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Argyll's Rule of Law

Argyll’s Reign of Law

                There is much in this work that we hold to be true and important, when considered by itself, without reference to the general views of doctrines of the author; but they are so interwoven with other things, that to us are evidently unscientific or untrue, that they lose nearly all their practical value. The author certainly does not lack ability, and is apparently learned in the sciences; but, unhappily for such a work as he appears to have meditated, he is no theologian and no philosopher. There is such a want of distinctness in his principles, and of clearness and precision in his statements, that, with the best intentions in the world to understand him, we are unable to make out to our own satisfaction what he is driving at, or for what purpose he has written his book.

                The topics created are: 1. The supernatural; 2. Law – its definitions; 3. Contrivance, a necessity arising out of the reign of law; 4. Apparent exceptions to the supremacy of purpose; 5. Creation by law; 6. Law in the realm of mind; 7. Law in politics. These are great topics, and are intimately connected with theology and philosophy, faith and religion. But what has the author proposed to himself in treating them? What general view of religion or of science does he seek to bring out, illustrate, or establish? We can find in his book no satisfactory answer to either of these questions. He is a savant, not a philosopher, and there seems to be in his mind and in his book the same want of unity and wholeness, the same tendency to lose itself in details, that there is and must be in the special or inductive sciences when not subordinated to a general or superior science, to be supplied only by theology or philosophy, which deals with the ideal, the universal, and the necessary; and we find it impossible to harmonize the several special views which he takes, integrate them in any general view which it can be supposed that he accepts, or which he has not found,  first or last, directly or indirectly impugning. We understand well enough his language, which is simple and clear, so far as the words and sentences go; we understand, too, the parts of his book taken separately; but we frankly confess our inability to put the several parts together and understand them as a whole.

                Our first impression, on looking through the work, was that the author wished to harmonize with the great primary truths of religion, by showing that the universe in all its departments, laws, facts, and phenomena proceeds from a productive will under the direction of or intelligence, for a purpose or end. In this view the laws of nature, producing effects in their order, could be carried up for their first cause to the divine will, or that will itself using the instrumentality of laws or means it had itself created. To harmonize the sciences with faith, or to render them compatible with faith, all that would be need to be done would be to show that since the so-called natural laws themselves depend wholly on God, they can never restrain his freedom, or compel him to act through them, and only through them. We will not say that he has not had something of the sort in view; but, certainly, not uniformly steadily.

                We thought, again, that having the same end in view, he wished to show that all things are produced according to one and the same dialectic law, and therefore, that viewed as a whole, in its principle, medium, and end, as the external expression of the Holy Trinity, which God is in himself, the universe must be really dialectic, and strictly logical in all its parts. Creation is the external word of God, as the Son is his internal word or expression. As the Creator is in himself the supreme logic, logic itself, creation as his expression ad extra, or external image, must be as a whole and in all its parts strictly logical, as St. Thomas implies when he says, “God is the similitude of all things,” similitudo rerum omnium. Not that the type of God is in the creature, as the noble duke more than once implies; but that the type of creature, of creation, is in God. Hence there can be no anomalies, no sophisms in the Creator’s works; nothing arbitrary, capricious; but order must run through all, and all must be subjected to the law of order, implied in the doctrine of Scripture, “God hath made all things by weight and measure.” The author, then, might be understood as attempting, by his knowledge of the physical sciences, to prove a posteriori that this is true, and to show that this law of order reigns in the world of matter and in the realm of mind, in the plant and in the animal, in science and faith, in religion and politics, as the universal law of creation. Hence, the possibility and reality of science, which consists in recognizing this law and tracing it in all things, little or great.

