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temptation on the same plane as the second, and the words tewV and TT POC Kuvớoys have much more emphasis if bodily adoration be implied. even contend that the words imply a bodily appearance of Satan. On other grounds, such a pseudo incarnation of the devil seems not improbable, for imitation is his forte, and mockery of God's ways his aim and method. Would not the human form be the best cloak for the spirit of evil? Would he not, then, assume an innocent air of guileless disinterestedness? To reveal himself in his true colours would be the last dare-all stake of a desperate gambler. It is only at the end of the temptation that Christ deliberately unmasks him and addresses him by his personal name, Satan. Till then he was anonymous, and perhaps thought his incognito had been well kept. A minor point has not always been noticed-Christ's relations to the angels in His temptation. The temptation, “cast thyself down,” bore on His relation to the angels as well as on His relation to His Father. He was asked to abuse both relations of dependence. He was asked to prove His functions as Lord of the angels, while yet in His human nature for a time “a little lower” than the ministering spirits, and so dependent upon them. He was asked to assert the domination He had for a while laid aside, and to cease to be true Man. And the very angelic ministrations which He rejected at the offer of the enemy, He received unasked when the devil leaveth Him. Is it not so always ? What is given up, or refused, for God's sake, by God is, sooner or later, more than restored and repaired—a hundredfold more—not always, perhaps, “in this present time,” and in the world to come, eternal life. What Satan offered to give, God gave, and more. " All authority is given to Me both in heaven and in earth.” Apart from, and above all other considerations, let the Christian remember, “Nisi ille certasset non mihi iste vicisset."
LEADERS OF THOUGHT IN SCOTLAND.
BY REV. ARTHUR JENKINSON. DR. GEORGE MATHESON 2 is emphatically an apostle of reconciliation. Therein lies the secret of his power. Amid the conflicting principles and forces of our time, all his teaching makes for peace; yet peace not by surrender, but by the discovery of an underlying unity. He contends that there is no hopeless
* Ambrose, quoted by Maldonatus.
2 Works : Growth of the Spirit of Christianity, Aids to the Study of German Theology, Natural Elements of Revealed Theology, Can the Old Faith Live with the New ? The Psalmist and the Scientist, Landmarks of New Testament Morality, Spiritual Development of St. Paul, Doments on the Mount, My Aspirations, Voices of the Spirit, Sacred Songs.
breach between the old and the new, religion and science, faith and reason, nature and the supernatural. He has a pre-eminent gift for discovering harmonies where others see only contradictions. One of the characteristics -I had almost said mannerisms-of his style is to begin an argument by laying down two apparently irreconcilable principles, and then proceeding to reveal some hidden harmony. “Here,” we frequently find him saying, “ are two views which, at first sight, appear utterly contradictory and antagonistic; but let us look deeper, and we shall discover a truth that will harmonize them.” This characteristic of style indicates the effort of his life. It suggests one reason for his great influence. For on all sides there is a longing for reconciliation. Men of different schools of thinking are trying to understand one another. The truths we all hold dear are sought out and emphasized. Middle walls of partition are being thrown down.
Dr. Matheson is by nature and training eminently fitted to be a philosophical and theological leader in this movement. Withdrawn when only a youth from the active interests of life, he read widely in all departments of literature, but especially in philosophy, theology, and science. In the quiet of this beautiful parish of Innellan, where a few years ago I had the honour to succeed him, he brooded for nearly twenty years over the great problems which have, in all ages, engaged the loftiest intellects. But these opportunities for reading and reflection only enriched a nature originally gifted with varied powers, and capable of wide sympathies. What impresses one is the many. sidedness of his character. In his strong and unique personality imaginative insight is associated with keen logical force, contagious enthusiasm and buoyant hopefulness with fine reasonableness, poetic fire with philosophic thought and childlike simplicity and piety. Thus he touches life at many points. He is ever on the look out for the best side of things. His conversation is always sympathetic, cheery, brilliant, original. Valuable as are his writings, the man himself is greater than his books. Twenty-five years ago, on his induction to Innellan, Dr. Matheson exclaimed : “ The preacher of our day must be a man not only of universal knowledge, but, to some extent, of universal nature. In him must be blended something of the lives of all men.” Looking on the man to-day one feels that the youthful ideal has been very fully realized.
