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it comes about that no great verity once dis-
Truths that wake
§ 6. The objections which hV against all posi- The pre
• • • i , sent argu
tive attempts to criticise the plan of a Divine mem,« Revelation, do not apply to an inquiry which \%tosUrtttnrelative to a matter of fact. The present argument does not run up into questionable final causes, or depend for its acceptance on dubious interpretations of remote prophecies. It forms no Not deanticipations of the thoughts of Heaven. But final ent°" rather it humbly seeks to track upwards through causes'
1 "No great truth which has once been found has ever afterwards been lost."—Buckle, Hitt. Civ., 1.215. "What has once become the common property of humanity, i. e. any visible presentation of a principle that has come to be universally recognized and universally operative, cannot perish, but has life in itself. . . . Such ideas form the pathway of God in history—the light of Heaven amid the darkness of the earth."— Bunsen, God in Hist., I. p. 36, 53. Compare Aristotle, Metaph., xi. 7: Tavras ras S6£as ficciyav, olov Xttyara ircpt<T(<T£><r8ai /if'xP' T0*' v^vBacon's self-contradiction that " Time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or stream which carrieth down to us that which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is weighty and solid," has been very properly exposed by Mr. Mill, Logic, II. 428.
2 Positive, because, though we may see that many parts of Christianity are worthy of God, we are not hastily to conclude that where we do not see this such parts do not come from Him. See Rogers, Essays, II. 379. "It is no just consequence that reason is no judge of what is offered to us as being of divine revelation. For this would be to infer that we are unable to judge of anything because we are unable to judge of all things."—Butler, Analogy, Pt. II. c. iii.
the past the course of " natural revelation," applying to ascertained matters of fact the lamp of inherited experience. So
By the light Hia words disclose,
All the irregularity of human affairs arises from our not being able to see the whole at once. But the further we advance along the world's history and in general knowledge, the more we approach an estimate of the reasons of things and of the current of affairs.1 It is not then the existence of final causes in the formation and working of the world which needs be held unsatisfactory by the
1 "The moral system of the universe," says a powerful but uncertain writer, "is like a document written in alternate ciphers, which change from line to line. We read a sentence, but at the next the key fails us. We see that there is something written there, but if we guess at it wo are guessing in the dark." Yet the same author is not long in supplying an antidote to any scepticism which may lurk in such reflections. "If we believe," he adds, "at all that the world is governed by a conscious and intelligent Being, we must believe also, however we can reconcile it with our own ideas, that these anomalies have not arisen by accident, but have been ordered of purpose and design."—Froude on Calvinism, p. 5. This, Butler points out, is the necessary result of the government of God considered as a scheme in progress, and therefore imperfectly comprehended. See also Shaftesbury, Characteristics, II. 3G3, and the fine passage in Plato, Legg., X. 903. Augustine compares the order of the universe to a tessellated floor, of which we hold the part. "At enim," he adds, " hoc ipsum est plenius qusestionum, quod membra pulicis disposita mire atque distincta sunt, cum interea humana vita innumcrabilium perturbationum inconstantia versetur et fluctuot."—J)e Ordine, c. i. "La seule question," says M. Renan, Etudes, p. 404, "intcrcssantc pour lc philosophic est de savoir de quel coM va le monde."
physical or positive philosophy of our time. Teleology, as such, is not destroyed but rather confirmed by any theory of evolution. For such evolution must either be accidental, a purely fortuitous result, which is hardly credible, and certainly will not satisfy science; or it bears testimony to design; the process, which apparently involves waste, proving ultimately economical,1 The procedure indicated may be gradual and to appearance precarious, but the result shows an adaptation of means to ends which is all that Paley and other adherents of Natural Theology have maintained. It is the previous assumption of a given design as the basis of argument, to which exception may fairly be taken. The coincidence of facts with the theory of a Divine Th°«gh
purpose rests, in the mam, on a matter of observa- with them, tion, analogous to the homologies of Natural Science, and open to common apprehension.2 We
1 The argument of La Place from chances is well known. Thus, e. g. "two properties necessary to the stability of the planetary system are— (1), that the orbital motions must be all in the same direction; (2), that the inclinations of the planes of these orbits must not be considerable. Taking the theory of more chance, it is 2047 to 1 against the first; 10,000,000 to 1 against the second; more than 20,000,000,000 against the two together," &c. This argument has been much strengthened by more newly discovered planets. The objection sometimes raised to the teleological argument that the Author of Nature, being above Nature, is incapable of analogies drawn from the finite creature, becomes absorbed in a much larger question—the possibility and conditions of a philosophy of the Absolute.
