« ElőzőTovább »
the answer is re-echoed from the towers of observation and the ramparts of defence.
“ The morning cometh, but also the night. If ye will inquire, inquire ye; return, come.” 1 It cannot be the part of Christian wisdom to refuse the labour of accommodating its teaching to the requirements of existing knowledge, and of anticipating, so far as it may, the difficulties of present thinkers. It Import
ance of the needs but little insight into the course of specula- present tion at this time to estimate the direction of the conflict which must henceforward be considered inevitable, between Science and Faith. position and repugnancy which in former days were more speculative than practical, now show themselves immediate and direct, and are pushed into minute details. The question is fast becoming one of mutual compatibility. But there is comfort in the manliness with which the challenge has been accepted on the side of Christian Grounds of
hopeful. belief. Unworthy suspicions of the candour of ness. opponents, unwarrantable confusion of intellectual with moral error ; illogical estimates of the consequences of unsound opinions, are fast being laid aside. The supreme obligation due to truth is everywhere acknowledged. It is seen that the
1 Isaiah xxi. 11, 12.
? In the treatment of Holy Scripture (it has been well observed), “ there is an abatement of that most wild and pernicious line of defence which may be called the 'all-or-nothing principle’: because it poises the vast and glorious edifice of Revealed truth upon the point of a single
cause at stake is the cause of all, and not of a class; and those who make or rather find the difficulties which threaten to divorce Faith from Science, are now credited with a willingness to join in the work of subduing them. On the other hand, there is in many respects a kindlier feeling stirring in the antagonists of dogmatic belief towards their opponents. The services and benefits of Christian teaching in the history of mankind are more largely understood. It is acknowledged that there is something, at least, to be said for the claims of Christianity; nor are its professors merely the ready instruments of credulity and imposture. There is comfort, too, when confronted by an intellectual revolution in the scientific temper of the age, in the retrospect of past dangers and past escapes.
“ The centre of gravity of religious questions,” it has been eloquently said from this place, “ may have become altogether shifted and displaced. Anchors are lifting everywhere, and men committing themselves to what they may meet with on the sea. But Christians have had bad days before." ! “ Passi graviora may then well be for the time to come the watchword of the Church of Christ. We are not entering for the first time on the encounter with Materialism or with secular modes of thought. At present, certainly, the tone and feeling of society is not anti-Christian : it only needs to be reassured. We are not entering on a conflict unexpected, unforeseen. He who came “not to send peace upon the earth but a sword,” has with that sword, “even the Word of God,” armed His warriors for the fight of Christian truth with human imperfection. We are contending for a Elements faith which from the first has been the religion nence inof progress :’ whose cardinal doctrine is the love the reof our kind, the source of all just and enduring Christ.
incidental statement of some fact either of history or science, and then declares, with an audacity which makes one shudder, that if that single statement can be disproved, the whole structure must fall to the ground.”—Christian Remembrancer, Vol. LIV. p. 132.
| Dean Church, Univ. Sermons, Serm. IV.
ligion of liberty :3 which has been ever the enemy of social injustice : which in nowise denies the unity of the human race and is confined to no one clime, to no one tribal division of mankind, Aryan or Semitic, to no one form of political constitution :“ and which in its deep sense of human
1 See M. Guizot, Meditations, Vol. I. p. xx.
2 This is admitted by M. Comte, Phil. Pos., IV. 231, and comp. Dean Merivale, Lect. on Conversion of the Empire, p. 210; also Guizot, Civ. in Europe, I. 94, ed. Bohn; Ozanam, Civil. in Fifth Cent., 1. 4, E. T.; Lecky, Hist. Rat., II. 234-5.
3 Professor Goldwin Smith, Study of History, Pref.
4 Thus Cardinal Wiseman, Lect. on Science and Religion ; Ffoulkes, Div. Christendom, p. 247. Christianity alone has a definite message addressed to all mankind. The character of the teaching of Mahomet is too exact a reflection of the race, time, place, and climate in which it arose to admit of its being universal. The same objection applies to the religions of the far East,” &c.—Dr. Newman, Gram. of Assent,
“ Christianity is a living truth which never can grow old," &c. - 1b., p. 480.
responsibility has been the handmaid of man's perfectibility, leading him up to “ the fulness of the stature of Christ." We are contending for a faith which claims to be coeval with the powers, the wants, the destinies of human nature: which alone is potent in virtue of Christ's Mediation to heal the wounds of conscience and dry the tears of sin : which has extended our very conceptions of purity and holiness, as possible to man: and which alone satisfies the boundless yearnings of his spirit by filling it with the promise of the likeness of its God. Why should we not assert for such a religion as this, the living germs of permanence and truth, a vitality surviving modification, a vigour which can never decay, a life immortal as the soul for which it lives and works? 1
Μέγας εν ταύτη Θεός, ουδε γηράσκει.
1 “Nemo dubitat eum qui veram religionem requirit, aut jam credere immortalem esse animam, cui prosit illa religio, aut etiam id ipsum in eâdem religione velle invenire. Animæ igitur causâ omnis religio.
... Animæ causâ vel solius vel maximè vera, si qua est religio, constituta est.”—Augustin. de Utilit. Cred., c. vii.
OBJECTIONS TO THE PROGRESS OF CHRISTIANITY
C'est un vieux bâtiment: si on y touche, il croulera. “Je suis donc très-disposé à croire que chez des hommes que ceux qui m'entendent l'instinct secret devinera juste assez souvent même dans les sciences naturelles. Mais je suis porté à le croire à peu près infaillible lorsqu'il s'agit de philosophie rationnelle, de morale, de métaphysique et de théologie naturelle."
DE MAISTRE, Soirées, 1er Entret.