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Speculative pantheism wishes to represent what is the first being, and what are its relations to other beings. It asks of logic to teach it what that being is. That being must necessarily be the condition of all other beings, and as it is the property of a condition to contain in itself all of which it is the condition, that primary being must contain in itself all other beings. That is not all. The being containing all being in itself, must be of such a nature as to be able to become this and that, good and evil, the whole and a part; in a word, capable of assuming every species of determination, even the most opposite. All pantheistic systems agree in describing that first existence as something vague, indefinite, indeterminate, soft wax, susceptible of taking all forms. Schelling calls it the indifference of thedifferent ; Hegel considers it so very indeterminate, that he represents it almost as the nihility of existence ; Plotinus regards it as so simple, that, properly speaking, it is nothing at all. This indeterminateness, this simplicity, is so much the essential character of every pantheistic system, that it alone renders possible the existence of other beings. It is clear that, were the first being something well defined, it would not be able to become another thing, and, a fortiori, a thing the opposite of itself.
The fundamental error of speculative pantheism reveals itself already here. It consists in confounding perpetually the logical relations of ideas with the actual relations of things. What they say of being is true of thought. The highest thought, that which is the logical condition of all others, is also the most general, abstract, and indeterminate ; that thought contains all others, that is to say, that thought in receiving this or that determination, becomes this or that particular thought. And here is the source of the error of pantheists, who have confounded thought with matter, and built their system on this confusion. This confusion, in its turn, comes from their contempt for observation, and their hope of constructing a rational system from the resources of the reason alone, which they avert from its' legitimate office.
In summing up, we are able to affirm that this species of pantheism arises from a confusion of the logical forms of thought with the laws of matter. After the model of the most general thought, as the logical condition of all other thoughts, it represents the first being as the real condition of all other beings. In the logical order of the judgment, that which is at the head of the system is thought the highest and most general, that which comprehends all others, and on which, consequently, all others depend ; that thought is that of the unconditional. That logical form, speculative pantheism transfers to nature, and places at the head of all existence the universal being, in which are contained all particular beings. It thus confounds the logical order of the thoughts with the real order of things, and depicts the supreme condition of all existence under the traits of the highest condition of all thought.* Thus the God of speculative pantheists is but a visionary abstraction, to which they arbitrarily attribute a real existence; and as in the most general thought are embraced all other thoughts, and none exist logically without it, they suppose that every particular thing is contained in God. The real immanence of things in God is taken from the immanence of thought in the universal thought.
An examination of the speculative systems of pantheists easily convinces us, that they all form their first principles on the image of the most general notion of being we are capable of conceiving. The fv xai tã of the Eleatoe is nothing else than logical universality. The ideas of Plato are nothing but personifications of general notions. What is the absolute substance of Spinosa, that substance in which, as he himself expresses it, all possible attributes coexist, other than a general idea of being, embracing in itself all the thoughts of particular beings; for how would a real substance be able to unite in itself all attributes, even those the most contradictory ? In fine, Schelling's identity of the real and ideal is still but a logical abstraction. More consecutive than those who before him have constructed systems of that kind, Hegel considers the most general notion of pure being as the absolute, and the logical development of that idea as the development of being, and lays down as the basis of his doctrine the identity of matter and thought.
* Schmid. Leçons sur la nature de la phiiosophie, 9 Leçon.
PARK'S LIFE AND WRITINGS OF WILLIAM BRADFORD HOMER,
By Rev. Edwin Holt, Pastor of the Carmine Street Presbyterian Church, New York.
Writings of Rev. William Bradford Homer, late Pastor of
the Congregational Church, in South Berwick, Me., with a Memoir. By Edwards A. Park, Bartlet Prof. in Andover Theol, Seminary. In one volume. Andover: Allen, Morrill, & Wardwell. New York : Dayton & Newman, 1842.
