Scientific and Religious Journal.
VOL. I. SEPTEMBER, 1880. NO. 9.
THE DIVINITY OF OUR RELIGION AS CONCEDED BY ITS ENEMIES.
Voltaire says, "I am ever apprehensive of being mistaken; but all monuments give me sufficient evidence that the polished nations of antiquity acknowledged a supreme God. There is not a book, not a medal, not a bas-relief, not an inscription, in which Juno, Minerva, Neptune, Mars, or any of the other deities, is spoken of as a creating being, the sovereign of all nature.
"On the contrary, the most ancient profane books that we have—Hesiod and Homer—represent their Zeus as the only thunderer, the only master of gods and men; he even punishes the other gods; he ties Juno with a chain, and drives Apollo out of heaven.
"The ancient religion of the Brahmins explains itself in a sublime manner, concerning the unity and power of God, in these words found in the 2d chapter of the Shastah, 'The Eternal, absorbed in the contemplation of his own existence, resolved, in the fullness of time, to communicate his glory and his essence to beings capable of feeling and partaking his beatitude, as well as of contributing to his glory. The Eternal willed it, and they were. He formed them partly of his own essence, capable of perfection or imperfection, according to their will. The Eternal first created Brahma, Vishna and Siva, then Mozazor and all the multitude of the angels. The Eternal gave the pre-eminence to Brahma, Vishna and Siva. Brahma was the prince of the angelic army. Vishna and Siva were his coadjutors. The Eternal divided the angelic army into several bands, and gave to each a chief. They adored the Eternal, ranged around his throne, each in the degree assigned him. There was harmony in heaven.'
"The Chinese, ancient as they are, come after the Indians. They have acknowledged one only God. They have no subordinate gods. The Magi of Chaldea, the Sabeans, acknowledge but one supreme God, whom they adored in the stars, which are his work. The Persians adored him in the sun. The sphere placed on the frontispiece of the temple of Memphis was the emblem of one only and perfect God, called Knef by the Egyptians. The title of Deus Optimum Maximus was never given by the Romans to any but Jupiter." Voltaire adds, "This great truth, which we have elsewhere pointed out, can not be too often repeated. Jupiter was the translation of the Greek word Zeus, and Zeus a translation of the Phenician word Jehovah."—Philosophical Dictionary, vol. 1, pp. 374, 375.
Ever remember, that there is, in all the ancient theories of gods, the grand idea of one supreme God. Unbelievers keep this great truth out of sight.
R. Dale Owen says of Christ, "His character and his doings, as exhibited in the gospel biographies—are almost as marvellous as the system he gave to the world. They accord neither with his country nor with his time, nor—except as one illustrious example disclosing to us what man may be—with that human race with which, on a hundred occasions, he expressly identified himself. It were difficult in this connection, to improve on the words of an anglican clergyman, whose early death was a misfortune to the church he adorned. 'Once in the roll of ages, out of innumerable failures, from the stock of human nature, one bud developed into a faultless flower. One perfect specimen of humanity has God exhibited on earth. As if the life blood of every nation were in his veins, and that which is best and truest in every man, and that which is tenderest and gentlest and purest in every woman, were in his character; he is emphatically the Son of Man.' 'Christ is the crowning exemplar of the Inspired; for he, while abiding among us, lived, more nearly than any other of God's creatures here, within sight and hearing of his future home. Therefore it is that his teachings are the noblest fruits of inspiration.'"
A.J. Davis says: "He (Christ) was A TYPE OF A PERFECT MAN, both in physical and spiritual qualifications. His general organization was indeed remarkable, inasmuch as he possessed, combined, the perfection of physical beauty, mental powers and refined accomplishments. He was generally beloved during his youth for his great powers of discernment, his thirst after knowledge, and his disposition to inquire into the causes of mental phenomena, of the conditions of society, and of the visible manifestations of nature. He was also much beloved for his PURE natural sympathy for all who were suffering afflictions either of a physical or mental character—It is true that at the age of twelve years he was admitted to the presence of the learned doctors. There he manifested some of his powers of discernment, interior and natural philosophy, unsophistocated love, simplicity of expression, kindness of disposition, and universal sympathy and benovolence. These he displayed with all the naturalness and spontaneousness resulting from the promptings of an uncorrupted and purely-organized spiritual principle."
Gregg, a Deist, says: "I value the religion of Jesus, as containing more truth, purer truth, higher truth, than has ever yet been given to man. Much of his teaching I unhesitatingly receive as, to the best of my judgment, unimprovable and unsurpassable—fitted, if obeyed, to make earth all that a finite and material scene can be, and man only a little lower than the angels. 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord! Lord; * * * * * * but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.' 'By their fruits ye shall know them;' 'I will have mercy, and not sacrifice;' 'Be not a slothful hearer only, but a doer of the work;' 'Woe unto ye, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye pay tithes of mint, and anise and cummin, and neglect the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and temperance, (faith left out.)'
"'The enforcement of purity of heart as the security for purity of life, and of the government of the thoughts, as the originators and forerunners of action.' 'He that looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart;' 'Out of the heart proceed murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man.'
"Universal good-will toward men.—'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;' 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, that do ye also unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.'
"Forgiveness of injuries.—'Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you, pray for them which dispitefully use you and persecute you;' 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us;' 'I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven;' 'If ye love them only that love you, what reward have ye? Do not even publicans the same?'
"The necessity of self-sacrifice in the cause of duty.—'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake;' 'If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me;' 'If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee;' 'No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'
"Humility.—'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth;' 'He that humbleth himself shall be exalted;' 'He that is greatest among you, let him be your servant.'
"Genuine sincerity; being not seeming.—'Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them;' 'When thou prayest, enter into thy closet and shut thy door;' 'When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast.' All these sublime precepts need no miracle, no voice from the clouds, to recommend them to our allegiance, or to assure us of their divinity; they command obedience by virtue of their inherit rectitude and beauty, and vindicate their author as himself the one towering perpetual miracle of history."—Creed of Christendom, pp. 318, 319.
"We hold that God has so arranged matters in this beautiful and well-ordered, but mysteriously-governed universe, that one great mind after another will arise from time to time, as such are needed, to discover and flash forth before the eyes of men the truths that are wanted, and the amount of truth that can be borne. We conceive that this is effected by endowing them, or by having arranged that nature and the course of events shall send them into the world endowed with that superior mental and moral organization in which grand truths, sublime gleams of spiritual light, will spontaneously and inevitably arise. Such a one we believe was Jesus of Nazareth, the most exalted religious genius whom God ever sent upon the earth; in himself an embodied revelation; humanity in its divinest phase, 'God manifest in the flesh,' according to eastern hyperbole; an exemplar given in an early age of the world to show what man may and should become in the course of ages; in his progress towards the realization of his destiny; an individual gifted with a grand, clear intellect, a noble soul, a fine organization, marvelous moral intuitions, and a perfectly balanced moral being; and who, by virtue of these endowments, saw further than all other men, 'Beyond the verge of that blue sky, where God's sublimest secrets lie.'"—Creed of Christendom, pp. 306, 307.
We regard him * * as the perfection of the spiritual character, as surpassing all men of all times in the closeness and depth of his communion with the Father. In reading his sayings, we feel that we are holding converse with the wisest, purest, noblest being that ever clothed thought in the poor language of humanity. In studying his life we feel that we are following the footsteps of the highest ideal yet presented to us upon earth.
By the very next sentence Gregg's eulogy upon Christ becomes an eulogy upon the Old Testament. He says the Old Testament contained his teaching; it was reserved for him to elicit, publish and enforce it.—Creed of Christendom, pp. 300, 310.
"But it must not be forgotten that though many of the Christian precepts were extant before the time of Jesus, yet it is to him that we owe them; to the energy, the beauty, the power of his teaching, and still more to the sublime life he led, which was a daily and hourly exposition and enforcement of his teaching."—Gregg, C.C.
