Imatges de pÓgina

intellectual questions which stirs fierce rebellion in cultivated minds and hearts.

And the kingdom of heaven which we have preached is but a narrow and poverty-stricken realm. There is something which unprejudiced minds, minds not formed in a groove of belief, find it impossible to receive, in the idea of God, his methods, and his purposes, which our popular theology has presented to mankind. How much of this unbelief of our times is of the texture of the unbelief of Lucretius, a revolt against incredible conceptions of nature, of man, and of God? Revolt is mostly blind at first, and there is great blindness now to the inner light, the hidden life, and the higher world. But it is blankly incredible that men can long rest content in their blindness, and that the great questions of being which have perplexed and tormented all the human generations since man emerged on the platform of this earth to sin, to suffer, and to be redeemed, can long be laid to rest by the nescience of a knot of professors, who shut out from their field of thought all that man has cherished as his dearest possession, and, while professing to confine themselves to positive knowledge, confuse themselves with hopelessly untenable metaphysics. In truth, signs are not wanting that it will not be long before the question of the 'above' and the 'beyond' again forces itself even on agnostic sight. The pulpit has had a grand opportunity, and has wasted it. In all ages there have been preachers who have borne on the torch in the van of progress, and, like their Master, have paid by suffering for their power to lead mankind. Such lofty spirits have not been wanting to our own. the whole, has cast in its lot with the narrower realm. It has treated its Bible as a book of directions, rather than as a light by which to see the way. Perhaps there is a season of great darkness before us, or a great fanaticism, or a dreary centre of indifference' to pass through on our way to the everlasting Yea' of the future. There is truth in the idea that this is the positive stage of our development. Nothing can be juster than the law which Comte has formulated. First the theological stage, then the metaphysical, then the positive. But the development has yet to complete itself in the circle, and, gathering up the fruits of these successive efforts to penetrate the mystery of truth, satisfy with a larger, diviner theology, man's aching, longing heart.

But the pulpit, on view and the poorer


The preacher will best help that consummation by letting the light of his Gospel shine clearly, and troubling himself for the present little with theodicies. We are not God's advocates, we are his witnesses. We have no case to establish for Him or for his truth. We have simply to bear witness to the truth wherever or however we discern it, and leave God to be his own advocate, and truth to win its own victory. What is now chiefly needed is a new conviction of the reality and the power of the Life which we believe was manifested

in the Redeemer, and is the true light of men. For teachers who know that eternal Life, who can utter its word by their lips, and show its light in their lives, there will be need and work, not through this generation only, but through all generations, till the final fire.

We may venture to speak of the final fire,' for here science is at one with revelation. The sun's furnace seems to be fed by the cosmical matter which is constantly being drawn in. Slow changes in the orbit of our earth surely prophesy for it a similar doom. The elements shall melt with fervent heat.' And then is it all ended, and for ever? Is the man of this vanishing world a part of the system of things which is doomed to perish, the highest outcome of all the toil and struggle of Creation? With infinite pain the creature' has brought him forth, and has made the highest form of him the man of sorrows; for philosophy now pleads passionately that as man rises in the scale of culture he must arm himself for suffering and sacrifice. Her chosen symbol also is the cross. And are all the toils, the tears, the aspirations, the heroisms of the human generations to be swept into the Gehenna, mere fuel for the cruel wasting flame? If this be truly the human outlook, there remains but to retrace an ancient lesson, and to study again the art of suicide as they studied it in imperial Rome. The elder Mill is right; if death is to break the bench of life for ever, life is a business that does not pay. The belief that this is but the threshold of existence-that man is the meeting point of two worlds-that the creature who is the head and crown of the natural is born a child into the spiritual and eternal sphere-and that the issues of life's toils, tears, and martyrdoms lie beyond the gate of death-has furnished to man the inspiration to endure. But this, we learn from those who would bury life in profound and hopeless sadness, is illusion, benign illusion; when it has strung man's energy to toil and suffer, its work is done, there is nothing beyond! One thing only is wanting further-some knowledge of the demon who has made, and who rules, the universe on this scheme of illusion, and has been able to persuade the human generations to toil, to suffer, to agonise, upon a lie.

