UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Acce&sion No. *Z
Lf, 7 .
BOSTON MONDAY LECTURES.
PRELUDES ON CURRENT EVENTS.
BY JOSEPH COOK.
1 They who reject the testimony of the self-evident truths will find
nothing surer on which to build." ARISTOTLE.
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY.
(LATB TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & Co.)
BY JOSEPH COOK.
All Rights Reserved.
FRANKLIN PRESS :
RAND, AVBRY, AND COMPANY,
THE object of the Boston Monday Lectures is to present the
results of the freshest German, English, and American scholar-
ship on the more important and difficult topics concerning the
relation of Religion and Science.
They were begun in the Meionaon in 1875 ; and the audiences,
gathered at noon on Mondays, were of such size as to need to be
transferred to Park-street Church in October, 1876, and thence to
Tremont Temple, which was often more than full during the
winter of 1876-77.
The audiences contained large numbers of ministers, teachers,
and other educated men.
The thirty-five lectures of the last season were stenographically
reported in the Boston Daily Advertiser, and most of them were
republished in full in New York and London.
The lectures on Biology oppose the materialistic, and not the
theistic, theory of Evolution.
The lectures on Transcendentalism contain a discussion of the
views of Theodore Parker.
The Committee having charge of the Boston Monday Lectures
for the coming year consists of the following gentlemen :
His Excellency A. H. RICE, Prof. EDWARDS A. PAKK, LL.D.,
Governor of Massachusetts. Andover Thelogical Seminary.
Hon. ALPHEUS HARDY. Right Rev. BISHOP FOSTER.
Hon. WILLIAM CLAFLIN, Ex- Prof. L. T. TOWNSEND, Boston
Governor of Massachusetts. University.
Prof. E. P. GOULD, Newton The- ROBERT GILCHRIST.
logical Institute. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Rev. J. L. WITHROW, D.D. Rev. Z. GRAY, D.D., Episcopal
REUBEN CROOKS. Theological School, Cambridge.
Rev. WILLIAM M. BAKER, D.D. WILLIAM B. MERRILL.
RUSSELL STURGIS, Jr. M. H. SARGENT.
E. M. MCPHERSON. M. R. DEMING, Secretary.
BOSTON, September, 1877. HENRY F ' ^URANT, Chairman.
JN the careful reports of Mr. Cook's Lectures printed
in the Boston Daily Advertiser, were included by the
stenographer sundry expressions (applause, &c.) indicat-
ing the immediate and varying impressions with which the
Lectures were received. Though these reports have been
thoroughly revised by the author, the publishers have
thought it advisable to retain these expressions. Mr.
Cook's audiences included, in large numbers, representa-
tives of the broadest scholarship, the profoundest philoso-
phy, the acutest scientific research, and generally of the
finest intellectual culture, of Boston and New England ;
and it has seemed admissible to allow the larger assembly
to which these Lectures are now addressed to know how
they were received by such audiences as those to which
they were originally delivered.
I, INTUITION, INSTINCT, EXPERIMENT, SYLLOGISM, AS
TESTS OF TRUTH 1
II. TRANSCENDENTALISM IN NEW ENGLAND .... ff
III. THEODORE PARKER'S ABSOLUTE RELIGION ... 53
IY. CARICATURED DEFINITIONS IN RELIGIOUS SCIENCE 83
Y. THEODORE PARKER ON THE GUILT OF SIN . . . 109
VI. FINAL PERMANENCE OF MORAL CHARACTER . . 135
VII. CAN A PERFECT BEING PERMIT EVIL ? . . . . 165
YIII. THE RELIGION REQUIRED BY THE NATURE OF
IX. THEODORE PARKER ON COMMUNION WITH GOD AS
X. THE TRINITY AND TRITHEISM * 247
XI. FRAGMENTARINESS OF OUTLOOK UPON THE DIVINE
I. THE CHILDREN OF THE PERISHING POOR. ... 3
II. THE FAILURE OF STRAUSS' s MYTHICAL THEORY . 29
III. CHALMERS'S REMEDY FOR THE EVILS OF CITIES . 55
IY. MEXICANIZED POLITICS 85
Y. YALE, HARVARD, AND BOSTON Ill
VI. THE RIGHT DIRECTION OF THE RELIGIOUSLY IR-
VII. RELIGIOUS CONVERSATION 167
^VIIL GEORGE WHITEFIELD IN BOSTON 193
IX. CIRCE'S CUP IN CITIES 221
X. CIVIL SERVICE REFORM 249
XI. PLYMOUTH ROCK AS THE CORNER-STONE OF A
INTUITION, INSTINCT, EXPEKIMENT, SYLLOGISM,
AS TESTS OF TKUTH.
