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507d76d7c2066 106.192.105.130 India

THE

NATURAL OF
ATHEISM.

HISTORY

BY

THE

SAME

AUTHOR.

FOUR

PHASES
Socrates,
i2mo,

OF

MORALS

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Utilitarianism.
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SCRIBNER,

ARMSTRONG
AND

"
BROADWAY,

CO.,
NEW
YORK.

743

745

THE

NATURAL
OF

HISTORY

ATHEISM

BY

JOHN
PROFESSOR
OF

STUART
GREEK
AT THE UNIVERSITY

BLACKIE
OF EDINBURGH

'Mala et impia "st consuetude contra

deos disputandi,sive ex

animo id fit,

sive simulate."" CICERO.

NEW

YORK

SCRIBNER,

ARMSTRONG
1878

"

COMPANY

\

TROW'S

PRINTING

AND

BOOKBINDING

Cow,

CONTENTS.

CHAP.

PAGB
T
T-"

I. PRESUMPTIONS

I

II. III. IV.

THEISM,
ATHEISM,
POLYTHEISM

ITS

REASONABLE
VARIETIES
AND

GROUND COMMON

.

26

ITS

ROOT

.

37
72
no

....

V.
VI.

BUDDHISM

"

.

THE
LISH

ATHEISM

OF

REACTION;
AND

MODERN

ENG

ATHEISTS

AGNOSTICS;

MARTINEAU

AND

TYNDALL

.

.

l8l

CHAPTER

I.

PRESUMPTIONS.

HESIOD.
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SOCRATES.

I
that

REMEMBER boyhood
after
into

well, when
youth,
some

I

was

passing

from
ago,
was a

fifty years
there
"

shortly general

the

battle in the

of Waterloo,
public public mind

conviction
section

at

least in
is
more

large

of

the

which
taught

mightily
past
guns
"

stirred by
after
so

the present
many

than

by

the of

that
and

years'
was now

wild
an

turmoil
end

bayonets,
culmination I remember

there of
no

forever
called

of

that

sanguinary

horror

War
a

; and

less distinctly how of
a

when,
old

few

years

afterwards,

by the advice

stout

doctor

of divinity

in Marischal

College, Aberdeen,

2

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

I waded

my

way

through

that most
"

interesting

of

all ancient Deorum," abiding

theological
and

treatises,

Cicero
perusal

de Natura
with
the

had

finished

the

belief that that
called
no more

culmination

of all specula
a

tive absurdities

Atheism

was

thing

of the of

past, and credible

could

reappear

on

the stage

things

than

those with

old

women

suspected

of holding
more

communion
two

the Evil
ago,

One,

who,

not

than

hundred
to

years

used

to be

flung
were

into the
not

milldam,

the

effect that, sink, and

if they if they
But

witches
they

they
might

might

were

witches

float and
now

be burnt.

I have

lived
these

long

enough

to

understand As

that
for

both
war,

anticipations

were

premature. up
my

I

have
only
and
a

long

since

made

mind
a

that it is not

theatre
a

of horrors, rich and

but

school

of virtue ; with hos

that in

various

world,

crowded
interests,

antagonistic

tendencies

and

contrary
must

tile collisions of various

kinds
done

take
war,

place ; and

the
men,

only

thing
to

to

be

with

by

sensible

is not
are never

dream
eager

it out

of the world,
always

but, while ready,
and,

we

for it, to be heat

when
men,

we

are

in the

of the
As
the

strife, to fight

like

and

not

like tigers.
by

for Atheism,
consideration

again,

I have

learnt equally,

of

cer

tain recent

phases

of thought,

taken

along

with

the

Presumptions.
general
disease

3
that
it is

history
of the

of human
speculative from

speculation, faculty
time
to

a

which
time,

must

be
men

expected
are

to reappear

when

shaken
have

out
not

of the firm forms time
to
a

of their old beliefs,

and

yet had

work
one.

themselves

into

the well-defined
in fact, physical
a

mould
state

of

new

It indicates,
to

chaotic chaos

of mind makes

analogous

that

which of
an

its epiphany

betwixt
creation

the of
a

destruction
new.

old world

and

the

What
the word
TO

is Atheism

?

As

a

theory,

with regard
universe,

to

nature
means

and

constitution

of the
mighty
out

the

either
all,
was

that the produced
goes

something, of nothing,

the
no

irav,

the
knows

body

how, nobody and

and

on

producing
;
or

itself into
ex

something,
isted

knows

how

that it has
as
a

forever,

will exist

forever, that
on,

mighty called
;

confused

complex

of something that is acted from
no

acts,

force,and
ing that
the

something
its shape

called matter
or
or

but it takes
cause,

intelligent

design
at

merely
a

from

blind

chance

;

least and
no

it is

self-existent

combination

of forces
unity,

results of forces, of which,
can

in their

intelligible account
Now

be given.
that
occurs

the

first observation

to

one

on

this view

of the constitution

of this wonderful

struc-

4

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

ture

of things

called the world, and

is, that

on

the broad
it

view

of the ages
strikingly

cycles of human abnormal, It
seems,

speculation
and
monstrous
on

is

a

exceptive,

type

of reasonable

thought.
to

the first the
same

blush

of the
to

matter,

bear

somewhat

proportion

the

general and do
to
to

current

of human

think

ing that
morbid

dypsomania
sensibility
nerves.

other

odd

conditions
state

of

the
take

normal
another

of the
:

human
general

Or,

simile

the
the

aspect

of the fields and
in the

the

forests and
of Sahara,

face of the earth, except
green
; but

desert

is of
of

sometimes,
or

wandering the

in the depths

the

leafy

dells,

through
we

luxuriant
on a

beds

artificial gardens,

stumble

single

plant
are

whose

leaves

are

red, while

all its congeners hue,
though

of the normal

green.

This

peculiar

it
a

have

a

certain novel and will not

attraction

about
on

it, is in fact

disease,
any

be

looked

with
to
averse

favour

by
case

gardener.

Such
It is
a

exactly

seems
so

be

the
from

with

Atheism.
current
mass

doctrine

the

general

of human

sentiment,

that the
turn

unso

phisticated
from
it,
as

of mankind foxes

instinctively

away

the other having

did

from

that

vulpine

brother
convince

who,

lost his tail ii" a trap, tried to world

the whole

of foxes
region

that the
was

bushy

appendage

in the posterior

a

deformity

Presumptions.
of which
aristocracy
common

5
of the vulpine
as

all high-minded should
times and get rid
under
to

members
as soon

possible.
circumstances,

In

normal
accept

men

are
as

not

disposed
any
reason,

Atheism,

in any

shape,
a

having
in the

positive
as

value.
as

It is simply

defect

much
an

the want
or

of

an

eyeball beard beards, taken
sexes.

in what in
or

looks looks

like
like

eye,
man.

the want
Men

of

a

what
women

a

without
be

with

them,

will

justlynot
of

account

of

in the

general

estimate

the

The
man

fact is,as Socrates is naturally and

says in the

"

Memorabilia,"
a

differentially
or

religious

ani

mal,

and

is not

thoroughly
is
so.

normally been
to
so

himself, much
points

unless when
fashion

he

It has
out

the
of

lately to hunt
man

and

parade

identity between
may

and

the lower
reason

animals,

that it

be

a

service gap

to sound

just to
the

state

the
un-

immense

that

exist
man

betwixt and
our

strange

feathered
ape,

biped

called and
wrote

first cousin
will have
or

the
it
so.

if Dr. monkey

Darwin
ever
a

Mr.
an

Huxley
epic poem,
even a

What
a

composed
?

tragedy

or

comedy,

or

sonnet

What

monkey

professed

his

belief

in

any

thirty-nine
or

articles, or well-compacted

Calvinistic confession,
any

gave

in his adhesion

to

Church,

established

or

6

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

disestablished
laugh the

?

Did
is not

any
a

monkey
or laugh),

ever

smile
or

or

(fora

grin

sing,
even

give
most

slightest

indication

of knowing
in

the

elementary

propositions
as are

the

first six books

of

Euclid,

such

easily crammed

into the head
?
some

of the dullest undergraduate
not.

of the term Egypt, for been

Plainly
sym

And
reason

though that

men

in
not

bolical
as we

may

have

so

foolish

imagine,
pious

paid

certain
to

sacrosanct

attentions

and proof

ministrations
or

crocodiles,
or

there

is

no

that crocodiles
animals,
men, ever

monkeys, worshipped
say.

any

other

of

the lower worship fashion.
and
as

anybody. but
nor

Dogs
in
a

you

will

Yes,

only

Dogs

have
whom

neither they and

churches

creeds
man

;

the god

worship

is the

who
it is
a

visibly feeds
very

them

tangibly

flogs

them,
was

cheap

sort

of religion. rather
man

Socrates
than and

certainly

right in this matter,
as

Darwin. the lower
men

He

saw

great

a

gap

betwixt

animals

in the

descending

scale,

as

betwixt

and

the
the

gods

in the ascending

scale ; and

he recognised

peculiar simply
and

differential excellence
in this, that

of the human
recognise

species

they

could

the gods,
reveren

give evidence

of the recognition

by the
religion.

tial observances

of what
more

we

call

a

Surely
and

this

was

a

much

human,

more

normal,

Presumptions.
more

7
than
to

noble

way
as

of
some

philosophizing
of
our

take
men

infinite pains,
do,
on

modern
our

scientific

the

one

hand,

to restore
on

lost brotherhood
an

with

the baboon,

and,

the other, to raise up between
Reason

impassable
creatures creatures

wall of partition

all reasonable

and flow.
imagine

the

Supreme
We

from
very

whom

all

miscalculate the
a

much

indeed
and

if

we

that
of

peculiar

doctrines

favourite
science

fancies

few

cultivators

of

physical
in this

in this small

corner

of the world,
are

and

small notable

half of

a

century,
over

likely to exercise thoughts of they
men,

any
after

influence

the
out

the one-sided

impulse

of which only

arose

shall

have
cated

spent
masses

its force.

Not

all the

unsophisti

of

men,

but all the great
and the founders

originators

of

philosophic have been

schools

of churches,

theists.

Moses,

David,

and

Solomon
Plato, Aris

;

Pythagoras,
totle, and

and Anaxagoras
Zeno
; St. Paul

; Socrates,

and

St. Peter ; Mahomet,
Dante,

St.

Bernard,

Thomas

Aquinas, Luther,
Des

Kepler, Bacon,

Copernicus,
Leibnitz,

Shakespeare,
Locke,
array

Spinoza,

Newton,

Cartes, Kant,
witnesses
narrowness

Hegel.

Against
human
conceit, plant

such
reason, or

an

of great the

of sound
of

it is only

local could Hume

the madness
names
as

of partisanship, Hume

that

such

David

David (if

8

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

did

indeed

believe

in

his

own

bepuzzlements),
Mill.
As

Jeremy
Confucius
the

Bentham, and

and

John Stuart
the two
great

for of

Buddha,

prophets
a

far East,

who

certainly

embrace than
any

much

wider Eng

sphere

of human

discipleship
negative

of they

our

lish sophists
side of
our

of the Western
as

school,

lie out
;

European
seem

culture

altogether
a

but in without
say
a

so

far

they
or
a

to have

taught

morality
we

religion,
or

religion without

God,

shall

word

two

about

them

by-and-by.
cultivated
gross, is in

That
part

the

general human and

consent
race,

of the most taken
in the

of the

favour fore,
be
as

of theism,
a

against

atheism,

seems,

there

fact, plain
races

enough.

But

whether
up

there

certain
or

of human

beings,

in the frozen

North, whose

down

in the fervid

South,

the

tablets of abso

inner nature,
no

when of
a

nicely read, recognition

present

lutely

traces

of
a

a

superior

world-controlling
means

power,
an

this is
way

question
answer.

by

no

easy

in

exhaustive
in

to

One

of

the

speakers

Cicero's
"

book
"

above-named,
says

starts
"

precisely
"

this question

Whence/'
argue

he,
con

do you

i.e. the Stoics, who
race
"

from

the

sent

of the human
?

prove

the

opinions
are

of all
peo

nations

I verily believe

that there have

many
even

ple

so

lost in savagery

that they

not

the

Presumptions.
slightest suspicion
are

g
"

of the existence
opinions
:

of gods.
one

*

Here is
a

two

contrary
consent

the and

that

there

universal lief of there
a

of all men
Being
so
or

all peoples
; the

in the be

Supreme
nations

Beings

other,

that
en

are

sunk

in savagery,
suspicion
or

that they
any

tertain not

the remotest

of God

more

than

their cattle, their sheep, these
them adverse
into

their swine than
Plato
we

; and

to

make
turn

notions

more
as

opinions,
is fond

to

knowledge,

of

saying, Now

it is manifest

that what
case are

want

is facts.

the facts in this

to be

sought

in remote
not

and

little travelled places, under

circumstances

without
aging go and

danger, and

and,

what
to

is

worse, men.

often

discour
is to

disgusting

civilised
men

Who

live among Nomads

wild

of the for years,

woods
till he

and

roving

of the waste their

has
this

thoroughly process
ments

mastered

language,

and

by

acquired
and

the key

to their notions

and

senti

convictions

about

whatever

lies behind
evolution
we

and

above
and
?

and

within

that wonderful
and
power,

of

beauty

grandeur

which

call the

world here

We

naturally look to Christian missionaries They alone, with
very

in the first place.
seem

few

exceptions,

to possess

the earnestness

of pur-

*

"

De

Natura

Deorum,"

i. 23.

