The Established View of the Capacities of the Soul


Sec. VII.

Where, then, it will be asked, are the capacities of perception and representation, with memory, fancy, and understanding? where the capacity of feeling, where the faculty of desire, with inclination and choice? We formulate the question even as it is required, when we leave out such faculties as have been already shown to belong to the spirit, as such (reason, disposition, free-will). All the capacities named are actually proper to the spirit-resembling soul, as such. The soul is the perceiver in us. "Thou hearest, O my soul," says Jeremiah (iv. 19), "the voice of the trumpet, the sound of war." As it is here said that the soul hears, so elsewhere, that it thinks, and speaks, and knows (1 Sam. xx. 4; Lam. iii. 24; Ps. cxxxix. 14): it must therefore so far partake in the spirit's capacity of thought and knowledge, that the faculty of representation is proper to it: to make to itself fearful representations is called, in Ps. xiii. 3, tetoa rri»| JVB>. Imagination is called, in Eccles. vi. 9, ^"1^!, to conceive, to think with one's self; Esther iv. 13, ^W3 nOT. That memory and forgetting are affairs of the soul, is shown by Deut. iv. 9. Thus, that passions and affections of all kinds are declared of the soul, as subject and object, there need absolutely no special texts to prove: indicates in that behalf absolutely the general disposition of a man's mind, proceeding from events or circumstances (Ex. xxiii. 9, comp. tota ^jqb^ 1 Sam. i. 15). That there is a capacity of desire belonging to the soul, is shown by the customary phrase t?W rwt<, e.g. Deut. xii. 15, comp. Apoc. xviii. 14. Nay, t?S3, yfn^ij, signifies in that respect absolutely the eagerness, e.g. Prov. xxiii. 2, and the thing longed for (Ps. xxxv. 25). It implies, in contrast to the external urgency, the impulse (Col. iii. 23); and in opposition to the self-dominion of the spirit, the internal arbitrary choice.

We have therefore formulated the question which we proposed at the beginning, as it requires. The faculties of the soul, which are wanting in our representation, certainly belong


to the soul—to wit, in virtue of the fact that it is the copy of the spirit, and that the spirit is immanent in this its likeness. But in the arrangement of the deficient faculties of the soul we have followed the established method, by which it is usual to place the capacity of perception and of representation first, and the capacity of desire at the end.1 This arrangement is nevertheless neither consistent with the fact, nor with Scripture. It is not according to Scripture; for in the idea of tJ'W, yfrvj(tjf as Scripture uses it, is altogether manifest the characteristic of desire, predominant over everything, and pervading everything; so much that t?SJ even signifies by metonymy the most external bodily organs of desire, the mouth and throat (Isa. v. 14), and the stomach (Isa. xxix. 8, xxxii. 6; Prov. vi. 30); and similarly the counterpart of appetite—food (Isa. lviii. 10), and the means of providing the daily bread (mill and mill-stone) (Deut. xxiv. 6); and Bfa 3rn (Prov. xxviii. 25) is broad-souled, as opposed to greedy, covetous (narrow-souled).2 Generally, Scripture considers will, knowledge, and experience as one unity. We showed this when we treated on the triplicity of the spirit. We shall prove it further, when we discuss the biblical use of the word 3^, KapSi'a. For that in man which thinks and perceives could not be called in Scripture 3?, KapSia, unless the will were the peculiar central feature in man, which precedes perception, and comprehends it in itself; while through the perception superadded, the will becomes self-determination and self-decision. Arthur Schopenhauer3 has built his philosophical system on

1 Thus, for example also, in the able psychological compendiums of Jos. Beck and Christ. Heinr. Zeller, founded as they are on biblical principles.

2 Distinct from 3^ 3m (Ps. ci. 5), broad-hearted, which is contrasted with puffed up, arrogant.

3 In his work, Die Welt als Wille und als Vorstellung; comp. his work on the will in nature (2d ed. 1854). We might, moreover, have proceeded above from Schelling; for that there is no other means of being able to know the being and life of the Godhead, as of the soul and of the spirit, than by the will (that which first of all wills itself, and is not objective)— this is also the fundamental thought of the (later) system of Schelling. We have, however, avoided it, in order to avoid the false appearance of being dependent on this system whilst we have the Holy Scripture before us, and independently follow the guidance of the profound German thinker, through the study of whom Schelling's thoughtful labours since the inquiries on the nature of human freedom, 1809, have appeared newly fertilized and made young.

