Chapter II



This is the second chief introductory topic, before considering the proof of the Being of God.


(These include what belongs to the involved questions: Is all knowledge relative? Is all our knowledge only from and by Induction? Can faith and knowledge be sundered in this matter? The difference between absolute knowledge and knowledge of the absolute.)

Mansel's Limits of Religious Thought. 1859.

Mansel, in Contemporary Review.

Goldwin Smith's Rational Religion. 1861.

Mill's Review of Hamilton.

McCosh, Supernatural and Natural. 1867.

Hamilton's Theology of Knowledge (American Theol. Rev., Jan., 1861).

Hamilton on the Unconditioned.

Dr. Hickok in Bibl. Sacr., Jan., i860.

Is God Unknowable? by Father Dalgairus, Cont. Rev., Oct., 1872.

Herbert Spencer, First Principles.

Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind.

Princeton Rev., Oct., 1861; Jan., 1864.

B. P. Bowne, Philos. of Herbert Spencer. New York, 1874.

Prof. B. N. Martin,* Meth. Quarterly, January and July, 1875.

Prof. Fisher, New Englander. 1859.
Dorner, Jahrbiicher d. Theol. 1858.
Hodge's Theol., vol. i.

§ I. What is it " To Know?"

It is the affirmation of being in some form which is in relation to our knowing capacities. These capacities are various, and so the different kinds of knowledge are thus determined; as,

(a) What is in immediate consciousness.

(6) What is perceived by and through the senses; and

(c) What is derived by induction or by inference.

(d) What comes under the categories of cause and effect, of substance and phenomena, etc. We know

* He argues against Spencer, on the ground of Spencer, viz., the Absolute or Unknowable is beyond classification (»'. e., by parts and whole, genera and species). Better ground is: There is a knowledge of being, of truth (objective), which is above and beyond this, viz., what is universal and necessary, per seCausa sui; and that Spencer himself is a witness to this in his Doctrine of Force and its Persistency.

there must be causes and substances, even if we cannot grasp them.

(e) What stands as universal and necessary; what is known in and of itself, and not merely as conjoined, or as deduced by any process. Under this:

(1) Axiomatic certainties—as those of mathematics:

(2) Intuitions, which are irresolvable. Space and time. Being as infinite and absolute. The affirmation of ultimate fact, ultimate truth, ultimate being.

Or, knowledge may be viewed in its elements and forms.

The ELEMENTS.—r. What is in distinct consciousness.

2. Sensible perception. Anschauungen. This is knowledge elementary. The Forms Of Knowledge as completed.

A. Knowledge by processes. The cognitive understanding.

1. Knowledge by induction and deduction from the facts or data of consciousness and sensations.

2. by Categories: cause and effect, substances

and phenomena. Abstraction, generalization, etc.

B. Knowledge in its wholeness and unity. All phenomena (a) from one source, (b) one in many (substance, force), or (c) under one law—of evolution, development.

This knowledge is only of the reason: reaching to Unity of Being; Unity of Law; Unity of Thought —and Being.

Or, in still another light, The Constituents of all Knowledge are:

1. The affirmation of fact, or being, or thought (positive or negative).

2. The joining of subject and predicate in either (a) an analytic or (b) a synthetic judgment.

§ 2. The various Theories as to the Knowledge which Man can have of God.

1. Absolute knowledge is claimed, as in the Pantheistic schools. We know God because we are a part of God. This, however, is simply a knowledge of abstract being.

2. Absolute knowledge is claimed at the other extreme. We have no knowledge of God because we have no faculties by which we may know Him. All we can know is that which comes through sense, and the inferences from it. The whole process of knowledge is induction. This is the ground of Positivism.

3. We know God as an innate idea; by immediate intuition of his being—of his personal being—as we know nature by the senses, and space by reason. A sub-mystic view.

4. The mystic view: God is supersubstantial, vmpovffto?.*

5. In no way can we attain to a knowledge of God, by the intellect, by the reason or by reasoning. Logic and metaphysics lead only to contradictions—to (a) Negative knowledge; (b) Relative knowledge. But we may and must lay hold of Him by faith—may and must believe in Him and obey Him.

* See Anselm in Monologue, 26.

