Page images

Scientific Thought.


tageous and permanent moral changes—whether in nations or individuals—are wrought not solely by direct action of outer circumstances, but by spontaneous effort of nations and individuals; and that this constitutes the great distinction between the living and the dead.

Further, though scientists admit more or less of spontaneous action in Nature, strange to say, some assume universality of rigid action in physical laws-which action is not known to be true of any law at all, and, absurdly enough, they apply it to religion and morals. They forget or wilfully ignore the verity that mutual sympathy unites us one to another, low to high, young to old, and puts into one life th power of a thousand.

They put forth materialism, apart from Divine action, as an explanation of the universe ; but have no buttresses with which to replace the mainstays they are bent on withdrawing from society. Materialism cannot admit the smallest spontaneity, uniformity must be absolute and universal ; whereas, every day that a man lives has a speciality which comes no more, and wisdom tries to find because it prepares for the morrow's gain. We know that advanced morality is never found to continue apart from faith and worship ; and that all the old civilisations, because they degenerated in moral tissue, lost intellectual vigour and were smitten with decay. We are aware that exact uniformity cannot be found anywhere, at any time, or in anything ; and that materialism is unable to explain any order of events, or any one thing in any order of events. Our sense of sight cannot assure us that there is no one in the dark; our sense of hearing cannot be certain that nothing inaudible is going on. The simplest facts known are possibly, indeed probably, not ultimate, but made up of simpler or more complex. Materialists, slighting these great truths, mar the beauty of all their attainment. They have not insight to discern that Christianity, even in its present sadly imperfect development, as a matter of fact, is at the head of science, the head of literature, the head of morals, the head of civilisation, the head of the world.

Scientific thinking will enable our opponents to correct their error, and to do every little well that the whole may be

a pleasure. Then we, too, shall amend many faulty interpretations as to Divine Existence, Creation, Providence, Natural Law, and Overstepping of Rules. The truly intelligent do not fear accuracy of thought and thoroughness of investigation. It is not intelligence, but unintelligence, that disposes to impiety; a sort of savagery and brutality that leads to low life, to uncleanness of body and mind, to turbulence of spirit and conduct.

It is time that we be men; time to raise on a scientific assured basis the great superstructure of sacred emotion, of pure morality, of right thinking, of wise conduct, and attain all that is attainable by our present faculties. Whatever may be said about the world's age, it is new and strange to every one. No man, living or dead, has or can have had, exactly the same experience. The poet is inspired, the soldier thrills with the hope of glory, the statesman prepares conditions of society, the theologian is instinct with Divine truth, and every one, in use of his mental chemistry and moral power, can tell something special of human experience. We walk about here with a consciousness of the now, aware of the past, and prepare for the future. We save that we may give, and give that we may truly save; use of the riddle makes every user rich. Let none who have hope as princes wander about as beggars. Let none choose for himself the sad task of gathering the flotsam and jetsam of a life wrecked by disappointment, or be without part or lot in the coming truth and glory. Not only the leaders of men, but rustics even, owe a duty to society and to God, that the sacred faculty of faiththe faculty which prompts our will to holy decision, be enriched, enlarged, confirmed, in conception and enjoyment of Him who is greater than ourselves, and whom the godly praise

“O Thou ! the Resurrection and Redemption,

The Godhead, and the Manhood, and the Life."

I respectfully thank those critics who-recognising the almost insuperable difficulties which encumber any comprehensive endeavour to verify revealed sacred facts and doctrines by the subtle processes of modern science-welcomed the

Scientific Thought.


truth that separation of science and faith is to the weakening of both; while their union strengthens each, and gives birth to sons and daughters strong and fair. There are critics whose praise would be dispraise—“malis displicere magna laus est;” and there are carpers, not critics, to whom one must say—“Quid cæco cum speculo ? '

The utmost care has been taken to render this edition accurate. The arguments are carried to the outermost line of verified science, but their validity rests on those grand facts which remain immovable from aye to aye. For various emendations I am indebted to the Reverend William Kay, D.D., Rector of Great Leghs, and Honorary Canon of St. Alban's, to the Reverend Professor T. G. Bonney, F.R.S., and to Mr. John Henry Gurney, Northrepps Hall, Norwich. My friend Mr. William Kitchen Parker, F.R.S., enabled me to make several valuable improvements. To Dr. P. Martin Duncan, F.R.S., who ably revised the whole work, thanks are due for help which rendered some statements more accurate. My friend Mr. Charles Lavers Smith, with loving labour, care, and skill, prepared the excellent index. To you, my Lord, belongs that high praise—“Sanctus sancte sancta tractat.”

“He loved to serve-whose service saveth me,

In serving Him-I shall your servant be."




“ LA vérité est toute pour tous.”—PAUL-Louis COURIER.

“De tous les miracles consignés dans les livres de l'Ancien Testament, le plus étonnant nous parâit toujours le premier mot de la Genèse—' Au commencement, Dieu créa le ciel et la terre. Le monde de l'esprit est ainsi conquis dès le début, et la redoubtable fascination du dualisme est vaincue. ... Il a bien fallu que Dieu dévoilât sa face pour que l'homme . . . pût reproduire ses traits augustes comme il l'a fait dans l'Ancien Testament.”—“ Histoire des Trois Premiers Siècles de l'Église Chrétienne," EDMOND DE PRESSENSÉ.

« EelmineJätka »