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attention on one set of phenomena to the exclu- (or self-ism) is the ultimate principle of all culture sion of all others. Whatever circumscribes a man's and of all worship; the source of all vices, and sphere of observation, will inevitably narrow and also of all virtues. What a man eats, that he is: thwart his conceptions. A goldfish, that has without phosphorus in the brain, there is no spent its whole life in swimming slowly and thought ; indeed, it is the phosphorus that, solemnly round a glass-globe, must necessarily strictly speaking, thinks in us: and so on. Here, have a very contracted idea of the watery uni- again, is the creed of materialism, stated from the verse, and a very monotonous but very bigoted scientific view-point, by Moleschott : "Man is conception of an orthodox fish's chief end in life. simply a natural phenomenon, an evanescent proAnd we can understand and sympathize with the duct and element of the circle of life......Each feelings of a certain goldfish when its glass-globe man is the sum of his parents and nurse, of place was overturned, during a flood, by the stream and time, of air and weather, of sound and light, which had entered the house, and when, notwith- of food and clothes. His will is the necessary standing its most solemn remonstrances concern- result of these causes, bound to a natural law...... ing the folly and danger of leaving the old paths, as the planet to its orbit, the plant to the soil. it was remorselessly swept through the window .... Thought is a movement of matter, a transand carried rapidly down the river towards the position of the substance of the brain. Apart open sea.

The theological tinge which the lan- from phosphorus, there is no thought; and conguage has spontaneously assumed, would seem to sciousness is nothing but a property of matter. suggest that the vice of narrowness is not con- ......When the body dies, man ceases to exist : fined to the sphere of secular thought.

the only immortality is, that when the body is Another consideration suggested by the history disintegrated, its ammonia, carbonic acid, and of human thought, is the necessity of distinguish- lime serve to enrich the earth, and to nourish ing between what is fact and what is inference, in plants which feed other generations of men." every philosophical and scientific theory. There This system has, unquestionably, an alarming is, in every speculation having any claim to appearance, for it cannot be denied that it rests scientific attention, a certain proportion of facts on certain indubitable facts; but when we diswhich are undoubtedly true; and a superstructure entangle these from the inferences, we shall find of inference or conjecture, which may or may not that the facts in themselves are perfectly innocent, be true. But in both cases we must distinguish while the inferences are altogether unwarrantable, the element of fact and the element of inference, and therefore are also harmless. since a very different degree of confidence is due For instance, one of the most plausible arguto these respectively; while, from failing to make ments of the materialistic school, in support of this distinction, people fall into the error of as- the theory that organic and inorganic forces are cribing to inferences—which are often mere con- on the same plane, or are so correlated that the jecture, and are at best no more than probable—one may be transformed into the other, is derived the certainty which belongs to the facts alone. from the dogma of spontaneous generation, which We shall select one or two examples, from the was long regarded, not as a mere hypothesis, but materialistic theories so prevalent in our own as an ascertained and established fact, because country, and still more so on the Continent. people had failed to distinguish in this theory

In Germany, the materialistic party is com- what was fact and what was inference. Thus, it posed partly of metaphysicians and partly of was an observed fact that living organisms apscientific investigators. As a specimen of the peared in water exposed to the atmosphere, and first, take Feuerbach, who has transformed Hegel's it was assumed that those were transmuted inordeification of Universal Spirit into the deification ganic matter. Again, in 1856, a German investiof the Individual Spirit :—“Man (as such) is gator, Krause, found that in certain diseases of man in the common sense of the term): man the lower animals the blood was full of vegetable with man—the unity of 'I' and “Thou'—is spores, and it was inferred that these were transGod.” Hence he has to maintain that Egoism | formed blood corpuscles. Now, many men of science, tacitly transferring the certainty of the more than a flow of water from the eyes in the facts to their inference from the facts, regarded shape of tears, and a spasmodic escape of air from spontaneous generation as indubitable. But the chest in the form of sobs : in which case, more careful investigations have shown that the Spenser's description in the “Faerie Queen" of inference is in no known case correct; and Pro- the grief of a hypocritical woman would acquire fessor Huxley, who is honest enough to confess a universal applicability : he is wrong when it is proved to him, had recently

