Sunday, August 19, 2007

B. W. Ball, The Revolution

B. W. Ball, "The Revolution," The Radical Review, 720.


There is no pause. Still blow resounds on blow,
The order old making to shake and reel
From base to pinnacle. To dust brought low,
Crescent and Cross the shock of ruin feel.
Shallow Reaction tries in vain to stem
The Revolution’s surge, which more and more,
Drowning tiara, throne, and diadem.
Spreads undulating wide from shore to shore.
What though Priest, Kaiser, Sultan, King still sit
Sceptred and crowned above the encroaching flood?
Belshazzar’s legend is above them writ,
And they grow pale before Man’s altered mood.
Voices of Revolution, trumpet-clear,
Byron and Shelley, lo, your day is near!
B. W. Ball.

Edward Stanwood, Mr. Spooner's Island Community

Edward Stanwood, "Mr. Spooner's Island Community," The Radical Review, 578-581.


If one could only accept all of Mr. Lysander Spooner’s assumptions as true, his argument would be sound and his conclusions would follow. Unfortunately for him, his most material assumptions have no basis. Letus take his first case: one hundred men on a solitary island; each producing ten bushels of wheat, exactly enough for his own wants; each the possessor of coined money to the amount of what we call five dollars. It is true, wheat would have no price, though it would have a value. Now, Mr. Spooner supposes that one of the hundred men abandons wheat-growing and produces something else. The other ninety-nine, however, produce as much as before. A, who now raises no wheat, must buy ten bushels. He pays for it, Mr. Spooner supposes,—for it must be pure assumption—one cent a bushel.

Here then we have a price fixed for all the wheat grown,—not simply for the ten bushels A must buy. Next year B also stops wheat-growing, and engages in another occupation. What will be the price of wheat then? Two cents, says Mr. Spooner. Isn’t that getting ahead rather fast? The ninety-eight men have produced one thousand bushels, as before, and they need only nine hundred and eighty bushels. Neither supply nor demand has changed. There are twenty bushels for sale, and twenty are wanted by two men. Of course the price remains unchanged, at one cent a bushel. If it went higher than that, each of the ninety-eight men would endeavor to produce a surplus the next year,—Mr. Spooner’s theory allows one man to produce the entire thousand bushels,—and the result would be an excessive supply, and a price fixed at a fraction of a cent, instead of a whole cent, a bushel.

The whole fallacy of this part of Mr. Spooner’s reasoning [579] rests on the assumption, wholly unwarranted, that the number of buyers, rather than the amount of the article they need or the supply in the market, regulates the price. Fifty men, needing each ten bushels of wheat, would fare as well in a market where five hundred bushels were for sale, as would one man in a market where there were only ten bushels to be had. And the number would have no effect whatever on the price. And if there be only two sellers who are real competitors for the trade of the community, prices will be as steady as if there were a hundred sellers. This is a matter of common experience, and not of theory. We can therefore safely divide by one hundred the amount of money declared by Mr. Spooner to be needed by this community of one hundred persons.

But Mr. Spooner supposes that, when A quits wheat-growing, he engages in a business which produces something worth the whole amount of the wheat crop on the island. That is a very violent hypothesis, but let us adopt it. Each of he ninety-nine men who successfully engages in a new occupation does the same, we are told; and the result is that, when every man on the island is in a business different from all the others, the aggregate production is one hundred times as great as at the beginning.

Now, let us begin back at the beginning. A, we will say, makes shoes enough for the whole community. What can he get for them? Mr. Spooner’s hypothesis requires that he should get ten cents from each member of the community,—that is, the value of the wheat crop which each has raised. So he pays out ten cents for wheat, and he takes in ten dollars for shoes. What follows? Will B, and C, and D raise wheat next year, or will they rush into the shoe trade, glut the market, and drive down the price? The latter, of course; or, what would be more likely, A would find a hard market. The wheat producers would say to themselves: We got along without shoes when we all sowed wheat, and we can do so still, rather than pay the whole value—ten cents—of our crop for them. Consequently, next year A would be glad to reduce his price.

But let us grant that in some way or other each man of the hundred has finally got into a separate business of his own, and that he produces a full supply for one hundred men of some article that must be had by all. Do they then need for purposes [580] of trade more money than five dollars each? Certainly not. The demand and supply regulates its value as much as the same circumstances regulat the value of anything else. Instead of more money being needed, it may be doubted if any money at all would be required in such a community. It would only be necessary to keep accounts with one hundred men. A wants one hundredth part of the wheat which X produces; X wants one hundredth part of the shoes which A makes. When they have given each other what is due, the account is squared.

Still, that might not be convenient. There would be, we will suppose, a very quick and active demand for money. Then the value of it would increase. A would need it so much that he would sell a pair of shoes for five cents instead of for ten; B would sell a hat for five cents where he had been asking ten; and so on through the list. The fail in prices would be one-half, and would diminish the demand for money by so much, or, in other words, money would be worth twice as much. As production grew, the prices would fall, or the value of money would rise, again; and so on, until at the volume of currency would be made “equal to the wants of trade” by the simple process of raising the value of each cent or dollar.

We have come to this, then: during the whole progress of the change from wheat-growing to other occupations, the price of wheat has never been able to rise above one cent a bushel. As the demand for money has increased, the price of that and other commodities has declined. The value of the wheat grown, and of every thing else, has been the same from beginning to end, because demand and supply balanced each other exactly at all times. The purchasing power of money has increased. The five dollars every man had at the beginning will buy, say, what would then have cost twenty dollars. Then a smaller amount of money does the same work.
The community is just as rich and just as prosperous as if it had more money. The man who can buy ten bushels of wheat for ten cents and has twenty cents, is as rich as the man who with twenty dollars in his pocket must pay ten dollars for ten bushels of wheat.

I have confined myself wholly to Mr. Spooner s first case, but it covers all the rest. Every condition is changed the moment [581] the element of intercourse with the rest of the world is introduced; but as Mr. Spooner does not discuss it, I leave it alone. He, however, builds up a huge structure of fancy as to the amount of money that would be required by a community of ten thousand men, and then goes to work to trim it down, until he settles on the conclusion that each of the ten thousand would need one hundred thousand dollars. Now, suppose that we raise the value of the dollar to one thousand times as much as it is now, why would not one hundred thousand mills serve the purpose? When Mr. Spooner can show that a community which called its unit of value a mill and used an iron or other coin to represent it would not be as rich, and prosperous, and very way as well off as a community that it made its trades in dollars and used gold,—provided always that both were cut off from intercourse with the world,— it may be worth while to continue the discussion. But until he can show that the number of buyers rather than the excess or deficiency of a commodity governs prices; that the value of money is unchangeable, resisting the influence both of the number of persons requiring it and of the amount they want; and that it makes a community wealthy to reckon values in dollars rather than in cents or mills,—I must hold that he has not begun to prove his ingenious theories to be true.

Edward Stanwood.

I. G. Blanchard, The Warfare

I. G. Blanchard, "The Warfare," The Radical Review, 533.


Along the battle’s flaming van We mark the tried and true, —
Defenders of the cause of man, A chosen, peerless few.
Born to their mission and inspired, Oh, should they fall, we feel
No spirit would like theirs be fired, No hand could wield their steel.

Yet, one by one, they step aside, Or on the red field lie,
And still their places are supplied, Still rings the battle-cry;
Still o’er the hoary walls of Wrong Truth’s startling missiles fly,
And still, with steady step and strong, Her hosts are marching by.

And so it shall be evermore, Until the trump is blown,
Proclaiming Wrong’s hard rule is o’er, And Right is on the throne.
Oh, fear not for our cause sublime!Let hate do all it can;
For in the darkest coming time The hour shall bring the man.

I. G. Blanchard

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Elie Reclus, Female Kinship and Maternal Filiation

Radical Review, August 1877, 205-223.


1.—Das Mutterrech, eine Untersuchung über die Gjynoekokratie der altere Welt, nach ihrer religiösen und rechtlichen Natur. By I. I. Bachofen. Stuttgart. 1861.
2.—Studies in Ancient History, comprising a reprint of “Primitive Marriage.” An inquiry into the origin of the form of capture in marriage ceremonies. By G. T. M’Lennan. London. 1876.

THE learned Mr. Bachofen had read, as we all have, the story of Orestes, who, having killed his mother Clytemnestra in order to revenge the murder of his father, was summoned to answer for his crime before the Areopagus of Athens. The Athenian women with one voice declared ‘hat Orestes bad committed the most heinous deed of which a man, born of woman, may be guilty. But their husbands insisted that, by revenging his father’s murder on the perfidious wife, Orestes had nobly performed his duty. The voice of each party was of equal weight, for we are told that in those days women sat on terms of equality with men in the courts of justice. Orestes was, however, finally acquitted by the casting vote of Minerva, who [206] presided over the trial. The Erinnyes—terrible goddesses of remorse and revenge—protested indignantly against the verdict, but it was favorably received by the entire male population, and approved by the civilization of all the ancient world. The verdict was ratified by succeeding generations; and, finally, the illustrious Goethe devoted the greatest product of his dramatic genius—the “Iphigenia in Tauris”—to the endeavor to reconcile us fully with Orestes, and with Minerva’s decree.

Mr. Bachofen, however, has dared to defy this voice of ages. After much profound meditation he has come to the conclusion that this trial is one of the most terrible in its issues which has ever been held. It marks, he declares, the limit between two ages, and between two radically different conceptions of the family. Previous to the decree of Minerva, a family was represented by the mother; maternal lineage was alone recognized. From that moment the rule was reversed, and undivided supremacy accorded to the father. According to Æschylus, the dissidence of opinions on this subject which existed between the men and women of Athens extended even to the gods. The younger sided with Orestes, the elder took part against him. It is from the profound depths to which were thus stirred all consciousness, human and divine, that was evolved that awful drama of antiquity, in which are concentrated all horrors and monstrosities of which the most sombre imagination can conceive.

