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be recompensed to him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen."
ART. II.--Pantheism as a Phase in Philosophy and Theory
of History As Providence maintains a positive theism in history, and a course of orderly events against all atheistic and naturalistic speculations, so against Pantheism and Polytheism it asserts with equal distinctness the infinite personality of the one true God. As a philosophy, Pantheism is more life-like and attractive to the cultivated, and has always been far more prevalent than Atheism.
The one finds no proof in nature or history of a Creator and Ruler of the universe. This blindness is so repugnant to the common sense of men, that few, even in speculation, venture upon it. The other, finding the evidence so abundant, wildly rushes into an extravagance of theism, and infers that every thing is God.
Pantheism is thus a profound theism against atheism ; a broad positive against a narrow negative. It is, also, monotheistic against all the forms of polytheism. It includes, in a sense, those other doctrines of a natural theology --omnipotence, omnipresence, and a will-less divine sovereignty. The atheist is often a mocker and a blasphemer. The pantheist is neither ; but meditative and reverent. The former is generally gross and sacrilegious; the latter, in these days of intelligence, is refined and philosophic. He lives in a state of dreamy, blissful nebulosity; of imperturbable placidity and contentment; in a gratulatory admiration of himself and of every thing else as divine. “ Whosoever sees me,” he says, “sees the divine, and whatever I see is divine.”
The idea of all as God sprang originally from the notion of many gods. Multiplicity of divine beings in nature, by a natural transition, ran into the all-comprehending unity as the sole and the all of nature. But, in this passage from the concrete to the abstract, the cardinal idea of personality was lost on the way; so that while polytheism stands with monotheism on the question of personality, pantheism, in its denial of a personal infinite being, goes over from both these to atheism.
The four fundamental principles of pantheism, as a phase in philosophy and theory of history, are the following :
1st. God is an infinite and impersonal substance.
2d. God and the universe are one and the only substance, essence, or being.
3d. The universe, material and intellectual, is an expansion, emanation, or series of individuations of the one Infinite into the many finites.
4th. The tendency of all individuations of the primal unity is first, to consciousness and freedom in man, and then back to absorption in the impersonal One and All. The character. istic averment of the pantheistic scheme is, and has been in all ages, what is called the one-substance doctrine. This is its key-note, its corner-stone.
Here are the rudiments of a philosophy of the universe, physical, psychological, and ethical, which it is claimed solves all the problems of the finite and the infinite. It contains the seeds of a comprehensive realism, or of a fascinating idealism; of an absolute mathematical unity, or a mere metaphysical identity; according as its advocate is materialistic or spiritualistic. On the idealistic side, history is only a series of everadvancing and receding shadows. On the realistic, it is an endless process of expansion and contraction—the individuation and reintegration of the One and All.
Since Providence, in its claim to a satisfactory rendering of the course of the world has this phase of philosophy to meet and dispose of, and as no system has had expended upon it more constructive skill, or contains such a combination of attractive and obstructive elements, a glance at its history is indispensable to a clear view of its true place and uses in the providential plan.
It first appeared as Brahminism-a philosophic system which has held in its strong grasp, for three thousand years, the teeming millions of India. Brahm is the central, impersonal, unconscious substance and unity. According to the Vedas, Bralım is God, and God is one. “His oneness is so absolute, that it not only excludes the possibility of any other God, but likewise the possibility of aught else, either human or angelic, inaterial or immaterial.” It is not an object of worship or scarcely of thought—a something which makes the nearest possible approach to nothing, so near that modern refinements hold them as identical. Yet all things, sun, stars, earths, animals, and the souls of men, are individuated parts of this one, and alike infinite and eternal. The chief emanations into personal consciousness are Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Siva the Destroyer. These are the main forces of history.
The soul, in its circumlocution from the emanating point, passes down into the forın of beasts, birds, and sometimes even vegetables and minerals, and back again after almost interminable transmigrations, to be merged and lost in the infinite abstraction. This return process is a kind of regeneration, or a second birth, of which the emanation was the first,--the whole cycle constituting the soul's history.
