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called, and testified that the chances of the genuine production of such a coincidence as that of the three signatures was that of one to two thousand six hundred and sixty-six millions of millions of millions of times (2,666,000,000,000,000,000,000). He naturally added that “this number far transcends human experience. So vast an improbability is practically an impossibility. Such evanescent shadows of probability cannot belong to actual life. ... Under a solemn sense of the responsibility involved in the assertion, I declare that the coincidence which has here occurred must have had its origin in an intention to produce it.” He added that there were other conditions which multiplied the improbability of undesigned coincidence by at least two hundred millions. His testimony was sustained by that of his son, Professor Charles Pierce, and that of several other microscopists and experts in penmanship, who swore that the two signatures alleged to be spurious coincided exactly with the standard from which it was assumed they were copied. On the other side, to meet Professor Pierce's testimony, the plaintiffs produced a series of signatures of John Quincy Adams, of George C. Wilde, of C. A. Walker, and of the examining magistrate F. W. Palfrey, in which, even when greatly enlarged by photographs, there were many cases of coincidence sworn by experts to be far more exact than those to which Professor Pierce assigned so high a standard of improbability. And as to the particular signatures immediately in dispute, there was a mass of expert testimony to the effect that so far from coinciding, no single letter in them exactly covered the alleged standard. Yet if there be a question as to which we could suppose it possible to obtain demonstration, it would be as to whether a series of lines coincide.
The remaining conflict is, if possible, even still more extraordinary. Were the marks of tracing discoverable under the ink of the disputed signatures? If such tracing is apparent to one microscopist, we would suppose that it would be apparent to other microscopists, using instruments of similar grade, and with the same power of eyesight. Yet we have Dr. Charles T. Jackson, a specialist in this line of extraordinary skill and reputation, and Professor Horsford, well known for his accomplishments in the same line, backed by other experts of distinction, testifying positively and unreservedly that under the ink of the disputed signatures the microscope brought to light marks of tracing; while Professor Agassiz and Professor Oliver Wendell Holmes testified that the microscope brought to light no such marks. It would be impossible to select experts more eminent and more unimpeachable. Yet as to a question which we would suppose to be peculiarly susceptible of demonstration—as to whether a particular microscope can detect certain marks—these experts, in the most unqualified manner swore to contradictory opposites. By Dr. Jackson and Professor Horsford these marks are “demonstrated.” By Professor Agassiz and Professor Holmes it is “demonstrated" they do not exist. Of this contradiction there is but one explanation. When even the most exact of physical sciences undertakes to enter into practical life, it is beset with the same incertitudes that beset whatever appeals to our moral judgment. It can demonstrate only things that do not affect our action. As to things that affect our action, the best it can do is to establish a preponderance of proof.
The conclusion, then, is, that even by physical science, facts, as facts, while capable of proof, are incapable of demonstration. If
, therefore, we are to accept as binding the sceptical axiom that nothing is to be believed that cannot be demonstrated, then as the facts testified by physical science cannot be demonstrated, it follows that they are not to be believed. But as they are to be believed—as on them we depend for most of our prac. tical conclusions—then it follows that demonstration is not the test of moral proof. And when we find that there is no fact of any class that is demonstrated to us, then we rise by induction to the general rule that proof, not demonstration, is the condition of belief.
Bishop Butler devoted his great intellect to proving that we cannot stab the God of Revelation without first piercing through the heart of the God of Nature. I have endeavored, in the preceding pages, to show that there are other manifestations of Deity which intervene, interposing themselves as shields between Christ and those by whom Christ is assailed. Divinity exhib
'For an interesting review of this important case see 4 Am. Law Jour. 625.
