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different sides against the cause of Christianity. While, on the one hand, criticism is being directed, legitimately and not unfairly, upon the original documents of our Faith, the trust-deeds of the Gospel; on the other, arguments are advanced, presumably the products of scientific research ; which are fatal to the Christian scheme, it is true, but also to the very existence of Religion generally.
Hence the twofold character of the line of proof pursued in these Lectures, involving considerations which may be said to lie at the roots of all faith in God and Eternal Life, as well as an examination of facts which concern the history and prospects of Christianity. Both, indeed, are connected by the reflection that the Religion of Christ, if it is to be a permanent gift to mankind, must first be found superior to all objections raised by the free-thinking efforts of the age. It must show itself as ready to assimilate with scientific culture as with the barbarism of ruder times.
The position of the foregoing school of thought, as regards the main tenets of Positivism, is not far to seek. Both equally exclude the Supernatural from History and from the Universe. Both alike
1“ Du moment qu'on ne laisse aucune place aux volontés surnaturelles, ni dans le monde inorganique ni dans le monde organique, ni parmi les phénomènes cosmiques ni parmi ceux de l'histoire, on est nécessairement des nôtres.”—Littré, Paroles de la Phil. Positive, p. 58. Comp. Strauss, p. 181.
find in the Universe only Matter and Force,' neglecting the idea of Form. Both hold that to seek the reason of things in the thought of God is to seek it in a region which is both practically and mentally inaccessible. Thus it is this attempt which has constituted the whole history of Metaphysic and Religion; a history of failure. Both agree in banishing free agency from human life and conduct. Both in the study of things omit the study of man; forgetting the difficulty, if not impossibility, of establishing on material grounds alone the ideas of God, of immortality, of our own individual personality. Both alike confound the
1 « Au delà de ces deux termes, Matière et Force, la science positive ne connait rien.”—Littré, Principes, p. xi. “La force," says M. Janet (Le Matérialisme Contemporain, p. 20), “ selon Moleschott n'est pas un Dieu donnant l'impulsion à la matière ; une force qui plane au dessus de la matière est une idée absurde.” Moleschott's ground-principle is, “ No force without matter; no matter without force;”= Allgewalt des Stoffenwechsels.
2 « Cette idée de l'espèce qui serait inhérente au germe c'est un principe qui dépasse toutes les données du Matérialisme.”—Janet, p. 115.
3 Thus the old antithesis between Predestination and Free-will is now represented by Naturalism and Religion, Laws of Nature and Human Liberty. We may be content to rest in Dr. Mozley's conclusion (Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, I. 29), “ While sufficiently clear for all purposes of practical religion (for we cannot doubt that they are truths so far as and in that mode in which we apprehend them), these are truths upon which we cannot raise definite and absolute systems. All we build upon either must partake of the imperfect nature of the premiss which supports it, and be held under a reserve of consistency with a counter conclusion from the opposite truth.”—See also IV., 326.
4 M. Janet well observes : “Le Positivisme c'est le revanche de l'empirisme contre la phrénésie de la spéculation rationnelle à priori.”
indestructibility of Matter and the Conservation of Force with its eternity. Both equally ignore the real difficulty of Naturalism; which is to reconcile the consciousness of personal identity with the ceaseless permutations of a material world. How can we prove, or even conceive, a community of consciousness between two particles of matter ??
In our own country a school of thought is arising, perhaps more logical and certainly more reverent than that of pure Materialism, which recognizes in the Unknowable the ultimate limit of Science, but also the proper object of Religion. Such a view, amid the turmoil of discussion, is the rather welcome to the Christian believer; as he is himself ready to see and admit Religion to be the Revelation of the Unknowable or Unknown. It has, however, its dangers and its doubts; as to which it is well for the younger student of our time to be on his guard. A system, in which the Unknowable, as such, is made the essential objectmatter of Faith, excludes the possibility of the Unknowable becoming known and determined, whether mediately through Revelation, or ultimately in the history of things. In such a view a confusion seems for ever imminent between the physical Unknown in the realm of Nature, and the mentally Unknowable which constitutes the practical principle of Religion. Still more difficult is it to reconcile this doctrine of a Naturalistic Nescience with the aspect under which it is very frequently presented, as “ the Power manifested in the Universe.”
1 “ Jadis la raison humaine le voyant sujet an changement, alla chercher l'éternel, l'immuable par delà l'horizon et dans les archétypes. Maintenant l'éternel, l'immuable, devenant notion positive, nous apparaît sous la forme des lois immanentes qui gouvernent tout.”—Littré, Principes, p. 57.
? “ He, this person, or self, must either be a substance, or the property of some substance. If he, if person, be a substance, then consciousness that he is the same person is consciousness that he is the same substance. If the person, or he, be the property of a substance, still consciousness that he is the same property is as certain a proof that his substance remains the same, as consciousness that he remains the same substance would be: since the same property cannot be transferred from one substance to another." —Bp. Butler, Dissert, I. on Personal Identity.
The argument pursued in Lecture II. (as binding in the sphere of physical philosophy '), so far forth as it presumes Motion, as well as Form, to necessitate a First Cause, will be found in Aristotle's Physics, Lib. VIII. It must, as it seems to me, hold good till it can be shown that Motion is an original, primary quality of Matter, and so immanent in it. But, as far as appears, Inertia is as much a quality of Matter as Motion, and a body at rest must be acted on externally to be set in movement. The Wolfian supposition of a tendency to motion (in nisu) was demonstrated by Euler to be both unphilosophical
1 On the necessity or at least desirability of admitting a physical element into Philosophy, comp. Janet, La Crise Philosophique, p. 106, of whose able train of reasoning I have gladly availed myself in the following remarks.-See Le Matérialisme Contemporain, c. iv.
and contrary to experience. In point of fact, all movement is now regarded and computed as a resultant; and whereas the rate of velocity might at first sight appear to be in the body, it is found in effect to be otherwise. Attraction and Inertia are equally facts; but if the former be considered to be a relative property of two atoms of matter, which singly are indifferent to rest or motion, this is a property which has still to be accounted for. Nor can a universe, however immense,' have properties other than those of its integrant parts.
One fact, as it seems to me, must ever remain a stumbling-block in the path of infidel speculation. It is the existence, history, and standing of the Church of Christ.? Active, influential, progressive; nurse of the brightest minds that shine in the galaxy of human story, of an Origen, an Augustine, a Dante, a Pascal, a Leibnitz, a Milton, a Newton; handmaid to the spirit of man in his moments of loftiest devotion; mother of modern art; queen of the realm of benevolence and humanity; her doctrines can never be held akin to
i On the acknowledged immensity of the Universe, M. Littré finely observes : “C'est un océan qui vient battre notre rive; et pour lequel nous n'avons ni barque ni voile ; mais dont la claire vision est aussi salutaire que formidable.”—A. Comte et la Phil. Pos., p. 529.
* Thus it is admitted by Strauss (Nuchwort, pp. 37, 38), “ dass die von Jesus ausgegangene religiöse Bewegung noch mächtig in unsre Zeit hereinwirke, wird Niemand läugnen. ..... Christenthum mag in der Menschheit gewirkt haben was es will, und fortwirken wird es in jedem Fall: &c."