Strauss allows that it was not possible that the early Christians should have looked upon Christ as their Redeemer and Mediator between God and men, if the apostles had not proclaimed this very doctrine; and the apostles could not have preached it if Jesus himself had not designated himself as the Redeemer from sin, guilt and death, and demanded faith in himself as a religious act. He asserts that the distinguishing features of the Christian church must be traced to Christ, his ministry and teachings about himself; that Christ claimed the power to secure peace to his followers. He also claims that the moral and religious character of Christ is above every suspicion, and unequaled in its kind. He says, "The purely spiritual and ethical conceptions of God as the 'only one,' he owed to his Jewish education, and, also the purity of his being. But the Greecian element in Jesus was his cheerfulness, arising from his unsullied mind." Again he says, Jesus, by cultivating a frame of mind that was cheerful, in union with God, and embracing all men as brethren, had realized the prophetic ideal of a New Covenant with the heart inscribed law; he had to speak with the poet, received God into his will; so that for him the Godhead had descended from its throne, the abyss was filled up, all fear was vanished. His beautifully organized nature had but to develop itself to be more fully and clearly confirmed in its consciousness of itself, but needed not to return to begin a new life.
Gregg, the Deist, after presenting Jesus as the "one towering, perpetual miracle of history," says, "Next in perfection come the views which Christianity unfolds to us of God in his relation to man, which were probably as near the truth as the minds of men could in that age receive. God is represented as our Father in heaven, to be whose especial children is the best reward of the peace-makers, to see whose face is the highest hope of the pure in heart, who is ever at hand to strengthen his true worshipers, to whom is due our heartiest love, our humblest submission, whose most acceptable worship is righteous conduct and a holy heart, in whose constant presence our life is passed, to whose merciful disposal we are resigned by death. His relation to us is alone insisted on. All that is needed for our consolation, our strength, our guidance, is assured to us. The purely speculative is passed over and ignored." It may be that the prospect of an "exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory" may be needed to support our frail purposes under the crushing afflictions of our mortal lot. It may be that, by the perfect arrangements of Omnipotence, the sufferings of all may be made to work out the ultimate and supreme good of each. He next makes this grand concession: To the orthodox Christian, who fully believes all he professes, cheerful resignation to the divine will is comparatively a natural, an easy, a simple thing. To the religious philosopher (meaning such as himself) it is the highest exercise of intellect and virtue. The man who has realized the faith that his own lot is so regulated by God as unerringly to work for his highest good—with such a man, resignation, patience, nay cheerful acquiescence in all suffering and sorrow, appear to be in fact only the simple and practical expression of his belief. If, believing all this, he still murmers and rebels at the trials and contrarieties of his lot, he is of the childishness of the infant which quarrels with the medicine that is to lead it back to health and ease.
Huxley says: "The belief that the divine commands are identical with the laws of social morality has left infinite strength to the latter in all ages. The lover of moral beauty, struggling through a world full of sorrow and sin, is surely as much the stronger for believing that sooner or later a vision of perfect peace and goodness will burst upon him, as the toiler up a mountain for the belief that beyond crag and snow lie home and rest."—Modern Symposium, page 250, 1.
Baldwin Brown, of the Liberal School, speaking of a very singular effort of Mr. Harrison, says: "I rejoice in the passionate earnestness with which he lifts the hearts of his readers to ideals which it seems to me—that Christianity which as a living force in the Apostles' days turned the world upside down, that is right side up, with its face toward heaven and God—alone can realize for man. I recall a noble passage written by Mr. Harrison some years ago: 'A religion of action, a religion of social duty, devotion to an intelligible and sensible head, a real sense of incorporation with a living and controlling force, the deliberate effort to serve an immortal humanity—this, and this alone can absorb the musings and the cravings of the spiritual man.' A.J. Davis speaking of the first century, says: 'Jesus Christ and his apostles were at this time establishing the only true religion.'"
Now, I wish to say a few things in view of all that I have given from the opposite side. And first, as it is the part of science to find a cause for every effect, we will look after the causes as given by those men who reject the essential divinity of the religion of Christ, and also look after the strength or weakness of their cause, as the case may be:
1. What is the cause of the character they ascribe to the Christ? We will begin with the Deist Gregg. He claims that God has endowed men differently—has endowed some with brains so much larger and finer than those of ordinary men as to enable them to see and originate truths which are hidden from the mass; and that when it is his will that mankind should make some great step forward, should achieve some pregnant discovery, that is, discovery loaded with benefits to our race, he calls into being some cerebral organization of more than ordinary magnitude and power, as that of David, Isaiah, Plato, Shakespeare, Bacon, Newton, Luther, Pascal. Here we discover the cause of the superior character of Christ as a teacher, which is assigned by all the leading spirits in modern unbelief, viz: a finely endowed cerebral organization, and a Jewish education; these are constantly presented as sufficient to meet the scientific demand for the cause of his life and teachings, or the cause of Christianity. But there is a scientific demand lying behind all this, viz: what is the cause of this fine cerebral organization, which was so wonderful as to produce the most wonderful character of all ages? The answer, given in the clear-cut words of all except Atheists, who say there is no God, is this, "The all-wise disposer of all things sends just such men into our race, when any great step forward is necessary to be made—that he endows them with direct reference to the discoveries and achievements to be made." So the great cause, after all, is, upon their own showing, the will and power of God; for if he endowed him, as they claim, with direct reference to his teachings and achievements, it follows of necessity, that he willed that those very teachings and achievements should not only be made, but be made just when they were, and just as they were; so Christianity finds its origin in God, and is a manifestation from God, according to the showing of Gregg and Strauss. For Strauss will have it that the finite must not be separated from God. But you must remember that Strauss is a Pantheist, and that he, as such, claims that the infinite, or God, who with him is not a person, but all-pervading life, receives the finite into itself, and so it becomes a part of the idea of the Godhead; in such a manner, however, that it is not peculiar to Jesus alone, but to humanity as such. So Strauss reaches the same thought that Gregg expresses—so far as the relation of Christ to Godhead is concerned. While he and Strauss differ upon the subject of the Godhead, one being a Deist and the other a Pantheist, they find their agreement in naturalism, that is to say, they account for the Christ character upon the score of his being more finely organized and endowed by relation to the Godhead; Gregg claims that this is attributable to an all-wise Godhead, and Strauss claims that it is attributable to the all-pervading life, or Pantheistic Godhead, and both include as a second cause of his character his education.
We then systematize as follows: first, the Deist who accepts the character of Christ as exhibiting a superior life. His first cause for the existence of Christianity is the fine organization of Christ. His second cause is his education. The pantheist has it as follows: first cause for the existence of Christianity, the fine organization of Christ. Second cause, his education; both, however, must find a cause behind that fine organization, and that cause, they claim, is the Godhead, however much they may differ about that Godhead.
This relation between Christ and the true Godhead is the fundamental article in the Christian religion, and becomes at once, by common agreement, the first great cause of the origin and existence of the Christian religion. No Pantheist, or Deist, or Naturalist gets away from this conclusion without avowing Atheism. What does it amount to? Answer: Christianity is of God. The reason is this, the fine cerebral organization of Christ was of God. Hence we have it, first cause, God; second cause, Christ; effect, Christianity. Common admission, Christ is the grandest character, the purest life, the finest teacher, finest organization ever yet given to the race. The Christian says, Amen! But science must find a cause for every effect. What was the cause of the teachings of the apostles, whose sincerity was such that they died for their religion? Well, Strauss says, It is inconceivable that they should have done it if Jesus himself had not designated himself as the Redeemer from sin, guilt and death, and required faith in his person as a religious duty, claiming the power to secure peace in the Holy Spirit. According to Strauss, we have this arrangement:
First, the infinite—the Godhead took the finite Jesus into itself.
