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grateful acknowledgment of what the Scriptures declare. The relations now to be dealt with are those subsisting between religion as presented in the Bible, (which is in the hands of all, to be examined and dealt with by scientific inquirers), and science as presented to us in the present day, for the acceptance of all. The claim to universal acceptance found here on both sides, is that which gives special interest and true logical importance to the problem. Christianity professes to discover a religion to be accepted of all men, and a practice to be observed by all: science professes to give an account of the state of things around us in the world, to be accepted by all, and acknowledged in practice if men would adapt themselves to the natural conditions of their life. This claim to universal acceptance is not affected on either side by the fact that diversities of interpretation and application emerge among the upholders of Christianity, and the expounders of science. Such diversities are well known to exist in both spheres of thought. It needs to be recognized at all times, and prominently stated in such a discussion as the present, that under the conditions determining the attainment of knowledge, there must be diversity of opinion. Indeed, the wider the area of acquired truth, the more extensive becomes the field of possible differences, both in respect of what is involved under conclusions already reached, and of what may transcend the boundaries of present knowledge. It is, therefore, no marvel that there is large diversity of opinion among scientific men, on many problems arising out of universally accepted positions. It is only by the same necessity that there is diversity of opinion on matters of religion. The materials of study are set before us in the mass, and our knowledge is to be obtained by the slow processes of intellectual procedure, in accordance with which some things become clear, while many more remain obscure. Whether we are dealing with book knowledge, or with knowledge obtained by direct observation of existing things, does not affect this matter. The intellectual conditions are the same in both cases, and it is from exactly the same intellectual source that inevitable conflict of opinion arises.
The simple and obvious truth is that there can be no field of human inquiry in which diversity of opinion can be avoided, for two reasons, that all knowledge possessed by us is incomplete, and active intelligence can not rest in the incomplete. Neither science nor theology can afford to dispense with hypothesis, that is conjecture, and where conjecture is, there is a wide region for devious wandering. Conjecture means inquiry into the unknown, and this is essential to intellectual life, equally necessary for science and religion, and . accordingly diversity of opinion is inevitable in the history of both, as in the history of all forms of human activity. In every region of human knowledge there is a realm of the certain, and another of the uncertain, and accordingly there is diversity of opinion and conviction. Occasionally, in controversial writing, it is suggested that there is greater diversity of view in matters religious, than in matters scientific; and it is implied that such diversity is a reasonable ground of reproach. Both allegations are at fault, and the error arises from want of observation, involving imperfect acquaintance with the facts. Religion as it is concerned with the life of man himself, and is the subject of interest to all, has not only its common positions generally recognized, but also many of its phases of conflicting thought. Science, as it is beyond the range of the great majority as a subject of personal research, and within reach of only a limited number as a subject even of book knowledge, has its questions of conflict concealed to some extent from the public view. But, even moderate acquaintance with science makes us aware of the fact that there is conflict of opinion in every region of inquiry. Indeed it should be alien to the reflective observer, to marvel at the discovery of diversity of thought in any region, or to make its existence a ground for adverse criticism. Commonly accepted conclusions must afford the basis for competent criticism, whatever be the field of inquiry brought under review; diversity of opinion beyond and around these, must be accepted as the uniform attendant of human knowledge, indicating at once the provision for intellectual progress and the inducement to it. Thus, on grounds indisputable from a scientific .basis, we escape the need for vindicating religion from the charge of having its claims to rational homage weakened, by the diversity of opinion found within the boundaries of religious thought. Such diversity is in strict accordance with familiar facts connected with every branch of science. Whatever may be said of the strong and paradoxical, because one-sided, utterance of Lessing,* it must be manifest that in all directions we are of necessity searchers after truth, and it is in such circumstances an intellectual weakness to object to the reliability of generally accepted conclusions, because they become startingpoints for many lines of conflicting speculation. In religious thought, as in scientific, there are on all hands the marks of the unfinished; and the varieties of opinion associated with generally accepted conviction only afford needful evidence of healthy intellectual activity.
As we daily hear much of the conflict between science and religion, and as it is one part of the purpose of the present course to deal with what is loudly proclaimed to be a serious feature in modern thought, it becomes needful to clear the ground considerably, with the view of discovering where the alleged con
* "If God had held all truth in his right hand, and in his left the ever-living desire for truth, although with the condition that I should remain in error for ever, and if he should say to mo 'choose,' I should humbly incline towards his left, and say, 'Father, give: pure truth is for thee alone''"—WolferbiiUel Fragments. See Zimmern's Life of Lessing, p. 361.