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tact a dream ? On the contrary, the distinctive doctrine of evolution is the unity of species, or to speak more accurately, the unity of nature. The distinctive doctrine of evolution is the belief that at the root of all things there dwells a common principle, and that the many are ultimately reducible to the one. With singular clearness and with unfaltering conviction has that belief been expressed by Mr Herbert Spencer. No man insists so strongly on the incomprehensible nature of the Power at the base of the universe, yet no man so confidently maintains the necessity that this Power should comprehend us. To Mr Spencer the contact of the transcendental principle with the life of man is no longer a possibility ; it is an accomplished fact. The God of Mr Herbert Spencer, far short as He comes of the idea of Christian theism, is identical with the God of Christian theism in this, that He is a Presence not outside of the world but in the world. The most essential attribute about Him is just His omnipresence. He does not create the world and die ; He does not form the spheres and leave them to spin ; He is every moment the cause of all existence, the reality of all being, and the source of all movement: the world only lives because He lives.
Now we have no hesitation in saying that the doctrine of evolution as here represented is in our view much more favourable to the belief in a contact between the human and the Divine than were those systems of Gnosticism which are commonly thought to have been that doctrine's special allies. The statement may appear highly paradoxical, and it is certainly contrary to the general view. We are told again and again by advanced thinkers that the faith in a community of image between God and man is a faith which is superannuated. It was all very well for the days in which the human spirit believed itself to be capable by flights of ecstasy of rising beyond material conditions ; but it is surely inadmissible in an age in which material conditions are more and more discerned as inseparable from the soul. Such is the current language of advanced thought on this subject. We hold, on the contrary, that were the doctrine of evolution proved to be true, whatever effect it might have upon other doctrines of theology it would extend at least a friendly hand to this. We hold that, just in proportion as it. destroyed the basis of Gnosticism, it would strengthen our faith in the possibility of a union with God. Gnosticism, the so-called ally of that doctrine, is in our opinion its greatest enemy and gainsayer. For, what is that on which Gnosticism insists as a preliminary condition to the knowledge of God? it is nothing less than the destruction of human nature itself. It demands a state of ecstasy in which the soul shall rise out of its own being. It asks the abandonment of sense, body, physical perception, worldly contact, social intercourse, individual personality. It declares that in so far as man is a denizen of the earth, he cannot be a citizen of the heavens, and that his only chance of communion with the Divine is to emancipate himself completely from the memories of the human : what is this, but to say that man is not made in the image of God ?
But the doctrine of evolution, as represented by its leading apostle, is altogether the reverse of this. It denies, indeed, that man has in him a transcendental faculty—that is to say, a faculty by which he can commune with things beyond the range of experience. In this denial, the doctrine of evolution may be right or wrong; it is not here our province to inquire. But we wish to point out that, as represented by Mr Spencer, this doctrine has restored with the left hand what it abstracted with the right. It denies that man has a transcendental faculty, but it holds that his every natural faculty comes from a transcendental source. It denies that we have power, by crucifying the present world, to come into contact with a supersensuous world ; but it holds that our contact with the present world itself is the direct and immediate result of the contact of our souls with a supersensuous principle. It is not difficult to see that a doctrine like this, while it seemingly curtails the
boundary of the supernatural, has in reality a tendency to enlarge that boundary. Denying as it does the position of Gnosticism, that there exists in the human soul a faculty which transcends the human, it has yet assigned to that soul a wider field for the supernatural than Gnosticism ever opened—the field of humanity itself. It has admitted with Gnosticism that there is a Power which transcends nature; but it asserts that its transcendence is discerned in nature. It recognises, like Gnosticism, the presence of an incomprehensible principle; but it professes to have recognised that presence in the vision of those common things which appeal to the experience and the sense. Is it not evident that, in so doing, the doctrine of evolution has given back more than it took away? If it has denied that there is any special faculty by which man can learn the existence of a Power which transcends experience, it has only made that denial in the interest of all his other faculties. It claims for every power of human nature what Gnosticism only claimed for one. It tells us that we are so beset by the presence and the manifestation of this inscrutable Force in nature, that we have no need of a special faculty to inform us of its existence; that every power of the human soul in every moment of its being is compelled to testify to the being of a Power which limits its own; and that the very recognition of the limits of our experience is itself the recognition of a principle which transcends ourselves.
And this brings us naturally to ask, What, scientifically, is man's special claim to have been made in the image of God ? Mr Spencer tells us that there is an inscrutable Force in contact with all phenomena-nay, constituting by its contact the existence of all phenomena. So far, then, scientific experience is on the side of religious experience; it asserts that the Power which transcends nature is yet not divided from nature—and that therefore there is no inherent impossibility in the earthly bearing the image of the heavenly. Yet the very fact that this contact is universal, renders it insufficient to constitute the special claim of man. To say that God is manifested in every movement of the universe is an argument for Divine providence, but it is not an argument for any peculiar privilege conferred upon the human soul. If I am asked, What is your evidence that you as a human being possess a special likeness to the Power which transcends nature? it will not do for me to answer that I have proved this Power to be resident and operative in everything. Such an argument, if not supplemented by any other consideration, would lead to the very opposite conclusion from that which I seek to establish; it would prove that every creature is equally and simul