Personality and the Ego



"Nil dignius est anima, nil exccllentius bac tinica cognitione, quaro qui perfectam haberet Deo similis esset, imo Deus ipse."—Franciscus Sanchez.


Sec. I.

Having now considered the fall of man psychologically, and having, moreover, taken a psychological anticipatory glance at his restoration, we proceed to consider, apart from this work of grace, his present condition. The method which we adopt for this purpose is from within outwards. That which is most external of man is his corporeity. Powers which are common to this with the whole of nature are active herein—the presuppositions or postulates of bodily life. In these powers, rules the soul, combining them into the unity of individual life. The soul, on the one hand, is turned towards these powers, and towards corporeity; on the other hand, it is turned inwardly towards the spirit, whence it has its origin. The soul is the external aspect of the spirit, and the spirit the internal aspect of the soul; and the most internal nature of man is his Ego, which is distinct from spirit, soul, and body. From this we begin. It is the same course which is adopted by the work of restoration. This also addresses itself first of all to the human Ego, and thence extends to the threefold condition of man's being. For the faith with which it commences is, as we saw at the close of the previous paragraph, the union of the Ego with the word of grace.

It is then no philosophic abstraction with which we begin, but a natural psychologic fact of the greatest soteriologic importance; for which reason we may expect that the self-distinguishing of man as Ego, from all which belongs to his nature, will be very sharply impressed on Scripture. And it is so. How clearly is man as Ego distinguished, Isa. xxvi. 9, from his spirit and his soul! how clearly (Prov. xxiii. 15, ^"D3 and Eccles. vii. 25,^s) from his heart! And how ingeniously is the twofold relation of the Ego to the human natural condition indicated, by the fact that the Israelite — speaking of the spirit, soul, heart—says not less frequently ^j? than 'a or 'a"]i?a! In the former case, the Ego appears as the centre, which has the natural condition above itself, or around itself; in the latter case, as the circumference, which encloses the natural condition, and contains within itself all that belongs to it. (See 'rn"i, ps. cxlii. 4, cxliii. 4; Ps. xlii. 5, 6, 7, 12, xliii. 5,

Job xxx. 16, Lam. iii. 20; ^ Jer. viii. 18, Neh. v. 7; and compare with these, passages such as Ps. cvii. 5, Lam. i. 20, where we read instead, 'a or 'S'lps.)

So far as man is able in the innermost depth of his innate being to apprehend himself as Ego, and to comprehend the entirety of this being in the thought of Ego, we call him a person. Scripture indeed makes use of irpoawrrov (2 Cor. i. 11), D^S, not in this sense, but of man, or even of God in His self-representation in the externality of His manifestation. 'titoatiuji< ; also (Heb. i. 3, comp. xi. 1) indicates in itself not that which knows itself, but the substance that underlies the appearance. But" person" has now come into use, to express a nature self-consciously determining itself, and self-conscious, and capable of introspection, even to the thought of the Ego. The classical use of the word has most undoubtedly the tendency to give it this later meaning, which is brought about by the Romish law and the ecclesiastical dogmatics. It were only to be wished that "personality" should not be confounded with "individuality," as still so frequently occurs. Personality is that which is common to all men as such, whereby they are elevated above plants and beasts (for even between the idea, feeling, and instinct of the brute, and the subjectivity of man, which knows itself, and determines itself out of itself, is an impassable gulf). Individuality, on the other hand, is the peculiarity of the individual man, whereby he is distinguished from the other beings of his kind.1 In Scripture we cannot naturally expect these conceptions of scholastic language. But even in the narrative of creation, where PD is only used of plants and beasts, and not of men, it suggests that man is more than an individual of a pD—he is a person. And Paul says, in connection with a word of Aratos, that humanity is yivo< ;

1 Let it be observed how Cicero, de offic. i. 80, expresses himself hereupon: Intelligendum est, duabua quasi a Datura nos indutos esse personis, etc. The one is " personality," the other "individuality."

Tov Qeov (Acts xvii. 28) : it is an entirety of individuals, which at the same time are persons, as God is a person.

