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Dr. Bushnell's book makes no pretension to technical philosophizing, and no parade of critical erudition. It is all the better that it does neither of these. It gives abundant proof of philosophical power, and what is better, of practical wisdom. The author shows that he adequately understands the philosophical assumptions that are in question, as they are held among us, without troubling himself with the source whence they are derived, or caring for the philosophical systems from which they have been received, and in which they are defended. These assumptions constitute the strength of the argument for his opponents. Upon these he bestows the entire force of his discussion, and briefly applies his conclusions to the confirmation of the historic truth of the Christian record. Having carried the argument on the first position, he has carried the second, for the critical argument against Christianity depends for all its strength and coherence upon its underlying theory of the supernatural. It first assumes, or attempts to prove that the miraculous is impossible, and impelled by the pressure of the necessity which it has thus taken upon itself, to find or make a construction or explanation for the evangelic history, it extorts the best that it can, and makes of it a distorted and monstrous inpossibility. But when these assumptions are shown to be unnecessary and irrational, the natural and obvious interpretation of the record becomes rational, and the critical difficulties vanish at a single glance of the eye.

These remarks must suffice for our general observations upon this volume. As we scrutinize it from a nearer view, we open upon the author's statement of the misgivings and unbelief in respect to Christianity which have been rapidly gaining influence in these times. Upon this we need make no critical remarks. This, with a brief exposition of the author's design, fills the first chapter.

In chapter second, he gives his definitions and opens the discussion. “Nature and the Supernatural,” are the conceptions which he seeks to expound in their sharp contrasts, and to harmonize in that concurrent action by which they constitute and complete the one system of God. The contrasts are not new.

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They are as old as the history of speculation. Fate and Freewill—Matter and Mind-blind Force and intelligent ThoughtNecessity and Freedom-Atheism and Theism-Pantheism and the doctrine of a personal God; these and other contrasted terms oppose each other in pairs along the front lines of antagonist systems in Philosophy and Theology-as far back as the eye can trace the marshaled hosts of contending thinkers. Even the terms applied by the author are not new. Coleridge says in his Aids to Reflection, (Note 29, “Whatever is comprised in the chain and mechanisın of cause and effect, of course necessitated, and having its necessity in some other thing, antecedent or concurrent—this is said to be Natural ; and the aggregate and system of all such things is NATURE. It is therefore a contradiction in terms to include in this the Free will, of which the verbal definition is—that which originates an act or state of being. In this sense therefore, which is the sense of St. Paul, and indeed of the New Testament throughout, spiritual and supernatural are synonymous.

Similar to these are the definitions of Dr. Bushnell. He draws them out with greater minuteness indeed, and asserts for the supernatural the anthority to interfere with nature, to control nature, to introduce disorder into nature and to recover nature from “the damage which those laws, in their penal action, would otherwise perpetuate.” The spiritual realm, when considered by itself, “is much more properly called a system than the natural, becanse it is closer to God, higher in its consequences, and contains in itself the ends or final causes for which the other exists, and to which the other is made to be subservient.” This may serve as a brief exposition of the title, which is expanded into the discussions of the volume. We anticipate the following objections as likely to be made against these fundamental definitions.

It will be urged that the conception he gives of nature, is not that which is accepted by the most enlightened students of the physical sciences, for nature in the view of such, cannot be interpreted apart from her relations to spirit, in which indeed, all her gradations culminate as the bright consummate flower completes and crowns the plant. To spirit also, her processes

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are subservient-even those which stretch backward through the ages-and which look forward to still more splendid developments. In order to understand nature, we must introduce intention, or final cause; in order to have intention, we must suppose an intelligent and free spirit—in other words, we cannot have a correct and satisfying explanation of nature, without supposing intelligence and freedom. These suppositions are admitted in the prima philosophia—the necessary pre-suppositions of the most enlightened naturalists. Without these the powers of nature cannot be evolved in subordination to one another, and be subjected to uniform laws.