I*

TO

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

pose,
tensity

the
of

single-hearted
moral
to
even

devotedness, which

and could

the

in

apostleship, make
their
on
a

lead
of this

civilised kind.
must
care.

men

moral
evidence

experiment in such and
a a

But

matter

be An
be

looked
intense

with
"

caution,

sifted with missionary
an

zeal
"

without far from and
a

which implying

would tial
not

nothing

so

impar
matters,

judgment
seldom
may

in all moral

religious

renders say

such

judgment
that

impossible.
a

We

generally, is not

indeed,

zealous

Christian

missionary

the

man

fully to appre
that may

ciate the amount

of genuine

theistic piety

lie hidden
mummeries

and and

half choked
disgusting
types

beneath
practices

the

grotesque
are

that

all

that for
among

certain

low It

of humanity
at

have

to

show
even

religion.

is

not

all

uncommon,

ourselves,

to hear

persons

and

parties brand

ed
so

as

atheistical, only

because
not

the
been

individuals

who

stigmatize
are

them

have

able, and, per

haps,
sort

not

in the least willing, to appreciate

the has

of theism called rather
says,
more an

which

they

profess.

If Spinoza deny

been
but

atheist, though the world, properly
many

he did not and
was,

God,
as

denied
more

therefore, acosmist
;

Hegel
much termed

styled savage

an

how
been
mis-

may

tribes and

have

atheistical by

ignorant

unthinking

Presumptions.
sionaries tinction gods, and

1 1

who

failed to make
worshipping
no

the very
gods
at all ?

obvious
who
are

dis
no

between

worshipping

god

With

this

caution,

therefore,

let

us

hear what
have who
to

the most
; and

intelli in such
a

gent
case

of the missionaries

say
a

there

are

few

men

have

better
apostle

right

to

be called into court

than

the noble

of South passage

Africa,
about
man's

Dr.

Moffat.

Here

is a well-known
"

the African lot
"

Bushmen

:

"

Hard
an

is the Bush from

friendless, forsaken, preferring

outcast

the

world
of prey
some

; greatly

the company
man.

of the beasts
*

to that of civilised

His

gorah

soothes
are

solitary hours,
to by
no

although
roar

its sounds
or

often howl.
yet

responded
He

the lion's

the hyena's

knows

God,
and

knows
has
no

nothing

of eternity,
at which to

dreads

death,
and

shrine
can

leave

his

care

sorrows.

We

scarcely in

conceive

of
of
no

human
ignorance

beings
and that

descending
vice,

lower
yet

the
can

scale

while
are
"

there
of
to the
one

be
common

question
parent
*
' '

they

children

with
The

ourselves.
is
an

f

And

same

effect is
bow

gorah
more

instrument
"

something
which of

like the
a

of

a

violin

"

rather

curved
a

along

is stretched The and

catgut, takes

to

which

is attached

small

piece

quill.

player

the pro

quill in his mouth, duces
a
u

and

by strong

inspirations

respirations

few

soft notes

in the vibrations

of the catgut."

f

Missionary
p.

Labours

and

Scenes

in South

Africa,"

Thirtieth

thousand,

15.

12

The

Natural

History

of
Monat

Atheism.

the distinct testimony the Andaman
tion of
a

of Dr.
:
"
"

in reference have
no never even

to

islanders

They They

concep risen
to

Supreme

Being.
see
a

have

from
most

the effects they imperfect
notion

around
cause.

them,
They
to
a

the

of

have

never

ascended
even

in thought
many

from
"

the works
that
is to

Creator,

or

to
*

Creators
one

say,

Polythe

ism."

And

of the most

eminent

investigators

into the primitive
ing interesting

condition
:
"
"

of

man

has the follow
that relig by

passage

The

opinion

ion is general
many dence

and

universal

has been

entertained

high authorities.
of
numerous

Yet

it is opposed

to the evi

trustworthy Roman

observers.

Sailors,
priests in mod

traders, and
and
ern

philosophers, missionaries,

Catholic
and

Protestant times,

in ancient

in every

part of the globe,
are
races

have

concurred

in stating

that there

of

men

altogether

de

void

of religion.

The

case

is the stronger greatly

because

in several

instances

the fact has has been

surprised

him
tion

who
to

records

it, and

entirely in opposi

all his preconceived
it must

views.

On
in
some

the other
cases

hand,

be

confessed the existence
were

that

travellers

denied

of religion
ours.

merely
question
Islanders."
P. 303.

because
* "

the tenets

unlike
among

The

Adventures

and

Researches
M.D.,

the Andaman

By Frederick

T. Monat,

F.R.C.S.

London.

1863.

Presumptions.
as

13

to the

general
to
a

existence
extent

of religion
a

among

men

is indeed If the
mere

great

matter

of definition.
the
recognition
more

sensation
are

of fear, and
other

that there ful than
a

probably

beings

power

one's

self, are
we

sufficient alone

to

constitute

religion,

then

must,

I think, human
or race.

admit

that

reli
a

gion

is general

to

the

But
from

when
a

child dreads less
room, we

the darkness,
never

shrinks
as an

light-

regard

that

evidence

of

religion.
we

Moreover,
longer
must

if this definition
regard religion
as

be

adopted,
to
or

cannot

peculiar
a

man.
a

We

admit

that the feeling of
is of the
a same

dog

horse and
an

towards the
act
so

his master

charac

ter ;

baying

of

dog
some

to

the

moon

is

as

much

of worship described
as

as

ceremonies
*

which

have
But

been

by

travellers."

strong

these how

testimonies

appear,

it is
an
we

ex

tremely

doubtful

far they
to

would the

satisfy point

im
are

partial
now

jury

impannelled

try

discussing.
of this kind of

Certainly
are

if anthropological

ques
same

tions

to

be

decided

on

the

strictness
cases are

detailed
in
our

testimony

that

pecuniary
testi

decided here

law

courts,

the three the

monies
*
"

given,

notwithstanding
Primitive

weight
By

Origin

of Civilisation and
Pp.

Condition

of Man."

Sir T.

Lubbock.

138"9.

14

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

justly attributable
would
require
to

to

the

words
to

of
the

the
most

writers, sifting
as

be submitted before
they

cross-examination

could

be accepted

elements
on

in the formation

of any

conclusive
we

verdict

the

subject.
writer

And
equal

accordingly authority,

find

that

another
various

of

after

quoting of

testimonies
races,

in favour

of the declares

existence

atheistic that
no

nevertheless
sufficiently forward,
to assert
a

his
and

opinion

evidence

detailed
as

searching enable
a

has been
cautious there

brought thinker

such

might

with
race

confidence of human

that beings

exists

anywhere

absolutely
great
some

without

religion

of any

kind.*

And

our

African of the
whom

explorer,
most

Livingstone,

talking

of

degraded

tribes

of the Africans
"

with
is
no

he

came

into connection,
to

says,
most

There de
ex

necessity

for beginning
people
or

tell the

graded
istence

of these

(theBechuanas)
future
state,

of the the that

of

a

God,

of the

facts
can

being
not

universally
accounted

admitted. for by
as common

Everything
causes

be the

is ascribed

to
'

Deity

"

creation,

sudden
these

death, things
not

"c.
'

How

curiously

God
as

made
is
'

!

is

a

common

expression,

He

was

killed

by

disease,

he
*

was

killed by
"Primitive

God.'
Culture,"

And

while

speak-

Tylor,

vol. i. p. 379.

Presumptions.
ing of the departed physical
pression
" "

1

5

though
of the
'

there

is nought
to

in the
ex

appearance they
say,

dead

t justifyhe

He

has gone

to the

gods/
es"
*

the

phrase This
course

being

identical with
is

dbiit ad pair

testimony

sufficiently

strong,
range

but

of
.per

it is strong

only

within

the

of does
not

sonal

observation

which the

it includes,
assertion page,

and

necessarily

contradict

of Moffat

; for
states

Livingstone,

in the very
not

next

honestly
with

that "he

had

had

any

intercourse
own

either

Cafifre or
whole,
dence

Bushmen
so

in their far
as

tongue." very

On

the
evi
that,

therefore,
goes,
some
one we

our

imperfect

seem

in justified
seems

concluding
to belong
to

while
as man,

sort

of religion
type

man

of
lust

religion

may

differ love,
art.t

from

another from there

as

far

as or

differs from
from beings
same

opinion

knowledge, be
a races
cause,

caricature

And, have
as races

if
no

of reasonable
it is

who

idea of
were

just the
Alpine
in the

thing
whole whole

if

we

to

find in every
or

valley

of

Cretins,
idiots ;

anywhere
are

world

races as

of
no

they

defective

creatures

such

*

"

Livingstone's
extremely
the
"

Missionary
interesting Asiatic

Travels,"
account

chap.
a

viii. p. 158.
low found
type in

f An
among

of

very

of religion, Alexander

Ostjaks of
Reise

Russia,

will be

Castren's

Erinnerungen,"

Petersburg,

1853, p. 288.

1

6

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.
descrip
roses,

naturalist
tion of instance,
one

would

receive

into types

his normal
; such
as

of Nature's

for

without

fragrance,
wings.
man,

horses

without

hoofs,
in

and
deed,

birds
as

without
well
as

Any
by

type
a

of things,

may

combination

of
into

untoward
any
sort

influences,

be

curtailed

and

stunted

of degradation.

So

much

for the facts.

We
great and

return

to

our

original

assertion,

and

say,

The

majority of
the
is called

human
form Relig
a

beings which
ion.

acknowledge
this

God,

practical

acknowledgment
this,
no

takes
is
a

But

doubt,

very

wide

and

very

vague
main,

word,

and

requires

exposition.

In
two

the

however,
it is
a

its variations

fall under

heads.
exist

Either
ing

simple

acknowledgment
in the

of

an

supreme

authority

universal
;
or

order

of

things further

both
a

physical

and

moral

it contains
to

philosophical and

theory

with

regard

the

original creation the universe.

the continued
two
more

preservation

of

Of these
the

types

of popular

faith

the first is certainly
as

important, of human

affecting

it does

directly

the conduct

life, and
respon im always

the position

of personal

subordination
a

and

sibility, which plies ; but

all faith in

divine

government is

the

philosophical

element

included

in the highest

forms

of religious belief. In

Presumptions.
this respect, indeed, form of metaphysics.
religion is merely

1

7

the and

popular

Metaphysics
issue only
are

theology,
"

in fact, in their ultimate physics being

identical
more

meta

formally
into the

the

general

term

for the

search

ultimate far
as

ground
not

of all Be lose itself
in

ing, which
in
a

search,

in

so

it does issues

self-puzzling
assertion

scepticism,

necessarily
or

the

of

the

Eternal

Reason,

^6709,

which,

in the well-known

language

of the Apostle
is only

John, in
another
It is mind
a

the
name

opening

words

of his Gospel,

for God.
fact in the subtle and

curious

history

of the human
and
sci
"

that the most
of the

speculative

entific people inherited sophical
our a

ancient

world

"

the

Greeks

"

religion

utterly destitute
is so prominent, in

of this philo
not

element,

which

only in and
is not
"

Christian
superior

religion,

but

Brahmanism

other

forms breadth

of popular

faith.