`               Some things, the author says, may be construed in favor of such a purpose, but he seems sometimes to be asserting the universal reign of law and at others to be censuring those who do assert it, and refuting those who maintain that life is the product of law; plainly showing that he does not understand law in the sense, supposed, nor always in the same sense. His definitions of law also prove that he is a stranger to the view we suggest, and has his mind fixed on something quite different. The “root idea” of law, he says, is that of force; and he defines law to be in its primary sense “will enforcing itself with power” – a very erroneous definition, by the way, for law is will directed by reason. He also understands by it the means, medium, or reason. He also understands by it the means, medium, or instrument by which will creates, for he does not seem to hold that God creates from nothing, or without means distinguishable from himself; so we are thrown back, and again puzzled to determine what he really does mean. We ask ourselves if he is not a really profound theologian, master of the deepest Christian philosophy, and simply endeavoring to translate it into the languages of the savants, or if he is not totally ignorant of that philosophy, suggesting to those who know it far more than he has ever dreamed of himself? Something almost inclines us to think the former; but upon the whole we incline to the latter, and conclude that the less profound in philosophy and theology we regard him, the greater the justice we shall do to him.

                The author, as near as we can come at his meaning, holds that all action of the divine will is by law, and that law is the means or instrument by which it acts and produces its effects; or, in other words, God always and everywhere makes use of natural laws or forces to affect his purposes. The definition he has given of law in its primary sense, “will enforcing itself with power,” would seem to identify it with God himself, or at least with God willing and effecting his purpose; but he says: “Law is taken in certain derivative senses, in which hardly a trace of the primary sense is retained: 1. Law as applied simply to an observed order of facts. 2. To that order as involving the action of some force or forces, of which nothing may be known. 3. As applied to individual forces the measure of whose operation has been more or less defined or ascertained. 4. As applied to those combinations of force which have reference to the fulfillment of purpose or the discharge of function. 5. As applied to the abstract conceptions of mind, not corresponding with any actual phenomena, but deduced therefrom as axioms of thought necessary to our understanding of them – not merely to an order of facts, but to an order of thought.” (Pp. 64, 65) The last sense given to law proves clearly enough that the author knows nothing of philosophy, for it supposes the ideal or the intelligible is an abstract mental conception deduced from sensible phenomena, and therefore is objectively nothing, instead of being an objective reality affirmed to and apprehended by the mind. He is one who places the type of his God in the creature, not the type of creature in God, and represents God to himself as the creature fulfilled or perfected, as do all inductive philosophers. But we will pass over this, as having been already amply discussed by us.

                We confess that we find very little that is definite in these pretended definitions of law. They tell us to classes of facts law is applied, but do not tell us what law is, or define whether it is the force which produces the facts to which it is applied or simply the rule according to which they are produced; whether it is the force which produces the facts to which it is applied or simply the rule according to which they are produced; whether it designates the order of their production or is simply their classification. The author may reply that it is applied in all these senses and several more, but that defines nothing. What is it in itself, apart from its application, or the manner if its use? A word, and nothing more? Then it is nothing, is unreal, a nullity, and how then can it ever be a force, or even an instrument of force? “These great leading significations of the word law,” he continues, “all circle round the three great questions which science asks of nature, the What, the How, and the Why: 1. What are the facts in their established order? 2. How, that is, from what physical causes, does that order come to be? 3. Why have those causes been so combined? What relation do they bear to purpose, to the fulfillment of intention, to the discharge of function?” (P. 65) This would be very well, if the sciences raised no questions beyond the order of second causes, but this is not the case. The author himself brings in other than physical causes. Will is not, in the ordinary sense of the word, physical; and he defines law to be, in its primary sense, will enforcing itself with power; and the question comes up, If these facts of nature are the product of will, of whose will? Does nature will or act from will? Is it by its will fire melts wax, the wind propels the ship at sea, or the lightning rends the oak? The author speaks of the facts of nature. Fact is something done, and implies a doer; what or who, then, is the doer? Here is a great question which the author raises, and which his definitions of law exclude. The whence is as important as the what, the how, or the why. Moreover, the author mistakes the sense of the how. The answer to the question, how? is not the question, from or by what cause or causes, but in what mode of manner. Law in “these great leading significations” which circle round the what, the how, and the why, does in no sense answer the question whence, or from what or by what cause, and leaves, by the way, both the first cause and the medial cause, the principle and medium of the facts observed and analyzed. How then can he assert the universal reign of law? As far as we can collect from the senses of the word given, law does not reign at all; it lies in the order of natural facts, and simply marks the order, manner, and purpose of their existence in nature, or their arrangement or classification in our scientific systems. Nothing more.

