LEV SHESTOV \ Speculation and Revelation \ Vladimir Solovyov

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     One of Solovyov's last articles is entitled "The Concept of God" and is dedicated to the defense of Spinoza, whom Professor Vvedensky accused of atheism. Why was it necessary for Solovyov to justify Spinoza, and what is the meaning of his words of defense? In Spinoza's lifetime, when the accusation of atheism and unbelief threatened a person with great dangers, this kind of protection would have been understandable. It may be assumed that even the fearless Spinoza used the word God in his books as a shield against such accusations. In our times, however, neither Spinoza nor his teaching is threatened by anything, and even Professor Vvedensky's article, as Solovyov himself acknowledges, in no way pursues the end of blackening or slandering Spinoza.

     If, for all that, Solovyov takes Spinoza's side so ardently, it is obviously only because he really feels an inner closeness and deep affinity between Spinoza's ideas and his own religious world view. And so it was; it could not be otherwise. Solovyov himself relates that Spinoza was his first philosophical love. But, besides this, Spinoza was also the first philosophical love of those leaders of German idealism who had such a great influence on Solovyov. To be sure, Hegel and Schelling criticized Spinoza; they reproached him for not having grasped the dynamic of the historical process, etc. Solovyov also repeats these reproaches and, as was customary in his time, frequently sets Spinozist dogmatism against Kantian criticism.

     But all this is not of essential importance. Neither Kant's criticism nor Hegel's dynamism shook Spinoza's philosophical position, and they did not help the philosophy of modern times to tear itself away from the power of his ideas. Spinoza's fundamental task consisted in opposing rational truth to biblical truth. This task he fulfilled with such audacity and such skill that, after him, none of the philosophers even made the attempt to "think" otherwise; all were convinced that, as Spinoza "proved" in his Theological-Political Treatise, the Bible does not give us truth. If you should ask how truth is attained, you will find in the works of Spinoza a clear, precise, and completely exhaustive answer to your question. Spinoza will tell you that men would never have learned the truth if there had not been the science of mathematics, which gives us the normam veritatem, and that he is convinced of the truth of his assertions for the same reason that every man who thinks in a sound way is convinced that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. In his philosophical investigations - whether they concern particular or fundamental problems - he follows only the instructions of reason, in which he sees the sole guide on the way to the truth. Whoever rejects the leadership of reason appears to him a pitiful and contemptible fool or a madman. "Quam aram sibi parare potest, qui Rationis majestatem laedit?" he exclaims. To offend the majesty of reason, that is to say, to deny it obedience, is, according to Spinoza, a mortal sin, and there can be no salvation for a person who has committed this sin. The autocracy of reason and the unconditional, compelling force of the truths of reason that is limited by nothing - this is the whole of Spinoza.

     For Spinoza reason comes before God. Whatever he may say about causa sui, about substantia, etc., his God is not the creator of the world but himself a creature - a creation of eternal reason that is always equal to itself. Solovyov, of course, could not but know this about Spinoza, could not but see this in Spinoza; as he also could not but know that for Spinoza Holy Scripture was one of the many books in which one encounters exalted moral exhortations but which is also full of manifestly foolish and absurd stories that enrage healthy human understanding and even sometimes moral feeling. None of the great philosophers since the time that Christianity became the recognized and even ruling religion of Europe spoke so harshly and defiantly about the Bible as Spinoza. The biblical God is, according to the testimony, or, more correctly, before the tribunal of reason to which the supreme power is awarded by Spinoza, at best a myth useful for the dull and superstitious mob; He frightens the mob through the threat of fearful punishments and entices it through the promise of all kinds of rewards - and this is not bad, since the mob must be kept in check: terret vulgus, nisi paveat. But for a philosopher to accept such a God and to expect truth from that book in which such a God is told about is the greatest shame.