iting itself in jurisprudence stands in the way. It is not that human laws and human governments are jure divino ; but that feature in human law which makes duty and responsibility questions of fact, to be determined on probable evidence, and always open to doubt, is part of our divine system of education, and must be destroyed if we establish the principle that only that which is to be demonstrated is to be believed. So divinity exhibiting itself in physical science stands in the way. It is not that any speculations of science are inspired, vastly as those speculations have contributed to increase the stores of knowledge, and to stimulate the movement of thought. But it is because the physical sciences, when they touch man in the concrete, are eminently among the ministers of Providence for the amelioration of humanity. “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom,” says Christ, in the eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs, “. by me kings reign and princes execute justice ;
when He prepared the heavens I was there, rejoicing in the habitable parts of His earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” Through what physical science has done in the multiplication of the comforts of life, in the relief of its pains, in the extension of its delights, in the opening of invigorating fields of activity and exulting spheres of thought -through all these agencies Christ works. But each of these agencies, when approaching human action, and offering itself to human choice, passes through the region of the shadows. Demonstrate it cannot. Prove it may, yet its proof is always open to doubt. Educated by doubt and temptation we must be; by exercise our reasoning faculties must grow; by resistance must our moral powers be strengthened; choice, which involves alternatives for choosing, we must always have; and whatever approaches us, offering to us bounties no matter how great, subjects itself to this law. Jurisprudence does this; and Physical Science does this. If demonstration is essential to the reception of the teachings of either, then the teachings of neither can be received. Scepticism, requiring demonstration for its 'satisfaction, must pass over dead Jurisprudence and dead Science before it reaches a dead Christ.
METHODS OF HOME-EVANGELIZATION.
IN the history of the world we are but too familiar with the
once for all has to be done over again. Jerichos that seemed to be levelled with the ground never to rise have a wonderful knack of restoring themselves ; while holy cities like Jerusalem, that appeared to be built on immovable foundations and surrounded with impregnable bulwarks, are constantly tending to become dilapidated. Who that lived in the days of Luther and Calvin could have dreamt that the rotten superstition which, like Babylon the Great, seemed to be crushed and cursed forever,
regain its courage and its power, and seriously threaten the liberties of the world? Who that saw old giant Pope in the days of John Bunyan gnashing his toothless jaws would have believed that towards the end of the nineteenth century he would have renewed his youth, gulled millions into the belief of his infallibility, and revived and sent forth his old claims to supreme dominion, urbi et orbi? Who would have thought that after witches and witchcraft had got their quietus in the seventeenth century, and the ashes of many a wretched creature done cruelly to death had shown what was thought then of pretended or real intercourse with spirits and devils, Spiritualism would become a great fact in this enlightened age? Here, as elsewhere, it is the unexpected that happens. We are not done with the influences that make the first last, and the last first. And we are not done with the military necessity that demands a constant vigilance over the positions both of our enemy and ourselves. In short, we must fix it in our minds as an axiom, that old enemies have a wonderful power of coming back to life, and that old battles must often be fought anew.
The necessity that urges the Christian Church at the present day to vigorous action for the more thorough evangelization of our home population illustrates these remarks. In former days it was the common belief, that when communities were once converted to Christianity, they would remain thereafter at least nominally Christian. The only work of conversion believed to be needed in such communities was the turning of nominal into real Christians, turning men from a mere outward to an inward belief, giving them the power as well as the form of godliness. In these days, however, we have become painfully aware that a large class of the population tends to a state of absolute irreligion, and though living under the shadow of innumerable churches, and breathing, as it were, a Christian atmosphere, is wholly negligent of the services of Christianity, and dead to the faith and hope of the Gospel. Up to the present time, this class in Great Britain has usually been found in large towns, or in villages that have suddenly expanded, or in localities where some new mining or manufacturing interest has brought together a great heterogeneous population. But in Scotland, at this moment, the same tendency is showing itself at quite another point of the social scale. In our agricultural population, in the class of people most removed from modern influences, among the farmservants or hinds, as they are called, neglect of Christian ordinances is becoming more and more common. They appear to have been seized with a kind of epidemic; for, while of course there are many noble and notable exceptions, the testimony of ministers, not of one denomination, but of all, is that as a class they are undergoing a painful and rapid change, and becoming more separate from the ordinances and the influence of the Christian Church. It seems at present as if a new form of home-heathenism were about to appear in Scotland, as well as in other countries similarly situated ; and as if the Christian Church were to be called to devise some new method of recon. quering this important part of the population to Christ.
It is our purpose in this article to explain and review some of the principal methods by which it has been attempted during the last thirty or forty years to effect the reconquest of lapsed populations to Christianity. Readers of the PRINCETON REVIEW will probably not object if we place Scotland in the fore.