Agnosticism

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1889 250 ["Religion without God," etc., by W. Arthur. London: Bemrose and Sons.]

It is well observed that Mr. Spencer's array of objects not knowable might at first sight seem appalling, not a few hoping that "theology," veiling revealed truth, might perish, after so great a philosopher had pronounced any personal God unknowable.

But first, is it true that "time," "space," "earth," "solar systems," "universe," "matter," "wind," "force," "motion," "self," are unknowable? As to all these, his books are simply ingenious puzzles. Having quite bewildered himself, he lays his confusion down as the end of controversy for all mankind: "total ignorance," "a choice between opposite absurdities," "absolutely unknown," "inconceivable," etc. This jargon is the more welcome, because behind it all lies the burning desire to get rid of God as above all unknowable.

Secondly, were it true that all these things, so important in a thousand ways, are above the ken of man, the most ignorant believer has the assurance that he does know God, because He has revealed His mind in His word, Himself in His Son the Lord Jesus.

Mr. Spencer confounds reality of knowledge with power to explain and to prove it. One may be absolutely certain — certain of what he cannot demonstrate, as is the case with axiomatic truths. It is Mr. S.'s system that is unreal. He is as sure of time, space, etc., as all the world he dubs unphilosophic. His self-mystification which the fanatics of scepticism (his own school especially) regard as wisdom, is really his folly and shame, not without moral mischief in result if not in design. "Things did not make Time and Space. Before the hills they were; the birthday of each separate world was a point, its birthplace a point in space. These two arenas of the universe are things but not body, things but not mind, things but not spirit. Space is the arena for bodies, forces, and motions. Time is the arena for events, including all thoughts, places, deeds, and records; all play of forces, birth of bodies, sweep of motions, and every phase of change" (Arthur, 178).

Not that the Agnostic excludes the study of origins like the Positivist; but he is averse to the Originator, and severs cause from will and intention, because it points to a First Cause, and this a Person. They are alike guilty of the fallacy, that "because a phenomenon is a thing, a thing is a phenomenon" (ib. 184), as with many others counted philosophers, who see not different orders of "laws" for different orders of agents, physical, moral or spiritual, temporal or everlasting." So far from regarding that which transcends phenomena as the All-Nothingness, I regard it as the All-Being. Everywhere I have spoken of the Unknowable as the Ultimate Reality in the sole existence: all things present to consciousness being but shows of it. Mr. Harrison entirely inverts our relative positions. As I understand the case, the 'All-Nothingness' is that phenomenal existence in which M. Comte and his followers profess to dwell" (Sp. in Nineteenth Cent. No. 89, p. 6). Mr. A. says justly, "Positivism, to make man all in all, makes God a chimera, a fiction; Agnosticism, to make an Ultimate Reality an unknowable power all in all, makes man and nature a mere show, an All-Nothingness; Christianity makes God all in all, with nature a real world around man and under God . . . Mr. Spencer formally rejects any imputation of intending his religion to call us to worship, or to bring in either spiritual comforts or moral strength. His expectation of making this supplant Christianity is grounded on his being able to make it appear that God is not a living Creator and Ruler of men, men, but that all things are mere shows of one being, itself a stream, an energy, a power, a substratum, or anything, so long as you admit that it has not personality or intelligence, or any of the attributes usually assigned to God."

Mr. A. grapples fairly and conclusively with the Agnostic sophism about "motion" in his Chapter ii. 195-222, showing it to be a connecting link between mind and matter, and what motions are calculable, what not. Mr. S. of course knows and says, "motion is change of place"; but this is private and personal common sense: philosophically motion must be not only unknown but unknowable! What of motion in vegetation? in travel by sea or land? in the labours of peace or war? in the animal realm? in mechanics? in chemistry? in the fine arts? If Mr. Spencer dreams between "improbabilities of thought," mankind lives in a constant activity of achievement, so much so that the Cosmos would be a chaos without true, however partial and imperfect, knowledge of motion. "The countless number of motions originated by men on any given day, pre-determined by them so as to harmonise with other motions, some their own, some proceeding from sources independent of them; these motions taken with their intercrossings, their compoundings, their separations, and their fruitful effects, are demonstrations, surpassing any requirements of evidence, that the mind of man has some true knowledge of motion, and that he has over it the mysterious power of originating and stopping it, as well as that of guiding and bending it while in flight. That he knows it to perfection even a child would not say. That he does not know it at all, is too poor a saying to become an intelligent child" (pp. 204, 205).

