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ening of his faith-let him by all means cherish it. We would be the last to dispute its value, or dissipate its effect. On the whole, we deem it the true policy in regard to this mysterious subject, in the present state of knowledge—to abstain from hasty dogmatism either on the negative or on the positive side. We have no sympathy with those who rashly and presumptuously deny either the possibility or the fact of miracle. But we counsel certain adherents of a $0-called liberal school, who identify miracles with the Gospel, and treat all questioning of their literal truth, as an assault on the authority of Christ himself, not to be guilty of the same arrogance under another form, or they may perchance provoke discussions and raise up objections which it will be far easier, on their hypothesis, to evade by the imputation of infidelity than to repel with force of argument.
Mr. Greg does not shrink from the legitimate application of his principles to the one great miracle of the resurrection of Jesus, which is regarded by the great majority of believers in all sects, as the corner-stone of Christianity. We do not see how he could consequentially have done otherwise. This much we are willing to concede to him, that the external evidence for the resurrection, as an historical fact, does not possess the completeness and the force which are usually claimed for it. The strong points of the case are—the profound belief of the previously incredulous disciples, that their Master had actually risen from the dead, - and the change that was superinduced in consequence on their whole state of mind and mode of action. So that the whole question appears to us to resolve itself into this-whether so vast a moral change can be accounted for by the influence of a merely subjective impression affecting so many minds simultaneously, or does not rather necessitate the supposition of an actual bodily resurrection. On this point every reader of the New Testament must decide for himself, and judge others with candour, who may, from the same phenomena, draw an opposite conclusion. For ourselves, our feeling on the subject is this : without a previous belief in immortality, the mere historical evidence for Christ's resurrection would be wholly inadequate to produce it; but already holding that belief from deep sympathy with Christ's character and spirit, and viewing in the resumption of man's being after death, the operation of a law to which its organic development is subject, we are disposed to admit the possibility, that proofs may have been afforded to the disciples, of their Master's continued existence in another state and of his prolonged communion with them, which are not accessible in the ordinary condition of the human mind.*
The last chapters on Christian Eclecticism and the Great Enigma contain many beautiful and striking remarks, and furnish abundant matter for grave and profitable reflection. They discover moreover a truth and genuineness of feeling and a directness of conviction truly refreshing after the weary common-places that we have perpetually to encounter on these themes. To most readers their tendency will appear too negative. In fact, Mr. Greg's own premises, had he left himself time and space to develope them, would have furnished conclusions far richer and more consolatory than any which he has himself actually drawn. He seems to have wished to make a clean breast once for all of the doubts and the difficulties which haunted him ; that his mind might be open henceforth to receive undisturbed the pure and original influences of truth. The effort must have been a painful one; but he has made it with courage and honesty; and like most similar acts of uprightness will bring with it, amidst some popular obloquy, a reward of its own. In those deep intuitions of the soul, which, in the latter part of his work, he has so distinctly recognised and heartily embraced, as essential and indestructible constituents of humanity,—there remain for him treasures of untouched and undeveloped faith, which will come forth, as they are wanted, to replace whatever he has been compelled to renounce in the popular views of Christianity, and to compensate him for the loss of the meagre and uncertain deductions of the religion of reason. We regret that he has not exhibited to us more of this side of his mind. In this respect, he has not done full justice either to himself or to his subject. Here would have been found the spiritual counterpoise to those views of irresistible law, of prayer, of retribution, of spirituality, and of the future life, which, as he has expressed them in the bareness of their purely intellectual enunciation, leave behind them a cold, stern, negative expression, almost approaching to Stoicism, which we are sure is foreign to the native kindness and geniality of his mind.*
* It occurred to us some time since, on a review of Paul's reasoning in 1 Cor. xv. especially verses 12, 13, 16—that he argues in the same way; i, e. not from the resurrection of Christ to the resurrection of other men, but from the resurrection of the just and the unjust to the included resurrection of Christ himself—not from the special fact to the general law, but from the general law to the special fact.
