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From The Contemporary Review. allow man to rest in his present state : he NATURAL THEOLOGY.
craves a state more righteous, more per"- be sure some lonely strength at first manent, more pure than his present one. Invented organs such as those we use."
Now, who can deny that this dis-
Allare In answer to the question, Where is reforms have sprung out of impatience God the maker? I have replied - it is no and indignation. new fashioned answer — “I find him in I find supports furnished by the great my own dissatisfaction.” I find in man, naturalists to a belief I have held for not only the recurrence of certain peri- thirty years that man's disquietude, to odical dissatisfactions which impel him which he owes his morality and religion, to do what is needful for the maintenance is a natural development of that vital of himself and his race; but I find also motion or disquietude to which are due - deepening as thought expands — a all the living forms, animal or vegetable, permanent dissatisfaction with his social, which cover the face of the earth, so that and I may add, with his mortal condi- this disquietude presents itself to me as tion. With his social condition. He can- | the impulse that has made man, and it not rest in the presence of injustice or gives this token that it has not done makoppression, and he craves a state where ing him, that it will not allow him to rest justice reigns — where men are done jus- in his present state. tice to, and treated with due considera- I find tokens everywhere that the imtion and sympathy. And he is dissatis- pulses which stir the creature are provified with his mortal condition. He craves dential in their character. The first thing "2 state that hath foundations," a com- we find in the living substance is, motion munion with his fellows that is not a de- in a structureless fluid. This motion is lusive shadow of communion to vanish at there seen pushing out portions of the the touch of death. There is also a third, living substance, and using them as exrarer and nobler dissatisfaction, thor- tempore organs for grasping food, and oughly awakened only in the few, but subsequently, to all appearance making potential enough among the many to give the organs they need. From the most those few a strong hold over them. I structureless to the most highly organmean man's dissatisfaction with his pres-sized creature we see all living things iment animal nature. He complains that pelled to what is needed for their mainhis own selfish lusts and appetites have tenance and preservation, and also for an undue ascendency over him: that that of their race, and we find them all at he is not pure. The inspired teacher of first apparently unconscious of the provimen gets glimpses now and then - seen dential nature of the impulses that move in the lull of carnal appetite - of a bright-them. er and nobler life. He finds that the ap Now, if this is true — if the impulses petites and lusts of his lower nature mix that move every creature are providential themselves up inextricably with these in their character - then we may read in visions, and obscure them, and stand as man's permanent dissatisfaction an evibarriers to hinder his entrance on that dence of the direction in which he is bebetter life that awaits the conqueror. ing led, of the shape into which he is Hence the doctrine of original sin : hence being transformed. the traditions of the fall. Nothing brings I think the reason why the doctrine of home to me the reasonableness of Dar-a providence has been discredited is that win's view so much as the reluctance of men have looked for the first manifestaman's lower nature which Paul, with mar- tions of it in the wrong place. They vellous felicity, calls “the old man.” Ori- have sought it in the accidents of life, ginal sin is that obstinate tendency to whereas, it is to be seen first as a proprevert to a lower state, which the wisesterty of life. Life makes its children, and men feel most intensely.
moves them to do what is needed for These three dissatisfactions will not their maintenance, and the perpetuation
of their kind, and subsequently shows/manifested in every storm or frost or them what she is doing, and awakens shower, or in every law of nature. We their sympathy with her purposes so that must be thankful if we can find some they feel her impulses as their own de- clear indications of a providence above sires.
and beyond ours. Finding the providential purposes of We have such clear indications. And life in every creature so incomparably the reason they have been so much overdeeper than the creature's consciousness looked is that men have looked for them - finding that the creature is saved by where they are not to be found, that is, obeying these impulses — finding man in the accidents of life; whereas proviunder the same natural régime as all other dence is a property of life, each living creatures - I consider that true wisdom thing is first passively provided for by consists in submitting to the guidance of the mother life of which it forms a part, those impulses which have made and are and is also impelled to provide for itself: still making us. These impulses will not in due time it feels the impulse as its allow us to rest but in seeking — I will own desire or will. It observes the not say a better country, or a better world, results of the acts which it finds itself for those expressions are metaphorical — impelled to do, and acts in conscious ana better state.