There
poems

in the whole

of the Homeric Bible"

and

Homer

was

virtually the Greek of that great
on

the slightest proposition

indication which

philosophical

stands written
"In

the threshold
beginning

of the Mosaic
created the
min

Scriptures,
heavens and

the

God
old

the earth." indeed,
in

The
a

Smyrnean

strel indicates,

familiar

line, that the

gods

of the

Jovian

dynasty

had

a

father

and

a

1

8

The

Natural

History

of
names

Atheism.

mother, Tethys
;
*

whom but
"

he

distinctly

Ocean
early
"

and

this fragment
for it is nothing

of

an

theologic
on

speculation face of
men,

better
gods,
religion

bears

the

it that

the existing
; and

like the

races

of
such
a

were

born

any

in which

gods

were

supreme

could

not

be

said to contain
must

metaphysics only what

; for every

metaphysics
show,

ask

not

is behind

the

but

what
and

is before

the first.
spouse
were

To

say

that

old

Ocean
mother

his

briny
was

the father and
than going

of the gods step back
was

nothing

more

another

in

a

celestial genealogy

of which

the origin back
a

in the

dark.
a

When

you

have
are

traced
no

pensile
a

chain

thousand
when

links, you
you

nearer

to

philosophy
us

than

started,

unless

you
more

tell

to

what

the first link is attached.
among

The
that
was

current

notion

the

Greeks

was,

the existing
was

dynasty by

of gods
two

of whom
"

Jove

chief

preceded whom the and

dynasties

the first that of Kronos, with

the

Romans

identified of

Saturn,
or

and

second Earth.

that
This

Uranus
no

and

Gee,
a

Heaven

implied,
in
a

doubt,

philosophical
from the dualism

dualism, of the
an-

though Good
*
"

different style
principle

and
Ocean
201.

Evil

in the religion
immortal, and
Tethys

of the

the father of Gods

the mother."

"

II. xir.

Presumptions.
cient Persians,

19

but

still a sort
sort

of philosophy. of
theistic that

But
a

whether

we or

call this
not, not

duality the

philosophy
or

it is certain
a

theory
in

the

fancy

was

living, effective It
was a

element

the

Greek

religion.

sort

of

infantile of the
as

theology, popular the creed
matic

which faith and

remained the

entirely

outside
; not,

national

worship

in

of all Christian
or
a

Churches,

where

a

dog

theology,
the

positive

theistic philosophy,
the

constitutes

solid basis and

firm

framework
we

of the

faith of the

Church.
poet,
years

Accordingly
Hesiod,

find lived

that when
some

the
or a

Boeotian hundred

who

fifty

later than
to

Homer,
trace

ventured

in his capacity
a

of theologer
or

the

celestial genealogy fell plump little there much shallow had
to

step

two

further

back-, he how
how and

into
was

a

mighty

void, which
thoughtful

showed
piety,

of deep,

and

of

superficial
sport
content

impression in what

of the

senses

of fancy,

the

subtle
a

Greeks

themselves book
of
are

with

for

theology.
generations
an
un

Hear
runs.

how

the

the apt

celestial
to

Hexameters hop
a

have
we

rather
may

graceful here
"

in

English,
:
"

but

try

them

for

recreation
was

In the beginning

Chaos

:

and- afterwards

came

into being
;

Earth

broad-breasted,

the stable upholder

of starry Olympus

2O

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

Darksome Likewise Thrilling Conquering Erebus, Night
And Earth
was

Tartarus
Eros,

too,

within

the bosom

of broad

Earth

;

the loveliest-born
of
men

of all the Immortals,
with gentle breast children emotion, of the wisest. of Chaos
;

the limbs
counsel and

and

of gods

and

wit in the charmed
Night
Day
were was

then,

black-stoled of Ether, mingled and

mother Erebus brought

daughter

of Darkness,

when

with

Night

in fruitful embracement, of the starry
around

then
to

into being

the might
curtain

Welkin

Like

herself, to spread

his vasty

her."

We
sion

have of

nothing

here

manifestly
no a
man

but
who

a

succes

appearances,

which for

meant

thinking
universe.

could
To

mistake
call Night

philosophy
mother

of

the if

the

of Day,
is

anything
as

like causal
as

connection

be implied,

just
of

absurd

to

say that emptiness I pour
water
was

is the mother
an

fulness.

When

into

empty

tum

bler,

no

doubt

the tumbler
of my

empty

before

it was

full ; in the
came

order

sensations

the

emptiness
man

before when

the fulness.
I take is in
one

That

is all.

In like
goes

ner,

my

dinner,
sense

hunger
cause a

before
eating
;

eating,

and
cause

the

of my
to

but

the

of there being of the cook. with Hesiod, called
a

dinner

eat
a

is the

culinary I may chaos
came

care

So, if I build
In the beginning
and

house,
was

say,

the

of stones

quarry,

from

that chaos

the beautiful

array

of curiously

co-ordinated
sees

stones

which

I call my

house.

But

everybody

that

without

the plan of the

thoughtful

architect

Presumptions.
and

2 1

the skilful hand could
never

of the heap

mason,

the stones
into
as
a

of the house.
matter
case

quarry

themselves
To in
say

So
of

it is with individual proceeded
states
come

all order. experience
out
case

that

a

any

particular explains

Iorder

of disorder,
to be

nothing
How did the
even

;

it only

the

explained.

the order
theology started. recognition under
sion

about

?

This
seems

simple
never

question
to

of the

Greeks
religion

have

Their
of
an

consisted
divine

simply order

in

the

established

of things

supreme

authority,

with

reverential

submis

of the will thereto.
have
now

We

to

answer

a

very

natural

question
a

:

how

far is this general

consent

of humanity

valid
any

argument
reason

for theism for saying

?

If the

old

sage

had

the ol TroXXol /ca/col,

majority are
ground
a

bad,

might

he

not

have

equal

or

greater

for asserting
mere

the

majorityare
by

fools ?
be

Certainly
a

majoritytaken
for the
of any

itself would of any

very
or

poor

argument

truth
course

proposition

for

the rectitude

of conduct
would

; otherwise

all unlimited whereas

democracies

always

be
are

right,
pecu

experience go

has proved
wrong.
were

that they

liarly liable to
sons

If the
given
no

majority of
to

per

in

any

village

drunkenness, in favour

this certainly would

afford

argument

22

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

of the
often

beauty decide

of intoxication.
very

And, by

though
mere

men

serious

matters

majori
do
better the

ties, is it not than because

rather

because

they firm

cannot

they be

have right ?

any

faith that
on

will majorities

If suits

the

issue
are con

of

which
stantly

many

thousands
by
a

of pounds

depend
of

decided

majority
how

judges
has

in

the

Scottish

Court

of

Session,

often

the deci

sion of that

of
And

a

single

majoritybeen reversed by judge in the English House
enough
too

the decision

of

Lords head

?

naturally

; for

one

strong

will always
turning

be better than
scores

twenty

weak
would

heads
only

; and

the

into hundreds And

multi

ply the confusion. administration
or

if,looking

into the general

of human

affairs in any happen
to

small
your

town

large city, you by
any

should
great
"

have
which

eye
re

fastened
cently
ning

improvement
as,

has

been

made from into

such the
a

for example,
and
turning
a

the win useless, espla
or

of land
beach
as

sea,

slimy nade,
opening
tion
"

beautiful,
done
at

breezy,

green

has
up
a

been

Rothesay
and
a

in Bute,

free prospect

healthy the
but

ventila

you

will find
or

that

it was

not

majority at
that
some

all who
one
man

did

desired

these changes,
and strong

of large views in spite of the

will had

forced
ma-

them,

indifference

of the great

Presumptions.
jority and
sense,

23
few.

the

violent
we

hostility of
that the

a

In what of
a ma

then,

shall
a

say
or

consent
even
a

jority supplies
tion of what any very

test,

affords
not
or
a

presump

is right ?

Plainly

in

cases

where
are no

extensive
;
nor

knowledge
cases

subtle
man can

views

required

in
an

where

claim

right to have study,
cases

opinion

at all, except

after special
;
as

and where

with

professional

training

little in obscur impossi

the general

judgment
been
steaming

has been

ed, and

cool discrimination
smoke
or

rendered
mists

ble by the hot
ecclesiastical ponderant tude,
matters,
even

and

of faction,
is
a

civil.

Nevertheless

there

pre

rightness
in their

in the sentiment

of the multi public and
illus

judgments
one

of important
in

which
even

every

feels

practice,

which
trates

the

cool

Aristotle length
forms

defends

and

at considerable

in his estimate of government,
we

of the
as

value

of democratic
to

op

posed
mark always

oligarchic.* if
we

Perhaps
broadly and

shall hit the
as

here,

say

that, normal

nature

is

right, the general always

sentiment
so

of
it is of

the

majoritymust
in

be right, in and
opinion,

far

as

rooted humanity

the
; and

universal

abiding
as

instincts

public

the opinion

of

*Pol.

III.

ii.

24

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

the

will majority,
to

be right also in all matters
conduct
to
a

which
all of the

belong

the

general
respect

of

life among

classes, and

with

which

the mind

majorityhas
and

been

allowed

perfectly there

free, natural, be
opin prac It
a

healthy

exercise. against
run

And
practices,

will always
and

presumption ions which the

sentiments,

flat in the

teeth

of universal

tice and

unvaried

tradition

of humanity.

affords

a

presumption
as a

against

total abstinence, its (for utility
a
as

for
a

instance, special

philosophy
remedy

of life
against

vigorous may

special
men

severe

malady

well

be

admitted),that
been
a

of all
:

classes in all ages have in like
manner

fond

of

a

glass of wine against

it affords
men

presumption and

the

Quakers
have
and great

that

of all nations

in all centuries

fought
become

great great

battles
and

with

their
by

neighbours,

strong

the
a

fighting
strong

of
pre

battles ; and,
against

again,

it affords

sumption

the

notion

of

dispensing

with

lawyers,
men
"

clergymen,
favourite in

physicians,
panacea

and all professional
some
"

a

with

that

in all

ages
man

and have

all countries up,
and

such found

types grateful the
yet

of the social
recognition

grown

from

the

majority.
are

And,

though

majorityof
in them

mankind where

not

philosophers, is
a

in all matters

nature

rules, there

wisdom

that

Presu

mptions.

?

5

justly maintains

its ground

against the subtle specu who
are

lations of abstract confounding and
denying forces

thinkers

excite

attention

by

things things
us

which which

naturally
constitution
to
assert.

distinct,

the

of
If
a

our

nature

imperiously

glib

creature,

for
a

instance,

calling should

himself,

or

being

called,

philosopher,
on as

maintain

that beauty
may

depends him
spin

utility and
many
a

fitness, you
as

safely let choose
in

chapters
perverse

he

may

illustration of such body knows

paradox,

when bridge
is as
as

every

that the ugliest possible
companies
as

(which
useful

the railway

frequently

make)

for its end, and
ornamental

fit for its purpose,
ever

the most
systems
to

structure

devised.

The

of subtle watched peculiarly
getting,

thinkers,

in fact, always
:

require

be
are

with particular caution
apt
more

clever people
own

to

love

the fancies of their facts of
not
.

be
:

than

the
are

God's

creation

though
like

clever" they

necessarily
sometimes
own

wise

; and,

Narcissus,

will be

found

glassing

themselves agined
hausting
verse.
2

complacently which

in their
are

real

or

im
ex

perfections,

very

far from

the sum-total

of plastic forces in the uni

CHAPTER

II.

REASONABLE

GROUND

OF

THEISM.

"EOT*

8rj n\v irpbs yovfis

"pi\ta
fv

TtKVOis

Kal av6p"/biroi$irpbs 0eoJ"s,
yap

"s irpbs aya"bv

Kal vTrepexov'

yap

ra ireiroi-fiKaffi fjieyiffra'rov TOV

flvai Kal rpatyrjvaiainoi, Kal y4vo^fvois
'Ai/a-y/crj

iraiSevOfjvai*
3?a(jLfv Se

eivai

di'Stov

riva

ovaiav

aKivf\rov"

rbv

Qsbv

ai'Stov, apurrov. cTvai ^oaov

ARISTOTLE.

INGENIOUS
to
at

novelties

of the kind

we

referred
pro

the

close of last chapter,
or

whether
by

pounded

by

the logician, like Plato,

naturalist, negative
men

positive

philosophers like David and

or

philosophers
stare

Hume,
a

may

make

for

a

day,
stand

talk for

century,
"

but

they

will

never

against

Nature.

Opinionum

commenta

delet the
great

dies, Natures
master

judicia confirmat"
eloquence,
Roman
or sense.

said

of old Roman
of old

and

the eloquent
up
your

expounder

Build

Babels
as

of transcendental
as

paradoxical have
no

speculation
root

high

you

please,

if they

in the

Reasonable

Ground

of

Theism.

