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LOVE AND HOPE.
I SAW Love seated on a rock with Hope
Dead at his feet. A uniform grey screen
No wind-sown flower, no leaf, no blades of green
Tears on his cheek, but none within his eye,
Whose lightnings now all spent or shrouded were. He had been weeping till their source was dry
With drooping pinion, drooping head, an air
And hands loose-clasped that hung his knees between, Listless he sat. His form appeared to exhale
A wan and waning splendour which was seen
To clothe his smooth, round limbs with lustre pale,
To pierce the shadow that enshrouded, there
Whose cruel death caused all his misery,
In an article headed "Fact and Faith," which appeared in the number of this Magazine for August last, reasons were stated for believing that the apparent antagonism of Science and Christianity would not endure; it is now proposed briefly to adduce a few reasons which it is thought make their speedy conciliation exceed. ingly desirable.
If, withdrawing ourselves from the hurry in which the lives of so many of us are passed, we look calmly out, as it were, upon the lives of our countrymen, it surely must strike us at once melan. choly and curious, that a mighty civilisation based upon a mighty religion, has produced men of the most brilliant acquirements in physical lore, who labour with persistent zeal to undermine the religion to which they owe so much. It is nothing to them that Christianity has existed for nearly nineteen hundred years, and still answers the cravings of the souls of a very large proportion of our race; whereas their theories are shaped with every succeeding discovery, and become in a very little time unrecognisable. Everything around us changes; the surface of the earth is always covered with life, but its forms are ever varying; our very bodies are not our own seven years together; the ideas of man change, and then he changes too, for he is so much the creature of idea. But our religion, amidst all this change, is stedfast and unchangeable; and we cannot but think it a marvellous sign both of the existence of a soul in man, and the divinity of the Christian religion, that for nineteen hundred years the one has remained unaltered, finding always its sustenance and support in the other. It is, we repeat, a
sad and melancholy thing to come face to face with, that the very intelligence with which the Almighty Creator endowed His creatures should be used by them to subvert the religion which He sent into the world to elevate them into a spiritual life which should render them fit for heaven.
As Dr. Boultbee exclaims: "All this, in a certain sense, is very well for literary men to play with as a mental toy during the hours of a life of mental excitement. Their own intellectual pursuits occupy, and in a measure elevate them above the gross and the sensual. But what for others? What shall we say to our children who have not these literary tastes? What shall we do for the degraded classes of society? Where is the Gospel that we may
take into the courts and alleys, and that shall sound as sweet music by the bedside of the sick who is dying in rags and misery ?"'*
Yes, we come to a much sadder truth when we recognise that these notions descend upon the mass of the people, who cannot test their veracity, but can only accept them in blind deference to the authority which supposed wisdom always possesses. Who has not seen the havoc they make? There seems, indeed, to be a class of people, composed chiefly of the young, who esteem it a fine thing to be a sceptic, a still finer thing to be an atheist, and a glorious thing, because indicating so serene a loftiness of wisdom, so unfettered an exercise of thought, to inform other people that their religion is a superstitious mummery. Silver-haired grand-parents, tottering upon the brink of the grave, are favoured with this information with peculiar unction; derived probably from a reflection upon the superiority of knowledge gained in a work over the experience of a life-time. This spirit obtains amongst the partially educated, whose fortune it has been to attend the lectures of the "physical philosophers," the "great thinkers," the leaders of the glorious march of the Human Intellect," the "golden cosmopolitan age," and so forth; and who have there imbibed a diluted mixture of utilitarianism, atheism, and sundry other "-isms." Our readers surely know whom we mean? Like all other classes, they have their characteristics: we speak of those people who go about with books under their arm, with knitted brows, and with ineffable wisdom written upon their faces-shining in their self-complacent eyes, revealing itself in their supercilious noses, and lurking about their intolerant lips. These people would be harmless enough if everybody were possessed of discrimination. But history and
experience both teach us that dupes are never wanting; and these devotees to the new ideas make much mischief by disseminating them. Those primarily who set these ideas afloat would do well to see the distorted shape in which they reach the multitude; how the enthusiasm of their injudicious followers leads them to make proselytes by addressing the selfish and the base side of our nature; that is, by telling their neighbours there is no God, therefore no cause for religion, and that everybody should be able to do as they like, provided they don't hurt any anybody else. Obviously there are very many who are eager to avail themselves of such a creed, under the sanction of which they may give rein to desires not countenanced by the law and religion of the land. Who has not had occasion to
* Annual Address of the Victoria Institute for 1873.
