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jority of the State Conventions, and the Constitution was declared to be" the fundamental law of the Convention," at the session in 1865, at which time a Board of Trustees was elected, and instructed to obtain "An Act of Incorporation of the Convention under the laws of the State of New York." ByLaws for carrying out the provisions of the Constitution were also adopted, and Rules for Securing a Uniform System of Denominational Organization, and a Uniform System of Fellowship and Discipline, were reported, which were finally adopted in 1866. The Act of Incorporation was also obtained. in the Spring of 1866, and the General Convention, from that time on to the present, has been an authority and power, standing at the Head of the Universalist Church, and guiding all its enterprises. Slight modifications in the forms of the organic law of the Convention have been made from time to time, since 1865, but all with the purpose of making more efficient the purpose and work to which the National Organization then committed itself. The most noticeable of these was made in a new cast of the Constitution in 1870. Under this we now have uniformity in Rules for Fellowship, Ordination and Discipline, the collection of needed statistics, the raising and disbursing of money, and the general management of our important Church Enterprises. Year by year we become more united in our work, and are assured that our Denominational Polity is at last satisfactorily established.
Evolution and Materialism.
It is quite commonly assumed by religionists of the old school, and also by undevout and pedantic dabblers in modern science, that the doctrine of Evolution, as it is held by leading scientists, and about which so much is said in these days, is an anti-theistical doctrine.
We wish to show, in this paper, that it is not necessarily so -that the scientific doctrine of Evolution is not per force materialistic, and that Evolutionists are not, of course, materialists in embryo.
What, then, is Evolution, as we shall use the term in this discussion? Speaking comprehensively, it is that process by which all existing forms of matter and modes of life are developed from lower and simpler forms. According to the stricter definition of science, the general doctrine of Evolution teaches that all organized forms, including man's, are lineally descended from a few exceedingly simple individuals by a slow process of differentiation, selection and survival, through many minute variations from the original. In the language of Prof. Huxley :
"Those who hold the theory of Evolution conceive that there are grounds for believing that the world, with all that is in it, did not come into existence in the condition in which we now see it, nor in anything approaching that condition. contrary, they hold that the present conformation and composition of the earth's crust, the distribution of land and water, and the infinitely diversified forms of animals and plants which constitute its present population, are merely the final terms in an immense series of changes which have been brought about in the course of immeasurable time by the operation of causes more or less similar to those which are at work at the present day."
This, for our purpose, is a sufficient account in general of the doctrine of Evolution. Is there any good reason for supposing it to be one and the same with Materialism? There is much said and written about the materialistic tendency of modern Science. By this tendency is meant, we presume, that the principal doctrine in the creed of science leads its believers to a denial of God and of spirit, that the development theory in and of itself is atheistic.
Here, let us barely mention the fact that few if any of the leading Evolutionists are atheists. None of the foremost English Evolutionists profess atheism; none of them advocate
materialism. In Germany, France, and Russia, the Commune is materialistic, and Socialists are nihilistic, denying the existence of God and the reality and imperishability of soul. Some of the German naturalists and philosophers, like Büchner, Moleschott, Vogt, and Feurbach, seem to us to make the same denial. Without being outspoken and avowed on the subject, still atheism seems involved in their premises. But these are not the men to whom the world looks either for its science or its philosophy. There are English atheists, but they are generally, like their compeers on the Continent, political rather than scientific men, such as Bradlaugh and Holyoake. But we do not know of a single prominent English scientist who is an open and self-pronounced, or self-admitted, materialist.
