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Science, save to apply it afterwards to the explanation of the universe, and, through it, to attain to a doctrine of Life. The real principle of our classification must be sought, not in the respective aims or results of the several systems to be classed, but in their respective points of departure. All alike aim at a doctrine of Life, and all arrive at some doctrine which is, or is taken to be, a doctrine of Life. Those systems, only,
, we class under the head of Doctrines of Science, which take their point of departure in psychology, and seek to solve the problem of Life, by first solving, from the psychological point of view, the problem of Science; all those systems which take their point of departure in ontology, and proceed directly to the solution of the problem of Life, we call Doctrines of Life. We call the first, Doctrines of Science, because it is the predominance of the problem of Science, in the minds of their respective authors, that induces them to take the psychological point of departure ; and the others we call Doctrines of Life, because it is the predominance, in the minds of their respective authors, of the problem of Life, that induces them to take their point of departure in ontology. If the problem of Science predominate, the author of the system will concern himself mainly with the principle, the genesis, and the validity of our cognitions, that is, of ideas in the sense of Locke; if the problem of Life predominate, he will concern himself with the cause, principle, and genesis of things, that is, with ideas in the sense of Plato.
Now, each of these two grand divisions admits several subdivisions. The determination of the number of classes into which we may subdivide the doctrines of Life is no easy matter, and demands a full acquaintance with all the great principles of philosophy; and whether a given system belongs to one class or to another, can be determined only by a profound study of the system itself. The prevailing doctrine, in our times, subdivides the doctrines of Life into two classes, 1. MATERIALISM; 2. SPIRITUALISM.
VOL. I. NO. II.
The objection to this division is, that it is not fundamental, and has no well established principle. What is matter? What is spirit? These are questions which admit no positive answer. We can answer them only by negations, by saying what they are not; never by saying what they are. This classification has no ontological basis; and, in point of fact, not even a psychological basis. When we come to clear up our notions of substance, and to investigate anew the cognitive power of the soul, we shall see that this boasted distinction of spirit and matter never concerns either the essences of things, or even the notions which we form of those essences.
We contend for another classification of the doctrines of Life, more philosophical, and less inadequate to the explanation of the historical facts in the case, founded, not in psychology taken in the modern sense, but in the several points of view under which the subjectmatter - the object -- of science may be contemplated, therefore, in ontology. We may contemplate the object under the several points of view of Plurality, Unity, and Synthesis. If we contemplate Life, with the old Ionians, under the point of view of Plurality, our doctrine of Life will be POLYTHEISM, or ATHEISM; if under the point of view of Unity, with the old Eleatics, our doctrine of Life will be UNITYISM, or PanTHEISM; if, in fine, with Moses, Pythagoras, Plato, the Christian Fathers, the Scholastics, in a word, with all great theologians of all ages and nations, under the point of view of Synthesis, our doctrine of Life will be TRINITYISM, or Theism; or, as M. Leroux calls it, not inaptly, CHRISTIAN IDEALISM. God, in the view of Christian theology, is not Unity, nor Plurality, but their synthesis, or rather, the one in the other, — the
Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father, in indissoluble union. The One God of the Hebrews is, indeed, one God; but, in the ineffable mystery of his single being, is the indissoluble union of Unity in Diversity and Diversity in Unity, as shadowed forth in the very first verse of Genesis, where the Hebrew name for God is a singular noun with a plural termination. The objections of the Unitarians to this sublime theology proceed from their assuming that it implies a division in the Godhead, which, of course, is inadmissible. But the Trinity, so. to speak, is more ultimate than their conceptions reach, and concerns a theology which lies back of the conception of God as one. God, with the Trinitarian and the Unitarian, is alike one and indivisible. The Unitarian stops with this proposition. When he has said, God is One, he has said all that seems to him important, perhaps all that he believes can be said. But it is precisely here, where this proposition ends, that the Trinitarian solution of the mystery of Being begins. God, regarded as simple Unity, is not the living God, and therefore is incapable of being the Source of Life. The Unitarian, no doubt, believes that God is the living God; but he enters into no inquiry as to what, touching the ineffable mystery of the Divine Being, is implied in this assertion, that God is the living God. He, therefore, stops short of a real doctrine of Life. It is into the mystery of the Divine Unity itself, that the Trinitarian attempts to penetrate. He seeks, by decomposing, so to speak, without destroying, this Divine Unity, to get at the ultimate principle of Life itself. A sublime audacity, to which God himself, by his revelations of himself, invites him! It will be seen, at once, that the Trinitarian theology, which we in our classification term Theism, or Idealism, by no means excludes the Unitarian's faith in one God, but accepts it, and explains it by carrying it up to the principle of Life; by showing, that, in order to be the living God, this One God of the Unitarian must be the Triune God of the Trinitarian. The Trinitarian doctrine belongs to a much higher order of thought than the Unitarian, and proceeds boldly in the solution of problems which lie far out of the Unitarian's reach. But more of this, when we come to the direct consideration of the doctrines of Life, in our future numbers.