We can never know the Absolute and Infinite One; we fall into antinomies; we are baffled by lack of capacity; reason lands us in contradictions.

6. To know is not equivalent to, or limited to,

(a) Absolute knowledge,

(b) Immediate intuition, or,

(c) Definite conception.*

In order to know God truly we do not need to claim a knowledge of the essence of being; nor an innate idea—as complete and finished ; nor to define him so as to limit him.

There is a knowledge of reason as well as of sense and the understanding. We may know that, without knowing what; may know quality without knowing quantity; may have a true knowledge, as far as it goes, though it is inadequate as to the full measure of being; we may have yvdoffi?, though not xardAtjipiS; f we may know by revelation (natural in us), when we do not grasp the unrevealed essence; and also by a special revelation (God in his word, God in Christ), while the essence lies beyond us4

Also, we may attain full knowledge and conviction

* Des Cartes. " Comprehendere enim est cogitatione complecti; ad hoc autem, ut sciamus aliquid, sufficit, ut illud cogitatione attingamus." We know God " eodem modo quo montem manibus tangere possumus, sed non ut arborem, aut aliam quampiam rem brachiis nostris non majorem amplecti."

f So John of Damascus. "Neither are all things unsaid, nor is all said; neither are all unknown, nor are all known."

% Aquinas. "Comprehendere Deum impossibile est cuique intellectui creato; attingere vero mente Deum qualitercumque magna est beatitudo."

Leibnitz (Theod. Pref.). "Les perfections de Dieu sont celles de

by the combination of the different modes of knowledge in one result. E. g. Intuitions and universal truths combine and harmonize with the results of experience.

Induction and deduction coincide—

—where ontological and a posteriori proofs combine;

—where proofs from all the sources converge to one result;

—where the subjective idea and the objective law

correspond— As when—Newton deduced gravitation and applied it;

As when—Leverrier deduced Neptune and found it;

As when—by ontology we are led to the idea of pure being, and find it verified in the order and harmony of the universe—thought standing over against being—binding all in one—so that the infinite and finite make up one system.

In one respect Aristotle has greatly troubled speculation—in his doctrine that the vXrj is the ground of all potentiality and finiteness, while the eldos, the principle of form, is divine and eternal; the two together making up the individual (avvokov). (The assertion respecting the eiSo? places Aristotle —with Socrates and Plato—among the idealists, as distinguished from the old Greek materialists.) * The

nos ames, mais il les possede sans bornes; il est un ocean, dont nous n'avons recu que les gouttes ; il y a en nous quelque puissance, quelque connaissance, quelque bonte; mais elles sont entieres en Dieu."

* All philosophy lies between the flux and chaos of Heraclitus (Ionic) and the Absolute One of Parmenides (Eleatic). Plato's '' ideas" came between.

philosophy which is evolved by the Christian view, viz., all that is not God has its substance (vXrj as well as eidos) from God ; * all creatures must come from potcnce to act f (or be brought). God alone is under no category—being actus purus; he categorizes all that is finite. All that is finite must be under categories, and so can be known. Of God, only an analogous knowledge can be obtained; because the universe is not of his nature, but is only an analogy of the divine being.

(Cf. Prof. Katzenberger of Bamberg, in Theol. Quartalschrift, 1864, pp. 168-174.)

Can we think that which is not in its essence a thought? This is the question in Pantheism of the logical, Hegelian kind, the assertion underlying, that the essence of thought (idea) and being are one—and that idea precedes.

But: Is not being before thought—logically and in fact? Does not a thinking—an activity—presuppose a being? If so, then the laws of being may be more and other than the laws of thought. (Laws of thought:

1. Judgment, subj. pred. copula.

2. Contradiction, negativity.

3. Inference. Laws of being:

1. Being is—existence affirmed; and has movement—activity—development—a process.

* Augustine: "Omnis substantia, qua; Deus non est, creatura est."

f This statement involves a reference to the Aristotelian distinctions as to being. See F. Brentano (a pupil of Trendelenberg), Die mannigfache Bedeutung des Seienden nach Arist., 1862.

2. Law of process—development by antagonisms.

3. Issue—end—ad quem. How far agree—and disagree ?)

§ 3. Discussion of the Theories.