     One of the most passionate and convinced followers of Spinoza, the famous Schleiermacher (Dilthey considered him the greatest Protestant theologian after Luther) wrote the following: "Not he has religion who believes in Holy Scripture but he who does not need any scripture and indeed could make one himself... Of all that I praise and seek as the work of religion, there is little indeed in holy books." And further: "Religion remained to me when God and immortality vanished from the doubting eye." According to his view the striving of the majority of people for immortality and the yearning for immortality have no ground other than aversion for that which is the goal of religion. "Recall how religion strives completely toward the end that the sharply defined outlines of our personality should expand and gradually lose themselves in the human, that we, while becoming aware of the universe, also become at one with it as much as possible. But they struggle against this; they do not wish to get out of the customary limitation, they wish to be nothing but its manifestation and are anxiously concerned about their personality. Thus, very far from wishing to seize the only opportunity that death offers them to transcend it, they are much more worried about how they will take it along beyond this life and strive at most for wider eyes and better limbs. But the more they demand an immortality that is none and that they are not even capable of imagining - for who can succeed in the attempt to represent to himself a temporal existence infinitely? - the more they lose of the immortality that they can always have and, in addition, lose the mortal life through thoughts that frighten and torment them ... Let them strive to annihilate their personality already here and to live in the One and the All. He who has learned to be more than himself knows that he loses little when he loses himself... The goal and character of a religious life ... is not that immortality outside of time or rather only after this time but nevertheless in time, but the immortality that we can have directly already in this temporal life and that is a task in the solution of which we are constantly engaged. To become one with the infinite in the midst of finitude and to be eternal in every moment - this is the immortality of religion.

     The words of Schleiermacher that have been quoted are a summary of Spinoza's philosophy. I have deliberately called upon Schleiermacher to speak in order to avoid the censure and reproach that I have interpreted Spinoza in my own fashion. In this way Lessing also apprehended him, in this way also the German idealists - Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel - understoOd him. Holy Scripture is not necessary, nor is the living God of Holy Scripture, with whom men have connected their hopes for immortality, necessary. In Spinoza, "sentimus, experimurque nos aeternos esse." And he also thought that our highest achievement is "cognitio unionis, quam mens cum tota natura habet."

     Is it really possible to dispute that the feeling of unity with nature is the best that one can desire for himself? Or that to feel eternity in every moment is the immortality of religion? These are indisputable, coercive truths. To ask who has established the indisputability of these truths and whence their coercive power comes is most strictly forbidden. This would mean to commit a "laesio majestatis rationis." Anyone who dared to set opposing truths to the abovementioned truths, who, not content with eternity in the moment, would strive for real immortality or see the highest good not in unity with nature but in something different would be guilty of this to an even greater degree. Of such audacity, of course, only "selfhoods" are capable, living people of the type of Job, of whom we have just spoken, or Pushkin or the apostle Paul - in a word, any of those who, created in the image of God, feel the blessing of the Creator upon themselves and would not consent to see their "destiny" in the humble fulfillment of the commands of laws that have come who knows whence and when.

     Schleiermacher, along with Schelling and Hegel, understand very well from where the greatest danger threatens their speculation or world view and therefore they make use of all the means at their disposal to silence and weaken the only possible opponent. Job is a personality, the apostle Paul is a personality, the God of Holy Scripture Himself is a personality; all this is something limited and therefore imperfect, all this must therefore be destroyed, annihilated. If Job lamented his misfortune, this was only because he could not rise above himself. If the apostle Paul said, "If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me if the dead rise not?" (I Corinthians 15:32), it was because he could not grasp his unity with nature. But the teacher Spinoza said, "non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere." God Him-self, who in Scripture is called by men their Heavenly Father and who participates in our sorrows and joys, is also an imperfect and limited being - and, therefore, subject to destruction and annihilation.