Mr. Spencer puts the case (First Principles, §17) of a ship sailing west, and the captain walking on it east, at the same rate of speed, compounding this compared motion yet further by the motion of the earth round its axis from west to east, hundreds of times faster; and this again by the motion of the earth in its orbit in the opposite direction sixty or seventy times faster than the last motion; and this finally by the motion of the solar system which carries the earth toward some point in the constellation Hercules. From all this Mr. Spencer infers that the captain is stationary, "though to all on board he seems to be moving." How absurd is this quasi scientific trifling! "The illusiveness is not in the eyes of the people on board, but in the fog-signals of the philosopher. Sight reports a man moving from stem to stern, and a man then moving from stem to stern there is in reality. Sight tells the truth respecting him equally well as it tells it respecting the other men who sit still. Sight does not say that this motion of the man from stem to stern is the sum of all motion that affects the vehicle in which he is being carried, — affects its relations to the surface of the earth, to the solar system, to the stellar universe. Sight has comparatively little part in these questions. It sees what it sees, reports it, and makes reason aware by its report that man is born to move under more power than he sees, and is led by those powers; and that where sight ends, these his relations, his interests, his means of knowing, are only at their starting-point. The man is motionless! because forsooth the ship goes west as fast as he goes east, and carries him with her. If stationary means motionless, — and that would be the only relevant meaning in the present case, — he would not be even stationary, but the opposite of stationary; for he is constantly changing places. If stationary means remaining over the same part of the earth's surface, then a pendulum is stationary, but not motionless; soldiers marking time are stationary, but not motionless; and a tree swaying is stationary, but not motionless."

It is plain that the motions are all real motions; it is only Mr. Spencer's ideas which are illusive; and the only element of truth in the pretended proof is that the motions we see are not all that are taking place. He misuses the knowledge of the unseen to make out our nescience of the seen; whereas we ought rather to rise from the little we see to learn how much there is beyond our sight. But are these higher motions of which he speaks unknown to Mr. Spencer? He has no doubt of them whatever, any more than educated men in general. Is this "total ignorance"? Are they inconceivable? Or is not Mr. Spencer's philosophy, like many an ancient as well as modern system, a juggle of thoughts and words?

Mr. A. is not less cutting on Mr. Spencer's shallow criterion of knowledge, a mere ability to picture the form and colour of an object in the imagination, as when a piece of rock is instanced, "its top, its sides, and its under surface, at the same time or nearly at the same time." A geologist certainly would reckon all this with nothing "like completeness." Nor can there be a plainer case of stultification than Mr. Spencer's attempt to show "self" unknowable. "If the object perceived be self, what is the subject of the perceiver?" As if the subject could not be its own object, pace Dean Mansell; as if men were not their own objects at every hour or moment they are not asleep. To those lost in their metaphysical reveries, this is held to be the annihilation of both subject and object; whereas consciousness of self is the commonest and surest of facts for the simple and the sage alike. Even the dullest of men knows that, if he knows little of aught else. To deny it leaves the fact as plain and constant and necessary as ever; it annihilates neither subject nor object, but only the claims of such as Mr. Spencer to expound a true philosophy, even in every day's personal experience.

