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tion into the scheme of nature must, at first sight, appear revolutionary. But the way for such a change, if we would only see it, has been gradually but surely prepared by science itself. Originally, the thought of revelation, as a series of isolated facts, was not itself an isolation. It was part of a larger conception which separated the sum of phenomena into two distinct classes : the natural and the supernatural, the orderly and the anomalous. Creation as well as revelation belonged to the latter class. At the beginning of the world there was a brief period which was in every way distinct from the ages that came after it. This brief period was the term of origins. As yet there was no course of nature, but the preparation for it was actively carried on during six days. The various organs of nature having been successively called into a fully developed existence, the work of creation ceased, and a uniform course of nature supervened. In this regulated course of things God acted mediately and at a distance. He was, as it were, outside an order which He had established, and which moved on with the routine regularity of a machine. But at certain times, and for definite purposes, the Creator broke into this order and declared his sovereignty by special and startling manifestations of power.
So long as this conception of the world was undisturbed the prominence given to the miraculous element in the Christian revelation could not suffer diminution. Ignorance of natural laws inclined men to see supernatural interference in every exceptional phenomenon. The plague, the earthquake, the lightning, the storm, the eclipse, were not the outcome of the order of nature. They were the interruptions of that order. They were supplementary and special creations. But, as science advanced, a change came over the spirit of this dream. One after another the extraordinary phenomena of the world were assigned their places in that order which they had been supposed to transcend. The realm of the supernatural suffered constant and damaging invasion, and the belief in a special revelation, of which miracles were the vehicle, was left desolate “as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.” The conviction that the order and uniformity of nature is an all-embracing principle grew with every new discovery and with every success in classification; and, proportionately, the presumption against any exception to this regularity of natural cause and effect gained strength.
Except for the sturdiness of the defense on the part of those who were possessed by the belief that the interests of religion and morality were dependent upon the preservation of this fragment of supernaturalism, Christian miracles would have shared the fate of a great hoard of air-built stories that were banished by science.
But again there came a change. A new light broke upon the scientific world, which shook the conception of the uniformity of nature as severely as it had shaken the idea of disorderly interference. The hard and fast line which separated the epoch of beginnings from the epoch of a settled and uniform course of nature was proclaimed to be imaginary. That little and mysterious compartment of time, solid with miracles, was made to pour all its wealth of efficiency, of wonders, of new departures and startling creations into that very order of nature which science bad so carefully guarded.“ A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Six days are insignificant when compared with ages upon ages that no man can number. But in this particular six days there was a pent-up wealth of transforming power not dreamed of by those who set free their contents: a power only beginning as yet to make itself felt in the rearrangement and transformation of our ideas.
But we can see what some of the main tendencies of it must be. In the first place it will depose two old usurpers in the realm of thought, without much regard to the divine right of phrases. “ Settled order of nature," " Supernatural interference," must together take their places among the great ones that have ceased to disturb the world. Our conception of nature as a mechanism must be wholly obliterated and replaced by the analogies of organic life and of mind. There is no mere routine, no exact repetition. The universe is a thing that has grown and is growing. Creation has been, and is, and will be. On every side we see not completed products, but beginnings, means and materials. “ E pur si muove” needs no longer to be said in an undertone. It is a fact, and a fact of far wider and profounder significance than was dreamed of by the persecuted Galileo. The world moves, and God moves in it. He is in every part of it, and He is working toward an end. He works not alone, but with and through the creature. He works not forever with the same means and instruments, but continually with higher organs adapted to higher results. There is a uniformity, but it is the uniformity of an orderly mind of infinite resources.
That most sacred article of scientific faith which affirms that the world is governed by system and by law is not set aside, but the conception of it is incalculably enlarged and exalted. Evolution as really signalizes the liberation of human thought as did the breaking up of the solid dome of the sky when astronomy patiently but firmly led man's unwilling soul into the limitless heavens. Under it the laws of nature are no longer the rigid grooves of force in which alone power may move. They have become living things. As the great inductive philosopher said of prophecy, they have “springing and germinant accomplishments." “ Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare.”
What to our minds appear, and perhaps may always appear, as hitherto non-existent manifestations of law have emerged, and must still be expected to emerge, all along the course of evolution. Into a world of darkness has come light, into a world of inert matter has come activity, into a world of inorganic activity has come life, into a world of unintelligent life has come intelligence, and then into a world of unreasoning intelligence there has come self-conscious reflecting reason, the revelation of the living creature to itself. For ages upon ages God had wrought his wonders in the world, bringing order out of chaos, complexity out of simplicity, activity out of inertness, filling every part of this fair planet with higher and still higher forms of beauty and strength. The sun rose as now in all the glory of his majesty and quickened every living thing. The creatures rejoiced in its warmth and in its light, but as yet they knew it not. They could be dazzled by its beams and blink a recognition, but they could not think about it. The light was shining in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. All nature was replete with the materials of an objective revelation. Every grain of sand, and every drop of water, had its riddle to propound, but there was as yet no growing mind to be puzzled by them.