While Mr. Bachofen was engaged in unravelling the meaning of the legend of Orestes, Mr. M’Lennan, a Scotch lawyer, was meditating upon the institution of marriage as it existed among the plebeians of ancient Rome. Tue essence of the ceremony consisted in carrying away the bride by sham violence,—in remembrance, we are told, of the famous rape of the Sabines. This ceremony is vividly described by Apuleius in his story of the “Captive Damsel.” The heroine relates how her mother, having dressed her becomingly in nuptial apparel, was loading her with kisses, and already contemplating in imagination the long line of descendants which was to spring from the union, when suddenly a band of robbers, armed like gladiators, rushed in with glittering swords, made straight for the maiden’s chamber, and tore her away, half dead with fear, from the bosom of her trembling mother. [207]

The reasons alleged by the Romans for this strange custom were even stranger than the custom itself. The maidens were expected to prove their modesty by violent resistance to their captors, and youths the fierceness of their love by the violence with which they possessed themselves of the objects of their desire.

But M’Lennan is not satisfied with this reason. He inquires pertinently: How could the Roman legislators tolerate and even consecrate a custom, worthy of a nation of outlaws? Why such brutality in a marriage ceremonial? How came an immoral form constitute the sanction to a moral act? To be sure, only by means of some idea deeply rooted in the mind perpetuating itself indefinitely, long after the thing to which it belonged had ceased to exist, Symbols, too often lightly regarded, are nearly always the remnants of extinct customs. Legal fictions, the poetical side of jurisprudence, constitute the more or less fortunate adaptation of existing conditions to others long since dead, or continuing to survive by a sort of artificial respiration. Customs become embalmed in symbols, like Egyptian mummies in their wraps. And symbols enable us to reconstruct the dead reality of the past, of which they are the only remaining indications. Thus, from the plebeian marriage at Rome, we learn that men were once really obliged to secure their wives by force, and thought fit to appear to do so after the necessity no longer existed. Our feelings and instincts are shaped by habit, and morality and public conscience are more often the effect than the cause of public customs. (Mores, moralitas.)

Traces of the violence inherent in primitive marriages are found in classical antiquity. The so-called “heroical marriage,” the Marriage of Rakchasas or Gandharvas, was defined by the laws of Manu as “the seizure of a maiden by force, while she weeps and wails for assistance, after her kinsmen and friends have been killed in battle, or wounded, and their houses broken open.” Plutarch and Herodotus corroborate the narratives of legendary history. The former tells us that in Sparta the bridegroom always feigned to carry off the bride by violence, and, according to Herodotus, the same practice prevailed in Corinth and Crete.

In the present day the custom of capture exists among several [208] tribes of Australia and New Zealand, and in many islands of the Pacific, as well as in parts of South America,—from Cape Horn to the Caribbean Sea. On the coast of New Guinea and the Torres Straits, it is customary for the bridegroom to abduct the bride and run away with her. The Fuegian youth first obtains the consent of the bride’s relatives; then watches for an opportunity, and carries off his bride. Among the Bedouin Arabs it is necessary for the bridegroom to force the bride to enter his tent. Among many negro tribes the girl is carried away bodily on the back of her lover. The form of capture is said still to prevail to a great extent in India. Among the aborigines of the Dekkan and of Afghanistan it is prescribed as a marriage ceremony to the Hindus in the Sutrâs. It prevails among the Khoncls on the hills of Orissa, and among their neighbors and kinsmen, the Gonds and the Koles. Among the Tunguzes and Kamtchadales a matrimonial engagement is not considered to be definitely concluded until the Suitor has overcome his beloved by force, and torn her clothes, the maiden in the meanwhile professing to defend her liberty to the utmost. This form of marriage is likewise observed by the noble classes among the Kalmucks.
Among the Circassians the ceremony much resembles that of ancient Rome. The wedding is celebrated with noisy feasting and revelry, in the midst of which the bridegroom rushes in, and, by the help of a few daring men, carries off the maiden by force. Then only may she be considered his lawful wife.

In Europe evident traces of this custom may be discovered in the ancient Grand Duchy of Moscow; in former Poland; in Samogitia, Livonia, Lithuania, Prussia, and Scandinavia; and fainter indications in Friesland, in some French provinces, in Wales, and in the north-east of Scotland. As Mr. M’Lennan remarks: “Nothing in Nature exists by itself. Every individual example of this custom leads us to contemplate a great area over which it once prevailed, as the discovery of single fossil fish in a hill enables us to imagine the whole surrounding country as at one time under water.”

What is the origin of so universal a custom? Simply the fact that men once provided themselves with wives exclusively by means of war upon neighboring tribes. War was then the normal state of society. “Peace and friendship were unknown between [209] any two separate tribes, except when they united against a third,”—as a cynical wit remarked many ages later, that friendship between two coquettes was impossible, except when they were combining in a conspiracy against a dear relative! In these early and lawless periods, woman shared the fate of all other species of property, in regard to which it was universally held that “he should take who had the power, and he should keep who could.” The women were a once the principal cause of war and most desirable spoils of victory, and were tossed from one hand to another with magnanimous liberality. The fate of the women thus disputed over was far from enviable, if we may judge from that of the Australian females who have acquired any reputation for beauty. George Grey, a truthful and intelligent observer, tells us that in Australia a beautiful woman is really far worse off than her less-favored companions: “Conspiracies are constantly being formed for her abduction, and, in the scuffling which results, she is almost always injured; for each of the combatants orders her to follow him, and, if she refuses, throws a spear at her. The early life of an Australian belle is passed in a series of captivities under different masters, of ghastly wounds, of wanderings in strange families, of rapid flights, of bad treatment from other females amongst whom she is brought a stranger by her captor. Rarely do you see a form of unusual grace and elegance but it is marked and scarred by the furrows of old wounds. Many a female thus wanders several miles from the home of her infancy, being carried off successively to distant and more distant points.” “The male captives,” says M’Lennan, “furnished by their labor additional means of subsistence, but the women were prized as wives and luxuries. In the Feejee and other islands of the Pacific the male captives were eaten, while the women were generally saved alive, except in a few districts where prevailed a special relish for the flesh of females.”

The scarcity of females naturally added to their value. This Scarcity was artificially maintained by putting to death girl babies in great numbers as soon as they were born. This practice was inspired on the one hand by motives of economy, and, on the other, of gourmandism, for they were eaten up like young Guinea pigs. This primitive peoples had discovered long before [210] the Right Reverend Malthus began to speculate that population increases in a geometrical, and food only in an arithmetical, proportion. They killed the babies to avoid the expense of rearing them, and then ate them to avoid the trouble of procuring other food. The boys were spared to be educated as hunters and warriors, but the girls were at best only objects of luxury, and hence necessarily sacrificed by a prudent community whenever times were hard. It was deemed simpler and more economical to capture full-grown women for wives than to incur the expense of rearing female babes to maturity. In one village of the Phweelongmai, East India, Colonel M’Culloch found in 1849 that there existed not a single female child.

From this disproportion between the sexes arose the correlative institutions, polyandry and exogamy. Mr. M’Lennan insists upon a distinction, which he claims to have been the first to point out,—a distinction between exogamy, or inter-tribal marriage, and endogamy, or intra-tribal marriage. Amongst the exogamous tribes none but strangers wert. permitted as wives; union between persons belonging to the same tribe was regarded as incestuous, and only to be atoned for by death.

“The practice of female infanticide, which rendered women so scarce, led at once to polyandry within the tribe and to the capture of women from without. This practice has existed from time immemorial among the same races as possess the symbol of capture in the marriage ceremonial. With some of the exogamous races it seems to be a rule to kill all the female children, except such as happen to be the first born. Colonel Macpherson tells us that among the Khonds of Orissa, of whom we have already spoken, marriage between persons of the same tribe, however large or scattered, is considered incestuous and punished by death. Not even with strangers adopted into or domesticated with a tribe is it permissible to marry.”

Circassians were until recently strictly exogamous, and so married until their nationality had been destroyed by Russia. Mr. Bell writes as follows in 1840:—

“These cousins german, or members of the same fraternity, are not only themselves
interdicted from intermarrying, but the prohibition extends to their serfs, who must wed only with serfs of another fraternity. The fraternity contains perhaps several thousand members. Formerly, such a marriage would have been looked upon as incest, and punished by drowning. Now, a fine of two hundred oxen and the restitution of the wife to her parents only are exacted.”

Notoriously exogamous are the Kalmucks, the Yurak Samoyeds, [211] the Kirghiz and the Nogals, the Kafirs, the Sodhas of Northern India, the Beduanda Kallung (Singapore), the Warali (India), and many others. We find the principle in Australia, in North and South America, in Africa, in Europe. “We shall suspect and infer it in many places where the actual evidence of its existence is incomplete,” says Latham in his “Descriptive Ethnology.”

The women, captured and recaptured, passed from one tribe to another as the property of an unlimited number of husbands, and were necessarily unable to identify the fathers of their children. At the present time the Code Napoleon forbids the Recherche de la Paternité, whereby a bastard child might discover his parentage. If, as the French law and the English proverb both assume to be true, “only a wise son can know his own father,” much greater must have been the facility for error where several tribes might have claimed the paternity of a single child! It is not even sure that the motherhood was plainly demonstrable. Children easily lost sight of the mother who had nursed them, and probably belonged less to her than to a group of nurses. The impersonal tribe stood in the place of both parents to its children. The community was like a herd of cattle, where all ties between parents and offspring are severed, so soon as suckling ceases.

An immense stride in progress was made when, under the influence of more peaceful habits, maternity became an institution, and children, hitherto known by the name of their tribe, could adopt the name of their mother.