s "It has been objected that the doctrine of Final Causes supposes us to be acquainted with the intentions of the Creator, which, it is incannot but see, if we take room enough for observation, which way things have tended in the world. And certainly such a result, gathered from the point of view of comparative history, extending over large areas of countries and times, is of the highest moment to a philosophic survey of affairs. "For what," it has been justly asked, "does it avail to praise and draw forth to view the magnificence and wisdom of creation in the irrational kingdom of nature, if that part in the great stage of the Supreme Wisdom which contains the object of all this mighty display (I mean the history of the human species), is to remain an eternal objection to it, the bare sight of which obliges us to turn away our eyes in displeasure, and, from the despair which it raises of ever discovering in it a perfect and rational purpose, leads
sinuated, is a most presumptuous and irrational basis for our reasonings. But there can be nothing presumptuous or irrational in reasoning on that basis, which, if we reject, we cannot reason at all."—Whewell, Indications, p. 93. The sense of order perceptible in the inorganic world of matter is not identical with design, though it may lead up to it. The present relation of physical science to the question of design seems to stand thus: its results point undoubtedly to design, but to design imperfectly comprehended by our natural faculties. The resource lies in Revelation; but it does not follow that Revelation must speak on these points to man. Comp. Lange, Qeschichte v. Materialismvs, pp. 402-404. M. Flourens has well observed: "II faut aller non pas des causes finales aux faits, mais des faits aux causes finales." It may be doubted whether the human reason can ever truly separate the notions of cause and effect, antecedent and consequent, end and means: all these suggest, and indeed necessitate, a presiding original thought. Whether such thought be regarded as immanent in the universe, or as external to it, must be determined by other considerations.
us finally to look for such only in another world."1 Hence the perennial faith through successive generations in a God revealed in history, in a Divine government of the world, in human progress based on a moral order accomplishing an Eternal Idea, in a nature not composed of isolated episodes,4 in an "increasing purpose" running through the ages of the past. Its evidence lies written in the annals of our race, even through periods of stagnancy and devastation, and in no part of it more markedly than in the religious crises of nations.
§ 7. A question may be raised as to the relative Objection character of our ideas of duration and permanence, relative6 Christianity is an institution which we believe to 0f tiie0'" be, as to its future, coeval with the world itself. duration* In this way our conception of its continuance is indefinitely extended, and this extension reacts upon its past history. Though its first ages may be bounded by the fact of its historical origin, its u last times" are beyond our grasp, and so, too, all
1 Kant, Idea of a Universal History on a Cosmopolitical Plan, translated by De Quincey. Works, Vol. XIV. 151.
2 Oiic iloiKi 3'T) <f>v<Tis fV«<To8ia>8j/r ov<ra fK rav (pmvofKVwv, aoirtp fiox&jpa Tpayybia.—Aristotle, Metaph., XIII. c. Hi., ix., x. Compare Bunsen, Qod in History, Vol. I. pp. 6, 13, 20, E. T.: "No one looking back over the past can fail to detect a general advance of humanity, as a whole, in certain definite directions corresponding to what we observe in the fuller development of the man. The progress on a large scale exhibits the harmonious elevation of our whole complex being, even though periods of devastation and fiery trial are needed for the preparation of the fuller growth."—Dr. Westcott, Contemp. Rev., Vol. VIII. 380.