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which undoubtedly has occurred, one upon the actual existence of which there can be no dispute, and yet one of which the history and manner is quite unknown. Take for instance the origin of life; or to be more definite, say the origin of life on any given planet, the Earth for instance. There is practically no doubt that the Earth was once a hot and molten and sterile globe. There is no doubt at all that it is now the abode of an immense variety of living organic nature. How did that life arise? Is it an event to be placed under head (1), as an unexpected outcome of the ordinary course of nature, a development naturally following upon the formation of extremely complex molecular aggregates— protoplasm and the like—as the Earth cooled; or must it be placed under head (4), as due to the direct Fiat of the Eternal?
Again, take the existence of Christianity as a living force in the world of to-day. This is based upon a series
of events of undoubtedly substantial truth centering round a historical personage; under which category is that to be placed? Was his advent to be regarded as analogous to the appearance of a mighty genius such as may at any time revolutionize the course of human history; or is he to be regarded as a direct manifestation and incarnation of the Deity Himself?
I am using these great themes as illustrations merely, for ourpresentpurpose; I have no intention of entering upon them here and now. They are questions which have been asked, and presumably answered, again and again; land it is on lines such as these that debates concerning the miraculous are usually conducted. But what I want to say is that so long as we keep the discussion on these lines, and ask this sort of question, though we shall succeed in raising difficulties, we shall not progress far towards a solution of any of them: nor shall we gain much aid towards life.
IV. Law A
The way to progress is not thus to lose ourselves in detail and in confusing estimates of possibilities, but to consider two main issues which may very briefly be formulated thus:—
(1) Are we to believe in irrefragable law?
(2) Are we to believe in spiritual guidance?
If we accept the first of these issues we accept an orderly and systematic universe, with no arbitrary cataclysms and no breaks in its essential continuity. Catastrophes occur, but they occur in the regular course of events, they are not brought about by capricious and lawless agencies; they are a part of the entire cosmos, regulated on the principle of unity and uniformity: though to the dwellers in any time
and place, from whose senses most of the cosmos is hidden, they may appear to be sudden and portentous dislocations of natural order.
So much is granted if we accept the first of the above issues. If we accept the second, we accept a purposeful and directed universe, carrying on its evolutionary processes from an inevitable past into an anticipated future with a definite aim; not left to the random control of inorganic forces like a motorcar which has lost its driver, but permeated throughout by mind and intention and foresight and will. Not mere energy, but constantly directed energy —the energy being controlled by something which is not energy, nor akin to energy, something which presumably Is Immanent in the universe and is akin to life and mind.
The alternative to these two beliefs is a universe of random chance and capricious disorder, not a cosmos or universe at all—a multiverse rather; consequently I take it that we all hold to one or other of these two beliefs. But do we and can we hold to both?
So far as I conceive my present mission, it is to urge that the two beliefs are not inconsistent with each other, and that we may and should contemplate and gradually feel our way towards accepting both.
(1) We must realize that the Whole is a single undeviating lawsaturated cosmos;
(2) But we must also realize that the Whole consists not of matter and motion alone, nor yet of spirit and will alone, but of both and all; we must even yet further, and enormously, enlarge our conception of what the Whole contains.
i Scientific men have preached the first of these desiderata, but have been liable to take a narrow view regarding the second. Keenly alive to law, and knowledge, and material fact, they have been occasionally blind to art, to emotion, to poetry, and to the higher mental and spiritual environment which inspires and glorifies the realm of knowledge.
The temptation of religious men has also lain in the direction of too narrow an excluslveness, for they have been so occupied with their own conceptions of the fuiness of things that they have failed to grasp what is meant by the first of the above requirements; they have allowed the emotional content to overpower the intellectual, and have too often ignored, disliked, and practically rejected an integral portion of the scheme,—appearing to desire, what no one can really wish for, a world of uncertainty and caprice, where effects can be produced without adequate cause, and where the connection of
antecedent and consequent can be arbitrarily dislocated.
