20 MAY 1882, Page 20


NEARLY all apologetic literature tends to become obsolete. It is, perhaps, sometimes, a melancholy reflection for Mr. Row, or Professor Lnthardt, or the Christian Evidence Society, that what they are now doing has been done in one way or another since the time of Justin Martyr, and probably will be done till the Millennium. They have, however, this consola- tion, that the apologists do not perish so speedily and com- pletely as their opponents. People still sometimes read War- burton's Divine Legation, and Berkeley's A/ciphroa ; but who reads Toland, or Tindal, or Collins, or Chubb? Yet, on the whole, posterity is equally just to both parties in the controversy, and forgets both . with a wholesome impartiality. A few great works survive ; but even these are more talked of than read. To men of this generation, it is easier to read and appreciate Mozley on Miracles than even the greatest apologetic work of the last century, the Analogy itself. The unsuitableness, here and there, of its language, and occasionally of its argu- ments, to current theories and objections, makes men reject it, as out of date ; and this is harmful, because they are apt to confuse the language, which is out of date, with the method, which is not. There is, then, a want of an adaptation of the • A New Analogy between Revealed Religion and the Course and Constitution of Nature. By " Collarins." London: Macmillan and Co. 1881.

method, the actual argument from analogy, to the altered condition of the controversy, and especially to the great changes in the scientific view of nature which have been brought about by such doctrines as evolution and the conservation of energy. This want the anonymous author of A New Analogy has attempted to supply. After employing analogy, in conjunction with the Darwinian theory of the world, to prove the necessity for a supernatural revelation, and the " preliminary likeness " of the two phenomena, nature and revelation, he shows further, still using analogy, that revelation cannot have been produced in the course of Nature, and that it has the same kind of evidence as that on which we rely for our knowledge of natural facts. Having thus cleared the ground, he takes the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, the revela- tion of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the morality of Christ's teaching, the doctrine of Redemption and of the Atonement, and shows the likeness of each to the course of Nature, as revealed to us by the latest scientific discoveries and hypotheses.

"Cellarius" has evidently taken up this work as a labour of love. A New Analogy is a book distinguished by a certain tone of reverent caution and thoughtfulness, and by sympathy with both sides in the controversy, which render it well worth study- ing. Like its great model, it impresses us with its genuineness, as the account of the slowly-formed conclusions of a very honest mind; and the impression is not disturbed by the occasional subtlety of the argument. It is full of thoughtful and happy suggestions ; many of the obiter dicta might be worked out in separate essays and sermons of great value, and it often accom- plishes with success the author's object of adapting the argu- ment from analogy to the Darwinian hypothesis.

Nevertheless, the book, as a whole, leaves us disappointed and unsatisfied. The author might have made more of his subject than he has ; the Analogy for the nineteenth century remains still unwritten. We will try to point out some of the causes of what we believe to be his failure. In the first place, he who attempts to rewrite Butler's Analogy should thoroughly know his original, and we cannot help thinking that " Cellarius " has occasionally seriously misrepresented Butler. On p. 30, he contrasts the new with the old Analogy, on the ground that, whereas Butler had frequently to fall back " on man's ignorance and on the limitation of human faculties," we can now depend " rather upon the extent of our information, and upon our ability to discover the methods of Divine working in Nature and in Revelation." But the argument from human ignorance is no mere detail of the Analogy, which our increased knowledge enables us to dispense with ; it is the foundation of the whole. Though Butler may occasionally have overstrained it, yet his general use of it is to establish our inability to argue a priori, to say what religion ought to be, what God ought to do. " For this kind of speculation," says Butler, " we may see beforehand that we have not faculties." Therefore, we must " tarn our thoughts to what we experience to be the conduct of Nature with respect to in telligent creatures and let us compare the known con- stitution and course of things with what religion teaches us to believe and expect." In other words, as our ignorance prevents us from knowing everything, we must fall back on what we do know, and argue from that to what we do. not know. Our ignorance, then, is the very foundation of the argument from analogy.

Again, " Cellarius " shares the common mistake of thinking that Butler argues from the difficulties in Nature to the difficulties in Religion, and justifies these by those. It is true that there are reasons, which we cannot now go into, for representing this as Butler's method; and it is true that on p. 12, "Cellarius" owns that Butler " extended his use of analogy much beyond the, perhaps, rather narrow office, of answering objections namely, to which in words he confined it." But even thus qualified, this is a misrepresentation of the Analogy. The principle of the work is contained in the introduction, where Butler distinctly proposes to show that Nature and Revelation are "analogous and of a piece," and that " both may be traced up to the same general laws, and resolved into the same principles of divine conduct." Naturally, he would chiefly deal with those parts of revelation to which objections have been made, and his argu- ment, therefore, would often be limited to the difficulties in both schemes ; but that does not prove, in the teeth of his own words, that this was his method, and the only field for the analogical argument.

Passing over minor points in which "Cellarius" seems to have

misunderstood Butler, we cannot overlook his strange confusion between Nature and natural religion. " In proportion as men can combine Nature, or, if the expression be preferred, natural religion and Revelation together, they will be able to build up an inexpugnable fortress." This he gives as a paraphrase of Butler's :statement that " Christianity is a republication of natural religion." But surely no student of the Analogy needs to be told that by "natural religion," Butler meant not the .scientific truths about Nature which experience gives us, but the information about God which we may gather from our unassisted knowledge of the world ; and to confuse the two as "Cellarius" does, not only in this passage, but throughout the book, is misleading, and is the result of an attempt to force Butler's system into conformity with his own.

