus solummodo per proprietates ejus et attributa;” and he adds “et per causas finales”—“God is the one and the same God always and everywhere—Him we know by His qualities and attributes—and by final causes.” I ought to translate all that refers to God in this grand scholium; but I must content myself now by declaring of the scholium itself that it requires to be neglected by no student of philosophy. As thought is the principle of spirit so is gravity the principle the essence the formal cause the very self of matter as matter. It was Newton discovered that—that and the system of the heavens. There have been some unique men in this world as—say Shakespeare! but never probably was there a man more unique than Newton: in his peculiar faculty he rises higher more remote from more unapproachable of ordinary men than any other perhaps that ever lived. Newton is the priest and interpreter of the orbs that roll—the Brahmin of the universe.
From the book: