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PANTHEISMS DESTRUCTION OF BOUNDARIES

Abraham Kuyper

From: The Methodist Review July 1893, pp. 520-535

It is not our desire to be classed with those who have no good word for pantheism in any form.  The difference between our age and the age which preceded it is too deeply marked for this.   Then it was deism, cold and grave; a rationalism which withered the spirit; a conventional affectation on every hand; a state of society such as exists in the waiting-room of the house of the dead, inanimate and weaned from every ideal.  In its place we have now an age full of animation and thrift: a boiling and a fermentation of all the elements of society; a spirit to dare everything, together with development of power which is astonishing.  Were ours the choice, therefore, between frozen deism, which causes the blood at length to coagulate in the veins, and the melting pantheism, which from the midst of a tropical wealth communicates to the soul a thrill of its own delight, there would be no room for hesitation.  In India we should have been Buddhists, and perhaps have approved the Vedas.  In China we should have preferred the system of Lao-Tse to that of Confucius, and in Japan we should have turned our back upon the official Shinto, that we might share the hardships of the oppressed priests of Buddha?
            For do not forget that the deepest trait of pantheism consists of a false love; a love which it must be allowed, steps across appointed boundaries, but which, even in this false and unrighteous form, is born, nevertheless, from the motive of love.  It repels not, but it attracts.  Its purpose is to unite, and not to separate.  Call it spiritual adultery, but adultery, nevertheless, born of affectionate inclination, the outcome of homesickness and of pathos of sympathy.  For all pantheism is religious pantheism at first, and only later on is crystallized into a philosophic system; and only by its degenerating effect does it work its practical destruction in life.  The soul seeks after God; and when the light of revelation is wanting and he cannot be found by the dusky glimmerings of reason, the soul becomes impetuous with longing and indiscreet even to the borders of the irreverent, and agonizes after God, to enter his presence, to fathom the hidden depths of his being, and rests not until it has lost itself.  This trait, this motive, is one and the same all the world over; and whether you hear the Hindoo utter his heart-breaking cry after his nirvana; or whether you see the Gnostic delight himself in his syzygies; or Bohhme, coloring his pantheism with Christian tints, theosophically; or Madame de Guyon, quietistically; and anon Sehelling, in a philosophic style, it is with them all the one strong effort to restrain the soul for its impetuous longings, to lose itself in the depths of the being of God.  Let us call it once more a spiritual adultery; but it is the glow of a tragic passion, which is far more attractive and captivating than the cold egotism of the matter-of-fact man, who may not question the existence of God, but has no further dealings with him than pro memoria.  And also in out age it is noteworthy how the newly aroused Christian religion in Schleiermacher has kissed the hand of pantheism, and how Schelling (provided that the theistic name be retained) has allowed him self deep draughts from the foaming cup of pantheism.  True piety shrank back from the rationalistic coldness and from the conventional mechanism of our supranaturalists.  But at the hand of Sehelling it regains its mysteries, its holy Trinity, its Incarnation, including even the doctrine of the resurrection.
            But, however luxuriantly this pantheism grew, like grass in prairie lands, under that grass did hide poisonous adder.  That which in the tents of the saints received its corrective from piety itself, lost this corrective the moment it began to sparkle from the philosopher's desk; for them philosophic pantheism quickly repressed the religious element.  With Hegel every religious motive sank away in dialectics; and after him the spirit of our age captured for itself the magic formula of pantheism, in order that, being freed from God and from every tie established by him, it might melt the world as it found it and cast it into a new form from every man in accordance with the desires of his own heart.
