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men as Anselm were educated on the Trivium and Quadrivium. Five hundred years ago Merton College could show such men as Geoffrey Chaucer, William of Occam, and John Wickliffe. If the history of science can produce four brighter contemporary names than Napier, Kepler, Descartes, and Galileo, let them be forthcoming. But when, still earlier by a century and a half, we behold a man who was not only architect, engineer, and sculptor, and in painting the rival of Angelo, but who, as Hallam proves, "anticipated in the compass of a few pages the discoveries which made Galileo, Kepler, Maestlin, Maurolycus, and Castelli immortal,” it may well “strike us,” he suggests, “with something like the awe of supernatural knowledge”; and in the presence of Leonardo da Vinci the modern scientist of highest rank may stand with uncovered head.
If wisdom was not born with us, neither will it die with us. There will be something left to know. Our facts will be tested, our theories probed, and our assertions exploded by better minds than ours. If it be true as Bacon says, “prudens interrogatio dimidium scientiæ," it is also true “impudens assertio excidium scientiæ." We are in these days treated to “demonstrations " which scarcely rise to the level of presumptions, but rather of presumption. There is an accumulation of popular dogmatism that is very likely doomed within a century to be swept into the same oblivion with the “ Christian Astrology” of William Lilly and the “ Ars Magna” of Raymond Lully — a mass of rubbish that is waiting for another Caliph Omar and the bathfires of Alexandria.
It will not answer to mistake the despotism of hypothesis for the reign of law, or physical law for the great “I AM.” True thinkers must respect other thinkers and God. They cannot ignore the primal utterances of consciousness, the laws of logic, or the truths of history. Foregone conclusions are not to bar out the deepest facts of human nature or the most stupendous events in the story of the race. Hume may not rule out the settled laws of evidence the moment they touch the borders of religion ; nor may Strauss by the simple assertion that miracles are impossible manacle the arm of God. Comte may not put his extinguisher upon the great underlying verities of our being, nor Tyndall jump the iron track of his own principles to smuggle into matter a “potency and promise ” of all “ life.” Huxley cannot play fast and loose with human volition, nor juggle the trustiness of memory into a state of consciousness, to save his system ; nor may Haeckel lead us at his own sweet creative will through fourteen stages of vertebrate and eight of invertebrate life up to the great imaginary monera, the father and mother of us all. It will be time to believe a million things in a lump when one of them is fully proved in detail. We have no disposition even with so eminent an authority as St. George Mivart to denominate Natural Selection “a puerile hypothesis.” We will promise to pay our respects to our "early progenitor” of “arboreal habits” and “ears pointed and capable of movement,” when he is honestly identified by his earmarks, and even to worship the original fire mist when that is properly shown to be our only Creator, Preserver, and bountiful Benefactor.
Meantime, as a late king of Naples was said to have erected the negation of God into a system of government, not a few eager investigators seem to have assumed it as a basis of science. And so we reach out by worship “mostly of the silent sort” toward the unknown and unknowable, the “reservoir of organic force, the single source of power,” ourselves “conscious automatons” in whom “mind is the product of the brain ”; thought, emotion, and will are but “the expression of molecular changes,” to whom all speculations in divinity are a "disregard of the proper economy of time,” and to whom, also, as one of them has declared, “ earth is paradise," and all beyond is blank. But it was Mephistopheles who said :
“ The little god of this world sticks to the same old way,
And is as whimsical as on creation's day;
But even the man of theories might grant that the scheme of one great, governing, guiding, loving, and holy God is a theory that works wonders in practice for those that heartily receive it, and is a conception of magnificence beside which even a Nebular Hypothesis with all its grandeur grows small. And the man of facts may as well recognize what Napoleon saw on St. Helena — the one grand fact of the living power of Jesus Christ in history and to-day; a force that is mightier than all other forces; a force that all other forces have in vain endeavored to destroy or counteract or arrest; a force that has pushed its way against wit and learning and wealth and power, and the stake and the rack and the sword and the cannon, till it has shaped the master forces of the world, inspired its art, formed its social life, subsidized its great powers, and wields to-day the heavy battalions; a force that this hour beats in millions of hearts all over this globe with a living warmth beside which the love of science and art is cold and clammy. Surely it would be not much to ask for the docility to recognize such patent facts as these. And I must believe that any mind is fundamentally unhinged that despises the profoundest convictions of the noblest hearts, or speaks lightly of the mighty influence that has molded human events and has upheaved the world. It has in its arrogance cut adrift and swung off from the two grand foci of all truth, the human and the divine.
Of the several qualities — the wakefulness, precision, fullness, equipoise, and docility — that form, in other words, the motion, edge, weight, balance, and direction of 'the forged and tempered intellect, I might give many instances. Such men as Thomas Arnold and Mr. Gladstone instantly rise to the thoughts — the one by his truth-seeking and truth-finding spirit molding a generation of English scholars, the other carrying by the sheer force of his clear-cut intellect and magnanimous soul the sympathies of a great nation and the admiration of Christendom. But let me rather single out one name from the land of specialties and limitations, Barthold George Niebuhr, the statesman and historian. Not perfect, indeed, but admirable. See him begin in his early youth by saying, “I do not ask myself whether I can do a thing ; I command myself to do it." Read the singular sketch of his intellectual gymnastics at twenty-one, spurring himself to “inward deep voluntary thought," "guarding against society and dissipation,” devoting an hour each day to clearing up his thoughts on given subjects, and two hours to the round of physical sciences; exacting of himself “an extensive knowledge of the facts” of science and history; holding himself alike accountable for minute "description," "accurate definitions," "general laws," "deep reflection," and "distinct consciousness of the rules of my moral being,” together with what he calls the holy resolve more and more to purify my soul, so that it may be ready at all times to return to the eternal source.” How intensely he toiled to counteract a certain conscious German onesidedness of mind, visiting England to study all the varied phenomena of its robust life; and yet writing