THE FIFTY-NINTH LECTURE IN THE BOSTON MONDAY LEC-
TURESHIP, DELIVERED IN TREMONT TEMPLE, JAN. 1.
" HE would be thought void of common sense who asked on the
one side, or, on the other, went to give, a reason why it is impossible
for the same thing to be and not to be." LOCKE: .Essay, Book i.
" THERE is here a confession, the importance of which has been
observed neither by Locke nor his antagonists. In thus appealing
to common sense or intellect, he was in fact surrendering his thesis,
that all our knowledge is an educt from experience. For in ad-
mitting, as he here virtually does, that experience must ultimately
ground its procedure on the laws of intellect, he admits that intellect
contains principles of judgment, on which experience being depend-
ent, cannot possibly be their precursor or their cause. What Locke
here calls common sense he elsewhere denominates intuition."
SIB WILLIAM HAMILTON: Reid's Collected Writings, vol. ii. p. 784.
INTUITION, INSTINCT, EXPERIMENT, SYL-
LOGISM, AS TESTS OF TRUTH.
PRELUDE ON CURRENT EVENTS.
UNLESS the children of the dangerous and perish-
ing classes are to blame for being born, they, at least,
whatever we say of their parents, cannot be shut out
from a victorious place in our pity. This is a festal
day ; and, if the Author of Christianity were on the
groaning earth to make calls, probably the most of
them, in the cities of the world, would be in unfash-
ionable places. Why should we be so shy of the
visitation in person of death-traps and rookeries ?
There is ineffable authority and example for going
from house to house doing good. Visits thus en-
joined cannot be made by proxy. No doubt organ-
ized and unorganized charity is usually, in its modern
form, a result of the Christian spirit. Celsus said
Christianity could not be divine, because it cared
insanely for the poor. Old Rome's mood toward the
miserable the world of culture now loathes. Philan-
thropy swells the tide of commiseration for the un-
fortunate; and sometimes the most erratic opinions
have been conjoined with the soundest behavior
toward those who have hardly where to lay their
heads. Orthodoxy itself is often shy of personal con-
tact with the very wretched, and goes from house to
house by proxy. Organized charity, we think, is the
whole of our duty. But Thomas Guthrie, and Dr.
Chalmers, and all who have had much to do with
the perishing classes in great cities, have taught the
Church, that, when men are sick and in prison, they
are to be visited. I know a great orator in this city,
whose name is a power from sea to sea, and whose sil-
vering honored head often bends over couch and
cradle in the most miserable houses. It is safe to go
to the North End now : it is not safe in the fiercest
heats of summer.
Our North winds in winter strike us all the way
from Boothia Felix, and their iciness seals some
fever-dens, whose doors swing wide open every sum-
mer under the guardianship, as one must suppose, of
the negligence of the Board of Health. [Applause.]
I am not speaking at random ; for, according to the
city reports, there were in 1876 sixty-eight houses
condemned as not conforming to the sanitary regula-
tions of this city; and of these only seventeen were
really vacated; the rest were white-washed. [Ap-
plause.] The truth is, that if there were ten Boards
of Health, and if they all did their duty, we could
not avoid having a large population born into the
This nation now has one-fifth of its population in
TESTS OF TRUTH.
cities. What are we to do with the social barriers
which allow a great city to be not only a great
world, but ten great worlds, in which one world does
not care at all for what the other worlds are doing ?
In every great town there are six or ten strata in
society ; and it is, one would think, a hundred miles
from the fashionable to the unfashionable side of a
single brick in a wall. Superfluity and squalor know
absolutely nothing of each other such is the utter
negligence of the duty of visiting the poor, in any
other way than by agents. I do not undervalue
these, nor any part of the great charities of our
times ; but there is no complete theory for the per-
manent relief of the poor without personal visitation.