“Yet were her words but wind, and all her tears but water." to acknowledge he had been going a little too fast. And this confession must have cost him no small A necessary corollary of this physical concepeffort; far so convinced was he at one time of the tion of mental activity is, that there is no such possibility of producing living protoplasm from thing as free agency. This, again, is mere asserdead matter, that he looked forward to the actualtion, and yet it is amazing what confidence senperformance of the feat by chemistry with nearly sible men have in its correctness. Thus, Huxley as much confidence, and quite as little reason, as says: “The physiology of the future will graduthe old alchemist in the second part of Faust, ally extend the realm of matter and law, until it who holds forth in the following boastful strain : is co-extensive with knowledge, with feeling, and “We chemists now indulge the expectation,

with action." This is a prediction which has By mixing, after careful computation

frequently been made—for instance, by Epicurus, Since all depends upon a right selectionSome hundred drugs, according to direction,

hy Hartley, by Condillac, and by many othersAnd, boiling these into a fine quintessence, To properly compound the human essence;

but it still occupies a place in the category of Subjecting this to more manipulations,

unfulfilled prophecy; and, in addition to this, it To boilings, solvings, manifold filtrations, And cautiously avoiding error and disorder,

has so little ground to stand on, that I can only We thus shall fashion men quite easily to order.”

account for Huxley's making it by supposing that Here is another doctrine of materialism, stated he has mixed up fact and inference, and, above confidently enough, by Karl Vogt, the celebrated all, that he has been carried away by professional German naturalist:-“Physiology declares itself prejudice. It is related that a scientific gardener, definitely and categorically against individual im- whose great hobby was mathematical symmetry, mortality, and generally against all representations punished one of his boys for misconduct by inthat rest on the assumption of the special exist- serting him in one of two large ornamental flowerence of a soul; it recognises in the spiritual ac- pots which stood in front of the entrance to the tivities functions of the brain as the material garden, and happened to be empty. Perceiving substratum." When we examine the proof of that this had a one-sided effect, he fetched another this assertion, regarded as certain by many men and innocent child, and, forgetting the claims of of science at home and abroad, we find that it justice in his regard for harmony, inserted him in consists of a few undeniable facts and a quantity the opposite pot. Now, as this gardener, from a of most astounding inference. Thus it is a fact too exclusive devotion to symmetry, had come to that thought is invariably accompanied by certain forget the great law of moral justice, and to view vibrations in the matter of the nerves and brain. his offspring as on a level with ornamental shrubs; This is fact. But when physiologists proceed to so Professor Huxley, from an excessive regard for assert that these movements of the brain-matter uniformity and universal generalization, would are themselves the conscious thoughts and emo- seem to have lost sight of the grand fact of free tions and volitions, this, it will be observed, is mere agency, and to consider human beings on a level inference. And further, it is as gratuitous an with stocks and stones, and other senseless things. inference as it would be to assume that the picture These few simple instances sufficiently show on the retina of the eye is sight, or the vibrations the necessity, in measuring the pretensions of any of the tympanum hearing. On this principle of theory, philosophical, scientific, or, I may add, reasoning, we should bave to hold that shame is theological, to distinguish between what is fact nothing more than the determination of blood to and what is inference, and to attach to each its the face in blushing; and that sorrow is nothing respective importance. Were this more carefully

attended to, we should witness less arrogance

and to engulf them. Therefore it is that we say the bad logic in the statement of scientific and philo- teaching of history leads us to be very wary of sophical theories, and less unreasonable outcry and putting much reliance on inferential attempts to alarm on the part of orthodox but timid spectators. explain or interpret facts. The verdict of history

Hitherto we have confined our attention to is, that when the products of every age have been theories where the inferences were manifestly un- sifted, the result is a very small portion of grain warranted, but there are cases where the in- and a very enormous heap of chaff. Surely, then, ferential element is at least logical, and must the