Further, it is false "that all science is prevision," that "an object is said to be little known when it is alien to objects of which we have had experience, and it is said to be well-known when there is great community of attributes between it and objects of which we have had experience;" and that "mind is unclassable and therefore unknowable." God is thus radically excluded. Mr. Spencer can make himself known, and widely, by his written thoughts, as in a narrow circle by his words and ways; but God cannot reveal Himself! He is unknowable! The First Cause, the Infinite, the Absolute, to be known at all, must be classed (First Princ., 81). Then is He not the only true God, without the knowledge of Whom, by and in Christ, eternal life cannot be. Nothing remains for the sinner but the blackness of darkness for ever. Into this, through unbelieving rejection of God's grace and truth, Mr. Spencer's self-confidence directly tends to plunge himself and his followers.

In Chap. iv. 271–312 the question is discussed, "Is not all our knowledge partial, and yet real?" Thus to state it goes far to an answer. Knowledge may be true as far as it goes, while much passes our measure; it is shown to be by instinct, by consciousness, by sense, by intuition, by science, by testimony. "Very different is the aspect assumed by partial knowledge when once its validity is admitted. We then cease to have any suspicion of being a sport of mocking somethings, or mocking nothings, which illude us with ideas that we are, that we think, that we know, and that our actions are pregnant with vast meanings and issues, whereas we are but infinitesimal fractions of an All-nothingness. We then feel ourselves to be a reality — a small but still a significant reality; girt round about, on every hand by relations and beings, all realities possessing a significance ever ascending, the whole being embraced in the arms of one Infinite Life and Truth. Existence real, matter real, life real, mind real, force real, motion real, man real, God real; thought itself ceases to be idle phantasm, and the soul of man itself may look upwards and breathe a morning air that inspires him for an everlasting ascent" (iv. 304).

1889 266 Mr. Spencer's doctrine of illusion and phenomena is dealt with in Chap. v. "Is a thing identical with its own appearances?" To put the question is to refute the assumption, save to such as repeating a falsehood for years believe it at length. Mr. A. takes gravitation as a plain disproof, a certain fact that appears not; and again ether, a necessary condition of appearances. "They become known to us, not by being shown to any organ of sense, but by force of evidence collected from all points of the field of observation." "When things that do not make any appearance are called phenomena, it is by a use of language looser than when thinkers mean work . . . Though these non-appearing realities wait in their silent abodes to be felt after and found by the spirit of man, the innumerable phenomena of which they are either the condition or the cause constantly point up to them. To all men except philosophers Appearances intelligibly announce their place and mission in the general system of things. To ordinary people it seems to be a fact upon the face of nature that the Appearance fills an appointed place as a messenger of knowledge between a body and a mind, in a manner in which the word holds its place between one mind and another. Many as are the strong points of a body, it has no inheritance in the Logos. It cannot learn a language, and it cannot speak or be spoken to. By other bodies this would never be deplored; for to them it is no defect . . . Here then enters the Appearance, having its office and nature well defined. Just as speechless matter could not make itself known to mind without some such method of appearances; so mind could not itself command language without some such method. An Appearance is a combination whereby a body shoots forth from itself into a mind the announcement: Here I am. Except to a mind it can make no such announcement. The appearance also affords some clue as to what kind of an I is the one so announced" (pp. 314-316).

"Now is an appearance to be confounded with the thing that makes it, any more than a word is with the speaker? Yet while we should not call both orator or oration speech, we do habitually call both an appearance and the substance which makes it phenomena. Why philosophers should exercise such feats of writing over what to ordinary persons would appear as plain as nature can make it, is not for us to say. We must deferentially accept their prodigious paragraphs as throes of the evolution from well-digested common thought into purely technical formulas. Nevertheless, we shall never be content to regard, say, a peacock and the appearance as one and the same thing. We shall not be persuaded that on a pitch-dark night when he makes no appearance there is any less of him or any different form of him from what existed at golden noon when he dazzled the beholders. We shall not believe that it makes the difference of a feather to his frame whether the beholders are a wren and a yellow-hammer, or a whole school of children. Let those who think it philosophic call him, and not merely his appearance, a phenomenon. We shall call him a peacock — a peacock when he makes a phenomenon, and as much a peacock when he does not appear" (p. 319).

