Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

possible for the mind to dwell upon that which transcends knowledge, then there can never cease to be a place for that which is of the nature of Religion." For what region can be found in all the realms of Science, which is not relative only to our present living powers and to the world we now inhabit? What necessity1 can be claimed for the Laws of Laws of Nature, as they are known to us, still less void of the for the several facts which represent and engender necessity, them, which can resist the sentence of mutability so legibly written upon them? Knowledge then, as alone we now possess it, is of time, not of eternity; it is marred by the imbecillities of man's understanding. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." But "when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

1 See Sir W. Hamilton, Appendix to Reid, p. 971, who quotes Spinoza (de Intett. Emend., § 108); " idea? quas claras et distinctas formamus ita ex sola necessitate nostras natu.ro; sequi videntur, ut absolute a sola nostra potentia pendere videantur: confusas autem contra." Chalmers's noble argument for the doctrine of immortality from man's capacities for knowledge is well known. "But for the truth of immortality man would be an anomaly in nature .... The whole labour of this mortal life would not suffice for traversing, in full extent, any one of the sciences. And yet there may lie undeveloped in his bosom a taste and talent for them all, none of which he can even singly overtake. For each science, though definite in its commencement, has its outgoings in the Infinite and the Eternal."—Bridg. Treatise, Pt. I. sub fin.

LECTURE VI.

THE PERMANENCE OF CHRISTIANITY INFERRED FROM THE CHARACTER OF ITS INFLUENCE.

"Ne quisquam nog aliena tantum redarguisse, non autem nostra asseruisse reprehenderet; idagit pars altera operis hujus."—Augustine, Retract., II.

"Imperium facile his artibus retinetur, quibus initio partum est."— Sallust, Bell. Catil., II. iv.

LECTURE VI.

"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? "—I JoJ)n t>. 5.

§ i. 'I "HE direct or positive proof originally pro- fffio{

posed to be offered in these Lectures in iuiryrespect of the permanence of the Christian Religion led first to the inquiry, what are the vital forces of any Religion; and next, in what degree are these exhibited in the past history and present condition of Christianity? These forces, common to all systems vfit^'e["rces of Religion, may be compared with the powers of gjTMsf nutrition, reproduction, and growth in organic bodies. Such are the hold exercised by the theory of belief upon the spirit and conscience of its professors; the tendency of the system to extend itself by conversion; and, thirdly, the power of assimilating healthfully the varying conditions of progressive civilization. With the last of these lines of proof we have been indirectly occupied throughout the four preceding Lectures. For the objections which ^nr(Pa*y have been considered to the progress of Christianity have been such as belong to the highest stages of culture and scientific research as yet reached by the most civilized portion of mankind. Lastly, since £°n^! every form of Religion asserts for itself an absolute ment for

« ElőzőTovább »