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As the logical evolution of a gigantic Pantheism from a few seminal principles of extreme simplicity, it is the effort of an intellect of the first order; but, as an attempt to demonstrate the absolute unity, the "consubstantiality” (in M. Saisset's phrase) of God and the universein short, to resolve all existence into the substantial existence of God as the sole BEING, without self-consciousness or personality, and thus virtually to destroy the moral distinction of right and wrong, by binding everything in the enormous chain of an adamantine and boundless necessity—it is a system of deplorable error, which may attract the merely speculative philosopher, but which can never satisfy the noblest instincts and aspirations of humanity, touching immortality and a God who is felt to be a Father of Love and the Beneficent Author of Providence.
The whole Pantheistic controversy lies ultimately in the old battle-field, whether púris (nature) or réxon (art) is the most ancient--the primal-principle. If pois be, then in its evolutions through a coming eternity, what security is there that existences as wild and terrible and mighty as the vast phantoms of Hindoo theogony, may not be generated; what security that the identical individual man may not, in the revolving cycles of some ungrasped law, again attain a conscious existence, filled with the memory of the past, overwhelmed by hopeless anticipations for the future? And where, indeed, can a logical result be found, but in the monstrous hypothesis, that the universe will eternally pass through the pulsations of development from, and return into the unity of the impersonal being—the ground of existence, which will thus endlessly oscillate between multiplicity and self-absorption--between a universe and chaos, by a necessary law of action-never accomplishing its destiny, and never attaining but a quasi selfconsciousness, in the evolution of finite intelligences? Whoever will, may see so wild a speculation maintained with the genius of a poet and the reasoning of a logician in Mr. Poe's brilliant production, entitled "Eureka, or The Universe." It was, in a kindred form, held by some of the Greek philosophers. Professor Tayler Lewis says: “If the account of Heraclitus, given in the Theatetus, be correct, he was well entitled to the appellation • OXoteivós, not for his profundity, as some would represent it, but because he maintained the darkest system of sensual philosophy
that ever shed night over the human intellect. Well might he weep, as Lucian represents him, over his everflowing universe of perishing phenomena, where nothing stood“nothing was fixed, but as in a mixture—all things were confounded; where pleasure and pain, knowledge and ignorance, great and small, were the same; where all things up and down were circling round in a choral dance, and ever changing places as in the sport of eternity.” There was something in the hard atoms and dry mechanical theory of the laughing Democritus, which left room for a spiritual world, although he himself was an atheist; but the soft, flowing, sentimental, and, as some modern cant would absurdly style it, transcendental sensualism of Heraclitus, (if he is not grossly misrepresented,) was atheism in its darkest form. And yet there are other accounts which make him talk very piously about “the Supreme Numen and the immortality of the soul.” A cognate school is the ultra Hegelian of modern Germany, widely different as its learning and technical phraseology is; but neither its profound metaphysics, nor Mr. Poe's genius and logic, can conceal the fact that such systems swallow up, in all-devouring darkness, the loftiest hopes, the mightiest consolations, the most ennobling convictions of humanity.
It would be absurd to brand Spinoza as an atheist, in the ordinary acceptation of that term. He repelled, with energy, the charge-he rested everything upon the absolute necessity of the existence of God; but, then, with him there could be but one Substance---one Being; all thought and matter, or extension, were necessary attributes or developments of that Substance, and thus, denying creation, he made púris all. But if, according to the most necessary convictions of our reason and moral nature, qúois itself implies, and is the product of antecedent réxvn, then art, design, must involve a primal volls and hoyos, as moral law and conscience must imply a moral Lawgiver; and hence, upon the admission of a personal, moral Deity, Spinoza's objection against the possibility of creation fails, and the moral instincts of humanity cling to the idea of a wisely superintending God, of perfect freedom, holiness, justice, and love.
In truth, there is nothing left for an intellectual man now, as to any theory of the universe, but the choice between these two alternatives; because the only other solu
tion of the problem, namely, Dualism, has passed forever from the field of speculation. Two independent and eternal principles can never again command the belief of any but the wildest and most unscientific dreamer. There remains nothing but a choice between the theories of the antecedence of purus or réxvn, or, in other words, between Pantheism and Creation. The latter, while it might not (according to Leibnitz,* a strenuous supporter of the doctrines of a personal God and a dependent creation,) involve the commencement of creation in time, yet, by making the universe the creature of the eternal free will of God, leaves room for a philosophical ground for revelation and christianity. Under the former theory, christianity becomes no more than one of the natural processes of the unfolding of the Infinite Being-as it is manifested in the finite phases of man and his history.
