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is an unending one, and, further, that all finite existences known to us, from atom to animalcule and from animalcule to man, are linked in one organic creative process,
so that we cannot scientifically or logically separate man from the process of cosmical creation, nor, in determining the attributes of the creative Worldenergy, leave the attributes of humanity out of account. Whatever is in the product must exist. in some elemental form in the Source or Cause. Hence, in any question concerning a world-plan or world-purpose, man, with all his immense moral capacities and possibilities, must be included as a most important part of the answer.
There have been some philosophers, as well as common people, who are not wise philosophers, who doubt whether the world of nature below man gives evidence of any moral law, of any beneficent purpose. They count up the internecine strifes among the animal races, the bitter struggles for existence, the sufferings, cruelties, and destructions everywhere rife in nature; and then they ask in a tone of triumph, If there be a just and merciful Deity, why does he not stop this painful and merciless animal conflict? And why does he afflict human beings with unavoidable cruel calamities. from nature's violence? But all these objectors seem to me to be still entangled with the old con
ception of Deity as an almighty artificer, who created the world by a few original strokes six thousand years ago, and set it in motion as something apart from himself. They have not really grasped the scientific conception of a continuous World-energy, which has not yet ceased its creative work nor reached its goal, of a World-energy that is involved and identified with all present forces for organizing and sustaining life, and is revealing its attributes and aims in all the manifold phenomena, movements, and progress of human thought and conscience as well as in the world of material nature. These objectors are really sitting in judgment on a being who is the creation of human brains in a past and ignorant age, -a mere fragment of a Deity. But whence, I ask, that very sense of mercy and justice which boldly judges nature's violence? Whence that human pity and intelligence which attempt to improve on nature's work? They are born with man of the very power that is the mainspring of nature's movements. Man is himself nature's child. He fulfils her aim, reveals her purpose; and all that he has of intelligence, conscience, goodness, all that he has of moral faculty and hope, is to be credited back to the motive-power that connects man with nature in one continuous process of creation. No evidence drawn from any isolated portion of the known universe, nor from a limited section of time, nor from any mere fragment of a creative process which even we see to have neither beginning nor end, can be
adequate for a decision against the character of a sovereign Energy admitted to be eternal in its dominion and work.
It is from these large premises that the problem of the character of Deity must be approached; and it is from a survey as nearly universal as human knowledge will admit, it is from a study of the great trend of things from the beginning of man's knowledge of the forces of the universe and of human history up to the present moment, comparing forces with results, seeing the character of causes in their consequences, tracing the evidences of advance and ascent along the courses of life from the primitive organic cell to the brain of a Plato and the heart of a Jesus, it is from such a comprehensive survey as this that modern science enables us to affirm of the world's creative process that trinity of attributes which I have named Power, Intelligence, Goodness.
Of these attributes there is one of which no sane human being ever doubts. The evidences of power - of power above human power-are omnipresent. They are conspicuous on every side. They press upon the human senses in overwhelming array. These evidences of power in the universe above man and before man we can never escape. By day, by night, in joy or pain, in life or death, we are made conscious that we intimately touch and depend upon some Reality of existence mightier and older than ourselves or than the human race. It was the sense of this Power that first bowed primi
tive man in worship. It is the consciousness of this Reality above and more than ourselves that founded religious institutions, that built this house, and that has brought us to this house this morning, or that formed the habit of coming thither. Of this first constituent of the Trinity of Evolution, therefore, there is no need I should speak further. The evidence of it is almost too convincing, for it comes not always gently. It not only charms us in the rose and the grass and the orderly procession of the seasons, but it rushes in the deadly tornado, it heaves the ocean to destructive fury; it sends a tremor through the solid earth and bursts it asunder, burying in its yawning chasms cities and their inhabitants; it belches fire and ashes and death from the volcano's mouth.
But mere cosmical power alone could not hold intelligent man in the attitude of worship. Primitive man might have prostrated himself before nature's violent forces in sheer terror; but, as soon as the human mind developed an intelligence sufficient for controlling and using such natural forces. as came within its dominion, only Power intelligible in method could receive its real homage. The human mind may stand in awe before the destructive calamities which sometimes ensue in this era of civilization from the breaking away from human control of those natural forces which have been harnessed to the service of man; but the very awe leads him to inquire by what act of omission or commission of his own that intelligent guidance
was lost, and then how he may supply a remedy against a repetition of such disasters. What the human mind renders its homage to is not sheer power with no guidance but chance, not blind, reckless fatality, but power that works in the grooves of law and method to a calculable end. And this is true not only of the natural forces which man has learned to control to his own uses, but of that omnipresent World-energy which is the force within and behind all forces. Sometimes this almighty energy may seem to us to have escaped all grooves of method, and its end may be unintelligible to us, but, in the main, it works and has ever worked in ways of orderly sequence which respond so fully to man's own intelligence that he has a right to assume that the rule controls the apparent exceptions. Indeed, in view of the intimate connection between life and the constancy of nature's methods, it is safe to say that no race of intelligent beings, no species like mankind, could ever have been developed in a universe whose powers and forces were subject to infinite chance and caprice. Man has risen to his own intelligence, and developed a civilization which means largely a progressive, intelligent control of the forces of nature, only because he had an intelligible world to deal with.
I stood one day last summer on lofty mountaintop, with still loftier peaks all around me and fertile valleys lying at the mountain's foot. On every hand were evidences of mighty Power.