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the absolute is even, if we may say so, constituted by that identity, which is of the most positive character. The subject and object, the ideal and real, thought and matter are in it essentially one ; they differ only in the view of those beings which perceive by means of the senses and reflection.
After having ascended thus from the different to the indif. ferent, from the forms of the absolute to the absolute itself, we may descend from the absolute to its minor manifestations, to give, so to speak, a history of its life, of its development, to follow it in all its phases, in all its modes of being. In that way there is rebuilt the primitive construction of the absolute ;* there is presented the tableau not only of the whole creation, but even of the inner life of God. That labor, the boldness of which certainly cannot be denied, has been undertaken by Schelling, whose philosophy is nothing else than a re-construction of the absolute.
This will suffice, we think, to characterize that system, which cannot be made known in its entireness without entering on a prolix consideration of details. It is perceived that it does not depart much from Spinosa's point of view. It is of the same spirit and tendency.
Yet, notwithstanding those dialectic forms of exposition, Schelling constructed his system rather as a poet than as a philosopher. It gushes out from his imagination, was not formed step by step on reasoning. But there appeared, on the side of Schelling, a powerful logician, who seized upon that primary conception and labored with inconceivable zeal to lay its foundation on logic. That was Hegel. Fundamentally, Hegel's system is nothing else than the system of Schelling logically exhibited, pushed to its extreme consequences, clearly determined, scientifically constructed, and rigidly systematized,
Hegel calls that, idea, which Schelling designated under the name of absolute. Idea is the source of all that exists, or rather, that which continues perpetually under all the different forms which it is able to assume. Idea is living sub
* We apprehend it best as a romance, of which the hero is absolute ; yet that mode of proceeding has been adorned with the name of the constructive method.
stance—whatever is. It possesses the power of determining itself in an infinity of different modes, of also giving birth to the multiplicity of beings, and by changing its diverse determinations, of forming a succession of external manifestations.
Hegel considers, first, idea in itself; this is the first part of his philosophy, called by him logic. It is evident that his logic is not what is ordinarily understood by that term, that is to say, the theory of reasoning, the science which teaches how to proceed legitimately from particulars to generals, and from generals to particulars.* The logic of Hegel is the science of being, such as it is in itself, prior to its external manifestations, or without regard to its manifestations-of being virtually (en virtualité), but possessing capabilities of action. If it be asked why Hegel calls that logic, which in other systems is denominated ontology and metaphysics, we reply, that it is because with him the laws of thought are the
* The following passage from M. Michelet's history of modern German philosophy, it seems to us, will give a sufficient idea of what Hegel understands by logic.
“ The science of logic, considering thought in its pure element, exposes to our view gradually, all the oppositions of thought, oppositions which, accomplishing the course of their development, rest at last in the supreme thought. But as the exercise of thought is not only a subjective activity of man, but contains in itself all being and all truth, logic has to do not only with the form of science, and is not, like common logic, a theory of ideas, of judgments and of reasoning, Aris. toile has separated the pure form of thought from its contents, and that was called by him
exclusively logic which was concerned with that form, whilst Plato calls the objective movement of the substantial contents of thought, logic. Here-in Hegel's system--logic holds :he same place as the Platonic logic. Our logic is, therefore, a theory of the categories of things or of the most general predicables of all being, that which restores the objectivity of Aristotle's categories, who placed a higher value on them than on formal logic. Logic develops scientifically what Pythagoras, Kant and Aristotle, and even, if you please, Raymond Lully, and Giordano Bruno, wished to estabfish in their tables of categories. It is then ontology, the theory of primitive being in as far as it is, and it includes what Aristotle and Wolf regard as the business of metaphysics."
laws of action, and to describe idea is to describe being. This is a characteristic trait of that system, a trait on which we have remarked in the system of absolute identity, and to which we shall have to revert subsequently, when we shall see what is the fundamental defect of modern pantheism.
The two other parts of the philosophy of Hegel discuss idea or being in its manifestations, in its external life, in its developments, or, as Hegel calls it, in its goings-out (processus). And here that philosophy departs a little from Schelling, and above all, from Spinosa. The latter supposes that the two modes of being of the infinite, extension and thought, are simultaneously manifested. Hegel, doubtless prompted by the discoveries of geology, which show us that the successive creations have followed a growing gradation in their organic forms—Hegel, prompted by these discoveries, although he affects to borrow nothing from experience, is of opinion that being is first manifested as nature. Proceeding from a state so vague, so indeterminate that it resembles nothing in existence, idea, before arriving at its perfect development, before having a conscious knowledge of itself, was under the necessity of passing through a series of different degrees, and by a progressive education, to become capable of assuming a form more suitable to its dignity, and to appear as spirit.* As the material form is less perfect than the spiritual, idea manifested itself first under the form of the world. The description of its progress in that direction, forms the second part of his system, that is, a philosophy of nature.
