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OBITUARY.

1847. Dec. 3, at Paris, SAMUEL DUCK Kingsford, for more than half a century WORTH, Esq., M. A., one of the Masters the esteemed pastor of the same church. in Chancery. He was a member of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gradu- March 19, Mr. JOHN OLDFIELD, of ated B.A. 1810, as ninth Wrangler; M.A. Worsley, aged 55. He was a highly1813; and he was called to the bar by the valued member of the Unitarian congreHon. Society of Lincoln's Inn, July 3, gation at Monton, and truly respected by 1813. He practised as an equity drafts- his employers, the trustees to the late man, and was one of the Commissioners Duke of Bridgewater's property. His reof Inquiry into the Law of Real Property. mains were accompanied to the grave by

In 1837, he was returned to Parliament two hundred and forty gentlemen, who for Leicester in conjunction with Mr. East- paid this last tribute to his memory. The hope, who defeated the former Conser- funeral service was conducted by the Rev. vative members, Mr. Goulburn and Mr. T. E. Poynting, who delivered a most afGladstone, by 1816 votes to 1454; and fecting address on the occasion, and which although he did not take any conspicuous was listened to with breathless attention. part in public life, he was always a consistent and steady adherent of the Liberal April 5, at Ormskirk, aged 75, Mrs. party. In March 1839, he vacated his Jane Fogo, widow of the late Rev. Peter seat by accepting a Mastership in Chan. Walkden Fogg. She was much esteemed cery, the duties of which he discharged for her kindness to the poor and her hos. in a way to do equal credit to his owri pitality to all, as far as her limited means high professional character and to the would allow. She had a numerous family, discrimination of the Minister who se- and experienced many trials in life, but lected him for the office.

always exhibited great equanimity and In private life, the bigh principles and cheerfulness. Having lived forty - four unsullied integrity which were marked years in Ormskirk, she gained the respect features in the character of Mr. Duck- of the inhabitants, who seem to regret her worth, his unassuming, frank and cor departure. As boarding-schools were fordial manners, and his warm and kindly merly connected with the chapel, she was feelings, won for him the esteem of a well known to numbers who came from a large acquaintance and the attachment of distance, and some pupils have always a wide circle of intimate friends, many of exhibited great respect to one who had them distinguished for their rank and in- been kind to them in their school-days. fluence. Of

a social disposition, his house She was interred in the burial-ground of was the constant resort of men eminent the Presbyterian chapel at Ormskirk, on in law, literature and art, where his own the 8th of April, by Rev. Mr. Hardy, of information and enlightened views ena- Prescot. bled him to contribute his share to the general pleasure. To his family and those Mrs. FORWALK, aged 73 years. The de

April 9, at Dover, suddenly, of apoplexy, who were admitted to his domestic inti- ceased had attended the evening service macy he was endeared by his amiable temper, eulivened by a quiet humour, wonted health and strength, but a few

at the Old General Baptist chapel, in her free from all acerbity and ill-nature. Nor hours previous to her death. On the folought it to be unnoticed, that, a firm friend lowing Sunday evening, an appropriate disof civil and religious liberty, he never,

course was delivered by the Rev. T. B. W. amidst the temptations to such a course arising out of professional motives and and attentive auditory.

Briggs, to improve the event, before a large his social position, shrank from an avowal of those religious sentiments in which he had been educated, but to the end of life Rebecca, youngest and last surviving

April 17, at Crediton, at the age of 74, remained a steady and consistent Dis- daughter of John Cadlick and Elizabeth senter.

Davy, of Fordton. The deceased in early 1848. March 13, at Canterbury, at the life, after patient inquiry, became an Uni. great age of nearly 97 years, Mrs. CAILD, tarian. Her reading and knowledge on an old member of the congregation assem- religious subjects was extensive, and she bling in Black Friars' chapel in that city, was well qualified to defend her opinions: to the maintenance of public worship in these, united with fervent piety, were her which she was also the chief contributor. consolation through life, and her effectual She was sister to the late Rev. Sampson support in the prospect of death.

