Thursday, 20 March 2014

ARGUMENTS FOR CHRISTIANITY,

ARCHBISHOP VAUGHAN'S LECTURES' AT ST. MARY'S.

DENIAL.

...  we have been engaged in establishing two all-important and primary truths — first, that man is not a brute, but that, on the contrary, he is endowed with gifts which separate him radically from irrational beings ; and secondly, that there is a God, who is our Lord, Master, and Creator, the Rewarded of those who serve Him. We have, moreover, taken into our consideration the especial characteristics of man's nature, which make him spontaneously tend towards a Being better, purer, more powerful than, himself ; and we have seen by the way in which God condescends to man, as well as by the way that man yearns and struggles up to God, that there is a reciprocal action and reaction, man knowing his God through the light of reason, and loving Him with the power of his will ; and God, in return, uniting Himself to man, and becoming his reward exceeding great, not merely in a future state, but in the present condition of his existence, and through all the obscurities which envelop the actualities of life. Thus we have established the most important starting-points from, which to argue, upon which to build that fabric of religion which not only addresses itself to the conscience, but also, by its reasonableness, solicits the assent of all serious, men who are seeking for truth in order that when they have found it, they may embrace it.    
And as the fabric of religion can be raised upon the foundations of those great facts — of man being what I have shown him to be, and of the existence of God — as these, are the two necessary corner-stones of the spiritual edifice ; so it follows that if these two corner-stones be removed, that edifice which they supported will inevitably come to the ground. The denial, in one word, of man's manhood and of God's existence — the latter denial necessarily following from the former — is the absolute death-blow of all religion, morality, and philosophy worthy of the name.
It will be, then, my task this evening to unveil before you the character of, and the consequences which How from the Religion of Denial ; and to show you that it represents a method of teaching and a school of thought which are calculated to destroy and corrupt what ever is beautiful in humanity, and noble and pure in the aspirations of the heart. It will be my place to point out to you its unfitness as a substitute for even the lowest forms of Christianity ; and to draw your attention to the fact that, principally through the ignorance of the multitude, it is making, and has made, in the past few years, a large number of converts to its teachings ; and is likely, unless those who can speak do speak, and speak boldly and logically too, to make great havoc amidst the rising generation, who, having little leisure for the exercise of deep philosophical speculation, are led away with facility by such as push themselves forward as oracles of Science and as leaders in the van of "modern thought." It will be my duty to point out to you, and to give you my reasons for saying so, that no curse could be imagined greater than for this black death to visit your homes, and to get into and eat away the hearts and intellects of your children, robbing them, as it would inevitably do, of all that makes life bearable, of all that gives it meaning, and of that which offers to its deepest griefs and sorest trials an unguent which does away with more than half their sting. I shall give you cause for feeling that it is your duty, your solemn obligation, to resist, to the uttermost, the approaches of this blighting and death-breathing plague ; and to make yourselves apostles of the Christian creed, by possessing yourselves of the arguments which support it, and by displaying the miserable drivel of that pretended form of science which loves to root lip and to destroy, but is absolutely in capable of creating a coherent creed, an intelligible or tenable philosophy, a morality worthy of any reasonable being possessing the initial notions of right and wrong, or any form of consistent thought, fitted to the essential wants of the human spirit. It is my purpose to give sufficient cause for all reasonable men to come to the conclusion that the Religion of Denial is a shallow religion ; that it; promises very great things, greater than ever have been attained by man, and egregiously fails to carry out that promise ; that in point of fact, it not merely is an imposture, but one of the most mischievous and damning impostures that have ever been started by cultured men ; and that were it once to take root and enter into the substance of human thought on a large scale, it would produce the most frightful anarchy, and end by tearing up the whole social order, not to speak of the religious and moral, root and branch. Having done this, I shall proceed to show you how such a state of things as this, when brought to bear upon the point of these lectures, is a strong argument in favour of convincing honest men of the reasonableness of Christianity ; for if a religion excogitated by the ablest and most scientific of modern minds, by men who have earned for themselves the name of "advanced thinkers," is found to be, when brought to the test, absolutely unfitted to be a religion at all ; if the best modern attempt, in comparison with Christianity, is proved to be simply a ridiculous and impracticable dream, and a very bad dream too ; then surely it is but reasonable and prudent to fall back upon that system which it has proved itself unable to supplant ; and to come to the conclusion that Christianity, after all, after so many efforts have keen made to invent; something better than it,— and those efforts have absolutely failed — is the best form of religion which a sane and serious man, under existing circumstances, could adopt. True, the fact of Denial being false does not prove Christianity true ; but the fact of Christianity doing what Denial promises to do, and never succeeds in doing, is a witness, as far as it goes, in favour of Christianity ; and when the fact is remembered of my having proved already the falsity of the Negative basis, and the truth of the Christian one — 'the spirituality of man and the existence of a God from whom Nature and Grace proceed — the fact of my having uprooted the corner-stones of the Religion of Denial, and of having shown how those of Christianity cling, as it were, to the living rock of fundamental truth ; this fact, I say, when coupled with the utter failure of the Religion of Denial, and comparative success of Christianity as a working system, would induce any reasonable man to reject absolutely, and without compromise, the former, and give his earnest and sincere adhesion to the latter. Thus the reasoning I urge against the shallow pretensions of Denial turn into an Argument for the reasonableness of Christianity. And it is the task of developing this thought that I have imposed on myself this evening.
