SClENCE AND RELlGlON.*
The annual festival which brings us together marks the close of another year's professional instruction, and the completion by many before me of their -whole preparatory training for the work and business of life. The friendships cemented by common pursuits and aspirations are soon to exist only in memory, and the hard tests of practical life are to decide how much of manly energy and sagacity and principle there is on which to build a permanent success. It is a noble profession to which you have bound yourselves. There is but one which can rival it in dignity. The three great learned guilds are one in their object, and one in their method of work. All have in view the good of human kind. All base their hope of good upon the study of God's laws. He must be a shallow and unworthy representative of the legal profession whose highest conception of it is that of a moneymaking trade, and whose mind, with all its matching of precedents and forging of arguments, never once finds in the law the dim reflection of God's eternal justice and truth. And he must be a sorry doctor who never loses sight of selfish comfort or reputation in disinterested service of humanity, and who forgets that in every case of disease that comes beneath his eye are illustrated the highest truths of God's great creation of mind and matter. The physician is brought face to face with the saddest and solemnest aspects of human life — he should be a wise and humble man ; he has piteous hands held out.to him for help — he should be a man of tender human feeling, while he is yet careful and calm ; he must again and again see the soul hovering between two worlds and at last passing away like the spark of an extinguished taper, — he should be a truly religious man.
The great German dramatist puts into the mouth of one of his characters the words: "Respect the dreams of thy youth." I cannot believe that one of those whom I especially address is destitute of some such high ideal of professional beneficence and character. Yet at the same time you will not deem it unkind if I remind you that the dust of our life-struggle often obscures to us the lofty beacon-lights that guide our way; and that, with all pursuits of natural science, Medicine shares the common danger of forgetting those spiritual facts which give to its conclusions all their validity and significance. Those whose occupation and principal study of life it is to adjust applications of the great laws of chemistry and dynamics, and who are exercised but little in subjects and fields of thought external to mere nature, come often to be practical unbelievers in anything but nature. Con
* An Address delivered at the Commencement of the Medical College, Cleveland, February 18,1867.
tinually occupied with the phenomena of the body and its effects on the mind, even the physician sometimes finds it hard to admit within his scheme of things anything supernatural or beyond the cognizance of the senses. The theologian is sometimes guilty of the opposite fault,— while nature and the supernatural together constitute the one system of God, he ofttimes ignores the results of science and decries her methods. Religion and science will never understand each other, or find terms of harmonious cooperation, until the great truth is recognized by each that observation" and consciousness are alike sources of knowledge, and that equal validity is to bo ascribed to the ascertained results of metaphysical and moral inquiry with that which we ascribe to the processes of natural research. It is my profound conviction that neither the scientific man nor the moral philosopher can achieve success in the building up of his own system, or in the symmetrical development of his own character, so long as either disdains the pursuits of the other. The two systems are complementary to each other, and each without the other is fragmentary and incomplete. The greatest possible heresy on the part of either is to play the empiric by assuming that its system comprises the whole of truth, and that there is no knowledge but that which comes through its peculiar method. Such partiality and egotism is foreign to the true scientific spirit. I doubt not, therefore, that your training here has favorably disposed you toward the theme which I desire to elucidate, namely, the indissoluble connection between physical and metaphysical inquiry, or what is much the same thing, the mutual dependence of science and religion.