     Who inspired Spinoza with this? Who decided that one may not weep or laugh or curse but must only understand? And that every personality presupposes limitation and imperfection? In this is the whole point - that "to understand" means renunciation of every "who". Not someone has decided, but something has decided, and indeed not even decided but simply brought it about. No one decided that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter is a constant quantity or that the sum of the angles of a triangle equals two right angles. Also no one decided that man has only to understand and may not laugh or weep or curse, that the immortality of religion is eternity in a moment, and that Schleiermacher penetrated more profoundly into the mystery of the universe than Holy Scripture. And it is good that everything decides completely of itself, that there is no master but that there is power or dominion, Herrschaft, also called Herrlichkeit, that there is the Selbstbewegung des Begriffs with which Hegel charmed even his irreconcilable enemy Schelling.

     Solovyov never says, as Schleiermacher does, that Holy Scripture gave him nothing, that he himself knows everything even without Holy Scripture. On the contrary, he always leans on the Bible; for him it is not an ordinary book but one inspired by God. Nevertheless, like Spinoza and Hegel, he is convinced that one must bring the Bible before the tribunal of reason. After all, there are many holy books, as there are many religions; hence, there must be some unbiased and impassive judge who will tell us which of the holy books is the genuine one and which religion is the true. This judge is one for all - for Schelling and for Hegel and for Spinoza and for Solovyov; to deny him obedience is impossible, for "quam aram sibi parare potest qui Rationis majestatem laedit"? But ratio - we already know - is those "laws" that have come who knows from where and when and whose power rests on the circumstance that no one dares to ask them why it is given them to rule without limit over men and the universe.

     And when Solovyov, following Spinoza or along with him, wishes to construct a "concept of God" he turns to the same judge to whom Spinoza went for decisions. And, of course, he hears the same verdict that Spinoza heard. This judge tells Spinoza that the biblical God is the God of ignorant and superstitious people, who have naively transferred to God traits that they have observed in themselves, and that the task of philosophy consists in dispelling this error at any cost. Solovyov, too, already against his will, has to battle against this error and seek for the biblical God a more perfect successor who corresponds better to the demands of reason. This he achieves by way of such discussions as we have just heard from Schleiermacher.


     We recall that for Schleiermacher the way to true religion is the overcoming of personality in man and that the true God for him also is a God in whom all individual traits have been erased. In this he is a faithful disciple of Spinoza, whom he literally worshipped. We also recall that Schelling and Hegel, although they asserted that they had far surpassed Spinoza, remained in this sense orthodox Spinozists to the end of their lives. For them, too, the beginning of all wisdom is aversion toward their own selfhood. We have heard the same thing from Solovyov. He always preached that the ideal of man is renunciation of himself and his own will, and he saw in such renunciation the way to the highest human dignity and destiny.

     In the article "The Concept of God" he repeats anew all these commonplaces of philosophy that are known to us, even quoting (in this article, contrary to his habit, Solovyov quotes Scripture only once) the text from the gospel that ostensibly confirms them, "He who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39), and draws from this the conclusion: "What we customarily call our I or our personality is not an exclusive circle of life complete in itself that possesses its own content, essence or meaning of existence, but only the bearer or support (hypostasis) of something different, higher." In Holy Scripture the soul is nowhere called a hypostasis, and in those passages of the gospel on which Solovyov wishes to base himself it is everywhere said "he who loses his soul for My sake," that is, for the sake of God, which gives it an altogether different meaning. But this also is not the most important thing. The important thing is that Solovyov, having called the human personality a hypostasis, prepares us for a second, more essential, and, I would say, fateful conclusion. He writes: "If in men personality is only the hypostasis of another higher thing, would it then be correct to carry over a concept abstracted from our personal life to this other higher thing, in which our personality can and must be preserved only by giving itself up to it and entering with it into a fullness of union experienced by us? Ought not this higher thing, i.e., deity, necessarily to be recognized as super-personal?" (Collected Works, 8:18).