Three motives simultaneously impelled our age in this direction; its overwhelming feeling of power, its exaggerated sense of human excellent, together with its penetration into riches of nature,  In comparison with the age which preceded it this age feels like Titan, who carries everything on his broad shoulder, storms the heavens, and cannot rest until everything has been put in a new, that is, a modern, form.  By this overwhelming feeling of power its sons have been aroused to an impassioned and exaggerated sense of human excellence.  In its thought man is both alpha and omega - an anthropotheism, as some have named it; a worship first of the ideal human, and then of self, however cynically deep this brutal self may have sunk below the human; an Ego-theism which extends to its most repulsive consequence.  In the intoxication of his passionate self-esteem man cast himself with his exceeding power upon defenseless nature, and he has put it under foot, and ever since has led it about behind the triumphal car of his science and of his materiality.  And these three motives taken together, that feeling of infinite power, that sense of self esteem, and that alliance into which the spirit of man has entered with the spirit of nature, even without the mention of more satanic or lower motives, entirely explain the pantheistic keynote of our age.  Hence it was spoken non too boldly when, according to the several sympathies, pantheism was praised as the 'favorite system" of our age, or condemned as the "Radikalhaeresie" which now lifts its head; or when an English pantheist boastfully asserted that at least ninety out of every hundred scholars of to-day were pantheists, either openly or in secret.
Let no one think, however, that we assert that philosophic pantheism still sways its scepter in the schools of philosophy; for, with Haley expected, the opposite rather is true.  Hegel has long been dethroned, and with this the luxurious growth of systematic pantheism has come to a standstill.  Philosophy beholds her lecture-halls deserted.  Her votaries groan on every hand under her Abgelebtheit, senility, and spiritual impotence.  Since new philosophies appear no more, as Erdmann complains, the market is flooded with "Philosophic-Geschichte."  Spencer has already exalted agnosticism into a system.  The long-forgotten Herbart is now conceded to excel Hegel far in wisdom.  The Neo-Kantians go back to Kant; a few even Leiboitz.  And, to show how a man of very unpoetic name may espy the genius of the spirit of poetry, Professor Knauer, of Vienna, proclaims in flattering terms Robert Hamerling the greatest of all philosophers, by whose hand was placed the keystone in the front of her palace.
            But with this the teeth of the “ever-gormandizing, ever ruminating monster,” as Goethe calls pantheism, are not yet broken.  When recently, in spite of the interdict of Van Roest the socialists held their electoral meeting, they placed over their entrance these words of Opzoomer:  “Every citizen, as a member of the commonwealth, has a share in sovereignty.”  Call this an abuse, if you will, or the professorial dictum, but recognize, at least, that such is ever the course of the statement of a principle.  It goes out from the desk; but when in the halls of the philosophers it has long been recalled, or weighed and found wanting, it continues many years in the air of the lower spheres, exercises its influence upon the special sciences, predominates in our text-books, takes the premium in our novels, glitters as tinsel in the daily press, vitiates the unction of our poets, colors the tine of conversation by Schlagworter, and, in the circles of the mediocrity, or of what the Germans call “Philistertum,” it altogether subverts public opinion.  For instance, inspired by Broca and by Von Nageli, Darwin admitted in the last edition of his Descent of Man and Origin of Species the insufficiency of his selection theory; but second-hand science, in text-book and public school, has not ceased to honor this defective selection theory as the philosopher’s stone.
            It means nothing, therefore, that philosophic pantheism lies vanquished at the desk; practically it works its after effects with no less power, both in special studies and real life.  A professor who would still indorse the system of Hegel as such would not be abreast of his times, and he would be more sharply hit than Hegel by the irony of the song:
 
And now he talks of God in us,
Who never is transcendent,
And all his hearers marvel much
That God’s a German student.
 
Or with more fairness, since I myself am a professor, let me turn the laugh on the professorate, by quoting Goethe’s well known witticism from his “Xeniën”
 
What do I care from your scoff,
Over the All and the One;
The professor is surely a person,
But God, as surely, is none.
 
            But the deadly effect of this irony does not save us.  In the place of one professorial head which is struck off from this monster at the desk, a hundred other heads appear, all equally poisonous, in the lower strata of society.  Then we obtain derivative theories, which Marat rightly designates as doubly dangerous, together with their application, in which the principles themselves are passed by, or covered over, or more often not even surmised to exist by those who write, or speak, or act.  By way of example recall the enthusiastic worship of progress.  However much the onward step has been accelerated there is never a respite, never a rest, but a life without a Sabbath.  There is no looking backward upon that which has been done, nor occupancy, much less enjoyment, of that which has been obtained.  No new point is reached in the way, but immediately a new start is made from it.  It is like the sansenden Galop in the "Todtenritt" or Burger's "Leonore."  It is the Wandering Jew this time, because of a passion which absorbs and attracts, and not because of an agony of fear which relentlessly drives on.  It goes ever forward and farther, ever hastening on ahead, an Excelsior which may never end.  And is the assertion too bold, that of every thousand who keep pace as well as they can with this hurrying procession, no two discern of surmise the genetical coherence of this feverish progress with the avowed purpose of the pantheistic world? That B"<m" D,\ 6"\ DX<,J* is no longer put as a proposition, but taken up as the life motto, until at length the want of an eternal Sabbath is predicated of God himself, and he, too, as a Schüler wittily remarked, has been charmed into "a veritable God of progress."
