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edge, insight and experience." Prof. Joseph A. Thayer of Harvard, in a timely contribution to this subject, says: "Facts. like these remind us that the church produced the Bible, not the Bible the church. They may teach us-that when we set the book up as the infallible and final appeal in all matters of religious belief and life, we are doing something for which we have no historic warrant; we are assigning it a place and a function which it neither held nor exercised at the outset ; which from the known facts of its history it could not possibly have assumed among the primitive believers for generations.” Prof. Otto Pfleiderer of the University of Berlin, in a recent paper says: "The Scriptures, indeed, can no longer come to us as a collection of oracles, in which every word and letter is of infallible divine authority. We have learned to take account of the human side of them, have learned to estimate the historical circumstances and conditions under which each portion was produced; in short, we look upon the Bible as a book written for men and by men, but full of sublime, holy and divine truth. Its religious value is thereby none the less, its power to awaken faith and strengthen and build up is none the weaker."
The new and eager study of the Bible that has followed this change of attitude has come to partake largely of genuine research. It is of the very nature of scientific investigation, and so far have the spirit and methods of modern scientific inquiry come to be depended upon that it is safe to believe that they will never be abandoned. As a result, the Bible must inevitably become better known, and its quickening power felt, far more than under the former way of approaching it. Whatever is regarded as an infallible oracle tends directly to encourage indolence and superstition. The search for truth is God's
ordained means of obtaining it. It is well for Christian men if, even by a rough awakening, they are coming to understand that religious truth forms no exception to the rule.
A tendency closely connected with the preceding, or even growing out of it, is distinctly manifest and unequivocally hopeful. Christian people are beginning to take habitually the attitude of learners. With the realization that all truth requires thoughtfulness and patience for its proper apprehension, that wisdom from above is to be sought "as silver" and "searched for as hidden treasures," a disposition is becoming prevalent that indicates at once a more scientific and a more truly religious frame of mind. It is equally remote from the self-sufficient agnosticism that asserts that man cannot know God, and the complacent presumption that assumes both to know him and to share with him in the direction of the universe. It is content to admit that "we know in part and prophesy in part." It is coming to apprehend the truth that no small part of our religious training consists in the discipline of uncertainty, and that "God's reserve is vastly more edifying to the docile soul than man's dogmatism." The lesson may be a hard one for some of us, but if we have at last found out that we know less than we thought we did of the plans, methods and purposes of Infinite Wisdom, let us be thankful to those who have helped us to see our ignorance. It is the great opportunity of the Christian world to learn a lesson of humility and patience. It is to be hoped that the opportunity will not be lost.
There is, moreover, an unmistakable tendency toward the simplest possible expression of Christian faith. It cannot, I think, be doubted, that formulas and creeds have so far lost their power that they can never again be leaned upon as they have been in the past. While one great and honored branch
of the Christian church is now laborously endeavoring to fit its creed to present modes of thought, a very large number of their fellow-Christians are wondering how they can possibly expect. to frame it so that it will last. Plain facts appear to be that no council or ecclesiastical body can ever gain such ascendency over the minds of men as to command even general assent to the formulas they may propose. This may indicate that we have lost much that in times past has probably served a useful purpose; but it also indicates that we have made an inconceivable gain in attaining something more of the "simplicity that is in Christ."
If the views here presented are truthful, we need not give ourselves undue anxiety about the final outcome. To those who ask: "What is there left ?" the answer is: "Everything that is good.' The stripping off of traditions has only brought into clearer relief the Divine Presence.
Many, doubtless, of the most conscientious Christians still find themselves in perplexity; yet more than ever before, down in their inmost souls, they long for the presence of God and seek his kingdom and his righteousness. To all such the words of Christ come with deep meaning: "Have faith in God." As if he would say to us today: "Those who were nearest and truest to me during my life on earth constantly mistook and misapprehended. Why have you made so much of the reporter, with his ignorance and prepossessions, and so little of the marvelous Presence that he vainly tried to comprehend and communicate? Rest now from your fruitless toil, from theories and traditions, explanations and contradictions, look beyond the rubbish and the haze, come to me, and I will give you rest. The word of man is ever uncertain. Only God is unchanging. Have faith in God."
GOD AND NATURE.
PROF. H. S. CARHART.
Delivered February 14, 1892.
The relation of God to the material universe is an oftrecurring question and furnishes a field for unlimited and very interesting speculation. Is God immediately present and volitionally active in every display of energy in the natural world about us, or was this energy imparted to the material world at the creation and destined to act on and through nature in the endless transformations of matter and the multiform conversions of physical forces? Does matter continue in existence and do the activities of nature proceed with unvarying uniformity because God sustains the one and continually exerts Himself to bring to pass the other? The answer that we give to these questions determines our philosophy of the world, but does not touch the inquiry into our moral relation to the Creator of the universe.
Dr. Samuel Clark, the intimate friend of Newton, wrote as follows: "Matter being evidently not capable of any laws -or power whatsoever, any more than it is capable of intelligence, except only this one negative power, that every part of it will be itself always and necessarily continue in that state, whether of rest or motion, wherein it at present is; so that all those things which we commonly say are the effects of the natural powers of matter and laws of motion, of gravitation, attraction, or the like, are indeed (if we will speak strictly aud
properly) the effect of God's acting upon matter continually and every moment, either immediately by Himself or mediately by some created beings." John Wesley says, "He is the true author of all the motion in the universe. All matter of whatsoever kind is absolutely and totally inert.. It does not, cannot in any case move itself. Neither the
sun, moon, or stars move themselves. They are moment by the Almighty hand that made them." Dr. Cocker in his "Theistic Conception of the World" says: "He is in nature not merely impressing laws upon matter, but the ever present source and ever operating cause of all its phenomena. If by nature we understand the varied forms of energy which underlie the phenomena, these forms of energy are but various modes in which the omnipresent power of God reveals itself. God is immanent in matter, and his ceaseless energy produces all the phenomena of nature.
Joseph Cook said in one of his lectures that the reason why we stand in awe of the thunder is because we know that God himself is just behind the cloud, hidden from us only by the thin veil of the storm. Professor Bowne says that " a tree has no substantial existence in itself; it is only a temporarily persistent form of divine activity.' Professor Bowen writes, "According to the conclusion at which we have now arrived, matter has only a capacity of resisting a change of state; Efficient Cause and Final Cause, by which alone that resistance can be overcome, can be found only in the action
Respecting these questions we must remark that they are speculative and philosophical ones-not scientific; they can never be settled by observation nor tested by experiment, but