Versus Sir William Hamilton, Metaphysics, 530 ? ?The absolute and the infinite can each only be conceived as a negation of time thinkable; in other words, of the absolute and infinite we have no conception at all.? Hamilton here confounds the infinite, or the absence of all limits, with the indefinite, or the absence of all known limits. Per contra , see Calderwood, Moral Philosophy, 248, and Philosophy of the Infinite, 272 ? ?Negation of one thing is possible only by affirmation of another.? Porter, Human Intellect, 652 ? ?If the Sandwich Islanders, for lack of name, had called the ox a not-hog , the use of a negative appellation would not necessarily authorize the inference of a want of definite conceptions or positive knowledge.? So with the infinite or not finite, time unconditioned or not ? conditioned, the independent or not dependent, ? these names do not imply that we cannot conceive and know it as something positive. Spencer, First Principles, 92 ? ?Our consciousness of time Absolute, indefinite though it is, is positive, and not negative.?
Schurman Agnosticism, 100, speaks of ?the farce of nescience playing at omniscience in setting the bounds of science.? ?The agnostic,? he says, ?sets up the invisible picture of a grand ?tre , formless and colorless in itself, absolutely separated from man and from the world ? blank within and void without ? its very existence indistinguishable from its non- existence, and, bowing down before this idolatrous creation, he pours out his soul in lamentations over time incognizableness of such a mysterious and awful non ? entity...The truth is that the agnostic?s abstraction of a Deity is unknown, only because it is unreal.? See McCosh, Intuitions, 194, note; Mivart Lessons from Nature, 363. God is not necessarily infinite in every respect. He is infinite only in every excellence. A plane, which is unlimited in the one respect of length, may be limited in another respect, such as breadth. Our doctrine here is not therefore inconsistent with what immediately follows.
F. Because to know is to limit or define. Hence the Absolute as unlimited, and the Infinite as undefined, cannot be known. We answer:
(a) God is absolute, not as existing in no relation, but as existing in no necessary relation; and
(b) God is infinite, not as excluding all coexistence of the finite with himself, but as being the ground of the finite, and so unfettered by it.
(c) God is actually limited by the unchangeableness of his own attributes and personal distinctions, as well as by his self-chosen relations to the universe he has created and to humanity in the person of Christ. God is
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