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ference with the properties of matter. 4. That restoration of life to the dead. The third affect by breaking the law of inertia only, man has matter solely: they include the healing of wounds, power to call into play properties which make or of corporeal disease, such as blindness, or fematter subservient to his objects.
ver; the dividing of waters; the walking on waNor is this man's power only. Inferior ani- ter, or raising an iron axe-head from the bottom mals can also move matter, and by moving it of water; the falling of walls or trees; the opencan cause prodigious results. A minute insect, ing of prison-doors, and such like. by secreting lime from sea-waters, makes a coral The first two classes we may, in any discusreef, or aids in forming a cliff of chalk. A bea- sion limited to the laws of nature, leave out of ver cuts down a tree, and forms a swamp that view, because it can not be said that we know changes the climate of a district; a bird carries any laws of nature affecting mind by itself, or a seed, and makes a forest on an island. Inani- even mind in relation to matter. Metaphysicians mate life has the same power. The plant opens have interested themselves in trying to trace the its leaves to the sun, and abstracts the carbon origin or sequence of intellectual processes, but that forms fruitful soils and beds of coal. Mat- I hardly think any would assert they had dister itself can by motion work on matter. The covered or defined what can properly be called a great physical powers, heat and electricity, are law; and certainly, if any do assert it, the accumodes of motion. Radiation of heat causes racy of the assertion is controverted by as many freezing, and freezing crumbles rocks into soil, philosophers on the other side. Any direct inor it forms the clouds in the air, whose deluges fluence of God on mind can not, therefore, be hollow valleys; while electricity cleaves and splin- charged with being in violation of natural law. ters the summits of the mountain-peaks. Every- Nor can it even be declared to be contrary to where motion, sharp or slow, works with matter; universal experience, since in this case the negaeverywhere the law of inertia is broken; and tive evidence of those who have not experienced everywhere the miracles of nature are wrought it would only be set against the positive evidence out by nature's unbroken laws, set in action or of innumerable persons who affirm that they have withheld by only the movement which matter has experienced it. received, be it from will in man or beast, or be it The influence of mind on matter, and matter from forces which themselves are part of mat- on mind, are also so obscure, that it can not be ter's properties.
affirmed that anything which mental operation Now, since we have started from the assump- can effect on one's own body is contrary to nattion that God does exist, it is impossible to make ural law. No physiologist will assert that menhim an exception to the rule which holds of the tal resolution or conviction, tending toward respirits of inferior creatures, and even of inani- covery from sickness, is without some power to mate matter. If, therefore, he can cause or stop bring that result to pass. "hey will admit also movement, he can, without further breach of any that this is peculiarly the case in regard to those law of nature, bring into play the laws of nature. disorders which, in pure ignorance of their actual Or, to state the same proposition conversely, we source, they are fain to call hysterical, neuralgic,
, must admit that whatever wonders God may or generally nervous. They are all acquainted cause by bringing into operation a law of na- with many cases in their own experience of reture through the means of affecting motion in covery from such disorders in which no physical matter, can not be called a breach of the laws of cause for recovery can be imagined. If, then, nature. It is, of course, understood that this God should convey to the mind of a patient an proposition is limited to the results of motion; impression which brings about recovery, there it does not affirm th the cause of the motion would clearly be no violation of natural law. may not be a breach of a law of nature. This with regard to the restoration of life, it is quite question will remain for future examination; at true that this is beyond the ordinary power of present it is neither affirmed nor denied.
man's volition. Nevertheless, at each moment Let us in the mean time, however, consider of our lives there is a communication of life to what we have reached by the proposition above the dead matter which has formed our food, but stated. What are called miracles may be di- which, after digestion, becomes a part of our vided into three classes. The first are purely living organs; and this is true even in the nutrispiritual, affecting mind without the intervention tion of plants. How or at what moment the of matter, such as visions (though these may ori- mind enters or becomes capable of affecting our ginate in the brain, and therefore belong to the frames, we do not know. But this happens at next class), gifts of tongues, inspirations, mental some moment before or during birth; its doing resolutions. The second affect mind in connec- so at a subsequent period is, therefore, not a tion with matter, such as, perhaps, the healing of breach of natural law, but is only an instance of paralytic or epileptic affections, and certainly the natural law coming into operation, by the same
cause, at a period differing from that which is absolutely accurate, we must add minute quanticustomary. The act, whatever it is, is not ex- ties of eight other elements), which no chemist has ceptional, but ordinary. The time is alone ex- yet succeeded in uniting in such forms. But chemceptional.