ticipation of these results. We see in The callow swifts hatched in July under all vital activity that same providential our eaves do not know or criticize the character which man's actions display call that comes to them the first week in when he makes arrangements for future August, and bids them seek another contingencies. The recognition of this is country. Why should we criticize our a great aid to faith. It is a great encourcall ? Is not our knowledge like theirs agement to a man to obey impulses whose -infinitesimal. What does all the old authority he feels though he cannot extalk about the Kantean imperative mean, plain its grounds; when he finds that all but that man is under the same régime as other creatures find their safety in obey. other creatures, and that his salvation ing impulses which they cannot fathom. lies in obedience to impulses which he I do not say, mind, that we need these feels he must obey, but whose purposes marifestations of a providence as the he cannot fathom ?
basis of our faith. God forbid : the basis If I succeed in showing that the crea- of that faith which makes the new fledged ture is everywhere led by impulses whose swallow venture out across the trackless providential meaning it cannot fathom, deep does not rest on appearances, neitowards those things which it needs for ther does ours, but the power that has the preservation of its race ; and if man made us, has made us parasitic plants, so appears to be under the same régime as that we crave outward supports to sustain other creatures, then man's efforts and our instinctive faith, and if we lack these prayers will appear to indicate his real supports it droops and trails along the needs and his needs to indicate his des- ground. tiny, — if, — and this “if” is indeed a great deduction - if outward circum
DARWIN. stances allow his vital tendencies to de- ! I trust to show that there is nothing in velop themselves.
| Darwin's teaching that excludes this docThe believer will say, naturally enough, trine of a providence, though he uses ex“What is faith worth that rests on such a pressions sometimes that seem as if he contingency ? My belief is not in a Crea- almost overlooked its existence. tor who is trying to accomplish certain At the end of his “ variations of plants ends if outward chances favour him, but and animals under domestication," he as. in one to whom all chances are alike.” serts, “No shadow of reason can be asAnd so is mine. But you will agree with signed for the belief that variations .... me that we do not find indications of de- which have been the groundwork through sign everywhere ; we cannot see purpose natural selection of the formation of the most perfectly adapted animals in the probable), I see in all living things a real world, man included, were intentionally oneness of character. Everywhere I see and specially guided." The one expres- providential impulses ; I see every living sion in this passage against which I pro- thing moved, by impulses which it appartest is, that man owes his formation to ently cannot at first the least understand, variation and natural selection, or that to do what is needed for its own preserthese are the groundwork of his forma- vation and that of its race. And (as I tion.
have said that I hope to show), I find that I have every inclination to believe that all we worship as morally good or adorathey have formed man in the same way ble, appears to be involved in these provithat variation and man's selection have dential impulses, to be evoked in time in formed the double blossoming garden opposition to the pressure of adverse cirrose. But I ask, can man be said to have cumstances. What Edmund Burke said formed the rose ? No, he has only modi- of the British nation, that I think may be fied it. So natural selection and varia- said of all life, “ Its antagonists are its tion, as the Duke of Argyll says,* need helpers.” “In the reproof of chance lies something to work on, something to the true proof of men.” I shall attempt modify, something to select from. Nat- to show then that everything which we ural selection and variation, whether they call good or divine exists as a latent propare the result of chance or design, are erty of life, to be evoked, if not directly the accidents of life.
| “ætatis accessu," yet by those antagoThere may be no visible design in the nisms that time is sure to bring. accidents of life, and yet life may display Holding, as a matter of vital faith which providence as its own property. And so it is spiritual death to let go of, the Chrisit does. In every living thing, whether tian's presentiment that all things willabelled conscious or unconscious, sen- lingly or unwillingly, as antagonists or tient or non-sentient, we find an indwell- allies, will be found to do the work of ing providence, — an impulse that makes God; I think at the same time that this it provide for its own maintenance, and work of God presents itself to us as an that of its kind, and to use the things organizing power that overrules things which chance throws in its way as instru- antagonistic or indifferent, and compels ments for the work. Out of this impulse them to minister to its purpose. * It I find all that we call good or divine ulti- seems to me puerile to deny that the very mately disclosing itself: - as I shall ideas of love, and goodness, and God, hope to show.t
postulate separation and evil and chaos I would grant (what Mr. Darwin is far as the groundwork of their manifestation; more competent to judge of than I am) nay, as the only things that can give these that variation and natural selection in sacred words any meaning whatsoever. which no providential purpose can be Life is organific power ; Heaven itself is ccrtainly traced, have caused the diversity spoken of as an organism — a kingdom, of all the living forms we see, out of a Now casualties are precisely what life living matter originally everywhere iden- needs to manifest itself as an organizing tical in its properties. I find the germ of power — an organon is a tool, a thing that this idea in Hunter, who says that the existed for its own end, overruled and principle of life is everywhere the same, made to minister to ends which are not and partially illustrates it by reference to in its own programme at all. It is somethe phenomena of grafting.
