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and enormous. It demands them just because it is an intellectual idol—a false unity—a unity of a kind which can never be legitimately attained. We cannot but recognise both the finite and the infinite, the relative and the absolute, the contingent and the necessary; but we cannot by the utmost effort of reason reduce them to one absolute essence from which the whole universe of thought and being may be shown to have necessarily proceeded.
The highest unity to which the finite mind can rise is, it seems to me, the unity of a single creative intelligent Will — the one infinite personal God of theism. To this unity all multiplicity may be traced back. It is no abstract and dead unity, but one which is real, which is all-comprehensive, which fully explains both the unity and variety of the universe, and which fully satisfies at once the demands of the intellect and the heart; for it is a unity which contains the infinite fulness of power, wisdom, and love. It is an absolute unity in the only sense in which that phrase conveys an intelligible and credible meaning—that is to say, it is one Being which is self-existent and self-sufficient, which is entirely independent of every other being, and possessed in itself of every excellence in an infinite measure; while it is the sole and free source of all finite excellence. Whatever the pantheist describes as an absolute unity must be one and absolute in some way much
Theistic and Pantheistic Unity.
UTIU SUTEISTIC Unily.
inferior to this. The unity of matter, the unity of force, the unity of all that is unconscious and impersonal, is unessential and derivative, yea, even illusory if separated from the underlying and original unity of a self-active mind. Only that which says “I” cannot be divided or supposed to be divided ; and that which says “I," while absolutely indivisible, may possess an infinite wealth of powers and properties. The absoluteness of an infinite which necessarily originates the finite is a relative and dependent absoluteness; it is the absoluteness of a being which is not self-sufficient —which is as dependent on what it produces as that which it produces is dependent on it—which is necessarily related to the finite—which, although an infinite that is necessarily and completely active, has only a finite result. This is a curious absoluteness; or rather, it is a manifest absurdity which involves the negation of the principle of causality and of every other principle of rational thought. The theist keeps free from it. God is absolute in the view of the theist, because He alone is selfdependent and self-complete-because He stands in necessary relation to nothing finite, and yet can constitute and enter into all relations with the finite, which He chooses, and which are consistent with His intrinsic perfections. According to theism, whatever is, and is not God, is a creature of God, and no creature of God has, like God, necessary existence. According to theism, God is the one necessary Being, and He, being selfsufficient, needs no other beings in order to realise perfect self-consciousness or to secure perfect blessedness. This seems to me a much more consistent and satisfactory view of absoluteness than that of the pantheist.
It must be admitted, of course, that from the unity to which theism refers us, an absolute science such as pantheism promises cannot possibly be deduced. Alike the infinity and the freedom of the single supreme will make it impossible that a finite mind should so comprehend it as to be able logically to determine its decisions and acts. In the very knowing, indeed, that there is a God, we know that He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His power, wisdom, and holiness ; but this knowledge of His general attributes can never justify our pretending to specify what must be His particular doings, or to maintain more than that none of His doings will be found to be unworthy of His character. The finite mind may legitimately convince itself that there is an infinite mind, but it can never so comprehend such a mind as to be capable of speculatively deducing what it can or must or will do. Absolute science is the science of an infinite reason, and not the science which can be attained by a creature like man ; it is knowledge in which there is no distinction be
tween comprehension and apprehension-in which there is no imperfection or incompleteness—on which there can be no alteration, and to which there can be no addition,-and therefore it is knowledge necessarily and for ever beyond the reach of all finite intelligences. “Who by searching can find out God? Who can find out the Almighty unto perfection ?”
Pantheism stumbles at the idea of creation. It affirms that creation is inconceivable, and infers that it is impossible. In treating of materialism, I have indicated that the assertion is equivocal and the inference illegitimate. But another argument has been employed. The idea of the creation of a finite universe in time has been pronounced dishonouring to God, as implying that His omnipotence is to a large extent inoperative. What, we are asked, was Omnipotence doing before creation? How and why did infinite power produce only a finite effect? Is power unused not power wasted ? Is there not something irrational and repellent in the thought of an omnipotence which originates only a limited sum of results—which has no adequate operation or object? To break or avoid the force of these questions some theologians have maintained that God does all that He can—that His activity is the full expression of His ability; and others have argued that nature is an eternal and infinite creation. These are views, however, which,
far from warding off pantheism, inevitably tend to it; and they grievously offend against reason, which declares it an absurdity that even an infinite power should produce an infinite effect within a finite sphere—within limits of time and space. Is, then, omnipotence never fully exercised ? Is infinite power never fully productive? We have no right to think so. Although omnipotence cannot express itself fully in the finite world to which we belong, the Divine nature may be in itself an infinite universe where this and all other attributes can find complete expression. Is either God's power or His activity to be measured exclusively by the production or support of beings distinct from Himself ? If so, obviously, unless His power be perpetually and completely exercised about finite things, His activity is not equal to His power, and He is not infinitely active, but only infinitely capable of acting. Even infinite activity, however, and absolutely infinite production, cannot be reasonably denied to the Divine nature. As activity is a perfection, infinite activity may be reasonably held to be a supreme perfection which must be ascribed to God. If an absolutely infinite agent acts according to all the extent of its absolutely infinite nature, it must necessarily produce an absolutely infinite effect; the effect would not otherwise be proportionate to the cause. The production of an absolutely infinite effect must be