ists have succeeded in forming certain substances We have now to consider the strictly physi- by bringing together their elements, of which cal phenomena to which the name of miracles is water is the simplest type, and others of greater in this discussion confined, and to which the ob- complexity are every year being attained. These jection that they are contrary to natural laws is are formed by moving into proximity, or admiscommonly stated.
ture, the elementary ingredients, under circumA very large number of these are at first stances favorable to their union in the desired glance seen to be only instances of inertia being combination, and the combination then proceeds affected. To walk on water, to make water stand by the operation of natural laws. No one would in a heap, to raise a body from the ground, to be surprised to hear that some chemist had thus cast down walls, or move bolts and doors, are attained to form starch or gluten, the main inobviously exertions of simple mechanical force gredients of bread, or oil, or spirit, or essences; such as we ourselves daily employ. Their effec- for, if it were announced, we should all know that tive cause is neither more nor less than an inter- he had only discovered some new method of ference with the law of inertia, and by the pre- manipulation by which circumstances were arvious demonstration they are therefore not to be ranged so as to favor the natural laws which efreckoned as breaches of any law of nature. fect the union of the necessary elements. There
Let us try if this can be made clearer by an fore, if these substances are formed by divine example. It has been stated before that if iron power, it is not creation—it is only the chemist's were made to swim on water by modification of work, adopting natural laws for its methods, and the law of gravity it would be creation of a new bringing them into play by transposition of masubstance differing from iron in being of less terial substances. specific gravity. At the same time, the original Meteorological processes—such as lightning, iron of normal specific gravity would have disap- rain, drought, winds—are sometimes made the peared. These processes of creation and destruc- immediate cause of "miracles," as when the tion would be so unprecedented that we should wind caused the waters of the Red Sea to flow justly call them violations of the ordinary laws back, or brought the flights of quails or locusts. of nature. But, at least, we should then expect These are effects which we know wind is quite that the light iron thus created would be perma- capable of producing, and does produce naturalnently light, and we should call it another breach ly. Was there, then, any breach of natural laws of the laws of nature if on lifting it from the (beyond that of inertia) in causing such winds to water we found it heavy. But, if we were to hold blow? or in bringing up thunder-clouds? or in a magnet of suitable power over the original causing an arid season? We can not, indeed, heavy iron when at the bottom of the water, we say that there was not; but as little can we say might see it rise and float, although not touched that there was. For, since we ourselves have acor upheld by any visible substance, and although quired such power over lightning, the most inits specific gravity remained constant. In this scrutable and irresistible of all meteorological case it would be moved by a power which over- agencies, as to be able to lead it where we will, comes gravity, but there would be no creation how shall we say that God's infinite knowledge nor destruction of any property, and no natural has not the same power over the winds and the law would be broken. But, if now we substitute clouds, by employing only natural agencies for for “magnetic
” “ divine ”power, there is still no his work, and employing these only by the operabreach of a natural law, for no property is cre- tion of motion given to matter? ated or destroyed. In both cases the acting With regard to the healing of diseased matagent is a power outside the iron, invisible and ter, conjectures also can only be offered, because unknown, except by the effects. The effect of of the source of diseases we know so little. Sight both is the same: it is to give motion to matter, is restored in cataract by simple removal of an and nothing more. Hence neither violate any abnormal membrane. Many fevers, if the germ law of nature except that of inertia,
theory or the poison theory be correct, are cured Proceeding to another class of miracles, which when the germs die, or the poison is eliminated. seem at first to be creative, we sha!l find that A power that could kill the germs, or remove they also come within the range of familiar hu- them or the poison from the system, would then man potentiality. The making of bread, or meal, effect immediate cure in accordance with natural or oil, or wine, are instances of chemical synthe- laws. It does not seem necessarily beyond man's sis. These substances are composed of three or reach to effect this when he shall understand four elements, all gaseous except carbon (to be natural laws more fully; it can not, therefore, be
a breach of natural laws if God should effect it affected falls within and not without nature's by laws as yet unknown to man, provided they laws. are brought into play with no other agency than It may be objected that, since it is only living the motion of matter.