But at length, when the world was old, there came another kind of light. The creature became a rational and moral being. This was that “true light, which lighteth every man, coming into the world.” It was the beginning of revelation. We cannot trace the stages of that gradual dawning of self-consciousness in the race. We can only picture it to ourselves as something like that which takes place in every individual. There came a time when man's eyes were opened, and he was revealed to himself as a living soul. Nor was this the whole contents of the primal revelation; for conditioned upon the knowledge of self there arose, also, the dim, unformed conception of a higher intelligence to whom the moral self stood related.
Now, having reached this point, do we find anything which should incline us to believe that the process of creation is finished ? On the contrary, everything points to a further development. It would be the contradiction of what we find everywhere else in nature to entertain the hypothesis that an element which marks such a rise in the scale of being could suddenly appear in the system and never reappear in higher and more fully developed forms. Evolution obliges us to postulate a career for every such new form of power. But in what aspect will it disclose itself? We cannot look for mere repetition, but rather for continuity with variety. We must anticipate that this new and profoundly modifying principle will manifest itself in forms adjusted to the very changes which its own action has wrought. In tracing the career of such an element, therefore, we must interrogate every assumed reappearance of it something in this way: Are the main characteristics of this modified form in harmony with its earlier manifestations ? Are the modifications such as are plainly demanded by changes in the situation? Does the later revelation exhibit in a more expanded and highly developed form the same elements that manifested themselves in the earlier ? Does it seem calculated to carry on to completion what the earlier form promised ? Does it in any way involve a contradiction of antecedent method ? True answers to these questions will help us to test the assumption that the Christian revelation is in harmony with the course of nature, and that it is a real factor in the line of progress from lower to higher forms.
But a difficulty suggests itself. How can we apply a principle which has so many and continually varying manifestations as evolution ? It may, in one aspect, be called a system of surprises in which new and utterly unexpected factors have made their appearance. But we are delivered from this difficulty by the nature of the claims of Christianity. It does not appeal to us as an absolutely new factor, but connects itself with elements which are well known to us. It assumes to be the continuance and expansion of that very primal revelation of which we have been speaking. In looking about for an analogy to guide us, therefore, we do not need to trouble ourselves about chemistry or physics, or about the laws which govern the growth of plants or of animals. We must seek our guidance in that part of life which lies closest to the one which we are studying The great factors in a revelation are minds. Our inquiry must,
Compare John i. 1-14.
therefore, turn on the relations which minds of different orders sustain to each other. We must assume a revealing mind as well as a mind receiving the revelation : a great comprehensive intelligence adjusting itself to the needs of one that is of exceedingly limited range, undeveloped, and close to the beginnings of things. I will, therefore, ask the reader to find an analogy by calling to mind the principles which strive together and modify each other in the science of education as it has been developed among men. Is it not reasonable to believe that the same antagonistic and apparently contradictory elements would appear in the case of a man educating a child, and in that of God educating the race, and that they would appear in something the same proportions ? Now the most difficult problem in human education is to instruct a mind without weakening it, to pour information into it without crushing it. The first and most important end aimed at is to develop and make strong the powers of the mind. It is not a question of how to stretch to its utmost and cram to its fullest a receptacle ; but, as the word itself indicates, the drawing out, the evolution of possibilities that are dormant.
One prime object of a true educator, therefore, is to create wants. His next is to make the pupil satisfy those wants by his own efforts. He will watch the process. Ile will be careful not to interfere with it. But mark, he will interfere with it when difficulties are encountered that are too great for the struggling mind. To create wants he will propound enigmas, problems, paradoxes that stimulate and tease the mind into activity. He will, as an oracle, enunciate truths that are far beyond the comprehension of the disciple and ask him to fight his way to the realization of them. He will carefully frame these truths so as to awaken thought rather than to satisfy it. He will endeavor to inspire the pupil with a trustful belief in the accuracy of these advanced truths. And, further, he will modify his methods at every stage of the course of education so as to make them meet the needs of a growing intelligence. The same principles will prevail throughout, but there will be constant variety in the modes of their manifestation.
The application of this analogy is now in order, but I must delay the reader to make sure that he does not distrust our method as unscientific and foreign to the principles of evolution. What we are trying to do is to apply correctly the principle of the response of the organism to environment and conversely of the environment to the organism. Where minds are concerned the very same