THE

CHRISTIAN REFORMER.

No. XLII.]

JUNE, 1848.

[Vol. IV.

MICHAEL SERVETUS. * | IV. THE PANTHEISTIC PHILOSOPHY OF M. SERVETUS. TaE leading principle of the metaphysics of Michael Servetus is, that God, regarded in himself in the infinitude of his uncreated essence, is absolutely indivisible. We will give some account of this principle, of its origin and its consequences. Servetus does not profess to be the inventor of it. He borrowed it from Neo-platonic tradition, from his favourite authors, Numenius and Plotinus, Porphyry and Proclus, Hermes Trismegistus and Zoroaster. And, in truth, this principle of the absolute indivisibility of God has been, and deserved to be, loudly proclaimed by all the pantheistic and mystical schools of antiquity. It belongs to the spirit of mysticism to perceive in all the forms of individual life only passing and deceptive shadows, and in life itself, from its lowest to its most dignified state, only an unproductive emotion, and to recognize beneath that stream of phenomena into which existence divides itself and is lost, a first cause-immoveable, simple, pure, free from all influence, from all division, with which every thing must be identified and united. Pantheism appears at first animated with an entirely different spirit. Its God is a living God; he acts, he develops himself, by an essential necessity. He mingles himself with nature; he is nature itself; invests all its forms; raises, depresses, and fills all its degrees. But if the God of Pantheism is inseparable from Nature, he consequently has no proper and separate existence; he only manifests himself in his works, and under the limitations of space, time and motion. Taken by himself, he is nothing more than absolute Unity, simple existence, substance. Absolutely indivisible and incomprehensible, he is the Unknown, the Ineffable and the Infinite. This is the Abyss of the Chaldæans, the One of Plotinus, the "En-soph” of the Cabbalists; and in this manner Mysticism and Pantheism, differing in

Continued from p. 276.

We pass over Chap. III. of M. A.'s essay, thinking it scarcely deserving our readers' attention. It is entitled, “III. The Pantheistic Heresiarchs who preceded Servetus, Sabellius, Eutyches, Scotus Erygena, Amaury of Chartres.”—ED. C.R.

Not wishing to extend quotations to any length, we limit ourselves to a few precise and categorical passages :

"Invisibilis Deus, qualis ante creationem mundi fuerit, est omnino nobis inintelligibile et inimaginibile."-Servetus, De Trinitate, Dialog. i., at the beginning. "Primo hoc notandum, abusive Deo tribui naturæ nomen....

...Deus tamen in seipso nullam habet naturam. . Nulla Deo convenit naturæ ratio, sed quid aliud ineffabile."--De Trin., Dial. ii.

“Deus in seipso inintelligibilis est."-De Trin., ii., at the end.

“Mens de Deo cogitans deficit, cum sit ille incomprehensibilis.”—Christ. Restit., book iii., p. 94.

VOL. IV.

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so many respects, agree in this principle of the absolute indivisibility of God. Servetus adopted it, with some reservation of little importance, and availed himself of it with very great sagacity and courage against the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

Nothing can, indeed, be more diametrically opposed to the spirit of Christianity than the principle of the absolute indivisibility of God. The root of the doctrine of the Trinity lies in recognizing in God a necessary diversity and a distinct life. If the Christian Trinity were only the symbol of this great truth, it would for ever deserve the respect of every true philosopher. It is, however, more than a symbol: I would say that, in organizing the doctrine of the Trinity, the founders of Christianity perfectly understood that they were raising a lofty barrier at once against the seductions of Pantheism and against the disorderly flights of an excessive Mysticism. Seek in St. Athanasius the meaning of the Nicene Creed: he will tell you that you must ascribe to God, before creation was made or time began, an individual and distinct life, a sublime life, the type of all life, the ideal of personality, the life of intelligence and love. Annihilate space and time, destroy the world; yet God will remain self-complete; not a void eternity, not a dead substance, but an active and life-giving God, the eternal Thought, the eternal Home of love and life. So described, God is perfectly distinct from the world, complete in himself, fully self-sufficient, and consequently free to create or not to create, and only creating at the suggestion of his wisdom and through the outpouring of his goodness. This is a God who, being the type of life and personality, could not inspire the dislike of individual life and agency; a God who attracts us, not in order to absorb our existence, but, by disclosing to us in Himself the model of true existence, to make ours productive of regular and holy action accomplished under the law of reason and the inspiration of love.