            But enough of this.  We were not to treat of Pantheism in general, but merely one of its effects.  Therefore we will not even sketch hastily this grasp-elusive Proteus, but focus all our powers on this one point—that pantheism effaces distinctions, obscures boundary lines, and betrays the tendency to wipe out every antithesis.  This tendency derives its impulse from the pantheistic principle itself.  This is shown by religious pantheism, which, afraid of a God "afar off," has not peace even with God "at hand," but in the prayer-mystery here seeks to penetrate the being of God, and in the hereafter, yearns after identification with the divine Being, until at length every boundary between God and the soul is lost.  The same is true of practical pantheism, which restlessly seeks to equalize all things: and, as long as there is any upward growth, is bent, first upon tying down, then upon curtailing and cutting off, until, finally, every distinction between the cedar and the hyssop eases to exist.  But this is most clearly demonstrated by philosophical pantheism, which systematically fuses every thesis and antithesis into a synthesis, and by the tempting notion of identity, explains everything which seems dissimilar as similar and, in the end, as being of like essence.
            Herein lies the explanation: This philosophy does not deal with reality, but with the image which it saw reflected in the mirror of its thought, or which, more correctly, it formed for itself.  Kant struck a blow for this in proclaiming that reality escapes us, and that the form, at least, and the dimension of that which we observe their have rise in us.  Then came Fichte, who thought it better not to reckon with that which escapes us, and declared that that which seemed to image had been imagined by ourselves, and hence was the only real.  And finally Hegel transposed everything which existed into a purely logical formula, and, after the object had been destroyed together with its image, asserted that the idea alone remained.  In this wise this philosophy, with ever greater necessity of consequence, transports us from the real, living world into an abstract world of thought' and in this world, of course, it has free play  with every distinction and antithesis.  For then we deal no longer with living persons, but with heads sketched by ourselves; and from these crayon-sketches all sorts of lines and wrinkles may be effaced and charmed away as by magic, which from the living face will never more depart.
            And if pantheism in this wise creates for itself the possibility of escape from the dilemma of distinctions which really exist, then the very law of thought compels it to use this possibility with every greater prodigality.  Our thinking occasions the arrangement in a fixed order of the phenomena we observe.  Thought, from its very nature, demands system.  He who thinks looks for general principles in particulars, in order to explain particulars by general principles.  Every dualism antagonizes the processes of thought, and thought can rest upon its laurels only when everything has been grouped under one idea.  If now we deal with reality and render homage to its law of existence, then with our mode of thinking we are repulsed, stroke upon stroke, by that which obstinately resists our generation.  But if we live as the pantheist lives, not in the real world, but in a gallery of portraits which we ourselves have painted, then of course this is no opposition; then we tolerate no obstinate resistance from our brush and erase all lines which, as they were drawn, do not fit into our system.

            Pardon this somewhat dry demonstration.  It was needed to show the inner motive as one of sheer necessity, which compels pantheism everywhere to wipe out boundary lines. Declension and conjugation forms may remain, according to Spinoza's figure in grammar, which differ in time and in mood, in person and in case; but all these forms are simple modifications of the primitive word, which always remains the same.  Or, as it is expressed by a German philosopher:

All that appears to our eyes as difference and distinction, however much our consciousness insists upon nonidentity, is nevertheless in essence one and the same; it is but the presentation, the formation, the characterization, the development, alteration, expression, revelation, or form of the single substance which alone exists.
