Isreal Smith Clare.

Library of Universal history and popular science ... (Volume 20) online

. (page 60 of 60)
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great act of faith" faith in the uniformity of nature. Religion
replies to science: " A ud I, too, start with a faith in one thing. I
start with a faith which you, too, profess to hold faith in the mean-
ing of duty and the infinite importance of life; and out of that faith
my whole fabric of certainties, one after the other, is reared by the
hands of reason. Do you ask for proof? Do you ask for verification ?
I can give you one only, which you may take or leave, as you choose.
Deny the certainties whiah I declare to be certain deny the existence
of G.od, deny man's freedom and immortality, and by no other con-
ceivable hypothesis can you vindicate for man's life any possible mean-
ing, or save it from the degradation at which you profess to feel so
aghast." " Is there no other way," I can conceive science asking, " no
other way by which the dignity of life may be vindicated except this
the abandonment of my one fundamental principle? Must I put
my lips, in shame and humiliation, to the cup of faith I have so con-
temptuously cast away from me ? May not this cup pass from me?
Is there salvation in no other ? " And to this question, without pas-
sion or preference, the voice of reason and logic pitilessly answers

Here is the dilemma which men, sooner or later, will see before
them, in all its crudeness and nakedness, cleared from the rags with
which the cowardice of contemporary agnosticism has obscured it ; and
they will then have to choose one alternative or the other. What
their choice will be I do not venture to prophesy; but I will venture
to call them happy if their choice prove to be this : To admit frankly
that their present canon of certainty, true so far as it goes, is only the
pettiest part of truth, and that the deepest certainties are those which,
if tried by this canon, are illusions. To make this choice a struggle
would be required with pride, and with what has long passed for
enlightenment; and yet, when it is realized what depends on the
struggle, there are some at least who will think that it must end suc-
cessfully. The only way by which, in the face of science, we can ever
logically arrive at a faith in life, is by the commission of what many
at present will describe as an intellectual suicide. I do not for a
moment admit that such an expression is justifiable, but, if I may use
it provisionally, and because it points to the temper at present preva-
lent, I shall be simply pronouncing the judgment of fngid reason in
saying that it is only through the grave and gate of death that the
spirit of man can pass to its resurrection.



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Online LibraryIsreal Smith ClareLibrary of Universal history and popular science ... (Volume 20) → online text (page 60 of 60)