The same vice has therefore dogged the steps of both classes of men. The acceptance of miracle, in the crude sense of arbitrary intervention and special providence, is appropriate to those who feel enmeshed in the grip of inorganic and mechanical law, without being able to reconcile it with the idea of constant guidance and intelligent control. And a denial of miracle, in every sense, that is, of all providential guidance, and all controlling intelligence, may also be the result of the very same feeling, experienced by people who are conscious of just the same kind of inability,— people who cannot recognize a directing intelligence in the midst of law and order, who regard the absence of dislocation and interference as a mark of the inorganic, the mechanical, the inexorable: wherefore the denial of miracle has often led to a sort of practical atheism and to an assertion of the valuelessness of prayer.
But to those who are able to combine the acceptance of both the above faiths, prayer is part of the orderly cosmos, and may be an efficient portion of the guiding and controlling will; somewhat as the desire of the inhabitants of a town for a civic improvement may be a part of the agency which ultimately brings it about, no matter whether the city be representatively or autocratically governed.
The two beliefs cannot be logically and effectively combined by those who think of themselves as something detached from and outside the cosmos, operating on it externally and seeking to modify its manifestations by vain petitions addressed to a system of ordered force. To such persons the above propositions must seem contradictory or mutually exclusive. But if we can grasp the idea that we ourselves are an intimate part of the whole scheme, that our wishes and desires are a part of the controlling and guiding will,—then our mental action can
Let us survey our position:— We find ourselves for a few score years incarnate intelligences on this planet; we have not always been here, and we shall not always be here: we are here in fact, each of us, for but a very short period, but we can study the conditions of existence while here, and we perceive clearly that a certain amount of guidance and control are in our hands. For better for worse we can, and our legislators do, influence the destinies of the planet. The process is called "making history." We can all, even the humblest, to some extent influence the destinies of individuals with whom we come into contact. We have therefore a certain sense of power and responsibility.
It is not likely that we are the only, or the highest, intelligent agents in the whole wide universe, nor that we possess faculties and powers denied to all else; nor is it likely that our own activity will be always as limited as it is now. The Parable of the Talents is full of meaning, and it contains a meaning that is not often brought out.
It is absurd to deny the attributes of guidance and intelligence and personality and love to the Whole, seeing that we are part of the Whole, and are personally aware of what we mean by those words in ourselves. These attributes are existent therefore, and cannot be denied; cannot be denied even to the Deity.
Is the planet subject to intelligent control? We know that it is: we ourlelves can change the course of rivers for predestined ends, we can make highways, can unite oceans, can devise inventions, can make new compounds, can transmute species, can plan fresh
not but be efficient, if we exercise It ln accordance with the highest and truest laws of our being.
variety of organic life; we can create works of art; we can embody new ideas and lofty emotions in forms of language and music, and can leave them as Platonic offspring2 to remote posterity. Our power is doubtless limited, but we can surely learn to do far more than we have yet so far in the infancy of humanity accomplished; more even than we have yet conjectured as within the range of possibility.
Our progress already has been considerable. It is but a moderate time since our greatest men were chipping flints and carving bones into the likeness of reindeer. More recently they became able to build cathedrals and make poems. Now we are momentarily diverted from immortal pursuits by vivid interest in that kind of competition which has replaced the competition of the sword, and by those extraordinary inequalities of possession and privilege which have resulted from the invention of an indestructible and transmissible form of riches, a form over which neither moth nor rust has any power.
We raise an incense of smoke, and offer sacrifices of squalor and ugliness, in worship of this new idol. But it will pass; human life is not meant to continue as it is now in city slums; nor is the strenuous futility of mere accumulation likely to satisfy people when once they have been really educated; the world is beautiful, and may be far more widely happy than it has been yet. Those who have preached this hitherto have been heard with deaf ears, but some day we Phall awake to a sense of our true planetary
• "Symposium," 209.
importance and shall recognize the higher possibilities of existence. Then shall we realize and practically believe what is involved in those words of poetic insight:—
The heaven, even the heavens are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
There is a vast truth in this yet to be discovered; power and influence and responsibility lie before us, appalling in their magnitude, and as yet we are but children playing on the stage before the curtain is rolled up for the drama in which we are to take part.
But we are not left to our own devices: we of this living generation are not alone in the universe. What we call the Individual Is strengthened by elements emerging from the social whole out of which he is born. We are not things of yesterday, nor of tomorrow. We do not indeed remember our past, we are not aware of our future, but in common with everything else we must have had a past and must be going to have a future. Some day we may find ourselves able to realize both.