27

fundamental much
ground
paper

facts
; card

of

Nature,

they

are

only

so

castles when

which

will fall to changes which
up,

the
and

easily enough,
comes.

the wind

the whiff
perverse
none

And
of

of these
men

Babels piled

the
is

ingenuity

has
verdict

there

against

which
protest

the

of
will

the
more

majority
certain
no

and

the

loud

of Nature

ly

prevail

than
with

atheism.
a

Theologians,
impertinence,
may

doubt
a

sometimes

shallow

and

pre

sumptuous
many

dogmatism, about the

have

propounded attributes,
and

things

character, of the

administrative

procedure against

Supreme

Reason,

in protesting
in
a

which

atheists may and wisdom

justlyput
; but

claim go

for

modesty this, and

when

they

beyond
of certain

instead

of the

arbitrary

dogmas
with
can no

ecclesiastical councils,
instincts maintain

go

to

war

the
more

deep-rooted
hope and
to

of humanity,

they

their ground
muddled
sun

than
can

a

little smoke

mist

in

some

locality

obscure
ment.

permanently For

the glorious

in the firma

that

feeling of reverential
reason on

dependence

of the finite derived rived
reason

the
i.

infinite unde-

(theAoyos
reasonable

of

John

i) is
the

so

rooted

in all sound

existence
to

that it requires
opposite

rather thesis
"

a

perverse

ingenuity

give
"

that

is all sorts

of atheism

the semblance

28

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

of truth than that
argues them, it
"

any

peculiar

perspicacity

to

perceive

is

false.

If the there they
are

majority, as
many
not
are
a a

Aristotle
amongst

though though

fools few

and things

do
"

foolish

and
upon

mad

occasionally

nevertheless
voice
more

the whole
conduct

entitled of public

to

have

in the
are

difficult

affairs, much postulates

they

en

titled, by
nature,
as

the

primary

of all reasonable
a

to

protest For

against the

such

hollow

absurdity

atheism.

maintenance
one

of the atheistic

theory either
cause

necessarily that
;
or

implies
can

of

three

things

:
a

effects
that
a

be

produced

without effects
;
or

system
a

of reasonable
reasonable
we

can

be
the

produced
system

without

cause

that is
not

of effects which unreasonable,
a

call the

world does

essentially

and

therefore
Now
negative
to

proceed
three

from atheistic

reasonable
propositions,
nature

source.

of these
of the

the

first is of minds
; and

the

of

a

postulate

all

sane

the

wretched
David Hume

cavil

about

invariable

sequence

which
Mill

introduced, for of
a

and

John
no

Stuart
more

made

fashionable the

day,

will

do
mass

away

with

idea

causality
minds,

in the

great

of normally

constituted
going up

than the
down

assertion piston in

that the regular
a

and

of

a

cylinder

renders

the

supposition

of

a

Reasonable

Ground

of

Theism.

29
Watt of
a

constructive

reason

in the person
to

of

a

James

superfluous
steam-engine. fingers
on

in order

explain

the existence
can

If nothing that
a

physical but
a

science series

put

its
it

of sequences, philosophy,

merely

proves

science

is not

and
philo

is altogether sophers,

subordinate

affair ; but
acute

when

with
in

their most
world

spectacles,
infinite they

can

see

nothing
invariable profession

the

but
the the

an

series

of

sequences,

sooner

give

up their

of wisdom
of the of

better ; for it is justthe

invariability reasonable
cause

sequences
man

which
assert

forces

the
is
a

mind
them,

to

that

there

within

or

behind
As

them,

which

makes
propo
can

the invariability possible.
sition, that produced
man
"

to the second

a

series
a

of reasonable reasonable
ignorant will when
answer
a

effects
cause,

be
sane
our

without the
more

any

and

the

better

for

present
as
are

argument

"

without box

hesitation,
as

Cicero
used

drd, that
to teach

of letters, such

children
into
a

the alphabet,
well-reasoned
not

shall have
treatise,

tumbled

themselves

he will believe
third

such

proposition,

sooner.

The

proposition,

the

real stronghold
at bottom
out

of all prac untenable, of
more

tical atheism,
admits

though

equally
some

of being

dressed

in

sentences

plausible

pleading,

and

therefore

must

be

30

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
theist founds and

seriously faith
on

looked

at.

The

pious and

his the of
way is to

the wonderful
cunning The
to

order

beauty,

exceeding the

displayed
most
contravene

in the architecture

universe.

obvious

and

ready

for

the

atheist
the

this argument the
there
contrary

bring
and
to

into

foreground
that

of this ;
as

assert
as

roundly order

is really

much
for
at
:

disorder this form hand
of

in the universe.

Of
are

course,

of argumentation
a

there look

materials

very

formidable
Icelandic

not

far to
;

fetch
Lisbon

Neapolitan earthquakes louse,
or

and

volcanoes

; inundations

of the Garonne
; storms,

at

Tou

of the Dee shipwrecks,
massacres,

at Aberdeen

squalls,

cyclones,

conflagrations,
idiocies,

conspiracies,

murders,
sorts

madness,

and
make

all
a

of

evil

and

foolish
in the

things

which

prominent
we

figure
on

newspapers. in
a

But,
or,

before what

talk
worse,

these
in
an

subjects
position

perplexed

is

inculpatory
our

humour,
in

let

us

consider
universe

calmly

what

this

vast

really is.
single

It is pretty
a

much

like the If you

position

of

a

ant-hill in

vast
some

forest. pine
your
us

happen
as

to

be walking
more
or

through
Braemar,

forest,

at Avie-

with

head

very

high,
you

and
come

full of

fine

fancies,
your

let

imagine,

roughly,

with

heel, booted

and

spurred

per-

Reasonable

Ground

of

Theism.

31

haps,
straws

plump
; then

into the middle what

of that metropolis
?

of
of and

happens
is destroyed those
'out

the in

architecture
a

laborious
some scores

weeks of

moment,

active

little

intelligences
at
a

called ants
Now,

squelched
one

of existence, who

stroke. been

suppose

of the ants

had

not

squelched,
a

with

a

particularly

sensitive

brain, and

great

amount

of self-importance,

being

able

to

make

theories
a

like

human
or

philosophers,
a

should

excogitate

treatise
a

tissue

of imaginations
"

that might

make

treatise to the effect

My

beau

tiful architecture
either

has
no

been
or a

destroyed

:

therefore, delights
in

there

is

God,
think

God

who

mischief. then just,

What
let
us

you

of this logic ?

If it is
; if

all become

atheists to-morrow
nothing
more

it is ridiculous,
nonsense.

let

us

hear

of such
a

The

real fact is, that
and speak,
and

in

vast

and

varied

world

heaving
so

swelling,

and
most

ramping eager

everywhere,
vitality,

to

with

the

collisions

confusions

of
may

vital

forces
a

will constantly
certain
ences,

be

occurring,

which
to out

produce exist

amount
or even

of discomfort

individual

blow
more

them

altogether,

but

which

prove
a

no
a

the disorder squirt
can

of the universe,
put
out

than In

skit of parts

boy's

the

sun.

some

of the west

of Scotland,

from

the

32

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
richly varied in, and where
coast

peculiar line, two
meet

configuration
opposite
a

of

the
come

tides

they

make

jabble
nervous no a

which

disturbs
in

the

serenity

sometimes

of

ladies
certain and

pleasure-boats.
flow in the

Is there therefore tides, but
system

regular

only

universal

jabble?
the wheeling
ant-hill,
exists
or

The

whole in

of the world,
to

from

planets

the

sky

the

little brown
on

the by,

greyand

crusted

lichen
a

the

crag,
: one

in,

through
not

reasoned
existence

order
of any

the

disorder

belongs

to the

thing, but to points
naturally
out

of occasional

disturbance of many
logic
;
as

arising things.

of

the

coexistence
on

Who

can

look
"

nakedly
"

such

this, without is

smiling
no

I have

the toothache
way
a

there therefore French

God."
the

This

is the

clever

writer

puts

absurdity
duct

of this plea for atheism.
narrowness

It is the pro

of

of

view,
answer

and

selfishness
suffice

of .all

feeling.
such
times,

Let

Dr.
"

Paley's
"

for
some

vain

talkers: they
were

The

teeth
not

do

ache
made

but

manifestly

for ach

ing."

On
of
by

the

of subject

EVIL

generally,
talked forget, is ; and,
"

a

great
not

deal

impertinent
very pious

stuff has been people,
who

seldom

in

the

first

place, to tell us

what

GOOD

in the second

Reasonable

Ground

of
much

Theism.

33
is good

place, and

fail to show
in the

us

how

of what
possibly

best

world the

could
existence

have forms

been
of

produced what

without

of many

is commonly in
one

called

EVIL.

Sir
defines
a

William pleasure
sort

Hamilton, unhindered
pleasure persons. will say
not

of his chapters, Very
suit
are

energy.

well ; this is
some

of

which
But

may

persons,
"

or

many
"

there

others

not

a

few

who
arises,

that they

prefer

the pleasure but

which

from

the absence,
Their

from

the

presence,

of

hindrances. gle with
may

notion
to

of happiness

is to strug

difficulties, not be with
name

evade
use

them.

What, if not

it
to

well

asked,

is the

of energy,
difficulty

struggle

difficulty ?
for what is described

But

is only
as

another

lazy
as

people
an

call evil ;

when
vice
as

virtue
a

up-hill work,
were as

and
as

prone

descent.
cease

If virtue
to

easy

vice, virtue

would world good
"

be

virtue
was

; in

other

words,
could kind.

in

a
no

where

there
no

no

evil there

be

at least,
no

good

of the highest how
up

If there be
the

were

ignorance,

could from

there

greedy

delight

of opening
men

ignorance knew

into knowledge

? If all
were

instinctively
relation
poverty,

everything,
and

where
?

the pleasant
were
no

of teacher

taught
?

If there

where

were

charity

If every

person

were

equally

34

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

independent
gracious

and

self-reliant, where
on

would

be

the

pleasure given

both by

sides, which strong
to

arises from

the

support

the
be the
were

the

weak

?

Where,
moral ticular

again, courage,

would
unless

the

topping

virtue
some

of
par

majority,at
cowards pilot, unless

critical moment, be

?

Where
were

would squalls might
a

the

skill of the unexpected be drowned
were

there

and

blasts,

by

which

people of
not

possibly

? Where

the science

surgeon,

if legs break
?

made

of stuff that could

possibly
grew
not

And
and

if the garden,

left to itself,

nettles only

thistles and

and

hawkweed
and
peas,

and
where

dock,
were

but the

roses

potatoes
?

work

of the

gardener

In fact, always

and the

everywhere
existence

the development
of that
some

of energy
must

implies

which
shape

energy
or

subdue,

namely, the
no

evil in

other. proof

Therefore

existence

of evil is -not
it is by

a

that

there
con

is

God

; but

the

overcoming

of evil be

stantly
man

that

God

proves
to

Himself be

to

God,

and
in his
only

proves

himself sphere, the

God-like,
the
same.

when,
The

subordinate real
evil in

he does

world

is the

negative,

carping Faust,
mate

spirit,

the
for

Mephistopheles
lack given

of
to
use

Goethe's
the
an

which, rials in

of

will
way,

given

the

gratifies

unreasoning

Reasonable
in

Ground

of

Theism.

35
doing

restlessness nothing.
These
are

blaming

everything

and

only
be

a

few
to

of

the

considerations
how unmeaning against things
posi

which
are

might

adduced

show

the

which objections
and beautiful

the atheist brings order From of view of breathing
our

the

grand
we

which
tion
are

call the world.

human laws
of
; but
at

and
not

partial
always

point

the

order Dis

equally

comprehensible
were

order

is nowhere.

If it
soon

to
to

exist

all, the
;
con

world

would
reason

very

cease

be

a

world
a

secutive

would

dissolve
; and

into

general
remain

babblement but
a

of Bedlam

nothing

would

blind weaving

and

unweaving

of

a

tissue of

unintelligent

and

unintelligible from being
we

forces.
actual

So

far is

this,

however,

the

state

of

things, that the workings
superficial

more

penetrate
more we

into the hidden discover

of Nature,

the

that the
is

multiplicity

of

outward

movements

governed
controls

by

a

higher

Unity,

which

pervades

and
in

all ; and
as

this principle
says, you

is simply

God,

whom,
live

St. Paul
move

and

I and being.

all things

and

and

have

their and

As
of in

in
men

a

mighty

host
on

of hundreds
a

thousands
miles

encamped
tent,

battle-field
are

of many
taking

ex

movements

constantly

place

which

36

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

are

unintelligible which he

to

the

private

soldier
which

in

the

position
out
or

occupies,

but

all shoot Napoleon and
sun
as

from

the directing of
as

mind
struggle

of the great
as

Moltke

the

clearly

efficiently
so,

the

divergent

radiation

of the

;

most

certainly,
movements

all the multiplicity
in the

of apparent of

ly tangled the
ent,

living machinery

world,

is the

manifestation
all-present,

of that

self-exist

self-energizing, reasonable

all-controlling, whom
we

all-

moulding,

Unity,

justlycall
is either

GOD.