thing adapted to a different use from that But whether it is the fact that different which brought it into existence. species are inalienably endowed with cer- The true Christian assertion of the nontain diverse habits and organific powers, casual character of the divine purpose or whether accident imposes on them their seems to me to be this — not that there diversity (which last seems to me most
* In opposition to the idea of one who has originally * "Reign of Law.”
made all things with an express view to all the ends to † See Murphy's " Habit and Intelligence." which they are intended to subserve.
are no casualties (such may be the case, I lief from pain, which they bring. It is as but such is not the view that our Maker yet simply the creature of impulse moved has caused us to see) — but that to Divine by a power whose ends it does not symomnipotence all casualties are the SAME : pathize with, to provide for its own presall seeming diversities are ONE.
ervation and growth. It is learning to They can only help divine omnipotence work in anticipation of results, but preby giving fresh aspects to its power. This sent relief or satisfaction are all the reis contained in the old assertion, “All sults which it has observed to follow from things work together for good to them certain acts, and are still its only motives. that love God.” And this is the onlyWe find in this child traces of a still sense in which the following old proverb earlier stage. It is now eating, drinking, need be accepted, “oi kuBou Alos del évrite and breathing for itself: there was a time TOVOL.” It need not mean that the dice when another ate and drank and breathed of God are always loaded, but only that for it. It is still protected and nursed all throws of the dice are one and the by its mother, so that the providence to same to the Maker. Casualty cannot which it owes its life is still in some possibly exclude the idea of Divine Om- measure outside of it: this is the survival nipotence, for this idea will vanish into of a still earlier stage in which it was in thin air if we attempt to make it mean its parent; wholly formed and cared for more than this ; namely, that it is a power by its parent; dependent on her acts for which will in time conquer all antagonists. its maintenance. The mother is in this
stage the wholly unconscious agent of the THE PLACE OF PROVIDENCE.
providence that is perpetuating her race Darwin's philosophy may greatly help by forming her child within her. She the cause of Natural Theology, if it leads only gradually comes to sympathize with men to look for a providence not in the the providential meaning of her own mathings which surround and press on the ternal acts. At first she is wholly unconlife, but in the reaction to the pressure. scious. Then there comes a stage, seen We are not authorized by what has been especially in birds and insects, when she shown us to call the pressure “ God's is impelled to seek a suitable deposit for will.” That way lies Moloch worship and her coming eggs — thence in due time, in every enervating superstition.
higher stages of life, she learns to know If we look for providence, not first in and love her offspring. the adverse circumstances that press on Reader: Does the providence that the life, and vary the forms and habits it feeds the embryo, and that makes the assumes in order to accomplish its ends; embryo appropriate what it needs, orig. but in the living impulse itself, the method inate in the creature's consciousness? has this incalculable advantage, that we | To ask the question is sufficient. Everyare beginning from things within the one must answer, No. The embryo is scope of our vision.* Here at least we first preserved by an impulse of which may see a providence whose existence no neither itself nor its parent knows or unone can deny, however much they may derstands anything. limit its sphere. No one can deny that Parent and child are alike preserved man exercises providence. I trust fur- and the race perpetuated by a providence ther to bring my readers to admit that which is not their own in any sense, but providence cannot be said to begin with is a property of the life by which they man, or with any creature's consciousness. live. Are these assertions too obvious The first dawn of consciousness is prac- to need making? I declare that I could tical, and it consists in noticing the re-show, if needed, the necessity of repeating sults of our own acts.
these obvious truths. A child becomes aware of itself and I think there is great danger that fol· finds itself already performing certain lowers of Darwin and Herbert Spencer,
natural acts by which its life is sustained lacking the wide circumspection of their and developed, such as breathing, eating, teachers, may be thoughtless enough to drinking, &c. Nature is already doing speak as if all instinct was at first expefor it what it will presently in some meas- rience, and that the innate instinct of the ure learn to do for itself. It does not young was always and entirely inherited perform these acts for the sake of life and experience that had passed into mechandevelopment, but for the pleasure, or re- ical habit. Such persons might say, “ It
is true that the young of each generation * XapKTEOV OUV lowS ATO TWv huv yvupluwv. - do instinctively many of those natural ARISTOTLE.