Now, what is the position of that school of modern thought, representing the Religion of Denial ? Its position is the result of two, or rather of one main assumption, which it starts with as an absolute and dogmatic fact, namely, — that man and all he is and does, body, soul, and senses, is evolved and developed from a piece of carbon, combined with sulphur and some few other ingredients. He is essentially and exclusively of the earth, earthy.  Certainly, as the seed grows, as a grain of corn sprouts, thrusts its tender leaves through the rough earth, expands them, and develops into leaf and ear, and ripens into the blade ; so does man grow and spread out from the protoplasm, or if you will, the mud-fish, into his present development and flower. To some persons this might seem a theory as harmless as it appears to them ridiculous. And such might have been the case had it been started by low and ignorant fanatics, without name or position in the learned or scientific world. But this theory springs from those sublime heights, the Olympus where dwell the "advanced thinkers" of the age, and as all those who have not time or skill to verify data for themselves, and who com pose the vast; majority of mankind, have to take their "science" on authority, just as the generality of men have to take their religion on authority, it follows that if scientific men teach falsehoods and assert as a dogma what is merely a clumsy hypothesis, the masses of the people will be led astray by them, and, what is worse, will begin and do begin, to call in question those fundamental positions on which all happiness and virtue rest, and to lose perhaps for ever that faith and hope and love which are the great solace of suffering, toiling humanity in this world below. And this has actually been the case. Those votaries of Natural Science who are the enemies of Revelation and the opponents of Religion, have already succeeded in infusing into general society a spirit of scepticism, irreverence, and recklessness which are harbingers of grave perils for the future. Having done their best to bring Religion into disrepute with the masses of the people, these modern lights set about building, amidst the ruins of what they have destroyed, their own especial Temple to the Unknown or the Unthinkable ; a Temple and a religious system far more brutalizing than the basest theogonies and the most grovelling mythologies of the ancients. Let it be remembered that principles are inexorable, that logic is merciless, and that man, naturally, in course of time, will drive the principles given him to their logical conclusions. The wedge will be sent home. The world of action is governed and swayed by the world of thought ; and the restless mind of the masses of the people, helped on by fairly educated, but unscientific thinkers, is excessively quick in applying to the actualities of life those fundamental principles, which when looked at in themselves, seem as if they had issued from the brain of a recluse, and would never be likely to go much further than the cloister.
The cardinal principle of the Religion of Denial represents one of these fundamental principles. It was born in the brain of a student ; and has, like those dark, harmless looking grains of blast-powder which are able to shiver the hardest rock, in appearance nothing dangerous looking about it ; but in spite of that it is charged with a power of moral and spiritual destruction capable of smashing and scattering abroad the traditions of ages and the teachings of the most venerable philosophy. Grant that man sprang from the mud fish, and you have upset Christianity, and left the world a black ruin in a howling wilderness.                              
And how is this so? Because water will not rise above its source. Because, as the axiom has it, Nemo dat quod non habet, ; because, in a word, a mud-fish will be only a mud-fish, and all the development in the world, and all the evolutions imaginable, and the influence of the most favour able environment, even were it possible, of the cherubim and seraphim themselves, would never make anything more out of a mud-fish than a dab of protoplastic mud. Thus, as logic says that the conclusion of a syllogism has no more strength than the weakest link in the chain of reasoning ; so here, the highest and noblest aspiration of the mud-fish will simply be the vomiting forth of its own mud ; and will have nothing whatever to do with anything purer, cleaner, or more transparent than itself. It is easy to see what havoc such a principle as this would make amongst all those teachings of Christianity, of Natural and Supernatural Religion, of morality and philosophy, which are prized so highly by civilized mankind. It is easy to see, if this assumption be admitted as a victorious discovery of Science, that man ipso facto ceases to be man ; that his highest ideals are merely so much sublimated mud ; that his deepest convictions regarding the existence of God, of virtue, of morality, of freedom — that all his cherished and most ennobling maxims of life and of sacrifice, when thrown fairly in the balance, cannot weigh more than himself— when tested and analyzed cannot, by any possibility, be found worth more than the mud under one's feet, than the scream of a frightened monkey, or the dreams of a sleeping owl. Thus, all is brought down to one dead and fetid level. Man ceases to be man ; his freedom is gone, for he acts through the force of necessity ; and all his high imaginings are but the gilding of a summer cloud, more deceptive, and equally unsubstantial. Thus, self-sacrifice loses all its meaning ; the devotedness of pure women and the courage of brave men lose all their charm ; the generosity, nobility, and elevation of spirit, which have ever been admired as the outcome of chosen natures, are neither better nor worse than debauchery, brutality, and crime, and the very temples of Religion itself — those vast spiritual creations which have been built up by theologians, and are as suggestive as epic poems of the greatness and the love of the Supreme, fade into unmeaningness. The intellect and imagination become emptied of any valuable spiritual or moral furniture ; and, if this assumption were once admitted as a fact by the masses of mankind, if it were once established, as Christianity now is, as the creed of the greatest and foremost civilized community on earth, then we might apply to the order of thought what the poet says of the material order when he tells us that :  
The cloud-capp'd tower, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve ;
And, like this unsubstantial pageant, faded,
Leave not a rock behind.  
Of course our leading scientific men, through habit and education, are cautious in their utterances, and guarded almost up to the point of cowardice, in declaring to the world their distinct convictions. Still the world is very sharp. To throw doubt on the existence of God, to speak in vague terms of it, to seem afraid of being committed to a bold declaration of it, to define His nature and attributes in almost unintelligible terms, all these practices tend directly to create suspicion in the public mind, and prepare the way for bolder speakers, if not more reckless thinkers, to drive the wedge of Denial still further home. Take, for instance, Mr. Tyndal, who has gained the ear of the British public. Why cannot he speak out ? Why in a vital question of life or death speak in poetry or in enigma ? Listen to the following, and you will at once apprehend my meaning : —
" Whence come we ; whither go we ? The question dies without an answer — without, even an echo — upon the infinite shores of the Unknown. Let us follow matter to its utmost bounds ; let us claim it in all its forms to experiment with and to speculate upon. Casting the term 'vital force' from our vocabulary, let us reduce, if we can, the visible phenomena of life to mechanical attractions and repulsions. Having thus exhausted physics, and reached its very rim, the real mystery still looms beyond us. We have, in fact, made no step towards its solution. And thus it will ever loom — even beyond the bourne of knowledge — compelling the philosophies of successive ages to confess that
" We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.'" 
("Use and Limit of the Imagination in Science.")

