Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
events by matter and its inherent forces. It fails utterly to explain the nature of matter and the nature of force, which it confesses it cannot understand. It completely fails to explain how motion in matter first started; for it must assume that matter's inherent forces were at first quiescent, i.e., potential, not active, i.e., kinetic. It fails utterly to explain how consciousness—thought, feeling and will— arose out of matter and its inherent forces. It fails to explain the origin of life and of the various species of animal life. It breaks down in its attempted explanation of the origin of the difference between man's powers and those of the brute creation. Thus the very problems that it starts out to explain and that it boasts it can explain by matter and its inherent forces, it completely fails to explain. Hence it is a failure as a theory in the purpose of its existence—the explanation of all being and events by the sole agency of matter and its inherent forces. Hence its profession that it explains all being and events is false. Even Strecker, after asserting that it explains all being and events, is forced to admit that it does not do so in many cases, but that it is forced to concede that there are many gaps in knowledge for which it resorts to assumptions, since it lacks proofs for them. This is bad on this theory.
This brings up another consideration against it: It assumes and takes for granted as matters of faith some very important things that should be proved in order to establish itself as a theory, i.e., it is in important particulars based on faith. For example, it assumes that matter is eternal, that its inherent forces as potentialities are also eternal. According to the materialist's principle that the proof of a thing depends upon its being sensibly observed, neither he nor anyone else could by the senses have observed their eternity. How then, we ask, does he in view of his principles know that these are eternal? It also assumes the reality of time and space and their being without
beginning and without ending. Have materialists been everywhere and always, that they know this by sense? How, then, according to their principles, do they know this? Again, materialism believes in atoms. How does it know that they exist, since they are not cognizable by sense, its indispensable test of existence? It also believes in the invariable operation of cause and effect. How can it prove this? It cannot prove it, because no one has observed all causes and all effects. Yet materialism assumes it. It also believes the doctrine of the conservation of energy—a thing not only impossible of proof, but also a thing that is now much doubted by the greatest scientists, e.g., Millikan. It assumes spontaneous generation as the origin of life; but all scientific demonstrations and experience disprove such a thing. There are other gaps in the proof for this theory, some of which were pointed out in the preceding argument. All of these views it accepts on faith. Thus its main fundamentals are matters of assumption, i.e., faith, and not of proof. This proves that materialists' flings at faith in believers in the Bible are entirely inconsistent with their own course. Scoffers at others' faith as faith, when they themselves base their main principles on faith, should remember the proverb on glass-house dwellers not throwing stones. But such little considerations as this seem negligible for those who perceive no difference between virtue and vice except in the atoms of the pertinent bodies, as strict materialism teaches there is none.
Again, materialism's denial of the reality of spirit substances is contrary to fact; for facts demonstrate that there are spirit substances. The following spirit substances and others exist and certainly are not matter: life-principle, light and ether. Hence the theory that denies the existence of everything except matter and its inherent forces must be false. Life-principle pervades the air and every living thing. Ether and light pervade space. The existence of these substances,
which are intangible to sense, is undeniable. Therefore, their existence disproves materialism, which denies the existence of spirit substances as well as spirit beings.
So, too, facts demonstrate the existence of spirit beings, whose existence materialism denies. By spirit beings we mean superhuman persons whose bodies consist of spirit, as distinct from material, substances. The phenomena of spiritism demonstrate the existence of spirit beings. While we admit that there is much fraud designedly worked as such for selfish considerations by some mediums, there is such a multiplicity of demonstrable facts on the activity of spirits in spiritistic phenomena, with no evidence of human fraud against them, proven by human fraud-excluding conditions used to test the phenomena, that the existence of spirits is properly accepted as a scientifically demonstrated fact. While we so speak, we are not to be understood as endorsing the characters of the genuine spirits that operate in spiritistic phenomena. On the contrary, while we believe these agents to be genuine spirits, we believe them to be demons, the fallen angels, who with almost unbelievable deceitfulness palm themselves off as dead humans existing as spirits. Thus the numerous facts of spirit activities in spiritistic phenomena prove materialism to be false; for it denies the existence of spirit substances and beings, which spiritistic phenomena prove to exist.