“The Indian view of things,” says Hegel," is a universal pantheism-a pantheism, however, of the imagination and not of thought.” The central and all-comprehending abstraction he defines as, “the nothingness of being." From this nothingness every thing goes out blindly, and blindly returns. This process is universal history,-nothing at the beginning, nothing at the end, and, by a logical necessity nothing in the middle. This central infinite passivity or abstraction is the acme of blessedness; and to obtain it by stagnating thought, the repression of every thing human was the ruling idea with that tropical lethargic mass.
Among the Greeks, this pantheistic philosophy hardly existed as a self-consistent form of thought. The Eleatics pitted some phases of it against the prevalent polytheism. Zenophanes affirmed God to be one, and that one the round world. Hence his dogma, “God is a sphere.” It is ever unmoved and immovable, for there is nothing to move it; and never self-moved, for that would require it to become external to itself. It is not infinite, since that only is infinite which has neither beginning, riddle, nor end. Nor is it finite, for the finite is something limited by something else.
It is not strange that Aristotle called Zenophanes, “clown
Parmenides taught that the all is one; that the one is finite and real, and the many, only in appearance.
“ All is," says Heraclitus," and all is not; for, though it comes into being, it forthwith ceases to be." Such meagre fragments of thought, though glittering in the firmament of knowledge, scarcely obtained the consistency of theory in ethics or history.
The next form in which pantheism appears as a moral force in history, is the Neo-Platonism of the Alexardrine School, which took its rise near the close of the second century. Its chief phase as a theory of history was its antagonism to Chris. tianity. It combined against that all the elements of Indian and Grecian philosophies, all the dialectic subtleties and mysticism of Aristotle and of Plato, with so much of the Christian guise as would render it attractive to those on the verge of the Christian faith. Ammonius Saccus was its distinguished founder; but it included some of the most brilliant minds of the age,-minds that made the age brilliant,-Plotinus, Proclus, and Jamblicus.
As in the Hindoo pantheism, so here the identity of God and the universe underlies this more poetic and attractive scheme. “God is all things,” says one of these writers ; "he is both the things that are, and the things that are not: for the things that are he hath manifested, and the things that are not he contains within himself."
The Neo-Platonic school started with unity as the last analysis of deity-an absolute universal one, neither personal, intelligent, nor existent. “The God that does not think,” says Aristotle, “is not worthy to be respected.” And yet this abstract unity was their ideal of the beautiful and the good. This non-existent Esse, by emanation, becomes first concrete in intelligence, the vous or a spiritual world. Then by a further movement it passes into soal, or quxn which constitutes the psychical or outer world of life, and ultimates in matter as the gross or dregs of the Divine. And this tidal ebb and flow of the one substance is not a matter of thought
and will, for there is nothing of intelligence at the starting point.
History is the flux and reflux of this infinite ocean of substance, through the ideal straits and channels of boundless space—this one and all, passing through the tenses and eternities, in its transitions from unity to multiplicity, and back again--" the restless manifestation,” says one, "of an eternal and erer restless force."
“But these manifestations," writes an acute and candid critic, “have no absolute truth or duration. History is then only a phantom. The individual perishes and passes into the universal, because individual. It is only the universal that endures. The individual is the finite, the perishable. The universal is the infinite, the immortal. To die, therefore, is simply to be free from the conditions of space and time, and to lose personality.” “I am struggling,” said Plotinus in his closing hours, “to liberate the divinity within me.”
With these old heathen forces, those great thinkers at Alexandria and at Athens joined the issue against the new Christian power. They fought skilfully and valiantly, but they could not conquer. The dead abstraction of a One-All could not stand before the distinctly pronounced one, living, personal and Divine Being. Emanation gave way, in the circles of philosophy and science, as well as of theology, to the original and simple doctrine of creation; and the confused idea of one substance for God and the universe, yielded to the clear discriminations of Creator and creature, the infinite and finite; and the endless circle of blind, tidal forces, before a wise and all-ruling Providence in history.
“In no species of grandeur,” says M. Taisset, “was the Alexandrine school deficient; genius, power, and devotion, have consecrated it." For three centuries it was a formidable rival to the greatest power that ever appeared on earth-the power of Christianity; and if it succumbed in the struggle, it only fell with the civilization of which it had been the last
But the struggle with this form of pantheism was a help to humanity, and in it a new step was taken in correct catholic thinking. Its fall was another testimony to the Providence