Now, how can Mr. Tyndal say that the question dies "without even an echo?" Is not this making use of Science to generate doubt ? Does he mean that neither philosophy nor logic, when brought to bear on the data he provides for us, can, with all their questionings, elicit the echo of an answer ? Does he mean to give a flat contradiction to the united voice of all, or nearly all great men, on this momentous question ? If he does, he should distinctly say so ; if he does not, why not tell us ? Why leave the world under the impression that man is blind and plunged in everlasting darkness ; and that it is best for him to look on his existence as an empty dream ?
Again, when this same popular professor was censured for his Belfast Address, he published the following apology, which shows how enigmatical are the utterances of these first-class scientific men upon matters of the most momentous import which they will not boldly deal with — and yet will not leave alone. 'In a recent speech at Dewsbury,' he says, 'the Dean of Manchester is reported to have expressed him self thus : 'The Professor [myself] ended a most remarkable and eloquent speech by terming him self a material Atheist.' For myself, I use no language which could imply that I am hurt by such attacks. They have lost their power to wound or injure. So likewise as regards a resolution recently passed by the Presbytery of Belfast, in which Professor Huxley and myself are spoken of as 'ignoring the existence of God, and advocating pure and simple Materialism;' had the possessive pronoun 'our' preceded 'God,' and had the words 'what we consider' preceded 'pure,' this statement would have been objectively true ; but to make it so this qualification is required.' It is strange to unsophisticated thinkers that these men, who are so severe in admitting anything they cannot understand, should invent propositions that few can imagine the meaning of, except, perhaps, themselves ; or should fashion to themselves such a God as cannot be made fairly intelligible to an ordinary intelligence. Anyhow, such cowardly philosophy tends to bring the idea of the Supreme Being gradually into contempt. And yet it is listened to, and produces its effect. Men of science have gained the public ear, and deservedly so, in many ways : but all men of science are not scientific men ; some of them are athletes of infidelity, and make use of the authority which Science has acquired for fixing in the mind of second-class thinkers and the public, principles which may look very harmless, but which carry within them a species of spiritual blast-powder which produces destruction — wherever it is scattered. So is with the Religion of Denial, which is based upon the principle of the protoplasm or the mud fish, and which begins and ends with that from which it springs. As I remarked, scientific men of the first-class who are bent upon pushing their Religion of Denial upon the world do so with a certain prudence, and with caution. They feel that the world is not yet prepared for a flat denial of God, the spirituality of the soul, and a future state ; they, therefore, preach a vague and careful doctrine : praising " Science " as the only logical and intellectual method of discovering Truth ; declaring Religion to be a mere " Faith," which has worn itself out, and that did very well before the science of verification had been duly understood, but which now is fit only for priests who live by it, for old women who live upon the priests, and for the masses of the people who are too ignorant to be taught. Having thus placed " Science" on a pedestal on account of its supposed superior method, and cast Religion to the earth because it is alleged by them to be worn out, these men proceed to teach the world that though they do not deny the existence of God, they cannot affirm His existence ; and that He is in fact unknowable : and that mysteries are not for them ; and that man had better not entangle himself with questions he cannot possible solve ; that " Science " merely tells us phenomena, and that essences are beyond all ken; and that, therefore, the world must do its best, and worship itself if it must worship something ; as, in reality, there is nothing else for it to worship ; for, who could bend the knee to an abstraction, or offer sacrifice to the unknowable and unthinkable, and love and adore one knows not what, that inhabits one knows not where ? This is the position which our foremost thinkers of the Religion of Denial occupy in England; this is the teaching of Tyndal, Huxley, and Herbert Spencer, men who have exerted, and still do exert, on account of their name as scientific men, and because of their brilliant literary style, an influence over the mind of England that can scarcely be exaggerated. What these men have started has been carried out boldly by less cautious writers than themselves ; and the doubt or uncertainty, or, at all events, the unsatisfactory position which they are satisfied to give to primary religious truths, has been used with advantage by men more eager even than themselves to deify Science, or at least to melt Religion out of the minds of their fellow men.
Take for instance the teaching of two leading German philosophers and two leading Englishmen regarding the nature of Almighty God, and you will see at once how their theories lead directly towards suspicion and distrust. Having dismissed the God of Christianity, Strauss at once substitutes his own. " We believe in no God," says he, " but only in self-poised and amidst eternal changes constant universum." Hartmann says : " God is a personification of force." Our own Mill says God is "a being of great but limited power, how or by what limited we cannot even conjecture." Matthew Arnold teaches that God is "a power, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness." William Marr sweeps away all gods as so many cobwebs, and says : "Faith in a personal and living God is the origin and fundamental cause of our miserable social condition. . . The true road to liberty, to equality, and to happiness is Atheism. No safety on earth, so long as man holds on by a thread to heaven. Let nothing henceforth shackle the spontaneity of the human kind. Let us teach man that there is no other God than himself; that he is the Alpha and Omega of all things, the superior being, and the most real reality." From this blasphemous declaration, which is the basis of the Religion of Denial, follows a host of tenets which lead to man's moral and spiritual corruption, and which are popularized by thinkers of a second class amongst the masses.
Professor Norre, in Germany, has contributed his share to the popular literature. Here are one or two specimens of his philosophy. "Man possesses many internal qualities, such as imagination and the milt." "An external quality is seeing, an internal one is digestion." "Thought is a secretion of the brain, and other secretions come from the kidneys." "Man is what he eats."  That such views as these have permeated amongst the masses of the people in Germany, and have become popular even with ladies of high cultivation, is evident from the writings of many amongst them. For example, a lady-disciple of Professor Moleschott publishes a series of letters, in which, as a specimen of the rest, I select the following passage : " The moral rule for each man is given by his own nature only, and is different, therefore, for each individual. What are excesses and passions by themselves ? Nothing but a larger or smaller overflowing of a perfectly legitimate impulse." Take one more example, which carries the principle still further, from the writings of another lady-philosopher. She exclaims : " Enjoyment is good, and frenzy and love are good, but hatred also. Hatred answers well when we cannot have love. Wealth is good, because it can be changed into enjoyment. Power is good, because it satisfies our pride. Truth is good, so long as it gives us pleasure, but good in lying also, and perjury, hypocrisy, trickery, flattery, if they secure us any advantage. Faithfulness is good, so long as it pays ; but (reason is good also, if it fetches a higher price. Marriage is good, so long as it makes us happy ; but good is adultery also, for every one who is tired of marriage, or who happens to fall in love with a married person. Fraud is good, theft, robbery, and murder, if they lead to wealth and enjoyment. Life is good so long as it is a riddle ; good is suicide also after the riddle has boon guessed. But as every enjoyment culminates in our being deceived and tired, and as the last pleasure vanishes with the last illusion, he only would seem to be truly wise who draws the last conclusion of all science, i.e., who takes prussic acid, and that without delay." (See Max Muller's " Origin of Reason," p. 478.)
