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26 DIVINE INSPIRATION.
'written by men under the influence of God,' then it does not necessarily follow that there can be no contradiction, unless you first clearly prove that this influence extended to guaranteeing the writer from all error. And this you certainly will not prove by merely conjuring with this most ambiguous phrase, 'Divine origin.'
"Of these two syllogisms, one is certainly as good logic as the other:—
"1. In a divinely originated book there can be no real contradictions. But the Bible is a divinely originated book; Therefore in the Bible there can be no real contradictions. "Or, 2. The Bible contains real contradictions. But the Bible is a divinely originated book; Therefore, a divinely originated book contains real contradictions. "There is, indeed, a third possible syllogism. It is one to which I fear, nay I know, such a priori arguments as Mr. Burgon's have driven many. It is this—
"A divinely originated book cannot contain real contradictions.
"M. C. W."
"Thou'lt come again," thou saidst, "and bring with thee
The daisy fair, the pale anemone,
Bright celandines, and hyacinthine bell,
So when the sun shone regal o'er the hill,
I sought again the path beside the rill,
Which led me upward winding through the wood,
There bloom the flowers by thee loved long ago ;—
The sorrel op'd its bells of veined snow,
IN MEMORIAM. 27
Anemones with petals all ablush,
With celandines,—for yet spring flowers were few,
The young leaves hardly out yet on the bush,
Long hadst thou press'd the thorny bed of pain,
A patient sufferer, meek as any child,
Nor cull with fond delight the flowerets wild:
God willed it so, and thou wert reconciled.
I felt so pleased to think my flowers would bring
Awake within thy soul the joy of spring,
Alas! ne'er thinking that the friend I loved
Needed no longer such poor gifts from me! Nine days before the angels had removed
Thy long-imprisoned spirit—set thee free,
Crowning thy brow with immortality!
The sad event, with sorrow and surprise
I learned from those still left—bereaved pair!
They viewed my little gift with streaming eyes—
Where winter comes no more to vex the year,
Nor sore disease to try our feeble faith; Where love-lit eyes no longer hold a tear,
Nor loving hearts are torn apart by death,
But calmly rest from all their toils beneath.
Oh! if from thine abode in yonder sky
Thou hear'st the sobs that rend fair bosoms twain,
Then come and wipe away the tears that he
On cheeks yet pale,—bid the heart's fount refrain,
RELATIVE AND ULTIMATE, SPECULATIVE AND
A Thing is or is not; a thing cannot be and not be in the same respects at the same time; nothing has no predicates or attributes; what we conceive to belong or not to belong to anything we either affirm or deny.
These are the first principles and premises of all propositions and ratiocinations, and our assent to them is unhesitating and universal as Boon as we understand their meaning. In treating of what is and is not, subjects confessed as extremely difficult to determine, it were well if we settled with intelligence and decision what relation the senses Gear to the question which we are about to examine. The organs of sight, hearing, taste, and sensation, are genuinely serviceable, and, in a certain qualified degree, on the whole reliable. This must be admitted. That which they report to the reason and imagination is not or need not be misleading. What they hear or see distinctly and undoubtedly is in agreement with the appearances of the things seen and heard. In plainer terms, let us say that our senses do not advisedly deceive us; that their testimony to facts and appearances is actually, as far as it goes, trustworthy. Few will question the general truthfulness of this assertion, for reason supposes it to be so. But stay; surely there is some oversight, if not hastiness of judgment, in our ready and unsuspecting assent to the credibility of the senses. Is it not a fact that the information which they convey to the reason is not infrequently false and misleading? And to what is this false and misleading character to be referred? Certainly not to any false element or suspicious condition in the objects seen, but to defective faculties of observing and considering. It will help to throw more light on our speculations, and to bring them to a more efficient form, if' we remind our readers of the imperfections of the senses, and of those numberless conceits and fallacies which they constantly impose upon us to our scientific and spiritual hurt. Nothing is held in lighter esteem or so thoughtlessly ignored as the imperfect state of our senses, though from the circumstance that nearly all our conceptions, even those most elevated and spiritualised, rest upon their evidence might assist us in remembering what we so unfortunately forget. We rarely form an idea, and assuredly never express one independently, of the existence and assistance of sensuous and physical images. Per
BELATIVE AND ULTIMATE TRUTHS. 29
mitting the metaphysics of the question to sleep for the present, the fact is that the senses are the fountains of natural knowledge. A worthy and withal a most admirable province the senses have, and all honour to them for their service and instruction; yet would we not forget that this province is limited and necessarily narrow. Science—the philosophy or explanation of facts and appearances—is not born of the senses though ministered to by them. They only see the shadow and outside of things, like the men in Plato's den, who saw but the shadow of external images, and only as many as came through the narrow entrance of their cave.