The author of the Christianismi Restitutio did not possess the secret of this profound philosophy. Servetus is no sage, nor the child of an age of wisdom. He is a man of strife in the bosom of a revolutionary period. The only things that strike him in the Trinity are those aspects at which reason, especially the reason of a pantheist, is shocked. we are to see him resolutely opposing the Council of Nice and declaring war against the most illustrious Fathers of the Church, in the name of Philosophy as well as in that of the Gospel.

"Your Trinity," he exclaims," is a work of subtlety and folly. You talk to us of a God in three hypostases, or, if we choose, in three persons. Whence, in the first place, comes such language? The gospel knows nothing of it.* The ancient Fathers, such as St. Ignatius, St. Irenæus, Tertullian, are strangers to these vain distinctions. It is in the school of the Greek sophist that you have learnt them; yes, you, Athanasius, prince of Tritheists, and you too, Augustin.t Doubtless the words Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are met with in the Scriptures ; but it is to denote the same God in the different modes of his action on the universe. Instead of this one only God, you give us three divine

So

"Simplex alia est veritatis via, non metaphysicis, sed idiotis et piscatoribus nota...."-Lettres à Calvin, p. 591.

Christ. Rest., lib. i. p. 24.

hypostases. Are they three substances or three essences? In each case, they are three Gods. You say they are three persons; but personality cannot be divided; it is one thing or it is nothing.* There is no medium: either there is in God only one substance, one essence, one person, or there are three Gods. What can be more absurd than this Tritheism? And what an abyss of contradictions ! God the Father acts on God the Son; God the Son, with or without his Father, acts on the Holy Spirit. God then acts upon himself; but if he acts, he is also acted upon. If he acts and is acted upon, he changes, he moves. What a collection of absurdities! A first God who begets, a second God who is begotten and does not beget, a third God who neither begets nor is begotten! But this is not all. Of these three Gods, there is one who makes himself man, the others remaining Gods; one who suffers, the others remaining impassible; one who dies, the others remaining alive.t. A strange God, compounded of Gods; a God by addition; a God broken and reduced to pieces ! Degenerate Theism, a thousand times inferior to that of Moses and of the Talmud, inferior even to the theology of the Koran ! Ridiculous Divinity, which brings us back to Paganism, to the three-headed Cerberus of the old Mythology.''S

We cannot but feel a painful emotion here, on thinking of the terrible reckoning which Calvin will demand of his adversary, before simpleminded men, before Christian judges, for thesë violent and bold words _Tritheism, Paganism, three-headed Cerberus. By writing them, Servetus wrote his own sentence, and lighted, so to speak, with his own hand the flame of his funeral pile.

But, in place of this Trinity which revolts his reason, what will the bold reformer of Christianity substitute? He first conceives, as the original principle, a God perfectly one, perfectly simple,--so simple and such a mere unit, that, considered in himself, he is neither intellect, nor spirit, nor love.|| However, between a God self-retired in his unalterable singleness of nature, and this stream of moving, divided, changing existences, there needs a link, an intermediate something. This intermediate link, according to Servetus, is Ideas.