The fact that maternal filiation preceded paternal filiation has, until recently, been ignored. Mr. Bachofen searched for the illustrations which might be found in ancient authors. Every text he examined; no scholiast did he leave unconsulted. With the deepest erudition coupled with a criticism delicate and sagacious, he arrived at the same results as Mr. M’Lennan, whose argument is mainly grounded on contemporary facts. Says he :—

“The Kasias, the Bairs, the Saporogian Cossacks, have the system of kinship through females only. We find that system in Tulawa in the neighborhood of the Nairs. Among the Buntar—the highest rank of Sudras in Tulawa—a man’s children, says Buchanan, are not his heirs. During his lifetime he may give them money, but all of which he dies possessed is given to his sisters and to their children. [212] Among the Rajputs, we have traces of the system of female kinship. The Kooch have kinship and succession through females only; and so have the Bodo. Farther, we find that system among the Banyal, in Ashanti, Aguapim, and Congo, and are assured that traces of it are to be found all over Africa. We have reason to believe that it anciently prevailed among the Celts. We find traces of the like system in India, among the Sutras of Gautama. In short, though the original tradition has obviously been tampered with, enough of it remains to oblige us to acknowledge it as a genuine tradition of a stage of Aryan civilization.”

The law of Menu points out the family name as the test whether persons are of the same stock or not. The Southern Indians consider it to be highly criminal for a man to marry a woman whose totem is the same as his own, and they relate instances where young men, for a violation of this rule, have been put to death by their own relatives. Among the Iroquois, husband and wife were, by the ancient law, always of different tribes. The children belonged to the tribe of the mother. When maternal descent prevailed, there was, so to speak, a perpetual disinheritance of the male line.

The Australian family names and divisions are perpetual and spread throughout the country by the application of laws: the first, that the children of either sex always take the name of the mother; the second, that a man cannot marry a woman of his own family name.

Here are fresh instances which we take the liberty of adding to those already quoted by Mr. M’Lennan :—

“The Kanories (Central Africa) give always the mother’s name, and, at the present day, particularly to their kings The chronicles always mention the mothers’ name as a circumstance of the highest importance. The celebrated king Dunama ben Iselma at Bornan, is generally called Dibbalami, from his mother’c name Dibbala.1 His royal name, in full length, is Dibllami Dunama Iselmani; the mother’s name being prefixed to the father’s as the nobler and more important of the two Even in the driest chronicles it is impossible not to remark the great influence which the Queen mothers Validi—the Magira, as they are here called—have exercised upon the affairs the country. Here is an example in the Queen Goumssou Fa-ssa-mi, who kept own son Biri a whole year in prison, even after he had ascended the throne and another in the Queen Aaischa, mother of Edriss, who for a long period, took such part in the government that she is mentioned positively as amongst the rulers of the kingdom.’—Barth. II, 297.

Travellers have noted the same institution in many islands the Pacific Ocean. Among Hawaiians the political functions [213] were hereditary, but the rank was given by the mother. Such is, assuredly, the reason why the male members of the royal family married among the nearest of their kin, and espoused even their own sisters.

In the Gilbert and Marshall Isles the mothers give their own rank to their children. The sons of a chief never belong to the clan of their father, because the chief must always marry outside his own clan.

In the Carolina Islands certain functions are hereditary, and pass, at the functionary’s demise, to his next brothers, and to his son only alter the death of all the brothers. It is otherwise with the social rank, which is not given by the father, but by the mother; and many brothers, who are the sons of the same father, may thus belong to distinct classes of people.

The case of the Australian tribes deserves closer examination. They have departed already from the rudest and most barbarous type. Polyandry having given place to a moderate polygyny, a man may have, by various wives, different children, who will be long respectively to the tribes of their mothers. If war breaks out, all these boys will take up arms against each other, and most likely, first of all, against their own father. Carried to its extreme consequences, the Australian theory comes to this conclusion: that a father is no relation to his son; exactly the reverse of what we may be permitted to call Orestes’ formula: the son is no relation to his mother. Both maxims now grate on our ears, and are felt to be as revolting as they are absurd; and one is inclined to ask: Those feelings which are said to be innate in every human being, where then did they hide themselves; where then was the voice of blood; where then was the cry of Nature?
This Australian family makes us well aware of the evils of a system which knew nothing of the father. The filiation by the mother was only one-hall of the truth. The conflict of maternity and paternity could not fall to occasion desperate situations, finally intolerable. And, as the human mind is constantly vacillating from one extreme to another, the reformers of the family, as it was shaped then, jumped to the conclusion that a complete revolution, and a substitution of paternal for maternal filiation, was absolutely necessary. Because the father had not been [214] made of enough consequence, the mother was now to be made next to nothing. The human mind was then too narrow for the simultaneous admittance of the double parental feelings, which none of us find any difficulty in understanding.

In the society of Australia the excess of evil was destined to bring about its own remedy. Exogamy tended to develop into endogamy, and maternal filiation into paternal. When the offspring of a single father might belong to several different tribes, the youth of a single tribe comprised a variety of individuals, who fairly represented all surrounding communities. A sufficient number of young girls, who were supposed to be foreigners, grew up in each tribe, and offered material for wives at a cheaper price than perilous expeditions. Thence, possibly, the origin of marriage by coemption. When, therefore, a tribe found, itself populous, powerful, and sufficiently provided with young females, it is probable that the men gradually abandoned their raids for wives, and the community glided into endogamy Here we see the history of the development of the tribe into a n. ton. We may trace the origin of clans and families to captured women Fe- presenting different original stocks. This hypothesis s indeed less agreeable than the doctrine current in legends and ordinary history, and adopted by our Peerage books, that the ancestor of a race begat several sons whose scions formed older and younger branches of the family; and that, from intermarriage betwixt these branches, clans, tribes, and finally a whole nation arose.

Mr. M’Lennan’s hypothesis lends itself to the origin of castes as well as of families:—

“Nearly all the Indian castes, from the highest to the lowest, are divided into gotrams, or families. Marriage is prohibited between persons of the same gotram, who, according to the rule of Menu, are shown by their common name to be of the same original stock. We hold that this at once shows the caste to have been composed of members of original stocks, and the stocks themselves to have been originally exogamous. There can be little doubt that all castes of this description were farmed by these processes The Kamilaroi among the Australians appear to be such a caste. And, were the natives of Australia to be left to themselves, their system of kinship remaining what it is, we might expect hereafter to find among them numerous caste tribes of this description.”

We believe that the transition from maternal to maternal eponymy [215] can be traced to the period which immediately precedes that of authentic history. Abraham himself, the great ancestor of the Ben-Israel, whom we have been accustomed to consider as the typical Patriarch, was entirely indifferent to paternal filiation, as is shown by the fact that he married his own sister, the daughter of his father. We find the story in Genesis worded with truly antique simplicity:—

“And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife; Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon. Therefore, it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife, and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.”

This was Abraham’s answer, when reproached with his deceit:

“Yet indeed she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.”

Mr. M’Lennan has been so lucky as to discover a text proving that Abraham’s marriage would have been considered legal in Attica, where a man was allowed to marry his half-sister when born of his father, but forbidden to marry her when born of the same mother. This law depended on the idea already referred to,—that no relationship existed between the father and his children, the sole parent being the mother.

According to “Primitive Marriage” the most logical progression, and probably the mo3t frequent, which, beginning by exogamous polyandry, ended in the Greco-Roman family, took place in the following manner :—

I. The mother lived apart from all her husbands, in her own house, where also her brothers dwelt, and where she reared her children. Example: A Nair woman could have no more than twelve husbands, and had to select them under certain restrictions as to rank and caste. . . . . A Nair may belong to several combinations of husbands; that is, he may have many wives. The twelve husbands therefore formed a partnership, each shareholder being entitled to enter, if he chose, eleven other firms; ingenous system of polygamous polyandry, which allowed twelve wives to each husband and twelve husbands to each wife. [216]

2. The sister separated herself from her brothers to live with her husbands. The children belonged to the mother, and not to the husbands, each of whom took his heir, not the children of the common wife, but the children of his sister, or the relatives of his mother. That system is, like the former, practised still by the Nairs; both easily coexist in the same country.

3. The conjugal abode becomes the property of the associated husbands, who bring into it their common wife, and forbid her to leave it whenever they entertain any doubts as to her fidelity. Mr. M’Lennan believes that sequestration was the means of leading to important progress. Under this régime the children belonged to the establishment rather than to their mother.

4. The common wife no longer belonged to a group of unrelated men, but to a “brotherhood,” or group of brothers. The adherents of masculine superiority may now feel satisfied; for at this stage it is easy to see that the race will be modeled by the man, and no longer by the woman. At first the offspring of this fraternal group will possess no personal father, but all, the fathers will belong to the same blood, and thus a vague idea of paternity springs up. Mr. Bachofen had already shown that the story of Bacchus Dimorphos, or Metropator, who was son both of Jupiter and Semele, symbolized this stage of progress. No equality existed between the consorts; Semele was a mortal, Jove King of the Immortals. Hence the son, arrived at maturity, does not hesitate to abandon his mother, and choose the paternal side as the most profitable.
This polyadelphic monogyny, as Linnæus would call it, persists in great purity in Thibet, and especially in Ladack.

“In Ladack,” says Moorcroft, “when an eldest son marries, the family estate descends to him, and he is charged with the maintenance of his parents. A younger son is generally made a Lama. Should there be more than two brothers, and they agree to the arrangement, they become a species of inferior husbands for the wife. All the children, however, are considered as belonging to the head f the family. The younger brothers are compelled to wait upon him as his servants, and can be turned out of doors at his pleasure, without it being incumbent upon him to provide for them. On the death of the eldest brother, his property, authority, and widow devolve upon the next eldest. This one enjoys the right of succession to his brother’s property and to his widow, and he cannot take the one without taking the other.

“The Thibetan system is the prevailing species of polyandry in nearly the whole o the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions,—Kashmyr, Ladak, Kinaver, Kishawar and Sinior. It is the general form in Ceylon. It is the form which Humboldt found [217] among the red men. Among the Avaroes and the Magpures, brothers have often but one wife. It is the form which Cæsar found among the Britons. We must hold that polyandry in the Thibetan form prevailed at one time throughout India among the race from which the Hebrews were descended, and among the Moabite and ancient Persians; among the Druses and all drab tribes in Syria; the Mongol, Khirgiz, Turks, and tribes of the Caucasus; among the Makololo; and, we may believe many other peoples in Africa.”