It is this vagueness as to the real method of the Analogy, this want of clearness as to the main lines of his argument, that makes the book so disappointing. In reading the old Analogy, one felt that, whatever the shortcomings in details might be, the main idea of the work was clear and strong, and of an im- perishable value ; but here we cannot but feel that it is good and helpful in the details, but not in the whole. The author shows a want of grasp that weakens his whole work.

Another cause of weakness is the attempt to include too many under the term " Christians," and too little under the term "Christianity." He would take in all who call themselves Christians, and would exclude from his argument all doctrines rejected by "men who, by their own profession and in the view of the world, are plainly Christian people." But we should have thought that nothing in the history of Christianity was more clearly shown than the fact that it is impossible to draw the line between contested and uncontested doctrine, to mark off a cer- tain number of truths as universally acknowledged, and to treat such truths for any purpose as the essence of the Gospel. " Cel- larius " owns as much, by referring to the case of the "few excel-

lent persons who, while disbelieving the New-Testament history, do not, nevertheless, feel inclined to give up the noble name of Christians." Perhaps, there are more of these than " Cellarius " thinks ; at all events, his Analogy will be wasted on them, as they will hardly acknowledge one of the religious truths on which he bases it.

This dangerously wide and vague view of Christianity is allied to the fallacy into which he falls about sectarianism. In one of the best and -finest passages in the book he claims for Christianity an"essential foundation of truth," because it has been so criticised and disputed over; in this, he says, it is analogous to things which have " real existence " in nature. They " present themselves, just because they are real, in different shapes or on different sides to various minds and epochs." But " there is a kind of unity about false systems, which does not admit of being dis- puted about, which, as it were, evaporates in the crucible of criti- cism." They " may be received and believed in, but only upon condition that people think the same way concerning them, and that, too, the way in which they were first promulgated." This is true and admirably put, but his inference is strange. " What- ever men may now think of the sectarian spirit, without it there would have been no Christianity." Surely it does not follow that because Christianity, being a real truth, can endure secta- rian discussion, it could not exist without it. Sectarianism may be an invariable accompaniment of truth, but it is certainly not the condition of its existence.

The constructive part of the book is better than the intro- ductory matter. The arguments in the chapter on the revela- tion of the Father are exceedingly thoughtful and striking, though there is, here and elsewhere in the book, a tendency to fancifulness, as in the attempted analogy between Jesus Christ and the sun. The author's claim, however, for Christianity, that it proclaimed the truth of the unity of God at a time when Nature seemed to prove polytheism, is not fanciful; and he rightly asserts that modern science strongly confirms the ori- ginal doctrine of Revelation; "gravitation is not the thought of two minds; the law of conflict and survival (with all the moral issues therein involved) is not the expression of two contradic- tory wills." We would commend this thought to those who are disposed, by John Stuart Mill's example, to adopt a sort of Mani- elnuism. But in trying to justify the Christian doctrine of the love of God, Cellarius " seems to us to lay too great a stress upon happiness. " Whatever we instinctively or by general consent term natural,' is associated with pleasure to the partaker thereof." For this universal assumption (for it is nothing more) he claims the warrant of science, in that " the survival of the fittest

means, when translated into the language of morals, the sur- vival of the happiest, for life in Nature is identical with happi- ness in man." No ; the " fittest " are rather those who have the strongest and most unconquerable desire for happiness; it by no means follows that they attain to it by " survival." His whole argument seems to be based on the unwarranted assump- tion that increase in prosperity, in civilisation, even in mere life, means increase in happiness. How do we know that the savage

who is being improved off the face of the earth is not at least as happy as his exterminator? If you make the acquisition of happi- ness a test of the progress of the species, you are landed at once in inextricable difficulties as to the calculation of happiness and questions or comparative powers of feeling pain, which would complicate and obscure quite unnecessarily the whole

theory. We are sometimes tempted to think that the happiness in the world is, like force, a constant quantity, which only varies in distribution, and certainly cannot be increased or de- creased by civilisation, or progress, or the struggle for existence. At all events, we should shrink from resting the proof of God's love on so frail a foundation as the theory that " life in Nature is identical with happiness in man."

We have not space to notice the many points of interest in A New Analogy, points which, whether we feel agreement or disagreement with them, at least set us thinking. We must end with strongly recommending the whole section dealing with the revelation and work of the Son, and especially the chapter on the self-sacrifice of Christ ; and, on the other hand, with a protest against the vague and unsatisfactory treatment of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. We open every fresh book of Christian evidences or dogmatics with the hope of finding this great and important doctrine worthily discussed from the philo- sophical and scientific stand-point of our age, and we are always disappointed. But in spite of " Cellarius' " failure in this and in some other points, his book should be read and studied, for it is the work of a reverent, meditative, and subtle mind, which has

realised the truth so finely expressed in the author's own words about Nature and Revelation :-

"In both these mysterious regions, where reason stops baffled and the imagination drops down appalled, traces of a primal Being, glimpses of mind, whispers of spiritual voices, indications of forces from far-off places, and testifying of indiscoverable realities to be re- vealed in their time, come and go, and still persist in returning, and haunting the soul with the very presence of the Creator himself. As they know well who have bowed themselves before the shrine of the living God, either in the creation of the world or in the manifestation of Christ, but they know best who have bowed themselves in both."