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any more than in that ontological speculation, the Orthodox Trinity, which is the supposed ground and explanation of the other. Mr. Simmons holds the idea, but objects to any attempt to substantiate and explain it. Next to believing a thing which cannot be proved, is that more unfortunate tendency to believe a thing because it cannot be proved. When we speak of proving a thing, we do not mean that logical processes can demonstrate every object worthy of our faith. The whole man must advance to the proof of a spiritual problem, and he must test it by his totality of thought and feeling. Then faith in a thing indemonstrable becomes a rational prolongation of reason. But it must not contradict scientific laws; it may pass beyond them, and out of their province, but still it cannot be at variance with them. If it contradicts them, no individual sentiment can make it worthy of belief. Mr. Simmons' Trinity is at variance with scientific laws, inasmuch as it distinguishes the two modes or phases, Father and Spirit. Therefore it is an idiosyncracy, and not a legitimate object of belief.
This leads us to say a word or two concerning that naturalism which Mr. Simmons rejects with aversion. How could he do otherwise, with his individuality? Will he, nill he, he must reject it, until a fresh shake of the kaleidoscope throws his powers and sentiments into another combination. But, in the meantime, it may be possible to convince all those who sympathize with Mr. Simmons, that Naturalism lacks none of those Christian graces which are claimed as results of a socalled Scriptural scheme, with or without a Trinity. A too sweeping generalization is involved in the statement that under the scheme of Naturalism,“ virtue will be the virtue of stoicism, and the mind's soaring will be that of contemplation, not of prayer.
We can imagine that to have been penned with the reminiscence of a volume or two of contemplative essays and poems hanging about the writer's sense.
If a man is contemplative by nature, his prayer will be contemplative, whether he be a Naturalist, or an ultra Calvinist, or a moderate Unitarian. What an itching there is to fix such characteristics as appear objectionable to any one, or are not in harmony with one, upon this or that creed! But if a man be a stoic, he will display the virtue of stoicism, and all the thirtynine articles cannot make him more trustful and dependent. When Mr. Simmons proceeds to add that, in the school of Naturalism, "all virtue will be practised under a sense of desertion,” and that prayer itself will gradually cease, since “it is the natural fruit only of a faith which connects us by a living tie with God," we are on the point of growing indig. nant, and filling the rest of this review with notes of amazement. Whom did Mr. Simmons have in his eye, to designate withal a whole genus? We hasten to disabuse a devout mind of a consideration which must be afflictive to it. No living tie with God? Why, Naturalism is very little else : the merciful, suggesting, humbling, creative presence of God in the intellect and soul of His children, is the central thought from which the whole action and spirituality of the Naturalist proceeds. The consciousness of that great fact has slowly made him what he is, and affection, devoutness, thought, and will, are meekly subordinated to faith in that glorious presence no, not to the faith, but to the presence. Can virtues grow stern, and can prayer cease, in the heart of any child who lives and thinks, walks the streets and transacts his business, with an absorbing sense of the nearness and the minute solicitudes of the Infinite Father ? Pray God that Mr. Simmons may become acquainted with the heart of some Naturalist.
Another misconception is contained in the following paragraph: “it may be said that this school make much, on the contrary, of inspiration. But they make too much of it. If all is inspired, nothing is inspired. And that presence of God is nothing to me, which I share with the clod.” He has here compounded a rare Pantheism with a scientific Naturalism. Is it really predestined in the decrees of God, that a devout Sentimentalist cannot be discriminating? There is much Pantheism among the Absorptionists of the East; there has been some in Germany: a few men, both there and in this country, may have been betrayed from the very excess of a contemplative devoutness, united to a poetic temperament without analysis, into the vagueness of this doctrine. But even to them the presence of God is something more personal, practical and ennobling than it is to a clod. Given a clod, and indeed God's presence will not be very salient and impressive. Given a holy, aspiring soul, and the doctrine is robbed of its horrors. But we venture to affirm, that a legitimate Naturalism in alliance with keen eyed and discriminating science, is fast correcting what little vagueness exists upon the subject of the immanence of God. If Mr. Simmons would successfully oppose the oriental impracticability of Pantheism, he must become a Naturalist and believe in inspiration.
