Page images

rience of many generations, Lotze, that they are intuitions. Yet in both philosophers we have equally the claim that these dispositions, or innate ideas, are products, or original powers, as the case may be, proceeding from the same One Infinite Energy or Reality, and both are at perfect agreement as to their utility and beneficence and reliability. It is not going too far perhaps, for us to say, that it is possible the evolution philosophy in the hands mutually of the Spencers and Lotzes. will find yet a ground of harmony between the parties contending on the one hand for innate faculties and on the other for acquired faculties the reconciliation of transcendentalism and experimentalism, neither party perhaps at present being wholly in the right, nor wholly in the wrong. At all events, for the present, we have here two among the greatest minds of the century, occupying the mechanical view of the universe, differing mainly (and here, perhaps, in appearance more than in reality) as to the manner and time of the origin of what is usually called innate ideas - each having been charged with materialism, each indignantly denying the charge, and each proclaiming the Reality of the Eternal Energy and Power as Source of all things.

[ocr errors]

We may note in passing, that the contrast we here bring out between Spencer and Lotze, is substantially that between Darwin and Wallace, who together share the honor of having established the doctrine of natural selection. Wallace diverges from Darwin in assigning a narrower scope to natural selection in both the mental and physical world. He does not think the power of making abstractions, as time and space, could have been evolved by this law. He leans to the idea of a higher principle as guiding man in his rise as well as controlling the forces of evolution in organic nature, and that this Principle is at the absolute origin of life and organiz


ust here it is important to observe, that Spencer's latest deliverences are to prove the inadequacy of natural selection to do all biologists claim for it, and to set forth the ever-present power of the medium - the environment

as for in

stance, light and air to the inorganic or organic, in producing the beginnings and determining the faculties and functions of the organic. Not that natural selection is not a vast law in determining organic life, but that in the beginnings the medium amid which things are and in which they come to be and change is a more prominent law.

It is thought by some, as the Boston Lectureship, that evolution taken with intuition is safe and only safe and that may or may not be wholly true. We remember that it was at first held to be fatal to the idea of a Creator to admit that man's body did not begin by a separate act of creation. Now, it is not considered at all dangerous to faith, to concede its product from antecedent animal life under evolution, It may be found as compatible with the safety of faith in the soul and in God, to assume the production of mental and moral faculties by acquisition and by influence or causes of the medium in which the human mind arose. Such would be none the less of Divine origin. The present general conviction among theologians, however, is, that the hypothesis of the so-called natural origin of our general ideas is fatal to faith in man and God the certain wreck of religion.

[ocr errors]

We are not affiming that this may not be true, but are intentionally raising the question, however, of a possible mistake just here. A change in our conception of God's time and method in creating and endowing the primal human soul and in increasing the scope of its endowment, may in no wise militate against the maintenance of the soul's spiritual character and higher destiny, just as the change so many have made in their conception of God's method in producing the body of the primal man, in no wise destroys their faith that the human race has its origin in the creative power and wisdom of God.

A sufficiently strong case is already made out on this side to cause a present hesitancy in the opposition. The confident attitude and affirmations of Mr. John Fiske, are sufficiently formidable to at least command respectful examination. He declares that "the process of evolution is itself the working

out of a mighty teleology of which our finite understandings can fathom but the scantiest rudiments" and that "this dramatic tendency in the succession of events is the objective aspect of that which when regarded on its subjective side, we call Purpose. Such a theory of things," he avers, “is Theism. It recognizes an Omnipresent Energy, which is none other than the living God."

This language brings Mr. Fiske, it appears to us, into almost complete harmony with Lotze as to essential process and results:2

Though we have studied Lotze with care, so far as his works have come under our eyes, we ask your attention to a summary of his philosophy as to the points now before us by the more competent hand of James Sully. He says:

"The mechanical view of the world, as wrought out by modern science, is fully recognized and yet surmounted in the cosmological doctrine put forth by Herman Lotze in his Mikrokosmus. Lotze defends the mechanical method as applicable to all departments of phenomena, and insists on this way of viewing organic processes. At the same time he holds that the mechanical interpretation of nature is limited at every point. On the one hand Lotze accepts the teachings of modern speculation respecting the evolution of the solar system, the genesis of the organic out of the inorganic, the continuity of man with the lower animal world; and his exposition and defence of this idea of evolution as the result of mechanical laws is extremely able and interesting. Again, Lotze seeks to bridge over the gulf between material and spiritual evolution by bringing human development into close relation to the processes of nature as a whole. Yet, while thus doing justice to the mechanical conception of the gradual genesis of the world, Lotze strenuously affirms the limitations of this

