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pantheism, no such question could arise. For, the world being held to exist eternally and fatally, and to be the only possible world, it must needs be the best possible. Pantheism is, therefore, necessarily optimism.
As long as this world is regarded as a fortuitous concourse of pre-existing matter, in which there is no design, no aim, it is quite possible that another arrangement of atoms would have been better; nay, more, as the world is full of physical ills, these are attributable to the imperfection of the arrangement of the material of the world. Materialism is, therefore, not necessarily, but generally, pessimism.
But when the creation of the world is regarded as an operation of free will, it is conceivable that other worlds might have been, and may be created better or worse than the existing world.
We have no data upon which to ground a belief that this world is either the best possible, or that it is the worst possible world.
The seventh hypothesis is that the universe is the creation of infinite wisdom operating in love; that there are two attributes in God conditioning one another-liberty and necessity. Creation, reflecting this nature, is at once free and necessary. Pantheism gives us an absolute God, anthropomorphism gives us a personal God, materialism supplies a link of cohesion. Fuse the ideas, absorb materialism in pantheism, and pantheism in theism, and the result is what I may call phusitheism. Reasoning from final causes, the existence of a Creator is obtained; for the presence of mind working in nature is demonstrated. It is a clear and satisfactory proof to the ordinary understanding of man; but it proves nothing more than a finite God. If
this idea be supplemented by another obtained by ontological argument, the result is an infinite God, impersonal and yet personal, immanent in nature and yet not of or by nature, omnipotent and omniscient, influencing and moulding the material world, which is in Him, and He in it.
God can be seen in His creatures, for He communicates Himself to man through nature; He is in the works of creation by His essence, which is that by which they have their being; He is in them by His power, as principal cause giving motion. Thus it is God who enlightens through the medium of the sun, warms by the fire, and nourishes through bread. God is present in every force of naturein heat, electricity, magnetism, attraction, gravitation. It is not that heat, electricity, &c., are God, but that light, heat, electricity, &c., are the effects of the presence of God, effects of His action on the bodies He has given us. Thus, all creatures are to us sacraments, or outward and visible signs of the invisible being of God, veiled under them. “What do I see in nature ?" wrote Fenelon; "God—God everywhere, God alone."
THE HISTORY OF THEOSOPHY
The task undertaken by philosophy—Theism and pantheism-1. Greck
philosophy—The Ionic school-Heraclitus—The Atomists—Empedocles -Anaxagoras–Pythagoræans–Eleatic school—The Sophists—Socrates -Plato, Aristotle-Epicuræan school — The Stoics—The New Sceptics
– The Neoplatonists—2. Indian philosophy-Brahmanism-Sankhya philosophy, Buddhism — 3. Chinese philosophy - Confucianism Chinese dualism-Taoism—4. Christianity–5. Modern philosophyDescrates-Leibnitz-Hobbes—Locke-Hume-Kant-Fichte -- Hegel -Conclusions.
E have seen in the preceding chapter that there are
seven hypotheses whereby the existence of the world is accounted for. All these attempts at solving a difficult problem are philosophemes.
Religion and philosophy are inseparable. In the former sentiment predominates, in the latter reason. Religion is the representation of an idea more or less philosophic; it is always the expression of a thought; often it is unconsciously philosophic.
The task undertaken by philosophy is inquiry into the fundamental reason of things; and in proportion to the degree of development attained at any given period, does it express the idea of the divinity more or less perfectly.
In tracing the history of philosophic speculation, we rise above the region of mythologic fog into the pure ether of reason. It must not be forgotten that the conceptions of philosophy are the same as those which energize religion, but in the latter form they are broken and refracted into rainbow tints.
Our review must be necessarily very cursory, in a work of the limits imposed on this, and it shall be directed mainly to theistic and pantheistic speculations of great thinkers, in ancient and modern times.
One important school of thought has not been alluded to in the foregoing chapter, and it must be dismissed here with a few words. It is that of the Positivists, which accounts for nothing, and rejects all attempts at solving the problem of the universe. Hitherto, they say, and not without justice, hypotheses have been erected without facts to establish them, theory has preceded experience. Therefore they reject all hypotheses, attempting to explain nothing beyond the cognizance of man. The data of facts cannot be brought to bear on the origin of matter, therefore it is idle to speculate on what is incapable of demonstration.
The religions of the past, and those of heathendom at the present day, are either theistic or pantheistic or both conjoined. Heathenism rests on two fulcra, spirit and matter; and in it spirit worship and element worship coexist, touch and interpenetrate. Mental constitution, local causes, or habits of life develop one phase at the expense of the other. The Turanian has leaned heavily to the side of spiritualism, and the Aryan to that of naturalism.
Pantheism may be distinguished from Theism, as the enunciation of the consubstantiality of God with nature. Matter and essence are two faces of the same truth, which
truth is God. God is nature attached to its immanent principle, and nature is God in the evolution of His power. The divine is supposed to be in constant progress of development. God sleeps in the mineral, dreams in the animal, wakens in man.
He is transubstantiated in the universe, and humanity is a necessary manifestation of the absolute.
Pantheism is the philosophy of reason ;-of reason, it may be, in its impotence, but of such reason as man is gifted with here. Regarding the universe as a fact, the mind seeks to explain it. It must offer as its explanation either a personal God or an impersonal God. The former theory is that of the Theist, the latter of the Pantheist.
In all unphilosophic religions there is a strong pantheistic bias. The great spiritual essence is regarded as pervading the universe, palpitating in the ocean, flickering in the stars, rustling in the forest leaves, germinating in the herb. God is the aggregate of spiritual existence and of material being. The soul is an atom of all-pervading eternal substance, emerging, for a brief period, like a sound breaking out of stillness, and then dying back into the silence of primeval spirit. Anything is an object of worship, for everything is God. Such is the rude pantheism of the Turanian, the African, and the American Indian. But at the same time the personality of the Deity has been so keenly felt, that primitive religions have always shown a marked tendency towards emphasizing the Deity, and investing Him with vigorous anthropomorphic personality, and this has withdrawn a large group of religions out of the pantheistic sphere.
We shall now follow these ideas through the systems of philosophers.