                Yet his grace means more than this. He means, sometimes at least, that to arrange facts under their law is to reduce them to their physical cause or principle of production. Such and such facts owe their existence to such and such a law, that is, to such or such a natural cause or productive force. And his doctrine is that all causes are natural, and that there is no real distinction between natural and supernatural. “The truth is,” he says, pp. 46-47, “that there is no such distinction between what we find in nature, and what we are called upon to believe in religion, as men pretend to draw between the natural and the supernatural. It is a distinction purely artificial, arbitrary, unreal. Nature presents to our intelligence, the more clearly the more we search her, the designs, ideas, and intentions of some

‘Living will that shall endure,

When all that seems shall suffer shock.’ “

But, does nature when she presents the designs, the ideas, intentions, present the will whose they are? And if so, does she present the will whose they are? And if so, does she present it as her won will above herself? Undoubtedly, the will presented by religion is the same will that is operative in nature, but religion presents that will not as nature, therefore as supernatural, for nothing can be both itself and above itself. Nobody pretends, certainly no theologian pretends, that the will presented by religion is above the will that is operative in nature, and calls it for that reason supernatural. The will in both is one and the same, but religion asserts that it is alike supernatural whether in religion or nature. That will is the will of the Creator; and does the author mean to assert that the distinction between the Creator and the creature is unreal? Certainly not. Then he must be mistaken in asserting that the distinction between the natural and supernatural is “purely artificial, arbitrary, unreal,” and also in controverting, as he does, the assertion of M. Guizot that “a belief in the supernatural is essential to all positive religion.” He himself admits, p. 48, that M. Guizot’s affirmation is true in the special sense that “belief in requisite condition,” and we will not be so unjust as to suppose that he either identifies this living will, this personal God with nature, or denies that he is above nature, or denies that he is above nature, its first and final cause, its principle, medium, and end, its sovereign proprietor and supreme ruler; for this lies at the very threshold of all true religion, is a truth of reason, and a necessary preamble to faith,

                “But,” the author continues, “the intellectual yoke, in the common idea of the supernatural, is a yoke which men impose upon themselves. Obscure thought and confused language are the main source of the difficulty.” In the case of the noble duke, perhaps so; but if he had been familiar with the clear thought and distinct language of the theologians, he probably would have experienced no difficulty in the case. What he really denies is not the supernatural, but, if we may so speak, the contranatural, which is a very different thing, and which all real theologians are as ready and as earnest to deny as ine is or can be; for they all hold grace is supernatural, and yet adopt the maxim, gratia supponit naturam, as we have shown in the article on Nature and Grace. The author very conclusively shows that the contradictory of what is true in nature cannot be true in religion. Some pretended philosophers in the time of Pope Leo X maintained the immortality of the soul is true in theology, but false in philosophy. The pope condemned their doctrine and vindicated common sense, which teaches every one that what is true in theology cannot be false in philosophy, or what is true in philosophy cannot be false in theology. Truth us truth always and everywhere, and never is or can be in contradiction with itself. But we cannot agree with the author that the “common idea” of the supernatural is that it is something antagonistic to nature.  There may be some heterodox theologians that so teach, or seem to teach, and many men who are devoted to the study of the natural sciences suppose that approved theologians assert the supernatural in the same sense, and this is one reason why they take such a dislike to theology and become averse to faith in supernatural revelation. But we hold them mistaken; at least we are not accustomed to see the supernatural presented by learned and orthodox theologians as opposed to the natural. If such is the teaching of the heterodox, it is very unfortunate for the author that has taken their teaching to be that if the Christian church, or the faith of orthodox believers.

