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Christians have said, "Do not to others what thou wouldst not they should do to thee"; and they have added, "Else, thou wilt be sent to hell." The morality which emerges from the observation of the whole animal kingdom far surpasses this, and may be summed up, in the same circumstances. And it adds: take note that this is merely a piece of advice; but this advice is the fruit of the long experience of animals in society. And amongst the great mass of social animals, man included, it has become habitual to act on this principle. Indeed, without this, no society could exist, no race could have vanquished the natural obstacles against which it must struggle.
By flinging overboard Law, Religion, and Authority, mankind regain possession of the moral principle which has been taken from them. Regain, that they may criticise it, and purge it from the adulterations wherewith priest, judge, and ruler have poisoned it and are poisoning it yet.
Besides, this principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated oneself, what is it but the very same principle as equality, the fundamental principle of Anarchism? And how can any one manage to believe himself an Anarchist unless he practices it? We do not wish to be ruled. And, by this very fact, declare that we ourselves wish to rule nobody. We do not wish to be deceived, we wish always to be told nothing but the truth. And, by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves do not wish to deceive anybody, that we promise to tell the truth always, nothing but the truth, the whole truth?
It is not only against the abstract trinity of Law, Religion, and Authority that we declare war. By becoming Anarchists, we declare war against all this wave of deceit, cunning, exploitation, depravity, vice-in a word, inequality, which they have poured into all our hearts. We declare war against their way of acting, against their way of thinking. The governed, the deceived, the exploited, the prostitute wound above all else our sense of equality. It is in the name of equality that we are determined to have no more prostituted, exploited, deceived, and governed men and
And this is all we can do in the case of morals. We have only a right to give advice, to which we add: "Follow it, if it seems good to you."
To-day, when we see a Jack-the-Ripper murder, one after another, some of the poorest and most miserable of women, morally superior, probably, to numbers of wealthy ladies, our first feeling is one of hatred. If we had met him the day when he murdered that woman who asked him to pay her threepence for her slum lodging, we should have put a bullet through his head, without reflecting that the bullet might have been better bestowed in the brain of the owner of that wretched den. But when we recall to mind all the infamies which have brought him to this; when we think of the darkness in which he prowls, haunted by images drawn from indecent books, or thoughts suggested by stupid
books, our feeling is divided. And if some day we hear that Jack is in the hands of some judge, who has slain in cold blood a far greater number of men, women, and children than all the Jacks together; if we see him in the hands of one of those deliberate maniacs, and such people as those who send a Barras into penal servitude, to show the middle classes how well they are protected, then all our hatred of Jack-the-Ripper will vanish. It will be transferred; transformed into hatred of a cowardly and hypocritical society and its recognized representatives. All the infamies of a Ripper disappear before that long series of infamies committed in the name of Law. It is these we hate.
We have now reached the end of our subject. There are epochs we have said, in which the moral conception changes entirely. A man perceives that what he had considered moral is the deepest immorality. In some instances, it is a custom, a venerated tradition, that is fundamentally immoral; in others, we find a moral system framed in the interests of a single class. We cast them overboard and raise the cry, "Down with morality!" It becomes a duty to act "immorally."
Let us welcome such epochs, for they are epochs of criticism; they are an infallible sign that thought is working in society. A higher morality has begun to be wrought out. What this morality will be we have sought to formulate, taking as our basis the study of man and animal. We have seen the kind of morality which is even now shaping itself in the ideas of the masses and of the thinkers. This morality will issue no commands. It will refuse once and for all to model individuals according to an abstract idea, as it will refuse to mutilate them by religion, law, or government. It will leave to the individual man full and perfect liberty.
SCIENTIFIC ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES. By G. Frederick WRIGHT, D.D., LL.D., F.G.S.A., Professor of the Harmony of Science and Revelation in Oberlin College. Pp. 362. 12mo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1898. $1.50.
Dr. Wright has had exceptional training for a discussion of this nature. His thinking and working have long run in parallel lines in the two departments, science and Christian Evidences. Some seventeen years ago he issued a compact and ably reasoned volume on "The Logic of Christian Evidences," and four years later another on "The Divine Authority of the Bible." Meanwhile he had begun and industriously prosecuted those investigations which, though primarily on the subject of glacial phenomena, involved familiarity with a wide range of modern science and its modes of reasoning. He has published in this line three successive works, "The Ice Age in North America," "Man and the Glacial Period," and "Greenland Icefields," which are well known and have received marked attention at home and abroad. In 1896 he was called to deliver before the Lowell Institute in Boston a course of lectures which form the basis of the present volume.
While the present volume is from beginning to end a steady and cumulative argument in behalf of our common Christianity as viewed in accordance with the principles and methods of true scientific thinking, it is peculiar in this respect that it has almost nothing that is strongly controversial in its tone. It is rather of the nature of the quiet meditation of a thoughtful mind upon the various and striking phenomena presented by our sacred volume. Although from the nature of the case the most detailed part of the discussion is given to the New Testament, the argument lies more or less alongside of the entire Scriptures, and commences with a discussion of the legitimate basis of reasoning on such themes. While his method is entirely his own, his material is a wise combination of his own results with those of other laborers in the same wide field, so far as they are germane to his purpose, and he thus weaves an argument that grows in strength and point to its close.