     "Would it be correct," "ought not necessarily" - who created the rules according to which this would be correct, who established such a necessity? In Holy Scripture there is no mention whatever of rules and such a necessity. Schleiermacher spoke thus, but he himself admitted that he found his "religion" not in Holy Scripture. Spinoza, for whom Schleiermacher exchanged Holy Scripture, spoke thus, but Spinoza also held that the Bible is good for ignorant and superstitious people, but he himself went for his truths where the fates of perpendiculars and triangles are decided. Solovyov obviously let himself be enticed; he went where Spinoza led him. "Deity," he continues, "is not impersonal, not unconscious, not will-less... The most positively religious person will immediately understand us and agree with us if we say to him that deity does indeed think but quite differently than we, that it does indeed have consciousness and will, but of a quite different kind than ours," etc.[1]

     That every religious person will agree - this, of course, is putting it too strongly. The prophets and apostles would certainly not have agreed. Spinoza, who expressed the same idea much better and more profoundly, also felt this. "The will and the reason of God," he wrote, "have as little in common with the will and reason of man as the constellation of the Dog has with the dog, the barking animal." I say that Spinoza expressed his thought much better and more profoundly, because in his words you sense a complete rupture with Holy Scripture and at the same time the unbearable pain that he felt as he broke away from that which had been for him the word of God. Solovyov does not even appear to suspect what is concealed in the Spinozist "concept of God" and therefore does not feel any pain. He believes that his "correct" and "ought not necessarily," that is, his own reflections, will lead him to the same "one thing necessary" to which "inspiration" led the prophets and apostles - after all, you will recall, he convinced himself of this and wished also to convince us of it.

     But now we see that it in no way leads to the same thing. The prophets arrived at the living God, the Creator of heaven and earth; Solovyov's "correct" and "ought not necessarily" gave men a multitude of very useful and necessary truths (the sum of the angles of a triangle equals two right angles, etc.), but they led away from God and set above men eternal, unchangeable laws - ideal essences, of course - but resembling the God of the prophets as little as the dog, the barking animal, resembles the constellation of the Dog.

     When the serpent led the first men into temptation, it also referred to all kinds of "correct" and "ought not necessarily" - to the totality of those compelling principles of thought that under the name of "synthetic judgments a priori" were laid many thousands of years later at the foundation of the Critique of Pure Reason. Or, if you wish, the fruits hanging on the forbidden tree were those "synthetic judgments a priori" which, as Kant taught, make our knowledge possible and give it the character of universality and obligatoriness.

     Solovyov apparently does not wish to grant to synthetic judgments a priori a decisive importance. "In every real religion deity, that is, the highest object of reverence or religious feeling, is recognized absolutely as given in experience" (Collected Works, 8:13). But The Critique of Pure Reason opens with similar words: "That all our knowledge begins with experience, of this there is no doubt whatever." Only afterwards did the judgments appear, and they, as it turns out, transformed experience into knowledge or truth. Metaphysics, as we recall, was refused the right to existence because it found itself outside the protection of judgments a priori and, on the strength of this, was deprived of power over men; every power, after all, comes from the judgments. And, indeed, if the "object of religion," i.e., deity, is "only" something given in experience, then who guarantees that some other "object," also given in experience, will not appear to take its place?

     And reverence will be of no use here, will not save "deity." There are so few things before which people do not have reverence! Schleiermacher revered Spinoza, but Solovyov, of course, could not agree to see deity in Spinoza. In a word, no kind of experience gives us universal and necessary truth. And it does not "follow" from any experience that "deity is super-personal," either from the individual experience of Spinoza or the collective experience of the Buddhists upon whom Solovyov calls for help. "Deity is super-personal" - this is dictated by the same "synthetic judgments a priori" or "laws that have come who knows whence and when" that already before dictated to man the demand of self-renunciation and compelled him to think that "if he says, I do not wish my own will, this will be his supreme triumph." Not "experience," but they, these laws, having made short shrift of man beforehand, later fell upon God. And, in reality, if these laws are laws because they do not have any will of their own but only power, and if it is left to them automatically to decide what is true and what is good, is it not natural that they do not agree to allow anyone at all, but especially the "most Perfect Being," to possess qualities that they do not have and cannot have? In Scripture it is said, "Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect" - the laws desired that the Heavenly Father be similar to them in all things. And Solovyov submitted. He renounced his own will, exchanged it for reverence before incorporeal but therefore soulless beings, and came to believe deeply that it is the "moral duty" of all people to follow his example.