The general reader will probably complain of the work as too critical, and exclaim that what we now want, is the practical. But it must not be forgotten, that the practical in a true sense is often unattainable, without the previous employment of the critical. Where errors are suspected to exist, it is of no use to disguise our apprehensions, and refuse to inquire. On such rotten foundations no solid edifice of practical truth can be built. We are obliged to those who have patience and energy to search deeper than their neighbours, and courage to encounter the odium of bringing to light unpalatable results. We do not say, believe these men, merely because they discredit the old; but, on the other hand, do not turn away from them, because they offer you some things that are new. We do not recommend those who find their faith adequate to their spiritual wants, and have not time for protracted inquiry or concentrated thought, to unsettle
A high spirit of rigid justice and inflexible morality pervades all Mr. Greg's reasonings about Providence. He will not permit himself, from a weak sentimentality, to soften down the uneffaceable and eternal distinctions of right and wrong. We are surprised, however, that with his good taste and sound feeling, he should quote with seeming approval Mr. Babbage's endeavour to illustrate the fact of future and unfailing retribution, by the perpetuation of physical impressions throughout the universe. The conception seems to us on a par with the lowest forms of the popular materialism, and adds another to the many instances of the general unfitness of men, trained exclusively in the discipline of the mathematical and physical sciences, to handle moral and spiritual subjects. When we attempt to realise the idea, it evaporates in unmeaning rhetoric. The vibrations produced by our words and deeds, whether propagated in the atmosphere or through the solid mass of earth, must in the course of their progress be so modified, and so confounded with other vibrations meeting them from all sides, as to be no longer distinguishable as the effects of a foregone act; and their immediate influence, whether good or evil, must very soon be completely neutralised. Even on the supposition, that the minutest modifications of their endless course could be distinctly retraced, they would reveal nothing moral, nothing therefore effectual for retribution, ---apart from the knowledge of the invisible consciousness and volition in which they originated, and which obviously could not be physically recorded.
their minds by plunging into speculations which were not intended for them. But to those who must inquire, to fulfil what they feel to be a mental duty—who must silence doubts and remove difficulties, to have any living faith at all—we can honestly recommend the discriminating perusal of this volume—not because we think it exempt from very considerable defects and some important errors, but because it is written in the honest and intrepid spirit with which we heartily wish that more would sympathise, and contains innumerable suggestions which all who are capable of thought, may reflect upon with advantage. We trust, at least, that the avowed professors of a liberal Christianity will receive this book with the candour, and study it with the dispassionate attention, which its industry, its earnestness and its ability so well deserve; that they will not by uncharitable imputations and childish outbursts of feeling, repel with disgust enlightened and instructed laymen from the conscientious study of Religion, and by their prejudiced adhesion to old notions and old phrases in the face of advancing science, contribute to make Theology synonymous with drivelling.
ART. IV.MESMERIC ATHEISM.
Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development.
By Henry George Atkinson, F.G.S., and Harriet
PHILOSOPHY, in its relation to the particular sciences, was happily characterized by Plato as the coping which crowns the structure of human knowledge, or the entablature which, reposing on the sum of all the columns, imparts to them their unity and significance. He alone can design and plant these topstones of human thought, who knows how many separate pillars stand below, and what their intervals and proportions. The “ synoptic" mind, -combining largeness of range with singleness of view,- is alone capable of discerning the highest truths or even entering on the method for their apprehension. In relation to these matters, the course of more special intellects, however clear from step to step, will be but as the path of the blind. What Plato understood by philosophy includes with us the theory of Religion : and in tracing historically the relations between Science and Faith, we continually meet with illustrations of this doctrine of his. Every one-sided growth knowledge affects not only the symmetry, but the stability, of the mind; which, like the tree on a river's northern bank, nurtured into inequality by the double power of the sun and stream, leans to danger by the very burthen of its luxuriance, till it breaks the fibres of its life, and overweighs itself into the flood, where it can but toss about and die. The realism of physical science, and the idealism of metaphysical, both of them produce habits unfavourable to devout belief : and their separate paths, though beginning with a fair show of security and promise, become wilder and more precarious as you advance, till they leave you benighted on a trackless inane. The flat and mean philosophism of D'Alembert and Diderot, on the one hand, the high and dizzy speculation of Spinoza on the other, exhibit the results of these two intellectual directions; and though they appear opposite, it matters little whether the air be too dense or too