Next, Mr. A. asks, Are phenomena disguises? Mr. Spencer, in his Classification of the Sciences, says that "Science is that which treats of the forms in which phenomena are known to us," and elsewhere "of the phenomena themselves." What does this mean but the forms of forms? "It may seem at first sight hard to believe, but what he really intended is that science treats of things, with time and space. Kant had called time and space forms of thought, to which Mr. Spencer demurs, and calls them forms of things. But in his formula he does not call things things but phenomena, and consequently makes time and space forms of phenomena. One thing however is manifest that for Mr. Spencer things are phenomena and the forms of things are time and space. Here comes boldly into view the conception of Mr. Spencer as to the place and office of phenomena or appearances. He usually contrasts phenomenon and reality, not phenomenon and substance. This assumes that the phenomenon is not a reality; whereas be it an appearance, an image, a reflection, or even a shadow, it is a reality as truly as the substance it discloses: "The shadows on the sun dial have played the part of important realities in many a juncture of urgency" (pp. 320-323).

"His scheme is this:
1) Science is that which treats of the forms in which phenomena are known to us – Abstract Science – Logic and Mathematics.
and,
2a) Science is that which treats of the phenomena themselves – in their elements - Abstract Concrete Science – Mechanics, Physics, Chemistry etc.
2b) Science is that which treats of the phenomena themselves – in their totalities - Concrete Science - Astronomy, Geology, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, etc.

"To keep our own point of view, we do not note in these two groups of studies any other feature than this, that the objects of knowledge are so described as to throw out in high relief Mr. Spencer's doctrine that phenomena are not revealing messengers, but disguises." Appearances he will have to be illusive. So he reasons, as others before, on "the looking-glass." Now what this proves is simply that first impressions need to be checked; which is true of touch as well as of sight, and no less of mental impressions, as Mr. A. shows. Even at the first the looking-glass conveys true if imperfect information; it is only subordinate traits which are illusive. "The glass shows the appearance of a man; and a man there is. What is in fault is not sight, but inexperience . . . A few repetitions of the experience enable us to distinguish these traits, and to discriminate between a direct appearance of a man and one reflected. This is correction by sight itself, not by touch. Sight told true. It showed what was to be shown. A man is present, otherwise never would the glass give the reflection — never would the eyes see it" (p. 326).

"It is obvious that the question, whether appearances disguise realities or reveal them, involves the truthfulness of the whole system of communication in nature . . . The reality of the knower and the distinction between him and the things to be made known are both implied in the supposition of a scheme of illusory communications as well as in that of a scheme of truthful ones . . . Therefore the idea that a system of illusion clears the way to the doctrine of universal identity, by destroying the reality of supposed persons and things, is superficial. Persons and things are as real when disguising themselves by false appearances, as when manifesting themselves by true ones. Persons deceived by disguises are as real as persons informed by frank appearances (p. 328).

Clearly if phenomena disguise, instead of revealing, knowledge is impossible even to man endowed with mental powers beyond other creatures on earth; phenomena would be worse than useless. It is the Maya that suits an Oriental Pantheist, as Mr. A. argues, not an observer unprepared for its moral and social corollaries. Brahm in that scheme is alone the true existence, and man peculiarly under illusion who thinks of himself as separate from Brahm, the ever-acting power, who wishes, designs, discriminates and causes (Bhagavat Gita, § x.; Upanishads), though inconsistently man bears the penalty of demerit, and has pain and pleasure, while God does all. This is not universal identity. Such "inconsistency is far from being the effect of a transient lapse of attention. It has a far deeper cause. The reality of which phenomena are the appearances are not to the Agnostic, as to us, a substance proper to each thing taken individually and specially indicated by appropriate appearances. On the contrary, the Reality is one universal substance, sole and continuous in time, sole and continuous in space, which appears within us, which appears without, which is in itself the All-Being. Hence appearances are not truly appearances, but disguises — the antitheses of appearances, which are the manifestations of one person to another, or of a thing to a person; whereas disguises are expedients for preventing an appearance from conveying the truth; and in the case supposed for deceiving parts of the same being by giving them an impression that they are distinct from the whole, and hold intercourse with it. If there is in existence but one substance, and no other being to which it can be manifested, and if all appearances are no more than tremors in that one substance, then manifestly each appearance indicative of a separate individual, is a sheer delusion, and phenomena in the total are properly called all-nothingness. They may seem to be heavens and earth, forces and motion, form and thought, war and repose, but they are only curls of foam on the same stream; not even that — all only oscillations on the same cord; not even that — they are All-nothingness.

