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upon the whole of so vast a subject, and we have therefore contented ourselves with a brief, though, we hope, sufficiently developed discussion of one very important-even fundamental-point. We endeavour to show, in fact, that immortality is strictly in accordance with the principle of Continuity (rightly viewed); that principle which has been the guide of all modern scientific advance. As one result of this inquiry we are led, by strict reasoning on purely scientific grounds, to the probable conclusion that'a life for the unseen, through the unseen, is to be regarded as the only perfect life.' (See Chap. VII.) We need not point out here the bearing of this on religion. Incidentally, the reader will find many remarks and trains of reasoning which (by the alteration of a word or two) can be made to apply to other points of almost equal importance.

We may state that the ideas here developed—very imperfectly of course, as must always be the case in matters of the kind--are not the result of hasty guessing, but have been pressed on us by the reflections and discussions of several years.

We have to thank many of our friends, theologica} as well as scientific, for ready and valuable assistance. The matter of our work has certainly gained by this, though it is likely that the manner may have suffered by the introduction, here and there, of peculiarities of style which could not easily be removed without damage to the sense.


As a preface to our Second Edition, we cannot do better than record the experience derived from our first. It is indeed gratifying to find a wonderful want of unanimity among the critics who assail us, and it is probably owing to this cause that we have been able to preserve a kind of kinetic stability, just as a man does in consequence of being equally belaboured on all sides by the myriad petty impacts of little particles of air.

Some call us infidels, while others represent us as very much too orthodoxly credulous ; some call us pantheists, some materialists, others spiritualists. As we cannot belong at once to all these varied categories, the presumption is that we belong to none of them. This, by the way, is our own opinion.

Venturing to classify our critics, we would divide them into three groups — (1.) There are those who have doubtless faith in

revelation; but more especially, sometimes solely, in their own method of interpreting it; none, however, in the method according to which really scientific men with a won


derful unanimity have been led to interpret the works of nature. These critics call us, some infidels, some pantheists, some danger

ously subtle materialists, etc. (2.) There are those who have faith in the methods

according to which men of science interpret the laws of nature, but none whatever in revelation or theology. These consider us as orthodoxly credulous and superstitious,

as writers of 'the most hardened and impenitent nonsense that ever called itself

original speculation.' (3.) There are those who have a profound belief

that the true principles of science will be found in accordance with revelation, and who welcome any work whose object is to endeavour to reconcile these two fields of thought. Such men believe that the Author of revelation is likewise the Author of nature, and that these works of His will ultimately be found to be in perfect accord. Such of this school as have yet spoken have

approved of our work. Our readers may judge for themselves which of these three classes of belief represents most nearly the true Catholic Faith.

Many of our critics seem to fancy that we presume to attempt such an absurdity as a demonstration of Christian truth from a mere physical basis ! We

simply confute those who (in the outraged name of science) have asserted that science is incompatible with religion. Surely it is not we who are dogmatists, but those who assert that the principles and wellascertained conclusions of science are antagonistic to Christianity and immortality. If in the course of our discussion we are to some extent constructors, and find analogies in nature which seem to us to throw light upon the doctrines of Christianity, yet in the main our object is rather to break down unfounded objections than to construct apologetic arguments. These we leave to the Theologian. The Bishop of Manchester has very clearly described oui position by stating that [ from a purely physical point of view, $ 204] we 'contend for the possibility of immortality and of a personal God.'

To vary the metaphor, we have merely stripped off the hideous mask with which materialism has covered the face of nature to find underneath (what every one with faith in anything at all must expect to find) something of surpassing beauty, but yet of inscrutable depth. For indeed we are entire believers in the infinite depth of nature, and hold that just as we must imagine space and duration to be infinite, so must we imagine the structural complexity of the universe to be infinite also. To our minds it appears no less false to pronounce eternal that aggregation we call the atom, than it would be to pronounce eternal that aggregation we call the Sun. All this follows from the principle of Continuity, in virtue of which we make scientific progress in the knowledge of things, and which leads us, whatever state of things we contemplate, to look for its antecedent in some previous state of things also in the Universe. This principle represents the path from the known to the unknown, or to speak more precisely, our conviction that there is a path. Nevertheless it does not authorise us to dogmatise regarding the properties of the unknown lying beyond or at the boundary of our little clearing.' We must go up to it and examine it often, with long continued labour, under great difficulties, before we can at all say what its properties are.

Among those who recognise us as orthodox, and for that reason attack us, there is one of deservedly high authority. Our brother,' Professor W. K. Clifford, has published a lively attack on our speculations in a recent number of the Fortnightly Review. We are bound respectfully to consider the arguments of an adversary of his calibre.

He appears to be unable to conceive the possibility of a spiritual body which shall not die with the natural body. Or rather, he conceives that he is in a position to assert, from his knowledge of the universe, that such a thing cannot be. We join issue with him at once, for the depth of our ignorance with regard to the unseen universe forbids us to come to any such conclusion with regard to a possible spiritual body.

Our critic begins his article by summoning up or

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