     Is this not really the supreme triumph? The supreme triumph of that principle which is embodied in the biblical serpent? The "theoretical need," the need of intelligere which, as Solovyov asserted, is so natural and legitimate, brought it about that the fruits of the tree of knowledge became more dear to him than the other fruits that God offered first to the inhabitants of the Garden of Eden and later to all the innumerable generations of men that arose from them. The impersonal or super-personal principles summoned the biblical God before their tribunal - and condemned Him. Solovyov writes quite calmly, "The concept of God as a single, all-embracing substance, which follows logically from the very concept of His absoluteness or genuine divinity (for if the unconditional ground of anything were located outside of God, this would limit Him and abolish His divinity) - this truth of the all-united substance which under various names was confessed by the heathen is confessed under the genuine name of Almighty God by Christians in concord with Jews and Mohammedans." And still again: "That concept of God which the philosophy of Spinoza gives us meets, with all its incompleteness and imperfection, the first and indispensable requirement of true reverence of God and true God-thinking."

     But who will supplement and improve Spinoza, and how? Where will Solovyov go for instructions? It is clear that he will go to the place from which until now lie learned everything about which he has told us, from which he drew his religious philosophy. Again he will ask Hegel and Schelling, and they will remind him that "no one will admit that an essentially immoral doctrine is philosophy... It is a duty to be convinced that everything immoral is also foolish both in itself and in its root, and vice versa, precisely that which the highest intelligence recognizes must be, according to its innermost essence, moral and in accord with all moral demands" (Schelling, 3:738-739), and he will have a point of departure for reflection. But, indeed, we already know where such reflection leads. And we also know that Schelling was inspired with it by Spinoza himself. Morality and reason will demand that man not weep, not curse, and not laugh, and as a reward for this they will offer him all-unity with its crowning intelligere.

     So, of course, it came out. The perfected and supplemented concept of God, following morality, demanded the same thing, and the theoretical need obtained full satisfaction. Here is what Solovyov says about the church: "In order that the church be really grounded and created, it is necessary that its members first of all relate to it as humbly as the stones relate to the building, not dispute with the architect and not censure his plans." So, literally so, writes Solovyov. And do not think that this is an accidental slip of the tongue, a lapsus linguae. On the contrary, in these words everything that inspired Solovyov and those from whom he learned came to expression. A man who sola ratione ducitur can really not think as long as everything that should serve as the subject of his thinking has not transformed itself into stones that willessly and uncomplainingly submit to every influence on them. He is convinced that the "architect" of the universe is just as weak and helpless as he himself and also that he can only build out of dead, absolutely motionless and willess material. How little similarity this has to what is related in the Bible! In the Bible God created the living person out of the dust, but our reason strives with all its powers to transform the living person into soulless dust - into stone, as Solovyov says.


     Such is the last word of Solovyov's "religious philosophy." He accepted the God of Spinoza. The words of the prophet Daniel came true: "And the king shall do according to his will; he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished" (Daniel 11:36). And those of the apostle Paul: "so that he sits in the temple of God, and gives himself out to be God" (II Thessalonians, 2:4). It could not be otherwise once Solovyov set himself the task of "justifying" God before reason. To the prophetic vision is revealed something quite different from what the mens ducente ratione finds. For the prophets do not ask where human reason asks.

     But the last word of Solovyov's philosophy was not his last word. As the reader knows, toward the end of his life there occurred a "change of spiritual mood." The change consisted in the fact that he experienced the complete impossibility of worshipping that speculative truth which he preached in the course of his twenty-five-year literary activity. The fruits of the tree of knowledge began to appear to him as bringing not life but death. In Three Conversations he writes, "There is no doubt that anti-Christianity, which, according to the biblical view - the Old Testament one as well as the New Testament one - means the last act of the historical tragedy, will be not simple unbelief or denial of Christianity or materialism or something similar but will be a religious usurpation, when the name of Christ will be appropriated by such powers in mankind as are in reality and according to their essence directly hostile to Christ and his spirit" (Collected Works, 8:527).

