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reposes, and the idea of “likeness,” which is the essence of "truth," is one of such.
Let us next consider the “goodness” of things we call “good.” The words are often used to denote a relation of correspondence between some object or action and its proper or intended end. When we call either a knife, a gun, a horse or a coat “good,” we mean that it is well adapted to serve the purposes for which it was intended. We may use it similarly with respect to a race-horse, a baker, a judge, or a bishop. Nevertheless, a little consideration serves to show that this use of the term does not bring us to the foundation of the idea of “goodness.” For “conformity to an end” will not make an action thoroughly “good” unless the end aimed at is itself good and agreeable to duty-unless by conforming to it we“ follow the right order.” But, we may ask, “why should we conform to duty ?” Why should we follow the right order? To this there is no answer possible but that “it is right to do so." It may perhaps be replied, “the right order should be followed because it is our interest to follow it.” But any one who should so reply must either mean that "it is always right to follow our interest because it is our interest,” which would be to abandon the idea of duty altogether; or else mean that " we should follow our interest not because it is our interest, but because it is right,” and so affirm the very ethical principle which he set out with the intention of denying. If we know with certainty that any definite line of action is "right," the proposition which declares it to be right must either be self-evident or must be deduced from other propositions as to what is right, one of which at least must be self-evident. Otherwise, it would be impossible for us to infer that anything is right, since all processes of proof must stop somewhere. As Mr. Arthur Balfour has pointed out,' it is then simply indisputable that the basis of every ethical maxim must itself be ethical. It thus becomes clear that the idea of "goodness" is, like that of likeness (the essence of “truth "), something ultimate, absolute, and incapable of analysis. Objects which duly serve the end for which they are intended are fitly spoken of as being “good,” for they are good in a certain way and in a subordinate degree, and may thus be so termed by analogy with true and real goodness.
Is it possible for us to form any conception of objective goodness altogether apart from human actions or human thoughtsexcept so far as they may recognize it? Some religious persons will probably say that the "goodness" of anything depends upon the will of God—that that is right which He commands because
1 See “ A Defence of Philosophic Doubt,” p. 337. Macmillan. 1879.
He commands it. But in our perceptions of duty and moral obligation we recognize that it addresses conscience with an essentially absolute and unconditional imperativeness. No good man could consent to perform an ungrateful action, seen by him to be such, even in obedience to the behest of an omnipotent being. We must approve and admire Mill's declaration, that he would rather incur eternal torment than call a bad god "good,” however much we may distrust our own power of enduring even a temporal martyrdom. But if “goodness cannot be dependent even on the will of God, if the commands of conscience are absolute and supreme, if it is impossible even to conceive an evasion of its universal and unconditional authority, then the ethical principle must be rooted, as it were, within the inmost heart, in the very foundation, so to speak, of the great whole of existence which it pervades. The principles of the moral law must be at least as extensive and enduring as are those starry heavens which shared with it the profound reverence of Kant.
The absolute, necessary and universal character of the moral law is expressed by that dictum of theologians which declares that it pertains not to God's "will,” but to His “essence.” The phrase may seem obscure, or even unmeaning, to some persons to whom it may
new, but we must confess that we have met with no other expression which so well conveys to us the profoundest possible conception of the fundamental and supreme character of the ethical principle. The goodness of actions is evidently twofold: They may be “good” in themselves as actions, and “good” as being done with a good intention by those who perform them. Thus “goodness," like "truth," must be both subjective and objective. It is subjective when regarded as a quality of the mind of any one entertaining a good intention. It is objective regarded as that quality of an object or action whereby it conforms, in its degree, to the eternal law of right which manifests itself to our intellect as inherent in the universe since it is inherent in us.
"Goodness," like "truth," essentially implies a relation. As nothing can be true save by its conformity, or likeness, to something else, so nothing within our powers of observation or imagination can be “good” save by its harmony with an eternal law by concordance with which it “ follows the right order."
Thus everything which exists, in so far as it exists and so follows the law of its being, must be more or less “good.” If by defect it deviates from a higher good, it thereby becomes a more or less good thing of an inferior order--as a marble statue broken into fragments ceases to be good as a statue, and becomes so many pieces of marble good in their degree and apt for various inferior ends.
Armed with these reflections about "truth" and "goodness,' let us next consider the objectivity of "beauty.” As before said, we actually possess the ideas of “beauty" and the "beautiful,” whatever may be the mode in which we have come by them. Unlike the lower animals, we are not only attracted by what is charming, but we can recognize both the fact of being charmed and the qualities which charm us. Putting aside for the moment objects which attract some persons and repel others, or which are admired here and there according to the fashion of the day, let us consider some objects to which almost all normally constituted members of civilized communities would agree in ascribing some beauty and charm. Taking visible beauty as a starting point, the objects which manifest it to us are sea, land and sky as viewed by night and day, the animal and vegetable products of the earth, man and his works. The aspects of these objects change for us according to circumstances, amongst which must be reckoned the emotions or ideas which may happen to dominate in us at the time. Nevertheless, we think it must be admitted that whatever of these things strikes us as pre-eminently beautiful is regarded by us as approaching perfection of its kind. Such an object must certainly not convey to us a notion of discord, deficiency or redundance amongst its parts or attributes.