(In this discussion the theory that God is known as an Innate Idea will not be considered. It cannot be reasoned about. It states no process which can be apprehended. If a man says he has it, and can give no account of it, there is no more to be said.)

I. Positivism and the Inductive Philosophy.

The inductive theory says that all knowledge comes by observation of phenomena (sensations) and by generalizing those phenomena; in other words, putting into a general statement what is true of a particular case, and affirming that this is true of all similar cases. •*"

This is the root of Nescience in respect to God. If we can only know sensations and generalize them, of course we cannot come to the cause of those sensations. All beyond must be pure zero.

Not to anticipate subsequent discussions, some general objections to the above view are here stated.

(1) In sensation itself there is given more than mere sensation. There is a material impact, and also a feeling of resistance, not material, but conscious— a resisting self, a person, an Ego—involved (whether or not this is given in the sensation itself is not material, it is certainly implied). And this conscious knowledge cannot be derived from the external phenomena, but is a distinguishable state of the ego. The ego cannot be derived from the non-ego. It is Mill's confession that "a series of sensations, conscious of itself, is the ineffable mystery." The inductive philosophy gives account of the successive sensations. But that something whereby we know them cannot come out of these sensations. Leibnitz says: "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu, nisi intellectus ipse."

The fact is, that in our knowledge, after all, we know mind by the First Intention, and matter only derivatively.

(2) The process of Induction—from particulars to a whole or wholes—is not a sensation, but a purely mental process, not to be derived from any forces or forms of matter. There is nothing in nature corresponding to an induction from particulars to generals. The facts are in nature, but the process is in the mind; it is a procedure in thought-knowledge, which has its own laws.

(3) Still more emphatically must we make this statement when we apply mathematics (the principles involved in our necessary ideas of space and time — geometry and arithmetic) to the matters brought under induction. In doing this we bring all the shifting phenomena of sense under invariable laws (inviolable laws, some are fond of saying, whenever a question of the supernatural comes in). Astronomers, from observing certain phenomena, concluded that a disturbing cause must be found in a planet never yet seen, because they held the uniformity of nature. What observation of mere sense ever led to such a conclusion?

(4) If induction be all, we are involved at the end, by the process itself, in inconceivable ignorance even of what we do know. The theory is that we know only antecedents and consequents, and know the consequents only as modes of the antecedents. Scientific knowledge is the knowledge of these differing modes.

Suppose then that we trace back to the utmost point within our reach the last inspected consequences; these can be known "only as we know the antecedents," only as "modes of the antecedents." Then they cannot be known at all, for by the supposition we cannot reach their antecedents.

Hence, the whole process of knowing fails at the end. Not knowing the ultimate antecedent, all our seeming knowledge becomes a chain of total ignorance. It is a chain which is all hanging, and nowhere hangs. The invisible things being unknown, we cannot and do not know the visible. Without the noumena there are no intelligible phenomena.

(5) In all induction, too, theory leads. No great discovery takes place without anticipation—a mental process. A sense of unity, law, power, order, presides over all the special investigations.

(6) With induction alone no knowledge of ultimate law, truth, being, is possible. Induction cannot conclude beyond its sphere. If all facts are of sensible phenomena, no conclusion can be reached to anything beyond time and space. Universally applied, the " Inductive Method " must be atheistic.

II. The position that all knowledge is of the Relative, and hence we cannot know the Absolute.

The Absolute and Infinite, being out of all relations, cannot be an object of knowledge : * Man is, on every side, in relations, and can know only what he is and what he is in. The relative contradicts the absolute; God cannot be both relative and absolute.


(i) Upon the terms Unconditioned, Absolute, Infinite (especially in Hamilton's usage of them).

Hamilton uses " infinite " in the sense of that which never can be completed, "absolute" in the sense of that which is complete in and of itself, and is also unrelated. God then cannot be absolute and infinite at the same time.

This is peculiar to Hamilton's theory. It is not warranted by previous usage of terms.