 
            This becomes manifest at once in the relation which is thought to exist between God and the world.  For centuries the Church of Christ has guarded its barrier against every open of crypto-pantheism by the solemn confession in the inaugural of its Articles of Faith:  "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;" and, in the third century, justly denounced the first weakening of the creation idea, together with the first effort to make the world co-eternal by putting Origen under her ban.  The most distinctly marked boundary line lies between God and the world; and with the taking away of this line all other boundaries are blurred into mere shadows.  For every distinction made in our consciousness -- aye, the very faculty itself of our consciousness to make distinctions -- take root at last in this primordial antithesis.  Think it away, and it becomes night, in whose shadowy darkness everything in our horizon dissolves in a somber gray.  But every pantheist starts out with the denial of this primordial antithesis among creatures.  The pantheist stands ready, the moment we open our Bible, to invalidate the solemn inaugural of Genesis.  No, not "in the beginning," he says, for there was no beginning; not "created," for the world is eternal; and not "the heaven and the earth," for the beyond is a mere dream.  In this way the three most deeply marked lines of our distinction are wiped out with a single stroke, and every boundary is taken away between God and the world, between time and eternity, between the here and the hereafter.  And yet, pantheism must needs begin with the revocation of these antitheses.  It can do no other.  As far as history extends our thinking travels along a smooth path, but stops at the point where history began, as well as at the point where history ends.  There it finds before and behind it a bottomless abyss, over which it dares not leap, and which is much less to be spanned by a bridge; and hence it must, at any price, cipher away both that end and that beginning.  For the pantheist there is no existence of God and the world thinkable as two individual substances.
            Objection may be made by reminding us of what we stated above, namely, that it is another wind which blows in the higher circles of science; that it is another wind which blows in the higher circles of science; that is those better circles pantheism, together with materialism; has long since been shown the door; and while the non liquet is freely expressed concerning the origin, basis, and end of things, there is general content to inquire more carefully into the phenomena of the  natural and the spiritual world, and to live on poetry for the hear.  And this is so.  But has the principle of evolution, or the Descendenztheorie, as the Germans call it, therefore ceased to be the Credo of the science of our day And what is this evolution theory other than the application of the pantheistic process to the empire investigation of phenomena!  Here, also, the "natural saltus non facit" - "nature takes no leap: - is motto.  Here, also, everything that appears is explained by preceding appearance.  And here, also, both with spiritual and natural phenomena, are denied all real differences of kind, together with independence of origin, and every deeper distinction of being, in either sphere by itself, as well as between the two spheres mutually: and hence, as a matter of fact, every line which divides the jurisdiction is leveled to the ground.  Von Hartman did not exaggerate when he said that "for our times the Descendenz-theorie is unconditionally correct, and is steadily gaining ground amid the spiritual tempest;" or, as an English writer expressed it.  "Science amongst us is at its highest when it interprets all orders of phenomena as differently conditioned modes of one kind of uniformity."  Though Darwin himself conceded that this selection theory was insufficient to explain the morphological differences of species, the evolution theory was therefore not dismissed.  That which was explained by Darwin mechanically could likewise be interpreted dynamically, and even if need be teleologically, as a spontaneous process in the cosmos which received its impulse from the first germ, whose motive starts from the teleological idea which dominates the entire process.  One may therefore be a Darwinist, and with Darwin bend the knee reverently before  a "God," for surely God created this "force" which potentially included the entire cosmos within itself; or it was he who determined for the cosmos the aim of its development process.  This system is so pliable that more than one Herbartian, in spite of his own principle, is found to side with Darwinism. 