Go from street to street with the city missionary or
the best of the police ; but sometimes go all alone,
and with your own eyes see the poor in the attics,
and study the absolutely unspeakable conditions of
their daily lives. Not long ago, I was in a suffocated
tenement-house where five or six points on which I
could put my hand were in boldest violation of the
laws which it is the business of the Board of Health
in this city to see executed. [Applause.] The
death-rate of Boston in summer, in the North End,
is often above thirty-five in the thousand. The regis-
trar-general of England says that any deaths above
seventeen in a thousand are unnecessary. Live one
day where the children of the perishing poor live,
and ask what it is to live there always. I know a
scholar of heroic temper and of exquisite culture,
who recently resolved to live with the poor in a
stifling part of this city, and who, after repeated and
desperate illness, was obliged to move his home off
the ground in order to avoid the necessity of putting
his body underground. You cannot understand the
poor by newspapers, nor even by novels.
Our distant lavender touches of the miserable
show the barbaric blood yet in our veins. Going
about from house to house doing good is a great
Christian measure permanently instituted by a typi-
cal example, which in a better age may be remem-
bered, and be the foundation of a nobility not yet
visible on the planet. There was One who washed
his disciples' feet, and in that act founded an order
of nobility; but this second symbolic act seems not
to be apprehended even yet by some good Samari-
tans in gloves. The way from Jerusalem to Jeri-
cho lies now through the city slums ; and, for many
an age to come, there will be the spot where men
oftenest will be left stripped and sore and half dead.
We want all good influences of the parlor and press,
from literature and the interior church of the church,
to work upon the problem of saving the perishing
and dangerous classes in great cities. [Applause.]
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as this? Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
LEAR, act iii. sc. iv.
Napoleon L, one day riding in advance of his army,
came to a bridgeless river, which it was necessary
that his hosts should immediately cross on a forced
march. " Tell me," said the great emperor to his
engineer, " the breadth of this stream." " Sire, I can-
not," was the reply. " My scientific instruments are
with the army ; and we are ten miles ahead of it."
" Measure the breadth of this stream instantly."
" Sire, be reasonable." " Ascertain at once the width
of this river, or you shall be deposed from your office."
The engineer drew down the cap-piece on his helmet
till the edge of it just touched the opposite bank ;
and then, holding himself erect, turned upon his
heel, and noticed where the cap-piece touched the
bank on which he stood. He then paced the dis-
tance from his position to the latter point, and turned
to the emperor saying, " This is the breadth of the
stream approximately ; " and he was promoted.
Now, in all the marches of thought, metaphysical
science measures the breadth of streams with scien-
tific instruments, indeed; but it uses no principles
which men of common sense, at their firesides, or in
politics, or before juries, or in business, do not recog-
nize as authoritative. Your Napoleon's engineeer,
after his instruments came up, no doubt made a more
accurate measurement than he had done by his skil-
ful expedient of common sense ; but the new and
exact determination of the distance must have pro^
ceeded upon precisely the same principle by which
he had made his approximate calculation. Both the
estimates would turn on the scientific certainty that
the radii of a circle are equal. The distance to the
opposite bank is one radius in a circle, of which the
position of the observer is the centre ; and, if now he
wheels round the radius, of course the radius here is
just as long as the radius yonder ; for things which
are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.
The most exact instruments ever invented would
have behind them only that incontrovertible, axio-
matic, self-evident truth. You can measure a river
in the way Napoleon's engineer did ; but you think
that research of the metaphysical sort has something
in it incomprehensible, mystical, and suspicious. Let
us not stand in too much awe of the theodolite. As
the engineer's final measurement of the river with
scientific instruments was simply his pacing made
exact, so* metaphysics is simply common sense made
After three months on Evolution, Materialism, and
Immortality, the current of discussion in this Lec-
tureship enters on a. new vista ; but the river is the
same, for it flows out of that tropical land of Biology
we have been traversing together, and the chief
theme is always the relations of religion and science.
It will yet be our duty to meditate on the applica-
tion of the principle of evolution to philosophy, and
especially to ethics; for I am now bidding adieu to
Materialism as a topic-, and am approaching Tran-
scendentalism, and so Conscience, and so the natural
conditions of the peace of the soul with itself and
TESTS OF TEUTH. V
with the plan which inheres in the nature of things;
that is, with God.