"This conception, so closely allied to the Pantheistic one, carries with it the same broad incongruity which encumbers that theory. How can nothingness be deluded? how can it think, how imagine that things appear to it? How can it meet one appearance by suppressing it, and another by rendering it permanent? How can nothingness construct Synthetic Philosophies? Although Mr. Spencer groups together all kinds of phenomena under the one heading of All-Nothingness, it is to be said that he does not believe in two kinds of nothing. A noteworthy argument of his for refusing to look upon time and space as nonentities is that to do so 'involves the absurdity that there are two kinds of nothing.' Perhaps it only involves the assertion that two things of which people speak are both nothing. One may say that a griffin is nothing, and that a phoenix is nothing, without believing in two kinds of nothing. But surely two kinds of it need not embarrass one who can put all phenomena into the category of nothingness. If men and cattle, fields and farming implements, are all so much differentiated nothingness, surely there must be a considerable variety of nothings" (pp. 337-9).

1889 281 Mr. A. justly argues against the falsehood that the senses are set for our illusion, and shows that the palate is our veracious alimentary sense, touch mechanical, smell sanatory, hearing social, and sight our cosmic sense. "All and every one, the senses are servants of light for us, not darkness; servants of a King who dwells in light, and not of a grim something which hides among phantasms . . . Every
sense proclaims its own office to be partial: colour is inaudible, sound is intangible, taste is invisible; all objects have properties which elude all the five senses, and yet those which are discovered by them are truly known. 'In part' is inscribed on the dome and the foundations of the temple of knowledge, and covers all its walls."

Then he asks, "What is a living body? According to the prince of the Positivists a living body is one that absorbs and exhales. This is just what air has always been doing by day and by night; absorbing and exhaling water, heat, and other things as well. According to the prince of Agnostics, a living body is one which effects 'a continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations.' Now of all things air is just such a body. Its internal relations are those of oxygen to nitrogen and carbon, and these are adjusted to the external relations of heat, light, water, plants, lungs, gills, wings, and hosts of other things. They are 'continuously' adjusted, with a continuity which makes the adjustments of sleep or nutrition seem intermittent, and with a long-established continuity which makes the oldest animal or even plant appear of low antiquity. Yet neither by its absorbing and exhaling, nor by its continuous adjustment, does air evolve organs of sense and perception . . .

"We say it cannot produce these organs. A stone could do as much towards producing a peacock's voice as can a peacock. A fowl could do as much towards producing for itself human lungs as a man. Yet in man absence of this power to produce living organs is coupled with the power of supplementing with inanimate ones those which have been bestowed upon him, so that he is able to lighten bodily labour, and at the same time to increase the work done. This is a fact so conspicuous and so rich in results that, instead of all notions having mechanical equivalents and effects on a calculable scale, it may be taken as a principle that when the human frame moves under trained intellect, the expenditure of mechanical force lessens in proportion as the power of accomplishing work increases.