                But the author’s difficulty about the supernatural has its principal origin in his theology, not in his science. We do not like its habit of speaking of the divine action in nature as the action of will, for God never acts as mere will. We may distinguish in relation to our mode of apprehending him, between his essence and attributes, and between one attribute and another; indeed we must do so, for our power are too feeble to form an adequate conception of the Divine being; but we must never forget that the distinctions we make in our mode of apprehending have no real existence in God himself. He is one, and acts always as one, in the unity of his being, and his action is always identically the action of reason, love, wisdom, will, power. When we speak of him as living will, we are apt to divide or mutilate him in our thought, and to forget that he never acts or produces effects by any one attribute alone. But pass over this – though we cannot approve it, for God is eternal reason as really and as fully as he is eternal will; the noble duke, following his theology, makes in reality this one living will the only actor in nature, the direct and immediate cause of all the effects produced in the universe. He thus denies second causes, as Calvin did when he asserted that “God is the author of sin.” Taking this view, what is nature? Nature is the only Divine will and its direct effects, or the one living will enforcing itself with power, using what are called natural laws or forces, not as second causes, but as means or instruments for effecting its purpose or purposes. Recognizing no created or second causes, and therefore no causa eminens or causa causarum, but only one direct and immediate cause, he can of course find no ground for a distinction between natural and supernatural. All is natural or all is supernatural, for all is identical, one and the same. Hence, denying very properly all contrariety or antagonism between natural and supernatural, the author can accept miracles only in the sense of superhuman and supermaterial events. They are not supernatural, as men commonly suppose: they are wrought by the one invincible will at work in every department of nature, are in natural,  and as natural as the most ordinary events that occur – only they are the effects of more recondite laws, which come into play only on extraordinary occasions, and for special purposes. They belong to what Carlyle, in the Sartor Resartus, calls, “natural-super-naturalism,” which is no real supernaturalism at all. The author’s theology, which resolves God into pure and power, has forced him to adopt his conclusion. His theology hardly admits, though it may profess not to deny, that God creates second causes, capable of acting from their own centre, and in their own order producing effects of their own. The difficulty he finds in admitting and understanding miracles as real supernatural facts, arises precisely from his not distinguishing between First Cause and second causes. His failure to make this distinction is caused by his misconception or confused conception of the real character of the Divine creative act. Indeed, he hardly recognizes the fact of creation at all, as we might infer from his reducing the whole matter of science to the questions of the what, the how, and the why, omitting entirely the whence. His science deals solely with facts of the secondary order, and omits or rejects the ideal, in which all things have their origin and cause, as unknowable, imaginary, unreal.

                The author speaks frequently of creation, and we are far from supposing that he means to deny it; but if we understand him, he does not deny that the Divine will creates without natural means or instrumentalities, and this appears to be what he means by “creation of law.” He asks, p. 14, “By supernatural power we do not mean power independent of the use of means, as distinguished from power depending on knowledge, even infinite knowledge of the means proper to be employed?” We think his question is not well put; certainly we never heard before of such a definition of the supernatural, unless by means is meant natural means; but as he denies all supernatural power as operating independent of the use of natural means he must be understood as denying all creation from nothing, or that God creates all things by the word of his power, with no other means or medium than what is contained in himself. “The real difficulty,” he says, “lies in the idea of will exercised without the use of means, not in the exercise of will through means which are beyond our knowledge.” But what means were there through which the will could operate when nothing besides itself existed? Does the scientific author not see, unless he admits the eternal existence of something besides God, that on his ground creation must precede creation as the condition or means of creation? In the chapter on Creation by Law, pp. 280, 281, he says: “I do not know on what authority it is that we so often speak of creation as if it were not creation unless it works from nothing as its material, and by nothing as its means. We know that out of the ‘dust of the ground,’ that is out of the ordinary elements of nature are our bodies formed, and the bodies of all living things.” But of what was the “dust of the ground” or “the ordinary elements of nature” formed? He continues: “Nor is there anything which should shock us in the idea that the creation of new forms, any more than their propagation, has been brought about by the instrumentality of means. In a theological point of view it matters nothing what those means have been.” It, however, matters something in a theological point of view whether we assert that God creates without other means than is contained in his own divine being, or only by working with preexisting materials, which are independent of him, and eternal like himself.

