Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/175

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161
SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY.

of verification by the reason or by experience. Truth has many phases, and reaches us through many channels. There is a phase of truth which is apprehended by what we call taste, as poetic truth, literary truth; another phase which is felt by the conscience, as moral truth; and still another, which addresses the soul as the highest spiritual and religious truths. All these are subjective truths, and may be said to be qualities of the mind, but they are just as real for all that as the objective truths of science. These latter are the result of a demonstration, but the former are a revelation in the strict sense. Such a poet as Words-worth, such a writer as Emerson, speaks to a certain order of minds. In each case there is a truth which is colored by, or rather is the product of the man's idiosyncrasy. In science we demand a perfectly colorless, transparent medium; the personality of the man must be kept out of the work, but in poetry and in general literature the personality of the man is the chief factor. The same is true of the great religious teachers; they give us themselves. They communicate to us, in a measure, their own exalted spirituality. The Pauline theology, or the theology which has been deduced from the teachings of Paul, may not be true as a proposition in Euclid is true, but the sentiment which animated Paul, his religious fervor, his heroic devotion to a worthy cause, were true, were real, and this is stimulating and helpful. Shall we make meat and drink of sacred things? Shall we value the Bible only for its literal, outward truth? Convince me that the historical part of the Bible is not true, that it is a mere tissue of myths and superstitions, that none of those things fell out as there recorded; and yet the vital, essential truth of the Bible is untouched. Its morals, its ethics, its poetry are forever true. Its cosmology may be entirely unscientific, probably is so, but its power over the human heart and soul remains. Indeed, the Bible is the great deep of the religious sentiment, the primordial ocean. All other expressions of this sentiment are shallow and tame compared with the briny deep of the Hebrew Scriptures. What storms of conscience sweep over it; what upreaching, what mutterings of wrath, what tenderness and sublimity, what darkness and terror are in this book! What pearls of wisdom it holds, what gems of poetry! Verily, the Spirit of the Eternal moves upon it. Whether, then, there be a personal God or not, whether our aspirations after immortality are well founded or not, yet the Bible is such an expression of the awe, and reverence, and yearning of the human soul in the presence of the facts of life and death, and of the power and mystery of the world, as pales all other expression of these things; not a cool, calculated expression of it, but an emotional, religious expression of it. To demonstrate its divergence from science is nothing; from the religious aspirations of the soul it does not diverge.

What I wish to say, therefore, is that we are conscious of emotions and promptings that are of deeper birth than the reason, that we are capable of a satisfaction in the universe quite apart from our exact