The fact that there is no known example of thought, feeling and will, without the union of life-principle and substance organized into bodies, disproves materialism. Inorganic matter does not feel, think or will. As a primary condition of thinking, feeling and willing—in a word, of consciousness—substance must be arranged into an organism, a body. But a mere organism cannot exercise thought, feeling and volition, else dead bodies and some automatons that have been constructed with proper chemically constituted and arranged organs, blood, etc., like those of a human body, would exercise
these. There must be a union of such an organism with life-principle by means of the blood. Such life-principle is Biblically called spirit—not a spirit; for there is no spirit being within man, according to Scripture, reason and fact; but there is in man a spirit substance called life-principle, and the union of this with man's organism, the blood acting as the point of contact for the union, produces personality—does not give man a soul but makes him a soul. Materialism is at an utter loss to explain the existence of human and brute souls without the union of the spirit substance, life-principle, with a human or brute organism. On this subject the Bible, reason and facts are in most exact harmony, as can be seen in the story of Adam's creation:
(1) a body—an organism—was formed; (2) life-principle— derived from the air, which is accordingly called, "the breath of life"—was blown into it and (3) their union by means of the blood produced a third thing—a living soul, an energetic person (Gen. 2: 7). It is because materialism denies spirit substances that it cannot explain how matter was first put into motion and how life and consciousness originated. Without this spirit substance there can be no life, no thought, no feeling and no volition—no consciousness. This fact is annihilative of materialism. To these considerations no materialist has been able to make a satisfactory answer. To them this is one of their insoluble riddles, of which DuBois Reymond, one of the ablest scientists, acknowledges seven.
Materialism cannot bridge the gulf between matter and mind. Not only does it fail to understand the nature of matter and its inherent forces; but it cannot from these two things deduct mental processes; for mental processes cannot be deducted from material conditions. Materialists have wrestled with this problem unto exhaustion and have left it in despair of solution. Here the greatest of them after the hardest endeavor have had to admit that they could not explain
mental processes with only material substances and their inherent forces to work with. To the theist their failure is self-evident; for their denial of spirit substances, and hence the spirit substantiality of life-principle, leaves out of consideration the one indispensable thing for mental processes and hence for the solution of the problem here discussed. While the function of the brain is that of an instrument which the person—the soul—uses for thinking, feeling and willing, it is the union of the life-principle and the brain, the latter endowed with personal capacities, that produces the soul—the person—which, so produced, by the brain does the thinking, willing and feeling.
Another matter counts strongly against materialism: it denies the freedom of the will. Materialists think, as Strecker puts it, that man's will is controlled by physical law. Hence he of necessity acts as he does, though they concede that he fondly imagines that he is free because he chooses as he likes. But, they say, he likes as he likes under the unalterable law of his being, which forces him to choose according to the composition of his atoms. This certainly is untrue, and that for many reasons, e.g., he frequently chooses from principle to do what he does not like, and frequently likes to do what he does not choose to do, as he also frequently changes into disliking what he formerly liked and into liking what he formerly disliked, and, again, without dislike becomes indifferent to what he once disliked and liked. We are conscious of freely choosing, sometimes solely by principle, sometimes solely by prejudice and sometimes by a mixture of these; and in all cases we know that we could have chosen otherwise, had we so desired. Again, our regretting on further consideration a former choice and reversing it, proves our free will. In all cases we are conscious of our freedom of choice, even if unable at times to execute the choice. But materialism, denying this, reduces man to a machine, or, as some
of them have called him, a conscious automaton, forced to choose and do by blind physical law. So to degrade human nature, and that contrary to the facts of experience and consciousness, is a strong count against it.
As a logical consequence of its denying man's freedom of choice, materialism denies moral responsibility. The more consistent materialists do not hesitate to deny man's moral responsibility, though some materialists shrink from this position and, inconsistently with materialism, seek to hold man responsible for his acts, at least to the extent that his conduct must be subject to the demands of society's needs. But consistent materialists deny that the virtuous man is any better morally than the vicious man. Blind nature, they say, works in one the same as in the other, forcing each of them to act as they act because of the material constitution and bent of their atoms! Therefore materialists insist that difference of conduct is due to a different distribution and quality of one's atoms, not to the varying degrees of people's sense of responsibility and character status. Therefore they have justified all the crimes of the calendar. Hume, e.g., justified suicide. Darwin, who was only partially a materialist, speaks disapprovingly of man's allowing the weaker members of the race to propagate. Almost all of them have justified the indulgence of man's baser propensities. To them sin is due to a diseased brain, though facts deny such a thought. Such a theory certainly is dangerous to the individual, to the family, to society, not to say anything of character and religion; for low ideals are always degrading and injurious to the individual, to the family, to society, to character and to religion. And the wickedness and degrading influence of practical, as distinct from theoretical, materialism, is manifest in our day in the increase of sin, vice and crime, by those who regard the material things of life as the highest good.
