Popular Science Monthly/Volume 2/December 1872/Introduction to the Great Problem

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INTRODUCTION TO "THE GREAT PROBLEM."[1]
CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK.

THE royal Psalmist said, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work." The modern Huxleys respond: "The heavens declare nothing at all, and the firmament is ultimately but eternal protoplasm." In this happy and hopeful response the materialists are as much traitors to science as enemies to religion. They ignore all the facts of mind. This whole department of cognitions is neglected in arranging their premises. The very first canon of science is thus violated, which demands that all facts be collated as data. Then, a second fallacy of which they are guilty is, leaving scientific proof and leaping, by the imagination, to the conclusion that life is merely matter. They find an ultimate matter (only ultimate, however, owing to the limited power of the microscope), and straightway say, "This is life" although it is known to exist without life, and has not a single characteristic of life in it. By such unscientific methods these scientific men, whose names are now so famous, have imposed upon the unlearned and credulous, and made men lose their faith in the eternal truths of God. Darwinism is another form of the same infidelity, working its evil by the same unscientific methods. Darwin leaps to his conclusions against every axiom of science, and Darwinism is, instead of science, mere theory. Science and Religion are at one. They both come from God and lead to God. "The heavens declare the glory of God," and "the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart," are accordant strings of the same harp.

We need sensible and learned men to come forward and show the world what fools these pseudo-scientists are, and thus break the spell, which is as groundless as the Cock-lane Ghost, but which holds so many all-agape at their fantastic tricks.

Mr. Leifchild's book is popular, and yet sound and thoughtful. Its style is terse and clear. He represents the materialists and pantheists (the extremes are one) with fairness, and exposes the core of their absurdities, showing the higher ministry of Nature in declaring the glory of God, vindicating the equal authority of our intuitions and our senses, and the separateness, yet intimate connection, of mind and matter. It is a book that should find its way to every parlor, where the materialistic poison has been scattered, to straighten and strengthen the weak knees, and give color to the pallid cheek, letting the light upon the frightful spectre, and showing it to be but a man of straw. It is high time that this buffoonery in the name of science were played out. Scientific and religious men must join to put out the intruder, with a brand upon his back. To hold serious talk with him is only to set him up in his assumption. Mr. Leifchild's book exposes him to the world, pulls off the lion's skin, and turns the public fear into laughter. Let the voice of Truth be heard through a thousand such books, and the cant of materialism shrink into silence.

 
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  1. "The Great Problem: The Higher Ministry of Nature viewed in the Light of Modern Science; and as an Aid to Advanced Christian Philosophy." By John R. Leifchild, A. M., Author of "Our Coal-Fields and our Coal-Pits," "Cornwall; its Mines and Miners," etc., etc., with an Introduction by Howard Crosby, D. D., LL. D., Chancellor of the University of New York. 543 pages. G. P. Putnam & Sons.