We are, therefore, in fuli harmony, both by theory and tem-
But we can imagine the fiery indlimation that will surge in
The New Gnosis, is a little tract upon the Trinity, which might serve as the ontological appendix to Jr. Simmons' lecture. The latter deprecates any attempt “ to find a necessary cause and basis, in the being of the Self-subsistent, for that threefold character which He assumes to us." And again, Mr. Simmons exclaims, in a sort of horror, “the thought of mapping the Divine mind would fill any single breast with dismay; it could only be enterprised by coöperating generations." Yet Mr. Greene, undismayed, attempts that awful leap from the illup ar ..v. čimming so to the dark” of the New
Gnosis. If Gnosis be derived from the Greek verb “to know,” this is certainly a new one. Mr. Greene has all the precision of thought, and acute analysis, the lack of which makes Mr. Simmons' lecture so indefinite and sentimental. But no angel, even if he had been a lawyer in the flesh, could render the impossible intelligible. Suppose it necessary to create a Trinity out of whole cloth, and we acknowledge that Mr. Greene's effort is sufficiently ingenious and amusing. Sir Christopher Wren asked the Royal Academy why a fish, being placed in a vessel with water, would not cause it to overflow. It was wonderful to notice the resources of the human mind : the savans narrowly escaped hatching Wren's bad
into a callow chick, when Charles the Second doubted whether the proposition were a true one. So, numerous people have been asking, how does it happen that the Self-subsistent exists in Trinity ? Mr. Simmons, not being metaphysical, generously disdains to examine the mystery, and trustfully makes it the pivot of his faith. Mr. Greene feels piqued at the idea that any thing can be proposed beyond the legitimating powers of logic, and, not being sentimental, sets about demonstrating this unspilled Trinity of water, fish and vessel in unity. It would be a great economy of brains if we said, once for all, it is a joke.
We find the same objection to Mr. Greene's Trinity, that we find to all the previous statements of that doctrine: it is reducible. It is not the need of affirming the personality of God, but the need of simplicity and unity, which leads us to resolve this threefold result of analysis. Mr. Greene says: “ the doctrine of the Trinity is an enumeration of the essential elements of the absolute Self-consciousness, and also an affirmation of the Personality of God.” So far as the question of the Divine personality is concerned, it is plain that there is no intrinsic necessity for assuming three elements in God, in order to avoid collapsing into Pantheism. We might as well suppose three essential elements in the human Ego, for the sake of keeping it distinct from Nature and Deity. The mode of God's existence, then, may be considered, aloof from all questions, whether theological or philosophical. But why make out three essential elements ? Let us examine Mr. Greene's analysis. The Supreme Intelligence is supremely intelligible to Himself. The Supremely Intelligible is the eternal and eternally generated Word. “And the eternal energy of the Supreme Intelligence, whereby to Himself the Supreme Intelligence becomes Supremely Intelligible, is the Supreme Spirit and Life.” Thus, out of chaos is evoked the Fa. ther, the Word and the Spirit. They are only elements within the limits of Absolute Consciousness. As if we should
that the human Ego subsists in its undetermined consciousness, in its determining energy, and in the determinate objectiveness of its consciousness. But could we say this of the human Ego ? Not at all: the first element in this Trinity is self-contradictory. If it is undetermined, it is not conscious, and if conscious, then it is determined. It is impossible to eliminate energy and objectiveness from the human subject, and leave consciousness : under such a process, the human subject would collapse, and become a negative quantity; not a quantity capable of producing some correlative effect, but a void negation, helpless and immovable. If, to save the consciousness, you make it determining, you immediately include, in that single participle, enough to establish a vital Unity, and to forestall the necessity and possibility of a threefold analysis. The human Ego is a determining consciousness; make three terms of it in trying to define its elements, and you destroy the thing itself, because your first term will be a void formula, and not a power, containing and legitimating the other two terms. Now the result is the same in attempting to map out the Absolute Consciousness. The “ Supreme Intelligence" of Mr. Greene's Trinity, is nothing in his analysis, but every thing without it. He says it is a cause without its correlative effect, when this correlative effect is that necessary quality, without which it cannot be a cause. An undetermined Supreme Consciousness could never become supremely intelligible to Himself. To eke out his Trinity, Mr. Greene has abolished the Divine substance itself. His anatomy has exsanguinated his subject. The Supreme cannot be Intelligence, without being contempo raneously intelligible to Himself. Neither can the order be reversed; the Supremely Intelligible, which is the Word, cannot be put in the place of the Supreme Intelligence, which passes for the Father. Nor does it help the matter, to say that the Word is eternal, and eternally generated. That does not save the determining power of the Supreme Intelligence, it simply makes the Word and the Intelligence identical ; and that is the very result which renders this Trinity superfluous. Its elements must be reduced, to secure the existence of its primordial one; and when you have done that, the primordial element becomes the irresolvable thing itself, which you have