The world, very complex and wonderful, is given for enjoyment and study; and eyes, ears, and hands have been given to us wherewithal to search for its secrets, investigate its wonders, and master its phenomena. But the universe in itself is quite a different and superior thing to the world of sense, by which we attempt to understand it. The insufficiency and limitedness of the senses is the fertile source of our hugest scientific blunders, and of our miserablest moral inductions and deductions. "Ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth," is precisely the humour into which the senses have conducted us, and in which they keep us. It is true that we have made, and are making, appreciable inroads upon the ignorance of the past, and forming a more intimate and intelligent friendship with sciences, arts, microscopes, telescopes, and with many other fit magic instruments and appliances. By the strong fires of chemistry, nature is made to confess its most latent secrets, and which upon less provocation it would not disclose. Through the agency of chemical processes, discoveries are made of the composition of matter which afford much pleasant surprise and pleasing information. The insight into the mechanism of the body, which the knife of the anatomist affords, reverses many of our old notions and worn-out theories. Every fresh fact and successful examination of nature partially cure our imperfect and stupid senses, while at the same time in which we are suffering our senses to be enlightened, our shortsightedness is made more and more apparent. There is a perplexing fineness and subtilty in the works of God which are too occult for our vision, even when it is strengthened by the aid that science and art lend. This does not demand proof, and we will dismiss a further elucidation of this point. Clearly, then, it is partly of fate and partly of wisdom, which is our destiny, that we must "see through the glass darkly." Would it were only "darkly." This melancholy drawback is not all; we often see things inversely and falsely. Surely this is our 80 RELATIVE AND ULTIMATE,
most painful perversity. Our senses, as before confessed, represent to the reason facts as they appear to them without deception; but they judge the external appearances to be according to realities, and here specifically lies our error. The materialist, sceptic, and Sadducee trust to the evidence of the senses, and maintain that certainty rests upon their evidence; as that there is matter and motion; that matter is extended, divisible, and impenetrable; that motion is direct or oblique; that matter and motion are susceptible of great modifications and changes; that heat, light, and moisture are the primary causes of vegetation; that life, animal and human, is referable to some electromagnetic current, self-existing and self-acting; that the world is selfexisting and supporting, and the elements of which it is composed are eternal; that all that ever can be known of first causes is known, and all that ever can be discovered about spiritual realities is already obtained by the energy of the senses.
On all questions and facts relating to physiology and psychology—to matter and mind—their whole basis is supported in the evidence of the senses, and to them they triumphantly refer all who are perplexed for solutions to inexplicable problems. It is not fatal to our subject to admit the inferences above to be true, in a certain and restricted sense. But what is the amount of the truth. admitted? The senses do see truth, but only the first—relative, speculative, and apparent—not the truth—the ultimate, certain, and genuine truth. In granting that the senses do see the proximate truth, we have made too extravagant an admission, for they do not uniformly, but only partially and occasionally, see even the apparent truth. Are they not sometimes incompetent to report upon the simplest of facts? We have frequently to differ from their report, and to correct their information. When they pronounce upon such matters as are "too high for them," and of which they can not judge, then we refuse to listen to or believe them. On this account, though our eyes tell us that the earth is stationary and at perfect rest, we do not disguise or deny the fact that it does not rest. To sense it appears to rest, but science corrects the conceit. When our senses are engaged with and on their properly defined objects, and have favourable circumstances, they convey somewhat of certainty—a grain perhaps of truth it may be—but they never give us the full and genuine facts: reason and judgment alone can unfold and interpret these to us. In truth the ultimate facts, principles, and bearings of all subjects, scientific and philosophic, "are hid from the wise and prudent" senses. They are not in sense nor for sense. The mention of a few cases in which