Imatges de pÓgina

German people. It is true that they were the offspring of Lutheranism, and existed formally in the non-Catholic schools; but it is to be remembered that in the mixed universities the Catholic and Protestant populations were confounded together, and that the government appointed Protestant professors, at whose lectures Catholics attended. Infection cannot be circumscribed, nor diseases kept within a ringfence. The same habits of mind are found to pervade men of the same nation, and among Catholic philosophers unsound theories had begun to appear. Pius the Ninth during his pontificate has been compelled to condemn three or four philosophies which were being taught by Catholic professors.

18. With this short paraphrase of the Introduction, we will go on to the chapters of the Constitution de Fide Catholicâ, endeavouring to reduce to the narrowest compass the matter contained in it.

The Vatican Council in this Constitution has defined truths which have never been treated by any Council before.

In the first chapter it affirms that the creation of all things came from the free will of God, in exclusion and condemnation of the philosophies of emanation, manifestation, and pantheistic identity of God and the world, philosophic aberrations not yet extinct.

In the second chapter it affirms that the existence of God can certainly be known by the works of the visible creation. He has given us evidence enough, and reason to collect that evidence. This certainty of our natural reason may be called the infallibility of the natural order. God has so manifested Himself in creation that the reason in a normal state may come to know his existence, his power and divinity. This infallible certainty is the foundation of the moral life of man. S. Paul says that they who know not God by the things which are made are inexcusable. But they would not be inexcusable if God could not be known by the light of reason. And if in this knowledge the reason could be deceived—that is, if it were not certain-then there could be no moral obligation upon the conscience to believe. The atheist, pantheist, and sceptic would all be excused for their doubt and unbelief. But if the existence and moral character of God be doubtful, the basis of all morals is doubtful too. Lex dubia non obligat. No Council of the Church has hitherto ever been compelled to make such a definition as this, for no age of the Christian world has yet so far departed from the theism which, from the beginning of the world under all perversions and corruptions, has pervaded mankind. It may be that in England surprise may be felt at such a decree; but nobody who knows Germany and France and the philosophies of this century will fail to understand the reasons of it, and to see its absolute need. It is here to be noted that the Council does not affirm that men must come, or ordinarily do come, to the knowledge of God by the process of their own reason. It is certain, as a fact, that they receive this knowledge

from their earliest consciousness by the instructions of others and by the proposition of faith. The decree affirms two things-the one that the works of creation afford a sufficient evidence of the existence of God; the other that the reason has an intrinsic power of discernment by which that evidence may be collected into a logical proof. In this assertion two errors are excluded-the one which denies that the visible world presents an adequate evidence of the existence of God; the other that denies to the reason a power to read that evidence without the tradition and proposition of the truth. The second chapter, after vindicating these truths of the natural order, goes on to affirm the possibility and the fact of revelation; it affirms also that revelation is necessary to two things-first, to the knowledge of truths above and beyond the order of nature, and, secondly, that by such revelation God has raised man to a higher order of knowledge and perfection and denies that man can attain to such elevation and perfection of and by his own natural powers.

The third chapter opens with these words: Forasmuch as man depends altogether on God, his Maker and Lord, and the created reason is wholly subject to the uncreated truth, we are bound to render to God in his revelation the full obedience of the intellect and of the will by faith.' By this, again, the first axioms of Rationalism are denied. They cannot be better stated than in the words of the second and third propositions condemned in the syllabus: 'All action of God upon man and upon the world is to be denied.' This would exclude revelation, grace, providence, and the dependence of the reason of man upon God by faith.

Again: The reason of man, without any regard to God, is the sole judge of truth and falsehood, of good and evil; it is a law to itself, and is sufficient by its own natural powers to provide for the welfare of man and of nations.'

The axioms of Rationalism may be thus stated: 1. Reason is the sole judge of truth, so that whatsoever it critically rejects is incredible. 2. Reason is the measure of truth, so that whatsoever exceeds its comprehension is incredible. 3. Reason is the sole fountain of truth, so that whatsoever is not found within its consciousness, nor can be elicited from it, is incredible. But if these axioms, or any one of them, be true, the reason of man is not dependent on God, and God cannot lay upon man the obligation of believing-that is, of faith.

From this it would follow that all revelation is needless, and that there is no truth except within the order of nature. But this denies all revelation, and therefore all supernatural truths such as the redemption, the Redeemer, the supernatural order of grace. There is no alternative but between Rationalism and faith. The human reason is either a critic or a disciple, and to determine this issue the first necessary truth to be proved is the existence of God. If the world be God, or if God be the world, or if the world be all, and if there be

no personal Creator distinct from it, or if we cannot know Him to exist, then the reason of man is the critic of all that remains. All nature is under his feet, and though he did not create a grain of sand or a corn of wheat he bears himself as if he were the lord and judge of all. Such is the ethical character of complete or absolute Rationalism.