A better definition of the Absolute is: that which is complete in and of itself, having no necessary dependence upon, or relation to, any other thing; and of the Infinite—that which never can be completed by finite terms or increments (Hamilton's infinite is the mathematical infinite—the infinite series, infinite time and space). The proper positive sense of the

* Sir Wm. Hamilton: "To think is to condition." "We can know only the limited," and "the conditionally limited." "We cannot know the unconditionally unlimited = the Infinite; nor the unconditionally limited = the Absolute." In other words, "unconditional negation of limitation = the Infinite; unconditional affirmation of limitation = the Absolute." "All that we can know ij only known as 'won from the void and formless infinite'"

Hamilton's views are wonderfully well put ; his work is a triumph of citation and application. But it is, nevertheless, one of the most puzzling of questions what Hamilton and Mansel really mean by "Relative," "Knowledge of Relations," etc.

term is: There is something in the nature of the Infinite which prevents its being completed by any finite additions. The Infinite is not to be contrasted with the Absolute: it is the Absolute, brought into relation to (standing over against) the Finite.

It is to be noted also that these words, Infinite, Absolute, Unconditioned, are adjectives, not substantives. They have meaning only when some such proposition as the following is understood: All being, all substances may, must be analyzed into absolute and relative (being), infinite and finite (being), unconditioned and conditioned (being, etc.). It is a pantheistic conception which takes these terms by themselves and puts abstractions at the basis of the universe. In fact, it is the radical defect of Hamilton and Mansel that they have taken definitions from Pantheism and applied them to theistic views. Because we cannot grasp the Absolute by itself, therefore we cannot know the absolute God.

It should be observed also that while Hamilton asserts that the knowledge of the Absolute and Infinite is a blank, he nevertheless proceeds to distinguish them. Denying that there is anything positive in our knowledge of the Infinite, he yet makes definitions in that field.

(2) As to the sense of Relative and In Relation.

(Hamilton argues upon these at length, but the final sense which he would give to them cannot be extracted from his writings.)

(a) Of their possible meanings.

(«') They may mean that all things in the universe are in relation among themselves, so that if we are to know them truly, we must know them as they exist in those relations. This is indisputably true.

(b ) The meaning may be, that as we are related to other things (and all things), we cannot know them unless as and thus related to them.

This is also true. We cannot know anything unless we have such a relation to it that we can know it. Anything out of all relation to us we cannot possibly know.

(c') It may be meant that the Absolute and Infinite are out of all relations to us and to anything else, and hence we cannot know them.

But such an Absolute does not exist. The term, as has been said, is an adjective. God is not, cannot be such a being. Whatever He may have been in -the beginning, He certainly is not such a being now. Even the pantheist does not claim this.

{d') Because we are relative and related beings, we cannot in any way know anything about the Absolute and Infinite Spirit.

This is the real point of debate, and on this we join issue.

(6) The force and propriety of the terms as defined.

(This will be considered in relation to Dr. Mansel's exposition, as that is the clearest and fairest.)

The fundamental and fallacious maxim involved in Mansel's position is: Quantum stimus scimus; Simile simili cognoscitur* ,

* Less definitely, Boethius, who is approved by Hamilton: "Omne quod cognoscitur non secundum sui vim, sed secundum cognoscentium potius comprehenditur facultatem."

One of the Neo-Platonists (Plotinus?) said: "He that sees the sun

This is thought to lead to the conclusion that if we can know God, we are a part of Him, and if we are not a part of him, we cannot know Him. Pantheism or Nescience: it is on this alternative that Hamilton and Mansel have discussed the question, and capitulated to the pantheist.

This must be affirmed to be a radically vicious theory of knowledge, with just enough truth in it to make it seem plausible. Knowledge does not depend on identity of nature. If we can know only what we are, how can we know the external world? We can certainly know the non-ego. Further, we know that space is boundless; but does this show that we are boundless?

The true doctrine is the Christian doctrine—that because man is made in the image of God, he may therefore know something of Him. He is spiritual, like God; and may know and worship God as spirit —which is denied to brutes. But this does not make him to be one with God, " of the same substance, power, and glory." *

Knowledge requires a capacity—a kinship, not an identity. Man, as spirit, knows matter, not because he is material. The ego knows the non-ego. The holy knows the sinful. God, in knowing man, does not un-deify himself.

(c) The argument from " Consciousness."

Mansel gives four conditions of all consciousness:

must be solar." This answers to, "A triangle would conceive of God as triangular."

