Slike strani

immortality ; but that pantheism, while ap- view ; so long shall we inevitably draw back parently asserting God to the extreme, de. from that vast and shadowy Being, who, for nies his moral essence by denying the im- us and for our highest hopes, must be verily mortality and the freedom of man.

the Shadow of Death. Nay, we must go far

ther, and say thateven should the science of ex: WHY PANTHEISM IS A DOCTRINE TO BE

ternal nature prove pantheism true, this would DEPRECATED.

only array the interests of science against

the interests of man-the interests that man And now we see why pantheism is at war can never displace from their supreme seat with the permanent interests of human na- in his world, except by abdicating his inmost ture. Those interests are wholly identified nature and putting his conscience to an open with the vindication of freedom and immor. shame. The pantheistic voice of science tal life; and this, not on the ground of the would only proclaim a deadlock in the sysmere immediate desire we have for freedom tem and substance of truth itself, and herald and permanent existence, which would, in- an implacable conflict between the law of deed, be shallow and even unworthy of a nature and the law written indelibly in the rational being, but, on the profound and nev- human spirit. The heart on which the viser-to-be-shaken foundation laid by reason in ion of a possible moral perfection has once in its highest form of conscience. For when arisen, and in whose recesses the still and this highest form of reason is thoroughly in- solemn voice of duty has resounded with materpreted, we know that the value of freedom jestic sweetness, can never be reconciled to and immortality lies in their indispensable- the decree, though this issue never so authenness to our discipline and growth in divine tically from nature, that bids it count responlife. To no theory of the world can man, sible freedom an illusion, and surrender exthen, give a willing and cordial adhesion, if istence on that mere threshold of moral deit strikes at the heart of his individual real- velopment which the bound of our present ity, and contradicts those hopes of ceaseless life affords. Such a defeat of its most sacred moral growth that alone make life worth liv- hopes, the conscience can neither acquiesce ing. Not in its statement of the Godhead in nor tolerate. Nor can it be appeased or as the all and in all, taken by itself, but in deluded by the pretext that annihilation may its necessarily consequent denial of the real- be devoutly accepted as self-sacrifice in be ity of man-of his freedom and immortal half of an infinite "fullness of life" for the growth in goodness-is it that pantheism be- universe—a life in which the individual contrays its insufficiency to meet the needs of science is to have no share. In defense of the genuine human heart. It is true, to be this pantheistic piety, quoting the patriarch sure, that this opposition between the doc- of many tribulations, in his impassioned cry: trine of the One Sole Reality and our natu- “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in ral longings for permanent existence, or our Him!” is as vain as it is profane. This is natural bias in favor of freedom and respon- only to repeat the fallacious paradox of those sibility, in itself settles nothing as to the grim and obsolete sectarians who held that truth or falsity of the doctrine. It might be the test of a state of grace was “willingness to that the system of nature-it might be that be damned for the glory of God.” The spirit the Author of nature-is not in sympathy that truly desires righteousness longs with an or accord with “the bliss for which we sigh.” unerring instinct for immortality as the indisBut so long as human nature is what it is ; so pensable condition of entire righteousness, long as we remain prepossessed in favor of and, when invited to approve its own immoour freedom, and yearn for a life that may lation for the furtherance of the divine glory, put death itself beneath our feet: so long will will righteously answer as a noble matron, our nature reluctate, and even revolt, at the applying for admission to the church, once prospect of having to accept the pantheistic answered the inquisitorial session of her Cal

vinistic society: “I am assuredly not willing

" Who trusted God was love indeed, to be damned for the glory of God; were I

And love Creation's final law, so, I should not be here !

Though Nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shrieked against his creedTHE PROFOUND INTEREST OF THE PANTHE " Who loved, who suffered countless ills, ISTIC PROBLEM.