According to the principle of classification here contended for, that is, the ontological principle of their
origin, we subdivide the doctrines of Life into three classes ; namely,
1. ATHEISM; 2. PANTHEISM; 3. Theism. It is not our purpose, at present, to enter into any discussion concerning these doctrines, as to which is true, or which is false, nor as to the question, whether the human mind, by its own spontaneous development, could, or could not have attained to the true doctrine of Life. We shall enter fully into these questions, after we have disposed of the doctrines of Science; we will now only add, in passing, what our readers must suspect, that, for ourselves, we accept Theism, or, if they will, Trinityism, as the true doctrine of Life, and hold and teach that the human mind could never have attained to it without Divine Revelation, in the oldfashioned sense of the term, though possibly it is now able, by reflection on the reason and nature of things, to demonstrate its truth. We add, also, to take away all occasion for misapprehension, that we do not, in our view of the economy of salvation, hold, with Protestant divines, that it is belief in this doctrine of Life, though true, that saves us, but the influx into the soul of the Truth, or ontological principle, of which it is a true account. It is never the efficacy of the doctrine that redeems and sanctifies, but the efficacy, the real presence, of God himself. The doctrine is efficacious only so far as it brings us within the sphere of the influence of the Divine Reality, or, in theological language, of the Holy Ghost. Not man's view of God, but God himself, as manifested and communicated to us, in the way and manner, and through the Mediator and disciplines, he himself has instituted, is our Redeemer and Sanctifier. But this by the way.
The classification of the doctrines of Life, which we have here given, may seem, at first view, to be borrowed from M. Cousin, and to be sustained by his reduction of all our ontological Ideas to three ; namely,
1. The Idea of the Finite;
M. Cousin would contend that the idea of the Finite corresponds to that of Plurality; the idea of the Infinite to that of Unity; and, in fine, the idea of Relation to that of Synthesis ; and we are by no means disposed to deny this apparent correspondence ; and we have most likely been indebted to our knowledge of M. Cousin's reduction for the principle of our classification. But the correspondence is more in appearance than in reality. M. Cousin's terms are a little too abstract and vague for our purpose ; moreover, the terms Finite and Infinite are not the exact equivalents of the terms Plurality and Unity. Unity may be predicated of the finite as well as of the infinite, and the conception of the infinite is very different from that of unity. Our conception of the infinite is a negative conception, merely the conception of the not-bounded or undefined; but our conception of unity is one of our most positive conceptions. The attempt to explain the universe from the point of view of the infinite would not result in Pantheism, but in Nihilism ; for the infinite, taken, not as a predicate, but as the subject of the predicate, would be equivalent to infinite nothing; and from the conception of infinite nothing, how obtain the conception of infinite something?
Nor is this all. This reduction of absolute ideas, which plays so conspicuous a part in M. Cousin's Lectures on the History of Philosophy, is not part and parcel of his own system ; it is one of his loans from the Hegelian philosophy, confessedly a doctrine of Life, though in our judgment by no means the true doctrine of Life. The principle of this reduction of the categories — not Kant's, but Aristotle's, not the psychological, but the ontological predicaments — to the three ideas enumerated is not by any means a psychological principle. It is impossible to refer the idea of the Finite to the Senses, that of the Infinite to the Intelligence, and their Relation to the union of sensation and intellection. The senses, M. Cousin tells us, can give us no conception of unity; and yet, who dare deny that unity may be predicated of the finite? Moreover, we