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Faraday as a Christian.


range of natural phenomena does not present a more wonderful result than this. Well known and familiar though it may be - a fact standing on the very threshold of chemistry—it is one over which I ponder again and again with admiration. To think that these two elements holding in their admixed parts the power of whole thunderstorms, should wait indefinitely until some cause of union be applied, and then furiously rush into combination, and form the bland, unirritating liquid. Water is to me, I confess, a phenomenon which continually awakens new feelings of wonder as often as I view it.'

This waiting-state of bodies-might tarrying meekly and patiently for the signal to act—seems to have had a peculiar fascination for Faraday.

- When I consider the multitude of associated forces which are diffused through nature—when I think of that calm and tranquil balancing of their energies which enables elements most powerful in themselves, most destructive to the world's creatures and economy - to dwell associated together, and be made subservient to the wants of creation, I rise from the contemplation more than ever impressed with the wisdom, the beneficence, and grandeur, beyond our language to express, of the Great Disposer of all !'

But Faraday was still more. His name must be entered on the bright rol of philosophers who have been as sincere in their faith as they have been profound in their science. So far from being repelled by revelation, as is too common in these carping, critical days, that man of genius not only saw nothing in the course of modern discovery to shake his belief in God's book, but clung to it with indomitable trust as the strongest, surest pillar of the universe. It is a fact which should never be forgotten, that he, the most experimental inquirer of his day, the man most accustomed to anatomise phenomena, the man who held more familiar converse with nature respecting her laws than any other of his contempo raries, remained to the last one of the staunchest of believers. It is precisely in such cases as those of Newton and Faraday that Christianity has its fairest play amongst philosophers ; for it is precisely there that the pride of talent, and the conceit of superior knowledge-deadly foes to revelationcan have least disturbing power. The modesty of character which distinguished these two great captains of science, and the singular truthfulness of their dispositions, enabled them to judge candidly; and their verdict, recorded in heaven as on earth, will outweigh the hostile decisions of hundreds of lesser and vainer men.

Perceiving clearly the source of human error upon this

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point, Faraday boldly asserted 'an absolute distinction between

religious and ordinary belief.' He held that the truths regarding the future could not be brought to man's knowledge by any exertion of his faculties, but must be communicated by other teaching than his own. But, said he, I have never

seen anything incompatible between those things of man 'which can be known by the spirit of man which is within him, and those things concerning his future which he cannot know by that spirit.' To put the matter in plain termsis human reason competent to solve all the problems of the present and the future? If so, let it cavil, let it argue, let it decide. But if it cannot explain how the will uplifts the arm; how a ponderous planet is chained to a central sun ; how a poor wayside nettle is produced or sustained ; if, indeed, there is not a single phenomenon in creation out of which we can wring the entire mystery, let us not beg the whole question by assuming the sufficiency of our intelligence, and by making this the sole standard by which marvels on earth and revelations from heaven are to be tried.

Faraday was a member of the Sandemanian community.* One of the leading features in this body is the rejection of all ceremonial and set forms of supplication, which the members regard as parasitical encroachments upon Christianity. They have no Book of Common Prayer; the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the standard of their faith and the source of their instruction. They have a metrical version of the Psalms, it is true, but from this rhyme is excluded, lest it should distort the sense of the original text. There are no endowments in this church, and the officers all perform their duties without the slightest emolument.

For ten years Faraday acted as an elder, and only resigned the post three years before his death, on account of his growing infirmities. In this capacity he preached on alternate Sabbaths, and occasionally on week nights. In prayer, which must always be extemporaneous amongst this denomination, and which constitutes a large portion of their worship, Faraday was peculiarly fervent and sincere ; and it was noticed that he-one of the most modest of men-appeared ever to suspect a tendency in himself to intellectual pride; for no petition was more frequently on his lips than this—that the word might be as a hammer breaking the rock in pieces, and bringing every proud and high thought

* Not unfrequently the philosopher was supposed to be a Swedenborgian; but as a relative smartly observed, the mistake arose from a confusion of terms something like Fluellen's famous comparison of Modmouth and Macedon.

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into subjection to the will of God. The Sandemanians insist with peculiar force upon the doctrine that human merit is nothing in the sight of heaven; and Faraday held this view in all singleness and simplicity of soul. Doubtless it tended much to foster the humility which was one of the brightest ornaments in his character; for here was a man with a brilliant reputation -a reputation wide almost as the world itself, lasting almost as the sciences he cultivated-officiating before a lowly congregation, in an obscure meeting-house, belonging to a community which, in social estimation, bore the same relationship to the national church, that a little Welsh chapel does to Westminster Abbey. Can we imagine his predecessor Davy pursuing a similar course when honours came pouring in upon him, and titled people courted his company? It is alike creditable to Faraday that he clung to his chosen community throughout life, and to the body itself that it should have retained such an illustrious associate to the last.