Who battled for the True, the Just

Be blown about the desert dust, This is what makes the question of pan

Or sealed within the iron hills ? theism, as a possible outcome of science, of

No more?-A monster then, a dream, such vital concern. Science is thus made to

A discord! Dragons of the prime, appear as the possible utterer of the doom of

That tare each other in their slime, our most precious hopes, the quencher of Were mellow music, matched with him ! those aspirations which have hitherto been

It is this profound feeling, which Tennyson the soul of man's grandest as well as of has thus so faithfully expressed, that gives to his sublimest endeavors, the destroyer of the question before us in these days its anxthose beliefs which are the real foundation ious import. Let us not fail to realize that of the triumphs of civilization of all that

pantheism means, not simply the all-pervagives majesty and glory to history. To pre. sive interblending and interpenetration of sent universal nature as the ocean in which God and the creation, but the sole reality of man and his moral hopes are to be swallowed God, and the obliteration of freedom, of moral up, is to transform the universe for man into life and of immortality for man. a system of radical and irremediable evil, and thus to make genuine religion an impossibil

WHY SHOULD MODERN SCIENCE GIVE ity; and not only genuine religion, but also

ALARM OF PANTHEISM? all political union and order, which stands, among the affairs and institutions of this It is urgent, then, to inquire if there is world of sense, as the outcome and the image anything in the nature of modern science of the religious vision. Belief in the radical that really gives color to the pantheistic view. and sovereign goodness of the universe and It is obvious enough that there are not want. its Author and Sustainer, is the very es- ing philosophers, or even schools of philososence of religious faith and of political fealty. phy, who read pantheism in science as sciIt is impossible that either faith or fealtyence appears to them. But the real question can continue in minds that have once come is: Is such a reading the authentic account to the realizing conviction that the whole of of the teachings of science itself? Here, we which we form a part, and the originating must not mistake the utterances of men of Principle of that whole, are hostile, or even

science for the unadulterated teachings of indifferent, not merely to the permanent ex- science; for, on this borderland of science and istence of man, but to his aspirations after philosophy, it need not be surprising if men the fullness of moral life. A professed God familiar with only that method of investigawho either cannot or will not bring to ful- tion which science pursues, and not at homein filment the longing after infinite moral growth the complex and varied history of philosophthat has arisen in his creature, is not, for such ical speculation, should sometimes, or even a creature, and cannot be, true God at all : often, be inclined to a hasty inference when The wish that of the living whole

the borderland is reached, and, overlooking No life may fail beyond the grave

the fact that their science and its method Derives it not from what we have have necessary limits, take that view in phiThe likest God within the soul?

losophy which the illegitimate extension of

their method would indicate. Disregarding, “And he, shall he,

then, the mere opinions of certain cultivators “Man, the last work, who seemed so fair,

of science, we are here to ask the directer, Such splendid purpose in his eyes, Who rolled the psalm to wintry skies,

more searching and more pertinent question, Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer

What is there—if, indeed, there be anything

out reserve.

--in the nature of science itself, as science is casting out of the largest mean of possible now known-what are the elements in it and errors in experiment or observation, by such in its method, that might be taken to point methods, for instance, as that of least squares toward a pantheistic interpretation of the -all these refinements are for the single universe and its Source ?

purpose of making it certain that our basis And to this it must in all candor be an- of evidence shall be confined to what has swered, that both in the method of modern actually been present in the world of sense ; science, and in the two commanding princi- we are to know beyond question that such ples that have legitimately resulted from that and such conjunctions of events have actually method, there is that which unquestionably been present to the senses, and precisely suggests the pantheistic view. Nothing less what it is that thus remains indisputable fact than the most cautious discrimination, found- of sense, after all possible additions or mised on a precise and comprehensive knowl- constructions of our mere thought or imagiedge of the course of philosophical inquiry, nation have been cancelled out. Such concan detect the exact reach, the limits, and junctions in unquestionable sense-experience, the real significance of this suggestion, or isolated and purified from foreign admixture expose the illegitimacy of following it with. by carefully contrived experiment, we are