* This, in the Creed, marks off Christ from the creature.

(i) In all consciousness there is a distinction between one object and another, (2) there is a relation of subject and object, (3) there is succession and duration —time between different ideas, (4) personality. All these, he says, are to be denied of the Infinite and Absolute; and as they limit our consciousness, it follows that "the Infinite and Absolute cannot be known in our consciousness."

But this again imposes the conditions of consciousness on the objects of consciousness. Those conditions are inconsistent with our being absolute and infinite, but not with our knowing the reality of the Absolute and Infinite.*

{d) We must argue against this theory of the relativity of knowledge, on the ground that we cannot know relations, without some adequate knowledge of the things related.

* The theory applies, likewise, as we have seen, to the knowledge of space and time, as unending and illimitable. It applies also to the ideas of substance, first cause, and personality. Mansel gives up even the personality of God, on the ground that He cannot be both absolute and personal. (He accepts God's personality on grounds of "faith," but his position on grounds of reason is perilous in the extreme.)

He applies the theory to morality also, saying that in God's mind moral ideas, laws, and truth may be utterly different from the things of the same name in us. "Morality," he says, " consists essentially in our obligation to obey a superior being." But, against this, (1) though morality is obligation, it is obligation to be right and do right. Unless the idea of right comes in, there is no mora! obligation, only physical; (2) morality is " obligation to the will of a superior being," but the superior being must have in himself (and there must be in our knowledge of him) a moral quality, appealing to the "categorical imperative" within us. "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

Only as far as we know the things can we know the relations.

Relatives, relations—are copulas of discourse. We cannot understand the copula without knowing the subject and predicate (e. g., the sun, earth, moon—if we did not know something about them, we should have a very vague knowledge of the solar system and astronomy—the tides, eclipses, etc.). God and man—what can we know of their relations, if we do not know them? The relations are made by the beings and things and facts related. A relation is an abstract phrase, without sense or contents, until we know the related objects.

(e) The most difficult and obscure part of our knowledge—where we in fact know the least—is in the relations of being, of the parts of the universe to each other. E. g. The relations of God to man; of the infinite to the finite; of eternity and time; of space and its parts; of soul to body; of matter to mind; of sensation to consciousness. The mystery of things is chiefly here.

(/) The advocates of this doctrine affirm, notwithstanding the position they take, the possibility of a rational " faith " in God; but in fact the doctrine annuls the possibility of faith in God as truly as of the knowledge of Him.

For (i) faith is limited by consciousness, equally with knowledge. All the reasons equally apply. Faith cannot transcend consciousness.. (2) Faith must have an apprehended object — a discerned, known object. Else it is vain.

(g) The theory restricts knowledge unduly.

It says: Knowledge is (i) something of which we have a clear finite conception; or, (2) it is the product of the image-making power, and does not include all that we are convinced of; or, (3) it must be a grasping of all the causes and conditions of phenomena—which is absolute knowledge.

(/i) The theory leaves for the sphere of Christianity (and all religion) mere feeling, sentiment, or a blind impulse. This would drive Christianity out of the field, with all cool heads and consecutive thinkers.

III. Is our knowledge of tfie Infinite and Absolute merely negative?

(1) The idea of " negative " is superficially favored by the form of the word Infinite = non-finite ; but take the parallel case of the word immortal, where the meaning is certainly positive.

Kant (Logic, Introd., c. 8) says: "Negative notions guard us from error. They are not needed in cases where it is impossible to be deceived. But they are very important in relation to the conceptions we form of such a being as God." They are of use to exclude from our thoughts of Him all that is not infinite; but not to exclude the Infinite itself!

(2) It should be remarked that no one means by the assertion, " our knowledge of God is negative," to affirm a pure negation of being—to say that the Infinite = o.

The German distinction between Nichtswissen (knowing that nothing is) and Nichtwissen (not knowing in certain relations what is or is not), is applicable here. To affirm the former of God is Nihilism, is atheism. The philosophy of Nescience is not —Nihilism.

(3) The term " negative," then, in the proposition, "our knowledge of God is negative," must be taken in a relative sense, and must refer to our knowledge.