Here, as everywhere, religious science, like every
other science, asks you to grant nothing but axio-
matic truth. In considering Transcendentalism, or
axiomatic tests of certainty, I must seem, therefore,
to be almost transcendentalistic at first ; for such is
and must be all sound thought, up to a certain point.
I am no pantheist ; I am no individualist ; I am no
mere theist, I hope: but so far forth as Transcen-
dentalism founds itself upon what Aristotle and
Kant and Hamilton have called intuition, self-evident
truths, axioms, first principles, I am willing to call
myself a transcendentalist, not of the rationalistic,
but of the Kantian, Hamiltonian, and Coleridgian
Both wings of the army front of Transcendental-
ism must be studied, and it will be found that it is
only the left or rationalistic wing that has been of
late thrown into panic. That sgrried and scattered
and very brave host made bold marches in Boston
thirty years ago. Its leaders now confess that it has
been substantially defeated. It is time for the right
wing and centre to move. This portion of Transcen-
dentalism never broke with Christianity: the other
portion did ; and to-day, according to its own admis-
sion, is not only not victorious, but dispirited (Froth-
ingham, Transcendentalism in New England, passim).
Its historians speak of it as a thing of the past. Self-
evident truths, axioms, necessary beliefs, however,
can never go out of fashion; they can be opposed
only by being assumed; they are a dateless and eter-
Mr. Emerson's theoretical tests of truth are the
intuitions or axioms of the soul, and undoubtedly
these are the tests which the acutest philosophical
science of the world now justifies, and has alwaj r b
justified. Whether the tests themselves justify pan-
theism, whether they give countenance to individ-
ualism like Mr. Emerson's, whether they establish
mere theism, are grave and great questions that can-
not be discussed here and now, but which we shall
reach at the proper time. The whole of metaphys-
ics, the whole philosophy of evolution, the whole of
materialism, the whole of every thing that calls itself
scientific, must submit itself to certain first truths ;
and therefore, on these first truths we must fasten
the microscope with all the eagerness of those who
wish to feel beneath them, somewhere in the yeasting
foam of modern speculation, a deck that is tremorless.
What is an intuition?
Theodore Parker held that we have an " instinc-
tive intuition " of the Divine Existence, and of
immortality, and of the authority of the moral law.
He constantly assumed that these facts are intuitive
or self-evident, and as incontrovertible as the propo-
sition that every change must have an adequate
cause. He used the word u intuition " carelessly, and
did not carefully distinguish intuition and instinct
from each other. Very often, in otherwise brilliant
literature, this vacillating and obscure use of the
word "intuition" leads to most mischievous confu-
TESTS OF TRUTH. 11
sion of thought. We are told that woman's intui-
tions are better in many respects than man's ; we are
assured that the intuitions of childhood are purer,
clearer, or more nearly unadulterated, than those of
middle life : in short, our popular, and many of our
scientific discussions, so far as these proceed from
persons who have had no distinctively metaphysical
training, use the word "intuition" with the most
bewildering looseness. Individualism is justified by
intuition ; pantheism, mere theism, orthodoxy, or
whatever a man feels, or seems to feel, to be true, he
says his intuitions affirm. There are those who con-
fuse intuition, not only with instinct, but with mere
insight; that is, with an imaginative or reflective
swiftness or emotional force, which, by glancing at
truth, catches its outlines better than by laborious
plodding. The loftiest arrogance of individualism
justifies itself often simply by calling its idiosyncra-
sies intuitions. In all ages mysticism of the devout-
est school has frequently made the same wild mis-
take. Gleams of radiance across the inner heavens
of the great poetic souls of the race we must rever-
ence ; but shooting-stars are not to be confounded
with the eternally fixed constellations. Undoubted-
ly a single flash of lightning from the swart, thunder-
ous summer midnight, often ingrains the memory of
a landscape more durably on the memory than the
beating of many summer noons ; but even lightning
glances are not intuitions.
Our first business then, my friends, will be to ob-
tain a distinct definition of the strategic word " intui-
tion." This is a scientific technical term ; and, when
correctly used as such, has outlines as clearly cut as
those of a crystal.
We must approach the definition in a way that
will carry all minds with us, step by step.