From this institution arises, in several parts of India and America, the custom of children addressing their uncles as “father.” Mr. Morgan of Rochester was the first to point it out. If there are no brothers, the nephews succeed to the inheritance, which, according to the most ancient custom, tails to the nephews, sons of the sisters; and, according to the more modern one, falls to the nephews, sons of the brothers; as happens still in the Sultan’s family in Constantinople.

According to the institutions of Manu, the widow was transmitted to the heir-brother without more ado. ‘Who would not recognize in these regulations the Levirate known to all readers of the Old and New Testament ?—the law which compelled the nearest relative to marry the widow of the heir of the family who should have died without issue, in order to perpetuate the name of the deceased.

The Levirate could only be observed so long as polygamy existed, and was doomed to disappear with it. No force could have compelled always the younger brother to separate from his own wife and bind himself to an old sister-in-law. Moreover, brothers and near relatives had little impulse to deprive themselves of an inheritance which, in default of a direct heir, would have fallen to them. The Levirate was a remnant of the system of “brotherhoods,” which began to go to pieces so soon as it ceased to be associated with collective proprietorship of the Woman or women. When each brother possessed his own wife, his own household, his own children, his interests soon began to diverge from those of the others. As the ancient family ceased to exist, the’ modern one constituted itself on the principle of transmission of blood from father to son, and of the transmission of the inheritance from eldest son to oldest son. The principle of agnation had triumphed, and under its influence society was renovated. At the death of the father the eldest son became [218] the head of the family, and inherited the whole, or at least the larger part, of the inheritance; as is still the custom in Great Britain among the nobility and the gentry. But this privilege, which has been abolished in most civilized countries, will soon be so in all, and disappear amidst few regrets. The influence of this system was at its maximum some little time ago, but has already begun to decline. Nothing is stable or permanently lasting in this world. The future family will probably be as different from the present one, as is the present from that of antiquity. Our family, essentially Greco-Roman,—like our whole civilization,—is exclusively based on paternity; but this basis did not always exist, and, therefore, can scarcely be expected to last for ever. Already has it been modified, and soon slighted motherhood will resume its rights. The mother will not always remain subject to the father’s authority; she will recover her fair share in the management of the common property arid in the education of the children. It is the sentiment of maternity which raised mankind from the mire of universal promiscuity. The mother was the first to create the family, and from this fact we may infer that through her will be shaped its final expression. Both naturalists and moralists declare that no instinct, human or simply animal, can vie in intensity with maternal love. Whereas all other passions spring from selfishness, the essence of maternity is self-abnegation. It is the most intelligent and far-sighted of impulses, and we never tire of listening to narratives of the marvellous achievements it inspires among most animal. We have every reason to believe that it is to maternal instinct we owe the first moralization of our race. Before this instinct stirred within us, we were among the lowest in the brute creation, more cruel than the tiger more treacherous than the serpent, more gluttonous than the crocodile. From a mother, smiling on her infant, came the first ray of light which illuminated the human countenance. Bret Harte tells us, in his “Luck of Roaring Camp,” how a little child, left orphaned at his wretched mother’s death amidst a horde of California miners, tamed them unconsciously into civilization. This charming story may be said to typify the history of humanity. All our political and social institutions may be traced, link by link, to a mother nursing her babe. Each modification in ante-patriarchal polyandry corresponded to some [219] change in the position of the mother. The highest expression of her importance was given in the institution of maternal eponymy. Filiation by the father was substituted for it when tribes extended into nations, and when polyandry gave place to polygamy in the governing classes, and to monogamy in the lower classes. The rights of fathers were at first asserted humbly; then more boldly; and at last despotically. Masculine pride could not have failed to revolt against maternal filiation; it wound itself around the difficulty, neutralized it, and finally conquered it. An absolute system was transformed into a mitigated one; the mitigated one into a third, totally different from the first; but this third system will not be the last one, because it is exaggerated, artificial, too conventional, and has put its social codes above Nature’s laws. Far more than man, woman clings to Nature, which man strives to obliterate and trample down. Nature was held to be identical with lust and corruption, and woman, as more akin to Nature, was made the very personification of sin; and some people have been deemed holy for never having looked at her, for never having talked to or even answered their own mothers. This nonsense, in which reveled deep theologians and high-flown mystics, is not quite an affair of the past, as many believe too readily. But it will become so promptly. If granite wears out, so does absurdity; error dissipates itself even a little quicker than Jo rocks and mountains. We conclude that our modern family itself will continue to undergo secular changes, as the old has undergone them. It is probable—nay, it is certain—that the mother will henceforth count for more than she does now, and that the child will obtain many rights of which he is now deprived. But it is not our business to guess at changes looming in the distant horizon. We are too ignorant of the family as it was to be able t foretell its future. We ignore yet its true laws of evolution; we make but surmises as to its origin, which was certainly even humbler than we can conceive. For the present the researches are to be pushed on with a patient zeal; and happy the investigators who may light upon such lucid theories as that of maternal filiation, which, supported by such arguments as those which Mr. M’Lennan has brought forward, may be hailed as a great discovery. Let us now consider why the theory of maternal filiation was readily accepted when presented by Mr. M’Lennan, whereas [220] it was pushed aside when advanced by Mr. Bachofen. This is a delicate point, upon which we shall express our opinion in all frankness.
Both writers are agreed on the main principle, but their method is wholly different. Mr. Bachofen’s arguments are borrowed from deep erudition and from subtle interpretations of an obscure symbolism, which, to be understood, demand much learning and patient inquiry, and even a special cast of mind. When he first gave to the world his far-fetched conclusions, which then were received as shocking paradoxes and unheard-of heresies, it was easy to shrug the shoulders, and answer with the disdain of ignorance, in the words of the celebrated Festus, “Thou art beside thyself, Paul; much learning doth make thee mad.” This disdain was all the more natural, as superficial minds instinctively dislike whatever is opposed to existing doctrines and conventional formulas. Learned folks of the vulgar sort, who know only what others knew already, are as pedantic as timorous. They keep aloof from new ideas, because, unable to sift them thoroughly, they deem it safer to cling fast to old tenets. Their shaky second-hand or tenth-hand scientific furniture would not bear the brunt of battle. Pedantry, which, after all, is hut porous ignorance, looks with deadly hate upon all new ideas, because they are living things, and not dry, withered flowers in a herbarium, or dusty and labelled butterflies pinned down on cork. To the common-place scientist ideas that move and wriggle about are as hateful and appalling as might be to a stuffer of hides for a Museum of Natural History the sudden coiling up of a hissing rattlesnake. Orthodox science is so averse to the discoveries that have not yet obtained official diplomas, that many precious ideas would be lost to the world were it not for the lucky interference of simple-minded and even ignorant people, who, attracted by the novelty of the things, advocate them, often very unwisely, and attach themselves to them, often by the wrong side.

So it happened that for some years Mr. Bachofen’s discovery was systematically ignored and nearly forgotten. At last the conspiracy of silence was broken up by a young professor, the only one among the host of learned men in Europe who came forward as the champion of the slighted theory. Mr. Giraud [221] Teulon expounded some of Mr. Bachofen’s views in a short pamphlet entitled, “The Mother in Certain Peoples of Antiquity,’ followed by a most interesting work on the same subject, “ The Origin of the Family.” However, the scientists above mentioned are not wholly to blame. Mr. Bachofen, impregnated as he is with deep ancient lore, initiated, we may say, in the abstrusest mysteries of Pythagorean philosophy, chose to draw from his unexpected formula the most extreme consequences. He carried his subject into chthonic religions, and he carried chthonic religions into his subject. From maternal filiation, a positive fact, he jumped at the Matriarchat, and at antique gynocracies,—a doubtful enough affair. Animated by a praiseworthy desire for completeness and accuracy, he heaped together every kind of information more or less connected with his theory, and set forth minor considerations with as much detail as essentials. His hypothetic arguments too often destroyed the effect of his solid reasoning. Mr. Bachofen gave too much, and, as a natural consequence, received in return nothing, or next to nothing. His merits have been equaled but by our ingratitude, or rather by our indifference.

Mr. M’Lennan set to work very differently. The name given to his treatise, “Primitive Marriage,” was simple, and attracted many who would have been frightened away by Mr. Bachofen’s ponderous science. He adhered closely to logic and good sense, and to facts chiefly borrowed from contemporary history. His conclusions were presented in clear and precise language; his argument was both sober and vigorous. Wherever he aimed he hit the mark. He established his facts, and troubled himself little about their consequences or the inferences which might be drawn from them. In a word, Mr. M’Lennan addressed a large and unrestricted public, while Mr. Bachofen only wrote for a chosen few. The success of the former and the apparent failure of the latter afford new proof that, for the appreciation of new ideas, a general public is a better judge than a public under the restraint of scientific technicalities. The moment inventions and discoveries, in order to be comprehended, necessitate a true disinterestedness, a real freedom, a certain breadth of intellect, they no longer belong to the domain of cultivated coteries and academic clichés. Mr. M’Lennan, in his thesis on maternal [222] than the fact of maternal filiation, and may be able to renovate in a large measure the history and science of jurisprudence. Let us say, in conclusion, that the studies of the Scotch and the Swiss savants mutually complete each other. It might be supposed that the researches of Mr. Bachofen held true, at the most, for certain nations of classical antiquity. On the other hand, Mr. Gladstone and Sir Henry Maine were willing to accept the conclusions of Mr. M’Lennan in all that relates to contemporaneous savage tribes and isolated populations, but were decidedly opposed to applying them to our Aryan ancestors, whom it is the fashion to consider a chosen people, a holy nation, an exceptional race. But these two eminent authors unconsciously
have completed each other’s arguments,—Mr. Bachofen replying to the objections raised against Mr. M’Lennan, and Mr. M’Lennan to those brought forward against Mr. Bachofen.