But there is another form of Rationalism which is inconsistent and transitional. Many who would shrink from affirming that reason is the sole fountain of truth to itself, and that nothing is true which cannot be found in the human consciousness or elicited from it, nevertheless maintain that reason is the measure of truth, and that nothing which is incomprehensible is credible. The teachers of this school tell us that although without revelation many truths would not have been known to man, yet when once revealed they may be adequately comprehended and proved by reason, so that they become objects not only of faith, but of science. They therefore undertook to demonstrate the doctrines of the Holy Trinity and of the incarnation, which, when they had been reduced to the measure of reason, ceased to be the doctrines of revelation. This, especially in the last century, was the first momentum which carried many into unbelief of revelation altogether.

But if the truths of faith are not at the same time truths of science—that is, adequately measured by the reason and resolved into their first and self-evident principles-then there is an essential distinction between faith and science. Both are operations of the reason, and both are strictly rational, but they are distinguished by their subject-matter, and are therefore distinct in their principles. Faith is the obedience of the created intellect in dependence upon the uncreated intelligence of God. But faith is not a blind or irrational act. The motives and preludes of faith are processes of reason. Reason weighs the evidences which show that it is reasonable and rational to believe what the uncreated intelligence of God reveals to Faith comprehends, therefore, the reasons why it is a rational act to believe what it is beyond reason to discover. Science is the certain knowledge of truth in its principles. But this is possible to man only in the natural order.


In the fourth chapter the Council treats of the relation of faith and reason. It defines that there are two orders of knowledge, distinguished by their principle and their object--by their principle because the one proceeds by natural reason, the other by divine faith; by their object because the one is in the order of nature, the other in the order of supernatural truths. It then declares that between faith and reason there can be no conflict. They move on different planes, and truth can never be opposed to truth, nor can truth contradict itself; wherefore, if at any time there shall seem to be opposition between the doctrines of faith and the conclusions of

reason, the conflict can only be apparent and transient, and while it seems to exist we are bound even by reason, which assures us of the certainty of faith, to believe the conflict to be not real, but only apparent.

The Constitution then further declares that faith and reason are mutually helpful:

Wherefore so far is the Church from opposing the cultivation of human arts and sciences that in many ways it helps and promotes it. It neither ignores nor despises the benefits which flow from science into the life of men: it rather affirms that inasmuch as sciences proceed from God who is 'the God of Sciences,' so, if rightly handled, by the help of his grace they lead to God again. Nor does the Church forbid that such sciences should use their own principles and their own method within their own sphere; but, while recognising this just liberty, it carefully guards the divine doctrines, lest they, in resisting error, receive it into themselves, or, by going beyond their own limits, the sciences should enter upon and disturb the things which are of faith.

It further says that the doctrine of faith is not a philosophical discovery, but a divine deposit to be faithfully guarded and infallibly declared by the Church.

If the Vatican Council had met and parted without any act beyond this one decree, it would have applied a direct and searching remedy to the intellectual aberrations of the nineteenth century. The proof of this may be seen in the outcry of unbelief against the Council. If it had not touched the quick, the outcry would not have been heard.

HENRY EDWARD, Cardinal Archbishop.

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(PROFESSOR HUXLEY has kindly read, and aided the Editor with his advice upon, the following article.)

THAT a comparatively warm climate must have prevailed in the Arctic regions, at a period not very remote geologically, is one of the most interesting conclusions which have been established by the researches of modern geologists. From the abundant remains of plants preserved in rocks occurring in the north of Greenland and in Spitzbergen, the geologist feels warranted in concluding that a luxurious vegetation flourished there during that age of the earth's history known as the Miocene period. Professor Heer, of Zurich, who has spent so much of his life in the study of the Miocene plants of the Swiss beds, has shown beyond question the necessity of admitting that a much less rigorous climate ruled in these high latitudes when they supported a rich Miocene flora of southern type. Not to multiply examples, it may suffice to state that the characters of the fossil plants found at Atanekerdluk in Greenland (70° N. lat.) leave no room to doubt that Northern Greenland must have enjoyed in Miocene times a climate warmer than that at present by at least 30° Fahr. In fact, the Miocene flora of this locality includes several species of oak, poplar, plane, chestnut, and vine, with sequoias akin to the famous mammoth-trees of California. On the whole, this flora of Greenland points to a climate which, according to Professor Heer, must have been something like that of the Lake of Geneva at the present day.

Going farther back in geological time, we obtain evidence of a yet warmer climate having prevailed in the Arctic regions. Thus in the Lower Cretaceous period the flora included ferns, cycads, and conifers, resembling species which exist in temperate and even subtropical zones. Indeed, Professor Heer concludes that the climate of the Arctic regions, at the beginning of the Cretaceous age, must have resembled the present climate of Egypt or of the Canary Isles. Compelled to accept such conclusions as these, the geologist is puzzled to account for the required climatic changes. Attempts to explain the altered conditions by suggesting changes in the relative distribution of land and water have generally been held unequal to

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