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take our argument, which is not human power, but universal power, as found in nature, which, I am afraid, you will not find existing by deputy. When you do, I relinquish Shelley's arguinent.
You admit that there must be one self-existent CAUSE in the universe, but persist in calling it God. If it is matter, then we agree; if it is not, then it is a nonentity. You speak of matter being an effect, -an assumption impossible to defend, for its CAUSE is yet undemonstrated.
Carefully have I examined your arguments against my positions, and not one of them yet is logically overthrown. Atheism is still triumphant, and will yet inake her opinions a power which shall never end until the claims of Christianity be proved nothing but the weakness of superstition--the pride of a bygone age.
W. H. J.
REPLY TO LETTER IV.
TO MR. W. H. JOHNSON. SIR,
Paley's noted argument can well defend itself, till it is assailed by 'heavier metal than you have brought against it. Holyoake's attempt at reductio ad absurdum, which you have feebly copied, rests on the unfounded assumption that in God himself, there are proofs of design,
Your lengthened observations on the cardinal point of atheism, may, to some minds, mystify, but do not meet my objections to the eternity of matter. There is a difference between logic and length.
1. You seek to prove the eternity of matter from its indestructibility. But you have not proved, and you cannot prove its indestructibility, till you are omniscient. When you deny that there is any power in the universe able to destroy matter, you beg the question. , But even if you had proved the indestructibility of matter, that would be no evidence of its eternity. The facts of history as facts are indestructible, yet they are not eternal. Your conclusion, therefore, is false. It is you, not I, who require to prove not only that Sebastopol will be besieged to all eternity, but that it has been besieged from all eternity. It can never cease to be a fact that Sebastopol has been besieged by the allied forces, but that fact began to be. Everybody admits that a fact is indestructible; all that I require to prove is, that Sebastopol began to be besieged; and this, nobody in his senses will deny.
2. You admit the non-eternity of the globe in its present shape. You even contend for a long series of progressive developments. Matter, then, is subject to change; but that which is subject to change is not self-existent, and therefore, not eternal. You seem quite insensible of the fact, that your long quotation from Dr. Nichol, proves my position. If it is possible to fix the age of the great masses of the mountains, then they have not been eternal. It they had stood for ever, the loss of one particle in a million of years would have proved quite sufficient to reduce them. What are three millions of years, or three millions of ages to the mighty cycles of eternity? I am prepared to defend the Mosaic Cosmogomy at the proper time; and when you are called upon for proof that it represents the creation of the universe as taking place only 6000 years ago, it will found that you are as feeble in proof as you are valiant in assertion. Meanwhile, remember, that the real question at issue is not whether the world has existed 6000 years, or 6000,000,000 of years, but whether it has existed from all eternity. It is encumbent on you to show that neither its substance nor its forms have had any beginning.
3. You equally fail to meet my next argument. The question is not when the human race began to be, but whether it has been eternal. To prove that it has not been eternal, I point to the thinly-populated condition of the earth. This you attempt to meet by pointing out some of the checks to population. But I want to know, if, notwithstanding those checks, as far as we have reliable statistics, population has not steadily and greatly increased? Who does not know that the Anglo-Saxon, the Celtic, the Sclavonic, the Russian, and other races have made rapid increase notwithstanding all the ravages of war, of
pestilence, and of famine, during the past two centuries; and that since more accurate censuses of popnlation have been made the increase has been so rapid, that some Malthusian political economists have feared that the time will soon come, when there will be more mouths than there is meat to fill ? Men do not deny that the human race increases; but you question whether it increases at at a rapid rate, or what you call an 'extensive ratio.' But allowing the rate of increase to be ever so small, an eternity would have crowded the earth with inhabitants. If, on the other hand, you hold that the law of population has been that of decrease, then are you impaled on the other horn of the dilemma, that under the operation of such a law from all eternity, the race must have become extinct. And where are the records in the 'great stone-book,' of the existence of human beings for ever? But under the very vague and ambiguous expression, 'I do not confound the eternity of matter with the eternity of organisms', I suppose you to mean that while you believe in the eternity of matter, you do not believe in the eternity of its organised forms. You hold that matter is eternal, but that man began to be. Now if he began to be, whether six thousand, or six thousand million years ago, he must have had a Creator, and that Creator could not be matter, for matter has no will, nor have we the shadow of evidence that matter has ever created anything. You hold that mind is only an attribute of organised matter, consequently there cannot be knowledge without organisation. But you hold the non-eternity of organisation ; therefore, there must have been a time when there was no knowledge, nothing known, no knower in the universe. That is, you would have existence without conscious. ness; but without consciousness you have no means of proving the existence of anything; thus you involve yourself in the absurdity of the supposition of an existence without a being either to perceive or to prove it. No one can hold your dogmta without reversing the laws of human knowledge, and denying the fundamental facts of human thought. Your historical facts I do not stay to question, although if I demanded proof of the statement that Xerxes raised an army of five millions of men, you might find yourself in some perplexity; but I wish you to observe that in admitting that the race had a beginning, you give up the question. Remember that what you have to disprove at present is not the chronology of Moses, but the non-eternity of man.