Elie Reclus.

Sidney H. Morse, The All-Loving

Radical Review, 307

Million-Folded are my likings,
All the world my well-loved home;
Would my kindred not regale me,
To their world-fires I would roam.

Pleasant ‘tis with love to tarry,—
Pleasant to recount its store:
Glooms and sorrows passing by me
Leave my heart young as before.

Listen, loved ones, o’er the planet!
Think ye not I’m lost, if missing
From your fire-lit hearths my greetings:
All your loves my love is kissing.

Warm and glowing goes my spirit
Toward my million-fated kin.
Oh! I keep their hearts enshrined
In the deep my heart within.
Sidney H. Morse.

Friday, August 10, 2007

William J. Potter, The Two Traditions

William J. Potter, "The Two Traditions, Ecclesiastical and Scientific," The Radical Review, 1, 1 (May 1877), 1-24.


I PROPOSE to treat in this paper two views of Tradition; one of them very old, the other comparatively new. The old view is ecclesiastical, the new view is scientific. The old view is that which commonly goes by the name of Tradition in theological discussion. The new view has not yet received the name, but on etymological grounds might fairly claim it. I shall have to begin with some very familiar and elementary statements, but trust that the subject may develop, as I proceed, into phases more provocative of thought.

The ecclesiastical view of Tradition is easily stated; and, admitting its premises, is easy of comprehension. The word Tradition has a very definite meaning in religious history. It may not always be easy to define the contents of Tradition. To show the real origin of this or that doctrine or practice which is said to belong to Tradition, or to trace the changes ‘shih may occur in such doctrine or practice in historical religion, and to assign the right cause for the change, may be a difficult problem But the word Tradition itself stands for a. much simpler and more uniform conception than is usual with [2] words which have figured so largely in the history of religion. The conception in Christendom comes from Judaism, and, among the Jews, Tradition meant the unwritten law of God As Jehovah on Mt. Sinai was believed by the Jew to have directed Moses to write down certain things for a rule to the people of Israel, which made the written law of belief and duty, so it was believed that Jehovah had committed certain other things to Moses orally; that Moses had repeated these things to the elders who helped him in his office; that these elders had delivered them, also by word of mouth, to their official successors, and these, again, to theirs; and that thus a body of divine precepts had been handed down intact from one generation of Hebrew history to another, making the unwritten law of Jewish doctrine and practice. And the orthodox Jew regarded both of these rules,—the written law and the unwritten law, Scripture and Tradition,—as authoritative. The Traditions themselves finally became written in the Talmud.

The Roman Catholic doctrine of Tradition in Christian history is precisely like this of the Jews, except that Jesus and his apostles re put in the place of Moses and the elders. The Roman Catholic believes not only that the New Testament was written by divine inspiration to be a guide to the Christian Church, but that this guidance was supplemented by certain oral precepts, transmitted originally from Jesus and his apostles, and remaining now in the Church as uncorrupted and as binding as the written record. Like the Jew, the Romanist holds to the divine authority of both Scripture and Tradition.

Of course, the liability is great that any doctrine or rite which is thus committed to oral tradition alone for preservation will become corrupted, arid lose in time its original form; also that beliefs and ceremonies which may spring up and grow in religious history, one hardly knows how or whence, and which find no authority in the written law, may be referred very safely for their right to exist to this source of Tradition, the authenticity of which cannot easily be put to a test. The Roman Catholic meets this difficulty by alleging the continued supernatural inspiration of the Church. The Christian Church, he claims,—by which he means his own section of it,—is saved from all corrupting influences by its own divine nature; and the [3] sacred trusts of doctrine and ordinance committed to its keeping by the oral precepts of the first apostles are preserved in their original integrity by the gift of the Holy Spirit, which miraculously enlightens the rulers of the Church in every age. In our own rime this claim has been more closely defined, and practically made more simple, though at the expense of its rationality, by the proclamation that the Pope represents this miraculous enlightenment of the Church, and is officially clothed with infallibility.

But it is impossible that such a claim as this should be assented to by people who have once learned accurately to observe the facts of human society and history, and to use their reason upon them. As soon as and wherever thought is awakened, the claim will be questioned. The Jews never went to the extent of this modern Roman Catholic statement in behalf of the authority of Tradition; yet some of the more thoughtful and cultivated among them before the time of Jesus were wont to complain of their brethren for making too much account of Tradition in their teaching and practices. These objectors asserted that, under cover of regard for the oral law, many and gross corruptions were creeping into the faith of Israel. Notably the Sadducees made this complaint. They charged the Pharisees, who represented the mass of the people, with allowing and encouraging, under shelter of the authority of Tradition, doctrines and customs which had no vestige of foundation in the original religion as promulgated by Moses; and which, in truth, were imbibed from Persia during the period of Israel’s captivity there, or had crept in from other foreign faiths. So, too, after some ten or twelve centuries of Christian history, it began to be queried whether some things were not being proclaimed and believed as Christian truth, on the authority of Tradition, whose real source might be found in Pagan religions or in the infirmities of human ignorance and passion. And no very deep learning nor preternaturally sharp eyes were required, but only the strong common sense and preponderance of reason over sentiment which characterized the Teutonic mind, to detect that these human infirmities, though clothed in saintliest robes and elevated to thrones of absolute power, were far from being saved from their natural human [4] consequences by any overshadowing protection of the Divine Spirit. Hence Luther and the Reformation, and the formal abolition of Tradition in Protestant Christendom as a source and channel of spiritual truth.

But Protestant Christianity also has its definition of Tradition, as well as the thing itself. Protestant theologians do not much use the word, regarding it rather as damaged phraseology. Nevertheless they claim that on Tradition rightly understood all true religion has been founded. The ordinary Protestant position is that Tradition was limited to the primitive divine act by which all necessary spiritual truth was delivered over to certain persons specially chosen and prepared to receive it, these parsons writing it all down in so-called sacred books, and leaving nothing that was important to the uncertain medium of oral repetition. A well known Protestant author, of recognized authority, expresses it thus: “Primarily, Tradition stands for a doctrine first delivered by speech from God, and afterwards written in his book for the use of the Church.’ And, on the most important point this agrees with the Roman Catholic definition; the point, namely, where the origin of religious truth is touched. Both Protestantism and Catholicism make Tradition the starting-point of revealed religion. They alike regard all true religion as the product of a certain supernatural act, by which the Almighty directly and personally gave to man a set of doctrines to be believed, and a code of duties to be performed. And this statement expresses the central idea in the ecclesiastical view of Tradition. Some such belief as this will be found in the ecclesiasticism of all the important faiths of the world. The Catholic definition of Tradition in Christendom, and the Pharisaic in Judaism, with their special recognition of the oral channel as well as the written message, are but different phases in the development of this one primary conception. The main and controlling thought is that religious truth is primarily given outright and complete to mankind, by a few very definite supernatural transactions between an Almighty Being and certain human beings whom he has chosen as media of communication: this truth, thus miraculously handed over to man f rain his creator, [5] is then preserved,—either by book, or orally, or both—as the perfect rule of faith and duty for the human race.

If what I have said thus far seems familiar and common-place, it is because I have tried faithfully to present the ordinary ecclesiastical view of Tradition,—a presentation that was a necessary condition for a clear development of the course of thought which I have in mind. But this simple idea, natural to a childlike state of human intelligence, of resting religious faith wholly on one or two alleged historical transactions of a miraculous nature in the distant past, has not been permitted to pass unquestioned in any religion. In these latter times, and in Christendom especially, the idea has been vigorously attacked. It is objected that such a theory of the origin and authority of religious truth removes the Divine Power far away from present scenes of human life, and makes religion now a second-hand affair; that it compels the worship of the letter, and imprisons the religious sentiment in technical forms; that it requires people to observe where the Almighty has been rather than where he is, and to adore a memory more than a living Presence. It is claimed that Creative Power must he as near the earth to-day as it ever was; that a Being conceived as infinite and omnipresent cannot also be logically conceived as coming to and going away from the world, but must be ever immanent in Nature and man,—the Law of Nature’s laws, the continued sustenance of every normal energy of the human mind; that Inspiration is not local, intermittent, supernatural, but constant, natural, universal; and that somewhat of genuine truth and faith has been possessed by every race and nation of the human family. In fine, instead of this traditional religion preserved through a book, or a church, or a ceremony, the counter proposition has been maintained that every mar by himself stands in the attitude of immediate communication with Divine Power, and draws therefrom, through his natural faculties of intelligence, conscience, and spiritual aspiration, the moral and mental nutriment by which he lives now and is forever to live; and that, therefore, for the authority of tradition, however vouched for, as a basis of religion, must be substituted the authority of human consciousness,---or, in other words, the aggregated [6] authority of individual reason, intuition, conscience; that these, enlightened to the best of each man’s ability, offer the requisite guide in all matters of belief arid duty: the revealed word of God for each human being is to be listened for in the utterances of his own soul. This we shall recognize as the teaching of the Intuitional, or Transcendental, philosophy as applied to religion, in opposition to the doctrine of Tradition as ecclesiastically defined.

And now Science appears, propounding a new doctrine of Tradition; a kind of tradition very different from that which the ecclesiastical word stands for,—in fact, wholly undermining its chief assumptions; yet, on the other hand, crossing some of the theological affirmations of the Intuitional philosophy, and taking such a position with regard to the two sets of conclusions respectively drawn from the ecclesiastical idea of Tradition and from the philosophical idea of Intuition as eventually, perhaps, to effect a reconciliation between them in their application to religious problems.

