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which this institution has already attained among our colleges, as to affluent and extended means for the cultivation of that department of natural science which comprehends the genesis, types, and primeval history of all the rest. This department seems likely to be the Armageddon - the final battle-field — in the conflict with infidelity; and if so, it will be honored as the field of triumph for him, of whom the divine prophecy has gone forth, “ He must reign.” The danger is not that of the mere rejection of Christianity, but of the repudiation of a personal God in the name of science, and the setting up in his stead of the vague, formless conception of Pantheism, whose terms are mere euphemisms by which the fool who says in his heart, " There is no God," seeks to say the same thing a little more decently with his lips.
As appropriate to an occasion like the present, and as made timely by certain specific tendencies of the cosmolog. ical sciences at the present moment, I have chosen for my subject Pantheism, or rather, Theism, and my endeavor will be to show you that the great doctrines of Christian theism are wholly untouched alike by the discoveries and the hypotheses, the data and the postulates, of modern science.
It is difficult to define Pantheism, except by what it denies. But its one distinctive and intelligible characteristic, in all its forms, is the denial of the Divine personality, so that what it calls God has no moral attributes, stands in no assignable relation to human beings, exercises no discretionary providence, and is not the conscious recipient of prayer or praise. In the philosophy of this school, God is an organizing and energizing principle in nature, - an automatic force, working by inherent and necessary laws, itself unintelligent, and attaining self-consciousness only in the human soul, which is a part of God, detached and intelligent during its life in the body, and at death reabsorbed into unintelligent nature, and so losing its separate consciousness.
There is one aspect under which Pantheism has appeared, in which we look upon it with profound reverence. We
find numerous traces of it in the Greek philosophy, both on its native soil and in Rome; and it had its full development and exposition in the great poem of Lucretius : and, as thus enunciated, it marked an important stage in the progress of human thought. It was the protest of earnest, serious minds against the absurd and foul mythology of the popu. lar faith. It was the nisus of man's better nature toward monotheism, arrested at that point by the essential limita. tions of man's unaided powers; and it has left its multisorm record in confirmation of the words of him in whom the Divine became manifest in human form, “ No man cometh unto the Father but by me," words which are still further verified by the uniform tendency, during the Christian ages, of minds that reject Christianity to fall back into the baze and mist of Pantheisrn.
The Pantheistic tendency has been made determinate, in our own time, among the votaries of physical science, by the theories that are gaining ascendency with regard to the formation of the visible universe and the races of organized beings, - theories which, whether true or false, are all not only consistent with the being of a personal Creator, but absurd on any other supposition; yet which, in disturbing the traditional cosmogony, have unsettled the theological beliefs with which it had been too closely identified. Among these theories first came Laplace's nebular hypothesis, which, long regarded as a mere chimera born from the brain of an atheistic dreamer, is now received by not a few of the most reverent and devout astronomers. This was shortly follon ed by the acons of geology, making the period of human history infinitesimally short compared with the myriads of centuries that have left their memorials in the strata of the earth's crust. Then we had a literal revival of Lucretianism in the development-theory of the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, which, though repudiated at the time by scientific men, to such an extent that the author in his Sequel appealed from them to the unlearned, still left its traces in the speculations of naturalists, and prepared the way for the
form in which it now reappears in Darwin's hypothesis, according to which all animated beings -- man included have sprung, by natural selection, from a very few primitive types, perhaps from one; and man may say, in a sense which never entered into the thought of Job, to the worm: “ Thou art my mother and my sister.” Next we have fossil man in pre-Adamite ages, – races of which tradition holds no vestige, clustering in villages which for uncounted thousands of years have been buried or submerged. Embracing and transcending all these is the Positive Philosophy of Comte, which refers all phenoniena of human thought, feeling, and action, the rise and fall of empires and races, the entire march of history, to the same self-enacting, self-executing law by which clustering atoms were vitalized and lower forms of life developed into higher.
It forms no part of my present plan to assail or defend all or either of these theories; but I wish to show you that they have no validity whatever against the great truths of natural religion as confirmed by the Christian revelation.