My first proposition is that no system of thought deserves the name of true science which does not recognize the existence and importance of a realm of metaphysical, moral and spiritual truth, side by side with the great fields of physical inquiry. Though many are prone to deny it, there is such a thing as metaphysical science. The observation and classification of phenomena do not by any means comprise all that is possible in scientific research. By the word phenomena I mean here the phenomena perceptible to the senses. If used in the larger sense, which embraces all that occurs or reveals itself within the mind as well as without, the word phenomena may include within its scope all the raw material of our knowledge. There are phenomena of mind as well as of matter. Self-consciousness is as valid a source of knowledge as consciousness of the outer world. And it is the merest begging of the question for the Positivist to declare that only the phenomena of sense are to be recognized as of any value in scientific inquiry. The results of intellectual philosophy are just as real and valuable as the results of physical investigation, and to say that accepted moral truth has no other basis than faith, while physical truth is positive in any peculiar sense, is simply to deny the dicta of consciousness. Mental and spiritual facts are just as demonstrable, though by a different kind of evidence, as the facta of the visible and material universe around us. Let us strip away the mystery and prejudice that envelope that much-abused word, metaphysical. It means nothing but that which is beyond the sphere of the physical. For example, I burn my hand in the flame of this gas-burner. The gas, the flame, the disintegration of the tissues of my hand, are physical facts ; but do these comprise an exhaustive summary of the case? Some philosophers would say so. But I fancy any man of common sense would feel called upon to put down certain other facts,—first, namely, a decided consciousness on my part that I was burned, and that I was a fool for putting my hand in the blaze. Now this perception of pain, this consciousness of folly, are not physical facts but metaphysical ones, and no one could ever persuade me that here was not a case for metaphysical inquiry. A similar test might be proposed for ascertaining the existence of human freedom and responsibility. If any man declares himself a fatalist, and assures you that human life and action are only unalterable links in the great chain of necessity that fast binds the universe,—suppose you knock him down,—the consequence is that he immediately rises up convinced of your freedom and responsibility, and considers these metaphysical facts at least, as sufficiently established, to warrant a process of law against you.
Upon such metaphysical facts science itself rests, and without them would be impossible. Science cannot proceed a step in her observations or demonstrations without assuming great truths which no experience has ever given her, and which she is obliged to receive by faith before she can set out at all on her voyage of discovery. Faith is a fundamental principle in philosophy just as much as in religion. You cannot get out of self to begin any investigation, without first assuming that you are different from the world around you, and that the faculties which assure you of the world's existence are truthful in their deliverances. Yet what evidence have you of these facts? None whatever, except that you have a nature preceding all your conscious thought, and underlying all your mental action,— a nature which your will did not create,— a nature which renders it impossible for you not to believe that your primitive cognitions are substantial verities. In the words of Fichte: "We are all born in faith." Faith in our mental powers as the sources of knowledge is a part of our nature. All science rests therefore, in the last analysis, on faith, not on the deductions of reason ; and the proudest contemner of religious faith builds his whole structure of knowledge on a basis of precisely the same character. And who can say that there may not be dormant in the soul the capacity of a higher faith, which divine inflences may wake to activity, just as outward influences first wake to manifestation these other primitive intuitions of the mind? Who has a right to despise the edifice of religious knowledge, which equally with all scientific knowledge rests upon a foundation in the nature itself which all the storms of reasoning can never shake? And who will not see something more than mere poetry in those noble words of Tennyson:
"Strong Son of God. Immortal Love,
Whom we, thnt have not seen thy face,
By faith and faith alone embrace,
Relieving where we cannot prove!
"Thou wilt not leave us in the dust;
Thou madest man, he knows not why;
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just."
Take the terms which science most uses,—"law," "cause," "order,"— and a slight examination will suffice to show that all their meaning and value consist in conceptions they derive from the realm of the metaphysical and spiritual. Suppose a case of acute disorder in the system comes under your notice,—let it be a case of poisoning. You instantly inquire the cause, and you proceed to administer some agent to counteract the poison, or expel it from the system. But you could not do either of these without having in mind the idea of causation,—an idea which the mere succession of events never can give you,— an idea which is derived only from your own consciousness of power to produce effects in your physical organism,—in other words, from the metaphysical fact of will. And how could we know or love or seek order in the universe,—how could we begin to classify facts or reduce them to system,—if our own inward experience did not reveal to us a unity of being there, amid a multiplicity of manifestations? It is only the metaphysical consciousness of the oneness of self that leads us to seek unity in nature, or that enables us to interpret nature as a divinely constituted cosmos or order.
