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apparent happiness, may be no index of exalted character, nor any distinctive sign of internal peace. There is need of Faith.
The actions of a man, however selfish the motive, may be productive of good; and, swerving from his object, they may be regarded by others as the result of his piety. They are overruled by an Almighty Hand. There is need of Faith.
The actions of a man, however well-intentioned, may be misdirected and result in apparent evil. The disappointment may be keen to his soul, and the pain may be sharpened by the criticism of his fellowmen ; while his inability tends to foster a distrust of Christian activity. There is need of Faith.
He who tries to work out his own salvation must have often felt that after the strongest resolves, when the temptation comes, the barriers he has erected are swept away, and he is beaten down by the tempest. There is need of Faith.
And when the life is a life of trial surrounded by men whose hearts are fixed on purposes different from ours, and who cause feelings of repugnance or impatience to arise within us—surrounded by adverse circumstances which disturb our equanimity, bringing pain or poverty; or crippling our freedom of action; or causing sorrow and grief to darken for a while the life :then our reliance on our own character and activity is feeble. There is need of Faith.
I plead for Faith because it is human to neglect it. The world in which we live, by the constitution of our nature, engrosses our thoughts and activities. The struggle for existence seems to demand all our energies, and the measure of a successful life is apt to be the position of wealth, honour, or influence a man may attain. The esteem of the world is considered to determine the character. The appearances of happiness are likely to become the objects of desire, as their glow and glitter, being seen, are more attractive to the mind. The actions of our life are rung by us on the world's pavement, to know whether they are sterling or not. It is sight that leads us captive, although individual experience proves that sight is deceptive.
I plead for Faith :—but for what Faith? Not the cold assent of the mind which believes, because it is told to believe, nor yet the conclusion arrived at by reason and accepted as a principle of human knowledge. I plead for the Faith which is based on trust and love.
Consider for a moment the foundations of that Faith. You accept the truth of a God being necessary to the creation and sustentation of all things, and therefore that all changes in life are under His control. You may regard Him as an autocrat whose will is supreme law and against whose decrees it is futile to rebel. This is the ordinary acceptation of Faith, but it is withered and lifeless. We must go higher. The God who has revealed Himself to us is Divinely human; not only infinite in intelligence, but infinite in love. It is not only as a Creator, but as a Father that we should regard God. As a Father of infinite intelligence who is all-powerful, in whom can we trust more securely than in Him? As a Father of Infinite Love, where can our finite sympathetic love be more highly turned than to Him?
And so in trust and love will living faith begin, and grow. The life cannot be wholly evil that turns to God, for if He is the object of our trust and love, the sympathy of our souls will lead us to imitate in a finite degree the character that is perfect. Living faith cannot be separated from Christian activity, for it is its motive
Christian activity is only free when the life is at one with God.
I plead for living Faith as the greatest Christian need—far higher than knowledge; it is the ladder from earth to heaven, for it leads to heavenly life on earth.
GEORGE BENT OLLIVANT, Esq.
Are earthly toils, and cares, and sorrows done,
His rest begun.
Yes—we are wandering through the desert—in the cold,
With spirits sad and weary, bleeding feet,
With voices sweet.
Let us then strive to conquer selfish grief,
And pray to Him, our One, Unfailing Friend,
Knowing no end.
SCIENCE AND THE CHURCH.
This union, then, of science and the Church does not mean an impossible union of abstract propositions, or the not yet possible external oneness of the two great classes of churchmen and scientists (even were their limits so far definable), but a union of principles in the seeking mind whether ostensibly scientific or ostensibly religious; or, more strictly still, the presence in the minds of men of a principle which shall be the uniting medium or bridge between the distinctively scientific and the distinctively religious elements, so that, in time, the now dissevered forms of mind and formulated thoughts which science and the Church represent shall be brought into universal and permanent harmony. And marvellous as the thing appears, such a union would be no more and no other than the fulfilment of prophecy—the opening of the highway from Egypt to Assyria, that Israel may be the third with these, and a blessing in the midst of the land. But much as we might desire it, we must yet make sure of our position, not accept such fulfilment too hastily, and, towards this, at present consider whether the idea proposed as the basis of this union—the idea of an Inscrutable Cause as a necessity of human thought, has actually been made good by science. Thus there comes the third point which fell to be considered.
3rd, By whom and by what this position has been achieved. The answer is-By Herbert Spencer, in his “System of Philosophy."