Take some of the popular teachings in modern philosophy, and you will see at a glance how they lead to the above doctrines of moral anarchy of and spiritual death : —  
" There is nothing real but body." God and the soul are " metaphysical entities, bubbles of soap." " We may well be the fruit of successive modifications, wrought upon ancestors far less perfect than we are, and even next in order to great apes." Investigations are en chasee "to find" the man-ape, " the animal which according to them must have been the transition between apes and man." " God, banished from Science, took refuge in Metaphysics. . . . The idea of God is already well shaken. We must still give it the last blow." " The name soul must be reserved for the assemblage of faculties of the central nervous system taken as a whole."   " Thought is inherent in the substance of the brain only as it is nourished, like the contractile  power of the muscles." " An idea is the product of a combination analogous to formic acid ; thought depends on phosphorus contained in the substance of the brain ; virtue, devotedness, and courage are organic currents of electricity."   "Virtue and vice are products, like sugar and vitriol." Professor Moleschott writes and teaches thus : " The will is the necessary expression of a state of the brain produced   by external influences. There is no such thing as free will. A crime is the logical result, direct and inevitable, of the passion which animates us. Without phosphorus, no thought.   Sans phosphore point de pensée . . . . .
"Thought is a movement of matter, conscience is also a property of matter." The path is easy from such doctrines as these to the assertion that man is a brute. " What essential difference is there between man and the dog, and why should we hesitate to do to the one what we do daily to the other?" is a question based upon these principles. Jubal, in Dr. Newman's "Callista," expresses the same conclusion as the result of his Pagan principles. " Our first duty is to seek our own happiness," he exclaims. " If a man thinks it happier to be a hog, why let him be a hog."   ("Callista," p. 3-1) It is strange how inevitably these principles of Denial when once started or made starting points lead directly toward dragging man down to the brute creation. When once a man has lost his hold on God and his own conscience he seems compelled as it were to deny his own manhood, and to sink at once into the "sensual mire" of his lower, coarser nature. To illustrate this by one or two more examples. For instance Dr. Lewins boldly teaches : " Earth is Paradise if the healthy operation of every anatomical structure could be preserved. . . .
All that is fabled by poets, saints, martyrs, founders of sects and systems, under the term Saturnian, or Golden Age, Kingdom of Heaven, Paradise, &c, is comprehended in that supreme bien etre which results from the equilibrium of the bodily functions." (" Life and Mind.") Professor Hartmann, to whom I referred in my Introductory Address, teaches as follows : " It is important to make the beast life better known to youth as being the truest source of pure nature, wherein they may learn to understand their true being in its simplest form, and in it rest and refresh themselves after the artificiality and deformity of our social condition. . . . Let us only think how agreeably an ox or a hog lives, almost as if he had learned to do so from Aristotle." ' (Philosophic des Unbewussten," p. 359.)   It would almost seem that I have now said enough to show you how the principle on which the Religion of Denial is based drags everything down to mere brutality. But it would be as well to allow Thomas Carlyle to throw into his own graphic form the results, as seen by him, of such principles in England. He seems to find men already much brutalized by the theories of the leading few, which the masses at once set about putting into practice — if they satisfy that greed and passion which lurks in the nature of all mankind. He says : " The universe, so far as sane conjecture can go, is an immeasurable Swine's-trough, consisting of solid and liquid, and of other contrasts and kinds, especially consisting of attainable and unattainable, the latter in immensely greater quantities for some Pigs. Moral evil is unattainability of Pig's-wash ; moral good attainability of ditto. What is Paradise, or the state of innocence ? Paradise called state of innocence, age of gold, and other names, was (according to Pigs of weak judgment) unlimited attainability of Pig's-wash ; perfect fulfilment of one's wishes, so that the Pig's imagination could not out-run reality ; a fable and an impossibility, as Pigs of sense now see ! Define the whole duty of Pigs. It is the mission of universal Pighood, and the duty of all Pigs, at all times, to diminish the quantity of unattainable and increase that of attainable. All knowledge and device and effort ought to be directed thither and thither only ; Pig science, Pig enthusiasm and devotion has this one aim. It is the whole duty of Pigs. Pig poetry ought to consist of universal recognition of the excellence of Pig's-wash and ground barley, and the felicity of Pigs whose trough is in order, and who have had enough. Hrumph ! who made the Pig ? unknown — perhaps the pork-butcher ?" Now, all this, though a very gross way of putting things, simply throws into telling shape, and brings out without any varnish on it, the practical outcome of the Religion of Denial ; men are reduced to the dead level of their supposed origin, and the strongest propension in them rules, as in other brutes, as a tyrannical despot over the rest. Carlyle also pictures very graphically the effects of such principles on the relations of man to man in daily life, and on the frame of mind which is encouraged by the Religion of Denial. He asks : —" Have you law and justice in Pigdom ?   Pigs of observation have discerned that there is, or was once supposed to be, a thing called justice. Undeniably at least there is a sentiment in Pig nature called indignation, revenge, &c., which, if one Pig provoke another, comes out in a more or less destructive manner ; hence laws are necessary, amazing quantities of laws. For quarrelling is attended with loss of blood, of life, at any rate with frightful effusion of the general stock of Hogs- wash, and ruin (temporary ruin) to large sections of the universal Swine's-trough ; wherefore let justice be observed, so that quarrelling be avoided. What is justice ? Your own share of the general Swine's-trough, not any portion of my share. But what is 'my' share ? All! there in fact lies the and difficulty ; upon which Pig-science, meditating this long while, can settle absolutely nothing. My share — hrumph ! — my share is, on the whole, whatever I can contrive to got without being hanged or sent to the hulks."