Everything which pertains to the condition of being, and to the inborn individuality of man, he possesses without his own agency. But in apprehending himself as Ego, he places himself as the centre of this inherited being, and makes it the circle of his knowledge and his power. It is to this being that belongs, as was said above, even the t?Q?. Nowhere does tf'W indicate the Ego of man as distinguished from his substantial nature. For although 'SPW, yfrvxn H*>v, is in many cases interchanged with e-yw, and may be substituted for eyd>, yet it does not signify " my Ego;" but in saying ^S?, I distinguish myself as Ego from the soul which appertains to me. But that may indicate not only the entire inner nature of man, but also his entire personality, i.e. all that pertains to the person of man (personality, conceived, as our dogmatists say, not formaliter et prcecise, but materialiter et concretive), has its reason in the fact that the soul, and indeed (let it be well considered) the soul capable of spirit and spirit-like, is the mediator in man, having two aspects, bearing upon the spirit and the body respectively, rm would only very unintelligibly indicate man, since he is not pure spirit; and "iK'a, oap% (Ps. lvi. 5; frequently in "ibzri>3, iraaa <rap!;, and in the New Testament aap% Kal aI/ta=D"i11^a), indicates him only in reference to the sensuous, perishable side of his nature. As little as t?W is the Ego of man, so little could it be concluded, from this mode of using it, that it is this which constitutes the person of man. It is not, as we have already said in Div. II. Sec. IV., that which constitutes the person, but it is the link of personality, i.e. of the spirit-embodied nature of man. Precisely on this account K'W is used in the sense of Person. t?W is used in the sense of somebody; tPW"^3, iraaa "fyvyfj, in the sense of everybody (for which, after the example of Deut. xx. 16, also is used npE'J^S, Josh. x. 40, xi. 11, 14, 1 Kings xv. 29, as in the Arabic nesemek, but nowhere nwfel); and numbers are reckoned, as well in the New Testament as in the Old, by souls (e.g. 1 Pet. iii. 20, Oktu> -^v^ai, and often in the Acts of the Apostles). It would thence be wrongly concluded that the soul is what constitutes the person of man; for the brute is also called t?W. In in itself is not involved the conception of the personal living, but only of the self-living (individual). In such cases $W indicates the person of the man, but not the man as a person. That we are able to translate it "person," is accounted for not in the idea of the word, but in the nature of what is denoted by it (comp. Rom. xiii. 1 with ii. 9); for man and beast are E'W in essential diversity. The beast is t?W, as a self-living nature by the power of the spirit proceeding from God, and ruling throughout its entire nature, the individual constitution of which spirit is the soul of the brute; but man is E''W, as a self-living nature by the power of the spirit that proceeds from God, and is in the form of God, and is therefore personal, the operation of which spirit is his endowment with soul. That which constitutes the person of man, i.e. that by virtue of which he is a being knowing himself, and determining himself out of himself, is his spirit; for the Godbreathed nnEO is the light of God which searches through all the chambers of his internal nature, Prov. xx. 27; on which passage Elster rightly observes: "It is the mystery of selfconsciousness which is here represented in a sensible form. The human spirit, when it is trained to the height of the capacity of development abiding in it, is able to make itself objectively its own life, its own nature; it can place over against itself the special feeling by its reflection, and thus can reflect itself in itself. This capability of self-consciousness, however, is the most essential part of the divine likeness, and therefore it is called a Light of God, because herein especially the human spirit announces itself as a ray of the divine."1 The New Testament Scripture says just the same of the created

1 In this passage Hitzig understands by nDEO not the spirit, but the soul, appealing to a word of Kafswini (Cosmogr. i. 355). The soul (en-nefs) is like the lamp which shines around (with which all around is enlightened) in the corners of the house. But in this expression en-nefs means the spiritsoul; for ^jyjjjj!, according to a usus loquendi that has become prevalent, is the spirit-soul, originating out of the spirit-world, and the soul of nature turned towards the sense-world—the bearer (J-«U-) of the natural

powers of life. Therefore ruhi i^^-jj) in Arabic is used quite in the same sense as in Hebrew, nnfslii = myself (ipse). Moreover, according to a prevailing rabbinical terminology, t^W is the intelligent, immortal; nDCO, on the other hand, the animal soul, which passes away with the body (see Scheyer, Das psychologische System des Maimonides, 1845). According to a better distinction, ti'W is the lower soul, nn the spirit of life ordained