To this we inight say, this representation is just. Were this not so, there could be no relation of the natural to the supernatural, of blind force to intelligent thonght; much less that subserviency which the one claims over the other. The question is not, what is the correct philosophy of the domain of nature, but what is that which in fact is taken by the great mass of the votaries of physical science. It may be conceded that many of the most eminent and large-minded physicists like Owen, Agassiz, and Dana, do in fact recognize a scientific necessity for intelligence. Yet it does not follow, that the tendency of such studies on the whole, is not to bind the mind to an almost exclusive consideration of necessity and unchanging law, giving no room to creation in the intellectual theory of the universe, except by the compliment of a naked acknowledgment of the original fiat—a miserable substitute for the living and personal God. Or if a live Creator be allowed to stand far back in the vista of remote ages, and to originate forces and impose laws, for the glory and entertainment of the philosophers of these last times, yet the possibility that he should break or renew the chain by another original act in creation or miracle, is not entertained. Much less does the savant trouble himself with the possibility that the originator must perpetually recreate in order to sustain-that to preserve is to renew-that he who started this mysterious chain whose links he counts in their order and whose magic strands he is ever twisting, must also send life along its circuit, or its organism would fall asunder. Definite forces are assumed-constituent principles are the atoms with which the builder begins. Fixed laws are presumed. But what these forces, and principles, and plans are, or what they imply in their relations to a power which is greater than them. all, he does not care to inquire.

But without prosecuting this particular question any further, we are certain that the views expressed by the writer in respect to the naturalistic theories, and the extent to which they prevail, are unquestionably true. The question is not, whether these views are the result of physical studies, or whether they do or do not furnish a foundation broad enough even for a physical philosophy. It is far wider and more fundamental. It is none other than whether matter and spirit, including both man and God, are not generally regarded and reasoned of as bound under inflexible law. Is it not the scientific faith of these days, that the actings of everything which exists are predetermined by the constitution with which it comes into being, and that for this constitution in its elements and their intensity, it is dependent on the productive energy of the beings that went before ? According to this theory, science is the knowledge of existence and events in their causes and laws. In order that this knowledge may be possible and reliable, the causes must be uniform in their actings, and the laws inflexible in their requirements. Otherwise there were no certainty of human knowledge, and no principles in science. Spirit may differ from matter in its powers, and may obey different laws, but given the powers and their laws, and the result is as certain and as necessary in the one case as in the other. Hence the confident theories of civilization and of the philosophy of history, in which the development of the race is accounted for as satisfactorily as the development of a flower, and the stages of its progress are traced as distinctly to their causes, as the unfolding of the bud, or the ripening of the fruit. The same theory is applied to explain the phenomena of each individual soul. Its entire history, each thought, and feeling, and act, is necessarily the consequence of its nature and its circumstances. Sin is impossible. Holiness is scientifically absurd. Personal merit

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and demerit are unscientific and unphilosophical conceptions. There is no guilt to be repented of-no recovery to be sought for. Of course there is no possible occasion for the work of Christianity, which presupposes guilt, and has no meaning if guilt is not both possible and real. Miracles ! they are unscientific, they can be admitted by no sane man who is illuminated to know that the laws of nature can never be broken, and its processes can never be reversed or interrupted. God himself is engulphed in this all-absorbing vortex of scientific necessity. For God himself must obey the laws imposed by his own nature, and his nature is but another name for whatever is. The universe is the sole expression for the actings of God, and the actings of God in each passing instant are evolved from the actings of the moment before, and so will it ever be as we look forward into the future, and so has it ever been, as we gaze backward into the past. It avails little, it avails nothing that we draw a line through this dreary waste, and seem to divide the dominion of spirit from that of matter. All is alike wrapt in icy fetters, and that which seems to put on the semblance of joy, and love, and goodness, is only the more dreary for its likeness to that which it mocks, like the fields, and forests, and flowers which the traveler sees wrought in the icy waste, or painted on the mirage of the desert. “Whatever is actual is rational,” i. e., must be explicable by scientific law, and “whatever is rational is actual”-in other words, the forces of the universe will have their way. This is the maxim of one, the great master of modern thinking, before whose remoreeless logic, God and man, matter and spirit, is resolved into the perpetual evolution of the necessary conception of each, while the conception and real existence of each is determined by its relation to every other.

Another declares that science has only for its object whatever is positively known, and nothing is positively known which is not resolvable into facts expressed by mathematical relations—so that all the phenomena of matter and spirit are explained by blind forces grinding upon each other at a fixed rate, and with a uniform energy. Even this man charms not a few

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