How, then, shall we state the scientific doctrine of Tradition? Is it that man was instantaneously created, with the form, features, appearance, organs which his body presents in the advanced state of civilization where we observe him to-day, and that then, by special creative act, there was breathed into this body, as a receptacle prepared for it, a living soul, endowed with all the faculties of thought, affection, and will, such we are now familiar with in human beings? By no means. Nor again that at special and critical times the Creator chose certain individuals out of the human race, and by exceptional and supernatural means made them the depositary of his thoughts and wishes concerning mankind,—decanting, as it were, into a few finite minds a set of theological ideas and religious precepts, with the injunction that these elect individuals were to pour out the miraculous gift in turn into some common receptacle for the benefit of their fellow-men. The scientific doctrine of Tradition, of course, is not so crudely mythological as this. It points us back to no such definite personal transaction, but takes us into the region of slowly operating, far-reaching, and subtly penetrating natural law. Yet it holds much more closely than the common ecclesiastical view of [7] Tradition to the etymological significance of the word. The doctrine is that each generation of men hands over to its successor, by natural ways, the consolidated results of its own experience,—passing on to the common mental property of the race whatever of accumulation it has added, of thought, affection, moral sensibility, practical power, and beneficence, to the vital stock of human society; having inherited from the preceding generation a certain amount of the same kind of stock to begin with. The process is like capital invested in trade, or money at interest. Each generation, if faithful to its trust, increases the capital which it received from its predecessor in the various kinds of knowledge open to human capacity, and in their application to human welfare; and hands down, therefore, to the generation that inherits its possessions, not only the original capital, but the income from the wise use of it added.

And the original capital of all, that sum of resources with which primitive man began business on this planet, the mental, moral, religious sensibility, or capacity for sensibility, which the first human beings are supposed to have possessed,—does the new Science resort to the ecclesiastical idea of Tradition to account for that? Does it assume that this primary mental and moral outfit was transferred outright to man in full efficiency by Creative will? Again, by no means. The new scientific view simply follows back this same idea,—that each generation begins as the product of preceding generations, and ends by the natural transmission of its own achievements to form the next generation,—and applies the conception there at the initial point of the human race. The claim is vigorously maintained by not-a few of the most eminent living scientists,— indeed, we may almost say that it is established,—that the faculties possessed by the first beings that could be called human were not such as to require an act of miraculous infiltration of divine power to account for them, but were the evident result of the life and accumulating experience of thousands upon thousands of generations of beings for innumerable cycles of previous ages; that, in fact, all previous processes and energies of the universe (so far as they come within the limits of human knowledge), with their countless forms of organic life and activity,—species following upon species, and [8] through a natural process of differentiation arid selection improving constantly by experience,—culminated in the mental and moral consciousness of man; that man, therefore, in his first appearance on the earth is himself the creature of tradition, having a genealogy that runs back through all phases of animal, and even of vegetable, life prior to him, and in the contents of his being holding the product of a force that began its career at a past era so remote as to be beyond all human power of measurement or comprehension.

This doctrine denies that any insuperable line of demarcation can be drawn between primitive man and the highest order of animals before him. It claims that there was no space, no gap, which Tradition had to leap by a miracle. No other tradition was required than that established in the natural law of transmission and inheritance. The difference between the highest civilized races of mankind today and the lowest existing savages is scarcely less than the difference between the lowest savages and the highest order of the brute creation. And the primeval men, according to this doctrine, were in a savage state, and doubtless lower than any existing savages. But there are tribes of savages now existing who manifest great dulness of mental and moral perception. Hence, it were absurd to suppose that the primitive human race was endowed with the same mental and moral ideas, or even sensibilities, that are manifest in civilized society in the nineteenth century. These ideas and sensibilities, even those moral and religious perceptions which we today call intuitions, are, this scientific doctrine alleges, the product of the accumulated and often bitter experience of the human race; and the beginnings of them, in that distant past which we cannot measure, arc the product of the accumulated experience of races before the human. As Herbert Spencer expresses it:

“The experiences of utility, organized and consolidated through all past generations of the human race, have been producing corresponding modifications, which, by continued transmission and accumulation, have become in us certain faculties of moral intuition,—certain emotions corresponding to right and wrong] conduct, which have no apparent basis in the individual experiences of utility.” And Mr. Darwin, in “The Descent of [9] Man,” sets himself confidently to the task of showing by the most patient and frank elaboration of evidence, that “there is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties,” but that a legitimate mental relationship, through laws of natural physical descent, exists between the two; and that the human moral sense was gradually developed by natural inheritance and growth in the same way, its origin being “social sympathy,” which is characteristic of the higher animal orders as well as of man. He says it is probable “that any animal whatever, endowed with well marked social instincts, would inevitably require a moral sense, or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well developed, or nearly as well developed, as in man.” He traces religious beliefs and sentiments back by the same method, and conjectures for them a similar germination; finds something akin to the sentiment of worship in the adoration of the dog for his master; and sums up the whole argument in defining instinct and intuition by the exceedingly felicitous phrase, “inherited habit.”

In this phrase, which is itself an argument, we have a concise statement of the scientific doctrine of Tradition. It carries us back to no specific, complete, full-rounded revelation of truth at some definite moment of time, gives us no picture of Infinite Being imparting by one act conscious perceptions of truth and right to the finite mind of man; but it directs us backward through the clear or tangled ways of human history, beyond the road of all recognized history and the era of all so-called Sacred Books, to a revelation that began in the first rude monosyllabic stammerings of the beings in whose intelligence first dawned the sense of the word ought, and whose consciousness first thrilled with the impulse of adoration before some unseen Power; a, back of that remote era, to the strivings of Nature upward, through manifold forms of organism and tentative experiments of life, to reach the point where these stammerings became possible; and thence forward, following the revelation—the light of Truth and Social Order and Virtue—as it has spread and increased by natural process from lower forms of humanity to higher, through successive races, religions migrations, civilizations, literatures, and through all the ages [10] Primeval and historic, down to this point of time in the nineteenth century and to these familiar phases of moral, religious, and social life amidst which we are living to-day.

This, then, is what may be well called the Scientific view of Tradition. And what shall we say now of its bearing on questions of ethical and religious philosophy, and especially in regard to certain widely prevailing theological conceptions in Christendom? First, we may say that the view agrees with the ecclesiastical doctrine of Tradition in this particular,—that it lays special and great emphasis upon the past for what man is at present as an intellectual and moral being But it differs fundamentally from the ecclesiastical doctrine in respect to the mode in which the past preserves authority over the present. Ecclesiasticism teaches that there is a separate and supernatural channel, external as it were to the ordinary and natural course of human development, through which certain truths, miraculously revealed to man at the outset of his career, have since been transmitted. Science teaches that the transmission and origin of such truths is internal,—that these truths, or beliefs, are involved in the natural organism and development of the race itself, and become apparent in the ordinary unfoldings of human history. This scientific view, again, agrees with the intuitional philosophy—in opposition to the ‘ecclesiastical view of Tradition—in recognizing the present declarations of human intelligence in matters of truth and duty as more authoritative than any alleged revelation at a definite era in the past can possibly be,—since the intelligence embodied in the highest human races to-day has beneath it the accumulated wisdom of all the past. But it also differs from the usual interpretations of the intuitional philosophy in that it goes back of the intuitions to account for them,—claiming ability to prove that, instead of being the direct gift or immediate manifestation of an external Creative Power, they are the gradually consolidated product of an experience extending back into an infinite antiquity: not so much, therefore, the immediate voice of a personal Deity in each individual soul, as the condensed lesson of a vast and august series of efforts of the Creative Energy. Now, since the scientific view of Tradition has points of unity with both the intuitional and the ecclesiastical schools [11] religious thought, while on other points it opposes both one of its excellent effects may be, assuming that its truth will be established, to furnish a basis of reconciliation between these two antagonistic parties. It may in time lead the ecclesiastical traditionalists to abandon their superfluous theory of a supernatural and exclusive channel for the reception and transmission of divine instruction for mankind, and to adopt instead the natural courses, through which perceptions of truth and right have been acquired and transmitted, as the legitimate and all-sufficient mode of divine revelation. And on the other hand, it may lead the intuitionalists to regard as more important than they have been wont to do the accumulated teachings of the past, or the general mental and moral sense of the most developed portions of the human race, as a means of verifying present theories and declarations which may be put forth on the alleged authority of individual personal consciousness and inward vision.

And here is a point which may well detain us for a moment, since it touches some questions of immediate practical interest. The point is that the deliverances of individual conscious must be able to show a connection with the general human consciousness, in order to legitimate their validity. All researches into the phenomena of history are daily bringing additional proof of close organic relationship between individual man and universal man. From every direction the facts multiply, disclosing the subtile threads of the natural lineage which connects the beliefs, thought, customs, language, institutions of the modern civilized world with the farthest antiquity of the race. Thus the materials of all past human experience go t the making of the mental and moral intelligence of the present age, and produce a certain average of mental and moral sensibility, or certain common elements of mental and moral sentiment: and these common elements must appear in the action of every individual mind, whatever else it may or else that mind testifies against itself as having lost by some mental derangement healthy relationship with its kind. And here is a test by which individual vagaries and idiosyncrasies may be discriminated from the genuine human consciousness; a. test by which we may detect when personal conceit, or [12] ambition, or passion, or a disordered imagination usurps the place of a real deliverance of truth, The light of consciousness may flame up higher and brighter in certain individuals than it does in the ordinary level of humanity; but it must have beneath it for fuel, and flame up from, the same elements of mental and moral perception that have become the common property of surrounding mankind: else it is an ignis fatuus, a delusive taper, which, having no permanent and substantial source of sustenance, must soon expire. The genuine “Inner Light,” to use the fine Quaker phrase, must be lighted from the substance of the common reason and the common conscience, with whatever exceptional brilliancy it may in some instances shine. In other words, however much consciousness may be refined in some persons to nicer sensibility and clearer perception, producing the sage and the genius, yet it must to a certain extent harmonize with the public intelligence and the public conscience, because of the mental and moral solidarity of the race. The New Testament saying, that “no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation,” suggests a larger truth than it utters; namely, that the Infinite dues not impart itself on any principle of monopoly, and that no private soul can set up a claim to have an exclusive revelation of he Divine Mind. The revelation, to be valid, must prove its hereditary relationship with universal truth. To this test we must bring all claims that may be made to a knowledge of truth on the ground of individual consciousness.