Any
or

other
nonsense.

theory

of

the

world

nonentity

CHAPTER

III.

ATHEISM

;

ITS

SPECIFIC
MON

VARIETIES
ROOT.

AND

COM

"The

fool hath

said in his heart, there is no
PSALMS

God."
OF

DAVID.

"

Of
But

such doctrine
the heart
no man

never

was

there school

of the fool, therein Doctor but himself." MILTON.

And

HAVING
a

in the

previous

chapter

stated, in of the the
the

few

broad

lines, the general
now

basis

theistic creed, pathology

I shall

attempt strange
we

to

lay bare

of that

most

disease

of

speculative
history

faculty which
error

call ATHEISM.

The
instruc

of

is the

necessary

and

most

tive complement

of the theory
to
set

of truth. forth
the
causes

And

in endeavouring

of
we

this monstrous shall
commence

disease with

of the reasoning
the
simplest
or

faculty,

conceivable,

viz. , such

absolute

feebleness

babyhood

of in-

38

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
to

tellect of
a

as

has
at

not

yet

reached

the

conception

cause

all.
us

Travellers
savage

and

anthropological
faculty of

writers

tell

of

tribes whose has
men,

discriminating

multitude five.
but

not
even

reached

beyond

the
vated

number minds,
a

Some
unused

of well-culti
can

to

figures,

scarcely

perform

simple

arithmetical
and be

operation

without

confounding there
emerged
manity
so

addition

subtraction
creatures
so

; and,

if

so,

may,

of from

course,

imperfectly

the

original
a

monkey-germ with

of hu

(to

speak

for

moment

Darwin), and
some

totally

engrossed

with

putting

into

sort

of
now

order

the

multitude into
arisen
us

of

sensuous

impressions

being
has

raised
never

ideas,

that

the

notion

of
in

cause

in their

minds.
a

Each

dividual
curious
sensuous

amongst

remembers
and
recognition the

period

when

observation
impressions

of individual
sole occupation
to

formed
we

of budding the
growth

intellect ; and of
the

have

only

imagine

reasoning

faculties
in

suddenly
to

stopped

in incipient

boyhood, being

order

realise

the
idea and
grow
to

notion

of

a

human

incapable of
trees

of

the

of

God.
races

Stunted
may

individuals
exist

all kinds,
trying
to

stunted
in

just as
are

the Western
stature

Hebrides gooseberry

blasted

down

the

of

bushes.

Atheists,

Its

Varieties

and
may

their Root.
be

39

therefore, wherever
duct of stunted down and

they

the

natural

pro
we

half-developed
lowest
Bat,
trees

intellect, and
do

shall set

in the

stage,
as we

call them
not

Atheists
of
our

of imbecility.
to
see

go

out

way

oak
we

not
not

bigger

than

goose

berry

bushes, this type
of

so

need

detain

ourselves It is not
to meet

with

of intellectual incapables. this class that
we are

Atheists
with

likely did

in the
we

present

age

; and

if we
more

meet to

with
remit

them,
them

should

be
to

much
some

likely of
they

summarily
to
a

hospital
where

incurables,
might be

than

thinking trained
up

school
to
a

gradually
nitz, and

comprehension Paley.

of Leib

Butler,

and

Dr.

It is not

defect

of intellect in ages
that is the main The demands
next
cause

of civilisation, but of Atheism. the
atheistic
not

perversity,

type

of

disease
so

which
in
an

notice

has

its origin
as

much

intellectual

feebleness,
creature.
or

in We

a

moral
have

disorder
met
some

of

the reasonable
times in

may

life,

at

all events

in the
a

columns

of

newspapers,

with

persons

of habit

certain

irregular,

disorderly, and

distempered

of mind The
made shakes
career

with

a

life

character
is like
succession

correspondent.
a

of these
of
a

people
stant

piece

of music

up

con

of

jarswhich

the strings

so

4-O

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

much

by

unkindly of

vibrations,
an

that the

instrument,

from
into

the force
silence

unnatural

strain, cracks Now
are

itself

prematurely.

unharmonized naturally from indis recog
constitu
see

characters
posed, nising
tion

of this

description

and
order,

practically design,
universe

incapacitated, and
; and

system

in the
course

of

the We

of

cannot

God.
what
ass we

find, indeed,
bring

always
a

in the world

only An

with

us,

capacity

of finding.
as

that

delights

in its

own

braying,

it is to be
to

presumed

all
in

asses

do, cannot

be expected
;
to

find

delight bler who

the

symphonies

of Beethoven
accustomed

a

gam his

has
nature

been
on

long

feed

emotional

the irrational stimulus

afforded

by

the

blind

throw

of the dice, loses from the who
the
away

the capacity exercise

of extracting
reason

pleasure
a

normal

of the

; and

drunkard

has
constant

destroyed

tone

of his stomach

by

irritation of

strong

liquors, will turn
most

from

the simplicity
as

of Nature's
son.

healthy
serve no

beverage good

from
to

a

poi

It could

purpose

parade

in

these

pages

flaming

examples

of

the

terrible
in

pranks places,
they in

played
who

by

disorderly

characters
whole
man,

high
that

showed neither

by

their
nor

conduct

regarded

God

but

delighted

the production

of sheer

chaos

for the

triumph.

Its

Varieties

and

their
The

Root.

41

of

a

grossly

selfish energy.
may

biography study

of
for the
por

Jack
young

Sheppard
thieves,

be

a

very
men

profitable
will
not

but

honest

furnish such
set

picture traits.

galleries of their Nevertheless, features of it
one

brain

with
me

occurs

to

to

down
of

here
those

the

of the who

most

notable

disorderly
at that
same

characters epoch dressed

lived

in ancient

Rome

when up
poet
man

the hollow
a

atheism

of Epicurus of poetical
called

was

for of I

day
no

in the garb
mean

beauty

by
The in

a

genius

Lucretius.

mean

is Catiline. passage de

Hear scribes family,

how him:
a man

Sallust

a

well-known

"Lucius of great
a

Catiline,
strength,
and youth and

born

of

a

noble
and

both

of mind

body,
To

but

of

wicked from his

perverse

disposition.
intestine
were a

this

man,

upwards,
civil
wars

broils, slaughters, delight ; and
of
in

rapines,

these
He

he put

forth all the energy
a

his

youth. of

could

boast
and

bodily hunger

frame and

capable watching,
cunning,

enduring

heat

cold,
a

beyond
and
was

all belief;

he had

spirit daring,

full of shifts, ready
not,

alike to simulate what he
was,

what
as

he

and

to

dissimulate

occasion

might lavish

call.
of his

Greedy
own

of others' prop
fiery ;

erty,

he

was

; in passion
scant.

in words

copious

; in wisdom

His

unchas-

42

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

tened

ambition

was

constantly
and
sort

desiring

things

im

moderate,
This
is

incredible, exactly

beyond
of like

human
to

reach." whose
is to be For

the

character,
a

completeness,

if anything

philosophy
thing. turning

attributed,
can

atheism who

will be

that in

how

the

man

delights
cherish

the

social

order is
a

into chaos

the belief
and

that the world by
create
a

physical

system,

moulded

maintained
is to
?

spirit of order
man,

which of

the

essential
not

function

out

confusion,

the

contrary
or

The
on

whoever
an

he

be, that
one

sets

Rome

Paris
type

fire, is
not

atheist, and denies
in
a

of the worst
way

; he

only

speculative he
actually

the fair order

of the

universe,

but
in

employs

himself And what

systematically does

creating historian produced

disorder.
say

the Roman
age

about

the

character
?

of the
Was
at

which

this sort

of monster
?

it remarkable

for religion,

for piety the

Not

all.

Hear
grown
saw

the

words by

:

"

When and

Romans,

who

had

great

labour

righteousness, and

at length

all nations land, and
to at

subdued,

the world,
Fortune

both
gan
very

sea

and
rage

their feet, then
confound found
it

be
That
to

to

all things.
an

people,
any

who
sort
a

had
of

easy

thing

endure
ease

difficulty and
to the

danger,

found
source

and

wealth,

blessing

wise, the

Its

Varieties

and

their Root.

43

of

misery

and

ruin.

First, greed
grew rampant

of
:

money,
was

and

then
fuel greed the

lust of power,

here

the
the

which
of

fed
money

the and

flame

of

all evils.
to

For

the

haste

be

rich sapped
and good

foundations
:

of
of
men

all faith, the
old

probity, the

morals

instead

virtues,

desire of

wealth

taught

insolence,
and

harshness,
venality
to

the

neg

lect of the love of power
one

gods,

general
many
men

; while

the

forced
their
:

be false, having
thing
on

thing

in

breast,

and
were

another

their

tongue

friendships love, but from

cultivated,
some

not

from

genuine

consideration
were

of external
ious
to

advantage
a

; and

men

more

anx

show

fair face

than

to

keep

a

clean

breast."
In
a

this striking example

passage

the writer

shows

us

by the
sum

terrible

from

real life, how in that

true

doctrine
mation

of St. Paul

is, which,

awful

of heathen
to the
as

vice, in the

first chapter

of the and im

Epistle morality of
course,

Romans,
out

identifies atheism of
one

growing
meaning

common
are

root

; not,

that
know,

all atheists is contrary

immoral the

(forthis,
but

as

we

well

to

fact),
and

that certain
of always

epochs moral

of gross

social disorder
are

contempt
nature

all

restrictions
"

in

their
not

atheistic.

And

as

they

did

44

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

like to them
are

retain
to
a

God

in their knowledge, mind,
to

God
things

gave

up
not

reprobate

do

which

seemly,

being

filled with

all unrighteous

ness,

wickedness,
strife, guile,

avariciousness,

full of envy, being haughty,

mur

der,

evil habitude, of

whisperers,
insolent,
to

slanderers,

haters
inventors

God,

boasters,
parents,
tion,

of evil

things,

disobedient
natural
moment

senseless,

faithless, without For,
in fact, the
cause

affec

merciless."
power
we

the
unity,

binding
which

of the

great

of cosmic

justly call
units

God,
human

is lost sight of, the society
can no

mul
more

titudinous

of

hold
when

themselves

together

than

the stones
out.

of

an

arch

the

key-stone
unity
to

is shaken
to
create
a
an

Without

this

controlling
tion

organic

subordina
of

of

part

part,

congregation

human

beings

naturally

resolves

into

a

series of explosions in Chaos.

of fitful individualism,

which
at

ends
any

That
moment

which from
of the

saves

the

cosmos

assignable is simply

reeling

back

into

chaos
reason,

the unity the call
we

self-existent world

divine

controlling by what
we

physical
laws

in the and

first place moral

of nature,

the

world

by

what

call the tally both of nature

principles
are one

of right
; deny

conduct. radical

Fundamen unity
can

the

of laws

in the divine

^0709

and

you

have

no

Its

Varieties

and

their Root.

45

reason

to

admit

a

controlling life,

unity
or a

of reasonable

plan
state.

in

a

well-ordered

well-governed

So
godless

much

for the
"

outstanding

extreme

types

of
the

humanity
monster.
arena

the atheistic incapable Let
us now

and
a

atheistic
into

descend

little
see

the

of

common

modern

life, and

what
we

symptoms
may

of the

morbid
Now

atheistic pathology
as

discover

there.

nettles human

are

seen

growing
tions

abundantly have
been, and it

always
every
to

where weed spring

habita

has

its favourite

soil, out
so

of which

seems

spontaneously,

all the

varieties
we

of
meet

speculative

and
common

practical life are

atheism
weeds

which

with
rank

in

sprung
man

from
eat

the

soil of irreverence.
an

As

a

cannot

without

appetite,

though him,
see

all the fruitage
or

of

Paradise
no

be

spread

before

as

a

man

with

love

in his constitution

will

a

whole

army
so

of Aphrodites neither
can

marched
expect

out

without

emotion,
ment
ence

gods

acknowledg
all
rever

from

the

sort

of creature

in whom

for superior implies by
a

excellence certain

is non-existent.

Rev
or

erence

inferiority, and

certain

gans and

which

the inferior lays hold

of the superior,

thereby
But

achieves

the pleasant
a

feeling of eleva
plant

tion.

how

shall

climbing

attach itself

46

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

to the lofty wall, if you
are

cut
seem

off its tendrils ?
to

So there
ov

human

souls

that

have
or

no

tendrils,

whose

tendrils have
remain

been

frosted
any

nipped

off, and
to

thus they their

without

bond
are

of attachment

natural

support.

These

the

men

whom

St. Paul, who
nates
as

knew
or

the heathen

world in the
a

well, desig world

adeoi,
They

without

God
in

(Eph.

ii.