     Who is this usurper who is prophesied in the books of the Old and the New Testaments? What kind of "powers" are these that are hostile to Christ and his spirit? I think that the reader will easily recognize in them that impersonal or super-personal essence, substantia, that Spinoza and, after Spinoza, the representatives of German idealism and Solovyov put in the place of the God of Holy Scripture, and that he will understand why, in the discussion of the religious philosophy of Solovyov, we always invariably came across one and the same question: Who is the last judge, to whom do we have to turn with our anxieties and doubts? To "reason" with its principles and rules that disclosed to us that the sum of the angles of a triangle equals two right angles and brought us all the other innumerable truths that make up the content of the positive sciences, or to God who created heaven and earth? If we turn to reason, we shall receive a finished philosophy of all-unity which satisfies our "theoretical need" and gives us truths obligatory for all and a morality obligatory for all - in which the highest good of man lies. If we do not recognize reason, then "thinking" will become impossible and unnecessary, the primordial chaos will begin to stir in our souls, and from behind the comprehensible, compelling truths, which move obediently according to eternal laws within the boundaries of the unity of the universe, will break forth innumerable selfhoods that philosophy has kept in fetters during the course of thousands of years with their unsatisfied desires, with their inconsolable sorrows, with their ridere, lugere et detestari against which Spinoza warned.

     As we recall, it is given to the truths of reason to rule only over a material that subjects itself to them. They can build only out of stones. That is why every philosophy that strives for all-unity is concerned above all to take freedom away from man. The theory of knowledge proceeds from the idea of necessity, i.e., from compelling truth. Ethics proceeds from the idea of the good, i.e., likewise a compelling norm. Solovyov, as we know, sought with all his might to take away his freedom from man, in that he demonstrated to him that he cannot overcome the self-evidences and is obliged to see his destiny in obedience to the rules. Although he always repeated that he loved freedom above everything else in the world, in reality freedom appeared to him as a terrible monster; he dreamed only of bringing men by force, through cunning, through persuasion, into a condition in which they cease "to be for themselves" and therefore can fulfill their "destiny" - to be stones in a building erected in a natural way (i.e., also witlessly) by an impersonal or super-personal architect.[2] The whole philosophy of Solovyov as well as of his teachers comes down to this one thing: to persuade, to convince, to compel - in short, to bring man to obedience to impersonal powers.

     But when the task was fulfilled, when Solovyov himself and all men actually appeared to have been transformed into stones - the stones began to cry out. In Three Conversations Solovyov does not even recall Spinoza, Hegel, and Schelling and all those considerations that led him to the Hellenic truth and the Hellenic good. That which "is desirable, understandable, and saving in and of itself' (i.e., what was praised by Hellenic "speculation"), which satisfies the theoretical need and brings the highest good - appears to him as a gift of the Antichrist. Correspondingly, speculation also loses its power over him. Some force that he does not name and does not know how to name "carried" him from the speculation of the philosophers to the "God-craziness" of the prophets and apostles. Three Conversations is not a reflection on but a commentary to the Apocalypse. In opposition to what he taught previously he now, as it were, wishes to say: the ways of Hellenic "thinking" do not at all lead to that which reveals itself to prophetic inspiration, and every attempt to justify Hellenic speculation through appeals to Holy Scripture is the greatest of crimes, the mortal sin, of which the Bible tells.