The absolute impossibility of ridding ourselves of these metaphysical conceptions is shown again and again in the involuntary slips of the pen by which those who deny the validity of all primitive cognitions are yet compelled to testify to their reality and to their silent presence through all the steps of then- reasoning. John Stuart Mill, for example, though declaring in one breath that the very idea of cause is a delusion of the imagination and that we know only of the existence of fixed sequences in creation, is notwithstanding forced, when he comes to define "quality," to call it the cause of sensation, thus recognizing involuntarily the very metaphysical conception which he has been combating. And Comte, the French philosopher, while denying any validity to consciousness, is yet found saying that "man at first knows nothing but himself" and that "the phenomena of life are known by immediate consciousness." So impossible is it, if we build at all, to avoid building upon the solid ground of original intuition which underlies all our mental operations. You cannot even conceive of any material object, bounded as it is on every side and separated from other objects, except as existing in space, which is unbounded and includes all objects. You cannot think of any event as transpiring in time without at the same time conceiving of endless duration before and after, in which the event has place. You cannot help believing in infinite space and time, —you cannot even conceive of any limitation of them. Yet these infinite realities you never saw with your bodily eyes,—the conception came to you from the mind. And so you believe that every change is the result of power exerted somewhere and somehow; but this idea of causality is not from the world without but from the world within, and "without this action of mind upon its objects, the little world of man's knowledge would be not a cosmos but a chaos—not a system of parts having mutual relation to each other but an endless succession of isolated phantoms coming and going one by one."
Thus I would justify my first proposition, that no system of thought deserves the name of true science that does not recognize the existence and importance of a realm of metaphysical, moral and spiritual truth side by side with the great fields of physical inquiry. The facts of the one are just as important as the facts of the other, and however one's natural tastes may lead him to prefer one line of investigation to the other, he yet owes it to science and to himself to complement his knowledge of his own department by the acceptance of ascertained results in the other, or at least by the recognition of another sphere whose exploration is as important as that of his own. The tendency of thought in all ages, however, has been toward -one of the two opposite poles. Idealism and Materialism have alternately held sway, and the world, in the heat of controversy between them, has forgotten that the rounded globe of truth must have two poles, not one. There is truth in both, but either taken singly is false by defect. And while every man, as has been said, is born an Aristotelian or a Platonist, it is all the more important that the balance should be calmly held between the two. The fatal tendency to merge matter in mind or mind in matter, and so convert the universe into one substance, can only be counteracted by a study of bothSuch study teaches us on the one hand that knowledge of external things can never be accounted for by resolving it into self-knowledge, for the latter is just as inexplicable as the former. We know self and we know the world, and we know that self is different from the world, and that is the end of all pantheistic idealism. But on the other hand the same study teaches us that self-knowledge can never be resolved into a mere phenomenon of matter; no muscular or nervous vibrations are identical with sensation or perception; and to call the high achievements of human reason the mero necessary products of blood and brain is beyond measure degrading to science and to the soul.
Yet to this the study of nature must lead us if it be not balanced by considerations from another department of knowledge. Nature alone gives us no conception of mind or of God, for it is different from mind or God. Let us pity the man whose whole scheme of nature has no room in it for those higher ideas which give nature all her grandeur and glory. "I can conceive a severe science," says F. W. Robertson in one of his letters, "compelling a mind step by step to atheistic conclusions; and that mind, loyal to truth, refusing to ignore the conclusions or to hide them. But then I can only conceive this done in a noble sadness, and a kind of divine infinite pity towards the race which is so bereft of its best hopes. I have no patience with a self-complacent smirk which says : 'Shut up the prophets; read Harriet Martineau and Atkinson. Friendship, Patriotism, are mesmerized brain; Faith, a mistake of the stomach; Love, a titillatory movement occurring in the upper part of the nape of the neck ; Immortality, the craving of dyspepsia; God, a fancy produced by.a certain pressure upon the gray parts of the hasty-pudding within the skull; Shakespeare, Plato, Caesar, and all they did and wrote, weighed by an extra ounce or two of said pudding.'" This rough-shod criticism of a nobly indignant mind is a reductio ad absurdum of those conceptions of nature which would take out from it its very life and soul. When Buckle and Draper exhibit to us a list of statistical averages to prove that certain actions recur with uniform frequency in certain periods of time, they would have us infer that the free will of man is a mere figment of the imagination, and that the limits which are placed around human action reduce it to the law of necessity. They forget that, in the case they bring forward, law does not fetter the individual but only affects men in the mass. This is unlike gravitation, for gravitation acts equally and universally upon all matter. Every apple let go from'the hand must fall, but not every man must act so and so. We infer from these statistical averages merely that divine foresight has fixed bounds to human action, but that action itself is no less free within its sphere. The whole error of these physicists lies in their persistent determination to interpret the phenomena of mind by the conceptions they have received from matter; or in the words of James Martineau, "to push dynamics into the conquest of history and mankind, and to coerce the universe of life and persons into the formulas applicable to things."