I ought to meet at the outset an argument derived from our own subjective experience, real or suppositious, against the divine personality. It is alleged that our own person. ality is inseparable from and contingent upon our bodily organism, and that an immaterial personality, being opposed to our experience, is inconceivable, and therefore incapable of being believed. But does not this statement reverse the order of thought? Do we not conceive of our own persunality as the prime fact, and of our organism considered in its capacities and uses as the contingent and resultant fact? My consciousness tells me, not that my brain, limbs, and organs constitute me, make me the person that I am, but that I own them, make them subservient to my uses, give them by my oneness a unity which else were not theirs, exercise by means of them functions which are not their prerogative, but mine, -- which I can imagine myself as exercising through a very different organism, or withont any organism at all. What my organism does for me is to
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interpose between me and the surrounding world walls which shut out a great deal of which I might otherwise be cognizant, leaving only these loopholes of the senses, through which sights and sounds enter. But I can distinctly conceive of these walls being thrown down, this organism perishing, and my not only surviving the dissolution, but being by means of it emancipated, enriched, enlarged, exalted. The bodily organism, then, does not constitute, but only limits and confines, the human personality, which to our own consciousness is immaterial, and thus, so far from being a hinderance, is a guide, a help, a type for our conception of the immaterial personality of the Infinite Being.
In considering the bearing of recent scientific theories on the primal truths of religion, I would first speak of their relation to miracles. Precious far beyond the worth of miracles as attestations of a divine messenger or message is their use in demonstrating the divine personality. So long as the ordinary course of nature is uninterrupted, the tendency of the human mind is to identify God with nature, and nature with self-ordained and self-executing law. But miracle detaches, in our thought, God from nature; presents him as supreme over all physical forces; lays bare to human sight the arın of Omnipotence. Miracle implies a personal volition, under whose inandate the laws that seem to bind all nature in their adamantine chains become fluent and ductile. A single perfectly authenticated miracle is a more complete refutation of Pantheism than the strongest array of abstract reasoning.
But does not the admission of the theories under discus. sion exclude the possibility of miracle? By no means. Were Laplace's, Darwin's, and Lyell's theories not mere hypotheses, but as firmly established as is the law of gravitation, they no more disprove the miracles or the resurrection of Christ than they disprove the death of Julius Caesar or the Punic wars. These theories rest on history, natural history, -a most significant term, denoting, not universal observation and experience, but the narratives, the stories, the history
of an army of scientific explorers in all parts of the world. These narratives rest for their validity solely on human testimony. But human testimony is no more impaired in authenticity by distance in time than by distance in space. The evangelists are as trustworthy witnesses to the events that occurred, in a remote age, within the range of their personal kuowledge, as modern geologists are to the results of excavations made in remote regions under their inspection. The only difference is in favor of the former: for the geologist bears his testimony, not to his own cost and loss, but to his own fame and glory; while the evangelists bore their testimony at the hazard of their lives, -- a risk which precludes the possibility of falsehood. We know the general uniformity of nature, which modern scientific theories postulate, only through human testimony, and that same testimony certifies us that the uniformity has at specific epochs been disturbed, that the paralytic has been restored by a word, that the living have walked on the sea, that the dead have risen from the bier and the sepulchre. Wise men who have devoted a life of acute and learned research to the inquiry, are as sure that these marvellous events took place in Judea eighteen centuries ago, as geologists are of the existence of the fossil remains of extinct animals in the earth's crust.
Now no physical theory, however plausible or however firmly established, can negative the historical facts of the New Testament, or disprove the divine personality which they demonstrate. I will not, till I am forced by irresistible evidence, relax my hold, as to my physical descent, on the ancient, hallowed ancestral tree that bears on its trunk the inscription, “ Which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God," and trace my pedigree to the lower orders of creation. Yet, if legitimate science shall thus humble me, I will contentedly take my place among these meaner kindred, and will call the lowest and most loathsome of them my brother. But all the while the miracles of Jesus assure me that on the spirit-side the gospel genealogy is the