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in the Divine personality, even when admitting that he could form no clear conception of it, but practically he ignored it in his theory. The result was the sacrifice of all individual lives, of all personal character and action, of all freedom and responsibility, to a dead, unintelligible, fatalistic unity. Spinoza was a man of a singularly pure and noble nature, yet he was compelled by the force of logic to draw from his pantheism immoral and slavish consequences which would speedily ruin any individual or nation that ventured to adopt them.
It would not have been difficult to draw from it atheism itself. That was certainly not what Spinoza taught or meant to teach. What he maintained was, that the Divine existence is the one true existence, and that the whole system of what we call nature exists only through connection with it. He did not say that space, as we understand space, and time, in the sense of duration, and the worlds which are in space and time, and what these worlds contain, are all that there is; on the contrary, he said that, besides these things, there was the whole universe of true being—substance with infinite attributes unknown to us, and with others somewhat known, absolute extension, absolute eternity, absolute thought, absolute activity. None the less did his idea of God involve the very doctrine to which it seemed to be the contrary extreme. If the absolute substance must express itself necessarily and completely in its attributes, it must be absorbed and exhausted in these attributes; and if they in turn must necessarily and completely evolve into modes, only modes will remain. It may be said that substance, attributes, and modes are eternally distinct, although eternally connected; but this cannot be rationally thought or believed if absolute activity be necessary activity. In this case the monism of Spinoza must inevitably disintegrate and dissolve into monadism—his pantheism into atheism or naturalism.1
I have dwelt at some length on Spinozism from a desire to present one good example of what a pantheistic system is, it being impossible for me in the circumstances to delineate a variety of typical instances. I might have selected my specimen from later times, and discoursed on the pantheism of a Fichte, or Schelling, or Hegel. But I am convinced that this would have been unprofitable. The theories of any of these thinkers can only be intelligently exhibited and fairly criticised in lengthened expositions which permit much explanation and illustration. Good brief summaries of their systems exist in various histories of phil1 See Appendix XXXVIII^
osophy, but I doubt if unprofessional students will be greatly the wiser after the perusal even of the best of them.
So far as the philosophies of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel were pantheistic in their nature, or had a pantheistic interpretation imposed upon them, they presented only very inadequate and unworthy views of God. He is surely not to be identified with the moral order of the universe, or with an absolute indifference of subject and object which develops itself in reality and ideality, nature and spirit, or with a self-evolving impersonal process which, after having traversed all the spheres of matter and mind, attains a knowledge of its Godhead in the speculative reason of man. These are not rational thoughts but foolish fancies, although there may have been associated with them much that is true, suggestive, and profound. It was natural, therefore, that the idealistic pantheism attributed to the philosophers just named should have very soon almost disappeared even in Germany itself. It was like a fountain of mingled sweet and bitter waters which had scarcely emerged into the light of day before they parted into two distinct streams, the one being that which is known as speculative theism, and the other bearing various names, but always presenting some phase of naturalistic or humanitarian atheism. Pantheism is always in unstable equilibrium between theism and atheism, and is logically necessitated to elevate itself to the one or to descend to the other.1
When idealism is followed from Germany into France it becomes still more difficult to decide whether or not it is to be described as pantheism in any of the forms which it has there assumed. The Abbe Maret, one of the historians of pantheism, represents not only M. Cousin but all the chief members of the Eclectic school as pantheists. This is, however, a very exaggerated view. M. Cousin himself can merely be charged with holding tenets which involve pantheism, not with explicity teaching it; while the eclectics as a body have maintained the cause of theism with conspicuous zeal and talent. The views of M. Renan as to Deity are so vague and incoherent that one hesitates to attach to them any name. He prays with rapt devotion to the Father, the Father in heaven, and we fancy we are overhearing the supplications of a Christian theist; he vows, "I think there is not in the universe an intelligence superior to that of man," and we conclude that he is an atheist; he asks, " Who knows if the highest term of progress after millions of ages may not evoke the absolute consciousness of the universe, and in this consciousness the awakening of all that lived?" and we answer here is l See Appendix XXXIX.: J""
pantheism: but what he really is, or even in the main is, it is almost impossible to ascertain. The theism, I fear, is a mere semblance, and "Our Father in heaven" on his lips merely equivalent to "Our Father the abyss," to whom he assures us that "we feel ourselves to be in mysterious affinity." The true state of his mind, if we may venture to say so, appears to be one of perpetual oscillation between atheism and pantheism—between a God who is merely " the category of the ideal" and a God who is a blind but mighty fatality, labouring to bring forth by a slow and painful self-evolution an absolute intelligence—a man-God, in whose consciousness the thoughts and feelings of all the generations of humanity may be comprehended.
The ablest attempt which has been made in France in the present day to substitute for the ordinary idea of God one derived from the principles of idealism, is that of M. Vacherot in his 'Metaphysics and Science.' With all his speculative enthusiasm and talent, however, he has only reached the poor result that God must be regarded as the ideal of the reason, as abstract but not real being, as what exists only by thought and for thought. We can scarcely call this pantheism, because, instead of implying that God is the source, substance, and explanation of the universe, it supposes that He is the source,