. . . . . .
Now turn for one moment to another subject, whilst this debasing and brutalizing process has been going on at home, have the people been in creasing in Christianity? Are they tending towards the Religion of Denial, or towards that Religion which it so violently opposes ? Have men been more and more impressed that they have "to be perfect as their Heavenly Father is Perfect,"— which is the Christian principle of morality and happiness ; or that they have to enjoy themselves as hogs, if that happens to please them most —which is the fundamental principle of the Religion of Denial ? Let me quote an enemy to Christianity on this point, and then a friend ; and you will see how they bear the same testimony : — " A very large proportion," says Greg, probably the majority, of the operative classes in towns are total unbelievers ; and these are not the reckless and disreputable, but, on the contrary, consist of the best of the skilled workmen, the most instructed and thoughtful as well as the steadiest. The hard-headed, industrious, reading engineers and foremen, the members of mechanics' institutes, the natural leaders of the artisans, are sceptics intellectually, not morally; they disbelieve because they have inquired, argued, and observed, and have been unable to obtain from their Methodist fellow-workmen, or even from minsters of the Gospel, satisfactory answers to their doubts. Among manufacturing artizens and the highest description of citizen labourers, it may be stated, with even more confidence than of the ranks above them in the social scale, that the intellect of this body is already divorced from the prevalent creeds of the country. The range and form of this scepticism varies widely in the different classes. Among working men it is for the most part absolute Atheism, and is complicated by a marked feeling of antagonism towards the teachers of Religion, a kind of resentment growing out of the conviction that they have been systematically deluded by those who ought to have enlightened them. Thinkers of the higher order among the educated classes, and more especially scientific men, by no means as a rule go so far as this, but content themselves with pronouncing God to be unknowable and His existence improvable ; the distinctive doctrines of Christianity, and the details of its historical basis neither made out nor in any way admissible, and a future life to be a matter of pure speculation, which may or may not be in store for us, but as to which no rational man would dare to dogmatise. Literary men and scholars are often sceptical merely as to special creeds, though sincerely and deeply religious in tone and temperament. But all concur in repudiating existing forms of Christianity — that is the common religion of the nation ; the Jehovah of the Bible, the heaven and hell of Divines and priests, the Resurrection of the Gospels, and the salvation, formulas of creeds and churches." (Greg's "Rocks Ahead," p. 131.)  
. . . . . " The shrewd honest mechanic cannot half say one thing and half believe another, and has no great respect or trust for the man who can. His instrument of thought is not delicate enough to play with dogmas, and want of downright assertion or negation appears like want of integrity to him. He cannot suspend his judgment ; with him unbelief immediately and inevitably becomes disbelief, and disbelief fast becomes mixed with contempt and indignation towards the sceptic or the half-believer, whom he regards as coquetting and tampering with the unclean thing. Nebulous tenets, vague dissent, luminous conceptions with a coloured halo round them, are not for the skilled workman ; he is angry with the teachers of a church that has so long misled him, and seems bent on mystifying him still. When the lower classes reach the point, therefore of abandoning Christianity, their rejection of it will be not, as often among the upper ranks, languid and reserved, but absolute and most probably resentful. Their disbelief will be apt to be as intolerant and dogmatic as the credence of the orthodox," (Ibid, p. 138)
Now take the words of a friend. " The advance of infidelity," says an able writer in "The Month,"   "among a large portion of the generation now entering, or having entered, upon the full enjoyment and use of life, has reached the line, at which even morality becomes a sentiment rather than a law ; conscience a phenomenon, rather than the voice of God sitting in judgment ; free-will and responsibility an imagination ; the universe a physical system, self-evolved and self-regulated ; the soul of man a mechanism ; the future of man a blank ; sin, original and actual, a fiction ; the Atonement, an impossible superstition." Again: "The advance of infidelity and of its inseparable shadow, immorality, among the lower classes in our towns, the extreme activity with which the poison is spread in books, in cheap newspapers, by lectures, and the like, and the measures by which this activity should be met on the side of all who are for Religion and for God, should be subjects of earnest thought and meditation for all who have duties which bring them frequently across the evils which have just been enumerated. . . . No one whose occupations lie among considerable numbers of men can pass many days or even many hours without hearing religious subjects discussed, and the discussion will too often take a blasphemous tone. Tho mechanic, the young man in the house of business, the clerk in the office, however good  and sound their faith may be, will often hear statements which they cannot contradict, though they feel them to be false ; arguments which they cannot answer, though they know them to be fallacious. It is often the case that such persons have to spend the greater part of their time in company in which irreligious talk is usual or perpetual." ("Month," Sept., 1874.)        