Meanwhile what has been our experience here? We have not been left solitary. Every newcomer to the planet, however helpless and strange he be, finds friends awaiting him, devoted
and self-sacrificing friends, eager to care for and protect his infancy and to train him in the ways of this curious world. It is typical of what goes on throughout conscious existence; the guidance which we exert, and to which we are subject now, is but a phase of something running through the universe; and when the time comes for us to quit this sphere and enter some larger field of action, I doubt not that we shall find there also that kindness and help and patience and love, without which no existence would be tolerable or even at some stages possible.
Miracles lie all around us: only they are not miraculous. Special providences envelop us: only they are not special. Prayer is a means of communication as natural and as simple as is speech.
Realize that you are part of a great, orderly and mutually helpful cosmos, that you are not stranded or isolated in a foreign universe, but that you are part of it and closely akin to it; and your sense of sympathy will be enlarged, your power of free communication will be opened, and the heartfelt aspiration and communion and petition that we call prayer will come as easily and as naturally as converse with those human friends and relations whose visible bodily presence gladdens and enriches your present life.
The atmosphere of religion should be recognized as enveloping and permeating everything; it should not be specially or exclusively sought as an emanation from signs and wonders. Strange and ultranormal things may happen, and are well worthy of study, but they are not to be regarded as especially holy. Some of them may represent either extension or survival of human faculty, while others may be an inevitable endowment or attri
bute of a sufficiently lofty character; but none of them can be accepted without investigation. Testimony concerning such things is to be treated in a sceptical and yet open-minded spirit; the results of theory and experiment are to be utilized, as in any other branch of natural knowledge; and indiscriminate dogmatic rejection is as inappropriate as wholesale uncritical acceptance. The bearing on the hopes and fears of humanity of such unusual facts as can be verified may be considerable, but they bear no exceptional witness to guidance and control. Guidance and control, if admitted at all, must be regarded as constant and continuous; and it is just this uniform character that makes them so difficult to recognize. It is always difficult to perceive or apprehend anything which is perfectly regular and continuous. Those fish, for instance, which are submerged in ocean-depths, beyond the reach of waves and tides, are probably utterly unconscious of the existence of water; and. however intelligent, they can have but little reason to believe in that medium, notwithstanding that their whole being, life, and motion, is dependent upon it from instant to instant. The motion of the earth, again, furious
Thf Contemporary Review.
rush though it is—fifty times faster than a cannon ball—is quite inappreciable to our senses; it has to be inferred from celestial observations, and it was strenuously disbelieved by the agnostics of an earlier day.
Uniformity is always difficult to grasp; our senses are not made for it, and yet it is characteristic of everything that is most efficient; jerks and jolts are easy to appreciate, but they do not conduce to progress. Steady motion is what conveys us on our way. collisions are but a retarding influence. The seeker after miracle, in the exceptional and narrow or exclusive sense, is pining for a catastrophe; the investigator of miracle, in the continuous and broad or comprehensive sense, has the universe for a laboratory. Oliver Lodge.
ON THE CHOICE OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL.
"Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more."
Once more, my dear Cornelia, you must harden your heart and brace up your nerves as you watch Boy preparing for an entirely new departure, the plunge into the unknown depths of the great Public School. There have been in the past, and, alack! there will be in the future, those for whom this crisis has proved to be pretty well the end of all things. As there are many little smolts which go out to sea, and whether lost in the depths or the prey of some voracious monster, are never heard of again, so there will always be a proportion of little fellows whose life at a Public School is nothing short of a melancholy failure. Lacking the capacity to come to the front, or the energy to keep pace with their compeers, they sink into being nonentities LITIHO ASI. Vol. xxvi. 1351
or "smugs." It is reassuring to know that in every school in England there are at least as many complete successes as there are total failures, and that among many who pass as mediocrities, no mean proportion will be reaping an unseen and' almost unsuspected benefit not from the school curriculum only, but from the daily contact with all sorts and conditions of boys. One thing certain is, that at every Public School in England there will be boys good, boys bad, and boys indifferent; though a lady, speaking with considerable assumption of authority, did once assure me that all the clever men came from Winchester, the idle from Eton, and the wicked from Harrow. He would be a bold speculator who ventured to lay down a law as to which is absolutely the best school in England. Of course it is the mark of a loyal alumnus to swear by his own