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gift of the increased power necessitates the creation of increased means for its operation. The variety that reigns throughout nature only shows the continued presence of Infinite Intelligence and Infinite Ability.
If we turn to man, whose complex structure combines all the powers of the other members of the organic world, whence comes the power that he has manifested of continual progression ? Are we to consider him an automaton because some of the actions necessary to his existence are involuntary? Because the texture of his body is material, are all the results of his mental and moral activity to be estimated materially ? Matter is evidently material both in its nature and effects, which are subject to the operation of force, but can this be said of thought and emotion? The powers of thinking may be destroyed by material agency, yet this is but the destruction of the means of communication with the external world. The thoughts that have been communicated, have they lost their effective power, or can they be analyzed materially? To infer that the material means is the cause, would be as wise as to infer that an electric shock is caused by the wire because without the wire we should not feel the current. And to what shall we attribute this power of thought and emotion which has effected man's progress ? The development has apparently been inherent, but from what did the power of development first come? It is not material; it must therefore have been derived from a Living Being who is supernatural.
Such seem to be the limits of our scientific knowledge of God. The application of a scientific test will not explain the existences and operations of nature, without the admission of a supernatural power of Infinite Intelligence. But beyond this science cannot go. If man is to attain a finite comprehension of the nature of the creative and ruling power, he must derive it from revelation. It is only through the revelation of the superior in any form that the inferior can obtain an approximate idea of the character of the superior. All else would be vain conjecture. But when the idea is revealed, philosophy will find, on due enquiry, that the idea is in harmony with man’s intelligence.
The conflict of science with religion, or religion with science, is therefore a mistaken conflict. Each has its own world. The world of science is nature, and this it can explore best by the examination of nature's manifestations, letting in the light of reason and imagination only so far as it tends to the discovery of law. The world of religion is the human soul, and the province of religion is to elevate and develop
the soul until it becomes the perfect man—the image and likeness of God. It is because man's knowledge of the human soul is almost entirely limited to the knowledge of his own moral and spiritual nature, that revelation was necessarily given to fix his mind on a Great Exemplar, and to make known how best to fulfil his destiny by obedience to the Divine Will. For as in earthly life obedience to nature's laws is most conducive to health and physical pleasure, so spiritually, obedience to the revealed Divine Law is most conducive to purity and heavenly joy.
There is no need to fear the results of science, for nature can never explain the cause of its own existence. Life is too subtle for man's intelligence to fathom, and the evidence of design is unshaken by the marvellous scientific investigations and discoveries of recent times. Apart from the philosophic basis of the necessity of God's existence, there is a satisfaction to be derived from the belief that nature's operations are not merely the whirl of chance, but that all are guided by His controlling hand. We lift ourselves from the survey of nature to the thought of nature's God, and our souls are filled with wonder, love, and praise. From the meanest flower that grows by the wayside, or even the pebble that lies beneath our feet, to the highest beauty and power in human form, there is seen the effect of Infinite Design. And when we are led to the acknowledgment of His Omniscient and Almighty Power, we are thankful that Revelation has declared Him to be a God whose love is unchangeable.
INSPIRATION IN AN UNCONSIDERED ASPECT.1 We remember reading some years ago a book which was pronounced a remarkable one by those of our friends into whose hands it about the same time came. It is a book which has long been out of print, and various efforts which have been made to discover a stray copy, by looking over booksellers' catalogues, have been without success. The book was published by the late Mr. Charles Knight, and was written by a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, who was the University Examiner of a generation of Cambridge men of whom very few now survive. The writer was a Mr. Capel Lofft, references to whom may
i This article, which appeared in the Friend of India of July 1st, is from the pen of the author of the Tremadoc Sermons.
the late 3u0s, here to dias been
occasionally be met with in the memoirs of literary men who were in mid-career at the beginning of the present century. The latest mention of his name we have noticed is in Mr. Kegan Paul's recently published “Life of William Godwin.” The title of the book is “Self-Formation, or the History of an Individual Mind.” It is a book of singular interest. The copy we ourselves read is still, we believe, on a shelf of an old subscription library, which was frequented by a small cluster of literary men. At that time it was not thought to be detrimental to a book for it to receive on its margin the thoughtful pencilled comments of its readers. The margin of the book we are speaking of was here and there covered with the carefully-written annotations of more than one worker in literature. The book contained the history of the gradual expansion of the writer's mind, from the dawn of consciousness to the days of university distinction. The only book analogous to it that we know of is Dr. Newman's “History of My Religious Opinions.” But while the great Oratorian's book deals with the slowly-advancing assent of his mind to a system of opinions of transcendental import, the almost-forgotten book which tells the interesting history of an individual mind, deals with the gradual growth of that mind in positive knowledge, and in the power to grasp principles underlying the facts which came within its ken.
