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more than that God gave him simply an animal life, such as the birds and beasts possess. It indicates a national nature. It is equivalent to another text which says, that the inspiration of the Almighty has given us understanding. A soul is an intelligent, forecasting, choosing spirit. It involves the powers of reflection, reasoning, memory, will. It is an active life, not merely a passive existence. It acts upon every thing within its reach. . The mind determines and modifies many of our bodily motions. It can not change the laws of motion, but it is continually varying its direction. Thus; it is a law of motion that we tread downward upon the surface of the earth, in obedience to the gravitating force, rather than upward into the air ; that we walk rather than fly. We must submit to this ; we can not alter it by any amount of resolution. But where and whither we will walk, how fast or how slow, or whether forwards or backwards, we can decide for ourselves. We have a modifying control of physical laws.
The chief part of our life-work consists of these changes to which we subject the objects and substances of the material world. We take the crude products of the mineral or vegetable kingdoms, and manufacture them into countless articles of usefulness and ornament. There is no end to these inventions, discoveries, improvements in practical art.
Whatever we choose to do of this nature, within the compass of our capability, we execute. But every thing we thus do, by the act of our will, is done under law. Liberty of choice belongs to us by our original constitution. Fixedness of relations belongs to matter by its organization. In one sense physical nature is our master, because we must yield to its established order of cause and effect. In another sense we are masters of the inert world around us, because we can use these laws which regulate it to our own pleasure indefinitely. We can not stop the action of the gravitating force, for instance, in one particle of solid, in one globule of fluid extension ; but we can take that principle, or any other, of the physical universe, and task it as a daily servant.' We can make the force which holds the solar system together, turn our mill-wheels and weigh our merchandize. We can create nothing ; we can not absolutely control any thing. But we can interfere with almost every thing, bending it to new purposes, shaping it to our individual wishes. God has given us this dominion in the earth over inanimate and animate forms and forces. Their passive natures he has subjected to our active powers, placing us thus in some faint resemblance to his own attitude toward all finite being. We come then to
§ III. The relation which God sustains both to nature and man as now defined. “The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.” Proprietorship is here asserted without limitation or qualification. The entire creation is his, because he made it. He has the producer's right to the universe, in its completest form. 66 Thou hast established the earth and it abideth.” It abides daily by an ever renewed establishing. 66 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” This is the biblical philosophy.
God has a personal will. The denying this function to him, as the supreme cause, is necessarily to fall back upon the deified forces of matter, and in giving them the power of Godship in place of a personal, living, creating, ruling Jehovah, we set up another and the absurdest form of idolatry which men have ever invented. It amounts to this : if Jehovah is not God, gravitation, physical attraction, chemical affinity, crystallization, are gods — that is, Nature, which is made up of these impersonal, soulless, involuntary laws - is God. This is worse than the classic paganism. For it were better to fall down and worship Jove the thunderer or Saturn the progenitor, who were supposed to be thinking and knowing individuals, than to adore the law of gravity or any other such mindless force. If our nature-worshippers would but reflect, in the midst of their sentimental ardors, that nature means only dead physical being and passivity —a something which never acts except as it is acted upon or within, they might possibly realize the fatuity of their thus bowing down to stocks and stones, and painted leaves, and wind-driven clouds. If Pope's couplet is true
“ And, binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will”; one would think that a being endowed both with a conscience and free-will should seek some loftier, worthier object of adoration than that fate-fixed captive and bond-slave, called Nature.
Personal will is essential to Deity. Creation is the direct result of its exercise. God originated the heavens and the earth, with the complete outfit of their permanent laws. He established the order and uniformity of their causation and effects. “They continue this day according to thine ordinances, for all are Thy servants." Here we meet the stronghold of an unbelieving spirit which, while it may not deny that some creating fiat gave existence, in the beginning, to all things, denies any present government to God in the world.