And in this test a mental safeguard is furnished against the danger that the cry of some exaggerated personal fancy or disordered imagination may be taken for the veritable voice of truth. A peril of this sort vitiates the sectarian interpretation of the noble Quaker doctrine of the “Inner Light,” as also the daimon of Socrates, the visions of Swedenborg, the ecstasy of the Mystics, and the modern spiritualistic claim of possession and inspiration by the spirits of the departed. Whenever the doctrine of the “Inner Light,” or of intuitive consciousness, has led individuals to claim the power of personal prophecy and vision, disconnected from all evidence of facts and grounds of reason; or has impelled zealous cevotee&tv2ik naked through the streets to testify to the Lord’s displeasure [13] against the people’s sin of extravagance and luxury; or has inculcated the belief that an edifying ministry may be sustained without learning, thought, or culture, on the ground that the Divine Spirit, or the spirits of dead men, will suggest both thoughts and words at the time of utterance; or has taken the form of a claim to have received a complete volume of religions directly from God, like the book of Mormon,—we may pretty sure that the mind in which such beliefs and impulses are generated has in some way lost healthy connection with the common mental stock of mankind, and that the real inner light of personal consciousness has been eclipsed by a cloud of intellectual delusion.

And the same test is a moral safeguard, too, against the danger that the doctrine of following individual reason and conscience may be pushed to an extreme individualism, under cover of which a claim may be set up for the vicious indulgence of personal passion and desire. For, just as certain mental aberrations from a certain standard of intelligence are intellectual lunacy against which society protects itself, so any gross departures from a certain common moral standard, which the aggregate of human experience thus far has established as the line of social ethics, are to be treated as moral lunacy. Whenever, under the plea of free reason and free conscience, the pursuit of individual impulse leads beyond this line, the inquiry is in order whether it is reason and conscience, or only disordered and selfish passion, that holds the guiding rein. Wherever reason and conscience really guide, there is necessarily recognition of the relation of the individual, not only to his own objects and impulses, but to the human race as a whole; and for every personal right that is claimed, a corresponding duty towards society is acknowledged.

So much for the modifications which this scientific view of Tradition might effect in the critical application of the philosophy of intuition, and for the restraints it might throw around the doctrine of individual liberty. It should be added, however, that they are not modifications that would invalidate, or restraints that would hinder, the peculiar services for humanity rendered by the great seers, sages, and geniuses.—the men who, like Moses, Sakya Muni, Jesus, Luther, Dante, Shakspere, [14] appear to stand so high above their contemporaries as to gaze at truth with clearer vision and who speak or act with a power that visibly lifts mankind upward to a higher level of life. Even scientific men have visions, or catch glimpses, of great principles, and laws of Nature long before they are able logically, or experimentally, to authenticate them. But these previsions of truth have their origin in some suggestion made by a fact already authenticated, ad so meet the required test: which, whether in the domain of physical or religious science, is that the new truth shall have natural and valid relationship with the old; that the personal proclamation shall not be put forth on authority exclusively personal and special, but shall be based on grounds that are common to speaker and hearer,—the personal proclaimer only making a finer and clearer revelation of what is already in many hearts. There has been but one Shakspere in human history. Yet no name in literature is so universal; no author combines so many interests of our common humanity. It is claimed in Christendom that Jesus occupied an entirely exceptional position as a teacher of religion,—that he received his truths direct from heaven, and bad thence also special endorsement of his right to teach them. But the common people had little difficulty in comprehending him,—not so much, indeed, as the learned,—and, we are told, “heard him gladly.” And this was really a more genuine credential of the authority which went with his teachings, and which has preserved them to this day, than any miracles which he is alleged to have performed.

It is to be observed, too, that what is here said of the weakness of the claims which are made for special personal revelations will apply equally well to the claims which ecclesiasticism sets up for the authority of all its traditions; for these traditions, it is maintained, had their origin in a specific revelation through supernaturally illuminated personal vision, the things thus seen having been then committed to oral transmission or to scripture. The test that sets aside the claims of Mormonism and of the Oneida Community to-day, ser aside no less all irrational and immoral doctrines and custom that may appeal to the Bible, or the Koran, or the Vedas, for their right to exist. The only sale place of trust is to be found [15] in this gradually developing moral intelligence of the race,— which pronounces at any time its clearest voice in the communities where civilization has reached the point of highest elevation, and which in the course of human progress comes to sit in judgment on the ancient prophets and bides themselves, with authority to sift all their teaching and to revise all traditions.

But this scientific view of Tradition—now commonly styled the doctrine of Evolution—starts questions that concern religious and moral faith mere vitally than any we have yet considered. The objection that the dignity of the human race is assailed, if man be thus linked in natural kinship with the brute animals, is becoming antiquated, and needs no consideration. To ridicule the theory, and oppose those who hold it with theological abuse, neither intimidates scientific men nor abolishes the facts upon which they claim that the theory rests. To ask if you want a monkey for an ancestor may raise a laugh among the bystanders; but science is not answered by a laugh and does not consult the caprice of human wishes so much a the purport of Nature’s facts. But even if it were a question of the dignity of the human race, it might be replied that it is better to have risen from an ape than, according to the popular theological theory, to have fallen from an angel. It is more honorable to be climbing up than slipping down. And there are species of animals with whom we might more proudly claim cousinship than with some specimens if mankind. But this concern lest human dignity is to suffer from any earnestly advocated theory of science is puerile. Graver questions demand attention.

Suppose this scientific view to be true; suppose man, as we find him in civilized society to-day, with all his beliefs, faiths, moralities, humanities, arts, sciences, power, to be only a natural and gradually evolved product of the accumulated experiments of certain organic forces that have been acting upon each other from the beginning of time to the present moment: how is this to affect the common belief in God, the common belief in an immutable moral law, the common belief in conscience as the human representative of that law, the common belief in intuitive perceptions as representing absolute realities, [16] the common belief in humanity as in direct communication with Divinity and under divine guidance? Here are questions that go to the centre of things. They arc questions that must be met with all candor and seriousness. But, in the limits of a magazine article, the answers are to be suggested rather than elaborated to completeness.

First, as to belief in God. It seems inevitable that this new scientific view of creation and of man’s relation to the universe in which he lives,—that any scientific view of the matter which stands a chance of being rationally justified,—should very essentially modify the conception of Deity as it has been ecclesiastically taught in Christendom. It must, as it becomes accepted, very materially change the popular idea of the external relation which Deity holes to the universe. It must revolutionize the entire ecclesiastical theory of the method of Divine Providence. it must, in time, wholly eradicate the mechanical view of the creation and regulation of the world,— the view that represents Almighty Power as embodied in a vast individual being, patterned after the form of man, only inconceivably greater, having an existence distinctly separate from the universe, and making the world in a definite period of time and superintending its movements from the outside, as a man might make and watch over a machine. This whole conception, with all its kindred and allied notions, must be relegated to the regions of mythology.

But when we have said this, have we not said all? “All, indeed,” many might be disposed to answer, “and enough to leave only atheism.” But to modify the conception we may have of a being is not to abandon all belief in the being. To eradicate one form of idea is not necessarily to eradicate the substance of thought for which the idea was meant to stand. To change our theory of the method by which power may manifest itself is not to say there is no power at all And, whatever theory science may establish concerning the creation and sustenance of the universe, it does not and cannot get rid of the central substance of what mankind have meant to signify through the word Deity and its cognate terms in different languages and religions. Science and culture are even modifying and refining the form of the thought, but the vital [17] germ of the thought remains. So, let science now trace the universe back through a system of evolving forces as far as it may, it must necessarily come somewhere to a force that resists its analysis. Scientific men admit this necessity, and, if they claim to he philosophers also, are apt to call this boundless region of powers and possibilities beyond their present search, “The Unknowable.” But “The Unknown” would be a more accurate form of expression; for human thought is continually pushing its explorations into this vast land of shadows, and translating its unknown possibilities into facts of positive knowledge,—proving that behind any present boundary of the Unknown there is always power and being. Yet we cannot conceive that finite mind can ever come to the end of this region of the Unknown and be able to say there is nothing beyond, and therefore no possibilities of further knowledge. To the finite mind, let it advance in knowledge as far as it may, there must ever remain a Beyond unexplored, unlimited, infinite. And we can no more conceive of this infinite Beyond as merely blank space and time than we can conceive of it as sheer nothingness. In it we know, as well as we know any thing that our eyes cannot see nor hands touch, there must be somewhat of existence and power. Up to it we trace clearly the threads of creating, sustaining, vitalizing forces which our knowledge grasps, and we keep tracing them farther and farther as fresh knowledge pushes back continually the boundary of the Unknown. What then? Do these threads suddenly case at that movable line? Such a supposition were as absurd as to declare that a rivulet ceases at the point where impenetrable thickets make it impossible for us further to follow back its course. We know that the Nile has a source, though we may not be able to find it. So we know that these threads of organic, formative energy, which science traces through the wondrous phenomena of the universe, run back behind the veil of human ignorance to sources of power and life whose existence must be admitted, though not revealed. And we know more. We know somewhat of the nature of these hidden sources of the universe. What is in the issue must be, at least potentially, in the source. The elements of being must be akin on both sides of the veil.

