« EelmineJätka »
* Now, if the natural and revealed dispensation of things are both from God, if they coincide with each other, and together make up one scheme of Providence, our being incompetent judges of one, must render it credible that we may be incompetent judges also of the other. Since, upon experience, the acknowledged constitution and course of nature is found to be greatly different from what, before experience, would have been expected; and such as, men fancy, there lie great objections against; this renders it beforehand highly credible, that they may find the revealed dispensation likewise, if they judge of it as they do of the constitution of nature, very different from expectations formed beforehand, and liable, in appearance, to great objections-objections against the scheme itself, and against the degrees and manners of the miraculous interpositions by which it was attested and carried on."-BUTLER'S “ Analogy of Religion," Part II. Revealed Religion, Chap. iii.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE AND RIGHT REVEREND
JOHN JACKSON, D.D.,
LORD BISHOP OF LONDON,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED AS A SMALL TOKEN OF ESTEEM AND LOVE
FOR THAT GENTLE HOLINESS AND PURITY WHICH,
UNITED WITH WISE FIRMNESS,
RENDER HIM BELOVED AND HONOURED IN THE HIGH STATION
WHICH HE HAS BEEN CALLED IN THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
“ THOUGH one were to allow any confused undetermined sense, which people might please to put upon the word natural, it would be a shortness of thought scarce credible to imagine, that no system or course of things can be so, but only what we see at present ; ..... the only distinct meaning of that word is stated, fixed, or settled ; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually, or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it at once.”—BUTLER'S “ Analogy of Religion,” Part I. Natural Religion, Chap. i.
STATE OF THE CASE.
“Je voudrais faire quelque progrès nouveau dans la connaissance des choses divines.”
The age in which we live, not without reason, boasts of great growth in knowledge and useful application of that knowledge. This breadth and accuracy, unless we exercise due care, will enrich the race at the expense of the individual. It is no longer possible for a single mind to occupy the whole domain of investigation. The student must limit his labours to one field of science; to one tree, branch, or even leaf of knowledge ; if he will add any new thing to the intellectual store of mankind.
That is a noble devotion which abandons vast mines of research, and concentrates every energy to carry one single line of inquiry to the furthest limit. Such devotion, for the sake of accuracy and of discovery, involves great sacrifices; and not the least of these, though often overlooked, is a narrowing of the student's own nature. The eye, turned continually upon objects near and small, loses the faculty of far-seeking and wide discernment. The mind, wholly given to one study and its special methods, loses power and discrimination as to outlying provinces of thought.
Nowhere is the evil effect so plainly seen as in those students of physical science the minuteness and mechanical nature of whose investigations render them like the carpenter who will have everything made of wood, or, as the blacksmith who recommends iron. Their leaders must be pained to find that having scorned the statements of Scripture as too human,-rendering the work of creation too man-like,—they are reduced to the absurdity of endeavouring to find a mechanical equivalent for the world, in which the ultimate
atoms turn the key of every mystery, and possess, in some incomprehensible manner, the promise and potency of all terrestrial life.
Some of our religious teachers err by another kind of onesidedness. Knowing but little of physics, they use exploded arguments, and seek to maintain untenable positions. No wonder that the Sacred Cause, which they endeavour to champion, is imperilled rather than vindicated.
Such an unnatural separation, on the one hand, of Science from Religion, and from all connection with holy sentiment, is a surrender, by physicists, of an honourable position; and reduces Science to an occupation of sheer curiosity and selfish utilitarianism. A separation, on the other hand, of Religion from Science, gives to our clergy the impossible task of explaining the universe without the aid of positive knowledge. As a result, even the verities of Divine Revelation, true independently of belief or unbelief, are not handled with sufficient force to obtain the conviction of scientific intellect, nor so pleasingly set forth as to win the affections of a devout will. Truths, which the greatest of mankind have thoroughly investigated and undoubtedly accepted, are now refused by the unspiritual, who, not being able to detect the soul by physical analysis; nor to find God by means of microscope and telescope ; nor by any unbelieving efforts to obtain a view of the Eternal Spirit; assert—" The existence of the Soul, the Being of God, the Divine Revelation, have no other foundation than the devout aspirations of believers."
It is true that there are, specially in the medical profession, men with keen unconquerable love for scientific study; who, not possessing special religious convictions, nor having any particular expectation of pecuniary advantage, devote themselves, “heart and soul,” with intense unselfish devotion, to the study of their own branch of science. These men save life and beautify it, their love of science is a sacred love, and it may be that with such men “to work is to pray.”
“ The thought of their laborious years doth breed
Perpetual benedictions : not indeed
Not for this we raise