The advance of physical science in this generation has gone far, in many minds, to fix a conviction that every thing, not even excepting human choices and actions, is under the irresistible control of an order of nature which amounts to positive fatalism. Professor Draper's recent work, for instance, on the future policy of our country - a type of much similar literature, is run in this mould, which not a few of the scientists are busily keeping in use. This must, of necessity, rule God's active intervention out of the management of affairs. It destroys his administration in the earth, whatever it may concede concerning his being. But to be consistent, this philosophy ought to deny all personal will in God, as well as all original creative authorship. For it is not supposable that free-will in an Almighty being should establish a system of fate in a finite sphere. If nature has now an ordination of inflexible and virtually omnipotent laws, the unavoidable inference runs us into the denial of creation, and fastens upon us the utterly irrational dogma of the eternity of matter, and its spontaneous development into all existent forms of life. Just to this blank spot of atheistic negation, these speculations are steadily tending under this guidance of philosophy falsely so called. Its steps are few :-nu present, direct jurisdiction of God over man and nature: no past jurisdiction of this kind : no revelation of divine truth supernaturally given and certified : no creation at the first as the Scriptures teach, for there are no Scriptures which inform us upon that far back subject; and why should God make a universe merely to shut himself forever and totally away from its concerns? - lastly, no God; for everything now goes on very well without his interference; and it is quite inconceivable that he ever should have had any more to do than now, which is
nothing. But a God with nothing to do is no God. The mind refuses to entertain the conception. Therefore the “ High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity” disappears under the strongly evaporating heats of this sublimating sophistry. There is no personal, Divine will and soul; no superintending care ; no strengthening hand; no teaching, saving Word ; nothing but nature personified for us to love and worship. This faith, which is no faith, but the blankest nihilism, needs no sanctuary for its devotions, for the whole out-of-doors is its temple; no Sabbath, for it literally esteemeth every day alike. It has no Bible of more authority than its Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, its Plato or Shakespeare. This is the infidelity of the second half of the nineteenth century.
“Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos, is restored." The organ of a religious denomination which has no creed writes of " that Christian modification of heathenism which is called Calvinism.” But here we have a modification of heathenism” which is not Christian at all, whatever be its antecedents or surroundings. It has a learned, scientific, selfsufficient air; knocks at the doors of our universities, schools, reading-clubs, and intelligent families for admittance; boasts of the patronage of popular magazines, heavier quarterlies, and distinguished scholars ; puts crosses sometimes on its churches ; - a winged but a thieving Mercury, talkative, disputatious, plausible, false.
Its deliverances and tactics regarding the Christian faith, not unfrequently remind one of the Jesuit Huc's account of the light-fingered gentry in Thibet. He says:
“The robbers of these countries are in general remarkable for the politeness with which they flavor their address. They do not put a pistol to your head, and cry roughly : 'your money or your life! but they say in the most courteous tone ; ' my eldest brother, I am weary of walking on foot; be so good as to lend me your horse': or, “I am without money ; will you not lend me your purse?'or, - it is very cold to-day; be kind enough to lend me your coat.' If the eldest brother be charitable enough to comply, he receives thanks. If not, the request is enforced by two or three blows of the cudgel, or if that is not sufficient, recourse is had to the sabre.”
1 Christian Examiner, September, 1865, p. 181.
In noticing the relations which man sustains to the outlying world, we have seen that, while he can not reverse or set aside the laws of physical nature, he can and does continually bend them to his purposes.
We claim on behalf of the Maker of all things, that he can, at least, do as much as this ; that having himself built the universe, he has not deliberately and helplessly shut himself out of it as a directing power. That is, we maintain the reality of his actual government of the creation through the medium
(1) Of providential intervention. Let us get a definite idea of what is thus signified. We take up again the uniform action of natural agents and forces. We observe, for example, that fire burns, that cold chills and freezes. They do this everywhere. We can reckon upon the certainty of it in all latitudes and longitudes. We say they do this because it is their nature to do so.
But they do not exercise any will in the matter. They know nothing about it. Whose will then determines these results? God's, we answer.
He thus has constituted these things. And he provides that they shall so operate with a constancy which may be depended on by all.
Is it said, that, having been so set agoing in the origin of our world, they have only to keep doing as they have done? But consider a moment that we are talking of what has not even an animal life in it--no self-sustaining energy of any sort. These laws of nature demand a will and a power to hold them up, to perpetuate their uniform movement, as much as they did to begin their action. This regulated and universal order of nature is only the steady control which Omnipotence keeps of what would have had no existence but for the Divine ordination.
To this general superintendence or providence of God, let us now add another thought. While maintaining these great forces of matter in their appointed sway, the Divine will is not confined to any invariable method of procedure. To illustrate : the four seasons of the year are the results of a certain uniformity in the action of the mechanical and chemical laws of nature, under the oversight of God. They are the subject of a direct promise on his part — that to the end of time they shall not fail. We expect them in accordance with this constituted order of the earth : that is, we anticipate that the natural causes