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No! while the bird still flies into the lighted hall out of the night, enjoys the brightness and warmth for the moment, and then flies out again into the night,' the 'whence' and the whither' will be the absorbing questions of interest to mankind. And it is in the great congregation,' where heart beats with heart in concord, and breaths conspire, where common beliefs and common experiences draw the children of toil and pain into close dear fellowships of sympathy and hope, that the answer will best be given, and the man who can utter it will be most lovingly heard. There is a power in public worship, in the utterance of common sorrows, needs, and hopes, in the prayer that is breathed and the praise that is sung in concert, not with the crowd that fills the sanctuary, but with the innumerable

company of all lands and ages who have drunk of the same spring and gone strengthened on their way, which they strangely miss who teach that worship is a worn-out superstition, and that only in the clear light of law can men walk and be blest. While man sins and suffers, while there is blood-tinged sweat upon his brow, while there is weeping in his home and anguish in his heart, that voice can never lose its music which brings forth the comfort and inspiration of the Gospel-which tells the sin-tormented spirit the tale of the Infinite Pity, and bids it lay its sobbing wretchedness to rest on the bosom of the Infinite Love.



THE old question of the relation of Knowledge and Experience is generally thought to have passed into a new phase in recent years. Nobody nowadays seriously maintains the sensationalist position of the eighteenth century. Even those who attach most value to Locke's way of thinking are ready to scout the notion of tabula rasa, and to allow that the old supporters of innate ideas, native intuitions or whatever else they were called, had a real insight into the nature of knowledge as manifested by every human mind. There is an element or factor in the individual's knowledge that is there before or, at all events, apart from that which happens to come to him by way of ordinary experience.

This other element or factor is now most commonly represented as an inheritance that each human being brings into life with him, The inheritance can perhaps be most definitely conceived in terms of the nervous organisation which, it is practically certain, is involved in all mental goings-on, but it must admit of expression in terms of consciousness also. We are to understand that a human child being what he is the offspring of particular parents, of a particular nation, of a particular ace, born at a particular stage in the race's development-does know and feel and will otherwise than he would if all or any of these circumstances were different. Nor does this apply only to the general laws and limits of his knowing, feeling and willing: it must apply also to his simplest conscious experience of any sort. An artist's sense of colour or sound will be something different from a costermonger's, and not merely because of a difference in the experience they have had and stored up. Their sensible experience will have been of intrinsically different quality from the beginning; and the principle of heredity must contain the explanation of such differences, if it does explain the general uniformities to which intelligence appears to be subject in all minds alike.

Confining attention, however, on the present occasion, with philosophers in general, to the uniformities of knowledge--such, for example, as the reference we all make of sensible qualities to a substance or underlying thing in which they inhere, or the conviction we have that every event has been caused-I cannot for my own part doubt that human beings are determined by inherited constituVOL. I.-No. I.


tions (mental or nervous, or mental and nervous) to interpret and order their incidental experience in a certain common fashion. In the absence of a definite mental constitution, which must be inherited because the corresponding nervous organism is inherited, there is, I think, no way of conceiving how human beings come by the knowledge that we seem all to have in normal circumstances; as, accordingly, when the inheritance is plainly abnormal,—for instance, in idiots the mode or amount of knowledge is clearly different from what it is in other men. At the same time it does not seem possible upon this line to get beyond a general conviction that the way of men's knowing is prescribed for them by ancestral conditions. Or, if the attempt is made to determine the details of our intellectual heritage, it seems impossible to stop and not fall into the notion that original endowment is everything, and a man's life-experience little or nothing, towards the sum of his knowledge. The latest phase of modern philosophic thought, then, becomes hardly distinguishable from the high speculative doctrine of Leibniz-that in knowledge there is, properly speaking, no acquisition at all, but every mind (or monad) simply developes into activity all the potency within it, not really affected by or affecting any other mind or thing. The notion is of course suicidal; for how can there be, on the whole, a progressive evolution of all, except there be action and reaction among individuals, as the condition of working up to higher and higher stages of being? Nevertheless, it is no exaggeration to say that the tendency of recent evolutionism in psychology is to reduce to a minimum, or even crush out, the influence of incidental experience as a factor in the development of the individual's knowledge. What can happen to the individual in his little life seems to be so mere a trifle by the side of all that has before happened for him through the ages!

Once recognise a more or less constant à priori element in knowledge as coming by way of inheritance, and what is then wanted for the explanation in detail of the uniformity that appears in the knowledge of different men is an adequate conception of the actual life-experience of individuals. It is truly surprising how meagre and artificial-artificial in the sense of coming short of the fulness of natural fact-the conception current among philosophers has been. Sensationalists in particular were concerned to take no narrow view of the case. In point of fact, they so read their famous formula about Sense and Intellect as to throw away a cause that in itself was far from weak. The notion was that children coming into the world had everything to do and find out for themselves. The world was there, and the little creatures, all naked without and their minds like a sheet of white paper within, were thrown down before it, at once to struggle for bodily existence and to take on mentally what impress they might from surrounding things. If they managed to survive, as somehow they generally did, they were found after a time

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