Second, he was above suspicion—the finest, purest specimen of all ever known among men. A.G. Davis, R.D. Owen, Renan and Gregg, and Tom Paine, and a host of others in unbelief say Amen! Gregg says God sent him, and sent him to do just that which he did do. Strauss says, He taught his desciples, and they consequently taught the world.
OUR INDEBTEDNESS TO REVELATION.
THE TEN SCEPTICS IN COUNCIL—No. 3.
BY P.T. RUSSELL.
Christian. Gentlemen; I am happy to meet you again. Be seated. Have you weighed the matter I gave you in our last interview? If you have, I would like to hear your objections, if you have any.
Reason. We think we have some valid objections. First, we are satisfied that your position is unscientific, although it is ingeniously taken. Among scientific men it is conceded that nature reveals her own birth, and declares her creation. Now, if it is true that Nature herself tells the history of her origin, then your idea that God the creator told this, is to us unreasonable, for there is no need of the same story being told to the same auditors by two different parties; so we must regard your position as untrue.
Christian. Are you sure that Nature ever gave the history of her origin, of her birth? do you read it in the book of Nature, or does she tell it vocally?
Reason. Tell it vocally? No! Nature has no power of speech! She wrote the history of her origin upon the pages of her own book, and the eye of the Scientist reads it there.
Christian. Are you certain of this? how was she qualified to do so? Could you write the history of your origin, of your birth, without the aid of some one older than yourself? Did you have the powers of observation in active exercise, watching every movement among the causes that brought you into being? Now, if man could not be an eye-witness to his own origin, upon this planet of ours, was there anything else in nature that could be, and so gave that history, which you know you could not? Is it not possible that you have obtained your intelligence from another source—from what I call the revelation of the Creator? May it not be true that you have thus borrowed your information, and falsely credited it to Nature? If you found it in the book of Nature and read it there, you can tell me on what page it is written? will you do this so that I may read it too?
Reason. Read it there, and on some certain or well-known page! Really, you are very captious. This great truth is on every page; the whole face of Nature declares it; I can not tell you anything about the page.
Christian. There is a German maxim which, translated into English, reads, "The clear is the true." The natural converse of this German proposition is this: The truth of the ambiguous is very doubtful. This leaves your claim in a very suspicious condition, if it does not brand it with falsehood. Again, you say it was written in the book of Nature. By whom was it written? A book can not write itself. Nature, or the material universe, neither did nor could write it, for she has no power of action, inertia being her property. She might be acted upon. I can write upon this sheet, but it can not write upon itself. If it is written upon it is self-evident that a foreign power has done it. So Nature, being the aggregate of everything, can not move without the hand of a foreign power moving her. I suppose you are now ready to ask, "Is it not a scientific truth that matter is eternal?"
Reason. Yes, we are satisfied that matter is uncreated, and hence eternal. The idea that something was made of nothing might do for the dark ages, but it will not stand the test now. The penetrating eye of the scientist has exploded that dream.
Christian. I am glad to hear you speak thus with confidence, and yet the sequel may show that you are the dreamer. Science, falsely so called, has declared matter eternal. True science contradicts this. "None of the processes of Nature, since the time when Nature began, have produced the slightest difference in the properties of any molecule. We are therefore unable to ascribe either the existence of the molecules, or the identity of their properties, to the operation of any of the causes which we call natural. The quality of each molecule gives it the essential character of a manufactured article, and precludes the idea of its being eternal and self-existent."—Prof. Clark Maxwell, lectures delivered before the British Association, at Bradford, in Nature, vol. 8, p. 441.
Prof. Maxwell is a star of first magnitude among British scientists; he has made a specialty of molecular organizations. No real scholar would dare to risk his standing by disputing the conclusion of Prof. Maxwell. An idea that is shut out by matter of fact discoveries will not be made the basis of an argument by any scholar who has not been taking a "Rip Van Winkle sleep" while the rest of the world has been advancing. The great improvements resulting in the astonishing increase of power has enabled us to closely examine the smallest known particles of matter, molecules. And under the best glasses, these give every possible indication of being a created, or manufactured article.
Thus, the latest and most grand discoveries in this field of science do unequivocally confirm the declaration of Moses in Gen. 2: 3, where, according to the Hebrew in which he wrote, speaking of the creation of all things, he gives us this idea, "Which God created to make." See marginal reading, Gen. 2: 3. Hebrew scholars tell me this is the correct reading. The word, rendered, "and made," is in the infinitive mood, and hence should read, "to make;" also, that the word rendered, "created" is the proper term by which to indicate the producing cause. This, then, is the thought presented by both of our witnesses, i.e., by Moses and science. Moses says God created the material to make globes, or worlds. The material was molecular, and science declares that every molecule gives every possible indication of being manufactured or created. So, true scientific discoveries have so completely vindicated the Mosaic cosmogony that it leaves no chance for any, outside of three classes, to object. For two of these classes I am not writing, viz., the cowardly and the dishonest. To do this would be "casting pearls before swine." But for the ignorant I send this on its mission. Read and digest. In my next I will demonstrate the divine origin of language and religion. Till then, farewell.
INFIDELS IN A LOGICAL TORNADO.
There is nothing but matter. Matter is eternal. Therefore all things are eternal. Does this have the right ring? It must be so if infidel materialism be the true philosophy. And if it is so we are all deceived; for universal conscience, and universal language, are both against it.
If there is anything that is not eternal there was a time when it began to be, it was created in some way, intelligently or by accident. If intelligently, the Bible idea is, and must be correct. If without an intelligence it was not, and could not be by evolution, for creation by evolution could not, and can not be; because that which is not in a thing can not be evolved out of it, unless you can get more out of a thing than there is in it; which is absurd. So evolution is a negation of the doctrine of a creation. And the doctrine that there is nothing but matter, and that matter is eternal, is a denial of creation by intelligence or otherwise. The infidel says, life began to be; for there was a time when there was no life. But they say matter is eternal. And life is not eternal. Therefore life is not matter. Gentlemen, will you get away with this conclusion? The opposite is equally fatal to the materialistic theory. Thus, matter is eternal. There is nothing but matter. Therefore life is eternal. Can you get this conclusion out of, or away from logical deductions?
But infidels say, "Life is a property of certain elements of matter." Very well; can you separate things and their properties? Can you get them so far apart as to hold the one class—things—to be eternal, and the other class—properties—not? Your philosophy of spontaneous generation of life says, Yes, yes, there was a time when it began to be, and it was spontaneously generated, of course it was. Very well; there is nothing but matter. Matter did not begin to be; it is eternal. Life began to be, therefore it is not matter; otherwise it is eternal according to infidel logic, unless you take the position that life is nothing!
Matter is eternal.
That which began to be is not eternal.
Mind began to be;
Therefore, mind is not eternal.
Very well; let's look at it once more.
Matter is eternal; it did not begin to be.
Mind is not eternal; it began to be;
Therefore, mind is not matter.
Where, gentlemen, O where will you place mind? is it also nothing?
That which began to be was created.
Life and mind, both, began to be;
Therefore, life and mind were created.
Question. Were they the effects of an inadequate cause? Inanimate and unintelligent nature would not be an adequate cause. Did these do more than animated intelligence can do? Gentlemen of skeptical proclivities answer.
If so, is this not evolution backwards? Is it not retrogression, or development at the expense of the loss of power to rise to the plane of unintelligent mind and life evolving nature? Do you say, organic life does evolve organic life and mind. From a state of death? Without antecedent life and mind being drawn upon? Come, gentlemen; how is this? You say inanimate Nature produced life and mind without the previous existence of either; can you duplicate that feat with your power? If you can't are you not below the inanimate Nature which did it for the first time? Can inanimate forces do more than living intelligent Nature? Do you say no! Then demonstrate the philosophy of spontaneous generation of life, and show yourself A GOD.
An effort to produce organic life without antecedent life, or where it is not, is an effort to create organic life. The efforts of unbelievers to produce organic life by spontaneous generation, is an effort to produce organic life where it is not. Therefore the efforts of unbelievers to produce organic life, by spontaneous generation, is an effort to create organic life.
