« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
the consolation which it brings. It will help to sustain him in those seasons of despondency which, for some unknown cause, occasionally afflict him. Whatever he may be or do, it matters not. Let him suffer no distress and borrow no trouble on this account, nor be unduly exalted with any sense of pride or selfsufficiency. There is neither bad nor good. It is all the same. These distinctions are the result of an imperfect education; and like other non-essentials, will soon vanish under proper training and an enlarged experience. Science will uphold and protect the man and vindicate nature's laws. Only let him be true to his origin, steadfast in the way of progress and vigilant
, in keeping alive the memory of that long line of august ancestry through which he has attained his present eminence, and preserve it without taint. Let him copy with reasonable diligence those noble traits and qualities which enabled their original possessors to reach their respective stations in the line of development, through the intervening links that have peopled this goodly planet, and prove himself worthy of such illustrious parentage. Nature will accomplish all the rest, true to herself and those unvarying laws which uphold and guide the universe. The race will thus advance in beauty and in strength under the benign influences of these coöperating harmonies, and the goal of human happiness will at length be reached
The new system of Ethics we applaud without reserve, as worthy of its origin, admirable in its conception, sound in principle, practical in its operation and well fitted to meet the wants and special needs of a large and constantly increasing class in society bitherto much neglected.
The system may, and doubtless will, encounter no little opposition; and some time may elapse before it can be brought fully into practice. We can readily foresee difficulties and obstacles all around. It is the case with all new systems, however perfect in themselves and meritorious they may be, which affect the public interests. Men must be allowed time in which to conquer their prejudices. There is the well-known conserv. ative element that brooks no innovation ; and its adoption must be general in order to give it full effect and render its action harmonious. A partial trial will only benefit individuals, and the public will be little better off, and perhaps not so well, to begin with. Morals will resist it, always jealous of the advance and encroachments of science. Governments will contend against it, because it forecasts their doom in the abolishment of place, patronage, perquisites, and power. So that, with so formidable an array against us, we may be compelled to wait long to witness the full tide of its accomplishment But let us be patient. We can afford to be. Science will in due time assert herself and claim her own. She always has. Long live Science!
ARTICLE II.-DARWINISM AND CHRISTIANITY.
From the German of William Bender. By EDWARD G. BOURNE.
DU BOIS REYMOND, the standing secretary of the Academy of Science in Berlin, at the usual meeting in memory of the noted dead of the past year, gave expression, somewhat exuberantly perhaps, to the thought that Darwin had rendered the same service in the interpretation of organic nature that Copernicus was celebrated for rendering in the interpretation of our planetary system.
The comparison of Darwin to Copernicus reminds me at the outset that the Christian faith, or what is commonly so called, is not involved in a conflict with natural science for the first time. This conflict is as old as the emancipation of science from the authority of the Church. When science, toward the end of the 17th century, began to attribute to mental and physical disturbances certain diseases which hitherto had been explained as coming from the influence of the Devil and evil spirits, theologians, lawyers and physicians vied with each other in shouting that Christianity was in danger, the Bible was disregarded, and the devil deprived of his just claims.
But Science has advanced and taken under its powerful protection those unfortunates who used to be racked and burned for alleged possession by the devil.
If theologians have ventured to take delight in the interesting chapter on devils and demons, thenceforward only to be found in the less prominent parts of their dogmatics, the Christian faith has thereby suffered no lose. We have become accustomed also to esteem the Bible stories of the devil and demons as belonging to the notions of the distant past, but he would be a strange man who should wish to maintain that our belief in God and bis Providence had lost its old power because we no longer earnestly believe in the devil and his fellows.
The alleged struggle between Faith and Science had at that time appeared only under the form of a struggle between two VOL. VII.
theories of medicine: one, obsolete and theological ; the other new, rising into favor, and scientific.
Advancing science rendered faith a great service in setting it free from the former and its evil spirits. Much the same state of affairs existed in another quarrel of those times. If we venture to believe the theologians of the 16th and 17th centuries the Christian faith was threatened by no greater danger than the rise of the Copernican system. To-day that system is taught in the schools. But on its first appearance it seemed to be nothing less than an outrage on the soul of the Christian faith.
Not only was Galileo persecuted on account of the Copernican heresy by those who claimed infallibility, but Kepler, also, had to be warned by the Protestant consistory at Stuttgart “not to throw Christ's kingdom into confusion with his silly fancies."
Well into the 18th century the theologians resisted all acknowledgments of the Copernican theory as the most danger
If we will go back in thought to that age we shall be able in a measure to understand the matter. The earth till that time was considered the solid center of the universe. Above, the vault of heaven was outstretched; and far down in the bosom of the earth was supposed to be the place of the miserable who were damned. In that solid vault of heaven rose the throne of God from which Christ came down to redeem men from the wrath of God through the shedding of his blood. And thither he returned in the body, borne up by the clouds, to prepare a place for his followers in the upper world of the blessed. Now came the Copernican theory to teach us to recognize in the earth but an atom of the whole universe ; to break through the solid vault of heaven where were enthroned God and the blessed, and to spread open to view the immensity and infinitude of the universe. Where was now that heavenly place, the throne of God from which Christ descended and to which again he ascended? Where were the mansions of the blessed for which all Christendom had been hoping? All had been swallowed up in that infinite space where for æons the constellations had revolved, full of inspiring majesty, indeed, but cold and dumb before the question of the human soul
anxious for its salvation, when the home of the blessed was forever snatched from its eyes. Indeed, he who knows how religious faith always adjusts itself to a world, appealing to ideas of sense, understands how it must have felt shaken to its very foundations as it saw these fundamental notions explained away as illusions. Yet what was the result of this struggle between Faith and Science which lasted through two centuries? I might express it in this way: the old theological cosmology bad lost and Christian faith had gained by it. The notion that the earth is the center of the universe, that the heavens are a solid place above us, and hell a no less fixed place bepeath us-in short all those views of nature which the Bible shared with antiquity are irreparably gone.
We know that we know nothing of the heavenly world in which we believe. We know that all our ideas of heaven and hell, of being lost and being saved, of resurrection and going to heaven, are only symbols which we use to designate something our thought cannot grasp. The theological attempts to evolve a topography of heaven as a physiology of our heavenly bodies can never be renewed.
But though the Copernican theory has made a more powerful attack on the old ideal world of the theologians than the later philosophical criticism, yet it has not been able to destroy the religious belief in immortality, in salvation, and in judgment. On the contrary it has transferred this belief from the realm of sense to the realm of spirit by showing that it can only be based upon the ideal data furnished by the history of civilization and upon the eternal postulates of human feeling.
The alleged struggle between Science and Faith at that time developed into a struggle between the obsolete theological and the new scientific cosmology. If we wish to understand the quarrel historically, we must be careful to remember that in the middle ages theology was the universal science, which would derive from the Bible not only the laws of moral and religious living but also the laws of physics, medicine, astrology, psychology, etc. Thus it came to pass that the Bible was treated as revealed evidence on all subjects and that the principles of natural science, medicine, psychology, were presented to the world as religious truths to be received on faith.