Imatges de pÓgina

Wherever the human mind has had its normal and healthy unfolding the idea has appeared. We are safe in saying that there has been no well-authenticated case of a nation or race found utterly without some conception of deity or conviction of a Supreme Being. Even among the lowest tribes are found objects of worship to which divine powers are supposed to belong. Not only has the human mind shown no repugnance to the idea, but has developed it and persisted in it, seemingly under the necessities of human thought. This is a strong presumption of its truth. A conviction that springs so inevitably from experience and the action of reason in the presence of the phenomena of the world, and is so perennial in vitality, is justly viewed as founded on reality. That an idea should be so thoroughly normal to the human mind as this has proved to be, forcing itself into recognition everywhere and in all ages, asserting a virtual omnipresence in the thought and belief of the race under all conditions and changes, and yet be wholly false and illegitimate, a universal but necessary mistake, is against all natural and reasonable probability.

2. Another fact of this kind is the religious instinct of the race. This must be mentioned separately, because it is essentially different from that just noted. Beyond the idea of God, found to be so universal, there is the further principle of human nature that shows itself in religious feeling and acts of worship. Deeper than that idea, and operating through it, is the ever-conscious sense of dependence and the need of favor and guardianship such as is involved in the idea of deity. If the relation of creatorship is legitimately included in that idea, as we must admit that it is, man, made by God, was

made also for God, with a nature calling for fellowship with Him and life sheltered in His care. We may rightly call the religious principle, thus grounded and forcing expression of itself everywhere, a religious instinct, as it evidently comes spontaneously out of the very framework and set of the mental and moral sensibilities. Not only the intellect with its idea of God, but the heart with its feeling of dependence and impulse to worship, shows a constitutional organization for religion. Man worships something everywhere; if he fails to reach a conception of the true God, he gives homage to imaginary divinities and seeks favor from them. This principle of worship appears to rise with the characteristics of an organic psychical instinct. Its persistence is even more impressive than its genesis. For it cannot be annihilated. It is true that persons averse to the self-control required by spiritual duties and held by love of godless indulgences may live, practically, "without God in the world." But this practical atheism, ignoring the claims of the religious life, is no more a disproof of the constitutional organization of the human soul for it than is the like practical immorality of thousands of men a dis proof of the existence of an inherent moral demand. It is also true that speculative philosophies may adopt atheistic theories of the world, but right in the face of these speculative denials, the deeper constitution of man's essential nature, left thus unrecognized and wronged, re-asserts the law of religion, persisting in worship and framing strange cults. History presents conspicuous instances that show how human nature throws back deniers of religion into acknowledgment of religion. Though Buddhism is theoretically atheistic, all the oriental lands over which it has spread are marked

by the most developed and multitudinous idolatry. August Comte, who built his "Positive Philosophy" on atheism and a denial of all religious verities, in the end, led by his own emotional nature which his system had defrauded, appended his scheme of deifying ideal humanity and framing an elaborate system of worship and rites. Though he rejected religion in the beginning, the necessities of worship of some sort forced the manufacture of a new religion at the last. Similarly, materialism and materialistic philosophies are found returning on their own path. Displacing God in favor of simply matter and force, evolving from these all the physical and mental phenomena of nature, recognizing no spiritual existence in man or supernatural Power above him, they yet in the end consent to the fact of the religious necessities of human life, and even proceed to tell us how men may still worship. Failing by their theories to eradicate the religiousness that lies in the very depths of the soul's constitution, they invite it to exercise the religious sensibilities in reverence, homage, and trust in nature, in the universe, as the highest reality of power. The idea of God is replaced by the cosmos. "We demand," say Strauss, Haeckel, and others, "the same

Referring to Herbert Spencer's posthumous Autobiography, in which the author of the "Synthetic Philosophy" confessed that, as his life drew near its end, he became conscious of a "need" which his own religion of the Unknowable was not able to satisfy, and felt a growing kindness toward those religions whose Object is a Personal God, Mr. W. H. Mallock says: "What is this but an admission on the part of that very thinker who has been foremost in representing belief in any knowable God as superfluous, that belief in a God of this precise kind is the fundamental thing that man requires for his nutriment, and that its place can never be taken by any blind recognition of a Power which science must always leave a featureless and inscrutable mystery?”— "The Reconstruction of Religious Belief," pp. 129-130.

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piety for our cosmos that the devout of old demanded for his God."1

What is the meaning of this instinct, acting apparently with the uniformity of a psychic law? Do these deep cravings reach out forever only into blank vacancy and to nothingness? Is this necessary worship, clustering around this necessary idea of God, only the acting out of a necessary dream? Is there really no Father in heaven at all, whose hand these needy children are seeking to find, and believing that they do find? These deep and abiding instincts must imply the existence of the Divine Being, unlesss human nature be fundamentally false. That it is thus false, it is utterly unreasonable to believe. For one of the most incontestable facts, established by observation and inductive science, is that every well-defined instinct, wherever found, implies and points to a corresponding reality. Whatever theory as to the origin of things men may adopt, they recognize the fact that a law of adjustment and correspondency everywhere prevails. Nature makes no halves, leaves no parts standing alone, presents no monstrosities of structure in which subjective constitutional necessities and cravings are left without external complement or supply. The eye is answered by the light, the ear by the atmosphere, the lungs by the air, the appetite by food; over against the intellect, and fitting it, are the objects of knowledge; the sensibilities find their subjects ready for them; the will looks out on a real world of voluntary action. Passing on to the instincts, the certainty of their indications and directive action has ever been one of the things for wonder and admiration. As far as scientifically examined, they are not misleading.


1 Rudolph Schmid's "Theories of Darwin," p. 191.

Whether they teach the bee to construct its cell, or the beaver its house, or the bird its nest, whether they inform the pigeon of the time and way of its migration, or direct the fishes to the distant waters to deposit their eggs, they are followed safely. They do not mock or point to nothing. Every positive normal instinct expresses a truth and looks to a reality far beyond itself, pointing out the reality through the darkness with almost unerring ray. Not more truly does the lake, reflecting stars from its deep bosom, certify the reality of the starry heavens above it, than do these universal instincts assure the objects which we behold mirrored in them. To look upon the deep religious instincts alone as deceptive and spurious would be utterly unreasonable and unscientific. They, therefore, form a clear and valid presumption for the real existence of the infinite Supreme Being whom they necessarily imply. Reville was right when he said: "It would be irrational in the last degree to lay down the existence of such a need and such a tendency, and yet believe that the need corresponds to nothing, that the tendency has no goal. Religious history, by bringing clearly into light the universality, the persistency, and the prodigious intensity of religion in human life, is, therefore, to my mind, one unbroken attestation of God."1

3. Of like import is the benign influence of belief in God. Though utility and truth are different conceptions, and utility does not make truth, yet it often serves to prove it and helps to find it. For, to a degree that has made the fact both clear and impressive, truth is promotive of man's welfare, while error misleads and

1 Bampton Lectures on "The Native Religions of Mexico and Peru," p. 6.

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