An effort to create organic life where it is not is an effort to rise into the character of a God, and show one's self the equal of God. But why should this effort not be made? If unintelligent dead matter has performed the feat, without wisdom or design, why should it not be performed by living intelligent Nature? Gentlemen, demonstrate your theory. Do you say, we have given up all hope of witnessing its demonstration? Well, well, has any man ever witnessed it? You say no. Then it is not certain knowledge. Science is certain knowledge. Therefore spontaneous generation of life and intelligent being is not science. Now, gentlemen, don't prostitute science at the shrine of your nonsensical guessing any more. Throw your guessing to one side and acknowledge God like wise men, and be no longer foolish.
Do you say life was always in matter? "Then we must conclude that it is in matter in the same sense in which all other corporeal qualities are in bodies, so as to be divisible together with it, and some of it be in every part of the matter." This is ancient Hylozoism.
On the other hand, the "Stoical Atheists supposed there was one life only in the entire mass of matter, after such a manner, as that none of the parts of it by themselves should have any life of their own." Now, according to this Stoical theory, "life is no corporeal quality or form, but an incorporeal substance." There are, really, but two sorts of Atheism which have been in any thing like extensive notice. First, "Such as claim that life is essential to matter, and therefore ingenerable and incorruptible." Second, "Those who claim that life and everything, besides the bare substance of matter, or extended bulk, is merely accidental, generable, or corruptible, rising out of some mixture or modification of matter." Is life, perception and understanding essential to matter, as such? Is senseless matter perfectly wise, without consciousness? Such is Hylozoism, and it is outrageous nonsense. Very few men ever had credulity enough to receive and appropriate it. This form of Atheism was a forlorn and abandoned thing, without form or systemization, for centuries gone by—and it has few—very few—votaries, even now. The second kind of Atheism "is that of a true notion of body, that it is nothing but resisting bulk," associated with atomic physiology, which is an old theory resurrected of late, and displayed anew, with a show of deep philosophy and wisdom. But that mind and understanding itself sprang from senseless nature and chance, as a mere accident, or from the unguided and undirected motions of matter, is also nonsensical, and utterly absurd. Were there infinite atoms in mutual encounters, dashing and striking against each other? Did these atoms, devoid of sense and life, with their reflections and repurcussions, their cohesions, implexions, and entanglements, their scattered dispersions and divulsions, produce life and intelligence? If so, we will call it by the name of chance. Hear this, O, ye scientists, there is but one choice, and that is between God and chance!
The chance theory is that "infinite atoms of various sizes and figures, devoid of life and sense, moving fortuitously from eternity in infinite space, and making successive encounters and various implexions and entanglements with one another, produced first a confused chaos of these omnifarious particles or atoms, which, jumbling together with infinite variety of motions by the tugging of their different and contrary forces, hindered and restricted each other until, by joint conspiracy, they conglomerated into a vortex or vortexes, where, after many convulsions and evolutions, molitions and essays, in which all manner of tricks were tried," without design, "they chanced in length of time to settle into the form and system of things known as earth, air and fire, sun, moon and stars, plants, animals and men;" so that senseless atoms unconsciously moved themselves, although dead as grains of sand, and kept up the motion until, without any living substance underlying, and adequate to produce motion, all things so beautifully arranged sprang into life and being. O, ye stars, what is the magnitude of an infidel's credulity? What is there which he can not believe? It is no longer to be set down that he is a reasonable man. "The fool saith in his heart there is no God." There is a grand relation between the eternal spirit and that eternal substance which lies behind and underneath all that is, and that relation is the relation between the "King Eternal" and that over which he presides and which he controls. So out of nothing nothing comes.
RELIGIOUS HYSTERIA, OR GETTING INSTANTANEOUSLY CONVERTED.
BY GEORGE HERBERT CURTEIS, M.A.,
Late Fellow and Sub-Rector of Exeter College, Principal of the Litchfield Theological College, and Prebendary of Litchfield Cathedral.
I fear it is impossible to deny, that in the early part of the eighteenth century—amid the general coldness, languor, and want of enthusiasm which characterized that effete epoch—"the Church of England, as well as all the dissenting bodies, slumbered and slept." At this epoch, the Puritans were buried, and the Methodists were not born. The Bishop of Litchfield, in a sermon delivered in 1724, said, "The Lord's Day is now the Devil's market day." In Litchfield Cathedral Library is a copy of Dr. Balguy's Sermons, delivered in 1748, containing on the fly-leaf an autograph remark by Bishop Bloomfield. It is in these words, "No Christianity here." It is said of that period of time, by a noted minister of the Church of England, that a dry rationalism had taken possession of the church, and that all the powers of her best intellects were engaged in hot contests with Deists and Unitarians; that an equally dry morality and stoical praise of "Virtue" formed the chief part of the exhortations from the pulpit. It was just in these times that the causes of the reformation of John Wesley sprang into being. Seven biographies of John Wesley have already been written, and the subject seems far from being exhausted even yet. As usual in such cases it is the earlier publications which take the more sober view of his character and history; while those of a later date surround their hero with a halo of extravagant admiration. Alexander Knox, a personal friend of Wesley's, thus writes of him: "How was he competent to form a religious polity so compact, effective and permanent? I can only express my firm conviction that he was totally incapable of preconceiving such a scheme. * * * * That he had uncommon acuteness in fitting expedients to conjunctures is most certain; this, in fact, was his great talent." (Letter appended to Southey's Third Edition, 2, p. 428.) Methodism, at the first, sprang up simply as a revival.
Half a century ago a distinguished Wesleyan wrote as follows: "Though Methodism stands now in a different relation to the establishment than in the days of Mr. Wesley, dissent has never been professed by the body—and for obvious reasons: (1) A separation of a part of the society from the church has not arisen from the principles assumed by the professed Dissenters, and usually made so prominent in their discussions on the subject of establishments. (2) A considerable number of our members are actually in the communion of the Church of England to this day. (3) To leave that communion is not, in any sense, a condition of membership with us." (R. Watson's Observations, p. 156.)
"What may we reasonably believe to be God's design in raising up the preachers called Methodists? Not to form any new sect, but to reform the nation, particularly the church; and to spread scriptural holiness over the land." (Large Minutes of Conference, 1744-89, Qu. 3.) In the same, Qu. 45, we have this answer: "We are not seceders, nor do we bear any resemblance to them. We set out upon quite opposite principles." Southey says: "Wesley had now proposed to himself a clear and determinate object. He hoped to give a new impulse to the Church of England, to awaken its dormant zeal, infuse life into a body where nothing but life was wanting, and lead the way to the performance of duties which the church had scandalously neglected." (Southey's Life, p. 193, ed. Bohn.)
Mr Curties says: "A disastrous period of Wesleyanism opened with John Wesley's voyage to America, in 1735. It was a mission nobly undertaken, at the instance of Dr. Burton, of Corpus College, and of the celebrated mystic, William Law; and its purpose was twofold; first, that of ministering to the settlers in Georgia, and then of evangelizing the neighboring tribes of red Indians. (Southey's Life, p. 47). But its results were far different from those which either Wesley, or those who wished him well, could have anticipated. For not only were his services for the settlers rejected, and his mission to the Indians a failure. (R. Watson's Life, p. 38.) On his voyage out he had fallen in with twenty-six Moravian fellow-passengers, on their way from Germany to settle in Georgia; and they spoilt all. On his as yet unsettled, enthusiastic, self-dissatisfied frame of mind, the spectacle of their confident, tranquil, yet fervid piety, fell like a spark on tinder. He writes, in his journal, now first begun, 'From friends in England I am awhile secluded; but God hath opened me a door into the whole Moravian Church.' Here, Wesley learned, and took in, the doctrines of Peter Bohler, the Moravian, who taught thus: First, when a man has a living faith in Christ, then he is justified. Second, this living faith is always given in a moment. Third, in that moment he has peace with God. Fourth, which he can not have without knowing he has it. Fifth, and being born of God he sinneth not. Sixth, and he can not have this deliverance from sin, without knowing that he has it." (Southey's Life, p. 113.)