Again, materialism fails to account for religion as the highest practice and attainment of man. It is a peculiar phrenological fact that the higher the office of the brain faculties, the higher are they located in the brain; and the lower the office of the brain faculties, the lower are they located in the head. Thus the social—worldly—and selfish faculties of the human brain are situated in the lower parts of the brain; next come the intellectual faculties; still higher come the artistic faculties; the next higher are the moral faculties and, finally; the highest are the religious faculties. Using the picture of a four-storied house to illustrate the brain we might say that those who live only in their selfish and social—worldly—propensities dwell in the cellar of their brains; that those who live only in their intellectual faculties—"all head"—dwell on the first floor of their brains; that those who live in the artistic sentiments dwell in the second story of their brains; that those who live in their moral sentiments dwell in the third floor of their brains; and that those who live in their religious faculties dwell in the highest floor of their brains—farthest away from the dust and clatter of the street and nearest the pure air and light of heaven. In strict materialism there can be no religion, since it denies God's existence. In less strict materialism there is a deifying and worshiping of nature. Hence there can be no exercise of the religious faculties in strict materialism; and in less strict materialism there is a degradation of them by perverting them to wrong objects. This means that materialism leaves uncultivated the highest and noblest faculties of the human heart, as well as degrades them. It therefore is a degrading and injurious thing. But it must also be an untrue thing, as an explanation of all being and events, for as all our other faculties have objects to which they are adapted, whose existence, therefore, they necessarily imply; so our religious faculties must have objects to which they are adapted and whose
existence, therefore, they necessarily imply. But materialism, in denying God's existence, is untrue as a theory and degrading as a practice. And its irreligion and false religion make it an exceedingly evil thing.
A contrast between materialism and theism is in every way unfavorable to the former and favorable to the latter; and, therefore, it proves the superiority of the latter to the former as to the creation, preservation and rulership of the universe. Theism is the doctrine that God exists as a Spirit Being independently of, but works creatively, preservingly and executively throughout, the universe. The eternity of God is a much more reasonable assumption than is that of the eternity of matter and its inherent forces, which at first could only be potential, but not active; for the first cause must be causeless and therefore eternal. But a motionless first cause (which matter at first must have been, if it assumed to be the first cause) cannot be the first cause; for something else had to cause it to begin to move. But this objection does not hold against a conscious first cause; for it could start motion in itself and outside itself. The billions of evidences of order—the reign of law—in the universe imply that the first cause was intelligent, which God is, while the facts of the case, if materialism be regarded as true, require us to ascribe to matter and its inherent forces the very highest and greatest imaginable attributes of mind—which they certainly do not have. The billions of evidences of design and adaptability in the creation, preservation and government of the universe, imply a conscious, wise and practical inventor, preserver and ruler, such as God is; whereas we can by no means account for these evidences of design and adaptability on the assumption that matter and its inherent forces, of necessity working blindly, are the only creative, preserving and ruling agencies; for this would be ascribing the very highest and greatest imaginable attributes of volition to matter and its
inherent forces—things that these do not have. To account for the existence, preservation and government of the universe in any other way than as the work of an intelligent, wise and powerful conscious personality, is utterly impossible, and inorganic matter and blind force are utterly wanting in every particular in capacities commensurate to the gigantic job of creating, preserving and ordering all nature animate and inanimate. Thus from the standpoint of the origin, preservation and rulership of the universe, theism is a most reasonable theory, while materialism is a wholly inadequate explanation of these wondrous phenomena.
