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manifestations, effects. He intends to express the fact that behind every form of matter and at the back of every order of movement there is a mysterious entity which is only known by what it does, and only seen in what it manifests—a Force which is not simply the sum of forces, but their fountain and their origin. To this primal source Mr Spencer has no scruple in referring the ultimate explanation of everything ; it is just because he sees all things equally dependent on the transcendental Power that he cannot recognise the distinction between the miraculous and the natural. Mr Spencer truly says that the view of the universe entertained by him is a far more mysterious view than that held by many forms of professed supernaturalism. But let us understand distinctly to what Mr Spencer's view commits him ; to nothing less than the adoption of that very theory of special creation which his philosophy is designed to rebut. Mr Spencer's view is indeed more mysterious than that of the ordinary theist, but simply because it is more transcendental,-in other words, because it allows less room to the operation of material causes. In this philosophy every act of nature without exception is equally a special creation, or, which is virtually the same thing, a special manifestation of something absolute and transcendental. The ordinary theist only calls for the intervention of his God at the opening of new eras or on the rise of special emergencies; the God of Mr Spencer is evoked for aid every instant of every hour. The direct manifestations of the God of theism are exceptional; the direct manifestations of Mr Spencer's inscrutable Power are the one rule to which there are no exceptions. We ask if such a philosophy as this does not give back to the creationist all that it ever took away, if evolution has not here restored with the right hand what it abstracted with the left. It came as the opponent of supernaturalism, and professed in that capacity to reduce all things to a single natural law; but it now goes on to tell us that the law which it has discovered is itself only a symbol, a shadow, a reflected image of something that lies behind it—that the presence which lies behind it is in reality the sole agent in the universe, and that the nature and modes of its agency are outside the limits of human experience.
And here we are brought to ask if the doctrine of evolution itself has not listed us into a line of thought which may ultimately prove a line of junction with its opponent theory. There are no two views of the universe which have in modern times been so persistently opposed to one another as the doctrine of the unity and the doctrine of the plurality of species. The evolutionist holds that originally only one thing existed, and that
the many things are but the varieties of this one; the creationist holds that originally the world existed in a state of variety, and that its various forms proceeded directly from the hand of God. Looking at these two theories from the standpoint of human feeling, perhaps the experience of most men will be identical as regards both-a process of alternate attraction and recoil. There is something grand in the prospect of seeing all things reduced to unity, and there are few who do not experience a certain sympathy with the aim of the evolutionist. Yet when we look at the matter from the side of mere feeling, it seems as if his were an impossible aim. The mind is almost tempted to reject without examination the doctrine that plants, animals, men, suns and systems, were originally conglomerated in the life of a single fire-cloud, and that objects which now present an aspect so markedly diverse were once bound up in the unity of a common germ-cell. This is a sensation which even men of science must at some time have experienced, a sensation to which Professor Tyndall has himself confessed ;1 and therefore it is not too much to say that, when measured by the standard of feeling, the theory of unity of species fails to satisfy. But is the theory of plur
1 Lecture on "The Scientific Uses of the Imagination”_'Athenæum,' September 24, 1870; page 409.
ality any more consonant with human feeling? It seems at first sight the simplest and most natural view to believe that God made objects just as they are, in all their present forms and with all their present varieties. But as we meditate on the subject more deeply, we come to ask ourselves if in this mode of conception we have not really lowered our sense of the majesty of God; if we have not degraded Him from a Creator into an artificer—from a Being who works out a process, into a man who constructs a variety of mechanisms. The most devout theists will be precisely the men who will be most impressed that we have, and it is precisely on this account that the latest and purest forms of theism have been more and more dissociating themselves from the notion of mechanical workmanship. Feeling, therefore, is on both sides of the question ; it revolts equally from the unqualified contemplation of specific unity and from the unqualified statement of specific variety. Yet it is impossible that both of these views can be false ; there is no third supposition which is either tenable or conceivable : how are we to account for the recoil from each in turn? There is only one way in which we can account for it; both cannot be false, but may not both be true? May not the recoil from the exclusive contemplation of either have proceeded simply from the fact that neither
has a right to be exclusive; that the one theory is not the opposite of the other but the counterpart and complement of the other, and that the true recognition of the unity of nature is only to be reached in the reconciliation of both ?
Now in the system of Mr Herbert Spencer the attempt at such a reconciliation seems unconsciously to have been made. We say unconsciously. Mr Spencer is distinctively the apostle of evolution, and professedly the opponent of a doctrine of special creation ; nothing is further from his thoughts than the reconciliation of things which he believes to be irreconcilable. None the less is it a law of thought that extremes tend to meet. It is the very extremeness of Mr Spencer's evolutionism that has driven him against his own will to the borders of creationism. He shows us elaborately how the many have come out of the one. He traces back the varieties of nature to a common homogeneous source, and binds up the human, the animal, the vegetable, the mineral, and the solar, within the ultimate limits of a nebulous fire-cloud ; this is certainly the most advanced, seemingly the most materialistic evolution. But when Mr Spencer goes on to tell us that the fire-cloud is itself only the shadow of a Power which is perfectly transcendental—when he proceeds to unfold the fact that this seemingly material envelope is not material at all, but