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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

latest utterance. He tells us,[1] "The theory of evolution encourages no millennial anticipations." This is true, indeed; and though the world's existence may seem long when measured by the span of a human life, it is but "a flash in the pan" compared with the infinite ages. And if we suppose the cosmic process to continue indefinitely, and suns with their attendant planets so to pulsate into and from separate existence, yet it promises nothing for all mankind but absolute annihilation and utter nothingness.

The Oxford lecturer, however, discoursing on truly "vain philosophy," predicts a mere recurrence of pulsations for the best human thought. Its modern form, he tells us[2]

is making a fresh start from the base whence Indian and Greek philosophy set out; and, the human mind being very much what it was six and twenty centuries ago, there is no ground for wonder if it presents indications of a tendency to move along the old lines to the same results.

The human mind is, of course, very much what it was, but it has now what then it had not the light of Christianity to aid its progress. Its influence has ground and sharpened the weapons of the intellect as they have never been ground and sharpened before. No doubt, the prejudices which have grown up under the teaching of Descartes and Locke, which have been intensified by Berkeley, and which culminated in Hume, will continue to dominate those who can not extricate themselves from that sophistical labyrinth wherein I was once myself imprisoned. The labyrinthine spell, which makes escape impossible, consists in the words: "We can be supremely certain of nothing but our own present feelings." Hypnotized by this formula, the victims fancy they can not know with certainty their own substantial and continuous existence. But the spell is at once dissolved by the recognition that such feelings are not primary declarations of consciousness, but simply the result of an act of reflection parallel with that which tells us of our own persistent being.[3]

The dreams of Brahmanism and Buddhism, Ionian philosophy, Idealism, which may be called the philosophy of Janus,[4] and the noble inconsistencies of pantheistic Stoicism are all impossible for those who have come to apprehend the truths enshrined in Christian philosophy.


  1. [December Monthly, p. 190.]
  2. [December Monthly, p. 186.1
  3. It is, of course, impossible in these pages to draw out the reasons which justify the above assertion. For them the reader is referred to my book On Truth, chapters i, ii, and ix.
  4. Because the system can readily be inverted so as to become materialism. Its materialistic face belongs to it as properly as does its idealistic visage. Prof. Huxley says [November Monthly, p. 31 J, "Granting the premises, I am not aware of any escape from Berkeley's conclusion." Neither am I. But I am no less unaware of any necessity to accept those premises, the truth of which I unhesitatingly deny.