Leaving inorganic nature as unexplainable by materialism and as reasonably explained by theism, let us compare these two views as to their adaptability to the explanation of organic nature. At the threshold of this question we are confronted by that of the origin of life. Here materialism breaks down completely; for it is unable with its materials—matter and its inherent forces—to bridge the chasm between the lifeless and life. It has resorted to spontaneous generation as an attempt to bridge this chasm; but by its own principle, that what is in the effect—here life—must be in its cause, it is estopped from logically using this hypothesis. Moreover, if the theory were true, we would find examples of spontaneous generation about us—which neither we nor anybody else ever found. Moreover, the efforts of scientific experiments have failed to prove it, every one of them breaking down in the effort to produce spontaneous generation. Scientists are now a practical unit in asserting its unprovableness. Thus materialism restricted to the use of its tools for the explanation of the problem cannot explain the origin of life in an alleged previously lifeless universe. Theism beautifully explains it in plant, animal and spirit life—in plant life by the union of a vegetable body and life-principle, with sap as the means of contact, in animal life by the union of an
animal body and life-principle, with blood as the means of contact, and in spirit life by the union of a spirit body (a body consisting of a spirit substance or of spirit substances) and life-principle, with no agency (so far as we know) as the means of contact apart from these two things themselves. Thus materialism breaks down as an explanation of the origin of life; while theism succeeds in explaining it. Hence from this standpoint theism is superior to materialism.
Again, materialism breaks down in its attempt to explain the origin of the various species in plant and animal life. It has sought to explain this problem by the theory of evolution; but apart from proving that within each species of plant and animal life there is a change either to higher or to lower forms (Haeckel, who has out-Darwined Darwin himself, claims that a deterioration from a higher to a lower form is the course of nature—devolution, if we may be permitted to coin the term—not a development from a lower form to a higher form), the theory of evolution, or devolution, has failed materialism in the solution of this problem; for no fossil nor historical record of the past nor living example of the present has been found to show that a change from one into another species has ever occurred, one of which must be proven, if evolution is to be proven true. Efforts to breed between members of two species have always produced sterile offspring, e.g., crossing the horse and the ass produces the mule, which lacks power of propagation. This completely disproves the transmutation of species by propagation; thus materialism breaks down in the attempt to explain the origin of species. We might add that increasingly is evolution being discarded by the abler scientists. Theism completely solves this problem in the creation of "every seed after its kind," "every beast after its kind" and "man after his kind."
Again, materialism breaks down in its attempt to cross the bridge between brute and human beings. It
has attempted this, too, by the theory of evolution, or devolution. It has spoken much of the "missing link"; and time and again it has announced its discovery, only later to discard each one of its foundlings as illegitimately born and as unworthy of rearing. The reason is plain: the difference between the lowest human and the highest brute is so great that the chasm between them is unbridgeable. Vircow, who was undoubtedly the greatest scientist of the second half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, said of evolution in its form of teaching man's descent from brutes that "it is nothing but a windy hypothesis in proof of which not one fact of nature has been produced and against which all the discovered fossil remains, the records of history and the observed facts of nature testify." He further added that "'the missing link' has not been found, nor," said he, in his opinion, "would it ever be found, for the good reason that it does not exist." In vain does materialism point out the evidences of intelligence; feelings and volition in brute life as a proof that man was evolved from the brute. We concede that brutes have such; but these are limited to the needs of brute life and go no further. But the powers of the human are immeasurably higher. His intellect searches out the solution of multitudinous problems involving God, other spirits, the universe and animate and inanimate nature on earth—spheres utterly foreign to brute intelligence. His affections reach out to objects immeasurably above those that are the objects of the brute's feelings. His will works on problems and destinies here and hereafter; and he is capable of development along physical, mental, moral and religious lines, with which it would be errant nonsense either in thought or in practice even remotely to connect beasts. And some humans—the faith class—have possibilities, under Divine favor, of change from human to various spirit natures, in some cases even to the Divine nature. All these facts—summarized
briefly into classes—prove that there is an impossible chasm between the human and the brute creation; and materialism has utterly broken down in attempting to bridge this chasm, and must break down, for it is indeed a fixed gulf that is impossible to span by materialism. Theism bridges this gulf by a separate creative act by which, as distinct from brutes, man was made by God in His image and likeness, which accounts for every factor in the involved problem.