Is it philosophy, then, and not science after all, that has brought forth this idea? Because, in that case, it is not in any way new,
but as old as philosophy itself. It is quite true that orthodox philosophy from Plato to Sir W. Hamilton has, through varying shades of doctrine, assumed, but without accompanying verification, the existence of some Noumenon, Cause or Being lying back of phenomena; but if unverified assumptions, however true in themselves, are the legitimate basis of philosophy, it is clear that in voyaging by that ship in search of mental health, we shall have embarked on such a sea of troubles as shall inevitably leave us, at the end of our quest, more sick than well. As many assumptions, so many systems, and, almost necessarily, so many denials of both; a see-saw, up and down, backward and forward, affirming and denying movement, and beginning again in long reaches of time at the same eternal starting-point—such is the history of philosophy so-called, that is to say, of metaphysics. By such a method what possibility is there of reaching verified truth? A basis of unproved assumptions means, for issue, a system of abstractions; and positive truths, in such relation, lose their legitimate value, and, as philosophy, become even profitless and false. Now, that the idea in question of a Noumenon, Cause or Infinite Being has been mixed up, as an unverified assumption, with this tissue of abstractions called metaphysics, is true enough; but the idea has never been rationally presented by metaphysics, nor has it ever been at all philosophically presented as the outcome of a true scientific method till Spencer's time. If metaphysics be philosophy, then the idea of a Primal Cause is as old as philosophy; and the legacy of dispute it has left to the present day is its assumption of this chief doctrine, which, before all others, demanded a rational grounding.
But in Spencer the presentation of the doctrine is totally different, as the idea of philosophy is different. No longer that of metaphysicsmental abstractions excogitated from assumptions,—it is well known that the modern idea of philosophy is, in brief, generalized science, i.e., a generalization of the verified truths of science carried backward to their origin and forward to their ultimate results—a comprehensive statement of proved first principles exemplified in their universal applications. Science (by that is meant all organized knowledge) furnishes the details of which philosophy furnishes the principle or last explanation. The verification of science, too, is by observation an experiment; the higher verification of philosophy, by the twofold method of induction and deduction. On this method, accordingly, Spencer has dealt with the radical fact of a First Cause, and laid all question, as to so much at least of the ultimate mystery, for ever at rest. In his own words—“ Common sense asserts the existence of a reality; objective science proves that this reality cannot be what we think it; subjective science shows why we cannot think of it as it is, and yet are compelled to think of it as existing; and in this assertion of a reality utterly inscrutable in nature, religion finds an assertion essentially coinciding with her own.” He has assumed and verified this essential doctrine—given what has never been given before, a rational presentation of this fundamental verity as essentially different from that of metaphysics as an ascertained truth differs from an assumption or blind guess ; laying the great question of fact at rest for all time to come.
The secret of his success lies in his method—the imperishable union of the inductive and deductive, rigorously applied ; and the object of this article is to elucidate his position.
Sixteen years ago, in March 1860, Mr. Herbert Spencer issued a prospectus of " A System of Synthetic Philosophy" to be published in quarterly parts, and to consist of the following volumes, appearing in the order here given “First Principles," 1 vol. ; 1 “The Principles of Biology," 2 vols.; "The Principles of Psychology," 2 vols.; "The Principles of Sociology," 3 vols. ; and “The Principles of Morality," 2 vols. These ten books, in thick 8vo, averaging 600 pages each, will cover, when completed, his entire “System” proper. Only five of them have as yet been published, but the prospectus contains an outline of the whole. He is also the author of several other works issued before or since 1860—“Social Statics," “ Education," " The Classification of the Sciences,” “The Study of Sociology," and three volumes of essays, besides being the classifier and arranger of a system or scheme of “Descriptive Sociology," four volumes of which are before the public. The “System of Philosophy" is an exposition of the doctrine of evolution; and a glance at the above titles of subjects proposed will suffice to shew the unity of aim and completeness of idea in Spencer's mind. His endeavour is to grasp, so far as one mind can grasp, the multifarious facts of the worlds of matter, mind and life; to trace these facts up to their harmonizing principle; and, securing this principle by verification, to reconstitute, as it were before our eyes, and step by step till the perfect whole is reached, that universe which we now know only in the grandeur and vastness of its “admired disorder." With the system or the doctrine it expounds we have no concern here, but solely with his enunciation of the inscrutable Unknown, contained in “ First Principles,” part I., entitled “The Unknowable," and consisting of the following five chapters—“Religion and Science," “ Ultimate Religious Ideas,” “Ultimate Scientific Ideas,” “The Relativity of all Knowledge," and "The Reconciliation," i.e. of religion and science. Spencer believes this idea, based on this fact, of the unknown, to be the harmonizing medium of these two great powers; a position we also contend for, though in a different sense from his. I will give a brief and imperfect, though, I trust, intelligible account of the great philosopher's argument.
We are so constituted as to be compelled to think the idea of Cause. This necessity regards every particular thing equally with the whole of things, and compels the assumption of a cause in itself uncaused as the source of the universe-else the cause of this cause would in turn have
1 Here should follow the application of first principles to inorganic nature ; but the scheme is too extensive to admit of it, and organic nature of more immediate importance.