Such is the origin of the Methodist tenet "that there is a swift and royal road, not only for some men, but for all men, by which the highest spiritual things may be reached at a bound." Under such an impression John Wesley set about realizing an instantaneous and sensible conversion. If a man under high mental excitement is looking for such a thing to occur, something will take place sooner or later that will answer the expectation. So, on Wednesday, May 24, 1738, about nine o'clock in the evening, at a society's meeting in Aldersgate street, Wesley persuaded himself that he had felt the desired transition and had passed—from what, to what? In the answer to that question lies the whole doctrinal difference between modern Methodism and the Church of England. Stevens, in his history of Methodism 1, 108, says, Methodism owes to Moravianism special obligations: (1) It introduced Wesley into that regenerated spiritual life, the supremacy of which over all ecclesiasticism and dogmatism it was the appointed mission of Methodism to reassert. But a still stranger event occurred in John Wesley's life, which contributed still farther to darken and confuse his teaching at this critical period of his career. He had been carried away by his love of the Moravians so far as to take a long journey, and to visit the headquarters of their communion at Hernhutt, in Saxony. There he had been an honored guest at the retreat which the enthusiast Count Zinzendorf had carved out of his estate for these hunted Bohemian followers of Huss and Wickliff. But he had returned home, after a brief residence among them, as Luther returned from Rome, not a little shaken in his allegiance to their system. Indeed, shortly afterwards he broke from them entirely; set up a sort of English Moravianism of his own, and organized it with "bands" and "class-meetings" on the Moravian model. But his feelings as a churchman revolted against their ultra-spiritualism; repudiated their doctrine that sacraments and outward means were nothing, and protested that a man must do something more than wait, in quietude, until the influx of God's spirit came upon him, and filled, like a rising tide, all the sluices and channels of his soul. But no sooner had this unquiet soul emancipated itself from one foreign influence than it was warped out of its true course by another. German mysticism had done its work on him, and its doctrine of regeneration into God's kingdom by an interior convulsion of the mind had left its mark upon Wesleyanism for all future time. But just as this extravagance seemed likely to subside, and to be absorbed amid the healthier atmosphere of an English churchman's common sense, most unhappily a strong breath of French fanaticism suddenly set across his path, from quite another quarter. And the singular phenomenon now presented itself of an epidemic religious-hysteria commingling with, and emphasizing into lamentable extravagance, all the most dangerous features of the Methodist-Moravian doctrine about the new birth. So wonderfully is all the world connected together! * * * * *
These French "convulsionists," who had, just before this time, brought their curious mental malady with them into England, were refugees from the atrocious dragonnades of Louis the XIV. Maddened by his abominable and relentless persecutions, deprived by his autocratic edicts of all that life held dear, robbed of their children at the sweet age of seven years old, broken on the wheel, hunted among the mountains of the Cevennes, beggared, insulted, tortured, massacred—what wonder that these poor Protestants lost the balance of their mental powers and engendered a hysterical disease? The disease is (I believe), under its strangely mutable forms, well known to medical science, though science has never yet been able to probe all its mysterious depths. Its seat is, apparently, the great nervous ganglia of nutrition, which lie in the center of the body, and whose strange sympathetic action with and upon the brain has led to all the popular notions about the heart and neighboring organs being the seat of various impassioned feelings. Suffice it, however, at present, to observe that the phenomena which this extraordinary and infectious disease presented had sufficed to cheer the faith and animate the ardor of the Calvinists in the Cevennes against Rome.
The Cevennes is a range of mountains in the south of France, divided into N. and S. * * a wild rugged country, and the abode of many Protestants, who here maintained themselves against the persecutions of their enemies. (See Cavalier Jean). Such, in fact, were the causes of the extasies or irregular inspirations; the want of spiritual guides and schools, spoliation, suffering, liability to torture, and constant apprehension of the galley or the gibbet, the minds of these unfortunate creatures became excited. * * *
This religious enthusiasm began in Vivarais, an old territory of France, in Languedoc, on the Rhone, with the dragonnades and the revocation, repeal of an edict, about the year 1686.
A practical proof of the morbific power of the emotions and passions is found in the frequent occurrence of psychopathitis in times when all the elements of social life are in a state of fermentation. In and after revolutions sudden changes of fortune produce a thousand cases of mental disorder.
The very same disease broke out among the Romanists themselves, at Port Royal, in 1729. In the previous century it had thrown whole nunneries near Bordeaux into wild confusion. In the sixteenth century it was known in Italy as the "Dancing Mania," or Tarantism. At the close of the fifteenth century Tarantism had spread beyond the borders of Apulia. * * * The number of those affected by it increased beyond all belief. Inquisitive females joined the throng and caught the disease from the mental poison which they eagerly received through the eye. * * * Foreigners of every color and race were, in like manner, affected by it. Neither youth nor age afforded any protection; so that even old men of ninety threw aside their crutches, and joined the most extravagant dancers. * * * Subordinate nervous attacks were much more frequent during the seventeenth century, than at any former period. (Hecker, Epidemics of the Middle Ages, pp. 107-115, Engl. Trans.)
During the Middle Ages it appeared in Germany. It was a convulsion, which in the most extraordinary manner infuriated the human frame; * * * and was propogated by the sight of the sufferers. They continued dancing, for hours together, in wild delirium, until at length they fell to the ground in a state of exhaustion. They then complained of extreme oppression, and groaned as if in the agonies of death. * * * They were haunted by visions, and some of them afterwards asserted that they had felt as if immersed in a stream of blood, which obliged them to leap so high. George Fox, Journal 1, p. 100: "The word of the Lord came to me again. * * * So I went up and down the streets crying, Woe to the bloody city, Lichfield! And there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the streets, and the market-place appeared like a pool of blood." In Germany it was called St. John's or St. Vitus's dance. And long before its first appearance in that precise form, in 1374, it had, no doubt, been the real secret of the bacchanalian orgies among the Greeks, and of the frantic, dervish-like gestures and cuttings with knives and lancets which we read of among Asiatic races. In our own day and country (thank God) these extraordinary and degrading spectacles are scarcely to be seen.
But the disease still lurks among the superstitious Christians of Tigre in Abyssinia; in Siberia; among the revivalists of Ireland and America; and (in a very mild form), among the ignorant Welsh Methodists,—who are on this account popularly called "Jumpers." Now it so happened that these poor hysterical French refugees had arrived in great numbers in London, and had also visited Bristol, shortly before the critical year 1739,—when the excitable George Whitfield landed from America, and John Wesley returned home from Germany. Men's thoughts were then full of the (so called) "French prophets." A new religious enthusiasm was floating in the atmosphere, and it only needed the impulse of some exciting preaching, and the mental tension which is always produced among expectant and heated crowds, to generate infallibly an outbreak of this unaccountable and infectious malady. Such an occasion soon presented itself. In February, 1739, Whitfield, for the first time, preached in the open air, at Kingswood, near his native place, Bristol, to the wild and lawless colliers of the then Black Country of England. In the May following he persuaded John Wesley to join him there, and to imitate his example. And then, for the first time, religious hysteria began to manifest itself in England. Men and women of all ages fell down in convulsions, and cried aloud for mercy. And honest John Wesley said, "I am persuaded that it is the devil tearing them as they are coming to Christ."—Wesley's Journals.
THINGS HARD TO BELIEVE.
BY D.H. PATTERSON.
"For myself I still live and doubt. You know I can't believe everything. There are so many things hard to believe—I can't see them."
