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going a revision, which would make them more consistent than some portions of them seem to be. Can the affirmative side deny that such discrepancies exist ? The mere fact that we have so many different sects clearly proves this statement. And such an admission would have a tenfold greater force, to render the standards of religious faith compiled by men revisable.
Creeds, as we stated before, are the productions of men, and therefore fallible. When such is the case, we are certainly unable to discover a definite reason why they should be infallible by receiving no revision. A creed is the declaration of the principles of faith professed by a person, as well as the formularies by which they are to be conducted. Since it has always been a few men in council, or at the head of a sect, that have composed creeds, is it right that a dogma which might have been carried by a casting vote should be for ever held as irrevisable, and therefore infallible? For our own part, we are perfectly convinced that all creeds should undergo certain modifications when circumstances might render such necessary. Standards of faith were instituted as a safeguard for the generally received faith, when their adherents commenced to investigate such questions for themselves, lest one faith might come in contact with another nearly similar in views to itself. The only reason that compelled them to do this was the force of circumstances; and as the compilers could only have given effect to the want which then existed, it is certainly absurd to plead that they could have made rules and regulations for every future event or circumstance which might hereafter take place, but of which they knew nothing at the time. They are, therefore, incomplete and insufficient for the requirements of this age. Certain misdemeanours, never thought of at the time a creed was formed, will, if creeds be irrevisable, go unpunished, and thus produce much mischief in the religious establishments of the day. On this head alone creeds should be revised. If punishment be inflicted, new rules must be made, to bring the subject under their power, so that in this manner an addition to the standards would be made, which is far more dangerous than a mere revision of the whole. “Howard”
that it is unfair to alter the creeds and standards of faith to those who have already subscribed them. But, for aught he knows, the very individuals who subscribed them may be the very parties who wish them revised. This statement is, however, followed by another, to the effect that a party may join a church who will outnumber the original adherents, and, on account of their being in the majority, alter the creed to serve
their own consciences, to the prejudice of the minority. The effect of this assertion is premature, as no church receives such a great number of adherents without first compromising their differences, and thus making a new creed. If we were to adopt the policy of those who maintain the affirmative of this question, we would never have unions between churches. But it is not a general rule that those who change their faith wish the creeds of their adopted ones to be revised. On the contrary, they are kindled by a certain enthusiasm for their new religion, which makes them averse to a revisal. Both in dining and
signing'we take the same plan. First swallow all down, then digest as we can. “Howard” professes to be greatly afraid of the consequences resulting from a revisal, but with that we have nothing to do. We have to deal with the matter of right, and the chief question appears to be, Is it proper to trifle with a right which has the interests of souls in the scales, merely for the sake of consequences ? He argues that if a revision should take place, great confusion would ensue, and he states, “Among the Episcopalians we have High Church, Broad Church, and Low Church, men of all shades of opinions.' If this statement is true, a creed of any description is useless, as it appears from this argument of his that a person can hold any shade of opinion, and still be a good subject under the infallible Thirty-nine Articles, which, he says, should not be revised. So much for the latitude and purity of the Thirty-nine. This state of the Anglican Church, as described by “Howard,” is one of the greatest confusion; in fact, that you can be anything and shade yourself under its protection ; but if you dare to attempt to put matters right-to bring order out of this admitted confusion,—then, strange to relate, the result of such exertions would only tend to increase the evil. If a church exists in the condition described by “Howard,” there is nothing for it but a revision to its very root and branch. If unity of faith had been one of “Howard's ” aims, certainly then a revision is necessary to give consistency and uniformity.
If the standards of faith were complete and satisfactory, all cavil. ling on the subject would be unnecessary. The only reason that there is such contention about them is simply because they do not comprehend all that is necessary for the religious requirements of the day. If this were not the case, there would have been, indeed, little debate about their comprehensiveness, power, and infallibility. The affirmative side might never have insinuated anything as to the objects which those had in view who wished standards to be revised. “Howard” insists that a revision has proved nothing except a hotbed for Socinianism, Unitarianism, &c. On the other hand, could those who accepted the views of these sects conscientiously remain in the belief of a different religion other than that which their minds embraced? Yet it would seem by “Howard’s” argument, that if they were ever so bad in point of doctrine, they would have been all right had they remained where they were before. The Church of Rome has high pretensions about infallibility, and she has had a great number of obscure fathers whom she has been pleased to elevate into saints. An account of their lives is brought down by tradition, which is an article of the Roman Catholics' faith, as they are bound by the creed of Pope Pious IV. to “steadfastly admit and embrace it.” And can any person see his way through all the superstition, error, and nonsense into which tradition has coiled itself for so many centuries? We would think, when tradi
tion forms an article of faith, that a revision should be urgently demanded every ten years.
“Howard” states that “it is absolutely necessary that every Christian society should have a well-defined and intelligible standard of faith.”. This we admit, and the way by which he would give us such model standards is to leave them as they are! But have we well-defined and intelligible standards ? If we had there might have been no grumble about the matter. Many Christians say that creeds are neither well defined nor intelligible, and who are to be the judges to find out whether they are or are not in that condition ! Howard” proceeds in his argument as if there were the greatest unanimity imaginable about them. If such had been the case, we
would certainly not have taken the negative side of this question. The only way in which we can expect to attain to such standards as “Howard” describes, is by a revision; and nothing has been adduced to prove that they should not. In fact, he candidly admits himself that “we must not exalt them to an undue eminence by considering them absolutely infallible.” And again he says, " That human creeds, as the production of fallible mortals, are infallible, is contrary to the voice of both reason and revelation.” Now it is distinctly admitted that creeds are the productions of fallible men; and what sufficient reason can be assigned for not revising the works of men whose fallibility is admitted ?