Here, then, we have two facts of momentous import staring us in the face ; the first is, that the   British nation is becoming more and more brutalized ; and the second is, that it is becoming more and more infidel— that it is taking up the Religion of Denial, and rejecting that form of Christianity offered it by Protestantism. I ask calm-judging men whether or not there is a relation of cause and effect between the process of brutalizing and the fundamental principle of the Religion of Denial ? I ask them seriously whether or no, if there is no God in Heaven, and if man is a merely an expanded mud-fish, with no freedom of will, no spirituality, no responsibility, but with violent lusts and cravings — whether or no, if such be the case, any one in the world can blame him for doing exactly as he likes and getting as much pleasure gross or otherwise as he can compass during his short career on earth— if man be a dog or a hog, why not act as such ? What law has to hinder him from seeking to satisfy that particular craving that is strongest, and indulging in that especial excess which gives him the most exquisite delight ? I cannot even imagine any reason why he should not ; I can see every reason why he should ; and every reason why ho will and why he does ; for if there be no God or Lawgiver, and if man is merely a piece of carbon, how can he help himself, or even dream of doing anything except squeeze the greatest amount of pleasure for himself out of life, in the most successful way he can. Brutalization is a direct consequence of the Religion of Denial ; as civilization is a direct consequence of the Religion of Affirmation, of the Religion of the Cross. Even the more conscientious theoretical promoters of the Religion of Denial shrink back, at least at present, from the full consequences of their principles. They are, fortunately, some of them, better than their creed ; and have upon them the pressure of that Christian tradition which they cannot throw off ;  but which, unless something be done, will lose its hold over society more and more every day. So far we may thank the Christianity which still remains to us that things have not progressed still more rapidly than they have towards brutalization,    
" The Christianity which yet remains diffused amongst us," says Dr. Mivart, "and the refinement of modern manners, render the open  practice of licentiousness and sanguinary rites as yet impossible : but the spirit which prompted them finds in this system of contemporary anti-theists its complete and logical justification, as it  has found in a contemporary poet its distinct lyrical expression — the tendency of this movement is to approach little by little to this worst phase of Paganism, as the corruption of morals gradually increases through the temporary decreasing influence of Christianity upon the outer surface of society. Already we have openly advocated the murder of the infirm, the sick, the suffering, the  old, as well as self-murder. Free-love has not only its advocates, but its avowed votaries ; and a hatred of marriage and the family tie is one of the sentiments common to those political enthusiasts, who claim for themselves par excellence the title of Advanced." (" Contemporary Evolution," pp. 43, 44.) Virchow distinctly tells us that "Socialism," the political expression of the Religion of  Denial, is intimately connected with the mud-fish theory of evolution:—      
" Gentlemen," he exclaims to the assembly of German savants, "I will only hope that the evolution theory may not bring upon us all the  alarm that similar theories have actually roused  in the neighbouring country. At all events, this theory, if consistently carried out, has a very serious aspect, and I trust it has not escaped  your notice that Socialism has already established a sympathetic relation with it. We must not conceal these facts from ourselves." (" Freedom of Science," p. 10.) . .  
See now how this principle of the Religion of Denial is corrupting the whole mass of civilized society— society which owes all its moral elevation to the Religion of Affirmation. I do not presume to use my own words to show you this. One has just spoken who sits on the high watch-tower of the world, and takes in, at a  glance, the condition of all nations, even of the furthest from his throne. What has Leo XIII. just told the bishops of the world regarding the present condition of human society? He describes the character of that Religion of Denial,which in point of fact has been evolved from the theory of the mud-fish. His words are too weighty and too important not to be quoted his connection. He shows clearly which way world is drifting, having broken loose from Christian principle, and having adopted that of Unbelief. The very fact of his speaking as he does shows his direct antagonism to it, and its absolute antagonism to him. "As the nature of Our Apostolic office; required of Us," he says, "from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, in an Encyclical letter addressed to you, Venerable Brethren, We did not neglect to advert to the deadly pestilence which is creeping through the innermost frame of human society, and brings it into the extremity of danger, and We at the same time pointed out the most, efficacious remedies by which it may be restored to health and may escape the very grave dangers which threaten it. But those evils which we then deplored have in a short time increased to such a degree that We are constrained to address you again, the voice of the Prophet as it were ringing in our ears : Cry aloud and cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet. You will easily understand, Venerable Brethren, that we speak of that sect of men who are called by different and almost barbarous names, Socialists, Communists, or Nihlilists, and who, scattered through the whole world, and most closely bound together by most unholy ties, no longer seek safety in the shades of secret assemblies, but, boldly coming forward into the light of day, strive to accomplish the design which they have formed long since of overthrowing the foundations of every civil society. These are they who, as the Divine oracles testify, defile the flesh, despise dominion and blaspheme majesty. Nothing which has been wisely enacted by human and divine laws for the security and adornment of life is left by them intact or entire. They refuse obedience to the higher powers, to which, according to the admonition of the Apostle, every soul ought to be subject, and which derive their right of governing from God, and they preach the perfect equality of all men in rights and offices. They dishonour the natural union of the man and woman, which even barbarous nations hold sacred, and weaken or even sacrifice to lust the bond of that union, by which principally domestic society is held together. Allured, moreover, by the desire of present good, which is the root of all evils and which some coveting have erred from the faith, they impugn the right of property sanctioned by the Law of Nature, and by a monstrous crime, while they appear to meet the wants and satisfy the desires of all men, they aim at seizing and holding in common whatever has been acquired by the title of lawful inheritance, or by the intellect, or the labour of the hands, or by frugal living. And these portentous opinions they publish in their meetings, inculcate in pamphlets, and scatter among the lower orders in a cloud of journals. From this it results that the reverend majesty and rule of kings has so incurred the hatred of a seditious populace, that nefarious traitors, impatient of every restraint, have more than once within a short space of time, in impious daring, turned their arms against the Princes of the realm themselves. But this audacity of perfidious men, which threatens greater ruin to civil society, and strikes the minds of all with anxious fear, derives its cause and origin from those poisonous doctrines, which, scattered in former times like corrupt seed among the peoples, have borne such pestilential fruit in then season . . . .
The object of the war has been that, by setting aside all Revelation, and the subversion of every kind of Supernatural order, an entrance might, be cleared for the discoveries, or rather the delirious imaginations of mere Reason. This kind of error, which wrongly usurps the name of Reason, as it entices and sharpens the desire of superiority naturally implanted in man, and gives a loose rein to desires of every kind, has spontaneously penetrated to the widest extent not only very many minds but civil society itself. Hence it has come to pass that, by a novel impiety, unheard of even among the heathen nations, state's have been constituted without taking any account of God and of the order established by Him ; it has been, moreover, declared that public authority derives neither its principle nor its majesty, nor its power of command from God, but rather from the multitude of the people — which, thinking itself absolved from all Divine sanction, has determined to acknowledge only those laws which itself has framed according to its own good pleasure. The supernatural verities of Faith having been impugned and rejected as if they were inimical to reason, the Author and Redeemer Himself of the human race has been, insensibly, and little by little, forcibly banished from the Universities, the Lyceums, the Gymnasiums, and from every public institution connected with the life of man. Finally, the reward and punishment of the future and eternal life being relegated to oblivion, the ardent desire of happiness has been confined within the span of this present life. These doctrines having been disseminated far and wide, this so great license of thought and action being everywhere introduced, it is no wonder that men of the lowest class, weary of a poor home or work shop, should desire to invade the palaces and fortunes of the rich ; it is no wonder that there now exists no tranquillity in public or private life, and that the human race has nearly reached its lowest depth." (Given 28 Dec, 1878.)