12).
is

drift about
or

whirl
in

of
the

unconseor,

crated what
ous

passion,
even
more

get

trampled

mire, up

sad, prop boasting that only of
may,
taste
a a

themselves that they
can

in vari

absurd

ways,

do

with

out

tendrils, and

weakling
reverence,

will cling by

the old wall. natural

This want

which
cases,
or

is the be
con

soil of atheism,
a

in

some

genital, like
pacity tion. certain ognition

lack of

for music, mathematical
seem

an

inca

of

understanding
human

proposi
up in
rec
a

Some
narrow

beings

shut
; to such

self-containment anything
no

the

of

beyond
expects

their
a

own

shell
come

is

impossible
crawling

; for

person and

lobster to

up

to

you,

look
a

in your Man

face with

the

affectionate naturally
not

worship
only
too
a

of
weak

dog.

is, however,

creature,

but
is made
state,

a

creature

who,
to

on

only

many

occasions,

sharply

feel his weakness

; in his normal

therefore, that

he

will naturally

put

forth

feelers

towards

Its

Varieties

and

their
him,

Root.

47
he

which
seeks
most

is above

and

beyond

and

that which
even

to lay hold

of for his sustainment, groping and of
way,

in the

blind
This
mere

and

he

will

justly call
of religion,
a

God.
the

lowest feeling

simplest dependence
and piety,

form
on

superior

Being,

however

inadequate, of
intelligent

however
is
a

far from

the
quite

sublime

nevertheless
piece
man

natural ; whereas
dependency, always We
a

atheism,

in

mere

of

ephemeral is, must
strosity. naturally

such
an

as

the

strongest

remain

absurdity
that

and
man,

a

mon

shall say,

therefore, atheism

being only
any

religious

animal,

can

then

spring

up

when, arises

in the individual

or

in society,

influence
reverence

which

nips

the

natural
not

bud

of

in the soul, and

perhaps

only deprives

this emotion nishes
a

of

its healthy

nourishment,
of
fuel to
a

but

fur

plenteous

supply

feeling of
category

isolated

self-sustainment.
every
may

Under

this

falls naturally

exercise

of strength,
agent

power,
a

or

force which feeling
pride
ence

inspire

the

with

strong

of

independence,

and
to

incline disown

him,

in the

of the moment,
on

stoutly
power.

his depend
in such
mere

any
as

superior
man

Of

course

a

creature

this sort

of feeling
bare

is

mad give
a

ness

; for the
to

point

of

a

bodkin
of
a

may

quietus

the earth-shaking

bulk

mammoth

as

48

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

readily

as

to

the

minute

machinery

of

a

wren.

Nevertheless,

experience

shows

amply natural
may

that
and

this

feeling of self-sufficiency, partly formed
to

partly up

by

a

favourable

circumstance,

grow

extraordinary
so

dimensions, intoxicated
to

and

teach

the

petty

personality,

with
a

his

own

imagined tricks and

self-importance,

play

farce of makes
story,

fantastic
men

before
angels profane,

high
weep.

Heaven,

which

laugh
sacred

Ancient

both

and

is full of

instances

of this kind

; indeed,

the wise
seem
as

Greeks,

no

less than the religious Hebrews, possessed fear of with

to have

been

nothing

so

much that

with
to

a

sacred
poor

the when

consequences
a

follow
grows

humanity
a

just self-esteem
and
a a

up

into

false self-importance,
is exaggerated into

false

self-importance

monstrous

self-worship.
wise warnings

Hence
to

the frequent

repetition

of the
to
re

persons
are

in lofty positions mortal
; and

member image

that brought

they

the

popular of

before

the imperial
in Herodotus,*

absoluteness
or

the Eastern
in
one

monarch

by

Horace,

of his

familiar

odes,

that

the

lightnings A from
man

of
is

Jove
never

love to strike the topmost
in greater

towers.

danger
use

than

when,

what

ever

cause,

his spirit, to
*

the Scripture
vii.
IO.

language,

History,

Its

Varieties

and
in

their

Root.

49

lifted up,"
prosperous with
can

and he

the

full-blown how

sense

of

power,

forgets and

he is girt round himself
not

mortal
even

weakness,

conceits "Is

that he

cope

with
I

the

gods.

this great
of the

Babylon

that
by of

have

built for the
of my
?
"

honour and

kingdom,

the might
my

power,
says

for the

honour monarch
what

majesty
Book

the
; and
nearer
a

Chaldean
we

in the

of

Daniel is
never

know

happened.
when

A

man

being
god.

a

beast than
sentiment

he imagines
lies
at

himself bottom

The

which

the

of all such

self-magnification
monstrous,
an

is radically

atheistic, essentially

inversion
man

of the order
say

of nature
2

"

as

great

as

if

a

should

that 3

"

is equal

to

3+

2.

"

Demens Acre

qui nimbos
et cornipedum

et

non

imitabile simularat

fulmen,
equorum."
*

pulsu

"

Fool, Would

who
ape

Jove'sthunder
with

and

immortal

bolt

brass and

tramp

of hoofed

steeds."

Now
usurpation

of

this
of the

rebellious
throne

strength
of the

and

insolent by

superior is when

the
mere

inferior, the

lowest

form,

of

course,

animal

strength,

planting

itself above

the

intellec-

*

Virgil, ^Eneid,

vi. 590.

50

The

Natural

History

of
reins

Atheism.

tual and

moral,

assumes

the
or

of government,

either in the

celestial world atheism
are

the terrestrial.
and others
;

Of
in

this

type

of

the
a

Giants

Greek

mythology

prominent

example
Roman in
one

the

signification
saw

of which
"

the know,"

reflective he says,

lyrist of the

clearly.

We

most
commence

beautiful of those wise the third book
"

and weighty "We know

odes

which
the

how

impious into alone

Titans,
by

the monstrous the
swooping righteous

troop,

were

hurled who

Tartarus
controls

bolt
sway

of Him

with
sea,

the
realms
can

sluggish
of the other
"

land, the windy

and
"

the

dusky

dead

beneath

the earth ;

for how

it be
on

wise, since everywhere

in heaven

and

earth

"

Vis consili expers

mole Di

ruit

sua

;

Vim
In

temper
:

atam

puoque vires

provehunt

majus
Omne

idem

odere

*

nefas animo

moventes."

"Strength
But

without

counsel
force grows who

falls by its
strong do

own

weight,
stronger

tempered

and

still,

By

grace

of gods

wisely and

abate

The

insolent thought

the rebellious will."

And
his

jn

the

same

way

Homer

always

characterises
savage

Cyclops,

Laestrygons,
*

and
iii.Carm.

other
iv. 65.

and

Hor.

Lib.

Its

Varieties

and

their

Root.

51

cannibal

tribes

from

whom

the fate

ill-starred fellowas

sailors of Ulysses
man

find cruel but

not

only of

inhu
any

and

lawless,

utterly

destitute

notion

of religion

O (ovSe tfeov"fc,d.
of
absolute than
a

ix.).
in
mere man

But

it is the government

intoxication of that
men,

power

the

more

brute
to for
can

strength,

chiefly inclines
limitations
or,

mortal
imagine
same

get his human

and
is the

that he
thing,
set

defy nought
ing to

the

gods,

what

at

the
no

eternal

constitution
"

of things, by

bow

superior.
or

I will take
!
"

the city, whether

Jove
pride and

wills

wills not
against

cried the

Capaneus,

in the
;

of assault the

seven-gated

Thebes

intoxication

of self-will, and
inspired the

the madness

of self-worship
tence,

which
now

this famous

old

sen

stirs

even

breast

of
vast

a

great Europe,

Napo
or

leon, dreaming littleNapoleon,
ambition,

of

absorbing

a

scheming
a

in the way

of his smaller
There
is an
root
un-

for

Rhine of

boundary.

mistakeable
pride.
But

germ

Atheism

at

the

of all

it is not
to
run

only

uncontradicted

lordship

that

tends

into

godlessness There
is
an

; unlimited

liberty

also has its freaks.
cracy,
no

atheism
Every

of demo
extreme

less than
or,

of despotism.
as

of self-assertion,

the

Brahmans

would

ex-

52

The

Natural

History

of
an

Atheism.

press whether
or

it, the by

attempt

to

make

independent
other

I,

violently overriding
an

every

body,

by

asserting is
a

absolute

independence

for each
concate

individual,
nation

rebellion

against

the
units

firm

of closely

subordinated is composed.
a

of which

the

social

framework
as

From atheism

extreme

democracy,
est

from

hotbed, up.

in its rank accordingly, of
ancient

stage

naturally
it be in the

shoots subtle
or on

And,

whether

disputations

glib-tongued
ern

Athens,

the
craters,

fiery rim
or

of mod

French

revolutionary of

on

the

more

innocent
evening

platform
orations,

London

East-End
monstrosity

Sabbathparades

this hideous
How,

itself with

observation. There
to
create

indeed, in the

should
idea

it

be
mere

otherwise?
liberty

is nothing

of
;

the

feeling

of
an

reverence

the

desire

of

unlimited has might

liberty is
no

essentially Power
on

selfish feeling, and from windy of

regard impose

for any silence

above,

that

each
maxim

self-proclaimer.
democracy and

The

fundamental

all pure
as

is simply
a

this

"
"

I
;

am

as ac

good

you,

perhaps
as

little better
master,

I

knowledge
heaven

nobody above
or on

my

whether
; I will not

in

earth

beneath
connection it
was

be de

fettered." mocracy

This

natural

between caused

and

irreverence

that

Plato

Its

Varieties

and

their

Root.

53
dogs
in

to

make

the
had
a

observation,
certain
not

that

even

the

Athens
them

look

of impertinence
in

about And
of

which

was

observed large-viewed
times

Sparta.*

Aristophanes,
strange wise

that

spectator

the

and

troubled

in which

he lived, in his
a

burlesque, and arguing

called The sophist-trained
himself

Clouds^ introduces
young

de

mocratic ningly

Hopeful, all the

cun

free from

restraints
to

of filialduty, and
one

making

disobedience

parents de
too.

of the household
was

liberties which

unfettered

mocracy

to

achieve.
and

Quite
rebellious

consistently instinct

The denies

insubordinate God
cannot

which the

in

heaven,

and

the

king

upon

throne, by the

long

tolerate the restraints imposed

natural

authority

of

the

father,

and

the
no

rules of domestic
cry
more

discipline.
more

There
more

is, indeed,
contrary

false,
nature

delusive,

to

the
ern

eternal

of things,
chosen

than

that which

mod
watch

democracy
"

has
No

for its favourite

word

Liberty.
a

doubt when

the word
opposed

has
to

a

mean

ing, and ural
any

mighty

one,

all unnat of

restrictions
creature

of

the

healthy

development

; the
a

instinct

of individual his bonds,

self-asser
or

tion that

makes

slave burst

a

cap-

*

Republic.

54

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

escape

from
But

his beyond

prison,

will always
the

secure

sympathy.

this, in

organization

of social life, liberty has very
contrary,

little to do.

On

the is
a

the

whole

history

of

civilisation

record
we

of successive An

limitations
eld Scythian

of

liberty,
or

which

call laws. encamped

nomad,
moor,

modern
warm

gipsy, ing pine modern

on

a

Highland scattered
more

and

himself
forest,

with
is
a

the

spoils

of

the

old
any

much

free

man

than

citizen of the most
man

free country
not

in Europe.

The

civilised

grows,

by

a

large

irregular

liberty,

but

by

the

wise

limitation of
his

of

his

range

and

the

fruitful husbandry

resources.

The
is
;
a

first condition

of all effective
discipline
means

social organization subordination of

discipline ; but and
subordination

implies the

recognition all
reverence

supreme

authority. authority,

Destroy you

for

such

and
state

produce

that

feverish,
spends its
;

troubled, force
while
wanton

chaotic continual
the

of society

which
and
you

in in

convulsions

revolutions

individual
in the

mind

beget

that

revelling which
every

idea of unfettered
itself in
noisy
tame

individ

ualism
against

wastes

explosions

power

that
of
an

would

the

fury

or

prune

the rampancy unlimited

imperious

/.
liberty
are

But

power

and

unlimited

Its

Varieties

and

their

Root.

55

not

the only

social forces that
assertion

are

apt

to

run

riot

in the exaggerated the negation

of the individual, authority.

and

of all superhuman begotten

There

is the irreverence

of the pride
as

of intellect.
or

In the exercise sical power, satisfaction

of intellectual,
is apt
to

of moral
a

phy

there
in

arise

certain

selfish of the

the

exclusive
whatever

dominancy else

knowing the
of
sum
course,

faculty

above

constitutes

of existence does
piety
not

in the universe.