While then any monistic theory is false, whether its leanings be toward Idealism or Materialism, and while it is true that both departments of human research must be included in any complete system of science, it becomes a most serious question which of these two co-ordinate realms shall furnish the interpretation for the other. After what I have said you will not be surprised to hear my second and last proposition, namely, that nature must be interpreted by our knowledge of mind, and not mind and its phenomena by our knowledge of nature; in other words, the governing conception in man must be also the governing conception in nature. Man has been well called a microcosm—a little world in himself—an image of the great world of matter and mind outside of him. It is this embracing in himself of the two that qualifies him to sit as judge of both; and his own being must be the measured segment of the arc, by which he triangulates the vast universe of being that stretches away on every side around him. The senses tell him of a physical organism subject to natural laws; but is this the whole of his nature? Ah, no! another inward sense tells him of the possession of endowments totally different in kind from those of matter. He has mind; there are in him life, knowledge, will, conscience,—and nature has none of these. Now, of these two parts of a man, which is the dominant one? I know that there are men like Emerson to affirm that man is here, not to work, but to be worked upon. I know that there are men like Youmans to suggest that by mere transformation a force, existing as motion, heat, or light, can become a mode of consciousness ; and that emotions and thoughts are simply another form of forces which are liberated by chemical changes in the brain. But in reply to this theory, which in its tendencies is purely materialistic and atheistic, we have only to bring forward the evidence of consciousness, that testifies clearly that mind is not subject to the laws of matter, but that it holds sway over these and can bend these to its purpose. Man conquering nature is the very idea of modern civilization. I do not mean that any one of nature's laws can be changed at his caprice, but I mean that man has been endowed with the power to put those laws in new combinations, and so make them his slaves to do his bidding.
A single act of man's will may set in motion a train of natural operations which never could have occurred without his agency, and yet which continue working of themselves after he has withdrawn his hand. To use an illustration of Janet's: "I kindle a fire in my grate. I only intervene to produce and combine together the different agents whose natural action behooves to produce the effect I have need of; but the first step once taken, all the phenomena constituting combustion engender each other conformably to their laws without a new intervention of the agent, so that an observer who shall study the series of these phenomena, without perceiving the first hand that had prepared all, could not seize that hand in any special act, and yet there is a preconceived plan and combination," and the whole series of effects may be traced back to the action of one mind and will. So Diman has well said that "when laws are conceived of, not as single but as combined, instead of being immutable in their operation, they are the agencies of ceaseless change. Phenomena are governed, not by invariable forces, but by endlessly varying combinations of invariable forces;" and we may add that while these combinations are to a considerable extent in the hands of man, so that by combining the laws of chemical attraction and combustion he can fire the gunpowder and split the solid rock asunder, these combinations are to an unlimited extent in the hands of God, so that, without suspension of natural laws but rather through these laws, he can interpose to produce providential or even miraculous results in nature, which nature left to herself would never be able to accomplish.
What I contend for, then, is simply this: that while nature's laws arc rigid, there is a power superior to those laws and exempt from their control, namely, the power of the personal will — and that in this will of man we have an instance of an efficient cause in the highest sense of that term, acting among and along with the physical causes of the material world, and producing results which would not have been brought about by any invariable sequence of physical causes left to their own action. We have evidence, in fine, of an elasticity in the constitution of nature, which permits the influence of human power on the phenomena of the world to be exercised or suspended at will, without affecting in the least the stability of the great system of things. If I throw a stone into the air, its fall is determined by natural laws, but can any man say that my throwing it was the mere result of natural laws? Nay, my free-will, something above nature, has done it, nor has any law of nature been violated therein.
