24 APRIL 1880, Page 14


[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.") SIR,—Those of your readers who have been interested, as I have, in the clear statement of the question of "Determinism" and " Indeterminism " by Dr. Ward and Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, in Mind, will, 1 think, be further interested in noting how closely Wilkie Collins, in " Hide and Seek (p. 142), has anticipated Dr. Ward. There are a few other re- marks on this subject that I would like to make, if you will allow me :-1. The question, so far as I know (and I should be glad to be corrected) has never been so clearly stated as now._ 2. Though feeling generally the great force of the Determin- istic argument in the main, I have always experienced a sense• of desertion by:this theory at the great turning-point where deliberation passes over to action. I am as pleased to find this difficulty fairly recognised by Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, as I was astonished to observe the hesitating tone of Dr. Bain's reply to Dr. Ward. 3. It seems to me that, in these Agnostic- days, the import of the question can hardly be exaggerated;. for searching the great Book of Nature in the spirit of Mill,. to find God, there can, I think, be but Mill's answer, though to the spirit of the Psalmist his handiwork his everywhere._ There is, however, in the ceaseless round of sequence at " the great turning-points," the possibility (on the Indeterministic theory) of the divinity in man touching the divinity in God.. 4. I say possibility, because under a certain use of dram and drug,. by continued vice, or by a systematic ignoring of the possibility, its potentiality becomes zero,—that is, man can take his place in Nature rather as a fasciculus of sequences than a potent entity. Dr. Ward has, I think, most admirably stated the problem ; but he has not, I fear, proved his case to the satisfaction of logic._ Whether the fact remains, and logic is or is not put out of court by intuition, is a question that I am sure you will not

permit me to pursue.—I am, Sir, &c., C. H. LAKE.