4. You do not see that the lack of any memorial of the world's eternity warrants the conclusion that it began to be; but it strikes me that our readers will see it readily enough. You say, 'We know nothing about credible universal history since the invention of printing. It is difficult to perceive what you mean by such language. Do you not mean its opposite, that anything we know about universal history that is credible, is since the invention of printing ? If so, why do you talk to me about Babylon, Persia, Carthage, Rome, and Scythia; about Xerxes and Cæsar; about Huns and Goths, and seek to cull from the pages of their history facts inimical to my position? You say writing was discovered 4000 years ago. But how do you know, if not from history? Youcannot be allowed at one time to deny the evidence of history, and at another to appeal to it for proof. Even though the Alexandrian Library has been destroyed, we have some sources of information in reference to the past still left to us. But your statements prove the truth of my proposition. Had the
world existed from all eternity, it is inconceivable that writing and printing would not have been earlier in use among men. These are irrefragable proofs of the comparatively recent origin of our race. You explain that we have no record of the cities, men, thoughts, wars, revolutions, and conquests of the past for want of a historian's pen. But how did it happen that a historian's pen was wanting if the race had existed for ever? You are the first to inform me of monuments in Central America equalling those of ancient Greece, but if there were, these are not monuments of eternity. You tell me that an empire without a written language is lost for ever, but if the race had been eternal it is inconceivable that it could have been without a written language till about 4000 years ago.
You do not contend that the world in its present state has existed for ever, but that the matter composing the world is eternal, and subject to ceaseless change.' We know that it is subject to ceaseless change, and that in thousands of instances it is changed irresistibly from without; therefore, it cannot be eternal.
You assert 'the impossibility of knowing when progression commenced.' It is enough for my argument to know that it did commencé. For if it did commence, it is not, of course, eternal; and the human family must have begun to be. If • inany of the arts and sciences have been gained, and lost, and regained,' this is another proof that little progress had been made in the art of preserving and handing them down to posterity. The facts you state are all against you, for if Phideas, Appelles, Herodotus, and Homer arrived at such perfection in their respective arts in one age, what would not have been accomplished if the race had existed for ever ? When I said that history and tradition point to the recent origin of the race, I did not say that no nations claim an indefinite antiquity : the question is, have they a solitary fact by which to make good that claim. As to the Hindoo epoch, it is as little worth as your belief that the race has existed for 4000,000,000 of years. You'hold that the Hindoo and Jewish Bibles are alike authentic and credible.' A little modesty'should teach you to give us fewer beliefs and more arguments. The 'credulity of secularists' has become proverbial; and it seems you are no exception. You can believe what Plato says about the ‘Island of Atlantis' and what Berosus told Calisthenes, with scarcely a particle of proof; but you cannot receive the facts of the Gospel history, though supported by a world of evidence.
I am here warned that I must close for want of space, and I must leave further reply to my next. I am thus threatened with being silenced, not by argument, but by verbosity, redundance, and irrelevance.
NOTES OF THE WEEK.
Lord Robert Grosvenor's Sunday Trading Bill for London, has produced great excitement there. For three Sabbaths there have been great demonstrations against it in Hyde Park. Some portions of the press seemed not unwilling to excite the people, and they have succeeded. On the 1st of July, the police were in great force in Hyde Park. The people as on the previous Sabbath, assailed those who were driving in their carriages with the cries, 'Go to Church.' The excitement increasing, the police interfered, and, it appears in some instances, treated the people with unnecessary violence and considerable ferocity. On the following Monday, in the House of Commons, Lord Robert announced his intention of abandoning
. On the Thursday, Mr. Roebuck inquired whether the government intended making enquiry into the conduct of the police. Sir George Grey would not promise. Several members spoke with some warmth if not violence upon the subject. At last he promised a satisfactory inquiry, and it was hoped there would be no further demonstration. But the people again met in great crowds, in Hyde Park, on Sunday last. It was wisely arranged that only a few policemen should be placed to warn persons in carriages not to venture into the Ride. There was speechmaking and some excitement, but as there was nobody on whom any mischief-loving fellows among the mob could vent their rage, about six o'clock they marched into some of the adjoining streets and squares, breaking a great many windows and producing a good deal of disturbance. We deprecate mob-law, and, while we plead for the proper observance of the sabbath, cannot too severe. ly condemn any measure brought before parliameut, which would make one law for the rich and another for the poor. The club has no more right to be open on the Sabbath than the grocery, and the opening of the grog-shop is a greater nuisance than either. Wages should so be paid that the poor can make their purchases on Saturday night; and they should reflect, that they cannot make them on a Sunday, without involving thousands of their fellow-1
-men in unnecessary toil. A proper distribution of labour should give the labouring population a half, if not an entire, holiday, and all classes of the community should feel it their duty to allow to all the greatest scope on that day, for the freest and fullest cultivation of the higher powers of tbeir nature.