An error, which is central and vital to Spinoza's whole system-which is found in German schools of Pantheism, and which is remarkable, as accompanying the systems of men who profess to base everything upon a critical estimate of the limits of the faculties, and upon established experience-consists in the assumption of a supreme "intellectual intuition,” which, when the senses and the intuitions of reason, as to ultimate principles, fail to furnish material for speculations beyond the possible grasp of the finite faculties, comes to the aid of the philosopher, in giving him an intuition of the Infinite, Substantial Being, which he certainly cannot verify, but from which he can logically deduce the conclusions of Spinoza, that God is absolute extension, but incorporeal-that he is absolute thought, but without understanding--and that he is active and free, (necessity being the only true freedom,) but that he is without will and personality.
By a sophism-not intentional with Spinoza, but arising from confusion of terms-he thought that he had demonstrated the impossibility of creation, by laying at the basis of his philosophy the definition of substance as necessary existence, and then deducing the impossibility of one substance being produced by another. Thus, in fact, his whole supposed demonstration amounts only to the proposition that the substance—the sole Being-his God, could
• Who held to an eternal universe, nevertheless.
not have been created. To make his reasoning good, he must have first demonstrated-which he did not--that there could not possibly be more than a single, unique substance. All which he has demonstrated, is, that there cannot be more than one necessary existence. His whole system, notwithstanding its rigidly logical and geometrical form, is not demonstration; it is but the development of what is implicitly contained in his fundamental postulates. While he assumed space and extension to be essential attributes of his Deity, a more famous philosopher uses the following language respecting the God of his system : “Deus æternus est et infinitus, omnipotens et omnisciens; id est, durat ab æterno in æternum, et adest ab infinito in infinitum ; omnia regit et omnia cognoscit, quæ fiunt aut fieri possunt. Non est æternitas vel infinitas; non est duratio et spatium, sed durat et adest. Durat semper et adest ubique ; et existendo semper et ubique, durationem et spatium, æternitatem et infinitatem constituit." How admirably chosen are these words of Newton, and with what singular force and propriety is "constituit ” employed ! One feels at once that no other term could have been selected.
We commend M. Saisset's labors to any one who wishes to encounter the thorny dialectics of Spinoza ; for very trnly does the able translator say: "Je ne sais si je m'abuse, mais il me semble qu'une traduction française, par la clarté, propre à notre langue et par cette heureuse nécessité imposée à l'auteur de donner aux idées les plus vagues des contours fermes et précis, est déjà une sorte de commentaire."
ART. V.-CALIFORNIA. 1. Geographical Memoir upon Upper California, in il
lustration of his Map of Oregon and California ; by John CHARLES FREMONT. Miscellaneous Document,
No. 148, 1st Session, 3d August, 1848. 2. Western America, including California und Oregon
with the maps of those regions, and of the Sacramento Valley" from actual Surveys; by ČHARLES WILKES, U. S. N., Commander of the U. S. Exploring Expedi
tion, &c. Philadelphia : Lea & Blanchard. 1849. 3. What I saw in California: being the Journal of a tour
in the years 1846-47; by Edwin BRYANT, late Alcalde of St. Francisco. New-York: D. Appleton & Co. 1848.
The history of California and of its conquest by our arms, has been briefly traced in a previous article. To complete the present view of the subject it becomes necessary to give some account of the topography of the country, its climate and resources, and of its commercial and political position. It will be less easy, perhaps, to define with precision its immediate prospects, whatever certainty may exist with regard to its ultimate destiny. Doubts have been expressed of its early prosperity, from incongruities in its population, and from an eager and reckless pursuit of a single source of wealth. Many of the emigrants are in a measure the refuse of strong governments. Freed from the restraints of arbitrary power, and exhibiting the wildest notions of liberty, it is said that, as anarchy is the easiest step from despotism, they may be disposed, and in sufficient numbers, to prevent the establishment, or at least counteract the wholesome influence of wise regulations. And having few affinities with us, at a remote distance, and unawed by the inconsiderable military force in the territory, it is even apprehended that they may declare the province independent of the mother country. The evil consequences that would inevitably flow from these results, are readily perceived, in character if not in degree. To the horrors of bloodshed and lawless oppression, would be added the temporary ruin of that beautiful country, and its long delay in attaining the rank to which its manifold advantages, under genial auspices, would early entitle and insure it.