substance which can be acted on by the human It would be folly as well as impiety to assert mind, it is contrary to law that dead matter that it is in such ways only that miracles are per- should be acted on by the divine mind. But this formed. No such assertion is made. But when, is a simple begging of the question at issue. It is on the other side, it is asserted that the miracles constructing a law for the purpose of charging narrated in Scripture can not be true because God with breaking it. Where do we find evithey must involve a breach of the immutable laws dence in nature that matter can not be moved by of nature, the answer is justifiable and is suffi- the divine mind ? Science reveals no such law. cient, that they do not necessarily involve any Science is simply silent on the subject; it admits breach of any law, save of that one law of inertia its utter ignorance, and declares the question bewhich at every instant is broken by created things, yond its scope. Undoubtedly it does not prowithout any disturbances being introduced into nounce that God does move matter, but it equally the serene march of nature's laws. The scien- abstains from asserting that God does not. For tific revelation is reconciled with the written reve- when it traces back material effects from cause lation when it is shown that neither necessarily to cause, it comes at last to something for which implies the falsity of the other.
it has no explanation. When we say that an But, supposing the argument thus far to be acid and an alkali combine by the law of affinity, conceded, it will be urged that the real “mir- that a stone falls by the law of gravity, we merely acle” remains yet behind. When man moves generalize facts under a name, we do not account matter, his hand is visible; when an animal for them. What causes affinity, what causes gnaws a tree, its teeth are seen working; when gravity ? Suppose we say the one is polar eleca river flows down a valley, its force is heard tricity, the other is the impact of particles in viand felt. How different, it will be said, is God's bration (both of which statements are unproved working, where there is no arm of flesh, no sound guesses), what do we gain? The next question of power, no sign of presence !
is only, what causes electricity and what causes Unquestionably it is a deep marvel and a vibration ? Suppose, again, we answer that both mystery, that impalpable spirit should act upon are modes of motion, we only come to the further gross matter; but it is a mystery of humanity as question, what causes motion ? And since mowell as of Godhead. What moves the hand? tion is a breach of the law of inertia, what is it Contraction of the muscles. But what causes that first excited motion in this dead matter? contraction of the muscles? The influence trans- Carry back our analysis as far as we will or can, mitted from the brain by the nerves. But what at last we reach a point where matter must be sends that influence? It is mind, which some- acted upon by something that is not matter. where, somehow, moves animal tissues--tissues This something is Mind; and God also is Mind. consisting of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, Again, when any one affirms that only living phosphorus, and sulphur. At some point of our matter can be acted on by mind, whether human frames, we know not yet where, mind does act or divine, we may fairly ask him, not indeed what directly on matter. It is a law of nature that it is life, which is a problem as yet beyond science, should so act there. But, if God exists, his mind but how life changes matter, which is a question must, by the same law, act on matter somewhere. strictly within the range of science dealing with Can we call it an offense against law if it acts on matter. But to this inquiry we shall get no anmatter elsewhere than in that mass of organized swer. The cells in an organism, the protoplasm pulp which we call brains ? If no possibility in the cells, are living when the organism is livof communication between mind and matter ing, dead when the organism is dead, and, as could anywhere be found in nature, we might matter, no difference is discoverable between call such communication contrary to natural law. them in the state of living and dead. The cells In other words, if it were one of the properties consist of cellulose, the protoplasm of some of matter that it could not receive motion from“ proteine " compounds; no element is added or that which is not matter, its motion without a subtracted, no compound is altered, when it lives material cause would be supernatural. But, since or when it dies. Nor can science even tell us it is of the very essence of existence that matter when an organic compound becomes alive or in certain combinations should be capable of be- dead. Every instant crude sap is becoming living endowed with life, and by such endowment ing plants, every instant crude chyle is becoming become capable of being affected in motion by living blood, every instant living organisms die mind, it is indisputable that such capability is and are expelled from plants by the leaves, from one of matter's properties, and that its being so animals by the lungs, the skin, and the kidneys,
