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man whose life has elevated, and whose death has given hope to so many generations. We cannot duly venerate, or sympathise with Jesus, until we recognise his defects. as well as his greatness, and apprehend in both the stamp of his intense humanity.

Second Series.

RATIONAL THEOLOGY.

“Nil ideo quoniam natumst in corpore ut uti
Possemus, sed quod natumst id procreat usum.”

-LUCRETIUS, lib. iv.

Organische Bildungsgesetze können nicht zweckmässig wirken, wenn nicht die Materie zu Anfang zweckmässig geschaffen wurde ; also sind sie mit der mechanischen Naturansicht unverträglich.”—Du Bois-REYMOND.

LETTER I.

regress."

INDEPENDENTLY of Revelation, there are, as Kant tells us, three, and only three, methods of proving the existence of God: the Ontological proof, the Physico-theologioal, and the Cosmological. The ontological proof rests on immediate intuition. The physico-theclogical is inferred from the order and unity as observed in the world. The cosmological depends upon a mental obligation to suppose a First or Efficient Cause “as a basis for the empirical In the words of Kant, it assumes that

everything which is contingent has a cause, which, if itself contingent, must also have a cause. And so on, till the series of subordinate causes must end with an absolutely necessary cause, without which it would not be complete.”1 The term “ contingent” here signifies the whole of the phenomenal universe, hence "cosmological.” The

necessary ” cause, as contradistinguished from the contingent, means God.

The first and third of these arguments are more especially concerned with speculative notions which transcend all possible experience. These two will be examined in the third series of letters devoted to metaphysical theology. The second, familiarly known as the Design Argument, forms the subject of the present series.

In the absence of authoritative teaching, either human or divine, the inference that the adaptation everywhere to be met with in Nature is the work of a supreme Artificer, has to most people all the potency of an intuitive perception. But although this conviction is the product of direct experience, the argument is distinctly rational, and is therefore subject at any given time to the existing state of knowledge. Every educated person nowadays is aware that the old guise of the doctrine has latterly undergone a change, and that Evolution is supposed by many to supersede the necessity of an intelligent Creator. There is, as we shall have occasion to notice, very little that is absolutely new in the modern doctrine of Evolution. Three objections have, from the earliest days of philosophy, been opposed to Theism :- the Metaphysical, the Moral, and the Logical. The metaphysical affects the question of an efficient cause. The moral difficulty lies in the existence of evil. The logical objection arises from the imperfect nature of the inference as drawn from instances of doubtful analogy. This last is now held to be considerably strengthened by discoveries of modern science which go far to establish the general theory of Evolution. The theory itself, however, dates at least as far back as Demokritos. In the atomism of Demokritos we have the starting-point of Materialism.

1 Critique of Pure Reason, Book ii., chap. iii.

Out of nothing arises nothing; nothing that is can be destroyed. All change is only combination and separation of atoms.The indestructibility of matter, and the persistence of force—the two cardinal doctrines of physics—are here as precisely formulated as they could be now.

To begin with the question of analogy: the common notion about the Design Argument, as entertained by the majority of those who accept it, amounts simply to this: the resemblance between natural arrangements and human contrivances is so close that it could only be due to the same cause, viz., intelligence.

In making this inference, an assumption is implied though not expressed. It is, that like effects are due to like causes ; or that the course of nature is uniform. In every induction, in all our reasoning from the known to

* Lange, History of Materialism, vol. i.

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