            This would not be difficult to understand if Darwin, with the help of the fossil discoveries, had succeeded in laying before us the steps of transition in specimens from the pant to man, all which would fit into each other as links of a chain.  But this is not so.  And it is not merely the search after the missing link; but even if we go back a period of three hundred thousand years, for which it is claimed there is a certain proof, traces of species are found in the fossil world which are not extinct, and also deviating forms.  But the skeletons of our animals.  In simple honestly, therefore, Darwin acknowledges that the proof is far from complete, that it is still incomplete in the domain of nature; and let us add that for spiritual purposes it finds no support for a single point.  But says he repeatedly, "This, therefore, shakes not my faith in the evolution theory."  It follows, therefore, that we are not dealing with a compulsory theorem, which has been conclusively demonstrated, but with an hypothesis which is supported by a most defective induction, whose general applause takes root not in incontestable facts, and much less is complete proof, but in a general mood of spirits; since Darwin's theory places before our learned and civilized public a solution of the world problem which responds to its most secret sympathies.  And if it is known that the keynote of our age is pantheistic, and that in the evolution theory there appears one of the richest thoughts of pantheism, namely that of the ever-continuing process, in its most attractive form, is then the assertion too bold, that in the Descendenz-theorie is found, as its chief motive, the impulsive force of pantheism¶
            Or, to probe the real motive deeper still, in the evolution theory, even as in pantheism, hides the desire of the human heart to rid itself of God.  In spite of his Pracische Vernunft it was this desire which actuated Kant, of whom Baader correctly wrote"  "The fundamental error of his philosophy is that man is autonomous and spontaneous, as if he possessed reason of himself;  for it transforms man to a god, and so becomes pantheistic."  And Feuerbach uttered merely the consequence of this system when he said, "God was my first thought, reason my second, and man my third and last thought.  The subject of the Godhead is reason, but the subject of the reason is man;" and by these words he likewise expressed the deepest thought of our age.  Buchner, himself an avowed atheist, frankly declares that, even more than that of Lamarchk Darwin's theory is purely atheistic; and we heartily agree with this opinion.  For what advantage is it that we trace the course of the law of causality without a break back to the first gaseous nebula and cell or germ, when behind this cell or germ the inexplicable act of a ceative God still demand our recognition, and with all our thinking we strike upon the very rock to evade which the whole theory was invente?  If it be true, therefore, that the Moses der modernen Freigeister, as Feuerbach calls Spinoza, has not led us into the promised land of philosophic rest, and that the failure of pantheistic philosophy can no longer be concealed, it is still in the evolution theory that the harmful impulse of pantheism works in the most seductive manner, since it spends all its power to maintain the nonexistence of separating boundaries in every department of our knowledge.  Valentinus, the most sensible of Gnostics, relegated evolution back of the creatio to the ²¯¸¿Â (the deep), but was so much aware of the danger for the crasure of boundaries which concealed itself in this that out of the ‘°Ä¿À¬ÄÎÁ he makes suddenly a God to appear in the form of the Horos, or Horkos, that is, the boundary for the maintenance of the fixed order of all the exists.  This thought, however strange its form, is nevertheless entirely correct as a poetic image.  Faith in the living God stands or falls with the maintenance or removal of boundaries.  God created the boundaries.  He himself is the chief boundary for all his creatures, and the effacement of boundaries is virtually identical with the obliteration of the idea of God.  If, then, it be never so true that modern philosophy "began with doubt and ended with despair" this whole pantheistic stream has left a poisonous slime upon the shore, and it is in Darwin's evoluti0on theory that this slime upon reveals its poser.
            It may truly be said that with all differences of opinion this evolution theory is the “formula of unity,” which at present unites all priests of modern science in their secularized temple.  A few dreamers may utter complaints against this, but they are aged manikins, who, as described by Hartman, "feel themselves incapable of a second education, but whose numbers have so long been diminishing that they are powerless to stop the victor's march of the new truth."  This evolution theory has become the fashion-system, not merely with the Darwins and Haeekels, the Spences and the Magelis, but equally so with our theologians, with our psychologists and moralists.  Even an adherent of Lotze, my learned colleague Dr. De la Saussaye, of the city university, wrote only recently"  "Nowhere is a definite frontier between the domains of nature and of spirit clearly demonstrable, nor may any unmixed expression be predicated of either sphere."
            But we are most concerned about the favor with which this critical theory gains among our jurists (the divinely appointed watchers of the boundary of the "Mount") as is shown by the example of the late Ihering.  We are second to none in warm admiration of his talents; but it may not be concealed that Ihering was an evolutionist.  Being himself no natural philosopher, he withholds an opinion on Darwinism, but definitely declares “that the result which he had reached in his studies of law establishes it most firmly in my profession.”  The “sense of right has grown with him to be eternal, since everything which comes into being is devoted destruction.”  And this eternal process is continued of necessity by evolution, which evolution begins in the brute creation’ for.  Writes he, “By the same necessity under which, according to Darwin’s theory, one species develops itself from another does the one end of justice find its origin in another,” and then adds, in an altogether pantheistic sense, “Right knows as little of break as nature; that which goes before must first exist, before that which is higher, of course by evolution, can follow after.”