In this conception of personal will we find the only key to the interpretation of nature. We talk about the forces of nature — or about the different forms that force takes on — magnetism, light, heat, motion,—but what do we know about force itself, except by our own consciousness of power exerted in every act of will? That is the only force of which we have immediate knowledge, and we know it to have its centre and source in our own personality. And so when we see a change in nature we instantly attribute it to the exertion of some unseen power,— the very laws of our mental constitution forbid us to conceive of that change as blind and causeless. There is force everywhere in nature — the moving world in all its successions and changes is bound together by some all-pervading force, which, assuming different forms, produces life and beauty and order. But our minds refuse to rest in this idea of force — we cannot even conceive of it except as having its source and centre in a personal intelligence and will analogous to our own. The very same faculties whose veracity guarantees the existence of the outward world guarantee also the existence of One whose wisdom shapes that world and conserves its being and brings about its regular successions from day to day. The universe is not a great machine self-erected and running its endless courses by virtue of some blind tendency to self-development. There is no real power that has not its seat in mind, and every change in the relations of matter is evidence of the presence of a superintending wisdom and of a divine will that upholds all things by its word. And so, instead of asserting with some of our modern physicists that the highest law of all science, the most far-reaching principle that adventuring reason has discovered in the universe, is the conservation of force,— we may with greater reverence say that science itself, in its highest sense, points to a principle high above all force and all the laws of force, namely, the personal will of the omnipresent and omnipotent God.
We recognize accordingly, in our own consciousness of will-power and in our own experience of its exercise, a clue to the explanation of the world without us, its forces and its origin. But there is another fact in our mental operations which sheds yet further light upon the meaning of nature, and that is our consciousness of purpose. We not only work, but we work toward ends. In ourselves, we recognize not only the principle of cause, but also the principle of flnal cause. I am myself convinced that the belief that all things have their ends is a primitive and universal one; that this alone gives a rational unity to the whole system of things; that this alone renders induction possible. I can argue from one thing to another only upon the assumption that things in the universe correspond to each other; in other words, that each has been made to fill its place in the system, that each exists for a purpose. But whether it be a primitive belief or not, it is at any rate a working principle of all science. Science could make no progress, indeed could make no beginnings, if she did not take for granted that there must be adaptations and uses in things whose purpose and design have hitherto been hidden.
There are two ways in which this rational interpretation of nature is sought to be refuted. The older and fortunately now somewhat antiquated method, of which Comte was the representative, is that of denying that there is any such thing as purpose in nature. What once seemed marks of design are called accidental coincidences. Final causes are merged in the totality of efficient causes. But later writers have felt the necessity of recognizing the principle of finality in nature, of ends toward which the universe and its various parts are working ; — yet they are unwilling to grant that there is a superintending wisdom which at all answers to the Christian idea of God. The result has been the announcement of the principle of immanent finality, of unconscious intelligence. And to this second interpretation of nature a large part of our modern scientists are inclined to Rive in their adhesion. They point to the instinct of the bee which builds its hexagons and provides its winter store without consciousness of the end its labor is to subserve. They point to the unconscious formation of language—a whole people for centuries shaping and perfecting a vehicle for thought—yet without consultation with each other or understanding of the harmonious structure which they are rearing. They point to the work of the world's greatest geninses in music and in literature, and claim that the perfection of art is characterized by spontaneity, absence of forethought, in short, unconscious intelligence. So they would have us believe that the spirit that moves and works in the universe is also an unconscious intelligence, and that the marvelous results of order and beauty which we see about us are but the unpurposed ends toward which an impersonal force has been working.
There are very many arguments which might be urged against this conception of nature, but we cau notice only one. It loses sight of man. It is the universe that is to be accounted for, and the theory expressly holds that man is a part of the universe. If there were no such thing as conscious freedom and conscious purpose anywhere, if animal intelligence were the highest, then there would be nothing so impossible in the hypothesis that undesigning creatures were an outgrowth of undesiguing intelligence. But the moment that man is taken into the account, we have a problem which this philosophy can never solve — the problem how the conscious is to be explained from the unconscious. It is granted that there is intelligence in nature; it is granted that there is conscious intelligence in man, and that this conscious intelligence is higher than that which is unconscious. We claim that it is more rational to explain the lower by the higher, than it is to explain the higher by the lower — more rational to suppose that unconscious intelligence has derived its origin from conscious intelligence, than that the conscious has come from the unconscious. If nature has an intelligent cause, you are bound to get your ideas of the nature of that cause, not from the lowest forms of intelligence you know, but from the highest — not from the animal, therefore, but from the man. In our own intelligent purpose we have the simplest explanation of the intelligence of the universe about us. Somewhere or other you must find purpose outside of man to explain purpose in man — and when you have found a conscious intelligence that can explain man, you can best explain the unconscious universe by referring that to this intelligence also. An organism working unconsciously toward an end can be best explained by supposing that it is impelled toward that end by another being who is conscious and who has chosen the end. It is only reason to suppose that nature reaches her ends because nature is ruled by a being immanent in nature whose intelligence has determined the ends and whose power realizes them. Leave out man and the universe cannot be rationally interpreted. Include man in your survey, and you are bound to regard nature as the product and working of a mind and will analogous to the conscious soul that inhabits and energizes and directs the human body.