"What is involved in the existence of an organ? It manifestly involves a co-ordination in successive stages: first, as between observer and organ; secondly as between observer, organ, and medium; thirdly, as between observer, organ, medium, and object. A failure at any point in this group of co-ordinations, and no knowledge could result. If it is to be a case of sight, no object upon earth can show itself to us. No combination of human powers can show it without light. That medium is both a substance and a motion in that substance, ether and undulation of ether. The undulation has to come far and to cross other substances on its way. It is not one motion, not one rate of motion. All this co-relation has to be sustained at every point on the way up to our atmosphere, and from the time when that is entered upon has to be further complicated by new co-relations . . . It is easy to say that what is objectively motion is subjectively thought. Where is it subjectively thought? wherever the notions strike? Nay! Where is it subjectively human thought? anywhere but in a human mind? What is objectively motion is subjectively thought, hence the distinction between observer and object is needless! Is the motion of the sunbeams ever thought when they light on a stone or a pond? . . . Are the motions of sunbeams
ever turned into thought when they fall on the plumage of a bird or the fur of a squirrel? They absolutely reveal nothing to the feathers, nothing to the hairs, but when shot against the retina they reveal what makes bird or squirrel glad or fearful... The motions are constituted an object only by the presence of an observer; and, the observer present, the motions are not the principal object, but only a link between him and it . . . In fact, speaking of what is objectively motion, pre-supposes what it is intended to do away with, mind. No motion is objective to mindless things, nor to anything but mind . . . no mind, no object."

So it is with the organs of the other senses. "Phenomena are not disguises; and the impressions they give us are not delusions." The chapter ends with a passage of Mr. Spencer (Princ. of Psych. i. p. 500, § 219), in which he will have the ego to be not a person, but "nothing more than the composite state of consciousness."

Mr. A.'s next chapter (vi.) is on the question of necessity and free will — a delicate subject for one of his peculiar views. He is thoroughly right in exposing the error common to both Positivists and Agnostics, of putting all beings, animated or inanimate, rational or not, under physical laws, and the special inconsistency of one who like Mr. Spencer makes states of consciousness so all-important in making them illusive. Thus is motive confounded with motive power, which Mr. A. uses a donkey and a donkey-cart to disprove. Mr. Spencer as usual stands on his favourite dilemma. "Psychical changes either conform to law, or they do not. If they do not conform to law, this work, in common with all work on the subject, is sheer nonsense. No science of psychology is possible. If they do conform to law, there cannot be any such thing as free will" (Prin. of Psych. p. 220). Mr. A's answer is, some do conform and some do not. Both horns of the dilemma are blunt. If the actions done in England do not conform to law, there can be no good citizens, and if they do, there can be no culprits. Error in thought and feeling, wrong in action, are facts, which all possible metaphysical puzzles will never keep out of sight, even though the dilemma as innocently begs the question as Mr. Spencer's do inordinately often. Law has not the same nature or hence meaning in morals as in physics. It is illogical therefore to reason for men or even brutes from the world of physics and the laws of matter. If things and people follow an inevitable order by invariable law, where is right and where is wrong? Is the difference between an involuntary and a voluntary deed "nothing else than a nascent excitation of the nerves?" In such a case the Vedic hymn would be true: "It was not our doing, O Varuna! it was necessity." Mr. Spencer can twit Hume with making a sum total of impressions and ideas; but how can he escape no less censure himself for making man at any given moment only an aggregate of passing states which determine action? The true questions are, Of what is it a state? and what state is it? Agnosticism thus denies man as well as God any proper intelligence, will, or personality. It is all a waste of blind fatalism.

But dismissing this folly and evil, is it true that "free" is consistent with "will"? or are they not as inconsistent as "Catholic" with "Roman," or Protestant rights with Christian obedience? Is there will till a man is determined?

When man was set innocent in Eden, he had a sphere placed under him and was free to act there as lord of all given him by God, his obedience tested by a single restraint, which thrown off brought in death on him and all his subjected realm. It was no question of the knowledge of good and evil in a fallen world, with all the moral play which this involves. Conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity, I am begotten again by the word of truth, and now live of a divine life, to do God's will, not mine. The christian has a nature corresponding with the order in which he stands, and owns gladly his obligation to do God's will. This is the law of liberty of which the Epistle of James speaks. The believer is free to serve God, delivered from his old bondage whatever it might be; yet is he brought and bound to do, not his own will, but God's, which is ever the will of the new man. Free to choose is all false. It was not Adam's case, where there was no conflict of evil with good; it is not in ours. Fallen unconverted man has a will of his own to act independently of God and His word: this is sin. It is lawlessness, law or no law. In Christ was no sin: not only He did and knew no sin, but there was none in His humanity. Indeed He was born "holy," as Adam even when freshly created was not, but only innocent. When fallen, and not yet born of God, man determines without reference to God, which is nothing but sin, and, for those under law, transgression. In such circumstances the pretension to independency is the rejection of God and of His authority. When converted, the will is set right, though lusts remain, and deliverance in power is needed: life alone is not enough, as Rom. vii. teaches. But the renewed "I" always seeks to please God; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Natural man is Satan's bondman: this is not freedom; and one's own will is evil continually, because it is never obeying God.