The decease of Lord Raglan does not seem to have produced a very deep sensation upon the mass of the people ;. although none can fail to admire the sense of duty by which he was animated, and the cordiality with which he co-operated with our allies. The failure of the attack on the Malakoff and Redan, on the 18th June, doubtless hastened his end.
Lord Panmure has modified his plan for increasing the soldier's pay. He proposes giving them 6d. per day, as an extraordinary field allowance, with an arrangement, by which, instead of receiving it himself, the soldier can allot the whole or part of it to his family, during his absence.
The visit of King Leopold to this country, we hope, will be made the opportunity of resigning the pension which he derives from us.
Mr. Roebuck brings forward his vote of censure on the late government for its conduct of the war, and its policy which allowed us to drift into it. 'Tis well we have men in the House, who will form opinions of their own, and give frank and earnest utterance to them.
The period for Registration is at hand, and men who feel that the elective franchise is a solemn trust, to be used for the welfare of their country and the world, will not fail if they have the necessary qualification to put themselves in a position in which they can act the citizen' as becometh truth, duty, and honour.
FOREIGN. The fate of Sebastopol must soon be decided. The engineers of the allied troops have been carrying on their sap and mine for fifteen days. Forty guns have been placed in battery to command the vessels in the harbour,
the skilful manæuvring of which, produced so terrible an effect on the 18th, on the advancing columns. To forestall the impending attack on a stupendous scale which will be made within a few days, if indeed it has not commenced while we write, on the night of the 7th, the Russians made a great sortie on the Mamelon vert and were repulsed, after a desperate encounter with immense loss. Even were the Malakoff and Redan Towers in the hands of the allies, Sebastopol may not immediately fall, inasmuch as there is a second line of defence to which the Russians may retire; and if the report be true, that ere this month closes, 300,000 of their troops will be concentrated around Sebastopol, it is probable that a desperate effort will be made to raise the seige.
Fearful and bloody work has yet to be done, if we may judge from the repulse of the 18th. On that day two grand mistakes seem to have been made. The flight of a bombshell in the uncertain light of early dawn was mistaken by the French General of Brigade for the rocket that was to be the signal for his attack, and the onset on the extreme right was precipitated before the rest of the columns were prepared to support it. The Russians could then take the allies in detail and mowed them down with their
The second error, which we trust will never again be made, was the assumption by the allied generals that their fire had silenced the chief batteries, where the guns had only been withdrawn to be brought up again at the moment of assault. Though the French were repulsed before the Malakoff, and the English before the Redan, there was one point where success might have been turned into victory. General Eyre, with 2000 men, covered the church yard and barrack battery, and actually penetrated into the Karabelnaia suburb of the town, whence they might if duly supported, have taken the batteries, that had mowed down their companions in arms, in the rear. To us, it appears that a divided command is greatly against success, and that one bold and comprehensive stroke of a mastermind would decide the matter. Meanwhile the country mourns the immense loss it sustains, but does not despair of a success, which, we trust, will be turned to account to secure the greater freedom and the higher development of the nations of Eastern Europe.
THE LONDON QUARTERLY seems likely to earn a reputation for intelligence and vigour. The eighth number contains some valuable papers. The first, on the literature of the reformation in our own land, is able and well-informed. The influence of the spiritual quickening of the sixteenth century upon its poetry, its learning, and its general literature is clearly and sometimes powerfully put. The second, on the life of the Rev. Dr. Robert Newton, of Wesleyan fame, if it is too strongly spiced with panegyric, is useful in indicating that if we would have a widely successful evangelical ministry for our day, we must have a ministry in earnest. We are much pleased with the third article, on Animal Organization. It is written in the true spirit of philosophy. The wisdom and the power of the great Creator are seen in the wonderful Archetypes and Homoloques of the vertebrate skeleton; and it is held as the primary obect of all scientific inquiry to know God as manifested in his works. The