Beauty as apprehended by the ear is eminently a harmony, and is the more beautiful according as that harmony approaches perfection. The beauty of even simple notes of sweetness is, we now know, due to “timbre"-which is a special and, as it were, minute kind of harmony. The same thing may be said of the charm of certain human voices, though we may also have an additional charm from the perfection with which they exhibit some shade of character, or give expression to some dominant emotion. The senses of taste and smell may give us very pleasant impressions, which so far may be said to possess a certain kind of beauty; but it is only when objects convey to us the notion of a more or less harmonious and perfect blending of savors and of odors, or of these combined, that they ordinarily arouse in us a perception of the kind. The sense of touch, combined with feelings of muscular effort and tension, may inform us of various beauties which are ordinarily apprehended by the eye; and this is emphatically the case with the blind. Feelings such as those of a most excellently polished surface, or of a perfection of delicate softness—like that of the fur of the chinchilla-may give rise to qualitative perceptions which we express by the terms "beautifully smooth" or "beautifully soft."
But apart from sensuous perceptions, the intellect very keenly apprehends beauty of character and action-moral beauty. As to such beauty it will not be disputed, but that those acts and characters in which it is most apparent are deemed by us to most nearly approximate to our notions of perfection. The same may be said of the intellectual beauty of a discourse, a poem or a problem. Whichever of such things may strike us as being the most beautiful, is that which most nearly agrees with our idea and ideal of perfection according to its kind. We have used the terms “idea" and “ideal" advisedly, for objects we admire seldom entirely satisfy us. We can conceive of an ideal beauty beyond them. Our perceptions of beauty, though aroused by the impressions of external objects, are not contained within them, but, like the rest of our higher apprehensions, are the result of our intellectual faculty which attains through sensitivity that which is altogether beyond sensitivity-like the ideas of being, possibility, necessity and cause.
From the foregoing brief review of the objects which excite our admiration, it results that our intellectual apprehension of beauty may to a certain extent be explained as a perception of ideal perfection realized, or of an approximation thereto. But this explanation may be deemed by some persons as not altogether satisfactory and final, because just as it may be asked: “What is the goodness of following the right order?" so also it may be asked: “What is the beauty of perfection ?” But to this question there is, we believe, no reply but that perfection is beautiful, and if this be so then it must be admitted that the idea of “beauty,” like each of the ideas of “the good” and “the true,” is an ultimate idea which is capable of apprehension, but not of analysis.
Beauty also, like goodness and truth, must be both subjective and objective. It is subjective, regarded as a quality perceived by our own mind; and objective, regarded as an intrinsic quality whereby anything approximates to perfection according to its kind and degree of being.
But there is one great difference whereby “beauty" differs from both “ truth” and “goodness.” The latter qualities are, as we have seen, predicates of objects only on account of relations they bear to something else, but“ beauty” is essentially intrinsic and relates, at least primarily, to a thing considered in and by itself, and the relations it implies are internal relations.
When anything is said to be beautiful on account of its fitness to serve some end, the word is, as we have seen, but used analogically, since what is thereby really denoted is not beauty, but utility or analogical goodness of a certain kind.
The beauty of a race-horse differs from that of a perfect horse of the strongest and most massive build, as that of a spaniel differs from a dog of the St. Bernard breed. The qualities which accompany such different kinds of beauty may be, and often are, related to utility. It is not, however, their utility, but the perfection with
which they respectively correspond with an ideal of a certain kind, which makes them beautiful. Nevertheless, an object may have a certain relative beauty in that it augments, or is augmented by, the beauty of some other object. Thus a picturesque castle may derive additional beauty from its situation on some mountain side or summit. Or a mountain may derive an added beauty from the castle which clings to its steep sides or is artistically perched upon its crest.
Can we form any conception of objective beauty altogether apart from human feelings? If the beauty of any being is the same thing as its perfection, then, evidently, those who are convinced that, upholding and pervading the universe (even if that universe be eternal), there is and must be an Eternal Cause-or Power the author of all objects which exist, their powers and therefore their perfections—must affirm the existence of such supreme perfection or beauty. The Author of all perfection cannot be deemed to be Himself imperfect. Of such a Being perfection, and therefore beauty, must not only be eminently the attribute, but that Being must be the prototype of all beauty. “Beauty,” like "goodness," must be of His essence, and the "truth" of all things, as we have seen, also depends on His essence and power. Thus power, beauty, truth and goodness are most closely inter-related. For that which is most good must be perfect of its kind, and therefore true; that which is perfect must be good and must also be true, as responding to the end of its being; and that which is true must be perfect in the way just mentioned, and therefore also good. Yet beauty, goodness and truth are not identical. They are, at the least, three aspects of one ineffable whole, and form, so to speak, a sort of trinity in unity, whereof “power” may be regarded as fundamental, while "the good” and “the true," as each essentially implying an extrinsic relation, may be said, as it were, to proceed from “beauty" being the attribute of the whole with its ineffable internal relations:
All the various perfections, all the beauties material, intellectual and moral of the whole creation, and whatever man most admires or aspires after, as well as what he is least capable of appreciating the beauty of, must, like all that is good and all that is true in the universe, be reflected and derived from the Prototype of all perfection and of all goodness. The beauty of objects must also vary
in degree, according as the perfection to which they severally approximate resembles, by a more or less immeasurably distant analogy, the perfection of their First Cause. Since, again, everything which exists more or less approaches a perfection of some kind or order of existence, everything which exists must have a beauty of its kind and in its degree, just as it must be more or less good. But if