I have still a vivid recollection of my impressions the first time I heard him preach. It was one lovely Sunday in September ten years ago. I had read his books, and had heard the pathetic story of his early loss of sight, and walked down to Innellan expecting to hear a quiet student, whose face, “sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,” would tell of the midnight oil, and prolonged and lonely meditations. What was my surprise to see a strong man, in the bloom and vigour of life, with head erect, and eyes wide open, take his place in the pulpit, and speak with a voice which, though it sank into soft and tender cadences as he told of human sorrow and sin, filled one with the sense of splendid power. My only wonder was that a man who was so manifestly born to be a leader among thinkers and students, so capable of
reconciling the conflicting elements of modern thought, and who, withal, was so hopeful, contagious, inspiring, should be hidden in a quiet parish in Argyllshire. But that is now changed. Dr. Matheson was discovered, and translated to St. Bernard's Parish, Edinburgh, and there he carries on the most impressive and unique ministry in Scotland. Hundreds of young men flock to hear him ; his church is always filled to the doors, and wherever he is expected to preach, in city or country, a crowded audience awaits him.
During thelast ten years Dr. Matheson has himself advanced with immense strides, not only in public recognition and influence, but also in clearness of view, and in grasp of the great problems that require solution. In 1885 he sent forth the book, Can the Old Faith Live with the New ? which deals with the problem of evolution in relation to revelation. It is a book far in advance of anything he had previously written, and is remarkable for its subtilty of argument, variety and width of illustration and suggestion, beauty and lucidity of style, and frequent bursts of eloquence and fervour. Soon after appeared The Psalmist and the Scientist, a book of still greater power and insight, and which, dealing with the problems modern scientific conceptions of nature have raised, covers part of the ground surveyed in the previous work.
In these two books we see Dr. Matheson at his characteristic work of reconciliation. Neither attempting to prove or disprove the leading conceptions of modern science, he sets himself to consider how they affect man's religious faith and hope. And the whole drift of his argument is to establish the position that science is really the handmaid of religion. The Christian faith will lose nothing through the progress of science. It will remove many old difficulties, and bring us worthier and grander views of God's methods
Since these books were written a number of other works have appeared dealing with the same theme, notably Science and the Faith, by the lamented Aubrey L. Moore, so early taken from us. But for keenness of argument, and especially for wealth of suggestive hints for students and preachers, and for their freshness and beauty of style, these two books remain unsurpassed.
Can the Old Faith Live with the New ? assumes that the theory of evolution is the true explanation of the order of the universe, and raises the question how far it will affect or modify the great articles of religious and Christian faith. Manifestly, evolution as a scientific doctrine does not involve religious agnosticism. But many scientists are agnostics, and so many associate the two together, that Dr. Matheson devotes a portion of his book to its refutation, taking the doctrine as it stands at the head of Mr. H. Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy. For if his doctrine of the Unknowable be true, the question whether the old faith can live with the new must be answered in the negative. For the old faith declares that God can be known. It affirms that man has been made in His image, and that He can, and has revealed Himself. But Mr. H. Spencer denies this. Science and religion, he declares, have one thing in common, one point where they can meet.
Reconciliation is possible by each recognizing that it is driven back upon one ultimate principle, absolutely inscrutable and unknowable. Religion cannot say that this unknown is either personal or impersonal, finite or infinite, absolute or relative. Science, in like manner, is driven back on the same unknown power. Hence with Mr. Spencer the old faith can only live with the new in the recognition that they mutually rest upon this dark, fathomless background of nescience.
It is needless to say that Dr. Matheson will not accept this as the true reconciliation of religion and science. He employs a great amount of ingenious reasoning upon this question. One of his most fruitful hints is contained in the sentences in which he shows that to know God is not the same as to know the infinite.