Knowledge,
irreligion, the
more
or a

directly produce
on

extinguish
wise
man

;

the

contrary,

knows

of the

universe,

the
and

more

is he

lost in admiration
at its mystery
a

of its excellence,
as

in wonder is truly
a

; for,

Plato

said, wonder
to

philosophical

feeling ; and
as

be full of
in their
to

living
proper

knowledge relations and
to

of things

they

are,

proportions, But

is simply

wonder
is not

and
the
its

worship. of
a

the
man,

knowing and

faculty
to

whole
healthy moral
tainly
"

living

bring

forth
a

fruits it must
nature

go

hand-in-hand

with

rich
cer :

; divorced

from

this, that

will

show

itself

which
up,

St.
but

Paul charity

enunciates

Knowledge

puffeth

edifieth." faculty, iso humanity,
to the feel-

In the exercise

of the mind's and

cognitive

lated from
there

a

complete
no

well-balanced

is certainly

direct nourishment

56
ing of
yer
?

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

reverence.

Who
is
more

is

more

sharp
a

than

a

law
?

Who

clever than
is only
one

weekly
in

reviewer

Mere
ing up

knowledge
of
but
a

element

the build that you know,
makes
let

sound what
you

mind.
you
use

It is not and

merely

know, and
your
us

know,
your

how

you

how

knowledge,
"

that

knowledge

a

power

a

legitimate
a

power,

rather

say

"

otherwise powers,

it is

usurpation,

and, it

like all illegitimate
ought "Faust."
to

smothers
has

that which

protect.

Everybody
does

read

Goethe's
of
Faust,
a

What

that

self-vendition
mean

German
the
Don

soul to the Powers
sinner, does

of evil
not

?
to

speculative

go

ruin,

like

Juan,

in the Spanish limitation
putting

opera, into

because
ocean

he flings of
mere

himself
sensual

without

the

indulgence,

his private

pleasure

in

the place
ing

of God's
an

public atheist
to

order,
and

and
a

thus

becom

practically

servant

of

the

devil ; but
accept

he

goes

ruin,

because by

he

will not all finite

the
is

bounds necessarily
; all the

of thinking
confined.
secret

which
He
must

being

know the
uni

everything
verse

machinery
; the

of

must

lie open blood's

to

his gaze

quick

light

ning
ous

of the
alleys

shooting

through
be

the mysteri
by his

of vitality, must

measured
means,

mortal

optics ; all which

simply

he

scorns

Its

Varieties

and
; he

their Root.
will be
He

57
with

to

be

a

man

with

men
own

a

god

gods above

; he

will be

his

god.

sets

himself self; and

the

legitimate which

authority
creates

of
by
over

that

alone

existent

power
so,

limitation
to

in doing tive Power

he hands

himself
denying
can

the destruc

which, denial
Thus,

by

limitation, produces
produce,

what
and

such

alone
in

dissolution
as

chaos.

all intellectual, lies.

in

all

other
But

pride, the root there
are

of atheism

various

kinds
has

of knowledge long atheism had

; and
most

of all kinds,
evil reputation

that

which

the

of begetting medici
or

is Physical

Science.
vulgar

Tres

duo

athei.
any

Is this

a

mere

calumny,

is there

noticeable such
; and
current

truth at
prov is

the erbs
a

bottom
are

of it ?
out

Very

few

churned

of nothing between of

that there
science

certain

connection

physical

and

atheism, declares. father taught
applause of his age

the

history

philosophy

abundantly the reputed

Democritus

of

Abdera,
philosophy,

of

the

atomistic

afterwards

in the Attic

gardens
was

of Gargettus
the greatest
may

with

such

by

Epicurus,

naturalist

; and

whatever

have
sage

been

the per regard
to

sonal

opinions

of the laughing
can

with

the gods,

there

be

no

doubt

that the

philoso
was

phical system
3*

expounded

by

his Attic

disciple

58

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

utterly

godless
to

"

worse

than
the
a

godless,

indeed; than the

for
to

it is better shunt
verse,

deny

gods

altogether,
corner

them
and

off into
give

cloudy nothing

of do

uni

them
at

to

but The

drink
expla

nectar

and

laugh

limping
of

Vulcan.
the of
cosmos,
mere

nation various

of the
action

phenomena and

by force

the
and

interaction
sum

form

which

is the

of the
indeed
out

Epicurean
seems

doctrine, have been
;

is pure
meant
as we

atheism,
to
see

and

to

put

religion

of the world from
in

altogether
tone

plainly
verses

enough

the his

of

the

opening Epicurean

of
:

Lucretius,

celebrated

poem

"

Tantum
woes on

religio potuit
mortals
came

suadere
from

malorum grim

1" power."

"Such

cruel

religion's

And

a

century

before

the time

of Epicurus

we

find Aristophanes,
already
nence

in that most
giving

intellectual of farces emphatic physical
and promi

named,
to the

the it
was

most

fact that

the

philoso
vortices,
tur

phers and moil

who,

with their talk about entanglements,

atoms

collisions and

and
were

general
doing

in the battle of blind

forces,

away

with happy

the notion
accident

of

Jove

altogether,
Providence.

and

substituting

for wise

How

far there

Its

Varieties

and
at least

their

Root.

59

was

a

fair apology,

or

a

plausible palliative, the phylacteries
shall afterwards of the by the
now

for the physicists of this sort
inquire.

who

made

broad
we

of talk those of
concourse
a

long

ago,
revive

For

who

the doctrine

construction

beautifully of atoms
no

ordered
without
excuse

world mind,

fortuitous adays,
cerns

there
us

is certainly
to

; but

what

con

specially

state

here

is, that

there

is
at

something

in the researches conditions

of physical

science,
atmo

least in certain
sphere, piety
not

of the intellectual
to

apparently

favourable of

the

growth
reverence.

of

and

the

cultivation
of the
to

religious

In reading
must

certain
quite

psalms
every

of David,

which
church

be
one

familiar
as

English
a

goer,

feels

if walking
not

through

splendid
are

picture-gallery,
beautiful and

where grand

only
the

the
power
as

pictures

beyond
compensate

of human
were

description,

but, to

it

for the the face

feebleness

of the attempt
artist is made

to describe to shine

them,

of the divine
ly behind

forth constant inspiration
But
in

the frame,

and

give
to

a

living
scene.

and
not

an

intelligent few

presence

the

a

of

our

modern

physical

science

books,
is any
a

how

different is the feeling ! if,indeed,
in the
matter at

there

feeling curious

all
"

anything dumb

beyond

fingering

of wretched

details utterly

60

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism,

destitute
pend end and
upon

of soul.
it God

Whatever
is not laws

is jn the

book,

de
no

there.
and

You

will hear

of talk

about

forces, developments
forms,
transmuted
"

evolutions, and
For

metamorphic
not

energies,

what

; but

it is all dead

at least
reason
a

all blind. there is
no

seeing

intellect and
systems.

shaping
It is

place

in such

mere

shallow
to

superstition,
any

according design

to these

gentlemen,

imagine

grand is
no

in the system
; there
a

of the is only

Cosmos.
a

There

construction
at

conglomeration,

or

best
are

concatenation.

That
on

such

Epicurean

views admits

sported
no

nowadays
; that,
to

public

platforms

of

question
not

when

philosophically
in

tested,
a

and
mist

allowed

veil their absurdity they yield nothing

blue
a

of fine phrases,
variety

but

physical-science
; and

of atheism, provoke
us

is equally
to

certain

they

naturally

the

inquiry

how

such

unreasoned thousand
on

drivel, after having
years,

been

exploded
and
as

for two planted
a new

should of
poor

be

revived,

the

platform which

boastful
benighted with

science

revelation
now

humanity
grateful
of doubt
so

should

at

length receive

most

bewonderment.

Of this lamentable
ing under

upshot
are
no

much
several

high-sound
causes

talk,

there

; but

the present

head

of

our

discourse

there

fall

Varieties

and

their

Root.

61

only two
fore

to

be specially

mentioned.

First,
are

as

be

said, because by the
mere

the highest
exercise

cognitions

never

reached
ty,
on

of the knowing
Instincts
; and
to not

facul
and the

whatever
are

subject exercised.
higher than knowledge
man

aspirations
pretensions the
on

of the merely
of things

scientific

assume

dictatorship
nature.

that
can

be
be

are

founded
only

Many

things

known

by
un

being

felt ; all vital forces
;

are

fundamentally the
less

knowable would-be
has
no

but

they

exist

not

because

philosopher machinery with

B

or

would-be
to
measure

philosopher
or

C
con

which

to

trol them.
the sciences,

Philosophy,
must,
as

itself the most

abstract

of

Goethe
merely
parade

profoundly
tabulated
mere

remarks, and

be lived and
about the
one

loved,
so

not

talked
as

; and

those

who
are

knowledge
as

thing
says,

needful
counting

found
parts

at last,

the

same

Goethe
when

the fled.

with

their fingers

the spirit has of these

To

the

meagreness

and Words

inadequacy worth
classes

knowledge-mongers

finely alludes in his description

of the various
themselves
:
"

of

men

who
sod

might

be

showing
grave

beside

the green
"'

of

a

poet's
appears, how,
eyes
nor

A

moralist Led,

perchance knows
neither

heaven

to

this poor
ears,

sod

:

And

he

hath

Himself

his world

and

his

own

god

62

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

"

One

to

whose

smooth-rubbed
nor

soul
or

can

cling

Nor
A

form

feeling, great

small ;

reasoning

self-sufficing thing,

An

intellectual all in all."

Here

the great

philosophic
and

poet

clearly indicates
mere

that without
science

reverence

love, the

man

of

remains
or

incapable

of comprehending practically
if not

either
his
own

humanity
god
; and

divinity,

becomes
temper,
'

is in tone
an

and

in abstract

speculation,
science
men

atheist.
we are

But

it is of the
at

physical
;

that

talking
bard

present

and

these
out

also the thoughtful

of the Lakes of
a

shows
poet

from

the
a

sacred sharp

presence
tone

true

of
as

nature,

with
:
"

of quiet

contempt,

follows

"

Physician

art thou ?

one

all eyes ?

Philosopher One that could

?

a

fingering slave,
and

peep

botanize
!"

Upon

his mother's

grave

Of of
men

course

general
not

charges
a

against
to

whole
be

classes

are

for

moment
a
"

understood
man

here ; but the writer
of the type,
serves

takes

strongly-marked

and

this, like

the girl of the period,"
a man

the purpose,

though

may

live largely
him
or

in the period

without

perhaps

meeting

her

Its

Varieties

and
the

their

Root.

63

more

than

once.

But

physicist,

by

the

very

nature

of his occupations,
to the

is unfavourably

situated
He

in regard is all eyes

knowledge

of spiritual things. confessedly

and

all fingers ; and
can one see

neither with
the
so

with

the fleshly eye finger
about
resources come can

God,
Him. when

nor

fleshly
comes

one
a

handle physicist,
own

And
left to

it

that

the

meagre ties, may

of his
not
to

science in mind

of externali
at

believe
Let

all, and
nature
as

of
he

course

to

deny

God.

him

torture

will, strike out curiously
into

all sorts
the

of flashing

electricities,

pry

secret

spring-work yet

of vital he
can

machinery
not

by

monstrous
on

vivisections,

lay his finger
"

God.
can

There

is therefore
on

no

God
fore

nothing nothing
an

that he
at

lay his finger talk about

; there

all ;

only

laws

and

forces, and
to

eternal

blind

struggle
room.

of the stronger

kick

the weaker

out

of the the
study

Such
mere

is the

sad

fashion

by

which by

of

physical philosophy,
fortuities

science,
runs

unelevated the blank
It upon
must

a

high

religious and be
no
so.

into

vacuities

blind
No

of atheism.
ever

always and

pyramid
ex

stood

its apex,

reasonable
can

planation from dom
a

of

a

reasonable

world

be

evolved
king of

tabulation
true

of

mere

externalities.

The

of

knowledge,

like

the

kingdom

64

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

heaven,
name
was

is

within.
ever

No
at

philosophy
by external be

worth

the

arrived dead

induction.

By

induction

shells may
creature

gathered,

but

the
the

life of the soft-bodied shell is produced Reason, world, the soul eludes
to

which
power

inhabits
of

by

the of

living

Divine

this

mysteriously-ordered
to

which

all microscopes
grasp.

behold,

and

defies all pincers
I have

spoken
science,

hitherto because their the

mainly
since

about
Bacon,

the

men

of have
coun

physical been
try,

they

making
and
are

large

phylacteries of
men

in this

stirring
reasons

minds

wonderfully.

