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to correspond with human labor and study? The chain of the electrical machine, says Chalmers, shows no effect of the current in its intermediate links, but its power is felt in the last link held by the hand; so, in answer to prayer, God may transmit through the whole series of secondary causes his own omnipotent energy, without apparently disturbing the links of the series, for the first of these is held in his own right hand, the last of them in the uplifted praying hand. Our Atlantic steamers sometimes find their way obstructed near the coast by a vast range of floating ice; if, in venturing to pass through it, they perceive the attempt to be impossible, they must back out through the channel they have made by their movement into it; they cannot turn around; but the engineer has only to put his hand upon the complicated machinery and the motion of the mighty craft is reversed; she glides safely again into clear waters, yet every part of the machinery operates as regularly as before; no violence is done to its mechanism. Can man thus adapt his contrivances to his ends, and yet the Almighty Maker of the universe not find it possible to construct his machinery of causes and effects in such manner that he can, without what we call a miracle, or an apparent violation of natural laws, reverse, in answer to prayer, what would otherwise have been an inevitable result? Miraculous effects of prayer are not then necessary to vindicate its legitimateness. But if, for some anomalous purpose, it be found expedient occasionally that such effects should attend it, can we not suppose that the Infinite Architect can produce even these without confounding his system?
Our limits will not allow us to follow M. Guizot through all his lucid review of the Christian dogmas; we must delay, however, a few minutes, on his treatment of another, the most offensive one to modern doubt, what he calls "original sin.” He asks:
In what does this dogma consist? What are the elements and the essential facts which constitute it, and upon which it is founded? The dogma of original sin implies and affirms these propositions: 1. That God, in creating man, has created him an agent, moral, free, and fallible; 2. That the will of God is the moral law of man, and obedience to the will of God is the duty of man, inasmuch as he is a moral and free agent; 3. That, by an act of his own free will, man has knowingly failed in his duty by diso
beying the law of God; 4. That the free man is a responsible being, and that disobedience to the law of God has justly entailed on him punishment; 5. That that responsibility and that punishment are hereditary, and that the fault of the first man has weighed. and does weigh upon the human race.
Such is the teaching of Christianity on this fundamental question, and is it not accordant with the profoundest views of the constitution of human nature and with the soundest interpretation of the moral history of the world? M. Guizot is not sufficiently clear in his last proposition. It might be construed as affirming the old doctrine of the "imputation" of Adam's guilt to his posterity; aside from this liability, the doctrine of his postulates is not only scriptural but a dogma of natural theology itself. That man is morally depraved is a fact of universal history; that this moral condition is hereditary, is a fact analogical with both physiological and psycho- logical facts of our nature. Physical qualities are transmissible, physical maladies are notedly so; mental qualities and mental maladies are unquestionably so. Theology, in asserting original sin, but follows up this analogy into the moral being of man. Why then should it be repelled by the arrogance of philosophy, for so philosophical a rationale of a historical problem, the universality of moral defect in human nature? But it not only thus solves the problem of this universal fact; it, and it alone, accepts and provides for all the grave consequences of that fact. While it teaches that, on a plan of creation by which human nature is hereditary, all human beings come into the world with moral defect and danger, it teaches also that God could not with justice (to say nothing of mercy) have allowed this plan to operate, by the propagation of the race, after the fall of its first progenitor, without making full provision for its redemption, a provision which should leave man's responsibility, for his actual condition, precisely where was the responsibility of his original fall; namely, in his own free agency. According to a just interpretation of Christianity, no dying child or idiot, or any one else who has not virtually rejected the provided redemption, will be held responsible for "original sin." The pagan, even, who has never heard of the Christian redemption, is lost at last, if lost at all, only because he has not used rightly what light is given him, the light given to all
men to profit withal, and given by virtue of the "redemption that is in Jesus."