I have said that, if we include man in our survey of the universe, we are bound to regard nature as the product and working of a mind and will analogous to the conscious soul that inhabits and energizes and directs the human body. Deny this, and I do not see what is to save you from denying also the fact of conscious intelligence in man. To this the theory I am combating logically tends. We have no physical evidence of the existence of consciousness in others. As our fellow-beings are declared destitute of free volition, so they should be declared destitute of consciousness. As the brutes are called automata, so should man be called an automaton. It has w<'ll been said that if physics be all, we have no God, but then also wo have no man, existing. If we deny that the adaptations in nature are indications of a designing God. we should equally deny that the watch, the aqueduct and the railway are indications of a designing man. "The essential bestiality of man " is a natural and logical conclusion. Into this Slough of Despond, this renunciation of the highest honors of manhood, the philosophy of the day is drifting. "What the bearing of the automatic theory of human nature," I quote from a late essay of Mr. Gold win Smith, "what the bearing of the automatic theory of human nature would be upon the hopes and aspirations of man, or on moral philosophy generally, it might be difficult,
no doubt, to say. But has any one of the distinguished advocates of the
automatic theory ever acted upon it, or allowed his thoughts to be really
ruled by it, for a moment? What can be imagined more strange than an
automaton suddenly becoming conscious of its own automatic character,
reasoning and debating about it automatically, and coming automatically to
the conclusion that the automatic theory of itself is true?"
Tennyson answers, in effect, the question of Goldwin Smith, and the
answer is despair and suicide:
"Why should we boar with an hour of torture, a moment of pain,
If every man die forever, if all his griefs are in vain.
And the homeless planet at length will be wheel'd thro' the silence of space,
Motherless evermore of an ever-vanishing race,
When the worm shall have writhed its last, and its last brother-worm will have fled
From the dead fossil skull that is left in the rocks of an earth that is dead?
"Have I crazed myself over their horrible infidel writings? O yes,
For these are the now dark ages, you see, of the popular press,
When the bat comes out of his cave, and the owls are whooping at noon,
And Doubt is the lord of this dunghill and crows to the sun and the moon,
Till the Sun and the Moon of our scienee are both of them turn'd into blood.
And Hope will have broken her heart, running after a shadow of good."
And so we feel bound to protest against the doctrine that the unconscious is the measure and the source of the conscious, and that final causes are only unphilosophic dreams. Mr. Darwin himself has conceded that upon his view there is no reason why the progress of life upon the planet should be toward higher rather than toward lower forms. Upon this theory there is no explanation of the moral order and sanctions of the individual life, nor of the moral purpose that is visible in human history. Evolution itself, as involving uniform progress, implies an ordaining wisdom. Evolution, indeed, is only a mode of divine action, not in conflict with design, but a new illustration of it,— a method of securing a result, and so the latest and heatproof a designing God.
When once we have settled the truth that nature is to be interpreted by our knowledge of mind, and not mind by our knowledge of nature, we have the intellectual foundation of all true religion. Mind, and not matter, presents to us the truest image of God. The universe is governed not by physical so much as by moral laws. Final causes precede efficient causes. There is an end which controls the choice of means. Now we are prepared to see the marks of design which meet the candid eye everywhere in the universe. Now we can see eternal wisdom in every leaf and twig, in every sand-grain, in every breeze, in every sunbeam. No longer do we look upon the system of things as a ship constructed and launched by its builder and now given over to the sailors to navigate. No longer do we feel compelled to banish the great Architect to some far-off corner of his dominions, while the vast structure of the world is left to itself, and the races of men pursue their fated course to glory or ruin. Rather than bear the terrible burden of such a godless universe,
— " I'd rather be
A Pagan, suckled in a creed outworn;
So might 1, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me low forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."