In a word, materialism breaks down at every new turn in creation, in failing completely to explain the riddle of the universe and of existence. Theism, on the contrary, is equal to the solution of every riddle of creation, and not only so, but also of the preservation and rulership of creation, in which materialism also breaks down as a solution. Hence theism, as a view of the universe and living beings, is a reasonable solution of every involved problem, while materialism, whose exponents continually ridicule believers in theism, as credulous and superstitious, is demonstrated as requiring a larger and at that an unreasonable faith at every new step in creation. Thus materialists, as glasshouse dwellers clumsily throwing stones at their theistic neighbors' strongly built house, have missed their aim and devastated their own fragile dwelling. They are the credulous and superstitious theorists, believing nonsensical and unprovable things, while theistic believers hold a theory at once reasonable and efficient in explanation of all the involved questions.
Agnosticism is a word invented by Prof. Huxley to express his mental attitude toward all theories of being, especially that of God. Hence he held this attitude toward atheism, theism, pantheism, deism, materialism, Christianity and idealism. Etymologically, agnosticism would mean the theory that the existence of God and the problem of being are unknowable. Many use the word to mean the theory that the existence of God and the problem of being are not
known, but do not assert that these are unknowable. But this latter thought should, according to the usage of the Greek language, be expressed by the word agnosticism. The use that the two leading agnostics, Messrs. Huxley and Spencer, make of the word agnosticism as respects God's being, proves that they view agnosticism as the theory that claims that God is unknowable. It, therefore, claims not only to be ignorant of God's existence, but also that knowing of His existence is impossible to us. It, therefore, differs from atheism, which claims to know that God does not exist, and which theory we have above proven to be a self-refutive proposition: since to be able truly to say that there is no God one must be an eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent spirit, i.e., one must himself be God, which would prove that there is a God. But while there is a difference between atheism and agnosticism, atheists do not have much to say against agnosticism, which in turn has greatly helped and strengthened atheism. The genuine agnostic would object, if we should say that we know there is a God and a spiritual world, but would not object, if we should say that we believe there is a God and a spiritual world.
We might profitably take from Mr. Huxley's own words his explanation of agnosticism: "Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle." He then explains this principle: "Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of intellect follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable." According to this, reason is the source and rule of intellectual matters and is to be followed regardless of where it leads us, even if it should lead us, as he said it did him, nowhere else
than "into the dark depths of a wild and tangled forest." Yea, he says we are even "to go straight on until we either come out on the other side of the wood or find there is no other side to it, at least, none attainable." This explanation proves that agnosticism rejects the Christian principle that the Bible is the source and rule of faith and that it sets up in its stead reason as the source and rule of faith. This prompts us to say that if Mr. Huxley's statement that agnosticism is not a creed, but is a method of investigation into matters of the intellect, it will have to be conceded that this method has as its basis a creed, i.e., that reason is the source and rule of knowledge.
We presume that Mr. Huxley uses the word reason in the sense of: (1) our intuitions whereby we recognize the truth of certain principles as self-evident without the process of reflection; and (2) the knowledge that we gather by the exclusive and proper use of these intuitions. These intuitions arise out of the nature of the congenital endowments of our mental, moral and religious faculties as these occupy themselves with the objects to which they are adapted—self, the world and God—and the conditions in which they are. Thus by self-consciousness we know intuitively that we exist and by world-consciousness we know intuitively that other persons and created things exist; and our God-consciousness makes us know intuitively that God exists; for our mental, moral and religious faculties by their very nature intuitively know these as existing; hence the congenital nature of these faculties make these intuitively known to us (1 Cor. 2: 11). We are aware of the fact that the creeds decry reason in the two senses used above and will have none or almost none of it in the domain of religion. But the Bible does not share in this decrying and ignoring of reason. It appeals to it to judge; and it sanctions its use; else how could God ask us to reason together with Him? (Acts 17: 2, 11; 24: 25;
Is. 1: 18). Nowhere and on no subject does the Bible teach anything contrary to these intuitions of the human heart and mind nor the knowledge gathered by their exclusive and proper use, however much the creeds teach things contrary to them. God desires that we test His thoughts with the severest exactions of reason in these senses of the word, well knowing that His thoughts will appeal to it, if the heart is rightly disposed toward truth and justice.