“When I say that space is too infinite to be fully comprehended by the mind of man, I have seemingly asserted a fact in favour of agnosticism. I have declared that space is infinite, and that I cannot know it in its infinitude. Yet what has brought me to this conclusion ? Not my ignorance of space, but just my knowledge of space.”ı When we say that God is infinite we mean that He is possessed of attributes which are boundless; but in seeking to know Him we do not begin with the boundlessness. We know Him by what He has revealed of Himself in the manifold wealth and beauty of nature, in the course of history, and in the spiritual life of man, and to what we thus learn of Him we are led to extend the idea of boundlessness or infinitude.
But although the old faith rejects agnosticism, it is not bound up with any special theory of God's procedure. When once you admit that a free, spiritual Being is the author of the universe, no religious question is involved in the inquiry whether He has worked by a process of gradual evolution or of special creation. The various aspects of the question are dealt with in a series of chapters in which it is contended that the theory of evolution is perfectly consistent with the old faith. Quite apart from the main object of the book, these chapters are valuable on account of the vast variety and originality of the reflections with which they abound. As a single example of Dr. Matheson's method of argument I will take the chapter on “ Evolution and Providence.” The subject really dealt with is evolution in relation to the design argument. The doctrine of natural selection is said to have destroyed the argument from design in nature. “ The point of conflict between the inodern doctrine of evolution and the ancient belief in a designing Providence, is believed to be the fact that evolution would render the existence of design unnecessary.”? Incidentally I may remark that Mr. Darwin's own mind went through considerable changes on this subject. At first he said, “ The old argument from design in nature as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails now that the law of natural selection has been discovered.”3 But later on he said, “ I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world as we see it is the result of chance; and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of design."1 In another letter he expresses his thought more fully: “I cannot be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me.”? In the end Darwin came to distinctly recognize the teleological nature of evolution. The old argument from design was destroyed by the new facts, but Darwin himself offered a deeper and wider view of purpose in nature. Returning to Dr. Matheson, it is interesting to see how he deals with the question.
? P. 226.
i Can the Old Faith Live with the New ? p. 67,
“ The doctrine of evolution seems at first sight to have negatived Paley's minor premiss by accounting for Paley's facts on a totally different principle. Is there any possibility of getting back to the theistic position of the last century, of seeing in the structure of nature the evidence of a presiding thought and intelligence ?”3 This is the problem with which Dr. Matheson deals, and his argument, whether quite conclusive or not, is exceedingly suggestive. Man, he argues, has an idea of freedom ; whether he is really free, may be left an open question for the present. He certainly has the idea. Whence comes it? Has it sprung up spontaneously? That would destroy evolution. If the sense of freedom ha's sprung up out of that which is not free, then we have the creation of something out of nothing. Can we, then, find for that sense of freedom an origin in evolution ? Yes. According to Mr. Spencer the prime agent in evolution is force. But the human consciousness has only one conception of force, the idea of will. “The ideas of cause and power would never have been even suggested by the objects of nature but for the presence within us of a determinative will.” When we admit that the primal force of the universe is itself an intelligent will, we explain the existence of the sense of freedom in ourselves. If we refuse to admit this, we are “confronted by the spectacle of a creation out of nothing unparalleled in the annals of religion, a creation which has brought the sense of freedom out of the depths of slavery, and has fashioned the consciousness of will out of these lifeless materials whose distinctive feature is the absence of volition.” In this way Dr. Matheson seeks to establish the presence of an intelligent will and purpose in the power that transcends nature. From this point a very fine argument is developed for the larger teleology which takes the place of the old design argument. Both the old faith and the new unite in declaring that the purpose of the providential will is the existence and development of spirit, or, in other words, the survival of the fittest. For the actual history of evolution is the record of the process by which life progressively asserts itself over inorganic nature, and mind over all. Physical strength becomes of less and less account in the development of the world. The principle of sacrifice comes in. Perfection 1 Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, vol. ii., p. 353.
' II. p. 312. 3 Can the Old Faith Live with the New ? p. 227.