Previous Index Next
Page 40
(previous) (Page 000040) (next)

latest conclusions of science are in perfect accordance with
the doctrine of the Master Himself, which manifestly was
that the distribution of natural phenomena is not "affected
by moral or religious causes. “ He maketh His sun'to rise
on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just
and on the unjust.” Granting “the power of Free-will in
man,” so strongly claimed by Professor Mansel in his ad-
mirable defence of the belief in miracles, and assuming the
efficacy of free prayer to produce changes in external
Nature, it necessarily follows that natural laws are more or
less at the mercy of man’s volition, and no conclusion
founded on the assumed permanence of those laws would
be worthy of confidence.

It is a Wholesome sign for England that she numbers
among her clergy men wise enough to understand all this,
and courageous enough to act up to their knowledge.
Such men do service to the public character by encourag-
ing a manly and intelligent conflict with the causes of
disease and scarcity, instead of a delusive reliance on
supernatural aid. But they have also a value beyond this
local'and temporary one. They prepare the public mind
for changes which, though inevitable, could hardly, without
such preparation, be wrought without violence. Iron is
strong; still, water in crystallizing will shiver an iron
envelope, and the more unyielding the metal is, the worse
for its safety. There are men among us who would encom-
pass philosophic speculation by a rigid enve10pe, hoping
thereby to restrain it, but in reality giving it explosive
force. If we want an illustration of this we have only to
look at modern Rome. In England, thanks to men of the
stamp to which I have alluded, scope is gradually given to
thought for changes of aggregation, and the enve10pe
slowly alters its form in accordance with the necessities of
the time.

Previous Index Next