the fundamental position, that the thing in the abstract, or the final substratum of every phenomenon, is the will; for that it has been a mistake hitherto to regard will and knowledge as absolutely inseparable—nay,—to regard the will as a mere operation of knowledge, which is the supposed basis of every spiritual fact. Will and choice were confounded, which latter is only a mode of appearance of the will. For the will is the agent, moreover, of all events that are without knowledge; but choice is will where knowledge enlightens it; and thence arise motives, that is to say, representations which are moving causes to it. The difference between movements which are arbitrary and not arbitrary does not concern the essential and primary element, which in both cases is the will, but merely the secondary—the calling forth of the externality of the will, whether this occurs, for instance, in the guiding clue of special causes (as in inorganic bodies), or by attraction (as in vegetable-animal life), or by motives, i.e. through the knowledge of pervading causes (as in psychico-spiritual life).

These principles are not without truth, if only this were not abused, in connection with this system, into a foundation of the most peculiar idealism and wretched atheism, so as to be disfigured thereby. Even K. Fortlage indicates the "will or impulse" as the fundamental relation of the psychical nature— as the empiric Ego: "the impulse," says he,1 "is built under all being as its deepest foundation." And Heinrichs, although distinguishing will and impulse, in opposition to Schopenhauer, —inasmuch as in his work,2 which exhibits very ably the essential likeness and essential difference between brute and man,— he proceeds from the position, "that the feeling of self is the foundation of the possibility of life, inclination or impulse the internal condition of its coming into existence: the possible life in the feeling of self, which as such is an inseparable unity, is rendered effectual by inclination." On the other hand, we maintain that experience attributes to inclination, not to the perception of self, the priority. For the sense of self of the living nature awakens in the degree that the inclinations natural to it —i.e. innate, stimulated by sensational allurements, and ideas associated therewith—begin to express themselves,—a process

1 System tier Psychologic, i. 464.

'Ueber das Lehen in der Natur, 1854.

of development which reaches back even into the still restrained life of the foetus swimming in the amniotic fluid of the womb.1 The inclination aroused by sensations and ideas, and thus found in existence by them, is, however, the lowest ground-form of the will, willing in the light of self-consciousness; yet, as appears from the fact that the willing power can transplant itself, by virtue of its will, into the position of unconsciousness, it is not first begotten by self-consciousness. At least the Godhead would not be causa sui, if its being, and even its self-consciousness (as we have seen in Div. IV. Sec. IV.), had not will, and indeed, will purely self-determining from itself (without stimulus from without) as its primitive ground, or, as we might even say— as here is the limit of all thought losing itself in the infinite— its no-ground. God is prior to all will, for He is love; and to love, is before all, to will, (niK), avere (corresponding to the Vedic root av, to desire, to love): true love is good-will itself. But even elsewhere, Scripture does not make the will subsequent to perception. u Scriptura de cogitationibus," says M. F. Roos, after careful consideration,2 " non ita loquitur ut voluntatem vel volitiones sejungat, quemadmodum id in scholis philosophorum fit, qui discrimen inter intellectum ac voluntatem ingens constituerunt et intellectui regimen, voluntati obsequium attribuerunt." <( What is will?" asks Oetinger ;3 and answers, "My soul is pure will, nisus indifferent, which is first determined by certain objectis and becomes sui conscius; so that, as it were, the will gives birth to the understanding by the objecta" This answer is scriptural. All existence, nin, is in its deepest source will, rnK (comp. t?w rwn, Mic. vii. 3, for rnK4); for which reason also an immediate 8eXeiv (John iii. 8), i.e. a OeXeiv not produced by the way of knowledge, is attributed to the entire life of nature unconscious of itself. But in the latter instance the question of the priority in the Godhead is decided in favour of the will. Therefore, when we considered the triplicity of God as the archetype of the triplicity of the spirit, we everywhere gave will the precedence before thought and knowledge. According

1 See Kussmaul, Untersuchungen tiler das Seelenkben des nevgeborenen Menschen, 1859.

2 Fundamenta PsycMogise ex S. S. Colkcta, p. 182.

3 In his work on the Psalms, p. 627.

4 See, on mn (whence mn), hiare and inhiare, Hupf. on Ps. v. 10.

to Scripture, the will is the root of the Godhead and of the spirit, having its primary existence in God, and consequently also the root of the soul, having its primary source in the spirit.