Precisely here Christianity presents a phase of sublime philosophy, that may well challenge the attention and admiration. of honest thinkers. It stands, we repeat, before the terrible problem of evil, by the very side of skeptical philosophy; that problem being a fact equally undeniable to either. But how differently they contemplate it! To the latter it is the most appalling of facts, and its reconciliation with the doctrine of the absolute perfection of the Creator the most baffling of impossibilities; for, unlike Christianity, philosophy has no offsetting doctrine of redemption. Christianity not only admits the terrible fact, but gives its history, and if we may so say, even its natural history, and superadds a divine economy of redemption and probation by which the existence of the terrible fact is made reconcilable with the divine goodness, the safety of all souls made possible, and, as Wesley taught, the ultimate welfare of the moral universe enhanced. Christianity thus throws from its cross of light radiations which illuminate and beautify the ominous cloud that otherwise must have darkened, to human contemplation, the whole universe, hiding in the blackness of darkness even the throne of God. It teaches that in order that man might be human it was necessary that he should be created a free moral agent; that this moral freedom necessarily implies the possibility of his moral fall; that this possibility has become an actual fact; and that the propagation of the human race, being governed like all the rest of the organic world, by laws of hereditary transmission, the effect of the fall has tainted the whole race. But it pauses not here; skeptical philosophy may go even thus far with it, and admit that its view of the case is strikingly plausible or even philosophical; but at this point skeptical philosophy, if it passes on, leaves what light lingers at the entrance of the abyss of the problem, and descends at every step into deeper darkness; while Christianity bears an ever-increasing illumination. into the depths, vindicating the goodness of God and the safety of man by its doctrine of a redemptive economy, a provision without which it would have been an infinite injustice and cruelty for the Creator to have permitted the human race to have continued after the lapse of its head, without
which all dying irresponsible persons, children, idiots, etc., would be inculpable victims of the divine severity, eternal impeachments of the divine throne; without which, in fine, all humanity would be wrecked, and the moral system of the world be not only an insoluble mystery but a failure, nay worse, a commingled tragedy and farce. Christianity does all this, we repeat, by its one great and yet most rejected peculiarity, its doctrine of atonement. On no other standpoint can human reason contemplate the problem of evil without staggering and falling with despair. The "foolishness of God is," then, "wiser than the wisdom of men ;" and the "foolishness of preaching," of apostolic teaching, "is the wisdom and the power of God."
But we must pass on. M. Guizot has a brilliant chapter on the "supernatural," or rather the modern revolt of philosophy from it. He shows that belief in the supernatural is instinctive in humanity; necessary to the reason, as much so as the idea. of the infinite is the necessary correlative of the idea of the finite; that it is therefore more rational than unbelief in it; that it is essential not only to the natural demands of the soul, but to the authority of any religious system whatever. We cannot now follow his reasoning in detail, but must not omit one important admonitory passage on the fallacious religious position of those who deny it.
It is condemned for its very name's sake. Nothing is or can be, it is said, beyond and above nature. Nature is one and complete; everything is comprised in it; in it, of necessity, all things cohere, enchain, and develop themselves. We are here in thorough pantheism, that is to say, in absolute atheism. I do not hesitate to give to pantheism its real name. Among the men who at the present day declare themselves the opponents of the supernatural, most, certainly, do not believe that they are nor do they desire to be atheists. But let me tell them that they are leading others whither they neither think nor wish themselves to go. The negation of the supernatural, and that in the name of the unity and universality of nature, is pantheism, and pantheism is nothing more 'nor less than atheism. In the sequel of these Meditations, when I come to speak particularly of the actual state of the Christian religion, and of the different systems which combat it, I will in this respect justify my assertion; at present, I have to repel direct attacks upon the supernatural-attacks less fundamental than those of pantheism, but not less serious, for in truth, whether men know it or not, and whether they mean it or not, all attacks in this
warfare reach the same object, and as soon as the supernatural is the aim it is religion itself that receives the shaft.
On miracles our author has some important remarks. Of course Hume's notable sophism contains the gist of the skeptical argument. M. Guizot thus discusses it:
"It is experience only," says Hume, "which gives authority to human testimony; and it is the same experience which assures us of the laws of nature. When therefore these two kinds of experience are contrary, we have nothing to do but subtract the one from the other, and embrace an opinion, either on one side or the other, with that assurance which arises from the remainder. But according to the principles here explained, this subtraction, with regard to all popular religions, amounts to an entire annihilation : and therefore we may establish it as a maxim, that no human testimony can have such force as to prove a miracle, and make it a just foundation for any such system of religion." It is in this reasoning of Hume that the opponents of miracles shut themselves up, as in an impregnable fortress, to refuse them all credence. What confusion of facts and ideas! What a superficial solution of one of the grandest problems of our nature! What! a.simple operation of arithmetic with respect to two experimental observations, estimated in ciphers, is to decide the question whether the universal belief of the race of man in the supernatural is wellfounded or simply absurd; whether God only acts upon the world and upon man by laws established once for all, or whether he still continues to make, in the exercise of his power, use of his liberty! Not only does the skeptic Hume here show himself unconscious of the grandeur of the problem, he mistakes even in the motives upon which he founds his shallow conclusion; for it is not from human experience alone that human testimony draws her authority; this authority has sources more profound and a worth anterior to experience; it is one of the natural bonds, one of the spontaneous sympathies which unite with one another men and the generations of men. Is it by virtue of experience that the child trusts to the words of its mother, that it has faith in all she tells it? The mutual trust that men repose in what they say or transmit to each other is an instinct, primitive, spontaneous, which experience confirms or shakes, sets up again or sets bounds to, but which experience does not originate. I find in the same essay of Hume this other passage: "The passion of surprise and wonder, arising from miracles, being an agreeable emotion, gives a sensible tendency toward the belief of those events from which it is derived." Thus, if we are to credit Hume, it is merely for his pleasure, for the diversion of the imaginative faculty, that man believes in the supernatural; and beneath this impression-though real, still only of a secondary nature-which does no more than skim the surface of the human soul, the philosopher has no glimpse at all of the profound instincts and superior requisitions which have