So wrote an honest, intelligent young man, who was standing on the verge of infidelity. Nor is he alone in his doubts. Many persons will not accept the Bible on account of its mysteries or miracles. To doubt seems to be as natural as to believe. Sir Wm. Hamilton says: "Philosophers have been unanimous in making doubt the first step in philosophy." When Paul says, "Prove all things," he tells us doubt a thing until it is tested. To doubt is not necessarily a fault, but to continue in doubt is blameworthy. If we are doubtful about a thing it is our duty as intelligent beings to examine the testimony concerning it, and so end our doubt. But shall we reject a thing because it is hard to believe? If the Bible had nothing in it hard to comprehend we would not be likely to accept it as divine in its origin; because the mind that comprehends a matter is no more limited, in regard to that matter, than the mind that conceived it. Consequently, if we could comprehend everything in the Bible there would be no divinity of infinite attributes about it to contrast with the limited powers of human nature. Its miracles are proof of its divine origin.
If you leave the Bible, to what will you go? Are all things hard to believe in the Bible? Does a man's believing power rest upon flowery beds of ease in the teaching of infidelity? In the so-called realms of free-thought is there nothing hard to believe? Will it no more be said that—
"Not a truth has to art or to science been given, But brows have ached for it, and souls toiled and striven?"
Rejecting the Bible, you must either accept Deism or Atheism. Deism admits the existence of a God of infinite power and intelligence. A Deist need have no trouble in believing a miracle. The question with him is not, can God work miracles, and thereby reveal himself to man, but has he done it. Reason teaches us that intelligent design characterizes every act of God. Which theory ascribes the more intelligence to God—the Deist's or the Christian's?
It is universally conceded that man has a worshiping nature. This is evinced by the almost universal idolatry of past ages. Would an act of wisdom reveal to man the true object of worship? Man has a conscience which smites him for his wrong doing, and approves him for his well doing. Would wisdom and love tell him what is right? Or would such attributes allow him to remain in ignorance of his duties? Man has a desire for eternal life; would Deity prepare a place of happiness for him and not reveal the fact to him, that he might better prepare for it, and enjoy the hope of it? Man has a desire for the knowledge of his origin, and for a knowledge of the attributes of his God; would an intelligent being create him with these desires and refuse to gratify them?
Surely there are some things in Deism hard to believe. Deism allows that man has in his nature this empty bucket, which is not to be filled during his stay in this world, if it shall ever be! Nor are these all the hard things which Deists ask me to believe. He wishes me to believe that the history of the Nazarene is legendary, that he was a fanatical enthusiast. Some Deists have refused to believe so hard a thing as this.
Yet I am asked to believe, in addition to this, that he, Christ, "has become," as Renan says, "the corner-stone of humanity so entirely, that to tear his name from the world would be to rend it to its foundations." I am asked, also, to believe, with Renan, the prince of Deists, that, "Whatever may be the surprises of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed. His worship will grow young without ceasing; his legend will call forth tears without end; his sufferings will melt the noblest hearts; all ages will proclaim that among the sons of men there is none born greater than Jesus." I am asked, with this same Renan, to "place the person of Jesus on the highest summit of human grandeur." Is it not hard to believe all this about Jesus, and at the same time believe that he gave to the world a false religion? Truly there are many things hard to believe—"I can't see them!"
I can not believe that "the passion of an hallucinated woman gave to the world a resurrected God." I can not believe that his legend was the fruit of a great, altogether spontaneous conspiracy. A conspiracy implies conspirators; and I can not believe that the apostles were such outrageous fools as to make a conspiracy, and work so zealously in it, and cling so firmly to it, when it promised nothing but stripes, imprisonments, hunger, nakedness, and death. Neither can I believe that these unlearned Galilean fishermen had the ability in themselves to concoct a conspiracy that would, and did, deceive nearly the whole civilized world. Nor can I believe that an ignorant, deluded Nazarene founded a religion that has held the attention of the thoughtful of all ages. He that refuses to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, along with the claims of the Bible, has many more and greater difficulties in accounting for the existence of Christianity. It is here, and its existence is the greatest miracle man has ever witnessed. To deny its divinity only increases its wonderfulness. We can not have an effect without an adequate cause. It is hard to believe that humanity is an adequate cause of Christianity. For eighteen centuries it has been living and acting; persecuted by enemies without, and torn and betrayed by enemies within; oppressed by government, and corrupted by Popes and priests; shorn of its grandeur and glory by paganism; its spirituality crippled by stripes and animosities; its fervid love and deep piety replaced, to a great extent, by policy; its rites and ceremonies changed by councils; yet, it continues a monumental proof of the divinity of its glorious founder. Rescued from the wreck of the Dark Ages by Luther and others, it commends itself more and more to every reflecting mind as the only living religion of the present and future. Deliver me from the credulity that believes that such a wonderful soul-redeeming institution had its origin in the passion of a crazy woman or the conspiracy of a few ignorant fishermen.
THE RESULT OF IGNORANCE, AS VIEWED FROM THE SKEPTIC'S STANDPOINT.
"A singular forgetfulness is sometimes noticeable in quarters where one would least expect it; that the education of an immature mind, and the prosecution of a scientific inquiry, are two perfectly distinct things; that the former requires faith, the latter skepticism; and that while the former is the work of the church, the latter is the work of individuals. Thus the Duke of Somerset goes to church, and finds an ignorant generation reposed in a paradise of illusions, while its more learned and thoughtful progeny is excruciated with doubt. In vain preachers now exhort to faith. * * * The Protestant oftentimes takes up his open Bible; he wishes to believe; he tries to believe. * * * All these efforts avail nothing." Christian Theology and Modern Skepticism, 1872, p. 144.
"The Duke and the Protestant are simply trying to do two things at once; and, naturally, Professor Huxley is tempted in the same direction." Lay Sermons, p. 21. "But then he is keen enough to suspect some absurdity in the position, and honestly proclaims that the army of liberal thought is, at present, in very loose order; and many a spirited freethinker makes use of his freedom mainly to vent nonsense." Lay Sermons, p. 69.
According to the above quotations, if it is wise to be skeptical, to be ignorant is bliss.
Give me a "paradise of illusions;" let me repose in them; if I am disappointed in the end I shall fare as well as the skeptic, with this difference, that in case there is any hereafter, I shall know that in my ignorance I lived a life of blessedness with reference to the now experienced eternity; while, in case there is no hereafter for us, we shall just be equal. Again I repeat it, let me have the side where I take no risks when viewed from the skeptic's standpoint, and where I can "repose in a paradise of illusions," in preference to the skeptic's excruciating doubt.
But we shall not be disappointed. Neither are we necessarily a generation of immature minds. We are willing as a whole to compare with non-church going people as a whole. And we are further conceded to be the happiest people in the world, unless you can find a people happier than those who "repose in a paradise of mental illusions." Yes! But we shall find in the end that it was neither ignorance nor illusion, but the wisdom of the wise. Let us continue thus, to live.
WHAT DO EVOLUTIONISTS TEACH?
DEDICATED TO C.F., DANVILLE, IND.
Many scientists who reject religion put on an air of superiority that is repulsive. If you call their speculations in question you at once receive credit for being an uneducated fool, a worshiper of the Bible.
Mr. Huxley advises theologians to let science alone. Wonderful advice! Do such men let religion alone? They can't agree among themselves, not even in their advice to theologians. And they ask more of religionists than they are willing to give. Dr. Lionel Beale, an English physiologist has written a volume of three hundred and eighty pages to prove that the phenomena of life, instinct and intellect, are not referable to the blind forces of nature. He avows his belief that mind governs matter; that a "never-changing, all-seeing, power-directing and matter-guiding Omnipotence" presides over all things. He also avows faith in the miracles underlying Christianity. But Prof. Huxley says, there is overwhelming and crushing evidence that no event has ever occurred on this earth which was not the effect of natural causes, meaning thereby physical causes. The factor of a divine intelligence he sets aside as of no consequence. His words are, "the doctrine that belief in a personal God is necessary to any religion, worthy of the name, is a mere matter of opinion."