Yet no physician can say at what moment any for fine weather, for bodily health, for removal of of these carbon compounds become living, or any plague, for averting of any corporeal danger, when they cease to have lise. Since of this per- is asking God to change the laws of nature for petual birth and death in all nature we know ab- our benefit, that this is what he never does, what solutely nothing, it is manifestly unreasonable to would produce endless confusion if he should, lay down laws respecting them. If life and death and consequently what he certainly will not do. make (as far as we can discover) absolutely no But, if in point of fact God can confer on us immediate physical change in the matter which all these gifts which we ask from him without they affect, how can we propound as a dogma of breaking a single law by which nature is bound, physical science that God can not move “ dead” we are restored to the older confidence that he matter, when our own experience tells us that will, provided that such gists are at the same our spirits can move “living" matter?
time consonant with our spiritual good. It is clear that, if we are not warranted in Now, as it has been shown that God can afmaking a law, we are not warranted in saying fect matter to the full extent for which we ever that it is broken. Our concern with laws to petition by means of nature's own laws, set in see that such as we do know are uniform, for operation by no other agency than the mere comthis is the basis of science. But true science re- munication of motion to matter, it has been pudiates dogmas on subjects of which it avows shown that he will break no law in giving what its ignorance.
we ask. Let us sum up the argument as it has now For example, what is fine weather? It is the been stated. The propositions are the follow- result of the due motion of the winds, which ing:
bear the clouds on their bosom, and carry the 1. Matter is subject to unalterable laws, warmth of equatorial sunshine to the colder which express its properties. No created being north. It is still as true as eighteen hundred can originate, alter, or destroy any of these prop- years ago, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, erties.
and ye hear the sound thereof, but can not tell 2. It is possible, however, for one property to whence it cometh or whither it goeth.” But, if it overpower the action of another property, either be no breach of law to give motion to the air, it in the same matter or in other matter.
is in God's power to bring us favorable winds. 3. By placing matter in a position in which But the winds we wish are not necessarily moved one or other property has its natural action, man, immediately by God's breath. They depend as well as animals and inanimate matter, can probably on certain electric repulsions, which overpower a law of nature with almost bound- make the colder or the warmer current come
closer to the surface of the earth. And electri4. The sole means by which such results are city is motion. It may be directly, it may be ineffected, are by affecting the law of inertia. directly, through electricity; it may be by some Therefore, whatever is effected by natural laws, cause still further back that God sends forth the without other interference than by affecting iner- winds; but, if he can give motion, he can direct tia, is consistent with the uniformity of natural their currents, and by such agency give to his law.
creatures the weather best suited for their wants. 5. All strictly physical “miracles " recorded Or what is disease? Probably, in many cases, in the Bible are capable of being effected by nat- germs; let us then suppose germs, because it is ural law, without other interference than by af- what the latest science tells us. But germs need fecting inertia, and therefore are consistent with a suitable nidus, and we know that merely what the uniformity of natural law.
we call “ change of air” is one of the most po6. It is consistent with natural law that cre- tent means of defending or restoring our bodies ated minds should affect the inertia of certain from the assault of germs to which it is exposed. forms of matter directly.