It is no secret that, for some time before Faraday's death, his fine intellect was obscured. On his last appearance at the Royal Institution, on the 20th June, 1862, he intimated that his memory was rapidly decaying, and so completely did it give way eventually, that during the closing year of his life he frequently lost the power of recognising his dearest friends. From his fits of depression few things could rouse him, though, as Dr. Scoffern remarks, a magnificent thunder storm rarely failed to produce that effect. Like Swift, Scott, Southey, Wordsworth, and a host of brilliant men, the busy, fertile brain had overtasked its strength, and now refused to obey the biddings of the master power within. Let us not dwell upon this melancholy phase of a noble existence, except to note it as a fact which, more than any other, should teach the wise to possess their wisdom in humility, and the mighty in genius to wear their honours meekly and with much fear and trembling. Not for himself was the lesson required, but that others might learn that the greatest gifts may be summarily cancelled, and the loftiest faculties palsied even when tutored to their highest perfection. To him who had served his Maker as a master in science was now allotted the task of serving him as a cypher. He had done his duty well and worthily. He had borne him. self valiantly before earth, and faithfully before heaven. He had added much to the world's treasury of truth, and made it wiser in knowledge and wealthier in power than it was before. He had never toiled in nature's mines to find the gold which could minister to his ease, or to earn the prizes which would feed a gluttonous appetite for glory. With him, science had



ever walked hand in hand with religion, and throughout his career he had never struck one blow at revelation, nor uttered one word which could weaken the faith of the simplest believer. A purer, less selfish, more stainless existence has rarely been witnessed. At last came the voice which the dying alone can hear, and the hand which the living may not see beckoned him away; and then that noble intellect awakening from its lethargy, like some sleeper roused from a heavy dream, rose up and passed through the gates of light into the better land, where, doubtless, it is now immersed in the study of grander mysteries than any it ever attempted to explore on earth. A man to be loved a Christian to be revered—a philosopher to be had in perpetual memory-was, and is, and will be, Michael Faraday.

ART. VII.Union of Christendom in its Home Aspects. By the DEAN

OF CANTERBURY. Contemporary Review. February, 1868. The Christian Conscience. By the DEAN OF CANTERBURY. "Good

Words.' January, 1868. WHILE seeking to realize in practice bold and high ideals, man. kind has been fain to rest satisfied with meagre makeshifts. These makeshifts are often manifestly imperfect, and sometimes perilously inconsistent with that which they profess to enshrine, but having once borne the name of a great party and been identified with a noble cause, they have been clung to with pertinacious determination. Many time-honoured institutions and organizations afford illustration of this statement. What ideal can be more sublime than that of the union of Christendom? What can be a grander conception than out of the many discordant elements of fallen humanity, and in spite of innumerable colliding, national, hereditary, and specific interests to create a sublime unity and supernatural fellowship; a nation which shall speak one heavenly language; an empire which shall obey without hesitation one invisible and sovereign Lord ; an organization which is perfectly centralized, having millions of wills fused into one, bringing even thought itself into miraculous accord, being perfectly joined together " in the same mind and in the same judgment?" Yet there has been no moment since the day of Pentecost, when the Church has not Since this article

was written, a work on Faraday as a Discoverer has been published by Professor Tyndall. Coming from the pen of so sparkling a writer, and so accomplished a philosopher, it will doubtless be eagerly and extensively read.

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ardently desired to realize this union in regions where it was impossible to achieve it, and moreover by processes which were incompatible with, and even antagonistic to the end which it had at heart.

We do not hesitate to affirm that neither in the specific regions where great ecclesiastics and formidable parties have been striving to find and realize the oneness and unity of the Church, nor in the departments of dogmatic and authoritative statement concerning the great facts of Divine revelation, nor even in those of organization, has there ever been anything approximating the success that is claimed. This is obvious, and will be admitted by all who do not unchristianize and unchurch the vast sectional communities, which from the time of the apostles to our own day, with varying names and ever-increasing numbers, have always repudiated portions of the dogma or refused some of the claims of the so-called Catholic Church. The Church has never been one in the sense of holding unanimously, without any deviation of thought or expression to one dogma. The Church has never been one in the sense of submitting to one ecclesiastical authority. We believe, how. ever, that the true Church has always been one in its God, in its baptism, in the object of its worship, in its faith, in the ground and nature of its trust, in the source of its Divine life, in the manifestations of that life in humanity, in the sanctity of the new relations it has created, in the hope it has inspired. If the eye has meanwhile said to the hand or the foot, I have no need of thee,' it has not succeeded in dispossessing the body of Christ of that which was as needful as itself to its unity. The Union, the unity of the holy Catholic Church, has prevailed in spite of the frantic efforts made by men to force certain elements of it into visible expression. Boasted unity of acknowledged dogma has led to and covered the most grievous hypocrisies, has fettered the mind of men, has resisted the free action of the Spirit of God. Enforced unity of organization has produced the most odious tyranny that the world has ever known, and all these evils have been committed in the hope of preserving a unity which their authors were doing their utmost to shatter and destroy. There was a deeper unity between Athanasius and Eusebius, between Nestorius and Cyril

, than it seemed possible for them to put into formulæ. There was a deeper union between Cyprian and Novatian, between the Celtic bishops and Augustine of Canterbury, than they could reduce to a practical shape. Between Luther and Zwingle, Cranmer and Bellarmine, there were hidden sympathies and divine similitudes. The Puritans

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