Tyndall, Carpenter and Henry Thompson teach that "prayer is superstitious absurdity." Herbert Spencer is regarded by infidels as the "great philosopher," and he labors to prove that there can not be a personal God, or human spirit or self; that moral laws are simply "generalizations of utility," or, as Carl Vogt would have us believe, that self-respect, and not the will of God, is the basis and law of moral obligation. And Mr. Haeckel would have us believe that a few "monistic materialists" are the only men entitled to a hearing upon the question of "Evolution." So he excludes all true and intelligent Christians, for they are not and can not be "monistic materialists."
His words are, "It is only a select few, therefore, of learned and philosophical monistic materialists who are entitled to be heard on questions of the highest moment to every individual man, and to human society." But just what the man means by the "highest moment" we are anxious to know, as he is the most blank negative of religion that we can conceive. When he attempts to answer the religious objections to evolution, or, as he terms it, the descendence theory, he unceremoniously dismisses them as beneath his notice, giving his only argument, viz.: "All faith is superstition." He disposes of the objections drawn from first, or intuitive truths, by a simple denial of their existence, asserting that all our knowledge is from our senses. The objection that so many noted naturalists reject evolution, as it is advocated by himself and others, he considers at some length. He says, first, "Many have grown old in another way of thinking and can not be expected to change." Second, "Many are collectors of facts, without studying their relations, or, they are destitute of the genius for generalization, and so, can not rear the building. Others, again, are specialists." He says "It is not enough that a man should be versed in one department, he must be at home in all, in Botany, Zoology, Comparative Anatomy, Biology, Geology and Paleontology. He must be able to survey the whole field." His next, and mainly, is the statement that naturalists are generally lamentably deficient in philosophical culture and spirit. He says "The immovable edifice of the true monistic science, or what is the same thing, natural science, can only arise through the most intimate interaction and mutual interpretation of philosophy and observation." (See Philosophie and Empirie, pp. 638-641.)
This statement alone should stir up all Deists to a consideration of their teaching touching the sufficiency of the "Book of Nature;" for if it be true, then we must expect some other revelation, or be left to the conclusion that the Great Father has left his creatures in a great measure in a state of helplessness, unless Mr. Haeckel, or some other man like himself, can show us that the "Great Spirit" intended that he, and others like him, should do our thinking for us, seeing that we are incapable through mental deficiency, of raising the edifice, and seeing that, Mr. Huxley advises us poor (?) theologians to "let it alone." And Mr. Haeckel himself would not allow that any man is entitled to a hearing until he comprehends Biology, Botany, Comparative Anatomy, Zoology, Geology and Paleontology. Ho! evolutionists, ninety-nine out of every hundred of you, get out! You have no right to speak on the subject; otherwise, Haeckel is one of the foolish men, and talks without understanding himself. You must be at home in all those sciences, and emancipate yourselves from all religious beliefs before you have a right to be heard upon the grave question of evolution from an ancestral moneron; for you are incapable of comprehending your own monistic—materialistic origin. For, according to Haeckel, before a man is entitled to be heard he must renounce all faith in God, in the Bible, in the human spirit, and in the future life. Mr. Haeckel knows a great deal? Well, there are some very weighty men in this world? But, when they are in the east, our planet does not tip up in the west? We Christians have no right to be heard? Mr. Huxley advises us to keep our mouths shut (?). Well, that is grand? It correllates so beautifully with "free thought" and "free speech."
One evolutionist is all the time spreading himself about the preachers of religion knowing nothing in science, and another is saying to them, let science alone, and another says you can't rear the building if you try; you don't know enough. What a grand harmony there is just here? We theologians would advise "natural selection to be present with such instructors as thus advise us, and continue with them long enough, at least, to reject the worst from the school and give us a blessing in the survival of the fittest, for we would like to know our duty." So much for liberalism and broad principles.
"Monistic materialism," according to Haeckel, finds its primeval parent in a moneron, a creature of one substance, and that a semi-albuminous fluid. Now, it would be very interesting to know just how all the different substances, in all the creatures of this earth, got in, in order to get out, for involution lies behind evolution. But then, we theologians "have no right to be heard?" "are not entitled to be heard?" and, besides this, Mr. Haeckel has set aside intuitive, or first truths, and, as all axiomatic truths are of this class, perhaps it is wrong for us to bother you with our logic? Nevertheless we can't refrain from speaking our piece; we are advocates of free thought and free speech.
It must be conceded that there was a time when life and organisms began to exist upon our planet. From whence did they come, and how? The "high-priest" of Germany, who claims to be entitled to a hearing, says, by "spontaneous generation" they first appeared in the "monera." His words are these, "Only such homogeneous organizations as are yet not differentiated and are similar to the inorganic crystals in being homogeneously composed of one single substance, could arise by spontaneous generation, and could become the primeval parents of all other organisms." Such is Haeckel's germ of life.
Did it always exist? Is a moneron an eternal life germ? No. Neither Haeckel or Darwin advocates such a foolish idea; nor yet the idea of life-germs always existing. Life-germs are material organisms, and they may be alive or dead; for we know there is no period in the history of a living organism when it is not liable to die.
Spontaneous generation does not correlate with the idea that "life-germs always existed." And it is also opposed to the Christian idea that all life is from God, the eternal, ever-living spirit. So we Christians say, there is no life without antecedent life. If men prefer to deify life-germs, of course that is their business, but we have no disposition to accept a distinction without a difference, excepting the sacrifice of our common sense. It is more rational to believe in an ever-living intelligence as the source of all life, intelligence and moral nature. Did an eternal life-germ evolve all the forms of organic life known upon our earth? The eternal life-germ idea of materialistic philosophy represents no evolutionists of any note whatever. I know of one gentlemen only, at the present writing, that it represents. Haeckel says, We can, therefore, from these general outlines of the inorganic history of the earth's crust deduce the important fact, that at a certain definite time life had its beginning on our earth, and that terrestrial organisms did not exist from eternity, but at a certain period came into existence for the first time.
The godless advocates of spontaneous generation thus allow that life in its first appearance was without antecedent life; and so more was produced by the blind forces than was in nature to be evolved. Tell me how that was done, and I will tell you how to create something out of nothing. Haeckel says, "All the different forms of organisms which people are usually inclined to look upon as the products of creative power acting for a definite purpose, we, according to the theory of selection, can conceive as the necessary productions of natural selection, working without a purpose."—History of Creation, Vol. 1, pp. 176-327. He says, "We have before this become acquainted with the simplest of all species of organisms in the monera, whose entire bodies when completely developed consist of nothing but a semi-fluid albuminous lump; they are organisms which are of the utmost importance for the theory of the first origin of life."—History of Creation, Vol. 1, p. 330.
Here we part with our friends of the Haeckel school. They maintain that there was life without antecedent life, and so get more out of dead atoms than was in them, which is equal to something made of nothing. Mr. Darwin, being apprised of this difficulty, claimed a miraculous origin for the first form, or forms, of life, but retired the Creator at once upon the great achievement, leaving all to be evolved from these first forms by and through natural agencies, denying even design in nature. Mr. Buckner, a bold advocate of the "spontaneous generation" of life, who has published two volumes on Darwinism, says Darwin's views "are the most thoroughly naturalistic that can be imagined, and far more atheistic than those of his predecessor, Lamark, who admitted, at least, a general law of progress and development; whereas, according to Darwin, the whole development is due to the gradual summation of innumerable minute and accidental operations." It is admitted that the doctrine of evolution of species from other and entirely different species is a mere hypothesis, an opinion, or guess.
What have we to gain by the adoption of this unknown factor in the vegetable and animal kingdoms? Answer, nothing but irreligion; a world of godless infidels tearing afresh the wounds that death has made, and restoring to the grave its victory over the human heart. Renan, in his recent lectures talks about the "torture consequent upon the disappointment in his efforts to attain to the unattainable;" and Strauss said the "sense of abandonment is at first something awful." This is the inheritance that the tenet of evolution leaves to all infidels in their last extremity.
