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lations of things, or by logical inference from such observations. This field of study is full of interest, and practically inexhaustible. The trustworthiness of the method admits of no doubt, whether we consider direct observation, or guarded and careful inference from things observed. To trust our powers of observation, and to rely on our reasoning faculty, are the fundamental conditions of all knowledge. Through these avenues religious knowledge must come, as well as scientific. The risk of conflict is thus excluded here. Nor will any one dispute the inherent value of scientific knowledge.* Least of all could such a challenge come from a religious basis, for the book of nature is to the religious mind the revelation of God in its own place and form, just as the Bible is in a different and higher form. The reverence belonging to religion will not derogate from the dignity of science. The natural and genuine ten dency of religious thought must be to exalt science, in its proper sense, as a verified explanation of the facts of existence. A con trary tendency can arise only in one of two ways, either when religion is driven back on the defensive on account of scientific theory
* See Appendix L
assuming an attitude of antagonism; or when religious thought has been contracted into narrow and hardened form, such as to encourage isolation from regions of investigation personally disliked. In the one case, dishonor is reflected on scientific thinking, in the other, dishonor is cast on religious thought.
These considerations will indicate the true intellectual spirit in which we should face the question concerning the relations of religion and science. To our rational nature, every thing which is entitled to rank as genuine knowledge must be matter of interest; and reliance on common means of acquiring knowledge, must involve confidence in the unity of all truth, and the possibility of demonstrating such unity, if only it be possible for us to penetrate deep enough, and extend our researches wide enough,—a confidence which will not be sacrificed even when the actual unity waits discovery. As each one of the y planets diffuses its own share of light, and all combine to constitute the solar system, so each science must be a centre of knowledge, and all combined must constitute a system of truth.
This being granted on purely intellectual
grounds, our concluding point is connected with competency to enter upon critical inquiry as to the harmony of religion and science. What has been said as to knowledge of the Bible as a prerequisite for the discussion of our problem, must equally hold as to science. One thing, however, needs to be fairly stated and deliberately allowed; the possibility of intelligent and adequate criticism does not imply full acquaintance with scientific methods, and personal ability to test the results of their application. Most of us must be content to take our scientific knowledge on trust, as Chaucer did, when he declined to enter upon the intricacies of astronomical study, because he was too old for t making satisfactory progress.* To accept scientific conclusions without personal verification is simply inevitable. "When scientific men themselves have come to a general agreement, and are not any longer in conflict on a particular conclusion, this must be enough for the great majority of intelligent inquirers.
• "'Wilt thou learne of sterres ought?'
House Of Fame, B. n, 487.
There is not, in this, absolute security for accuracy, but neither is there such security in the circumstances for scientific men themselves, and there can be no reasonable ground for hesitancy or complaint, either on our part or on theirs, if we are ready to accept general agreement as sufficient testimony for the time. It would be utterly impracticable and unreasoning to insist that we can not intelligently accept the conclusions of astronomy unless we are able to go through the mathematical processes; or the main facts of human physiology unless we have verified each position by personal investigation into the structure of the organs, and the conditions of functional activity. Conjectures find from an intelligent public no higher acknowledgment than is due to conjecture, simply because those who have devoted themselves to research in the department concerned are not agreed in attributing to them any higher significance. On the other hand, conclusions are accepted as true, however much they may be at variance with previously existing conviction, when the great majority of scientific inquirers have admitted the observations to be undoubted or the reasonings conclusive. This is the only conceivable test. It is that which scientific thinkers must themselves recognize as the rule of credence in all departments of investigation lying beyond their own familiar field of study; and it is that which is naturally accepted by the whole body of non-scientific readers and thinkers interested in the advance of knowledge. All practiced theologians, and all upholders of religion on the ground of intelligent warrant for belief and practice, only take the ground of common intelligence when they accept implicitly the conclusions reached by scientific procedure.
Whatever then may be the evidence of conflict between science and religion, and whatever the difficulties lying in the way of working out reconciliation, there is clear warrant for claiming common ground from which to start, and that so ample and secure that it is provided by scientific inquiry itself, and generally accepted by educated men of all classes. There can be no patchwork contrivance, made up of what may be taken to be final statements of theological and scientific positions. We do not aim at some agglomeration of materials gathered from opposite quarters and brought together with the de