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NATURE



THE SUPERNATURAL,



TOGETHER CON&riTUTING



THE ONE SYSTEM OF GOD.



BY HORACE BUSHNELL.

FOURTH EDTION.

NEW YOKK:
CHARLES SCRIBNER,

124 GRAND STREET.
1859.



49 Bond Strer



. • ^^ likw YORK.

PUBLIC LIBRARY

490509

ASTOn, LENOX AMS>
TILD^N FOUNDATIONS.
5 1910 ^-



Entered ac.'Ccrding to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by

CHARLES SCRIBNER,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United Statui
for the Southern Diatrict of Ne'w York.



R. H. HOBBS, STEREOTYPER, HARTFOnD, CONST



^^



PREFACE.



The treatise here presented to the public was written, as regards
the matter of it, some years ago. It has been ready for the press
more than two years, and has been kept back, by the limitations I
am imder, which have forbidden my assuming the small additional
care of its publication. It need hardly be said that the subject
has been carefully studied, as any subject rightfully should be,
that raises, for discussion, the great question of the age.

Scientifically measured, the argument of the treatise is rather
an hypothesis for the matters in question, than a positive theory of
them. And yet, like every hypothesis, that gathers in, accommo-
dates, and assimilates, all the facts of the subject, it gives, in that
one test, the most satisfactory and convincing evidence of its prac-
tical truth. Any view which takes in easily, all the facts of a sub-
ject, must be substantially true. Even the highest and most diflB-
cult questions of science are determined in this manner. While it
is easy therefore to raise an attack, at this or that particular point,
call it an assumption, or a mere caprice of invention, or a paradox,
or a dialectically demonstrable error, there will yet remain, after
all such particular denials, the fact that here is a wide hypothesis
of the world, and the great problem of hfe, and sin, and super-
natural redemption, and Christ, and a christly Providence, and a
divinely certified history, and of superhuman gifts entered into the



IV PREFACE.

world, and finally of God as related to all, whicli liquidates these
stupendous facts, in issue between Christians and unbelievers, and
gives a rational account of them. And so the points that were
assaulted, and perhaps seemed to be carried, by the skirmishes of
detail, will be seen, by one who grasps the whole in which they
are comprehended, to be still not carried, but to have the.r reason
certified by the more general solution of which they are a jjart.
One who flies at mere points of detail, regardless of the whole to
which they belong, can do nothing with a subject like this. The
points themselves are intelligible only in a way of comprehension,
or as being seen in the whole to which they are subordinate.

It will be observed that the words of scripture are often cited,
and its doctrines referred to, in the argument. But this is never
done as producing a divine authority on the subject in question.
It is very obvious that an argument, which undertakes to settle the
truth of scripture history, should not draw on that history for its
proofs. The citations in question are sometimes designed to correct
mistakes, which are held by believers themselves, and are a great
impediment to the easy solution of scripture difiBculties ; some-
times they are offered as furnishing conceptions of subjects, that
are difficult to be raised in any other manner ; sometimes they are
presented because they are clear enough, in their superiority, to
stand by their own self-evidence and conti-ibute their aid, in that
manner, to the general progress of the argument.

I regret the accidental loss of a few references that could not
be recovered, without too much labor. h. b.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORT — QUESTION STATED.

Mankind iiatT_-ally predisposed to believe in supernatural facts, 13. Neolo-
gists spring up, whom the Greeks called Sophists, 14. The Romana
had their Sophists also, 15. And now the turn of Christianity is come,
16. The naturalism of our day reduces Christianity to a myth, in tlie
same way, 17. This issue is precipitated by modern science, 19. With
tokens, on all sides, advetse to Christianity, 21. First, we have the athe-
istic school of Mr. Hume, 22. Next, Pantheism, 23. Next, the Phys-
icalists, represented by Phrenology, 23. The naturalistic characters of
Unitarianism, 24. The Associationists, 24. The Magnetic necromancy,
25. The classes mostly occupied with the material laws and forces, 25.
Modern politics, 26. The popular hterature, 28. Evangelical teachers
fall into naturalism, without being aware of it, 28. But we undertake
no issue with science, 29. Our object is to find a legitimate place for the
supernatural, as included in the system of God, 31. And this, with an
ultimate reference to the authentication of the gospel history, 32.

CHAPTER II.

DEFINITIONS — NATURE AND THE SUPERNATURAL.

Nature defined, 36. The supernatural defined, 37. Do not design to
limit, or deny the propriety of other uses, 38. Definition makes us su-
pernatural beings ourselves, 42. Our supernatural action illustrated, 43.
"We operate supernaturally, by making new conjunctions of causes, 45.
Not acted on ourselves, by causes that are eSicient through us, 46. Not
scale-beams, in our will, as governed necessarily by the strongest mo-
tive, 47. In wrong, we consciously follow the weakest motive, 49. Tlie
other functions of the soul, exterior to the will, are a nature, 51. Atlan-
tic Monthly on executive limitations of power, 53. And yet we are con-
scious, none the less, of liberty, 55. Sell-determination indestructible, 56.
Hence the honor we put on heroes and martyrs, 57. If we act supernat-
urally, why not also God? 59. Not enough that God acts in the causes
of nature, 60.

CHAPTER III.

NATURE IS NOT THE SYSTEM OF GOD — THINGS AND POWERS, HOW RELATED.

Nature oppresses our mind, at first, by her magnitudes, 64. Men, after all,
demand something supernatural, 66. Hente the appetite we discover,
for the demonstrations of necromancy, 67. Shelly, the atheist, makes a
mythology, 67. The defect of our new literature, that it has and yields
no inspiration, 63. The agreement of so many modes of naturalism,
signifies nothing, "oocause they have no agreement among themselves, 70,

1*



VI CONTENTS.

Familiarized to the subordination of causes in nature, that we may not
be disturbed by tlie same fact in religion, 72. Strauss takes note of this
fact when denying the possibility of miracles, 74. Geology shows that
God thus subordinates nature, on a large scale, 7G. In the creation
of so many new races, in place of the extinct races, 77. He crea-
ted their germs, 78. But man must have been created in maturity, 79.
The development theory inverts all the laws of organic and inorganic
substance, 81. The aspect of nature indicates interruptive and clashing
forces, that are not in the merely mineral causes, 83. Distinction of
Things and Powers, 84. Both fully contrasted, 86. Nature not the uni-
verse, 86. A subordinate part or member of the great universal sys-
tem, 87. The principal interest and significance of the universe is in the
powers, 89.-

CHAPTER IV.

PROBLEM OF EXISTENCE, AS RELATED TO THE FACT OF SIN.

The world of nature, a tool-house for the practice and moral training of
powers, 91. Their training, a training of consent, which supposes a
power of non-consent, i. e. sin, 02. Possibility of evil necessarily in-
volved, 93. No limitation of onmipotence, 94. Wln^, then, does God
create with such a possibility ? 95. May be God's plan to establish in
holine.ss, in despite of wrong, 96. No breach of unity involved in his
plan, 98. The real p



Online LibraryHorace BushnellNature and the supernatural as together constituting the one system of God → online text (page 1 of 39)