Granting that the Infinite and Absolute Being exists—our idea of it is, and must be, purely negative —the result of " impotence of the mind."

The question eludes our grasp when it is said that the negativity of our knowledge of God means, that though we know that an Infinite and Absolute Being exists, yet we cannot do two things more in the process of knowledge; (1) exhaust the scope of the predicates Infinite and Absolute; or, (2) define the limits of the Being. We grant both positions, and say further, that if we should " define the limits" of the Infinite Being, we should un-define it—turn it into its contradictory. If we have a clear, definite conception of it, we have no idea of it at all. To define it thus, is to deny its being.

The question to be held fast is, whether our knowledge, our ideas, refer only to the Finite and Limited; whether they consist exclusively of clear logical conceptions, existences with determinate boundaries. To say that this exhausts all knowledge, is to beg the question: the affirmation must be proved.*

(4) Our knowledge of the Infinite may properly be said to be negative in the sense that it involves negative definitions; i. e., denying something of any

* If it could be proved, we should come ultimately to Hegel's position, "Sein u. Nichts," as identical.

thing. We affirm that it is non-finite, that no limits can be assigned to it. But such a definition gives us the idea in relation to the Finite, and not in itself.

(5) The Finite involves the real negation—negation of being—by limitation. Here the maxim fully applies: "Omnis determinatio est negatio." There is a vast deal that the Finite is not. All besides its limited self is denied of it. Hence the positive is really upon the other side, viz.:

(6) The Infinite is the positive in thought, in the highest sense.

Trendelenberg (Log., ii. 452) says: "The Absolute is not a negative notion. We reach it by a negative process. We remove everything which limits it, but the notion itself is positive, and if it be correctly thought is the most positive of all notions, because not limited."

Herbert Spencer (in First Principles, ch. 2) says: "The Absolute is positive, for in the very denial of our power to know what it is lies the affirmation that it is. Our conception of the Relative disappears, if our idea of the Absolute is a pure negation."

Hamilton himself has said: "That is a positive idea which affirms existence."

Concluding Statements:

1. We can give a positive as well as negative statement of the Infinite.

In the way of negation: The Infinite is that (e. g., space and time) to which no limits can be assigned. Positively: The Infinite is that which is complete in itself, perfect, absolute, unconditioned.

2. We have an idea—though not a conception— notion—of the Infinite.

An idea is that which we know to be, as having a real and necessary being. It refers to pure being.

A conception is that which we know to be under the forms and limitations of time and sense.

If we had a conception of the Infinite we should make it finite.

IV. The position that we can have an absolute knowledge of God.

We have affirmed that, as far as such predicates as Infinite and Absolute are concerned, we can know, positively, that they belong to God, without being able to grasp or comprehend them.

But though we know the Infinite and Absolute in this sense, it does not at all follow that from it we are able to deduce the Finite and Relative—as Pantheism asserts.

A knowledge of the Absolute is not absolute knowledge.

Pantheism—to which the position now under consideration brings us—is recommended to many minds by its simplicity (being Monism) and its universality. Exalting the immanence of God, in nature and history, it has, however, sacrificed to this immanence the transcendence of God above all nature and history. It has doubtless helped to break the power of a mere deistic notion of God, as an abstract deity, sundered from the world. But it has done this by a theory which identifies the substance of the world with the substance of the Godhead..

The fundamental postulate of Pantheism is—that there is one infinite and absolute substance (spirit), of which all relative and finite phenomena are but modifications. Its assumption as to method is—that the development of the Relative and Finite from the Absolute and Infinite can be demonstrated as necessary. And this, of course, implies the further claim, that man can know this Absolute and its processes, because he is kindred thereto.

To show that Pantheism is the final and exclusive system for man would involve the proof of the following three points at least:

(1) That man knows the Absolute ; not as knowing that it is, but, what it is. Such knowledge can be proved only on the bold assumption that our subjective thought and objective being are identical. With God, thought and being are doubtless coincident. But, in a finite creature, thought can only be the reflex and the echo of being; and the measure of the thought is not the measure of being, but only of the capacity of the thinker. "Alas for the universe, if it is only as, and what, we know it to be!" (And the radically fallacious theory of knowledge, referred to before, is also here assumed, viz., that we can know only what we are.)