human spirit. It is there called the internal eye, the internal light (Matt. vi. 23).1 Tkyap otSev avdpumusv ra Tov avdpumov, el fitj To irvevfia Tov avdpumov To ev Oot&j (1 Cor. ii. 11). Therefore in the New Testament, where the testimonies and operations of God are spoken of, which are addressed to our self-consciousness, we nowhere find the yfrvxh named. God evidences Himself Tu> irvevfiari rjfiu>v (Rom. viii. 1(5), and we become renewed Tu> irvevfiart Tov vob< ; rjfi&v (Eph. iv. 23). The spirit is that which constitutes man's person, and there accordingly begins the work of grace, which restores the intercourse of the personal man with God, the absolutely personal, and has in view the entire condition of man's nature, held together by the Psyche, and encircled by the self-consciousness of the Pneuma. The object of the saving facts of redemption is called tyvXV, for VruX7? indicates the individual entire life of man; but the object of the internal operations of grace, fulfilling themselves in the light of the self-consciousness and of the selfdetermination, is called irvevfia (KapSia, vow): for this "is the abode of all self-conscious will, thought, and perception, where the personal relation of man to the proffered salvation is determined and formed.2

above it, and conditioning its standing, and nDU.'3 the intelligent soul. Thus

distinguish Saadia, Abenezra, Schemtob.; vid. Egger's Psyclwlngia Rabbinica (an excellent Basel dissertation), 1719. Here at least nDC'J occupies

the highest place; but, according to a representation absolutely opposed to the Bible, |"IV1 appears as spiritus vitalis between the inferior and the rational soul. This confusion of the use of language is 'widely spread. According to Hermes, in Stobseos, i. 1, 40, the tov; is the most internal, and the rziinfioL (the life-spirit traversing throughout by veins, and arteries, and blood) the most external of the inner man: i tov; it Tu "hiyu, i Ac'yo. U Ta yf/vxfi, i li -tyvyji it vnsCfittti. Similarly Robert Flud (died 1637), "Spiritus interpositus est inter animam et corpus haud aliter ac aer inter solum et terram;" and Campanella (died 1639), "Triplici vivimus substantia, corpore scilicet, spiritu, et mente. Spiritus vehiculum mentis, mens vero apex animae in horizoute habitans, quae spiritum et corpus item infonnat." This also is the terminology of Comenius: anima or mens, the spirit; spiritus, the animal soul (see the first Appendix to this Division). Similarly Lord Bacon of Verulam.

1 In like manner, Aristotle says of Nus, that it is the divine eye of the soul (\pvxii( Stiot ofifix), that it is in the soul what the power of vision is in the eye (m^/f it i<ptix)iftu).

2 Sec v. Zezschwitz, Profangriicitat u. bibl. Sprachgeist, p. 45.

But has the soul, then, no appropriate self-consciousness? We answer provisionally: the self-consciousness of the soul is just the self-consciousness of the spirit. The spirit is substance knowing itself; the soul is substance, but knowing itself only in virtue of the immanence of the spirit;1 and the Ego is not substance, but the thought of the spirit combining in thought the entire essential condition into this one luminous point.2 Since J. G. Fichte, it has of late been often and urgently said, that the self-consciousness of the spirit is its existence itself.3 This assertion is not without meaning, if by spirit be understood the realization of the soul's foundation of self-consciousness. But for us, who hold the self-consciousness itself to be the realization of the foundation of the spirit, it is without meaning and intelligence. The spirit is potentially and actually self-conscious, i.e. a Being reflected in itself,—not the self-consciousness itself. The spirit is essence; the self-consciousness, in its actuality, is the confirmation of this spirit-essence; and the self-thought is the result of the consummation of self-consciousness—is the general self-thought, which underlies all special thoughts, of the spirit which apprehends itself, and its sphere of operation as its object. How rightly and in what meaning we assert this, will appear more clearly when we examine the distinction which has grown usual and important in the later biblical theology, of the personal life and the natural life, according to Scripture and experience.

1 In a similar but not an absolutely identical sense, Schbberlein, Jahrl. 1861, p. 49: "The soul is the subjective principle in man. The spirit, indeed, causes the soul to soar up into the Ego: the spirit is that which constitutes the person, but the seat of the Ego-personality itself is the soul; in the soul man leads his own, his self-life." This representation, that the spirit is that which constitutes the person—the soul is itself the human-personal—can only be carried out, if, with Schbberlein, we understand by the spirit the Divine Spirit, but not if we distinguish spirit and soul as separate created substances (see below, Sec. VI.).

2 It is only a confirmation of the above, when my Elberfeld critic says: Ego is not a fourth nature by the side of the Trine—Soul, Spirit, Body—as the one God is not a fourth nature.

.1 V. Preger; Flacius, ii. 401.