But there is one secret which science, with all its research, [18] never fathoms. The primal impulse with which things began yields to no experiments nor discoveries. This remains as much a mystery to-day as in the days of Pythagoras or the writer of Genesis. Science follows the illuminated line of natural laws and forces close up to the hounds of the great Mystery, and peers with awe into its depths, but never uncurtains it. Scientific men can trace the ways and by-ways of development in the world’s phenomena; may be able to tell us clearly how this form has come from that, and that species from another, and how one chain of power binds all the phenomena together,——but the original power itself, the evolving, developing force, the directive agency, the formative principle, or whatever other name be given to it, eludes all search, though it must always be assumed. Who will venture to say, then, that the scientific theory of creation is atheistic; since it only come, after it long journey, to the old Scriptural text, “Touching the Almighty we cannot find Him out”? Yet the Secret Power, Cause within cause, Force behind all laws, Motor within a movement, is necessarily assumed to exist: and the universe is somehow its work, and held within its grasp to-day! And is there not at least as much reverence in this silent recognition of Infinite Being, and patient devoted study of its ways and purposes,—though confessing that the finite mind cannot comprehend it in the entirety of its power,—as in the claim that mankind has received a definite revelation of the whole scheme and plan of creation as conceived by an Infinite Mind, and possesses a knowledge of religious and moral truth sufficient for all possible human needs for all time?

Secondly, does this new scientific view imperil the authority of conscience and moral law? I answer that, though it should be proved that conscience is a faculty which has been gradually acquired under the pressure of social experience; that moral intuitions are inherited habits of judgment into which mankind has slowly grown; that our perceptions of right and wrong, our sense of duty, our obligations of honor and virtue, are all the product of the laboriously accumulated and transmitted knowledge of things as they have been found to serve individual utility under the rough discipline of millions of generation of animated existence,—still it would not follow that the validity [19] of these intuitions and perceptions were disproved or even assailed. Nor is such a result claimed by any noted scientists. To account for the moral intuitions in a natural way is not to deny them. To say that intuition is “inherited habit” is not to say that intuition does not exist. It would not even follow that all the elements of these intuitions come from outward experience, and that nothing has been furnished from the mind itself, or from the organizing principle in animated existence as distinguished from the environment. The principle of utility may have been the practical agency for evolving the moral sense, and yet not account for the primal seed of the moral sense. Let it be admitted that all races and classes of mankind do not possess the same degree of moral sensibility; grant that there are ravages who have little or no perception of the Golden Rule as a guide of life, and whose moral nature seems scarcely above that of the highest brutes,—still it is certain that, as civilization proceeds and men advance in general intelligence and culture, there is, whatever be the varieties of race or the differences in outward condition and experience, a convergence towards unity of moral perception. Whence come this common drift and direction, this steady aim within the evolving action?—this progress in the process? How happens it that the principle or utility, operating in the midst of such various and even contradictory conditions, brings out at last substantially the same result? Whence the fact that men every where arriving a certain stage of mental development, come essentially to the same moral intuitions? Can we answer these questions without admitting that there is something in the organizing, evolving power which determines moral direction and sets the process definitely towards a goal? To account for the moral facts in human history, must we not claim that there was that in the germinal essence whence all things have sprung which guided the grand process upward to a definite result,—just as there is that in the elm-seed which, amidst whatever conditions of environment, determines the product into an elm-tree, and never an oak, or any thing but a elm?

If it be objected that the facts do not indicate moral unity,—that in reality there is great difference in the moral standards of different races and communities even when tolerably cultivated, [20] the people of one country sometimes regarding actions as right and praiseworthy which the people of another country will condemn as wrong,—the reply is ready, that differences of this kind occur in the application of moral principle, and convictions rather than in the principles and convictions themselves. Men may agree, for instance, that there is such a thing as justice, and define it in the same way, and alike declare its authority over human conduct, and yet differ as to what particular course of conduct justice might require in a given case. And these differences in respect to the application of moral principles are precisely such as we might expect would be produced by different sets of external conditions. But amidst all these differences there is essential agreement on the principle themselves; and this is the kind of moral unity that concerns the question under discussion. Take the nations that have risen to a civilization adequate to the production of a literature, and they show a wonderful unity in the elements of moral sentiment, and a growing unity a mental enlightenment has increased and become more general. Consider the great historical religions of mankind. With all their differences of custom and belief, and wide variety of educational discipline from outward circumstances, there is among them a startling harmony of ethical statement. We may read in them all essentially the same precepts in behalf of truthfulness, kindness, justice, purity. Is it possible that these precepts, and the moral sense of obligation involved in each of them, have been wrought out solely by the principle of serving individual utility, with no determining moral germ at the outset upon which this principle has acted? Has the principle of utility, with no essential moral distinctions or purposes as a foundation to begin upon, by mere accident or caprice amidst the heterogeneous conditions of human development, determined that certain classes, of actions shall be called virtuous or just o honorable; and upon this wholly factitious and. arbitrary ground finally built up a complete ethical system for mankind Moreover, whence comes the power to distinguish between a lower and higher utility, and to choose the latter, though distant and uncertain, in preference to the former, which may be sure and close at hand? And whence the obligation that [21] men often feel to serve others’ welfare rather than their own,—to sacrifice, indeed, individual utility to universal good By what metamorphosis can the selfish principle of serving individual utility ever be transformed into an act of genuine self-sacrifice? Can selfishness beget the love that utterly forgets and abandons self? If not, must not Love, Good-will, have been in some way involved in the developing process of the world from the beginning? Whence comes it that the Golden Rule has been independently reached, and uttered in nearly the same form, in three different quarters of the globe and among as mans’ different nations and religions? Whence comes it but from the fact that the principle of beneficence, or the principle of the Golden Rule, is one of the original germs of mind itself,—that it is an inherent element in the very substance of that Power which becomes manifest in the developing process of the universe—that it was first involved and hence has been evolved? The Golden Rule comes whenever and wherever man attains to any good degree of enlightenment, because the seed of it is in his nature; or, to go farther back, because the seed of it was in the germinal substance out of which man’s nature has been developed: in protoplasm, or whatever else was the primal germ-world whence all finite things started on their career.

And it argues nothing against the validity of this or any moral perception, to show that it does not appear until certain conditions of development are presented. The important question is, Does it appear at all? Is it there? And the fact that under such variety of environment, amidst such differences of external conditions and experience, men do in time develop substantially the same moral perceptions, come to the same sense of the binding obligations of virtue, reach the same convictions of the moral beauty of beneficence, show the same admiration for acts of brave honesty and self-sacrifice, is the strongest possible proof that these moral convictions and intuitions—and the same may be said of intuitions with regard to intellectual truths—represent immutable distinctions and realities. They are what they are, and could not have been otherwise than they are, because they are the very substance of that eternal power which science traces back by the pathway of wondrous phenomena to the secret places of more wondrous Mystery, and which is signified by the word [22] Divinity; unfolding itself, revealing its own essence and nature, in the consciousness of humanity. Thus the validity of conscience and of the moral sentiments in general, so far from being endangered by the new science, is strengthened; since their authority, instead of being left to the uncertain dependence of special personal revelation, transmitted by corruptible scripture or tradition, is established ineradicably in the nature of things.

Thirdly and finally, how must this new scientific view of the universe affect our personal relations to this Infinite Power? If this view be true, what becomes of the doctrine of Providential care and love? Doubtless, if this view be substantiated, since it must greatly modify the commonly accepted conception of Deity, it must also correspondingly modify the common idea of personal relation between him and human beings. But the relation is not necessarily on this account the less real or the less spiritually productive and satisfying. The popular theological view represents Deity as enthroned in the heavens, and as thence watching over the member of the human family with sovereign majesty or paternal solicitude, and communicate with them, through the vast intervening spaces, by the mysterious supernatural agency of his spirit. But suppose, in place of this conception, anthropomorphic and crude, we conceive of our relations to Deity as wholly internal and natural; suppose that we believe literally with Paul, that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being,”—does that make personal relations to him any the less close and vital? The divine influence certainly is as real, if, instead of conceiving it as passing by some miraculous process through the air, we believe that it comes into our being through our natural faculties and intuitions: and these faculties and intuitions themselves are none the less the work and product of divine power, though the power hrs been by so long a way working up to them, than if they were the immediate creation and endowment by the Almighty for each individual soul. The thought, indeed. is intellectually and morally ennobling, that man is the culmination and crown of this vast process of the ages,—that the creative energy, which has been working its way slowly and patiently from the simplest beginnings up through manifold forms of organism and life, comes to consciousness of itself in the mental and moral being of man; and [23] henceforth has in him a self-directive organizer of it purposes and fulfiller of its aims: a son, who carries on his manly brow the marks of his wondrous parentage.

Nor is the power any the less near or present because of the long road by which it has been travelling. Niagara loses nothing of its stupendous mightiness, though we may trace the majestic volume of its waters back to the rills in the far-off mountains where came the first bubbles from the soil, and though the precipice itself may have been in slow process of forging for ages under the Titanic forces of Nature. The power is present and in it all the same. A rose is as sweet and beautiful, though we know it to be the organized essences of elements that have been gradually drawn from surrounding air and water and earth and the distant sun, as it would be if it were a sudden apparition in our gardens from the skies.

Will the theological critics object, however, that they miss the Father’s face; that here, indeed, is order, law, majesty, beauty perchance, but no personal Providence, no paternal Heart? It is much, certainly, to see a father’s face. But do we rationally expect ever to be able to localize the Infinite Father’s face? Must we not be content to see its smile in the features of the universe and in the face of humanity; in the faces of our own fathers and mothers; in the lives of the good and brave; in the love of the friend at our side? surely, it is not to remove us beyond the reach of a paternal Providence, when we believe that the providence and the paternity, the wise foresight and the loving heart, are inwrought into the very law and life of the world wherein we daily share! It is the divine energy, springing in its finite manifestations, we know not whence nor how, from the primal fount of Being, which, thus working through the ages and through all the anterior forms of existence, makes, the very substance of the life that is ours to-day. Far away from God? Rather are we so close to him that we cannot see him apart from ourselves! In his light we see light By his love our hearts are warmed and thrilled with manifold forms of human love. In our consciences we feel the pulse-beats of his eternal rectitude. Coldly separate and distant? Oh, no! Rather do we stand in the very current of his living energies; [24] and day by day, more literally than the old Hebrew poet thought, he maketh us “drink of the river of his pleasures.”

William J. Potter