                The author professes not to know on what authority creation is denied to be creation unless from nothing as its materials, and by nothing as its means; but he must have said this without well weighing the world he uses. A man makes a watch out of materials which are supplied to his hand, and by availing himself if a motive force which exists and operates independently of him; but nobody calls him the creator of the watch. Man has, strictly speaking, no creative powers, because he can operate only on and with materials furnished him by God or nature, and cannot himself originate his own powers or the powers he uses. He can form, fashion, utilize, to a limited extent, what already exists, but he cannot originate a new law nor a new force. The gentile philosophers finding in man no proper creative power, concluded that there is no proper creative power in God, and hence they substituted in their systems for creation emanation, generation, or formation; and you will search in vain through Plato or even Aristotle for the recognition of the fact of creation. Holding that God cannot, any more than man, work without materials, even the soundest of the gentile philosophers, say Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle, asserted the eternity of matter, and explained the origin of things by supposing that God impresses in this eternal matter, as the seal on wax, or in some ways unites with it, the ideas or forms eternal in his own mind. Here is no creation, for though there is combination of the preexisting, there is no production of something where nothing was before; yet we cannot go beyond them, if we deny that creation proper is creation from nothing, or, as we have explained, that God creates without any material, means, or medium distinguishable from himself.

Yet no theologian pretends that God, in creating, works without means. No work, no act is possible or conceivable without principle, medium, and end. God can no more create without a medial cause than man can build a house without materials; but if the author had meditated on the significance of the dogma of the Trinity, he would have understood that God has the means or medium in himself, in his own eternal Word, by whom all things are made, and without whom was made nothing that was made. God in himself, in the unity of his own being, the mystery of the Trinity teaches us, is eternally and indissolubly, principle, medium, and end in three distinct persons. The Father is principle, the Son or Word is medium, and the Holy Ghost is end or consummator. Hence God is complete, being in its plentitude, in himself, or using means not in himself. The medium of creation is the Word who was in the beginning, who was with God, and who is God. Hence not only by and for God, but also in him “we live and move and have our own being.” To suppose otherwise is, as we have seen, to suppose God does not and cannot create by himself alone, or without the aid of something exterior to and distinguishable from himself, and nothing is distinguishable from him and his own creatures, but another being in some sort eternal like himself, which philosophy, as well as theology, denies.

Rectifying the noble author’s mistake as to the creative act, and bearing in mind that God creates existences by himself alone, and creates them substances or second causes, capable of producing effects in the  secondary order, we are able to assert a very real and a very intelligible distinction between the natural and the supernatural. Nature is the name for all that is created, the whole order of second causes, and as God creates and sustains nature, he must be himself supernatural. God has, or at least may have, two modes of acting; the one directly, immediately, with no medium but the medium he is in himself, and this mode of acting is supernatural; the other mode is acting in and through nature, in the law according to which he has constituted nature, or the forces which he has given her, called natural laws, and this mode is natural, because in it nature acts as second cause. God himself is above this order of nature, but is always present in it by his creative act, for the universe, neither as a whole nor in any of its parts, can stand save as upheld by the Creator. A miracle is a sensible fact not explicable by the laws of nature, and, therefore, a fact that can be explained only by being referred to the direct and immediate or supernatural action of God. Whether a miracle is ever wrought is a simply a question of fact, to be determined by the testimony or evidence in the case. That God can work miracles may be inferred from the fact that creation does not exhaust him, and from the fact, the noble duke has amply proved, that the natural laws do not bind him to act only through them, or in any way restrain his freedom or liberty of action. In working a miracle, God does not contravene or violate the natural laws, or the order of second causes, that is, the order of nature; he simply acts above it, and the fact is not contranatural, but supernatural. It does not destroy nature; for if it did, there would be no nature below it, and it would, therefore, not be supernatural.

The author very properly rejects the origin of species in development, at least in the higher forms of organic life, and shows that Darwin’s theory of the formation of new species by natural selection does not form new species, but only selects the most vigorous of preexisting species, such as survive the struggle of life. Old species indeed become extinct and new species spring into existence; but those new species or new forms of life which science discovers are not developments, but new creations. Creation, he holds, has a history, and is successive, continually going on. We doubt whether science is in a condition to say with absolute certainty that any species that once existed are now extinct, or that new species have successively sprung into existence; but assuming the fact to be as alleged, and we certainly are unable to deny it, we cannot accept the author’s explanation. We agree with him that the creative will is as present and active as it was in the beginning, or that creation is always a present act; but for this very reason, if for no other, we should deny that it is successive, or resolvable into successive acts, since that would imply that it is past or future as well as present. Regarded on the side of God, there can be no succession in the creative act. Succession is in time; but God dwells not in time, he inhabiteth eternity. His act on his side must be complete from the instant he wills to create, and can be successive only as externized in time. Individuals and species when they have served their purpose disappear, and others come forward and take their places, not by a new creation from nothing, but because in the one creative act the appointed time and place for their external appearance have come. It is rather we who come successively to the knowledge of creation that is itself successive. The divine act effecting the hypostatic union of human nature with the divine person of the Word was included in the one creative act, and in relation to God and his act was complete from the first; but as a fact of time it did not take place till long after the creation of the world. It is very possible then to accept fully all the facts with regard to the appearance of new species that science discovers, without asserting successive creations; they are only the successive manifestations of the original creative act, revealing to us what we had not before seen in it.