The volume opens with a showing of the limits of scientific thought, with references to agnosticism, matter, mind, life, and the present order of things as viewed from a scientific standpoint. The system of nature,
the fact of man's control over it to a great extent, the possibility of God's greater control, naturally and supernaturally, the possible immortality of the soul, and the impossibility of pronouncing summarily on the problem of evil in the world, receive due attention, with a frank recognition of the terminal ignorance of science on these themes. The difficulties of religion are then matched with striking instances of the paradoxes of science on such things as gravitation, the atomic constitution of matter, and life itself, with a notice of the many conflicting and helpless attempts to solve or escape these paradoxes. The diverse views of the relation of God and nature are next discussed, together with the related topics of free will and miracles. He here accepts the definition of a miracle as “a violation of a law of nature." We have preferred to call it rather a suspension of the effects of that law or force; as when in a human interference with those laws, while, for example, a man holds a book in his hand, gravitation is all the time drawing it earthward, but the man suspends its effects. The distinction, however, may perhaps be regarded as verbal rather than real. The chapter on Darwinism and Design points out very clearly that if the theory were proved it would not exclude design, much less account for the origin of things; and important suggestions are made upon the theory itself and kindred topics. A long and careful treatment of "mediate miracles" follows, including an extended examination of the passage of the Red Sea, the destruction of Sodom, and the Deluge, and hints in regard to Lot's wife and the “standing still" of sun and moon. Then we reach a valuable discussion of the nature of the evidence that is, in legal phrase, "beyond reasonable doubt," as the kind of evidence that governs us in the most important and critical affairs of life, the same in kind with that which in its far weaker degrees constrains to great labors and precautions; and the case is illustrated by actual examples, from common life and by a legal citation, and thus brought to bear on the subject of Christian evidences.
This brings the author directly first to the external evidences themselves. He begins with the subject as it stood in 1875, and shows how by the early testimonies then before us the space was spanned from Irenæus and his cotemporaries to the time of the apostles. He proceeds with a detailed account of some of the newly discovered external sources, especially the Apology of Aristides, the Diatessaron, the Syrian Gospels from Mt. Sinai, and the so-called Gospel of Peter. Some twenty-four pages are then given to the witness from textual criticism, including adequate information concerning its chief authorities, the method in which they are used, the explanation of their inevitable variations, and the firmness of the resultant testimony to the genuineness of our New Testament, as well as the entirely unimportant and, for the most part, trivial character of all the differences found in all the hundreds of manuscripts. Dr. Wright thus states, in the way in which the whole subject has shaped itself in his own mind, all that a fair-minded reader needs for
an intelligent apprehension and conviction. He proceeds with a summary of the chief internal evidences as they have presented themselves to his mind, such as the dignity of the Gospel narratives, their freedom from puerilities like those of the apocryphal books, and from comments, the undesigned coincidences in phraseology and allusions, the marks of eye-witnesses, the reflection of the very age in which they were written and of no other-all in sufficient detail. The volume closes with a summing up of this cumulative evidence, and the result, very modestly stated, that the case stands "beyond reasonable doubt," and that "the historic proof of Christianity rests upon a much firmer basis than can be found beneath the great mass of beliefs which inspire and direct the great activities of the human race." The argument fully justifies the conclusion.
A volume which is itself the result of so much thought, and which contains in many of its parts so much careful discussion and distinction, of course calls for patient attention to follow it through and to feel its force. Any one who shall thus thoughtfully follow the discussion from its starting-point to its conclusion, should feel thoroughly confirmed if previously convinced, and convinced if previously doubting, that in his acceptance of the religion of Christ he is standing on the Rock of Ages. This brief outline will indicate the character of Dr. Wright's volume much more satisfactorily and clearly than any general statements or comments, and will show its value to inquiring and thoughtful readers, and its title to a wide circulation. It is not easy to name a volume of so moderate compass which comprises so much relevant material in a fresh form and brought down to the present date.
S. C. BARTLETT.
THE RITSCHLIAN THEOLOGY AND THE EVANGELICAL FAITH. BY JAMES ORR, M.A., D.D., Professor of Church History in the United Presbyterian College, Edinburgh; author of "The Christian View of God and the World," etc. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 1897. 75 cents.
Dr. Orr, whose name is already well known in the United States, has presented us in this work with a masterpiece of calm, clear, and, whilst decidedly critical, thoroughly dispassionate exposition. The book is a small one,-276 pages, foolscap 8vo,-but it is crammed as full of knowledge relative to the theme as an egg is full of meat. It forms one of a valuable series appearing under the editorship of the accomplished Dr. Robertson Nicoll, and bearing the general designation, "Theological Educator." I do not know of handy, compact, cheap, well-printed works better fitted for their purpose than these.
The exposition falls into eight chapters, the headings of which, for the sake of letting the scope of the book be distinctly appreciated, I will now briefly indicate. The Rise and Influence of the Ritschlian Theology; Its Historical Genesis; The Ritschlian Theory of Knowledge and Religion—