frame of mind for us is, to remember therefore be regarded as more or less probable. that much which we regard as probable-nay, as Does history throw any light on the value of such certain—may be wrong, and is at best incomtheories? We think it does, and that its verdict plete. Yet men are very slow to learn this is adverse just in proportion to the amount of in- lesson, and still they continue to publish their ference in them. Thus in every department of theories with an unfaltering confidence, which is science it is amazing what vast numbers of at once comical and touching, and is doubtless to theories have seen the light, flourished for a short be ascribed to the blindness of parental affection, time, and then passed into oblivion. It would which can see no fault in its offspring. Hence, be well if we could have an exact calculation of although every great field of inquiry is white with the rate of mortality among scientific hypotheses; the skeletons of previous attempts to solve the for by applying it to the numerous existing genera- mystery, inventors still start off their own attempt tion we should doubtless have the melancholy without the slightest doubt that it is destined to satisfaction of knowing that nearly all of them succeed where all its predecessors have failed. are doomed to perish and decay, and leave nothing For instance, so many theories have at various valuable behind them save the skeleton of facts times appeared proclaiming that they had exposed on which they were framed. Turning to the his- and finally refuted Christianity, that most men of tory of philosophy, we find that here the carnage sense have come to receive the announcement as is still greater, and the remains of imperishable coolly as people do those bills which advertise the fact of necessity scantier. It is remarkable how appearance of second-rate actors, “positively for the rapidly one system rises and displaces its pre- last time." Indeed, so suspicious has the cry of decessor. Take Germany during the first half of “Christianity exposed " become, that one would the present century, and you have Kant suc- think a réspectable man of science would be receeded by Fichte, Fichte by Schelling, Schelling luctant to employ it even if he had certainly by Hegel ; and since then we have a perfect accomplished the feat. Yet there must be a swarm of philosophies in Schleiermacher, Herbart, mysterious fascination about such statements; for Schopenhauer, Beneke, &c.;-in fact, "their name I find that prudent man, Professor Huxley, prois legion.” The same process has gone on un- claiming that when he read Darwin's Origin of interruptedly since first men were driven to seek Species, he was convinced “that teleology, as to solve the mysteries of existence. And there is commonly understood, had received its death-blow something very pathetic in the history, when you at Mr. Darwin's hands." Now, without insinuatremember how each system was wrought out by | ing that the wish was father to the thought, I do a strong and earnest soul, and with what high not wonder at Professor Huxley's thinking that hopes it was launched by the founder and his Mr. Darwin had finally annihilated the argument disciples, who confidently thought that it was for God's existence from the evidence of design destined to bear all mankind over the stormy in nature, but I do wonder at his telling it, since waves of mystery and fear and doubt, safe to the it is a wise rule never prematurely to indulge in firm land of knowledge and peace and certainty. public rejoicings over the news of an enemy's And now it lies on the shore of that great sea, a death, especially in the case of a foe that has been battered and abandoned wreck, and men struggle already frequently declared defunct, but that has a as painfully and helplessly as ever to surmount singular faculty of always turning up again none the billows of uncertainty that rise and threaten the worse of its reported decease.


Without giving more examples of the advis- he would have been one of the most cold-blooded ability of distinguishing fact and inference, and and dangerous of their persecutors and crucifiers.” of speaking with due caution, in the departments Contrast such presumptuous arrogance with the of science and philosophy, I proceed to observe following sentences from the Preface to Rothe's that history teaches the same lessons to theo- Theologische Ethik :"_“I have no desire to logians. They, too, must carefully distinguish maintain against others that my view is correct, between the statements of revelation, which are and theirs not ;.. ....nay, I know that I am incertain, and their own interpretations and infer- correct, for even at the best it is but a drop that ences, which are by no means equally reliable, I have drawn out of the ocean. If therefore any and ought always to be maintained with becoming reader-judging from the confidence with which modesty. The history of theology presents a sad inventors of philosophical systems are wont to , array of abandoned and dilapidated theories, con regard their work-should ask me if I find full sisting of ungrounded inferences and false inter- satisfaction for my mind in my principles, I can pretations; and even sober and well-balanced only smile. .Woe is me, if God and the universe orthodoxy has not unfrequently had to recede from did not remain overwhelmingly greater than positions which it once defended as absolutely my conception of them!”

my conception of them !” Need I say that certain and essential to the truth of Christianity. the reverent humility with which Rothe introI shall only mention, as examples, the allegorical duces to his readers the greatest modern system school of interpretation, the strictly historical of ethics, is the same spirit which breathed in the character of the Book of Job, the immobility of greatest of the apostles when he said—“Now we the Earth, the creation of the world out of nothing see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: in six days of twenty-four hours--and so on. now I know in part; but then shall I know even These lessons should teach us, while defending as I am known? our view with all our might, not to claim the Once more I remark, that these features of the attribute of certainty for our interpretation, which history of human thought ought to affect our it has no right to; and, above all, never to stake attitude to the antichristian speculations of the the credit of Christianity on the truth of our age. If, instead of indulging in vague denunciatheories. Yet I suspect a conviction of infalli- tions, which only serve to reveal their ignorance bility is as strong among us as it was in our and anxiety, Christian men would learn the lesson clerical forefathers, when Cromwell, trying in vain of the past, we should have less of that spirit of to convince them of their folly in supporting ill-concealed terror and misgiving in the unlearned Charles, besought them, “ by the bowels of their Christian world; and we should witness in the common Christianity, to believe that it was just learned defenders of our faith more of what Sir within the bounds of possibility that they might Walter Scott describes asbe mistaken." To show, however, that pre

