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which consecrates selfishness by enthroning it in the struggle for existence above wisdom and virtue; and which views, alike unmoved and powerless of consolation, the agonies of remorse, the isolation of bereavement, and the yearnings of the saint after communion with Divine holiness ? Only if free to Freedom choose, is man capable of duty in any sense of the necessary word which is not simply nominal but worth practical retaining. But, if capable of duty, he is capable of religion. He is still, though conscious of sin, nobler than the tame creatures of a dull uniformity, the ready.vassals of a law they can never break, In those unreasoning creatures, devoid of abstraction, idealization, reflection, yet from which it is now the fashion to derive all the properties of man. the will is absorbed in the law,' “ The law is their nature.” In the original purity of a rational being, the uncorrupted will is one with the law of his nature. And so it will be hereafter.
Mind and soul according well,
If man, it has been finely said, “ be no higher in Man supe.
“rior to the his destinies than the beast or the blade of ss, it animals in
his capa. might be better to be a beast or a blade of grass bility and
ness of sin. i See Coleridge, A. R., p. 233. The fine lines of Juvenal will be readily remembered :
Principio indulsit communis Conditor illis
than a man.” But it is not so, brethren. The stork in the heavens may know her appointed times; the turtle, the crane, and the swallow may observe the time of their coming; and when they wing their flight may leave without remorse their unfledged young to die? They run their allotted course. But man, even though he perish, though sin becomes the law of his nature, and evil clings about him like a robe, is great in the ruin of his fall. He knows why he perishes, and worships, in the bitterness of his soul, the purity, the nobleness, the love which he has forfeited for himself for ever.
1 Prof. Goldwin Smith, lectures on the Study of History, p. 12. ? See Mr. Darwin, Descent of Mun.
3 “Quando autein melior bomo et pecoribus præponendus ? Quando novit quod facit.”-August. de Ord., II. xix.; and again, Civ, D., xxii.: “ Sicut cæcitas oculi vitium est, et idem ipsum indicat ad lumen videndum oculum esse creatum, ac per hoc etiam ipso vitio suo excellentius ostendit ut cæteris membris membrum capax luminis (non enim alia causa esset vitium ejus carere lumine): ita natura quæ fruebatur Deo, optimam se institutam docet etiam ipso vitio, quo ideo misera est, quia non fruitur Deo.” Compare Chateaubriand, Génie du Christ., I. 208. “Pourquoi le bæuf ne fait-il pas,” &c. Strauss, Leben Jesu, II. 697, admits that while animals are but races, men have the knowledge that they are a race. Hence arises the possibility of history with all its consequences. Cf. Dorner, Hist. Prot. Th., 11. 370.
OBJECTIONS TO THE PROGRESS OF CHRISTIANITY
Καθόλου, ώς φημί, δύο πάσης γενέσεως αιτίας εχούσης, οι μεν σφόδρα παλαιοί θεολόγοι και ποιηταί τη κρείττονι μόνη τον νούν προσέχειν είλοντο, τούτο δή το κοινόν επιφθεγγόμενοι πάσι πράγμασι.
Ζεύς αρχή, Ζεύς μέσσα, Διός δ' εκ πάντα πέλονται.
Ταϊς και αναγκαίαις και φυσικαίς ουκ έτι προσήεσαν αιτίαις. Οι δε νεώτεροι τούτων και φυσικοί προσαγορευόμενοι τουναντίον εκείνους της καλής και θείας αποπλανηθέντες αρχής, εν σώμασι και πάθεσι σωμάτων, πληγαις τε και μεταβολαίς και κράσεσι τίθενται το σύμπαν.-PLUTARCH, Defect. Orac., c. xlviii.
“Wherefore should they say among the people,- Where is their God?"Joel ii. 17.
of a Divine
§ 1. IT would be but futile to build any argu- The truth
I ment upon the past or the future of the ProviFaith of Christ, were the fundamental truth denied sential to
the being of the controlling Providence of God. As religion and per
manence of itself is a thing not worth contending for, when religion. free-will in man is given up, so Christianity, devoid of a special and personal relation to the Almighty in His work of grace (which may be said to be in respect of all Pagan religions its cardinal and characteristic doctrine), is a shadow without substance. It becomes, then, of the first importance to inquire on what grounds the belief in a special Providence is held to be in course of being sur
1 "Si Dei Providentia non præsidet rebus humanis, nihil est de religione satagendum.”— August., Util. Cred., cxvi. “Deum nisi et esse et humanis mentibus opitulari credimus, nec quærere quidem ipsam veram religionem debemus." - Ib., c. xiii. Comp. Lactant., Instit. Div., VII. c. vi. See Waterland, Discourse of Fundamentals (Works, V. 80). “ The theory of Providence," writes Mr. Hutton, Essays, I. 88," is one which, unless harmonized with general moral and physical laws, can assuredly stand no longer; and yet it is one which has exerted so profound an influence over every Christian mind from the earliest Christian ages to our own, that to part with it would be to give up the very life of religion.” “ Point de religion sans prière'a dit ce même Voltaire. Rien de plus évident; et par une conséquence nécessaire, point de prière, point de religion.”—De Maistre, Soirées, p. 158.