It would be an important approximation toward that philosophy on the part of the second Romanes lecturer, if those words of his I have here cited signify an acceptance of the distinction between what is "formal" and what only "material" in the sphere of ethics on the one hand, and an appreciation of the essentially distinct nature of man on the other. His expressions seem to me to justify the hope that the process of mental evolution has in him had this result.
I can not, however, regard them as decisive. It may be I have been deluded by my earnest wish that those words,
which have been said of a valued friend of us both, may one day also be said of him. If, however, I have been mistaken, I shall not on that account cease to hope that ultimately my wish will be fulfilled.
For my own part my conviction grows ever stronger that, though corporeally man is but a sort of ape, his intellectual nature is so distinct that, thus considered, there is more difference between him and the orang than between the latter and the ground beneath its feet.
But high as he is raised above the rest of Nature, the very limitations of his reason, considered in the light of the highest ethical aspirations of his being, demand something beyond Nature—a Divine revelation.
This is what the higher races of mankind seem to me to have, consciously or unconsciously, sought and striven for, from the dawn of history till the advent of Christianity. The acceptance of that revelation (of course without the surrender of a single truth of physical, biological, historical, or any other science) is, I believe, the logical outcome of the Theistic corollary implied by that power of ethical intuition which so forcibly proclaims both the responsibilities and the dignity of man.—The Nineteenth Century.