There can be no doubt but that such an absurd claim of ipfalli. bility tends to retard all progress. If such a claim had been maintained and acted upon when Druidism was in our land, we cannot take upon ourselves to predict the condition we would be in at present; what state of society would then have been had not creeds been rejected at the time of the Reformation. In short, we learn that it was by breaking up the superstitious influence of creeds that we have advanced in liberty of conscience on the everincreasing tide of civilization, borne on by its intelligence, experi
learning, and sagacity, to develop its onward resources. We are under the impression that an equal number of reasons have been given against this subject as for it. The comprehensive and sound paper of “Ruddy” is an additional bulwark to the negative side. It therefore appears to us, on considering the Scriptures, and the unlimited latitude given by them to all kinds of opinions, that creeds should be revised. This is, moreover, more urgently required in the case of the standards of religious faith for the reason already given, as well as those in the July number of this Magazine. In conclusion, we might say,
“ There is more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds."
G. M. S.
DOES SCIENCE INDUCE SCEPTICISM?
I am sure that every reader of the British Controversialist will regret that the able pen of " Capillorum Sector” is, by pressure of care and business, restrained from advocating the cause, entrusted in his default, to me, as his henchman. I would I could wield the weapons of my master—they are sharp, trenchant, and sterling. The logical calmness and severity of reasoning the opening paper displayed was only equalled by the pellucid clearness of its style and the choiceness of its phraseology. I fear that in my hands the championing of the affirmative may be less effective than I could wish-than he would have made it. Editorial requisition alone would have brought me to the front on this occasion. I can but do my best, and bring the debate to an issue. I do not think the warfare between science and theology just. I object to unscientific theologians as well as to unbelieving scientific men. I believe truth to be faultless and flawless, but to be besides often bewilderingly many-sided. The special facet we see is not all the frontage truth presents. We can only see that which is turned to our earthly eyes, though we are permitted to catch by reflection a glimpse of its more heavenly aspects, and we have been told on divine authority-as I believe, that truth is heavenly not less than earthly. Now theology treats of the heavenly aspects of truth, while science, glorious as she is, is earthly in her origin and in her circumscription.
Science and theology are neither contraries nor contradictions, and there is neither a necessary nor a probable exclusion of the one by the other; both can be worthy of belief, I would even say both are able to be known. It is possible, however, to turn one's eyes away from the brightest light, though the shutting of our eyes does not extinguish the sun. I do not, however, think that "pedantic science alone is antagonistic to Christianity” (p. 26). The chosen land of science, France, is not only unpedantic in its science but inveterate in its scepticism, and many of tbe most renowned cultivators of science among ourselves—Tyndall, Huxley, Darwin, &c.are almost universally regarded as sceptics. The fallacy of undervaluing is a very trite one, and we cannot subscribe to W.'s confi. dent averment that, “ hostile sceptical science will be found narrow and pedantic” (p. 34). “Honour to whom honour is due is a Christian precept which we neglect when we make such rude attacks on the fair and fairly gained fame of the most eminent scientific men of our day. I call attention again to the fact that a round-robin was put in circulation in favour of Christianity, which was to be signed by scientific men; but Sir John Herschel, Professor De Morgan, &c., objected to adhibit their signatures to any such document, because it gave an appearance of truth to the commonly received opinion that “science does induce scepticism." This opinion I believe is well founded, and I proceed to give reasons for it.
Science inclines men to look only at law at work in the universe; it demands that no recognition of will shall be made, as effective in or over phenomena. Its very nearest approach to the acknowledga ment of personality is that of speaking about the laws of nature as the expression of the divine will. But even this, modern science rejects, and it calls “ the relations of co-existence and succession usually named laws by the name of methods,” and interprets the process by which they are called forth the way of nature-the path * forces take to their particular results.” This tendency of science is
ceptical one. It'eliminates from the universe of fact a onal God, and then affirms that science affords no evidence of His being. It is very clear that the reason on account of which scientific men are anxious to dismiss law from their minds is, that they may reduce the entities of science as much as possible. Still, though science proceeds upon abstraction, it does not follow-very far from it—that what we lay aside in abstraction does not exist. The habit, however, of treating it as if it did not exist inclines men to a forgetful. ness of it, and therefore induces scepticism of it. A hero who, like Nelson, never saw danger, is not likely to believe in it. A scientific man, who only looks for facts, will not long believe in a God who surpasses all facts.
“ Jerningham’s ” able paragraph on the language of scientific men (p. 189) corroborates this view. While it entirely sets aside the argument of R. S. that Paley and Butler have shown it to be impossible to avoid the holding of a “belief in nature's God,” the fact is otherwise; scientific men there are who do not believe in a God, who
“Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent." The paper which R. S. has composed misses the question most completely. He, laboriously, sets himself to prove that “some scientific men are not sceptics," as if we required to affirm that all scientific men are sceptics.” The question is of things not men“Does science induce scepticism P". If R. S. or any of our readers is acquainted with the line of inclination shown in by far the greater proportion of the scientific works of the day, he cannot