Well may the very professors of the Religion of Denial groan in spirit when they see their work. " There are few reflective persons," says Bradlaugh, " who have not been, now and again, impressed with awe as they look back on the past of humanity. . . . It is then that we see the grandest illustrations of that unending necessity under which, it would seem, man labours, the necessity of abandoning ever and again the heritage of his fathers, ... of continually leaving behind him the citadel of faith and peace, raised by the piety of the past, for an atmosphere of tumult and denial. . .   What ever may be our present conclusions about Christianity, we cannot too often remember that it has been one of the most important factors in the life of mankind," ("National Reformer," Oct. 6, 1878.) Listen to the cry of another writer in his agony, who has made shipwreck of his faith. "Does that new philosophy of history," asks Glennie, "which destroys the Christian philosophy, of itself afford an adequate basis for such a reconstruction of the ideal as is required ? Candidly, we must reply, ' Not yet.' . . Very far are we from being the first who have experienced the agony of discovered delusion." ("In the Morning Land," p. 20.) " Never in the history of man," says another, "has so terrific a calamity befallen the race, as that, which all who look may now behold advancing as a deluge, black with destruction, resistless in might, uprooting our most cherished hopes, engulfing our most precious creed, and burying our highest life in mindless desolation. The floodgates of Infidelity are open, and Atheism overwhelming is upon us. . . . Man has become in a new sense, the measure of the universe ; and in this, the latest and most appalling of his soundings indications are returned from the infinite voids of space and time that his intelligence, with all its noble capacities for love and adoration, is yet alone — destitute of kith or kin in all this universe of being. . . .
Forasmuch, as I am far from being able to agree with those who affirm that the twilight doctrine of the "new faith" is a desirable substitute for the waning splendour of "the old," I am not ashamed to confess that, with this virtual negation of God, the universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness. And when at times I think, as think at times I must, of the appalling contrast between the hallowed glory of that creed which once was mine and the lonely mystery of existence as now I find it, at such times I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of which my nature is susceptible. ("Physicus : On Theism-" p.51.)      
"We cannot judge of the effects of Atheism, says Sir J. Stephen, "from the conduct of persons who have been educated as believers in God, and in the midst of a nation that believes in God. If we should ever see a generation of men, especially a generation of Englishmen, to whom the word God had no meaning at all, we should get a light upon the subject which might be lurid enough."   (" First Principles," p. 117.)
"Few, if any" even Herbert Spencer says, are as yet fitted: wholly to dispense with such [religious] conceptions as are current. The highest abstractions take so great a mental power to realize with any vividness, and are so inoperative upon conduct unless they are vividly realized, that their regulative effects must for a long period to come be appreciable on but a small minority. . . Those who relinquish the faith in which they have been brought up, for this most abstract faith in which Science and Religion unite, may not uncommonly fail to act up to their convictions. Left to their organic morality, enforced only by general reasoning imperfectly wrought out and difficult to keep before the mind, their defects of nature will often come out more strongly than they would have done under their previous creed." (" Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," p. 325, 2nd Ed.) In a word, it is as about as easy for the soul and moral sense to live upon abstractions and false maxims as it is for the body to get fat upon thin air. There is a sense within man too strong for all the infidel logic in the world. We know that behind the veil there is One who personally knows and loves us, we know it as surely as that we personally know and love Him in return. We are forced to exclaim, in the words of Lowell :
God of our Fathers,
Thou who wast,
Art, and shall be when the eye-wise who flout
Thy secret presence shall be lost
In the great light that dazzles them to doubt,
We who believe Life's bases rest
Beyond the probe of chemic test,
Still, like our fathers, feel Thee near !

And besides this, we know, moreover, that the Religion of Denial, far from being approved of even by those who do not hold with Christianity, is looked upon by the more far-seeing amongst them as a mere empty hypothesis. It is not its truth, but the license it allows that makes it palatable with the multitude. Scientific men themselves, men that is, who are philosophers as well as scientists, are, by their inexorable logic, drawing it down from its pedestal, and displaying it in its veritable colours. Founded on falsehood, it is the fruitful parent of every species of debasement. Allow me to quote the London Times' correspondent, giving a summary of Haeckel's teaching, as delivered before the German naturalists in Munich, 1877, and the reply of Virchow. The correspondent says that "having contended that the Biblical account of this planet's creation has long been demolished by geology, Herr H äckel wondered that morphology should have been so slow to come forward and explain the origin and diversity of the animal world. According to him, the two principles of inheritance and adaptation explain the development of the manifold existing organisms from a single organic cell ; which, were further argument needed to disprove supernatural intervention, we have only to turn to the frequent occurrence of undeveloped and useless organs in many types of the animal world, to realize the truth. In this way the Creator is disposed of, not, only as superfluous, but as a Being who, if he existed, instead of being all-wise, would every now and then have committed the indiscretion of attempting create eyes and wings which His power did not suffice to perfect. Then, passing on to the omnipotent cell constituting the groundwork of animal bodies, he referred his audience to certain zoological inquiries proving the possession of motion and sensibility, of perception and will, even by those primary organisms consisting of but a single cell. Everything being thus dependent upon the cell, the lecturer at this stage became interested in the matter forming this marvellous organism. The cell, then, consists of matter called protoplasm, composed chiefly of carbon, with an admixture, of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulphur. These component parts, properly united, produce the body and soul of the animated world, and, suitably nursed, become man. With this simple argument the mystery of the universe is explained, the Divinity annulled, and a new era of infinite knowledge ushered in. It was a fitting conclusion to such a scientific pronunciamento that the lecturer, who regarded his argument as incontrovertible, insisted that it should be taught in every school in the land." (The Times, Nov. 30, 1877.) Here, then, is Häckel dogmatically laying down a teaching which is subversive of