The writer had evidently set himself to diligently watch over his own intellectual growth. One of the most interesting parts of his book is a chapter devoted to unfolding what might be called a “theory of attention,” but whose connection with the title we have given to this article will soon be made clear. The writer, after a prolonged period of self-observation, had come to the conclusion, which may be briefly stated in the words, that what may be called the in breathing of thoughts into the mind synchronized with the inbreathing of air into the lungs. He had noticed that the only effective moments of study were those when he was either inhaling breath, or else holding his breath. During the intervals in which he exhaled breath it seemed to him that his mind relaxed its hold upon the subject under consideration. This relaxing of hold might, however, be but a needful recoil to enable it to advance forward to a closer grasp. If he exercised no control over his breath, the result was distraction of attention, and the mere appearance of studying without its reality. Such a theory as he puts forth seems to be very much in accord with common experience. The phrase “breathless attention," so often applied to the eagerness with which an audience listens to the words
of an orator, receives at once from the theory, if it is accepted, a significant justification. It is a matter, too, of common observation, that refined, thoughtful persons manage their breath with much more delicacy than those to whom no mental conversion has as yet come to dispel their inborn vulgarity. Occupations, too, which require finesse and delicacy of handling and prolonged care, develop in those who follow them a judicious management of the breath, quietness of breathing, and the power of enduring periods of lengthened breathlessness. The theory, too, seems to receive a rough verification in the measured shouting or singing with which is accomplished “a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether," of such men as sailors, when what they are employed upon requires united action. Not only is the measured song a signal for common action, but the rhythmic movement of the breath seems to render possible a greater concentration of nervous energy upon the work in hand.
But such a theory of the synchronism of the mental inspirations with the body's inbreathings of the mind's attention with the holding-in of the breath—à theory which if pondered upon and examined into seems really to have been all along as it were crystallized in the very words inspiration and attention, our glib familiarity with which has caused us to miss the very essence of their meaning,—such a theory seems to point out to us that the word inspiration, as used in its highest sense with reference to thoughts which are borne in upou the human mind from a Divine source, has not been so used as the result of a mere analogical suggestion ; but that the word itself and the theory associated with it spring from a recognition of one of the great facts of our bodily nature. The theory has in later days been held in an imperfect fashion. Inspiration has been supposed to act in a merely mechanical way; as though the God-inspired men of ancient days were mere material mechanisms, the rustling through which of the Divine breath controlled the movements of the hand as it framed the very syllables of the message to be delivered to the sons of men. The holders of this theory were smitten with such poverty of imagination that they could not discern that even the mechanisms --the musical instruments—through which sound is made to pass in regulated vibrations, in part a tone or timbre to that which falls as music upon the human ear. But yet it is well that the theory of inspiration has been preserved for us, even in its imperfect, mechanical form. It could not indeed have been other than preserved for us, so long as the word “inspiration ” existed.
The result of such self-watching as is recorded in the almost forgotten book of Mr. Capel Lofft, and or psychological investigation noted down in more recent books, whose writers could have had no knowledge of Mr. Lofft's previous searchings into his own growing mind, is to bring to light the thought that in the very physical structure of man-in the very mechanism by means of which he lives and moves and has his physical being in the all-pervading air—there is a provision for an orderly spiritual growth-provision for the rhythmic inflowing of that Divine aid to the soul, the thought of which long ago dawned upon our forefathers, and was long ago expressed by them in the word “inspiration.”
Does not science come forward to enable us to perfect our conception of the body and mind thus acting in concert with one another? Are we not accustomed to hear frequent expression given to the idea that thought is accompained by the vibration of the tissue of the brainso necessarily accompanied that we may not shrink from saying it is accomplished by such vibration. But vibrations to be effective must be rhythmical. A succession of irregular aerial impulses is not a musical note, but merely a noise. An object moving before the eye with very great rapidity has its visibility annihilated. The succession of wave-like impulses given to the ether whose vibrations constitute the phenomena of light in such a case interfere with and destroy one another. Is it not therefore reasonable to expect that there must be some provision for imparting regularity to the vibrations of the brainmolecules when a process of thought is going on within us? And does not such provision seem to be supplied in the very respiratory apparatus of the body? What are called the organs of breathing are not alone put in motion during respiration. The whole body breathes. Is not this made strikingly evident after violent exertion, when the heart increases its throbbings, the fleshly tissue quivers, and the whole frame pants ? What is so evidently an accompaniment of extreme exertion really goes on in a subdued way during the quiet breathings of the body at rest. We have but to think of these rhythmic movements communicated to the inner substance of the brain, to see alike a justification of the words in which scientific men of recent days have expressed their conclusion as to the brain producing thought, and a verification of the results arrived at by the Cambridge scholar, who without any special scientific knowledge, became convinced, by observations upon the action of his own mind in study, of the synchronism of thinking with in breathing or inspiration.