Billeder på siden

mechanism of the solar system is surely running down. It has been running without halt for millions of years. This system. of ours had a definite beginning in its differentiation from. other nebulous masses, and all science points toward an equally definite and certain end, when the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll. This conclusion is unavoidable unless there exists some method of gathering together this scattered energy and focusing it at some new central point, to run again its long shining course. But this cannot happen unless somenew order contravenes of which at present we have no knowledge.

Thus we believe that the Creator made matter in the beginning and imparted to it the energy of which He alone is. the source and spring; that He ordained that energy should act upon and through matter according to definite methods. which we call laws; that in accordance with these laws, the present physical systems of the universe, with their orderly arrangements and multitudinous natural processes have been developed. What a sublime view such a scheme gives us of the Creator who so devised the physical universethat he could foresee through millions of future years the exact results of all His plans! How much more "worthy of its Divine author than that which would huddle the whole into a few literal days, and convert the incalculably ancient universe which we inhabit into a hastily run-up erection of yesterday."

"To him who in the love of nature,

Holds communion with her visible forms,
She speaks a various language."

He who becomes familiar with her by long years of intercourse, who studies her ways and rightly understands her possibilities, becomes more and more profoundly impressed.

She ap

with her mysteries and the wealth of her resources. pears to him to be possessed of infinite possibilities that need only the touch of human genius to waken them into most marvelous activity.. He learns no longer to despise matter, endowed as it is with divinely bestowed furnishings, and repels with a feeling akin to personal insult the flippantly bestowed title of “mud,” with which some philosophers seek to belittle it. He looks through nature back to nature's God; and as he contemplates the endless play of her activities, and calculates the inconceivable sum of her energies; when he traces backward the thread of her history, and projects into the future the the line of her progress; when he views her in her totality and beholds the plan of her destiny, his heart swells with emotion, and he is ready to ascribe honor and glory and power to Him who brought matter and energy into being, and set them running in their courses down the grooves of time.




Delivered May 14, 1893.

True science and pure Christianity have never antagonized each other. Conflicts between "science so called " and sound Christian beliefs, as well as between perverted Christian doctrine and truth revealed in material phenomena, or in the mental and moral nature of man, have frequently occurred and are of necessity inevitable.

Truth is a unity, and when properly apprehended in one department of the universe, is found to harmonize with the truth in every other.

This belief is the underlying unity and harmony of things which at first present themselves in such apparent diversity, is the fundamental doctrine of Christianity, and the foundation upon which all science, of whatever sort, has been reared.

John, in his introduction to his Gospel, states the relationship of the founder of Christianity to all truth, showing him to be the germ from which all that the human understanding has grasped and recognized as truth, has been evolved.

"In the beginning was the Word,

And the Word was with God

And the Word was God,

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him,

And without Him was not anything

Made that was made.'

[ocr errors]

Previous to the Advent of Christianity, science had no sure foothold. This came only when by slow degrees the idea of One God" by Whom all things were created that are in Heaven and in earth visible and invisible," became thoroughly interwoven with the texture of the human mind.

Science presupposes and rests on this oneness and uniformity of the universe, and this idea is, strictly speaking, a Christian conception." It is more than a coincidence that the growth of Christianity and the development of the sciences have advanced with equal step. A mutual helpfulness has marked their progress, each having made more rapid conquests by the other's aid. Whenever Christianity has produced its best fruits, there science has flourished in greatest luxuriance. A real antagonism beginning far back in the centuries, would not have so resulted.

No religion of human origin could have formulated doctrines so comprehensive and far-reaching. The founder of Christianity spake as never man spake." A young man of humble parentage, untaught by the noted scholars of the day, with meager opportunity for associating with the wise and learned, with three years of peripatetic teaching gave to the world buds of truth, which in their unfolding are found not only to accord with the revelations of the nineteen centuries of human progress, but have furnished the light and the motive power by which such progress has been made possible. What other religion known to history can be shown to meet the requirements of the physical, mental, moral and

[ocr errors]

spiritual nature of man and stimulate each and all toward a perfect and harmonious development?

Detached and disjointed excellencies in sculpture, painting, architecture, engineering, and in philosophy and in ethics, have been the product of scientific methods under many of the ancient pagan civilizations, but a pantheistic or polytheistic conception of the origin and maintainance of the universe furnished no key wherewith to unlock the mysteries of nature and discover the unity and harmony that reigned within. If, then it is true that modern science is in a certain sense the offspring of Christianity, it is but natural to assume that the greatness of the child would reflect honor upon the parent, and that whatever excellencies the former is found to possess, they are but the necessary consequences, the natural expansion, the gradual evolution and expression, of what the latter contained from the beginning. The mysteries of the germ are revealed by its development, and its dignity is determined by the greatness and nature of its product.

Truth, as discovered by science, and truth, as revealed in Christianity, can have no conflict, neither are they at variance, but, from this conception of their relationship, they must harmonize with and elucidate each other.

The search-light of scientific discovery turned upon the teachings of Christianity, need bring no fears to the heart of him who has found in their teachings nourishment for his hungry soul, but rather he should welcome it as the seed sown in good soil welcomes the sunlight, by the aid of which its powers are quickened and it springs forth into newness of life and greater usefulness.

Let us now inquire, what are scientific methods and what is the essence, the germ of Christianity, that we may have

« ForrigeFortsæt »