But better than Paganism is the faith to which a true science leads us. It teaches us that "the universe," in the words of a French philosopher, "is a thought of God." It teaches us that the living presence of God is all around us, and that in the great events of history, as well as in the changes of the natural world, there is a wisdom that sees the end from the beginning, and orders all things with reference to that " one far-off divine event, toward which the whole creation moves." In one of his hasty dispatches from the field of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington wrote: "The finger of Providence was upon me!" And there are moments at least in the lives of all of us, when we turn from the iron pressure of the world's unvarying laws with a burden upon us. The gigantic mechanism of the universe cannot soothe or quiet the questionings of the intellect or the agitations of the soul. Trouble and care, the responsibilities and failures of life, make us long to feel that some great divine Heart is at the centre of the sublime system, and that infinite Wisdom and Power can sympathize with us and give us rest.
Then it is pleasant to see how nature, interpreted by that which we find within ourselves, gives us assurances of a divine and fatherly care. Professor Cooke, of Cambridge, has drawn a most ingenious and convincing argument from the nature and adaptation of the chemical elements of which the physical universe is composed. Grant that the world is merely the result of development from a nebulous fire-mist, revolving and condensing and throwing off red hot satellites and suns,— still the chemical constituents of that fire-mist— oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and all the elementary substances — existed then as now, and the evidences of design in their original adaptation to each other are as strong as the evidences of design in the completed creation. God's goodness and wisdom alone can account for even this original constitution of the elements as they existed in chaos. But when we look up to the heavens above us, and see what mighty forces are required to cover a continent with its wintry mantle of snow, and to send the showers of the skies upon the just and unjust,—when we look beyond our atmosphere, and consider what vast powers of gravitation must be ever active to keep our planet in its true relations to the solar system and the stellar worlds above, we feel that the presence of God must be as inseparable from the movements of the universe as the figure of Phidias on Minerva's shield, which could not be erased without spoiling the whole composition. And if this be the true conception of nature, then how rational it is to go further and say that this personal Will that moves all and preserves all, is not fettered by nature, but is the master of nature. Nature is but the manifestation of God, and the laws of nature are only the fixed methods of His working. He orders and governs the universe, not for its own sake, but for the revelation of Himself. Reason, love, conscience, purity, these are the ends for which we live,— they must be the ends for which God lives. And if we can accomplish our designs, by forming new combinations of natural laws and inserting among them the force of our own personal wills, how elastic and pliable must this constitution of things be in the hand of God! Miracles are not impossible unless God is impossible,— they are not improbable unless we deny his moral attributes,— they are not false unless we deny his word, and put beneath our feet all the laws of human testimony. Allow only a sufficient end to be gained by their performance — the authentication of that very revelation which nature makes only imperfectly — and miracles become not only possible but natural. It was fit that the great bell of the universe should sound, when the Author of nature came in human guise to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.
As you go out then, graduates of this college, into the great suffering world, to be ministers of mercy to the sick and dying, I would charge you to be something more than devotees of your profession, something more than men of science,— I would have you also men of faith. For faith is nothing more than the acceptance of God's testimony on evidence as accessible and as valid as that on which we accept the reality of outward phenomena. Such faith is no infirmity of the soul; on the other hand, it confers the only title to true symmetry and strength of character, as well as to the broadest and highest attainments in knowledge. Let intellect and heart go together, let physical and moral science be united, let knowledge and religion both combine to make character strong and success sure. What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mere intellectual culture is only a part of the great sum of a perfect manhood.
"Vfhat is she, cut from love and faith,
Hut some wild Pallas from the brain
"Of demons? fiery hot to burst
All barriers in her onward race
For power. Let her know her place:
She is the second, not the first.
"A higher hand must make her mild,
If all be not in vain; and guide
Her footsteps, moving side by side
With wisdom, like the younger child;
"For she is earthly, of the mind,
But wisdom heavenly, of the soul."