WHEN SHOULD CHILDREN BECOME CHURCH MEMBERS?
We have looked with great anxiety upon the efforts being put forth in our Sunday-schools, believing that they would result in bringing intelligent Christians from the extremes into which they have fallen by means of the controversy going on upon the subject of infant church membership; but it seems that there is great need of some one to speak out against the old, fossilized ideas touching this subject. And at the risk of being faulted we shall say our piece. First, The Apostle John addresses a class of Christians which he terms "little children," classifying them in contradistinction from young men and fathers. He says, "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake." This class included neither young men nor fathers, for John addresses young men and fathers as separate and distinct classes.
Jesus also recognized this class of disciples by saying, "Better were it for a man that a mill-stone be hanged about his neck, and he be drowned in the depths of the sea than for him to offend one of these little ones which believe in me."—Matt. 18.
Second, The gospel of Christ undoubtedly reaches the lowest capacity of responsible creatures, and just where the ability to believe in Christ and commence a Christian life comes in, there responsibility comes in, whether that be at eight, ten, or any other year in the child's history. We can not conceive of a sinner in youth without a Savior provided, nor of a sinner in childhood without the gospel privilege of becoming a member of the body of Christ.
Fathers and mothers, where are your children? Are they reading novels between Sundays, and all other kinds of literature? Are they believing this, that, and the other story, which they read?
Are they old enough and wise enough to know what is wrong? Do they know what is right? Have you taught them? If you have, that settles one important question, viz.: are they teachable? If they are not, of course you have not taught them. Well, teach them the knowledge of our Lord just as soon as you can, as soon as they are teachable, and then point them to the Savior of men, for they are then old enough and wise enough to become Christians. The gospel of the blessed Savior is so loaded down with divine mercy that it simplifies its requirements to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and obedience to his will. But ability measures responsibility, and where ability begins responsibility begins, and as ability increases responsibility also increases.
I am, and have been, for many years, satisfied that a great and grievous wrong exists on both sides of the question of infant church membership. First, no one can be a member of the body of Christ who is incapable of enjoying spiritual union with Christ through faith and submission to his will, for "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." So membership in the body of Christ is, so far as unteachable babes are concerned, a misnomer. On the other side, the neglect to teach children when they are teachable, and to instruct them to come to Christ in their childhood, when they can come in faith, is a great and grievous wrong. Will not all our brethren speak out upon this subject? Brethren, let us have no laziness here! Where a soul finds condemnation there the gospel finds it.
OUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE JEWS.
It is the business of mind to follow facts and mark their results. The Jewish nation had an existence prior to the Augustan or Athenian age, and was far ahead of either in civilization and morality. The Jewish people have often been reprobated, as a people almost without literature, art and civilization, but we are persuaded that it is base ingratitude upon the part of any scholar living in a civilized land to speak of that ancient family thus in terms of reproach. What are the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments but Hebrew productions? It certainly corresponds with infidelity to speak contemptuously of the people who, more than all others, were under the influence of those scriptures for ages in the past, and who were the chosen people through whom they were to be given to the world of mankind. The Hieroglyphics of Egypt, and the Classics of Greece, are perishable monuments constructed in memory of intelligence and civilization, when compared with the undying influence of the Bible upon the hearts of the millions who resort to it to find their way through life. For one edition of the classics we have had ten thousand Bibles. Why is this?
Men of the profoundest wisdom have investigated the claims of the Bible upon the attention of the literary and scientific, upon the attention of the moral and civil in every nation. They tell us that its morality and theology are far superior to the teachings of any and all of the ancient teachings of the greatest known philosophers, and that the writings of those philosophers are much inferior to those of Moses and the prophets. The poetry and philosophy of the Hebrews, as presented in the Bible, surpasses Homer and Aristotle. And their independent religion, existing amidst the heathenism of the surrounding pagan nations, was the only religion calculated, by virtue of its "one God" to worship, to unite the human family in one great brotherhood. It is conceded upon all sides that the Bible is the most remarkable book that the world ever read. How base and unjust is it, therefore, to be speaking reproachfully of the Hebrews as a nation. We should remember them with great kindness for the inestimable treasures of wisdom and knowledge handed to the people of the ages through them. To them the whole Christian world is indebted for its morality and civilization. Even Thomas Paine got his notions of civil government from the Pentateuch. If you doubt this read his work entitled "Common Sense," and you will doubt it no more.
Jewish writings and American life and character are very intimately blended, and we can not separate them without being guilty of great injustice. "If British, Scottish, Roman, Saxon, Danish and Norman blood runs through our veins, our minds have been cast in a Hebrew mould." To this cause we owe the most of our greatness as a nation.
THE SECOND FIVE POINTS IN CALVINISM, WITH TWO OTHER FIVES.
Some one has submitted the second five points in Calvinism. Here they are:
First—If you seek religion you can't find it.
Second—If you find it you don't know it.
Third—If you know it you haven't got it.
Fourth—If you have got it you can't lose it.
Fifth—If you lose it you never had it.
THE FIVE POINTS OF METHODISM.
First—God is able to give religion to all the world.
Second—If you seek it you can find it.
Third—If you find it you are sure to know it.
Fourth—If you don't know it, you haven't got it.
Fifth—If you lose it you can easily find it.
FIVE POINTS IN THE RELIGION OF JESUS CHRIST
First—The gospel is the embodiment of the religion of Jesus Christ.
Second—God gave it as a system of good news, to the whole human family.
Third—If you lay hold upon it by faith you have it.
Fourth—If you have it, and will obey it in your every day life, you will enjoy it.
Fifth—If you don't enjoy it, it is because you don't obey it.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S EPITAPH AS THE EXPONENT OF HIS FAITH.
[Copy, from the Virginia Missionary of August 12th, 1880.]
A correspondent of the Inter-Ocean not long since sent the following comment upon Ingersoll's claim that Benjamin Franklin was an infidel:
"As Col. Ingersoll appears to be trying to appropriate our old and esteemed friend, Benjamin Franklin, as a recruit for his infidel doctrine, let me call his attention, through your widely circulated journal, to the following epitaph, written by himself for himself:
"'The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer, Lies here food for worms, Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out and stripped Of its lettering and gilding; But it will (As he believed) Appear again, in a New and more beautiful Edition, corrected and Amended by THE AUTHOR.'"
HONESTY, OR THE INNER-SELF.
I have thought that the inner-self upon the surface both in words and actions is necessary to the existence of an honest man. The conclusion forces itself upon me in such a manner that I can not forbear expressing it, and yet, if this be true, how few are strictly honest. But it is not intended that this conclusion shall be applied beyond its proper limits; that is to say, to those elements of thought which should, in righteousness, be kept forever in the heart. But it is intended that the remark shall be applied to all that is said and done. The surface man should always find his prototype, or counterpart, in the inner-self, otherwise there is a want of harmony between the outer and the inner-self. This want of harmony is dishonesty; so dishonesty is always hypocrisy. There is much more hypocrisy in the world than men are accustomed to think.
What an immense distance there is between the inner and the outer self. The distance is not always measured, for men often keep much in their hearts that is not known by others, and which they themselves do not counterfeit. In this we can not charge them with necessary dishonesty. Men may be dishonest in keeping a secret, but keeping a secret is not necessarily dishonesty. The distance between the heart, the inner-self and the outward-man, is very great, even as respects the secrets of the heart which may be honestly kept as secrets, and it is certainly very great as respects those secrets; which should not be kept as secrets.
It is a fact, so well known in our time that we need not argue the question. There is a great deal of religion in the human heart which is latent until some misfortune, that brings a man to a sense of his need of help from a higher source, brings it to the surface.
It is true of dishonest men, who try to stultify their religious nature, and make the world believe that they are genuine, honest infidels. I very much doubt the honesty of every infidel known in our history.
The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.