For instance, we have often heard this said upon the authority of Professor Tyndall's Belfast Lecture; whereas, in the preface to the publication of that Lecture, he expressly denies the statement.
"Essay on Liberty," introductory chapter. J. Stuart Mill.
notice the eager but misgiving haste with which the idea of responsibility to a Hereafter is by wretches cast away? No higher tribunal than that of man be very cunning, avoid that, and you are safe!
The notion of liberty and free-will, set afloat by Mill, we think is especially dangerous. Liberty, with us Englishmen, is a wellloved word, a word all-potent with the vulgar; and under it an insidious attack is directed against the Christian religion, as making the will of man subservient to that of God. We cannot help admiring the ingenuity of this attack; and the idea that we should do as we please is very taking. But we submit that the condition that our actions must harm nobody else would be exceedingly liable to be overlooked. If a man, in the name of Liberty and Free-will, wanted to get drunk, and you attempted to shew him that if he did so he would impair his constitution, and thus injure the welfare of any children he might have afterwards, you would find him very hard to convince; he would probably tell you, with a hiccup, that it is necessary to the development of man's faculties that he should have perfect liberty and freedom of will.†
If all persons could be cultivated enough to pass a competent and deliberate judgment upon the theories which are so temptingly served up to them, we could have no reason to fear. We could trust the instincts of human nature to preserve the existence of religion, and we could trust the welfare of Christianity to the general propensity of cultivated minds to prefer what is noblest and best. But what we desire to point out is that there is no prospect of such a state of things. And this, beyond those effects of irreligion at which we have hinted, we think forms another consideration why scientific investigations should be made and taught by the sacred light of religion.
It requires but a very slight acquaintance with political economy to understand what is meant by the term Division of Employments. It is upon this principle that wealth is produced, and it is upon this principle, therefore, that the progress of nations in civilisation largely depends. The operation of this law has made soldiery a distinct avocation, whereas formerly every man was a soldier, as well as a hunter, a fisher, or a tiller of the earth: it has caused merchandise to shoot out into innummerable branches: it has caused manufactures to be done in many distinct parts :-in the making of a watch, for instance, we have a maker of springs, a maker of wheels, a maker of cases, and so of every component part: -in short, to borrow Adam Smith's expression, "what is the work *"Essay on Liberty," chap. iii. J. Stuart Mill. + Ibid. This term is generally preferred to that used by Adam Smith--"division
of one man in a rude state of society, being generally that of several in an improved one." To bring the principle directly upon our argument, we will further quote Dr. Smith's celebrated work. “In the progress of society, philosophy or speculation becomes, like every other employment, the principal or sole trade of a particular class of citizens. Like every other employment, too, it is subdivided into a great number of different branches, each of which affords occupation to a peculiar tribe or class of philosophers; and this subdivision of employment in philosophy, as well as in every other business, improves dexterity and saves time."*
"And saves time," that is well said. The great idea, in a rich and busy country like this, seems to be "to save time." Whatever may be the division of employment which it is the lot of an individual to follow, he is compelled, by the universal spirit of commercial enterprise and competition, "to save time." The command of capital over labour becomes greater every year, and the competition among labourers of all kinds-that is, amongst all those who are not capitalists-increases in the same proportion. There is no choice for a man, he must throw his whole being into his work, or others will leap into his place and grow rich while he starves. We think that in view of this state of things, and with the certain prospect of its becoming intensified as time goes on, the idea of a nation existing which should be educated enough to discuss grave questions of philosophy must recede into the regions of impossibility. And who would voluntarily pluck away that comfort of Heaven, a blissful hereafter, which car alone reconcile human beings to the mysterious decree of the Almighty that the existence of the greater number of His creatures should be one of labour, often with scarcely any intermission, instead of one of pleasure and of joy?
We do not accuse these gentlemen who, whether voluntarily or not, are certainly doing this, of a wanton intention to create misery. It is their error, not their malevolence. It is to be regarded as a natural evil of the division of employments, which does so much to make a country rich, both in money and information. For it must be borne in mind that those physical philosophers who attack Christianity do so from a physical philosopher's point of view. They do not (we say it unwaveringly) balance their deductions with those of every other branch of inquiry, and give to the world an opinion based upon them all. The opinion they give is upon their own particular branch of research. And, we ask, is this an adequate opinion?
Every year increases the fund of information in the various departments of mental activity; but the limits of man's life remain the same, carrying our minds along the vista of the future * "Wealth of Nations," book i. cap. i.-Adam Smith.