            He does not deny, therefore, the existence of God.  In his preface he even derives the “purpose” which explains to him everything from a conscious God.  But with him, as with all evolutionary theists, this none other to him than an x for this, to him, unknown greatness, of whose authority he rids himself in every concrete case.  According to Ihering, the sense of right is not innate, but only “begotten in us” by the evolution of right.  Christian ethics, which still holds to eternal principles, by condemns because of this clinging to the absolute; and when rightly he protests against the separation which snatches right from its moral basis, and traces for himself the origin of moral life, he represents this moral life as produced by the “purpose,” which is again the process of endless generation.  When the question is put. “Who is the subject of this purpose, who ordains it and renders it real?”  Then theism is again abandoned, and he affirms that “God is not the final purpose of morality; the end and purpose of this is society.”  Whether or not God is still spoken of in the Gnostic sense as “a final end of morality,” with this interpretation the Christian ground is entirely deserted.  The fulfillment of man’s being is looked for in “selfbecoming one’s own end,” and whatever has the insolence to attach him in the holy temple of that ideal is treated with contempt.  Faith is put in Michael Kohlhass, who in Von Kleist’s novel, draws the sword against society.  And when we are taught., “Rather suffer wrong,” and Christ exclaims in his Sermon on the Mount, “If any man take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also,”  Ihering rejects this as apathy, which betrays how blunt and weak the sense of right has grown; and he provokes strife among the citizens by exhorting them never to suffer anything in private life to go unpunished.  Hence, if his theory triumphs, not merely our Christian, but even Herbart’s system, which in more Christian way makes right to be born from the aesthetic thirst after peace, must pass under the juridical ban.  For then it will not be, ,” “Blessed are the peace makers,” but “Blessed every one who as a fighting-cock flies in a passion for his  right.”  And when an heros like Ihering teaches thus, what may be looked for at the hands of lesser gods?
            To show to what extent the influence of this pantheistic tendency and of the evolution theory which has become its Credo has effaced, one by one, all formerly recognized boundaries, must we thread our way across the entire domain of cosmic phenomena and the still broader field of sciences?  This is not necessary.  Here also “the lion may be known by its claws.”  And it is quite sufficient for the question in hand that the chief boundary lines which have become blurred be noted, and that as theologians we halt a little longer a the boundary removal on theologic grounds.  Now, the blurring of boundaries begins of necessity in our senses and ideas.  Real boundaries, such as exist, for instance, between man and woman, are not to be wiped but.  It is true of philosophy as of the English Parliament that  “it can do everything except making a man a woman.”  And though a brilliant scholar, whose oratory has more than once delighted us, once stoutly prophesied that, like the diabolic love of unnature, so also the divinely innate love between man and woman shall extinguish its torch, we venture to deny that among our own contemporaries, or yet among the younger generation, we have ever discovered the slightest decrease of this natural love.  No, the boundaries which independent of our thought, exist in real life, are immovable.  Water is never reconcilable with fire.  Hence an erasure of boundaries can be spoken of only in our representation, in our senses and ideas; and of these ideas Thilo complains non too strongly that “Finally, all concepts lose themselves in each other amid the one great tangle of the absolute Ego."  This was not done all at once.  The very majesty of logic, with its unchangeable laws of thought, stood in the way of this amalgamation; hence, violence had to be done to the logical boundaries first, before the other boundaries could successfully be blurred.  Thus the unhappy process began.  Hegel clearly saw that his identity system would not do for common logic, and therefore did not shrink from attacking logic itself by cutting the sinews of the principium exclusi tertii medii.  Thus only did he clear the course for his cavalcade of identical ideas.  And then he let them file before his thinking spirit two by two and arm in armCthe something with the nothing, the here with the yonder, the finite with the infinite, the ideal with the real, the being with the thinking, the object with the subject. the different with the nondifferent, liberty with necessity, the imaginary light with the imaginary darkness.
