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ity beyond the circumference of our own experience, however confident we may be of its indications within that circle. And it is sleer folly to assume that we can contidently apply the law in all parts of the universe and in all stages of its duration. Not that the law does not hold every-where and always, but that in our ignorance we do not know what the law really is. The inhabitant of the torrid zone may say that the law of cooling water is contraction; the dweller in the temperate zone may say that its law is contraction down to four degrees and then expansion ; but what finite being really knows the law? What finite being can say that there is no law behind the law, and that the time may not come when a wholly different behavior of cooling water will appear? If it is the law that water shall contract down to four degrees and then expand, who can say that it is not the law that it do so behave in this epoch of duration, and behave differently in a past or future epoch of duration ? Who can say that there are not cycle and epicycle in law, and that the fundamental law of continuity is not the ultimate law of cycle and epicycle ! I may be permitted to refer to the oft-quoted calculating engine of Charles Babbage,* though for a purpose somewhat different from that which is customary. He showed that it was possible for a finite intelligence to construct a machine which would work for any assignable time according to a given law, and at any arbitrary point in the future change its treadmill work and proceed for another indefinite time according to a wholly different law; and that it could thus continue its changes of law any assignable number of times. If the machine were counting off natural numbers, and had gone consecutively from one to a hundred million and one, what would be the probability that the next number counted off would be a hundred million and two? It would seem, at least, to be as great as that an unsupported body will fall to the earth; but lo, the next number is a hundred million ten thousand and two, and a new series begins according to a new law; and so on indefinitely. Now, what is the ultimate law of this machine: that numbers shall succeed each other in a given order, or that the different laws according to which the numbers proceed shall follow each other in a given order?
* The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, C. Babbage, Second ed., pp. 33, et seq.
There seem to science to be four abrupt breaks in the great law of continuity. But what is the ultimate law of continuity ? Is it that the phenomena of the universe shall follow each other in a given order, or that the laws by which the phenomena proceed shall succeed each other in a given order? Is it merely that life comes from life, and death from death; that nothing comes from nothing, and something from something; or that through one cycle of duration absence of life shall be the law, and that through another cycle life and volition shall be the law, and that through still other cycles other laws shall predominate unknown to us who flourish in the present epoch of duration? I must confess that I cannot resist the conviction that the fundamental law of continuity is the law according to which the cycle of laws proceeds, and that the very breaks of visible continuity are instances of the action of the ultimate law. But whatever may or may not be the ultimate law of continuity, one of two propositions is certainly true; namely, there are either some real or some apparent breaks in what we know as the law of continuity. For my part, I do not believe in a failure of this fundamental law. I cannot believe that it has ever failed in the past, or that it will ever fail in the future. I may not know what the ultimate law is, but whatever it may be, I can only conceive it as being “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Yet I cannot escape the conclusion-for the law itself drives me to it—that either it has failed in fact, or it seems to have failed. Let him who will choose the first alternative; as for me, I must choose the second, for I cannot consent to subject faith to a deadly insult. ...
If a failure of the law of continuity is possible in four instances, whether they be real or apparent, the same is possible in any number of instances. If science is not uscientific even though it seem to demand these failures, no other system is necessarily unscientific if it seem to demand failures in the law. The Christian religion, like science, seems to demand a failure in the law. It is not thereby necessarily unscientific. The Christian religion presents a series of phenomena thrust into the present epoch of duration that seem to strike directly athwart the law of continuity; but this fact alone need cast no scientific discredit upon the system, for science demands as much for itself. The pivotal assumption in this great system is the one that seems most conspicuously to clash with the law, and if this assumption could be made valid all the ininor postulates might easily be possible. The central assnmption is that One who had died subsequently lived again.* That a dead man shonld return to life is apparently a failure of the law of continuity; and while we should be very careful how we accept the evidence of such a phenomenon, we should be equally careful lest we misapply the law of continuity to such a case. We should persistently refuse to believe that a dead man had returned to life unless in so refusing we were driven to the alternative of believing another equally conspicuous break in continuity. Mind as well as matter has its laws. Now, if the evidence of the proposition that one who had died rose again should be such that to deny the proposition would subject the law of intellectual continuity to a greater strain than that to which the law of physical continuity would be subjected by the assumption of the resurrection, then we should be driven to accept the fact of the resurrection. That is, if the resurrection is a breach of physical continuity, but the evidence of the resurrection is such that to disbelieve it would be a greater breach in intellectual continuity, then there is no alternative but to accept the sinaller breach as against the greater. The laws of mind are as inexorable as those of matter. If, when the laws of matter seem to turn back upon themselves, as in the resurrection of a dead man, we call it a break in the continuity of nature; no less conspicuous is the break when the laws of mind turn back upon themselves, and judgment loses its alignment, reason its ineasuring unit, and faith the needle that points to the eternal poles of truth.