Freedom from compulsion is of course allowed on all hands, save by infidel minds. Indifference is not truly the state of man, either natural or renewed, and indeed would mean no will: the one is inclined to evil, the other to good. Conscience is not will. It may warn, but is powerless. Grace alone acts effectually by faith.

In God only can we rightly speak of free will. He is absolutely free to do as He sees fit, and never pleases to do save what is good and holy. With the creature it is wholly different; his only place is obedience. God can create, the creature is acted on by motives. It is true that God never hindered his choosing the good, or compelled his choice of evil, any more than He made it impossible for him to fall. It is one thing to be free from external restraint, another to be free internally, which no sinner is. Man indeed never was the blank sheet which the speculative imagine: innocent, he was inclined to good; fallen, to evil. When converted and delivered in Christ, there is not only life, but power.

We need not dwell on Mr. Spencer's view of the origin of the Universe, which Mr. A. discusses in his chapter vii. Creation out of nothing does not mean by nothing, which is truly unthinkable, but by God, the Everlasting Being; and this alone satisfies. Even Mr. S. confesses "It is impossible to avoid making the assumption of self-existence somewhere." Just so; reason she-es there must be God; revelation, Who and what He is, as well as that He is. And who could reveal God but Himself, directly or indirectly? It is ridiculously false to say that this is impossible in thought or fact. To treat matter and mind as practically identical is irrational to the last degree, which is eluded, not faced, by calling these "proximate activity," though the phenomena are essentially diverse. Alike from God, they are totally different in themselves. It is here that Mr. Spencer's "illusion" enters, which, if true, would make all science impossible. Mr. A.'s conclusion is: — "The supposition of an Eternal Nothing which produced both mind and matter is unbelievable and inconceivable. The supposition of Eternal matter which produced mind is unbelievable. The supposition of Eternal Mind which produced both matter and finite mind is conceivable and believable, according to reason by infinite weight and probability." It may be well to add that reasoning can only give us a conclusion. Observation gives facts, as in this case divine testimony alone presents the truth to faith. "By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which do appear."

Chap. viii. Mr. A. entitles "Mr. Spencer's replacement of God." Of this unascertained Something (says Mr. A. p. 479), Mr. Harrison says it is impersonal, unconscious, unthinking and unthinkable; while Sir James Stephen calls it a barren abstraction. Whatever else it is, it is neither God nor man. When Mr. Spencer is on his defence, his struggles to escape from the effect of these negations have no other result than that of working him into positions impossible to be held except on the ground of faith in a living God. A self-evolved universe is the theory of Mr. Spencer. His illustration of mist forming in a clear sky in no true way helps self-evolution, as Mr. A. shows; for it takes for granted water, air, heat, etc. It pre-supposes the concurrent action of heaven and earth. It is the result of a change effected by sundry agents external to itself. What is self-evolved must find within itself the impulses, the agents, and the materials of its evolutions. A self-evolved universe is simply another form of the self-existence of matter. Now we come to the old point in the circle — Given matter, force, and motion, then we begin. Now, who gives the three finites? Finites cannot be self-originated.

The last chap. (ix) is "Mr. Spencer's Substitute for Christianity," He confesses religion indestructible, but reduces it to curiosity about the Ultimate Cause, and awe before it. It has neither God to love us, nor love to man. Praise is unknown, as gratitude and service are impossible, and all the springs of moral action — a religion worthy of unbelief.