In point of fact the author does not, though he thinks he does, assert successive creations, for he contends that the new are in some way made out of the old. He supposes the creative will prepares in what goes before what comes after, and that the forms of life about to be extinguished approach close to and almost overlap the forms that are coming to be, and are in some way used in the creation of the new forms of species. This, as we have seen, is not creation, but formation or development, and hardly differs in substance from the doctrine of development that was held by some naturalists prior to Darwin’s theory of natural selection. It supposes the material of the new creation, the causa materialis, is in the old, and the development theory only supposes that the new material exists in the old in the form of a germ of the new. The difference, if any, is not worth noticing. The development again can, in any theory, go on only under the presence and constant action of the cause to which nature owes her existence, constitution, and powers.

For ourselves, we have no quarrel with the developmentists when they do not deny the conditions without which there can be no development, or understand by development what is not development, but really creation. There is no development where there is no germ to be developed, and that is not development which places something different in kind from the nature of the germ. In the lower forms of organic life, of plants and animals, where the differences of species are indistinct or feebly marked, there may be, for aught we know, a natural development of new species or what appears to be new species, that is, organic forms not before brought out, or not perceived to be wrapped up in the forms examined; but in the higher forms of life, where the types are distinct and strongly marked, as in the mammalia, this cannot be the case, for there is no germ in one species of another. We object also to the doctrine that the higher forms of life are developed from the lower forms. Grant, what is possible, perhaps probable, but which every naturalist knows has not scientifically been made out, that there is a gradual ascent without break from the lowest forms of organic life to the highest, it would by no means follow that the higher form but develops and completes the lower. Science has not proved it, and cannot from any facts in its possession even begin to prove it. The law of gradation is very distinguishable from the law of production, and it is a grave blunder in logic to confound them; yet it seems to us that this is what the noble author does, only substituting the term natural creation for that of natural development. He seems to us to mean by the universal reign of law, which he seeks to establish, that through all nature the divine will educes the higher from the lower, or at least makes the lower the stepping-stone of the higher; yet all that science can assert is that the lower in some form subserves the higher, but not that it is its fons, or principle, or the germ from which it is developed.

On the side of God, who is its principle, medium, and end, creation is complete, consummated, both as a whole and in all its parts; but as externized, it is incomplete, imperfect, in part potential, not actual, and is completed by development in time. Looked at from our side or the point of view from the creature, we may say that it was created in germ, or with unrealized possibilities. Hence development, not from one species to another, but of each species in its own order, and of each individual accordin to its own species; hence progress, about which we hear so much, in realizing the unrealized possibilities of nature, or in reducing what is potential in the created order to act, is not only possible, but necessary to the complete externization of the creative act. This development or this progress is effected by Providence acting through natural laws or natural forces, that is, second or created causes, and also, as the Christian holds, by grace, which is supernatural, and which, without destroying, superseding, or changing nature, assists it to attain an end above and beyond the reach of nature, as we have shown in the article on Nature and Grace.