Although, therefore, in our view of the soul, the faculty of desire seems to be omitted, yet, in case the seven powers comprehend it among them, it will probably be contained in the first of them. And thus it actually is. For what is the first power wherewith the being of the soul commences, other than a will still immediate, having no object but itself, embracing itself, and therefore dark? In the second power the immediate will is already become an effectuated will with a motive. There is associated with it the idea of a purpose placed outside of itself; and this idea becomes a motive which forces it out of its immediate existence within itself: desire has here stepped forth from its mere reference to itself, and has become inclination. In the third stage we find passion and conception striving with one another; passion seeking to possess itself of the thing conceived, in opposition to other possible conceptions: desire here appears as arbitrary will, or faculty of choice. Thus, in respect of its three first powers, the soul is a copy of the spirit's loving will and loving thought, just as the Spirit is the copy of the Father's loving will and loving thought directed towards the Son. The destination towards which the soul struggles in the third stage, is that of pressing through to a conformity with the spirit. This pressing through is carried into effect in the fourth stage, where the spirit has before itself the soul, as the image of itself, and the soul has before itself, itself as the image of the spirit. Here is the place of the plastic power of the imagination or fancy (ivdvfirjai<;> Acts xvii. 29), which, if it dissolve the harmony with the spirit, becomes a scene of confusion, of entangled and ignoble phantasms, and not less also of the faculty of foreboding, since it is here where the soul is penetrated with misgivings from the veiled depth of the future, and generally of that which is mysterious, i.e. immediate perceptions, like lightning, or like glimpses of light. In the fifth stage, the soul, pervaded with likeness to the spirit, is receptive of the substance of the spirit so formed into it, and is passively turned towards it. It perceives it, it sensitively reflects it, it preserves that which is perceived and felt,—in all, a true mirror of the spirit, which unfolds itself to it as a pattern. Perception,

feeling, memory, have here their place; for perception and feeling (sentire) are inseparable, and memory is nothing else than the retaining of that which is received by way of perception and feeling. In the sixth stage, the soul is confirmed in possession of this important deposit, in that by the power of the nous (manifesting itself here as understanding) of the spirit immanent in it, it divides it, and arranges, or comprehensively systematizes it, and translates it into the sound-forms of audible speech. In the seventh stage, the spirit-resembling nature of the soul is then completed by the organizing power of wisdom.

Thus, in our view of the soul, none of the faculties are omitted which are usually enumerated as psychical. Their sequence, indeed, is different from that which is commonly received, but it is more accordant with their genesis: we see one unfolded out of the other in gradual progression. In all, however, it must not be forgotten that the soul has no self-conscious existence for itself; its capacities are the refractions of rays of the spirit's light; it is what it is, and what it proves itself, by the power of personal association with the personifying spirit. The seven powers of the soul are not the soul's own powers, but the psychical powers of the spirit itself; as the "seven spirits" of the Apocalypse are, so to speak, the powers of God the Spirit, and especially of His Spirit, brought into operation as the doxa, or in the way of the development of His glory. The understanding ('"U'3, MD, fypeves, aweai?) is a mode of operation of the reason psychically effected njn, vow, 7vwfft?1), Job xxxii. 8, 1 Chron. xxii. 12, 2 Chron. ii. 11; and wisdom (no3nj aofyia) is a mode of operation of the knowledge of the spirit (njn, 7kw<7<?) psychically carried into effect in the highest sense: for as God has yv<cais, so far as He knows Himself the Triune, but aofyia in relation to His doxa and to the world; as 7vw<7t? and aofyia (Rom. xi. 33) are so distinguished, as that the former is the knowledge of God, by means of which the world's history with all its intricacies and abysses is eternally known to Him, but the latter is the wisdom of God, by means of which

1 It is a very just tact by which Luther (although not necessarily, still very generally) translates rW3, ni^fl, <Ppi>t;, svnm;, by " understanding," and njn, t3b, y»uoi;, ~Kiya;, vov; (»infcu), by "reason;" coinp. especially Prov. xviii. 15, xix. 25, xxi. 11.

He has established for the world's history its purpose, and selects the right means to lead it towards this purpose—the design and substance of the olKovofiia rov fivaT^plov (Eph. iii. 9);—even so aotya, as the completion of the nature of the human soul, is the typically reflected knowledge of the spirit itself, in the harmonious disposition and regulation of all its powers. All wisdom, which pertains to the spiritual soul by virtue of the immanence of a spirit detached from God, is -^vxiKrj in an evil sense (Jas. iii. 15; comp. on the other hand, Col. i. 9).

The soul has, however, not merely a side turned towards the spirit, but a side turned towards corporeity and the world. But before applying ourselves to the consideration of this aspect of the soul's life, we have to deal with a weighty objection. According to the usual view, the spirit's life is related to the soul's life, as its blossom and flower; according to our view, it is its root. The human process of development appears to contradict this view, to which we attach ourselves on the ground of Scripture. It is this which we are now engaged to investigate.