The trait to which I am now then to raise by generalization into a tentative referring in the method of science is its rigor- expectation of their continued recurrence in ously experimental and observational char- the future;--tentative expectation, we say, acter; indeed, its strictly empirical or tenta- because the rigor of the empirical method tive character. And the two commanding warns us that the act of generalization is a results, which now in turn play an organizing step beyond the evidence of experience, and part in the subsidiary method of all the sci- must not be reckoned any part of science, ences, are (1) the principle of the conserva- except as it continues to be verified in subtion of energy, and (2) the principle of evo. sequent experience of the particular event. lution manifesting itself in the concomitant Thus natural science climbs its slow and phenomenon of natural selection—the strug. cautious way along the path of what it calls gle of each species with its environment for the laws of nature; but it gives this name existence, and the survival of the fittest. The only in the sense that there has been a conapparent implications of this method and of stancy in the conjunctions of past experience, these two principles accordingly deserve, a verification of the tentative generalization and must receive, our most careful present suggested by this, and a consequent continattention.

uance of the same tentative expectancy, How, then, does the experimental, or, which, however, waits for renewed verificamore accurately, the empirical, method of tion, and refrains from committing itself unscience suggest the doctrine of pantheism? reservedly to the absolute invariability of the By limiting our serious belief to the evidence law to which it refers. Unconditional uni. of experience—exclusively to the evidence versality, not to say necessity, of its ascerof the senses. The method of science de- tained conjunctions, natural science neither mands that nothing shall receive the high claims nor admits. credence accorded to science, except it is Now, to a science which thus accepts the attested by the evidence of unquestionable testimony of experience with this undoubting presentation in sensible experience. All the and instinctive confidence that never stops refinements of scientific method—the cau to inquire what the real grounds of the postions of repeated observation, the probing sibility of experience itself may be, or whence subtleties of experiment, the niceties in the experience can possibly derive this infallibiluse of instruments of precision, the principle ity of evidence, but assumes, on the conof reduction to mean or average, the allow. trary, that the latter is underived and immeance for the “personal equation,” the final diate—to such a science it must seem that we

have, and can have, no verifiable assurance scientific minds. It is in the principle of of any existence but the Whole--the mere the conservation of energy, and in that of aggregate of sense presented particulars hith- evolution, particularly as viewed under its erto actual or yet to become so. Thus the aspect of natural selection, that we encounter very method of natural science tends to ob- the full force of the pantheistic drift. And literate the feeling of the transcendent, or it seems, at the first encounter, irresistible. at least to destroy its credit at the bar of That all the changes in the universe of obdisciplined judgment, and in this way to jective experience are resolvable into mobring the votary of natural investigation to tions, either molar or molecular; that in regard the Sum of Things as the only reality. spite of the incalculable variety of these

On this view, the outcome of the scientific changes of motion, the sum-total of movemethod might seem to be restricted to that ment and the average direction of the moform of pantheism which I have named the tions is constant and unchangeable ; that an atheistic. Most obviously, the inference unvarying correlation of all the various would be to materialism, the lowest and modes of motion exists, so that each is conmost natural form of such pantheism; yet vertible into its correlate at a constant nusubtler reasoning, recognizing that in the merical rate, and so that each, having passed last resort experience must be consciousness, the entire circuit of correlated forms, returns sees in the subjective idealism which states again into its own form. undiminished in the Sum of Things as the aggregate of the amount : all this seems to point unmistak. perceptions of its conscious members, the ably to a primal energy-a ground-form of truer fulfillment of the method that pre- moving activity-one and unchangeable in supposes the sole and immediate validity of itself, immanent in but not transcendent of experience. But beyond even this juster its sum of correlated forms, while each inidealistic construction of atheistic panthe- stance of each form is only a transient and ism-beyond either form of atheistic pan. evanescent mode of the single reality. Nor, theism, in fact —the mere method of nat. apparently, is this inference weakened by the ural science would appear to involve con later scholium upon the principle of the consequences which, even granting the legiti. servation of energy, known as the principle macy of belief in the transcendent, would of the dissipation of energy.

