Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

waxeth old;" but as a power,1 regenerative of our race, subtle and continuous as the agencies of nature, "the power of an endless life." Faith is reassured; we are no longer "ashamed of the Gospel of Christ;" for it is " the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."

1 Compare the opening reflections of Neander, Ch. Hist., I. p. 2. C. Schwarz, Oesch. der neuesten Thedlogie, p. 43, criticises unduly this view of Neander, who, he says, has given accordingly a history of piety, not of the Church.

LECTURE V.

OBJECTIONS TO THE PROGRESS OF CHRISTIANITY CONSIDERED.

"Naturam hominia hanc Deus esse voluit, ut duarum rerum cupidus et appotens csset, religionis ot sapientiae. Sed homines ideo falluntur, quod aut religionem suscipiunt, omissa sapientia; aut sapientiae soli student, omissa religione; cum alterum sine altera esse non possit verum."—Lactantius.

"Meantime it seemed as if mankind in Europe, and especially in England and France, had now for the first time opened its eyes to Nature and to its strict conformity with law: and they who yielded themselves unreservedly to this tendency more and more lost sight of the independence and existence of spirit."—Dorneb, Hist, Prot. Thed., II. 258.

LECTURE V.

"There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the A Imighty giveth them understanding'"—Job jcjcjrii. 8.

§ i. T T is urged by some who look on Christianity objections * as a bygone or a transient creed, that not method of only are the results of scientific inquiry formidable as being to the reception of orthodoxy in detail; its method tWe. also is aggressive, incompatible with the standpoint of theological beliefs. Inductive science rests essentially on the basis of individual and specific experience, on methodized observation. Its reasoning is that of common sense and common life. It appeals only to matters of fact. It is, therefore, from first to last,1 from principle to conclusion, from the first individual instance examined to the latest universal law registered for future inquiry, within reach, so to speak: patent to sense, and Popular

t . , demand

liable to verification. "The man of science," says for venfi

cation.

Professor Huxley,2 "has learned to believe in justification, not by faith but by verification." Such a method has in it nothing transcendental, nothing superstitious, nothing supernatural. Moreover, it has on its side, it is said, the results of

1 Compare Comte, PKl. Pos., IV. 697-9.

* Lay Sermons, p. 22. Mr. Matthew Arnold remarks, that "the licence of affirmation about God and His proceedings in which the religious world indulge, is more and more met by the demand for verification."—8. Paul and Protestantism.

Reasons time and experience. Former ages have gone beingvery wrong in proportion as they have abandoned or commonly fai]ed to recogn;ze tne truth of the inductive

enter

tained, 8pirit. It is now on all hands welcomed; and the era of its triumphs has begun. But Theology, it is urged, alone refuses to be brought within its sway. Its information flows from another source. "In Theology,' certain principles are taken for granted; and, it being deemed impious to question them, all that remains is, to reason from them downward." a The general truths which bind up and enwrap its conclusions, are the gift of anterior Revelation. They cannot be substantiated by facts, and are accepted with an unreasoning assent. For Religion, "taking its ground on the first conclusions obtained in the process of human reflection, thenceforth obstinately defends what it holds to be Divine andTheo- revelations. But the supposed revelations ineviSaencTMd tably come into collision with new ideas and to bldla-d experiences to which Science alone can afford to onppoSCed.Iy give a hearing."3 Thus, while Science is the result of inquiry, Theology is bred of faith; its theory precedes experience and controls it. In

1 M. Guizot, Civil, en France, II. 385, points out how early this conflict arose between the scientific spirit and theological deduction, when remarking on the Neo-Platonism of Alexandria, and the kindred views in medieval times of Scotus Erigena. Mr. Mackay, Bise and Progress of Christianity, p. 288, prefers to deduce the existing dualism of Theology and Science from the Nominalism of Occam.

2 See Mr. Buckle at length, Hist. Civ., III. 282-3, 464.

3 See Mr. Mackay, «. »., pp. 270-1.

« ElőzőTovább »