Whether, as a matter of fact, the evidence of the resurrection is of such a character that its disbelief would strain the law of intellectual continuity, is a question that does not concern the present investigation. The ultimate question with which this discussion is concerned is, whether any one has a right to say that the evidence of the resurrection cannot be conclusive since the resurrection itself would be a breach of continuity; or, in other words, whether the Christian religion is necessarily unscientific because its central claim appears to clash with the fundamental principle of science. Whatever may or may not be the evidence of the resurrection, we have found that the hypothesis of its reality is not necessarily unscientific, since science itself demands equally conspicuous breaches of apparent continuity. It is no more probable that the original phenomenon of life should be abruptly thrust upon one epoch of duration from out of a lifeless universe than that life should, at another epoch of duration, come back into a liv. ing universe in which it had previously existed—for this is the essence of the resurrection. In the one case we have life, de novo, out of a lifeless universe; in the other, life returning, after a limited absence, back again to life. If the resurrection was an abrupt phenomenon in the history of man, no less was the original advent of life an abrupt phenomenon in the history of matter; and I leave the reader to judge which waited the longer, man for the resurrection, or matter for the first appearance of life. And, after all, who knows that the continuous reign of the Christian system in the world is any more a breach of continuity than the continuons reign of life in the physical universe ? For who knows the ultimate law of continuity ?
*1 Cor. xv, 14.
Let me sum up in a word the result of this investigation. There are in the history of the universe some apparent breaches of the principle of continuity. Other apparent breaches are, therefore, equally possible. As science deinands some apparent failures of the law, any other system may equally demand failures without thereby becoming unscientific. Whether such a systein be really unscientific or not is a question of fact, and not necessarily a question of how it stands related to our conception of the law of continuity. The Christian religion, like science, is not to be judged by its apparent strain upon this law--for no finite miud completely knows the law; bat, like science, it is to be judged by the ends it proposes, and the means by which it seeks to achieve them. “By their fruits ye shall know them."
John P. John.
EDITORIAL NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS.
Is education a function of the Church? The theory that the State should provide schools for its youth is unobjectionable; indeed, a majority of its citizens hold that by taxation and otherwise the means should be secured for erecting school-houses, paying teachers, and supporting a school system that shall accomplish the general education of the youth of school-age within its borders. It is evident that unless the State shall assume the great responsibility it will not be discharged, and ignorance will unload its horrors upon the commonwealth. Granting that the general duty rests upon the civic organism to take care of its youth, it is questionable if it can do it thoroughly, or if it can secure to all the best opportunities for refined culture and a broad religious scholarship. In other words, there is a limit to the educational function of the State. It should provide for the common or average education of the youth; it should produce its own scholars, statesmen, rulers; but it is doing the common work imperfectly, and the higher work is either not done at all, or done so one-sidedly, or so self-contradictorily, or so negligently, or so compromisingly, that the Church founds an argument for its intervention in the cause of education that cannot be easily answered. The policy of opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to the public-school system of the country is grounded, not in the inefficient education afforded by the system, but in the fact that the education is not religious, or that it is not Roman Catholic. Hence the parochial school system of that Church. Without doubt its object is to destroy the public-school system and substitute its own, that Roman Catholicism may be intrenched in the continent. It cares not for the youth or their education, but for the Church, to whose interest every thing must be subordinated or sacrificed. The Protestant conception is to the effect that, as the State is incompetent or unwilling to provide adequate facilities for both the common and larger, or religious, culture of youth, the Church is justified, not in arraigning the State, but in supplementing its provisions by schools that combine religion and culture in just proportions, and that will fulfill the idea of education in its etymological, and therefore truest sense.
It does not oppose, but perfects, the system; it does not antagonize, but approves and extends, the common provision; it does not criticise, but associates with the secular higher educational agencies for the improvement of youth. In execution of this idea it plants schools of denominational characteristics among the freedmen; it establishes colleges and universities in every State of the Union; it raises endowments on Christian and patriotic grounds, claiming that its schools are schools of morals, patrioti :),