            And of course he did not stop short with abstractions.  His object and that of all his followers was the application of life of the identity idea.  Then it became a serious matter.  For the boundary between God and the world also fell away, which boundary, according to the formula of old Hellas may possibly refer to a distinction in thought, but never to a distinction in time or in essence.  According to Dr. Mayer's formula, god was "reduced to a world-power," and, worse still, his conscious life dissolved in our human life.  In this wise the boundary between God and man was taken away, with the preponderance on the human side.  The boundary between man and man must needs follow.  We rise as ocean waves and disappear among its waters.  We bud as leaves on the tree, that in withering we may give place to the new leaf in spring, which interprets Hermer's line, "The wind pours the leaves to the ground," essentially, and not chronologically.
            The spiritual boundaries came next.  Between our physical and psychical life also every boundary had to fall away.  Truth was given in marriage to error.  Hirner even boasted of the "Heroism of the Lie."  Good and evil, also, and sin and holiness, were to reconcile their hatred.  What is good?  "Each one is only what he can be."  Nero and Jeus are merely different manifestations of one and the same divine impulsive power.  The ancient Parsees were no fools when, next to Ormuzd, they rendered divine homage to Abriman and his DJvs, because, forsooth, what we call Satan is but another name for the Holy One of Israel.  And, when we find in society much that we dislike, the old figure of B`hm declares that in our own organism likewise there is much that is noble in the brain and much in the entrails to rouse our dislike, but that with out the entrails these brains could not exist.
            In this wise the blurring of boundaries is restlessly continued, not merely in the identification of force and matter, but practically by identifying power and right; by dissolving responsibility into a pitiable atavism; by confusing property and theft, by weakening the antithesis between the authorities and the subject, making both divisors of the one idea of State.  In this State, which provides for every want, as Rothe wills it, the Church of Christ also must disappear.  The love for native land must give way to cosmopolitan preference.   No difference is countenanced between city and villageConly communities are kno0wn; and no difference is longer tolerated among classes of society, in modes of living or national dress.  Uniformity is the curse which our modern life willfully feeds upon.  In music Beethoven was the first to grasp this pantheistic tendency of our age, and to voice it for thousands upon thousands of hearts by his C minor and Ninth Symphonies; and after him Wagner has willfully broken down the boundary between the worlds of sound and of thought.  Certain stylists incline more and more to confuse the inkpot with the pallet.  Yes, there has been formed a circle which would be glad to have the boundary removed between language and language, and which would think the world idealized if it were peopled with fourteen hundred millions, who, from the North to the South Pole, spake non other than one holy Volapjk.
            But enough.  We made no mention of the theory which makes man descend from the chimpanzee, simply because this themeCpardon the termCis too threadbare.  Only it is worthy of note that the N.R. Courant recently announced that in our zoological garden the orang-outang was not dead but deceased; also that the vocabulary of the monkey language now numbers four words, clearly understood by means of a phonograph, which disarms Max Mjller, who still thinks language the boundary line drawn between man and animal.  But we need to say no more on this.  For all this theory really asserts is that everything is allied and whether a stone drops, or rain clatters, or the lark flaps his winds and sings his morning song, or man thinks, composes poetry, an kneels in prayer, it is all one life-utterance, altogether an excitement of feeling and a spontaneous life-utterance of the unknown absolute Spirit.
            But the religious interests briefly claim our attention, for with these entered the strongest motive for boundary removals.  Our Christian religion drew a new and very deep boundary line between the profane and the sacred, which was rejected by the secularizing spirit almost with insults and sneers.  There was no longer room from theology as a science' her metaphysic was identical, and ethnological studies.  The boundary between God and idols fell of itself away, since animism and fetishism were classed with out Christian religion under one head.  In the organic connection the origin, essence, and idea of religion could be known from religious phenomena, and in this way arose the newborn "science of religion," which more and more supplants theology.  The knowledge of the object of religion is no more cared for, but merely the knowledge of the sensations, representations, and utterances to which religious feeling moves the subject.  With this every leading difference in religion fell away, and every boundary between heresy and doctrine; and that which moved the spirits in the world estranged from Christ, was bound, as some affirm, to work its effect in the Church also with utmost pliancy .  And thenC(), why not otherwise? Cthe "Vermittelungs-theologen," so attractive in other ways, have in Schleiermacher's track sought salvation in their ethical, theosophical, and apocalyptic diversificationCin that unhappy Vermittelung by which in advance the opponent gained the day.  We do not say this because we do not appreciate their labours, so brilliant in many respects, or because we do not understand the goodness of their intention, and much less from a desire to offend any of them personally, but because their position was simply untenable.  They were pot de terre, and proposed a walk with pot de fer; and they did not win the spirit of the times for Christ, but the spirit of the times estranged them more and more from confessing Christianity.