(2) That man can develop the Relative from the Absolute, the Finite from the Infinite, and this by a necessary or demonstrative process. But, in fact, the Absolute and Relative, the Infinite and Finite, arc incommensurable ratios; the idea of the one is contrasted with, rather than deduced from, the other. The relation of the two, in human thought, is neither that of cause or ground to effect, nor that of a whole to its parts, nor that of the generic to the individual. It being none of these, the process of demonstration (deduction) cannot be logically complete. And besides, the logical law of contradiction, by which alone, in the most consistent systems, this demonstration is attempted, cannot be claimed, without further evidence, to be a law of being as well as of thought. For the principle of negativity is not an efficient agent; it has no productive or generating capacity. Therefore it cannot be the principle of a real development. It is not applicable even to physical processes; it cannot explain a spontaneous energy; we cannot by it construct the acts of a personal will. If inapplicable even to the Finite, its scope must be too narrow to embrace the Infinite.

(3) The prime postulate of the system would also require to be proved, viz., that there is only one spirit (absolute and infinite) in the universe, and that all other existences are its modes or modifications; itself unconscious, it is the source of all specific material and spiritual modes of being. The proof of this involves also the proof of the second position, just considered. But it is attended with other difficulties. All that is, the Absolute and Relative, the Infinite and Finite, may doubtless be included in one category, viz., that of being. Herein is the truth, and here may perhaps be also found the fallacy of the pantheistic assumption. For as soon as we attempt to pass from the abstract and indeterminate idea of being, to any of its modes, e. g., the material and spiritual, the real and the ideal, we need some primum mobile, some developing power, to account for the developing process. Whence this power? It cannot be deduced from the idea of being; it must then be hypostasized as inherent in being. That is, in order to start, we must have a principle of movement, an act, as well as being. And as it must be an activity equal to all the effects; the Absolute Being itself must contain a causality adequate to each and all the specific effects, of wisdom, power, and moral order manifest in the universe; and how can it contain this, without itself being wise, powerful, and good, e., a conscious moral intelligence?

Still further, when we come to the modes or modifications of being, we cannot construe them in thought as having only one identical substance. Take, e. g., spirit and matter; they are defined by contrasted properties; the properties cannot be deduced either from each other, or from one and the same substance. Substance and attributes are correlative. If there are different attributes, we have no warrant for asserting identity of substance. Matter can be derived from spirit only by an act, not by emanation. But Pantheism must make this deduction—by emanation —must prove the identity of substance, or else 'it rests on a mere assumption.

Nor does it avail for the pantheist to say that an Infinite which does not embrace the Finite is not infinite but finite, since it has the Finite for its limit; and so of the Absolute. For whatever difficulty there may be about it, it is equally difficult, on the other hand, for the pantheist or any one else to conceive that the Infinite includes the Finite, that the Absolute includes the Relative, and that the Perfect includes the Imperfect, without equally annulling the Infinite, the Absolute, and the Perfect. The real problem— equally a problem with pantheist and theist—is not to show that the one includes the other, but rather to show how the transition must or may be made from the one to the other. The theist says, by creation— the act of a self-conscious will; the pantheist must say, by emanation—the outflowing of an unconscious substance. Both find here the knot of speculation. But the pantheist is obliged to demonstrate the transition; the theist need only show that it is possible to an absolute will, and may grant that the mode is beyond the scrutiny of human science. And while the theist refers all the order and harmony of the universe to a wise and intelligent author, all final causes to the one efficient cause, the pantheist is burdened with the difficulty of explaining how the Intelligent can be derived from the Unintelligent, the Personal from the Impersonal, the Moral from the Neutral, and the whole fair order of the kosmos from a blind, unconscious spirit, which becomes conscious of its rational and moral powers only in and by these products themselves.

(Further: as to the Infinite including the Finite, or else not being the Infinite, it is to be noticed (1) that this could apply only when what is excluded would add to the perfection of the being, (2) that it applies to quantity [space and time], not to quality.)

Hence, upon the whole question as to our knowledge of the Infinite and Absolute, it is to be affirmed that our knowledge is neither negative nor absolute, not of the Finite only, nor of the Infinite wholly, but lies between, having elements of both.