Ideas are the eternal types of things. This visible world, to which our thoughts and desires too often confine themselves, which enchants our imagination by its rich colours, is but an enfeebled image of an invisible and nobler universe. If there is, in the region of the senses, one thing more beautiful and productive than all others, it is light; -194_432

Christ. Rest., lib. i. p. 16. + “Veri ergo hi sunt tritoitæ, et veri sunt athei, qui Deum unum non habent, nisi tripartitum et aggregativum.... Est quidam ingenitus deus, est quidam nec genitus, nec ingenitus deus : ergo tres dii. Unus est deus mortuus, duo non mortui...."-Christ. Rest., i. 25. ::

* Christ, Rest., lib. i. p. 30.-Ibid., Ad calcem. TO "Sed hanc viam tritoitæ non sunt ingressi... Tricipitem quemdam Cerberum, tripartitum quemdam deum, quasi tria puncta in uno puncto, tres illas res in una re conclusas, inintelligibiliter somniant."-Christ. Rest., lib. iii. p. 100.

1 “Præterea, ut hoc clarius intelligatur, dico quod ante creationem mundi Deus non erat lux, quia non potest dici lux nisi luceat.” -De Trin., Dial. i. p. 5. Ibid., p. 6.

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but its fugitive brightness, always mixed with shadows, fades and is eclipsed before the eternal and pure splendours of the uncreated light. These same objects, which in our world appear under the condition of limitation, mixture and movement, the thought of the true philosopher contemplates as they exist in the bosom of the ideal world,-simple, infinite, changeless, harmonious.

Ideas are not only the immutable models, the abstract essences of things; they are also substantial and active principles ;* they preside at once over knowledge and over existence; while they guide the world and rule thought, they sustain and vivify all things.f

Thus the invisible universe of ideas, though distinct from the visible universe, is not separate from it, but penetrates and fills it. In the same manner, ideas are not separate from God, though they are distinct. They are the eternal radiation from God, as the sensible world is the eternal radiation from ideas. What ideas are to things, God is to ideas. Things find their essence and unity in ideas; ideas find their essence and unity in God. God, indivisible in himself, divides himself in ideas;f ideas divide themselves in things. God, -to speak the language of Michael Servetus, who has reminded us at once of Plotinus and of Spinoza,-God is the absolute unity which unifies all, the pure essence which essentiates all, essentia essentians. Essence and unity descend from God to ideas, and from ideas to every thing else. He is an eternal ocean of existence, of which ideas are the currents, and things the waves.lt

To sum up what has been said, there are three worlds, at once distinct and united; at the summit of all is God, absolutely simple and ineffable; midway, the eternal and invisible light of ideas; at the bottom of this infinite ladder beings move. The beings are contained in the ideas, the ideas are contained in God ;1 God is all, and all is

“Non solum in luce omnia repræsentantur, sed in luce omnia consistunt." Christ Rest., lib. iv. p. 122, Mead's edition.

Christ, Rest., lib. iv. pp. 123, 124, Mead.

1 “Habet itaque Deus infinitorum millium essentias, et infinitorum millium naturas, non metaphysice divisus, sed modis ineffabilibus."-Christ. Rest., lib. iv. p. 128.

"Non solum innumerabilis est Deus ratione rerum, quibus communicatur, sed ratione modorum ipsius deitatis."-Christ. Rest., iv, 129.

$ " Ibi dicitur Deus essentias essentians, ut illæ iterum alias essentient. Ipse est omnis essentiæ fons, fons luminis fons vitæ, pater spirituum, pater luminum.' Cælestes spiritus ille essentiat; ab eo fluunt essentiales divinitatis radii, et essentiales angeli, qui iterum ejus essentiam in res alias effundunt."--Christ. Rest., lib. iv. p. 128.

"In essentia sua rerum omnium ideas continens, est veluti pars formalis omnium, peculari præsertim in nobis ratione, ob quam nos dicimur participes divinæ naturæ.Christ. Rest., lib. iv. p. 130.

| “Non est Deus instar puncti, sed est substantiæ pelagus infinitum, omnia essentians, omnia esse faciens, et omnium essentiam sustinens.”De Trin., iv.

p. 125.

Here is a passage which boldly sums up the pantheistic metaphysics of Servetus: “Rerum ideæ, in quibus res ipsæ in esse uno consistunt, sunt unum in Deo, res alias eo medio unum cum Deo esse facientes.”De Trin., lib. iv., at the end.

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