What, then, if there are some fledgelings in science, ignorant of philosophy, and unused to metaphysical reasoning, who, having investigated just enough to get their heads turned, are atheistic or infidel in thought, and have lost all belief in the moral government of the world, and in moral sanctionsare we, therefore, to say that true and thorough Science is without God in the world? That would be an unwarrantable conclusion. It is no more within the province of physical science to deny God than it is to demonstrate Him. As a recent writer in the Nineteenth Century shows, physical science has no logical right to be atheistic, though it may be "atheous." It may logically and rightly affirm that by itself it knows, and can know, nothing of God. A scientific man may receive the facts of Evolution, and indeed, all the facts of Science, at the same time that he rejects the materialistic interpretation of those facts. That, surely, would be a preposterous science which began or ended its work by dogmatizing about the existence of God, denying His existence and all spiritual reality. A physical science which egotistically claims. the whole field of knowledge-which gives its whole attention to "cutting up dead monkies and live frogs," and then dogmatizes about Religion-would be as false and deplorable as that medieval orthodoxy in religion which dogmatized
about the flatness of the earth, asserting its stationariness, and compelling its Galileos to recant.
There are, as has been suggested by a scientific writer, three ways, and no possible fourth, of accounting for things in existence. The first asserts Divine Agency in a miraculous creation of all things, which is the common idea,— the idea of the child who thinks God made him just as he makes "dirt pies." This theory denies any process. The second asserts the Evolution process, but denies Divine Agency. The third asserts Divine Agency by and through the Evolution process. According to the first theory, a man holds to Theism, and denies Evolution; according to the second he holds to Evolution and denies Theism; according to the third, he believes in both Theism and Evolution. Orthodox and pre-evolution religionists hold the first view. A few ultra-materialists take the second. But the third view is the position taken by the great body of the best and most liberal thinkers of the present, both in Religion and in Science.
Evolution seems, thus, to be a theory which theists may reasonably hold, or, the modern Church will be obliged to excommunicate some of its best and wisest and most Christian theologians. But with materialism it is not so. Materialism and Christian theism, or any kind of theism, are utterly incompatible. For what is materialism, and the philosophy of its advocates, with regard to man? The boldest materialism announces that there is no Divine Mind in the Universe. Indeed, this assertion is but the logical outcome of its premises. For it starts with the postulate that there is nothing but matter in the Universe. It confounds matter and mind, or rather it speaks of but one essence or entity and that is matter. The last analysis, it declares, reveals only matter and its functions; and this matter may be infinitely divided, and no spirit be detected. Its defenders seek material proof for spiritual things. They attempt to account for all assumed spiritual and mental phenomena from merely material premises, and by predicating merely physical causes. Hence, the idea of a free, independent and immortal soul, "the imperishable seat of
personality," is to them a delusion. Or possibly they may add, without, however, making any concession, that if man is immortal, it is simply because matter and influence are eternal, and for no other or better reason. To make a syllogisın: Dust and ashes are eternal.
Man is composed of dust and ashes.
Therefore Man is eternal-as dust and ashes- but not immortal as a free and self-conscious Mind.
Thus Materialism says that there is no mind in the Universe save as a product of matter. "Matter is all I want," it says; "give me its atoms, and I will explain the Universe" of life and mind, sensation and perception. Witness an illustration from Ueberweg, on the side of the inherent vitality and self-sufficiency of matter. "Yoke a pair of mice and a cask of flour. By copious nourishment the animals increase and multiply, and in the same proportion sensations and feelings augment. The quantity of these latter possessed by the first pair is not simply diffused among their descendents, for in that case these last must feel more feebly than the first. The sensations and feelings must necessarily be referred back to the flour, where they exist, weak and pale, it is true, and not concentrated as they are in the brain." Thus it would seem that men and all animals are but the result of a "fortuitous concourse of material atoms." And the materialistic hypothesis, whenever it can do so, speaks and thinks of mind in terms of matter. It likes to associate in the same class of phenomena the body and brain of man, and the figure of a crystal, and say that these are alike in being instances of Nature's "molecular architecture." Mind is but a form of matter. It grows with the growth of the body, and is extinguished when the body dies. Vital force, like the force which issues in crystallization, is a property of matter-it inheres in matter the same as nutrition inheres in a living body. Thus, he who holds that there is but one substance or essence, and that that substance is matter, he who denies soul in man and in nature, who, like Lucretius, believes that the mind and body are one and indistinguishable, living and perishing together,