The 24th day of March, 1841, will be long remembered in the village of South Berwick. It was the day when a congregation crowded the sanctuary, not to listen to their pastor's voice, but to gaze for the last time on his lifeless remains. Four months had scarcely elapsed since they had met to form with him the connection that binds together the pastor and the flock. The day of his ordination was a time of joyful congratulations. The youthful minister had then reached a goal to which, from his earliest years, he had looked forward. The child of many prayers, he had enjoyed and diligently improved ample opportunities for mental and spiritual culture. With qualifications of a high order, and with a heart panting after usefulness in his Master's service, he was ordained to the work of the ministry, under auspices singularly favorable. The field of his labors was sufficiently difficult to task all his resources, and he was cheered with smiles of encouragement and prayers for his success, from every quarter. He seemed to stand, buoyant with hope and flushed with holy ardor, at the starting-point of a career that stretched onward and upward-radiant with the light of heaven. The attachment and admiration of the people centered upon him. They were happy in the thought that he was to perform among them in future years the duties of a pastor—to consecrate the nuptial tie-to dedicate their children to God in baptism-to bury their dead-to console the afflicted--to lead their worship, and to impart the instructions of the sanctuary. SECOND SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO, I.
But the bright scenes of the ordination are soon followed by the gloom of funeral obsequies. Never will the writer forget the mournful events of the burial. The sanctuary was filled with a sorrowing people. The sable drapery of the pulpit, the plaintive dirge and the funeral service were not needed to call out emotions of sadness. The pensive look, the moistened eye, and the heaving bosom, every where told of overpowering sorrow.
The seats that were appropriated to the circle of mourning relatives, presented an affecting spectacle. There was one whose bridal attire, so recently put on, had been exchanged for the weeds of widowhood: brothers, who could yet scarcely realize the fact that the brightest and best of their number was cut down in the freshness of his youth, were there : and there was a bereaved parent who bowed his venerable head in submission, although the unconscious groan denoted that nature was tasked to the utmost in the effort.
One object was the centre of interest to all-it was the pastor's coffin. The well known voice was silent in death, but the scene spake with indescribable power. All felt the eloquence of ihe appeal that came from those remains. Solemn and touching was the interview between the living and the dead.
The book, whose tiile stands at the head of this article is designed to preserve the productions and the biography of the young pastor to whom the preceding remarks refer. The editor has been induced to devote his well known abilities to a subject not unworthy of their efforts. Mr. Homer was no ordinary man. His ministry, though brief, was singularly effective. He was attaining fast a wide-spread influence. It was not the tinsel reputation of the shallow pretender, who can practice the arts of the obsequious demagogue, and the tricks of the rhetorical charlatan. It was the substantial result of the consecration of sanctified intellect to the sacred ministry
The biography of Mr. Homer is executed with great fidelity. If the author have committed any error, it is one that is not often found in those who write the memoirs of a well known friend—it is that of giving less prominence than they, perhaps, deserve, to the good qualities of the subject, from a praiseworthy fear of coloring the sketch too highly. The uneventful incidents of Mr. Homer's life are invested with attractive interest by the skill of the biographer; his character is analyzed with searching discrimination, and the memoir is enriched with valuable suggestions which no minister can read without benefit. The following extracts may serve to show in what manner Prof. Park has executed his trust.
“ The subject of this memoir had not the deep self-abhor. rence of him who cried out in view of his sins, “Infinite upon infinite-infinite upon infinite: nor had he the sombre and gloomy piety which made him walk over the ground like David Brainerd, fearing that the earth was just ready to open itself and swallow him up; nor had he the bruised and morbid spirit of Cowper, nor the imposing and awe-inspiring virtues of Payson, nor the spirited and impetuous piety of Baxter, pressed on by an irritated nerve, and looking for no peace till he reached the Saint's Everlasting Rest. There was the calm and philosophical devotion of Bishop Butler,—there was the mild and equable and philanthropic temper of Blair and of Tillotson ; but it was neither of these that Mr. flomer held up as his exclusive model. He had not attained a perfect symmetry of Christian virtue, but he was aiming after it, and striving to blend the graces of the gospel into one luminous yet mild, rich yet simple expression."--p. 77.
“ He was not one of those perfect men who live in biographies but nowhere else, and who never utter a word which dying they would wish to recall. All that we care to say in his praise is, that the charms of his conversation were greater and the foibles of it less, than those of most men, even good
His excellences were positive rather than negative, and he must have been more than human if they were never combined with a fault. His was a mind of vivacity and ardor, and it was a well regulated mind; but these properties are lesz favorable than hebetude and coldness to the reputation of a perfectly faultless man. It was common indeed to speak of him as faultless, he was so free from the usual foibles of se. dentary persons, from all the malignant feelings, from bigotry and its kindred vices. But he well knew that one who of. fendeth not in word is a perfect man, and he was quick to confess that he had never attained this perfection."-p. 82.
In a valuable chapter on the character of Mr. Homer as a preacher, occurs the following sketch.