Nevertheless, this the Bible does teach: that our individual and collective reason is not a sufficient source and rule of intellectual matters, that it needs teachers to give it knowledge that it cannot of itself gain. Comparatively this is seen by our reason needing human teachers in earthly matters to supplement the lacks of our individual reason. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that through depravity our individual reason is unable of itself alone and unaided to comprehend even all earthly things (John 3: 12). Experience also proves this to be true. Finally, the Bible teaches the inability of our individual and collective reason unaided and alone to discover the Truth of the Divine Plan (1 Cor. 1: 21; 2: 14; Eph. 4: 18). Experience proves this proposition to be true, in that men left to their unaided individual and collective reason reach contradictory religious views, manifest in the many religions of the world. That the bulk of the members of each religion more or less agree does not impinge against this fact, because for the most part without using their reason they accept on authority, and usually against reason, the tenets of their creeds. Consequently we need something more than general and individual reason to get the necessary Truth as to God and ourselves in relation to Him and to others. Hence reason helps us only part of the way. Revelation, which is in complete harmony with reason in the two senses above used, helps us all the way and commends itself to the individual reason in the
properly disposed person. Therefore agnosticism, relying solely on an insufficient guide, cannot lead us to satisfactory views as to the being of God or the problem of existence. Hence it, as a method creedally based on reason as the source and rule of intellectual matters, is insufficient for the task of solving the problem of God and the universe. Therefore it is foredoomed to failure as to determining the Truth respecting God. And as a misfit for the solution of the problem at hand it is a discredited theory.
In the preceding paragraph we used the expression, general and individual reason. By the former we mean reason as a power inherent in all and by the latter we mean this power as it is in each individual. As an inherent power it is a remarkable thing and is the instrument for all advances in intellectual matters. But as a matter of fact this power, while existing in all, appears in experience only as an individual matter; and because more or less imperfection mars this power in all of us, individual reason differs in every individual, dependent on heredity, environment and training. We, therefore, know of no example of imperfect men whose individual reason is infallible, and, therefore, can be depended upon as the source and rule of intellectual matters. On the contrary, we are on all sides met with abundant examples of fallible reason, for every individual's reason is fallible. Consequently we would be foolish to take reason, general or individual, as the source and rule of intellectual matters; for by it we are from the outstart doomed to error. But this aside, agnosticism plays a trick on its upholders. It professes to follow general reason—the rational intuitions and its knowledge acquisitions as these appeal to all; while, as a matter of fact, it follows individual reason—only that which appeals to an individual, with the result that each individual's reason, differing from that of all others, becomes the source and rule of intellectual matters for him. He
is thus enthroned as his own source and rule of faith, which we must all acknowledge is a most unsatisfactory thing. How much we therefore need an infallible Revelation to correct man's universal fallibility! Otherwise we cannot attain religious Truth on God's being, the world, self and their interrelations. This consideration exposes a fatal lack in agnosticism.
Furthermore, Mr. Huxley's proposition that one must as an agnostic follow reason, regardless of consequences, is unscientific, and is also foolish in the ordinary affairs of life. If a scientist finds that what seems to him to be a reasonable hypothesis leads him into inextricable confusion, furthermore, if he finds that it leads him to no practical results, and, finally, if he finds that it results in damage, regardless of how reasonable it seems to him, instead of his following it regardless of any other consideration, he discards it as inapplicable to the task at hand. Hence hypotheses which have seemed very reasonable, but have led to such results, are thrown out of the scientific laboratories upon the numerous and large scientific rubbish heaps. No progress would have been made in science, if hypotheses, in theory seeming reasonable, but in practice found to be unfruitful, unsatisfactory and dangerous, had been clung to with the dogmatic determination with which Mr. Huxley held to agnosticism. In the daily concerns of life practical and wise people do not hold to attractive theories which prove under experiment to be unfruitful or harmful. How long do we keep up using dieting systems which, however promising they may seem as theories, make us weak or sick? How long will a wise person continue with some exercising fad, however reasonable it might seem, if it exhausts instead of invigorating, or injures instead of strengthening him? How long does a wise parent continue to use child training methods that are theoretically most charming, but that in practice ruin his children? If they would on these matters "follow
reason as far as it would take them, without regard to any other consideration," they would ruin their stomachs, bodies and children. If by following reason alone we are led nowhere else than "into the dark depths of a wild and tangled forest" and cannot by following reason alone get "to the other side," we should draw the conclusion that we have been following an insufficient guide and should look for another. This, then, is the conclusion that practical people will draw from the basis of agnosticism's creed— reason as the sole source and rule in matters of intellect.