We change our air by moving to another place; 7. It is not inconsistent with natural law that what violation of law would there be if God, to the Divine mind should affect the inertia of other our prayer, were to change our air by moving a forms of matter directly.
different air to us? This is but a rude illustra
tion; the marvelous economy of the body sugThe bearing of these conclusions upon pray- gests a thousand others, none of which may be er, in so far as it affects physical conditions, may true, but which yet all agree in this, that they now be briefly shown. It has been argued that, would work our cure by strictly natural laws, set in the light of modern discovery, prayer ought in action merely by motion given to matter. to be restricted to spiritual objects, and that at That even an impending rock should not fall all events it can have none but spiritual effects. upon us would be a petition involving no further It has, for example, been asserted that to pray disturbance of natural law. Had we appliances
to enhance our force, we could uphold it without some scientific men would have us do, for somebreaking natural law. God has superhuman thing in order to see if God would grant it, would force, and, if he upholds it by an arm we can not be an experiment which, applied to an earthly see, he will break no law.
superior, would be an insult—to God is impiety. It were needless to pursue examples; but the To such prayers as these there is no promise subject must not be dismissed without reference made, for they can not be in Christ's name. to the spiritual laws, which we are bound to re- Neither can those prayers be in his name gard in praying for aught we may desire. which come from men regardless of his precepts.
These are expressed and summed up in the These are contained in the Book of Nature as command, “ Ask in my name." There is a prev- well as in the Bible, and to both alike we owe alent misunderstanding of these words, arising reverence. We are bound to learn his will as out of the theological dogma which interprets far as our powers extend, we are bound to inform them as if they were written, “ for my sake.” It ourselves as fully as we can of the physical as is unnecessary here to enter into the inquiry how well as of the moral laws set for our guidance, far any prayer is granted because of the merits and having learned we are bound to obey. It or for the sake of Christ. It is sufficient that were vain to pray for help in an act of wrongthe words here used mean something else. When doing, and equally vain to pray for relief from we desire another person to ask anything from a consequences of our own neglect or defiance of superior in our name, we mean to ask as if we such rules of the government of nature as we asked. It must be something, then, which we have learned, or as with due diligence we might should ask for personally. Therefore, Christ, de- have learned. No man so acting can presume to siring us to ask in his name, limits us to ask those think that he may ask in Christ's name for sucthings which we can presume he would ask for cor. Christ could not ask it for such as he.
But to what we can truly ask in his name there It is obvious how this interpretation defines is no limit set. We may ask for all worldly and the range of petition. It must be confined to all spiritual good, which we can conceive him to what he, all-knowing, knows to be for our good. ask for us, in assurance that it will be given, if he It must be, in our ignorance, subject to the con- sees it really to be for our good. How it may be dition that he should see it best for us. It utter- reconciled with good to other men is not for us ly excludes all seeking for worldly advantage, for to inquire. The Omnipotent rules all, and he which he would never bid us pray. It equally who can do all is able to do what is best for us excludes all spiritual benefits which are not those as well as for every other creature he has made, of a godly, humble spirit. Above all, it excludes without breach of one of these laws which he all things which would be suggested by Satan as has set as guides for all. a tempting of the Lord our God. To ask, as
J. BOYD KINNEAR (Contemporary Review).
LIFE IN BRITTANY.
AM not a traveler or a tourist, but a resident, I can not see the sea as I write, because my
and I don't sit down to write an article, a window looks into the garden, and at the end of journal, or a book; I only feel that I must give the garden there is an artificial bank with a expression to my feelings, and therefore I talk on raised walk on the top of it, constructed partly paper.
to keep back the waves at high tides, and partly This life is still new to me; it possesses all for the sake of the walk, which (placed on the the attractions of surprise. The day will come top) gives a good view of the sea.
But I am so when I shall find it difficult to describe common near to the sea that, whenever I like, I open the things around me, because they will appear so garden-door and emerge ready for a plunge into common that they will seem to be unworthy of it; only I look out for tides, because at low wanotice. Yet, after all, these common things make ter there is a quarter of a mile of mud between up life; and it is precisely these common things me and the briny deep. When the tide comes in, which English people want to know, so I write it not only covers the mud, but runs up over the them down while I can appreciate and realize beautiful sand which lies outside my garden-gate, them.
where like a merman I can roll and bask and