Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/830

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one resting on an immediately present consciousness, deeper than bis belief in the uniformity of Nature? I suppose not. Now, theologians are accustomed to assert, and I think with justice, that it is impossible to entertain any belief—whether it be only a working hypothesis or something more—in the uniformity of Nature, without basing it on the irrefragable trustworthiness of the human faculties. In one of our earliest discussions Dr. Ward proved his case that on the irrefragable trustworthiness of memory, for example, for all facts which it positively asserts, rests the whole structure of human knowledge; and this in a sense much deeper than any such expression as "working hypothesis" will express. Without assuming this irrefragable trustworthiness, Dr. Ward has reminded us that I could not now know that I am replying to Professor Huxley at all, or indeed who I myself am, or who is Professor Huxley. Without absolutely assuming the trustworthiness of memory, how should I have the least glimmering of a conception of that expressive personality from whose mouth the weighty utterances we have just heard proceeded? Yet if you grant me the trustworthiness of memory, when it speaks positively of a recent experience, can you deny me the trustworthiness of other human faculties equally fundamental? Is my "belief" in the distinction between right and wrong, between holiness and sin, any less trustworthy than my belief in the asseverations of my memory? Did not Professor Huxley himself suggest in his closing remarks that the moral roots of our nature strike deeper than the intellectual roots; in other words, that if memory be much more than a "working hypothesis," if its trustworthiness be the condition without which no working hypothesis would be even possible, there are moral conditions of our nature quite as fundamental as even the trustworthiness of memory itself? I hold it, I confess, most irrational to have an absolute and undoubting belief in the uniformity of Nature based on any accumulation of experience, for no such accumulation of experience is possible at all without an absolute and undoubting belief in the past, and this no merely present experience can possibly give us. And I hold such a belief in the uniformity of Nature, based on anything but the trustworthiness of our faculties, to be irrational, for precisely the same kind of reason for which I hold it to be irrational to question the belief in God. The solemnity which Professor Huxley attaches to the words "I believe," I attach to them also. Moreover, I could not use them in their fullest sense of anything which I regard merely as a "working hypothesis," however fruitful. But I deny that we theologians regard our deepest creed as a working hypothesis at all. We accept the words "I believe in God," as we accept the words "I believe in the absolute attestations of memory," as simply forced upon us by a higher intuition than any inductive law can engender. When I say "I believe in God," I use the word believe just as I use it when I say "I believe in moral obligation," and