On the con render the transcendent God the sole reality; trary, the pantheistic significance of the formthat is, would bring us to acosmic pantheism. er principle seems to be greatly deepened by For the empirical method, so far from vindi- this. Instead of a constant whole of movcating either the freedom of the personal ing activity, exhibited in a system of correwill or the immortality of the soul, withholds lated modes of motion, we now have a vaster belief from both, as elements that can never correlation between the sum of actual enercome within the bounds of possible experi. gies and a vague but prodigious mass of poence; so that the habit of regarding nothing tential energy—the “waste-heap," as the but the empirically attested as part of science physicist Balfour Stewart has pertinently dismisses these two essential conditions of named it, of the power of the universe. Inman's reality beyond the pale of true knowl. to this vast “waste-heap ” all the active enedge, and into the discredited limbo of un- ergies in the world of sense seem to be consupported assumptions.

tinually vanishing, and to be destined at It is, however, not until we pass from the last to vanish utterly: we shift, under the bare method of natural science to its two light of this principle of dissipation, from a great modern consequences, and take in their primal energy, immanent, but not transcendrevolutionary effect as subsidiaries of method ent, to one immanent in the sum of correin every field of natural inquiry, that we feel lated actual motions, and also transcendent the full force of the pantheistic strain which of them. Very impressive is the view that pulls with such a tension in many modern here arises of a dread Source of Being that

engulfs all beings; it is Brahm again, issuing cal method, can be taken as permanent, but forth through its triad Brahma, Vishnu, and that even the latest must be reckoned as cerSiva-creation, preservation, and annihila- tified only to date, with a reservation, at best, tion—to return at last into its own void, of “tentative expectancy” for hope of congathering with it the sum of all its transitory_tinuance; that “natural selection," as empir. modes. And let us not forget that the con- ically verified, is a process of cancellation, a ceptions out of which this image of the One selection only to death ; and that the Whole and All is spontaneously formed, are the as. alone has the possibility of final survival. certained and settled results of the science The “ tentative expectation " founded on the of nature in its exactest empirical form. entire sweep of the observed facts, and not

When to this powerful impression of the extended beyond it, would be that the latest principle of conservation, as modified by observed survivor, man, is destined like his that of dissipation, we now add the proper predecessors to pass away, supplanted by effect of the principle of evolution, the pan- some new variation of the Whole, of a higher theistic inference appears to gather an over- fitness to it. And so on, endlessly. powering weight, in no way to be evaded. This clear pointing, by an empirically esAs registered in the terms of a rigorous em- tablished and empirically construed doctrine pirical method, evolution presents the pic- of evolution, toward the One and All that ture of a cosmic Whole, constituted of varying swallows all, seems to gain farther clearness members descended from its own primitive still when the principles of conservation and form, by differentiations so slight and gradual of evolution are considered, as they must be, as not to suggest difference of origin or dis- in their inseparable connection. They work tinction in kind, but, on the contrary, to in. in and through each other. Conservation dicate clearly their kinship and community and correlation of energy, and their "rider” of origin. Still, these differentiations among of dissipation, are in the secret of the mechthe members, and the consequent differences anism of the process of natural selection, with in their adaptation to the Whole, involve a its deaths and its survivals; evolution is the difference in their power to persist amid the field, and its resulting forms of existence, mutual competition which their common more and more complex, are the outcome, of presence in the Whole implies. In this silent the operations of the correlated, conserved, and unconscious competition of tendencies and dissipated energies ; and in its principle to persist, which is called, by a somewhat of struggle and survival, evolution works in exaggerated metaphor, the struggle for exist. its turn in the very process of the correlation, ence, the members of the least adaptation to dissipation, and conservation of energy. It the Whole must perish earliest, and only those therefore seems but natural to identify the of the highest adaptation will finally survive. potential energy-the "waste heap" of power So, by an exaggeration akin to that of the —of correlation with the Whole of natural seformer metaphor, we may name the resulting lection. And thus we appear to reach, by a persistence of the members most suited to cumulative argument, the One and Only in the Whole the survival of the fittest; and as which all shall be absorbed. it is the whole that determines the standard If we now add to these several indications, of adaptation, we may also, by figuratively both of the method and of the two organic personifying the Whole, call the process of results of modern science, the further weighty antagonistic interaction through which the discredit that the principles of conservation survivors persist a process of natural selection. and evolution appear to cast upon the belief Here, now, the points of determinative im in freedom and immortality, the pantheistic port for inference are these: that the “sur- tone in modern science will sound out to vival” is only of the fittest to the IVhole ; that the full. This discredit comes, for human it is the Whole alone that “selects"; that no free agency, from the closer nexus that the “survival,” as verified to the strictly empiri- correlation of forces seems plainly to estab

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