the whole scheme of Natural and Supernatural Religion ; here is an " advanced thinker," an Apostle of the Religion of Denial urging that such teaching should be made a portion of the National Education. And here, on the other hand, is another "advanced thinker" absolutely contradicting him, and declaring that Häckel's doctrines are merely "fancies," and not established truths at all. Listen to Virchow's own words : " It is easy to say that 'a cell consists of small portions, and these we call Plastidules,' and that plastidules are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, and are endowed with an especial soul ; which soul is the product of some of the forces which the chemical atoms possess. To be sure this is possible. I cannot, form an exact judgment about it. It is one of the positions which are for me still unapproachable. I feel like a sailor who puts forth into an abyss, the extent of which he cannot see. But I must plainly say that, so long as no one can define for me the properties of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, in such a way that I can conceive how from the sum of them a soul arises, so long am I unable to admit that, we should be at all justified in imparting the 'plastidulic soul' into the course of our education, or in requiring every educated man to receive it as scientific truth so as to argue from it as a logical premiss, and to found his whole view of the world upon it. This we really cannot demand. On the contrary, I am of opinion that, before we designate such hypotheses as the voice of Science — before we say, 'This is modern Science' — we should first have to conduct a long series of elaborate investigations. We must therefore say to the teachers in schools, ' Do not teach it.' " (" Freedom of Science", p. 23, 45.) Farther on he exclaims, after speaking of how Oken taught a doctrine as absolutely true which turned out to be absolutely false : " Gentlemen, let us not fail to profit by the experience of that great naturalist ; let us not forget that when the public see a doctrine — which has been exhibited to them as certain, established, positive, and claiming universal acceptance — proved to be faulty in its very foundations, or discovered to be wilful and despotic in its essential and chief tendencies, they may lose faith in Science. Then break forth the reproaches : 'Ah, you yourselves are not quite sure ; your doctrine, which you call truth to-day, is to-morrow a lie ; how can you demand that your teaching should form the subject of education, and a recognized part of our general knowledge ?' " (Ibid, p. 41,)
And surely now I have said enough. I have shown you that the fundamental principle on which the Religion of Denial is based leads back logically and inexorably towards that state of bestiality from which "modern thought," says man has sprung. You have seen with your logical eyes that you cannot get more out of a thing than is in it ; and if it be really true that there is no God, and that man is simply a mud-fish, that mud-fish never can be blown out into any thing higher or better, or more noble than the stuff out of which it comes. A soap-bubble may reflect all the colours of the rainbow, but it will be a soap-bubble still — it will burst when brightest, and you will find there is nothing in it. I have shown you how this bubble of "Denial," whilst pretending to take the place of Christianity, is the absolute death of every moral principle, and of all religion worthy of the name. I have shown you how the cowardly, or at least the unmanly way in which scientific men treat the profoundest questions, creates suspicion ; and how others, with less head, but, perhaps, more courage, sweep their cobwebs on one side and boldly deny God's existence altogether. I have drawn your attention to the fact that no sooner is God denied and man declared a mere protoplasm than minds are at once actively engaged in forming plans by means of which they make use of their new freedom from restraint, and indulge in every species of immorality and viciousness, so long as it gives them personal pleasure to do so. I have shown you how these teachings inevitably drag the human race down to the very mire ; and how philosophers do not shame to suggest to their disciples that the life of a hog is the happiest life for them. I have called your attention to the picture drawn by Thomas Carlyle of "the universal swine's-trough" which man has now to wallow in, that is, if he be true to the Religion of Denial, and to the bestial nature Denial says is his ; and I have corroborated, by undeniable statistics, the teaching of Carlyle, showing how the masses of the English people at home are plunging deeper and deeper in brutalization and infidelity as days go by. I have shown you that this is the natural effect of an intelligible cause — of the people giving up Christianity and taking to the Religion of Denial, and thus providing for themselves a logical justification for all the enormities which they commit. I have suggested how crime is but the fruit which is produced by the tree of Infidelity ; and that unbelief and bestiality are intimately related as cause and as effect. I have shown you, moreover, from Virchow's teaching, that the Religion of Denial and Socialism are in closest sympathy, and, by quoting the words of Pope Leo XIII. in his Encyclical, I have drawn your attention to the fact, which any one can see the truth of at a glance, that the chaos and confusion into which Religion and Civil Society are plunged all over the world are due to the action of that same principle of collapse. I have suggested that it is Christianity, even in those men who trample on it, which makes them better than their principles, and that still preserves the world from absolute destruction. I have shown how the very champions of the Religion of Denial are terrified by its effect, and cry out in despair that they have been deceived in their anticipations ; and, finally, I have called your attention to the curious circumstance that these very champions themselves are fighting with each other ; and that what is declared by Häckel to-day to be a victorious discovery of Science is declared by Virchow to-morrow to be a mere craze on his opponent's mind, without any underpin of logic for its support— the very fundamental principle of the Religion of Denial being proved to be no principle at all, but a subjective fancy or maggot in the mind of a naturalist who is possessed by a special anxiety to upset the Christian creed. When to all this is added what I have already proved : that it is reasonable to hold man to be a man, and not a mud fish ; and that there is a God ruling heaven and earth, in stead of no God at all ; these two facts being substantiated, the very ground has, by the doing so, been cut from under the feet of the Religion of Denial, and it is convicted of being not merely shallow, but a stupid, as well as a deadly poisonous deceit, used by intellectual criminals or by superficial thinkers without sense of responsibility, for upheaving the deep foundations of Supernatural Religion, and of that morality which must ever be synonymous with restraint. I do not dare to trust myself to speak of such men as these, who, by means of a blasphemous and lying philosophy, have brought so much ruin and desolation into the homes of my fellow-men.

 Freeman's Journal 5 April 1879,

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