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heavenly bodies, and especially the moon, exercises over the weather, if not over the whole course of animal and human life.
The history of ideas teaches us that it is not always diffisult to arrive at new ideas or theories in their usually crude and imperfect state. It is when perfection is aimed at—when every disturbing element has to be carefully considered—when seemingly small influences are modified by still smaller ones, and all of these have to be taken into consideration and accounted for—it is then that the genius of the inventive mind is taxed to its limit, and attains to highest honors in its performances. This is well exemplified in our timekeepers, both old and new, as well as in our time-system, and on this subject we shall find it necessary to dilate at some length at various places in this work.
A minute source of error in the action of the clepsydra is due to the fact that warm water is more limpid than cold water, as illustrated by the superior penetrative powers of warm water. Owing to this, the clepsydra will deliver more water in an hour in warm weather than in cold weather, assuming that the water has the temperature of the air as it naturally would have. Hence the length of the indicated hour on the instrument will depend to a small extent upon the temperature, and will be shorter in warm weather and longer in cold weather.
Again, water is relatively heavier when the air is light, that is when the barometer is low. But the passage of the water through the small delivery orifice in the clepsydra is dependent, among other things, upon the relative weight of the water, so that the length of the indicated hour depends to a very small extent upon the height of the barometer, being longer when the barometer is high and shorter when the barometer is low.
As a last source of error we may mention the relative amount of evaporation taking place. This would be an exceedingly small source of error and would react in much the same way as temperature. Whether any of these were ever considered in the many improvements made in the clepsydra by the users of it, we do not know, but it would have been quite possible to so arrange matters as to correct some of them. However, the invention of the much better and more convenient instrument—or machine if you please—the geared clock, transferred the interest of all concerned in the measurement of time from the older instrument to the newer one.
Some other methods of measuring time have been employed, such as the burning of a certain length of taper, etc., but all such methods are crude and untrustworthy, fit only for a non-scientific people or a non-scientific purpose, and altogether inferior to the dial or the clepsydra. And as our purpose is, not to give an account of all means ever employed for measuring time, but only of those which have served past scientific requirements, we must here drop the consideration of all instruments except the clock.
N. F. DUPUIS.
AUTHORITY IN RELIGION.
(Continued from last Quarterly).
III. Submission to authority is traduced as unworthy selfabasement, as the display of a credulous disposition, of readiness to take too much upon trust. No doubt submission to authority may mean taking much upon trust. But if the authority is true authority, if it comes of wisdom and “an excellent spirit,” then submission to it is not credulity—it is faith, if not knowledge.
Faith and knowledge are spoken and thought of as opposites. Knowledge is supposed to have for its objects things certain, demonstrable, indisputable. Faith is supposed to be capable of entertaining any absurdity, of simultaneously holding the most glaring contradictories. Yet there is a good deal that many of us account of as matter of knowledge, which might better be described as matter of belief. The earth goes round the sun. It can be proved, but how many of us could prove it? The earth is some 90 millions of miles distant from the sun. It is an oblate spheroid. Its diameter is so much and its circumference so much. There are 60 nautical miles to a degree. Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen. Most of us here would say that we know these things. But we do not know them in such sense as would enable us to demonstrate them. We really believe them. What is the submission of the individual to the community, when voluntarily and loyally rendered, but an act of faith? Knowledge by itself has not always power to determine action. How often do men do things they know will be harmful—things they know they will suffer for? They do not really rely on their knowledge. They act in the belief that there is an off chance of escaping the penalty of a course of action demonstrably unwise, and that the off chance will come their way.
Knowledge is the structure built up by right reasoning. So is faith-i.e. faith that is neither credulity nor recklessness. “By faith we discern that the worlds were created by the Word
of God.” Does this mean that we assent to this account of the creation of the worlds without thinking, or at any rate without thinking of aught save the penalties that may attach to not yielding assent?
Let us suppose the case of a man brought up before some tribunal having it in its power to sentence him to death in torment, if he refuses to assent to certain statements—having it also in its power to get the sentence executed. The tribunal bids him answer "So I believe" to the following propositions:
(a) White is the same as black,
nostrils, (d) It is good to eat dirt, and a string of others like them. If the man assented, it would be no act of faith. "The tongue has sworn, the mind remains unbound.” His reason for assenting would be fear of, or desire to escape, death inflicted in a very horrible manner. It would not be the recognition of superior knowledge possessed by the dictators.
On the other hand, take the following case. A man or woman has suffered losses, sickness, disappointments, and altogether has encountered much evil, physical and moral, has seen little of human life save its dark places where cruelty and suffering dwell. Yet he, or she, believes, and testifies--yea, even to hooting crowds of scoffing unbelievers—that above, and in, this world of sin and suffering is God, all-just, all-wise, allholy, almighty to save; that even all the cruelties, all the base and evil things of life, are over-ruled by Him for a purpose which is good, though just what that purpose is no one can tell, here and now. Strong in that belief, the sufferer lives on, even blessing God. A weaker spirit might have committed suicide. Am I painting an impossible instance? Let those testify who have experience of pastoral ministry. Suppose further that such a believer is required to give account of the faith and hope that is in him. What is the account but a Nóryos— a statement of reasons ? That person's faith is the conclusion of reasoning—the result arrived at from the reckoning-up, casting-up, of a multitude of facts, the sifting of evidence. The profession of faith is found to be a statement of reasons
why, in spite of so much evidence that appears to be contrary, this person believes that the world is subject to the sovereignty of a Supreme Being who is not merely unlimited power, but also (or rather?) is infinite wisdom and goodness. It is the weighing of one part of the whole content of experience against the other.
But why is the evidence that tells in favour of the belief in God preferred to the evidence that suggests a theory of the world as a mere maëlstrom of contending forces, all making for destruction, with no plan, no good purpose in it, anywhere? Why rate the white as better and higher than the black? For observe, it is not everybody that does this. In face of the same, or the same sort, of evidence, one person perseveres in the way of godliness, another falls away into wretchlessness of most unclean living; one goes on living for God, another seeks escape from existence by self-slaughter. Faith of this kind is the conclusion of reasoning guided by a moral predisposition. And in this moral predisposition the will plays an important, an all-important, part.
But, it may be objected, this is burying faith when you come to praise it. This is to say that faith is the result of reasoning directed to a consciously, deliberately pre-determined end. Such reasoning is spurious. It must necessarily distort and mutilate the facts upon the Procrustean bed of its prejudice.
Let us consider this for a moment. Let us outline the train of reasoning by which a man, though fallen on never so evil days, might justify his belief that, for all the wickedness wrought, for all the sorrow and sickness endured, under the sun, yet this world is God's kingdom, not Satan's. Without denying or extenuating aught in the indictment of the world brought by the advocatus diaboli, he would point to the counts in the opposing statement-he would show how even in squalid and debasing environment, human beings showed kindliness and helpfulness to one another, how there were daily instances of tenderness on the part of men, women, and children towards one another, and towards dumb animals. He would say that here, even in the darkness and shadow of death, we find rays of light winning their way through-here, where Satan may be said to have an unencumbered field, an unrestricted scope,