1. It is possible to imagine all the articles in this
room to be annihilated, or not in existence.
You feel very sure, do you not, as you cast a
glance on the capacities of your mind, that you can
believe that these articles might never have existed ;
and so of all other objects that fill space ? Orion
flames in our skies now ; but you can at least imagine
that this constellation might never have been. The
Seven Stars we can suppose to be annihilated. I do
not mean that we can prove matter to be destructi-
ble, but that we can imagine its non-existence. You
are entirely certain of your mental capacity to im-
agine the non-existence of any material object in any
part of space.
2. It is impossible to imagine the space in this
room to be annihilated, or not in existence.
Notice the strange fact that you cannot so much
as imagine the annihilation of a corner of the space
in this room. You bring down in thought the space
from one corner, as you would roll up a thick cur-
tain ; but you have left space behind, up yonder in
the corner. You lift up this floor and bring down
the ceiling : but you have left space beneath and
above. You draw in all four sides of this temple at
once, and cause its dimensions to diminish equally in
every direction ; but in every direction you have left
TESTS OF TRUTH. 13
space. If you go out into infinite space with the best
exorcism of your magic, if you whip it as Xerxes
whipped the ocean, you will find your heaviest lashes
as unavailing as his. No part of space can even be
imagined not to be in existence. We cannot so much
as imagine that the space through which Orion and
the Seven Stars wander should not be ; by no possi-
bility can you in thought get rid of it, although you
easily get rid of them. That is a very curious fact
in the mind.
3. It is possible to suppose all the events since sun-
rise not to have taken place.
I know not but that at this moment the English
fleet lately in the Bosphorus is floating across the
purple ripples of the Piraeus harbor at Athens, in
sight of the Acropolis. It may be that the Russians
are commencing a march upon Turkey. But what-
ever has happened since sunrise I can imagine not
to have happened at all. It is perfectly easy for me,
in thought, to vacate all time of all events. Any
thing that has taken place in time may be imagined
not to have taken place. We can imagine the non-
existence of whatever we call an event.
4. It is impossible to suppose any portion of the
duration from sunrise to the present moment not to
If you will try the experiment with yourselves,
and analyze your minds, you will find that it is really
impossible to think of any portion of duration as
annihilated. You annihilate an hour, as you say ; but
there is a gap left, and it is an hour long. You anni-
hilate an age in the flow of the eternities, and there
is a gap of an age there. If you will simply notice
your own thoughts, you will find that in this case, as
in the case of space, we strike upon a most marvellous
circumstance. The mind is so made, that it is not
capable even of imagining the non-existence of time
or of space. There are hundreds of proofs of this ;
and those who hold the materialistic philosophy do
not deny the existence of this necessity in the human
mind. They explain its origin and meaning in a way
that I do not think clear at all ; but they, with all
men who understand their own mental operations,
admit that all events and all objects we may annihi-
late in thought, but not space, not time. Moreover,
we are convinced that always there was space, and
always there will be ; that always there was time,
and always there will be.
5. It is possible to believe that any effect or
change that has taken place might not have taken
6. It is impossible to believe that any change can
have taken place without a cause.
This latter is an amazing but wholly incontroverti-
ble fact in the mind.
Our idea of the connection of cause and effect is
equally clear with our ideas concerning space and
time ; and the axiom which asserts that every change
must have a sufficient cause is not a merely identical
proposition either. I know that materialistic schools
in philosophy are often saying that most axioms are
simply equations between different expressions for
TESTS OF TRUTH. 15
the same thought. Whatever is, is. That, undoubt-
edly, is an identical proposition. It means simply, as
John Stuart Mill said, that, when any proposition is
true in one form of words, we have a right to affirm
the same tiling in any other form of words. But
take an axiom which is not an identical proposition,
and that is admitted even by materialists not to be
one : the proposition that the equals of equals are
equal to each other. (See BAIN, PROFESSOR A.,
Mental and Moral Science, English edition, p. 187.)
You feel perfectly sure about that ; you cannot be
made to believe that that is not true. Take the prop-
osition, that every change not only has, but must have,
an adequate cause, and that is by no means an iden-
tical proposition. What is beyond the verb there
does not mean only what that does which is on the
first side of the verb. An identical proposition is
simply an equation : what is on the left side of the
verb means just what that does which is on the right