« PrécédentContinuer »
destroy the connexion; to cut off the relation to his animal
And just as man may accept and abuse one relation, so he
and refuse reason; and he lives as a mystic. may accept his life, his reason, and grace; and then
his perfect life-as a Christian.
) science, and to good; and man is the voluntary
is liberty; for, just as he has life only because
ends the communication of the life of the contingent, from the moment of the birth Pantheism destroys the link between the e contingent by fusing them into one mass;
by placing in man a factitious absolute, g the real absolute.
the permanent condition of
v the connexion; to cut off the relation to his animal iz liy suicide; to his intellectual nature by persistent
nce; to his moral nature by rejection of grace. lil just as man may accept and abuse one relation, so he accept and abuse the other relations. le may accept his life, but refuse to accept intelligence I morality; then he lives merely as an animal. lle may accept his life and his reason and refuse grace; d then he lives merely as an intelligent man.
Ile may accept his life and grace and refuse reason; and hen he lives as a mystic.
He may accept his life, his reason, and grace; and then he lives his perfect life as a Christian.
There is no constraint; he is perfectly free. The Absolute, in all his relations with man, is an incessant appeal to life, to science, and to good; and man is the voluntary reponse to good, to science, and to life.
Thus, man is free by and in the Absolute; and grace, far from being the destruction of the liberty of man, is the cause of his liberty; for, just as he las life only because there is a Principle of life, and has intelligence, only because there is a Principle of intelligence, so he has a moral life, only because there is a Principle of goodness.
The liberty of the human conscience is thus solidly established, since it is necessitated by the very relation
man stands in to God, by the nature of man, and by the nature of God.
Deism suspends the communication of the life of the absolute to the contingent, from the moment of the birth of the latter; Pantheism destroys the link between the absolute and the contingent by fusing them into one mass; Anthropotheism by placing in man a factitious absolute, and thus denying the real absolute.
the permanent condition of man. He allows that man exists through the fiat of the Creator, but there his connexion with God ceases; from the point of junction their respective lines diverge and become more and more distant. The relation is that of son to father. Man receives from the Deity his being; but having received his being, his Father participates no longer in his action and in his life. God is the principle, but not the continuation of his life. Man has his liberty, which he realizes, making it his own in principle and in fact, without the co-operation of God. He individualizes himself, but it is in exile. The intercommunion between him and his Maker is not; for they are separate. Deism may be a philosophy, but it cannot be a religion.
The Pantheist, on the other hand, confounds God and man in an unity of being; not because the absolute is the principle and power of life, and because the life of the contingent is really the life of the Absolute, transformed into another personality; but because all distinction between the cause and the effect is denied or misunderstood; the contingent is in the absolute, and the absolute is in the contingent; they cannot be disengaged, and consequently they cannot be distinguished. The absolute is not one and the contingent another; one is not principle and the other effect, but the All-Being is all in one, cause in effect, and effect in cause; a chaos of relations. If the Pantheist recognizes a distinction, he should recognize that a relation exists between them, that the absolute and the contingent must stand to one another, one as cause, the other as effect, one as principle and force of life, the other as possessed of communicated life, which is nevertheless its own life, because it is life.
The Deist charges the Pantheist with maintaining a relation without affirming the distinct personalities of those related, and the Pantheist rebukes the Deist with asserting a distinction in personalities and not maintaining their relations.
The Pantheist denies man his liberty, making him but a portion of the tó Ilav; or it allows him absolute liberty without responsibility, by absorbing the absolute in the contingent, by sinking God in man.
Christianity alone conserves intact the distinction between the Absolute and the contingent and the perpetuity of their relations.
This is the subject of consideration in this chapter.
We have seen that the dogma of free-will is of the essence of Christianity.
God is the author of man's whole being, and He gives to him in potentiâ the faculties of manifesting his complete personality; these faculties he is perfectly free to use or to abuse.
The theory of free-will is the relation between man and God; the relation between God and man is called the theory of grace. At bottom, free-will and grace are only the same idea seen from two different points of view.
The theory of grace, like that of liberty, supposes 1st, a cause, which is God; and 2nd, an effect, which is man. God is always cause, man is always effect. God lives, acts, and wills as cause; man lives, acts, and wills as effect.
Every act of God is causational, every act of man has the character of effect. This is the base of their life, and this is the reason of the operation of God upon man.
When we consider the liberty of man, we see that he is free to accept or to reject the life that has been given to him. He cannot communicate to himself life, because he is not the principle of life, but he can use or abuse