     Spinoza, we recall, warned imperiously against "laesio majestatis rationis." And Solovyov echoed him. It seemed to him that in renouncing reason he would be renouncing the best there is in life. Everything - the human soul, human freedom, even God himself - he laid on the altar of reason. And he was convinced that such a world, a world at least regulated in the idea, a world in which there are no unexpected surprises and no caprices, where everything is understandable and explainable, is much better than the world in which we live. Like Marcion, he saw the meaning of asceticism in people renouncing the world created by God and shutting themselves up in a world created by their reason. Like Schleiermacher he sought eternity in the instant, and like Renan he wished to worship in spirit and in truth. That is why he condemned Pushkin and Lermontov, that is why he turned away from Russian literature and did not even catch what his contemporaries, Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, said. "Selfhoods" and "caprice" frightened him - rational considerations put to sleep in him the capacities that God gave man as a gift when He created him out of the dust. The worst of all, however, is that in this enchantment ("enchantement et assoupissement surnaturel," as Pascal expressed himself) he saw and taught his followers to see a service of God, without in the least suspecting that he was serving the cause of the Creator's eternal enemy, the cause of that impersonal and therefore totally indifferent principle which, having no life itself, destroys and extinguishes all life "in a natural way." The serpent of Holy Scripture, also called Antichrist and Antigod, was an embodiment of this "principle." It was permissible to contemplate the fruits of the tree of knowledge, even to admire them - they were, as it is said, beautiful to look upon - but to eat of them, to transubstantiate them into oneself, meant to hand oneself over to the sovereignty of those "usurping" powers from which comes death.

     For speculation all this is incomprehensible, all this is senseless. For speculation the fruits of the tree of knowledge are the sources, the principles, the roots of life. But the "book with the seven seals" tells of something different and revealed something different even to him who himself once wrote: "In the beginning was the word." Special spiritual experiences are necessary for our soul that has fallen asleep in supernatural torpor to feel in itself the power for the last and great battle against the enchantment. One must, forgetting the behests of Hellenism, its wisdom and its striving for acquiescentia animi, learn anew to be horrified, to weep, to curse, to lose and find again the last hope, in order to root out of one's soul that belief in the impersonal principles (Antichrist, Antigod) into which the fruits of the forbidden tree that led men into temptation have been transformed and continue to be transformed. In this consists apocalyptic; in this, the enigmatic "God-craziness" of the prophets and the apostles. Isaiah proclaims: "He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces" (Isaiah 25:8). The son of thunder also speaks of the same thing: "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain any more, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

     In the last days of his life Solovyov turned away from the speculative truth and the speculative good, as if he sensed that not through "reflection" but through thunder is the eternal and final truth obtained.

     It will be said: By what right do Isaiah and John speak as those who have power? Who has revealed to them the mystery of life and death?

     Solovyov does not ask about this - "for the former things have passed away." Like the patriarch Abraham, he, following the call to go to the country that he would receive as an inheritance, grasped the great art of not asking, of not looking around, and he went, without knowing where he would arrive. "Mens ducente ratione" will again be horrified. But there can be no doubt: only he who does not know where he is going will arrive in the Promised Land.

[1] Solovyov expresses the same thought in his address on Auguste Comte in whose "Grand Être" he recognized all the traits of that deity the concept of which he elucidates in the article on Spinoza. "To say it with one word - it is a superpersonal being, but it would be better to say it with two words: the Great Being is not a personified principle but a Person on Principle, a Person-Principle, not a personified idea but a person-idea."

[2] Here also Solovyov slavishly followed the German idealists. Schelling, too, always praised freedom, but this did not hinder him from recommending to his listeners the following passage from Fénélon:

L'unique chose qui est véritablement à vous, c'est votre volonté. Aussi est-ce celle dont Dieu est jaloux. Car il nous l'a donnée, non afin que nous la gardions et que nous en demeurions propriétaires, mais afin que nous la rendions tout entière, telle que nous l'avions reçue et sans en rien retenir. Quiconque réserve le moindre désir ou la moindre repugnance en propriété fait un larcin à Dieu.
["The only thing that is truly yours is your will. It is also that of which God is jealous. For he has given it to us not so that we should keep it and remain proprietors of it but so that we might return it entirely as we received it and without retaining anything of it. Whoever reserves the least desire or the least repugnance as a property commits a larceny against God."] (Schellings Werke, 3:719)

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