Since this paver was written, we have read with care ex-President Porter's review of Evolution in The Independent of June 3. Incidentally he refers to Lotze, but says that he is far from being "a thorough going evolutionist." This language of Dr. Porter is misleading unless you understand clearly what Dr. Porter means by "a thorough-going evolutionist." It would appear that to Dr. Porter he only is a thorough-going evolutionist who discards from his idea of force all conceptions of spirituality and rules out of the domain of mechanism which he claims is every where operative all ideas of there being the Spirit of the Living Cause in the wheels If Dr. Porter means this, then certainly Lotze is not a thorough-going evolutionist, nor is John Fiske, or Herbert Spencer, if we may take their word for it, each indignantly denying the charge of materialism.

kind of explanation. He maintains that the mechanical processes themselves cannot be understood except by help of ideas respecting the real internal nature of the elements concerned. This nature he describes as life. In this internal activity Lotze finds a teleological element, viz.: a striving towards self-preservation and development. This idea he seeks to blend with that of mechanical relations among the elements, so as to make the whole upward process of physical evolution, the product of purposeful impulses. In addition to this, Lotze looks at the world-process as a gradual unfolding of a creative spiritual principle, which he sometimes figuratively describes as the world-soul, more commonly, however, as the infinite substance." (Ency. Brit.)

We have thought this rapid survey (with some passing observations) of the positions of Lotze and of some prominent evolutionists. an important, nay, an essential preparation to ask you to look with us now into the alleged scientific perdition of the Boston Lectureship.

Since Mr. Cook accepts evolution as held by Lotze, and pronounces him safe, and since we have found Lotze as thoroughgoing an evolutionist as to the genesis of the world as is Spencer and Fiske, and since Mr. Cook claims by universal laws to set forth the certainty of a perdition of permanent bad character, it becomes us to inquire after the universal laws of evolution and ethics.

1. It will not be disputed among Christians that the focal point of ethical ideas is benevolence though we do not forget that rectitude is by some made the focal point. The controversies over this, as in the case between Dr. Mark Hopkins and Dr. McCosh, seem to conclude in each side admitting substantially all the other has to say; one, however, making rectitude the under side of benevolence, the other making benevolence the under side of rectitude.

2. If benevolence the service of others be the central principle and law of ethics, the ethical government of God is a universal manifestation of this principle. The moral law is a unit it is one on earth and in all worlds. Its purpose can not change. Like its unity, its purpose is one throughout the moral universe. It is ever operative where are moral beings.

Its utility and scope are not therefore confined to earth. The moral law is a universal requisition of obedience of conformity to right. It is this in all worlds, as gravitation is in all the spheres.

Mr. Cook as stoutly insists on the universality of the laws of ethics as we do being as he says one on earth and in the unseen Holy of Holies. We shall further on indicate the radical miscalculation he makes as to some of the circumstances of its presence both here and hereafter.

3. The laws laid down as universal by the evolution philosophers are substantially as follows: "The instability of the homogeneous, and the multiplication of effects by incident forces." These two universal laws apply to the phenomena of mind not less than to those of physical nature. "Every active force produces more than one change every cause produces more than one effect." These are universal laws, and by them the change from the homogeneous or simple to the heterogeneous or complex is brought about. "The instability of the homogeneous," says Spencer," is a universal principle. In all cases the homogeneous tends to pass into the heterogeneous, and the less heterogeneous into the more heterogeneous."

What we desire now to make clear is, that science in the hands of philosophers of both the schools of Spencer and Fiske, and Martineau and Lotze, gives no data of fact or law for the support of Mr. Cook's perdition. Lotze especially is so thorough a scientist in understanding on the one hand, and a philosopher with an efficient cause which is the Highest Good on the other, that the whole pressure of his interpretation of the universe is adverse to a "perdition which is a permanent subjection to guilt and sin and their consequences."

[ocr errors]

It should be borne in mind that the Boston Lectureship claims to prove the existence of this perdition by universal laws which he asserts he employs scientifically.

Lotze's philosophy of the phenomena of either mind or nature everywhere keeps articulating the laws of influence, change, perpetual relations, and in and through all the cease

« PreviousContinue »