We, as well as the author, assert the universal reign of law, but we do not accept his definition of law, aw “will enforcing itself with power,” whether we speak of human law or the divine law, for that is precisely the definition we give to will or power acting without law, or from mere arbitrariness. The duke of Argyll is a citizen of a constitutional state, and professes to be a liberal statesman; he should not then adopt a definition of law which makes might the measure of right, or denies to right any principle, type, or foundation in the Divine nature. We have already suggested the true definition of law – will directed by reason; and God’s will is always law, because in him his eternal will and his eternal reason are inseparable, and in him really indistinguishable. His will is, indeed, always law, because it is the will of God, our creator; but if it were possible to conceive him willing without his eternal reason, his will would not and could not bind, though it might compel. The law is not in will alone, or in reason alone, but really in the synthetic action of both. Hence St. Augustine tells us that unjust laws are violences rather than laws, and all jurists, as distinguished from mere legists, tell us that all legislative acts that directly contravene the law of God, or the law of natural justice, do not bind, and are null and void from the beginning.

Law in the other senses the author notes, and has written his work, in part at least, to elucidate and defend, in so far as the natural or inductive sciences, without theology or philosophy, that is, so-called metaphysics, can go, is not law at all, but a mere fact, or classification of facts, and simply marks the order or co-existence or of succession of the various facts and phenomena of the natural world. The so-called law of gravitation states to the physicist simply an order or series of facts, not the cause or force producing them, as Hume, Kant, the positivists, J. Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, and virtually even Sir William Hamilton and his disciple Mr. Mansel, who exclude the ontological element from science, have amply proved. The idea of cause, of force, is not an empirical idea, but is given a priori.

There are several other points in the work before us in which we intended to comment, but we are obliged by our diminishing space to pass them over. The author says many true and important things, and says them well too; but we think in his effort to reconcile theology and science he fails, in consequence of being not so well versed in theology as he is in sciences. He does not take not of the fact that the sciences are special, and deal only with the facts of a secondary order, and are, therefore, incomplete without the science of the first cause, or theology. He does not keep sufficiently before his mind the distinction between God, as first cause, and nature, as second cause; and hence when he asserts the divine action he inclines to pantheism, and when he asserts the action of nature he inclines to naturalism. Yet his aim has been good, and we feel assured that he wished to serve the cause of religion as well as that of science.

For ourselves, we hold, and have heretofore proved, that theology is the queen of the sciences, scientia scientiarum, but we have a profound regard for the men of real science, and should be sorry to be found warring against them. There is nothing established by any of the sciences that conflicts with our theology, which is that of the church of Christ; and we have remarked that the quarrels between the savants and the theologians  are, for the most part, not quarrels between science and theology, but between different schools of science. The professors of natural science, who had long taught the geocentric theory, and associated it with their faith, when Galileo brought forward the heliocentric theory, opposed it, and found it easier to denounce him as a heretic than to refute him scientifically. A quarrel arose, and the church was appealed to, and, for the sake of peace, she imposed silence on Galileo, which she might well do, since his theory was not received in the schools, and was not then scientifically established; and when he broke silence against orders, she slightly punished him. But the dispute really turned on a purely scientific question, and faith was by no means necessarily implicated, for faith can adjust itself to either theory. Men of science oppose the supernatural not because they have any scientific facts that militate against it, but because it appears to militate against the theory of the fixedness of the natural laws, or of the order of nature. The quarrel is really between a heterodox theology, or erroneous interpretation of the supernatural on the one side, and the misinterpretation of the natural order on the other, that is, between two opinions. A reference to orthodox theology would soon settle the dispute, by showing that neither militates against the other, when both are rightly understood. There is no conflict between theology, as taught by the church, and any thing that science has really established with regard to the order of nature.

We cannot accept all the theories of the noble duke, but we can accept all the scientific facts he adduces, and find ourselves instructed and edified by them. It is time the quarrel between theologians and savants should end. It is of recent origin. Till the revival of letters in the fifteenth century, there was no such quarrel – not that men did not begin to think till then, or were ignorant till then of the true method of studying nature – and there need be none, and would be none now, if the theologians never added or substituted for the teaching of revelation unauthorized speculations of their own, and if the savants would never put forward, as science, what is not science. The blame, we are willing to admit, has not been all on one side. Theologians in their zeal have cried out against scientific theories before ascertaining whether they really do or do not conflict with faith, and savants have too often concluded their scientific discoveries conflict with faith, and therefore said, Let faith go, before ascertaining whether they do so or not. There should, for the sake of truth, be a better mutual understanding, for both may work together in harmony.