Jacts which they subsequently learn to do
consciously with a sense of their meaning nourished, not by its own acts, but by its and purpose : but though the unconscious parent's acts. Often before it is born stage precedes the conscious one in each nay, in the case of birds and insects begeneration, yet those things which the fore it is even enclosed in a shell -- proyoung do unconsciously and mechanically vision is made to secure a deposit for the their ancestors first learnt to do purpose- egg when it is laid. ls." They might add, “just as an indi- | That the bird's or insect's provident vidual comes through long practice to preparation for its coming eggs is simply perform unconsciously movements that a fortunate casual impulse seems to me at first it could only achieve by great effort absolutely incredible. Look at the variand attention ; so it is with a race.” Un- ous kinds of bots or gadflies, at the dordoubtedly this tendency of effort to be- / beetle, or at the Egpytian Scarabaus sacome unconscious is the very warp of cer.* Take these as casually mentioned progress, or the basis on which it rests. representatives of a whole host of insects. Undoubtedly in a progressive race, or in Witness the adroitness, the fertility of dea growing child, much conscious effort is vice, or in some cases the elaborate prepcontinually pissing into unconscious in- | aration, with which these and other instinct : but consciousness on the other hand sects provide places of deposit for eggs presupposes an unconscious state ; acts which when once deposited they will nevdone with the conscious purpose of attain- er see again. Notice how they make aring certain results implies experience. We rangements, not only for their protection must have seen the result follow the act. and the temperature for hatching, but And how is a creature to be made and often also for the sustenance of grubs sustained while it is getting its experi- which they will never know. Here is ence? We are reminded of the old prov- | providence; but on the other hand, can erb, “While the grass grows the horse it be said that they act in anticipation of starves." From the earliest dawn of liv- results, or know the providential meaning ing creation there must have existed the of their own acts ? How can they anticisame necessity that exists now : every | pate results which not only they have fresh creature would need to be provided never seen, but which their ancestors for while it was learning its experience, have never seen ? or else it would starve before it had learnt That ancestral associations recur in new how to live.
generations in a way that when noticed And then again the first creature that throws quite a new significance on the was capable of learning from experience theory of reminiscence, is indeed a fact how to maintain itself, would be unable that I cannot but recognize with the deepactually to learn because it would have est interest. What is it in the structureno such materials at hand as those from less albumen of a duck's egg hatched in which living creatures draw all their ex- an oven or under a hen, which impels it perience. For each creature's experience to move after the ancestral habit of its comes by observing the results of those kind, and so make organs after the ancesacts to which it finds itself impelled, and tral type ? What gives it its connate disthose acts which it sees done by its fel- cerning power, and its connate practical lows.
I power, so that it at once recognizes in Taking these considerations into ac- the water a friendly element, and the day count, I do not see how we can possibly after it is born may be seen swimming find supports to enable us to rise above and springing up from the water to snap this view ; namely, that the creature is at flies in the evening sunshine ? first moved by impulses of which it does What makes the lamb, within five minnot understand the providential meaning, utes of its birth, rise on its legs and stagto do these things which are needed for ger tremblingly up to the first grown sheep the preservation of itself and its race. it sees, seeking a mother in it; trying to I find providence to be the leader, and the suck it? The thing that draws it is not any living creature the thing led. I think the animal magnetism that attracts it to its only report which the present aspects of own mother. It does not know its mother nature justify us in making is this : name for two or three days sometimes. It is ly, that each young creature which comes attracted by a physical impulse, but an into the world is first provided for, and is ideal one." It has inherited an innate subsequently taught, chiefly by the pro- idea of the mother: its state of helplessvisions which it finds made for it, how to provide for itself. First it is engendered. See Wood, “Strange Dwellings.” Index, ScaraNext, while in the parent's substance it is | bæus.