We should also consider somewhat Mr. Huxley's negative principle of agnosticism: "Do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable." This rule also proves to be a bad one for everyday life; for we certainly do not follow it in the most important concerns of life. People marry without being able to demonstrate whether they will prove properly mated. Nor is this a demonstrated or a demonstrable thing, except by years of experience in married life. Nor do they refuse to assume the responsibilities of parenthood until it is demonstrated or is demonstrable that they will make good parents and raise good children—a thing not demonstrated or demonstrable apart from years of experience in parenthood. In entering business people believe they will succeed; and only because of such belief do they enter business, though it is not then demonstrable or demonstrated that they will succeed. The greatest discoveries in science and invention have been made on matters that were neither demonstrated nor demonstrable that they would bring success, yea, they often dealt with things at the time not clearly understood. As a matter of fact, practically all human advancement is attained by entering experimentally the domain of undemonstrated and hitherto un-demonstrable things and by feeling, with much doubt, one's way to success. It is a safe rule in physical, mental,
moral and religious matters when one lacks the power of demonstration or to see what is demonstrable, that he work with the probable and credible until he is led on to the demonstrable and the demonstrated. The sinner with excellent results does this as he starts out to feel after God; and if his heart proves true, he will by and by reach a state in which what before was unclear becomes demonstrated and demonstrable by experience, which gives him certainty that he is dealing with realities in his contacts with God. Nor can the millions who have passed over this road of experience and found the way out of "the dark depths of a wild and tangled forest" to the "other side," to which Mr. Huxley never found himself able to come, allow themselves to accept Mr. Huxley's proposition, which they see cannot bring them to "the other side."
Not only in the practical concerns of life which must be met without being demonstrated and demonstrable, does Mr. Huxley's negative principle find itself impractical and unadaptable, but it has this defect in it, that it gives us and can give us no criterion as to what is demonstrated or demonstrable, for with the individual reason as the source and rule of knowledge, what is demonstrated or demonstrable to one is not such to another. General reason is abstract. It is the composite idea of the intuitions that are common to normal individuals. Therefore it has no concrete existence except as an idea. What actually exists is individual reason. But because of the varying degrees of hereditary imperfections the abilities of individual reason greatly vary, and that in imperfection. Moreover, these differences are further modified by environment and training. Consequently in individuals individual reason varies greatly in insufficiency as the source and rule of knowledge. Hence individual reason necessarily varies in almost all individuals. This raises the question, If reason alone is to be the source and rule of knowledge, whose reason is it to be? The reply,
of course, must prove that no man's can it be. But apart from an idea reason in the abstract does not exist. In the concrete it is always individual. Hence we see that Mr. Huxley holds up to us a guide that is an impossible one. Surely this consideration should lead us to discredit Mr. Huxley's views on agnosticism.
Mr. Huxley's individual reason is certainly not the one for us to take as reason, because it led him to reject as not demonstrated and not demonstrable some propositions that the reason of all normal persons—those who are not in head or heart degenerate or abnormal—tells them is demonstrated and demonstrable—e.g., the existence of God. Furthermore, he himself admitted that his own reason never led him into a certain view on the being of God and on existence in general. The reason of others makes them certain that their congenital intuitions are right in implying that there is a God. Their reason, led by its intuition of cause and effect, makes them certain that there must be a first Cause, which is therefore causeless and hence eternal. Their reason makes them certain that the almost infinite expressions of intelligence, adaptation and design in the universe imply that that first Cause is intelligent and purposeful and hence is endowed with personality. Their reason, led by the intuitions of conscience and veneration, congenitally universal, makes them certain that there is a God. And the reason of multitudes, led by their intuitions of contact with God in their most intimate relations and experiences, makes them certain that there is a God. Their reason, led by their intuitions of consciousness of God, makes them certain that there is a God. And certainly some of them by using their reason on the Biblical solution of God, man and the universe, have obtained a solution of these in themselves and their mutual relations that no sophistries of individual reason alone can refute or find a flaw in.