The stern joy which warriors feel sumptuous dogmatism is not confined to the or

In foemen worthy of their steel." thodox, take the following quotation from Ewald, But it may be asked, What of Professor whose Commentary on the Old Testament Pro- Huxley's boast, that “ extinguished theolophets (whom he regards as having been little, if gians lie about the cradle of every science, as at all, more inspired than bimself) closes with the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules ” ? these words : “ The ignoring and stiffnecked de- It is a very strong statement of a very commonnying that this book of mine contains a perfectly place fact; and the fate of the few extinguished secure foundation for the right interpretation of theologians should serve as a warning to weakthe Prophets, appears to me to border very closely minded brethren not to stray out of their proper on the sin against the Holy Ghost.” Such being pastures. But how has it fared with men of his estimate of his own utterances, it will not sur- science and philosophy who have attempted to prise the reader to find him denouncing an adverse solve those mysteries that are impenetrable to reviewer in the following terms: “Most assuredly, man's unaided reason? I take up a History of bad Olshausen lived in the time of the apostles, Philosophy and Science, and as I survey the long line of skeletons of defunct theories, I feel the than the vision of green trees and cooling streams prospect to be very like that presented to the that floats in the mirage before the eyes of the eyes of the prophet who was “set down in the traveller dying of thirst in the desert? “There midst of the valley which was full of dry bones : shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor cryand, behold, there were very many in the open ing, neither shall there be any more pain ”—what valley; and, lo, they were very dry."

is that but the last variation of the refrain we I turn to the History of Christianity, and look- are always singing and hoping, "Hard times come ing back to the first centuries, I behold the reli- again no more" ? gion of Christ born into a world possessed by And what of that strange story of One who the giant forms of Platonism, Stoicism, Epicurism, came to save the lost? What say we of Christ ? and Paganism; and I watch the tiny stream grow And the sad answer comes, that he is the creation stronger and overwhelm these obstacles to its of broken hearts that had lost their earthly friends progress; and gradually it expands into a river or been deceived, and who therefore dreamed of broad and deep, whose banks are strewn with One who feels for them in heaven, and who is the wrecks of countless barriers that were raised ever faithful and true. This feeling is beautifully to stem its tide: and I know that this river will expressed in the sad words of Matthew Amold, flow on triumphantly, till it swells into a mighty when, after describing how Christ lived in the ocean that will “fill all the earth, as the waters warm faith of the early believers, he adds :cover the sea."

“Now He is dead: far hence he lies, Finally: it is instructive to note that history

In the lorn Syrian town; shows the connection between the thought and

And on his grave, with shining eyes,

The Syrian stars look down..... life of an age to be the same as that between an

From David's lips this word did rollepidemic and the general health of a community.

'Tis true and living yet: The epidemic is not the cause, but the result of

No man can save his brother's soul,

Nor pay his brother's debt.'” a low sanitary condition ; yet when once established, it increases the previous depreciation. So On the other hand, worldly prosperity is regarded the philosophy of an age is not the cause, but as the summum bonum; success is worshipped ; the result of the general tone of feeling; but once and the one unpardonable sin is to fail to secure evolved, it feeds the tendency that fostered it. as large a share as possible of life's prizes and In our age, philosophy and science have as

men's applause. sumed a materialistic and utilitarian aspect; and, With such a spirit largely pervading certain as we should expect from the teaching of history, classes of society, can we wonder to find, both in we see that the general tone of thought and feeling thought and in life, a strong antagonism to is of a worldly, material, matter-of-fact character. Christianity; a system whose great principle The age has been one of unexampled commercial | is, “Seek first the kingdom of heaven," and enterprise and prosperity, and thus attention has whose Founder gained no earthly crown except been fixed on outward and temporal good, until a crown of thorns?

We must, therefore, set this has attained an exaggerated value, and the ourselves to solve the problem how best this subjective, the ideal and the spiritual, have fallen sickness of the age may be met and healed. into the background. There is a strong tendency The answer seems to me to be something like to ignore the future life, and concentrate every this : If you would do good service in opposing effort to secure well-being in this life. The motto this spirit of worldliness that has got possession of secularism_" To live and die for this world” of our age, it is not necessary that you should, -is more or less present in many hearts. If like the first preachers of Christ, turn wholly there be a future life, say they, we know nothing away from the pursuits and honours of secular of it. This life we have; let us make the best life. Nor must you imitate the hermits of the of it: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the Middle Ages, who sought to save themselves from bush." What is hell but the dream of disordered the hardness and corruption of the world by minds ? and may not heaven be nothing more flight. But there is open to you a way more

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