            Schleiermacher was pantheist and subjectivist.  He brought religious pantheism with him from the circles of the Moravians and found philosophic pantheism in Germany's universities of his day.  This was at once manifested in his proposition that God is not thinkable without the world, which proposition was defended among us, as Professor De la Saussaye, of Groningen; and every invention by the Martensens, the Rothes, the Keerls, and the Hoffmans, in Germany, to remove the anciet landmarks from the domain of the Christian religion, has been echoed from our pulpits ever since and reprinted by our press.  By the conversion of truth into ethics the boundary fell which separates moral life from the life; and by degrees there stole in al manner of strange doctrine.  Christ would have come in the world even had sin never entered, for Christ was the natural ideal toward which the progress of the human race directed.  In Christ the Son of God was not incarnate, but human nature had reached in him a higher, divine-human character.  As a human being Jesus could not have been mere man and in this way was renewed the legend of the Androgyne.  Soul and body were no longer two, but lost in the mingling of the Geistleibliche.  The mystery of the Trinity was applauded, but recast as by charm in the sense of the newer philosophy.  The atonement consisted not in the dying of the La b of God for our sin, but in the appearance upon the tree of our race of its ideal branch.  The Holy Scriptures are no longer the product of a positive revelation, but the fruit of Israel's organic development, under higher influences, in connection, therefore, with whatever was imparted to other nations.  Justification by faith became lost nearly altogether in the nursing process of a heavenly holiness.  Even the absolute boundary between this and the coming life was taken away./  conversions may occur after death; and there have been theologians among these who preached the continuance, on the other side of the grave, of a sacramental Church destined yonder to complete the holiness process which here remains unfinished.
            That which stares us in the face in all these parts is the effect of what Schleiemacher spun, and of what Schelling, more dangerously, embroidered with the glittering thread of gold.  It is the recasting of forms, the wiping out of lines and fitting out the Christian essence in a modern philosophic garb.  And by doing this truth was lost, not merely that objective truth which stands graven in the tables of our confession, by that inward truth by which this confession meets with the response of "Amen' from our heart.  It all became a confusion of tongues, one chaos of floating mists.  Ant then Schelling completed in these men what Kant had begun with his 'statutarische Religion,' by inspiring them, as Scholtin expressed it, with the art of proclaiming "new and strange ideas in ecclesiastical terms as the decisions of ancient orthodoxy."  And let us grant that they jumped after the drowning man in the philosophic stream to save him; but the tragic fate overtook them of being dragged down to the deep by him whom they tried to save.
            We do not idealize Ritschl, but after all the chaotic would-be theology there is relief in the clearness of his thought.  Of him it is known, at least, that he has broken with the old metalphysics.  But with Ritschl we wander still further off.  No single boundary in religion is left unweakened or unwarped to mark the ancient track.  Piety is still demanded, but it must be altogether gratnitous, spontaneous, such as in the end is also thought to be found in animals.  Some scholars claim to have discovered in our house-dogs real traced of religion, as first beginnings of "piety," which idea is so grotesque that involuntarily it raises the question whether it is likewise agreed to class them with polytheists or monotheists.  For an answer to which (since, with Islam excepted, monogamy prefers to be classed with monotheism) some clown may point us to the analogy of their lower love; for the evolution from polygamy to monogamy has not been attained by our poodles and our dogs.


 


· Copyright, 1893, by J. Hendrik de Vries.
[The above article, although a translation, is on such a quality as to render it desirable for the pages of the Review.  As is well known, its author is a distinguished loader in the evangelical orthodox movement of the Reformed Church in Holland; and as the article in the original is accessible to by few American readers, we have accepted for publication the following admirable translation by the Re. Mr de Vries. _ ED.
* Everything is in process of becoming, but nothing is.