Then follows a third part, which is the philosophy of spirit. Here we have presented before us the spectacle of the most beautiful developments of idea. It disengages itself, so to speak, from the bonds of matter; it becomes free ; it has a consciousness of itself. In that new state, being passes through three degrees of development; it manifests itself first as individual spirit in man, and in that inferior form it is yet in connection with nature which it does not entirely con
* Does not this remind us somewhat of the, at least singular idea of Robinet, who in the last century regarded the petrifactions which geology had not yet explained, as the unsuccessful efforts of nature in seeking to form man?
trol. Then, creating for itself a proper world, a world wholly spiritual, having nothing common with nature, it manifests itself as that general spirit which animates an entire mass of mankind ; that is properly, the national spirit, which, with Hegel, is not an abstraction. Finally, it elevates itself to the summit of that superior state, in order to pass into the ideal sphere. Then idea apprehends itself ; sees itself; contemplates itself; studies itself; knows itself; it feels itself God, God perfect, God infinite, God eternal.
As it seems, each of the systems is the definition, the description of the absolute in a different degree of its developments, and the entire system is but ihe tableau of the life of being.
Such, in its latest impression, is the system of Hegel. Doubtless this dry and meagre sketch is very far from exhibiting it as it ought to be, in order to make an impression, that is to say, by rising gradually on an unbroken chain of the most concise reasoning. As little partisan as we may
be of that system, we cannot help admiring its beautiful structure, and proclaiming it the boldest, philosophy has produced. But one must study it in Hegel's own writings in order to gain a complete idea of it. Here, we repeat it again, because unwilling to be accused of not representing strongly and truly, the theories we design to combat ; here, we have only to inquire into the general traits of the spirit of the system, and we think we have said enough on the subject to give our readers an exact idea of it.
We have just cast a rapid glance at the three most celebrated pantheistic systems which the history of philosophy has offered us, and it is to those we must, above all, have regard, the pantheism of the first Grecian philosophers, that of the Eleatæ and that of the Neoplatonists, which are transfused into the modern systems. We may remark that, notwithstanding some differences in their details, they all three revert to this as their basis, to know God, the absolute, the idea,—the name is of no account--as the sole and only being, and the universe with all it contains, whether maiter or spirit, as nothing else than a manifestation of that being, a moment of its life, its mode or modes of existence.
II. Appreciation of Pantheism.---Pantheism cannot be considered as the hap-hazard product of certain minds totally imbued with error. Although an enormous error, it must
find in the human soul some causes ever ready to act, when no longer counterbalanced by other forces of the mind necessary to maintain the equilibrium. We are led to this opinion by observing the constancy with which it has persevered from the most ancient times to the present, and the universal power with which it has operated, at different periods, on the human mind. Already in most remote antiquity, it appears at the foundation of all the systems of India. Scarcely has mind waked up in the west, before it appears in the sect of the Eleatæ : it leaves some traces in Platonism, reigns among the Neoplatonists, penetrates into Christian theology, which it essays to invade at several different periods, and at length is developed in all its vigor in the modern systems of Germany.
This continuance is no evidence indeed of its truth, but it is proper for us to understand that, like all other philosophical points of view, pantheism is always produced under the influence of certain causes present in the human mind, and active whenever a favorable occasion offers.* We shall first proceed to inquire into those causes and to expose that which may be regarded as giving birth to pantheism. Then we shall essay to show what is the fundamental error of all the systems of that sort. And finally we shall point out some of the dangers of pantheism both in the field of thought and in that of practical life. These three points will form, it seems to us, a refutation of this view, if not complete, at least sufficiently satisfactory.
1. The Psychological causes of Pantheism.-From our very nature, composed of two parts, one spiritual, the other material, we find ourselves connected with two very different
* All the philosophical systems can be disposed into certain classes; and each class has its own particular way of con. sidering things. Does any one take such a point of view, he is necessarily drawn towards such a species of system ! But as each of those modes of view has its logical reason in the human spirit, it follows that all the systems have their source in the human spirit i:self. Every system is worth as much as the source in the human mind from which it proceeds. In order therefore to give a just idea of each system, it will be advantageous to go into an examination of its psychological