There

for this ; and and
we

for other

the

brilliant

antediluvian,

pre-Adamitic have
made,

discoveries disposed A
wise

which
kindly
man on

they
to
a

may
nonsense.

feel

forgive

them

a

little
never

hobby-horse the creature and
we are

is

an

edifying for
a

specta

cle ; but perhaps,
now

delights
amused

himself
for
an

lifetime
Let
us
non

hour.
is

look

in another

direction.
nonsense

There and

no

sense

like

learned

;
nonsense

of
is

all learned the
forms
most

nonsense,

metaphysical

extravagant. insane atheism

Of

course

among
we

other

of

abstract
; and

speculation, the father
was a

have

metaphysical
of
nonsense,

of this sort

in modern

times,

Scotsman,

David

Hume.

Its

Varieties

and
has
very

their

Root.

65

No deny

man,

I presume, Hume
was

who
a

read clever
too,

his works
fellow,
and
a a

will
very

that

a

agreeable, combined
a

gentlemanly knowledge
an

fellow

man

who

of books
very

with

knowledge
in the
non

of

men

to

extent

rarely

exhibited

country
sense

which
about
;

produced
causation,

him and

; stillhe

talked

about

the
traced

ultimate
in

cause

and

this

nonsense

is to
as

be

the

case

of the metaphysician,
to
a
a

in that of the physi
reverence

cist, ultimately
acter,

want

of

in his

char

aided
want

by

certain

flatness, and in
to

shallowness,
to

and

of earnestness

the

age

which
nonsense

he

belonged. generally,

With
and
we

regard

metaphysical which
in mind

the atheism
must

it will occasion

ally produce, Ferrier work
on

bear

what

Professor

says,

in the

first chapters

of his profound
men,

Consciousness.
substantial
run

Of
thinker,
into

all

says

that

subtle
is most
some

and

the the

metaphysician

apt to

himself absurdity; complex
one

blind
aims

alley of
at
ex

inextricable the
very
some

for he

plaining
universe

machinery

of

the vasty
or

by
; and,
or

favourite
be

principle, either wrong

method
itself,
one

if this principle applied,
or

in

wrongly the truth,

or

if it contains
certain

only and

half

only

a

attitude

aspect

of the

truth, the whole

of

the

ingeniously

66

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

spun

system
to

becomes
hold
a

a

gossamer

web,

not

strong

enough
stance,

fly.

What

Hume

said, for in

about

the comparison

of

a

piece

of human
universe,

architecture, that know
we

with

the architecture
about other,
is
a

of the the
one,

know
nothing organized

everything

and only
in

can so

about

the

is true
more

far
and

as
a

growth divine

much
than

excellent
com

much

more

thing

the best
we

pacted
produce

masonry
; growth

; manufactures

of all kinds

can

of any

kind,
to

from

the branching

foliage of tropical vegetation
grey

the tiniest spot the Here
the
out

of

lichen

on

a

bare

rock,

defies

most
no

cun

ning
is
a

of
gap

our

scientific appliances.
on

doubt
con-

; but

the

other

hand, shine

grand
as

gruities

of eternal

Reason
as

plainly
; and
we

in

the divine
intellectual

architecture
process

in the human universe,

the
call

of the

which

growth,
merely

is not

the less intelligible because

it is not

mechanical, of

but
pretty
as
we

only

the

more

wonderful.
which

Another Scottish
ter,

the

sophisms, remarked

with

the

sceptic,

in the last chap
instinct,
many
was

strangled

his healthy

human
what
a

that

about

causation.

Of
cause,

course

superficial

observers

call

a

is only
no

point

in

an

invari tell
us

able sequence this ; but

; it needed

philosopher

to

when

he, and

a

whole

school

of meagre

Its

Varieties

and

their

Root.

67

puzzlers
means

after him,
only

told

us

seriously
we

that causation
are

invariable
to
to

sequence,
nonsense

inclined

to

subscribe and

any

in

the

Council
damnatory

of

Trent,

any

horrors fill our
it to

in the most

creed,
wind,

rather

than

bellies with
contain

such
virtue
man

East

and
warm

believe blood. who

any
a

that
out

makes

There

is not

sane

of Bedlam
properly
any

will not
him,

confess,

when

the thing

is

put

before
is

that
very
:

the

invariability that

of

sequence of
a

just the

thing
as

renders

the idea
to

cause

necessary

necessary

in fact
as

the constitution
axiom

of

a

reasoned

universe,

some

fundamental cal theorem.
this ; he must for
sorts

is to the proof your
a

of

a

mathemati will not
see

But

metaphysician

have
where

special transcendental
may

region

himself,

he

make
somersets

unhindered and

all

of abstract

postures
at
so

and
He

curious

antic wriggling,

which

who than

sitteth in heaven

shall laugh
mind he with
sets

; and Moses,

rather
or
a

believe
reason

a

creative Plato,
way
to

plastic

with
wordy

himself all things
and

in

a

pretentious of
a

evolve

out

dark

hollow

centre
a

of

nothingness, of
men,

bind

them

together

with

girdle wise

black

impenetrable talk such
own

necessity.

Surely
taken

who

things,

have

been

in the

net

of their

subtleties, while out

of the mouths

68

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

of

babes God

and

sucklings,
perfected
more

in

modern

as

in ancient

times,

hath

praise.
matters

It is always human sophers.
can

safe, in
to

of
than
nature

healthy
to

sentiment,

trust

to

poets

philo
never

A
you

living

sympathy
Men

with of
Burns,

lead

far wrong.

the

calibre
and

of

Homer,

Shakespeare,
never

Robert the

Walter

Scott,
with
poet

strangle

broad

realities of nature

ingenious is naturally

and
a

unsubstantial animal

subtleties.
;
we

A

religious
expect

shall not,
from him
;

therefore,

presumably
we

atheism
; and

nevertheless,
most

had

Lucretius
in the

some

of
world
Let

our

brilliant notorieties
are

modern

of
us

song,

not

the most

notable

for piety.
extravagant
creature

inquire, erring

therefore, flight the

lastly, by

what

and
a

bright-winged be charmed of
a

called
into
cosmos.

poet dim

may

sometimes and dark

away

the

limbos
causes

vortices

godless
will be

Other

of such
;
on

blind

plunges

noticed

afterwards only
calls

the
us

present
to

order that
as

of

our

discourse
may

remark,

there
as

be

an

idolatry
ing
to

of the imaginative,
Reverence poet swing
as no

well

of the know
as

faculty. the

doubt

is

necessary
a
man

complete
a

love ; but

just as

may

have and

grand

of the

imaginative

facul

ty,

yet

be

wayward,

wilful, and

extremely

Its

Varieties

and
so

their Root.
it is possible
a

69

selfish
"

like
to

Lord
have

Byron in

"

for

a

rhymer

his brain-chamber and truth
yet

perfect

kaleidoscope
veneration
verse

of shifting beauties, for the
gives
to

lack that
uni and
one

grand

central
to

of the

which

elevation

all beauty,

significance
very
a

all variety.
idea, that
a

The
poet
was

Greeks
always

had
a

valuable
man,

"7o""o9,
to

wise

and
practice, age
run

the

best

definition
be

of poetry,

suit their But
too

would

harmonious specialties,

wisdom.
we are

in
apt

our

of multiplied
after dexterity

to

in artistical exhibi

tion,

without
or

regard
naturalness
as

to

health

of tone,

sanity Poetry,
may

of

meaning,
course,
as

of expression. and

of

well

music

dancing,

luxuri
art

ate

amply poet,

in this direction

; and

the sacred is by

of
and

the
vivid

of which
to

the teach of God of

virtue

truthful

pictures
ways

the
to

wisdom
man,

of

life, and

the justify
into
a

may

degenerate dis

succession

dexterous

pyrotechnic

plays,

and
no

startling explosions
worship poetry
no

of brilliant egotism, Thus
a

in which
vorce

dwells. and
war
a

practical

di
;

between though
"

piety

may

take

place against
a

and

direct

be

proclaimed
man

religion of want
type,

as

in Lucretius

"

pious

feels

sort

in the

effusions
as

of poets
one

of this defective
to

somewhat

if

were

walk

through

70

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

Windsor
thing but

Palace, the

and

see

splendid Let
too

traces

of every

Queen.
of glorying

the

young

poet,

there

fore, beware A
man

much said

in his strength.

may

do

anything, except

the wise

old

octo

genarian

of Weimar,

live at
on

random,

sick for

gehen
mere

lassen.

Floating
or

about

rosy

clouds
a

self-delectation,
coruscations

flashing

forth

series

of

iridescent who
ment,

for the amusement
rather than

of those
improve

seek will
bards

for
never

excitement,
exhaust

the

function

of

"the

pious

who

speak

things there his
to

worthy be
a

of Phoebus."
consecration

To of

attain

this dignity
man,

must

the

whole

natural the

genius,

and

his
great

acquired

dexterities,
in

service

of

the

Architect,
honour

whose
us

living
can

temple is to

the be

highest
service

the best of

achieve

able stones.
Thus much

for atheism, marked, viewed
reverence as
or

speculative
only

or

practical,
and the the indi
want
next

declared
cated, of
two
a

and

insinuated from
In

when of

proceeding
in the

root

soul.
the

chapters abnormal
rather

I shall
state

consider of mind,

phenomena
it
or

of
to

this
spring

where

seems

from
a

an

exaggeration,

misdirec
emotion

tion, than

from
; and

deficiency

of the

noble

of wonder

I shall then

conclude

with

con-

Its

Varieties

and
or

their
at least
cases

Root.

71

sidering natural

how
piety,

far atheism,
may

an

absence
only the

of
the

in

many

be

rebound
ties and If there
ernment

of the

an

ill-balanced
rigidities of

mind
some

from
local

asperi

orthodoxy.

is rebellion

anywhere

in

a

State, the Gov
blame.

is seldom

altogether

free from

CHAPTER

IV.

POLYTHEISM.

"

Fragilis et laboriosa
suae
"

mortalitas

in. partes

ista digessit, infirmiquo
maxima

tatis

memor,

ut

portionibus

coleret

quisque

indi-

geret."

PLINY.

POLYTHEISM
very
no

is not

atheism
; many

certainly gods
can

on

the

face of the word
; and

never

mean

god

therefore
is it doing
we

the

intelligent

reader
answer

may

justly ask

what

here ? do

The

is simply
not

this, that with

have

to

in this discourse

merely

abstract

beliefs, but from but them with
or

with
; not

practical with the

consequences

which
of
a

flow

abstract
existence

denial of such

God,

the dogmas of

concrete

fancies, notions,

about
a

God,
order unity
a

as

practically beauty

result in and
we

a

denial

divine

and

harmony

in that

reasoned

of things

which passage

call the world.
to

When the Ephe-

in

well-known

of his epistle

sians

(ii. St. 12)

Paul

talks of the

members

of the

Polytheism.

73
as

Christian
lived and

Church

in that part
slaves

of the East

having
lusts

formerly
passions
in

the

of all sorts
"

of base
and

without
world
"

God
though

aOeoi
the

"

without
no

hope
doubt
a man

the

word

is d'tfeo?
to

frequently
holding
"

used

by classical writers what
to
we

signify

dogmatically is
no reason

call atheistical

opinions

there such

suppose

that

he
;

had

any
a man

shallow him

dogmatists is
an

specially in view
even or

but
haps

with

atheist,
some
as
a

though
demons

per
"

paying

worship
"

to

gods,
matter

like the Ceylonese
shows by all his order of
a

who

of moral believes
in

fact
no

conduct

that

he

established
men

of

a

great

social

brotherhood
recognises
as

of
only

born

common

father, but special of human

his personal
mate

will, and power

passion

the

legiti

motive
a

conduct.
man

Or,
is
a

to

take and

simile from rebel not

political life, that
pastes
a

traitor

a

only who

public

proclama

tion up

in the market-place

that

the

king the the
man

has

no

right to reign, refuses tokens
to

but much the

more

rather
disdains

who

pay

taxes,

accepted

of homage, of his
own

and clan, and

draws

his sword
cause

for

the
own

head

in the

of his

kinship
if the

only,

not

for the Macdonald

head

of the of the

State.

So,

celebrated
position
4

Isles lost his
seas, was

haughty

in the Hebridean

fined

74

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

of his lordship,
into
rum as

and

swept

all his clan with
issue

himself

the shake
to

natural off the

of

his

reiterated

attempts

to

legitimate

authority

of

the monarch
same

whom

he

had

sworn

fealty, in the world, before that

way

it may

be

in the

religious

if any

people
are no

prostrate
gods, from

themselves
whose
seen

gods

which

and being
a

intervention and

hinders
they
as

the true
may

God

recognised,

be
or

guilty
even

of
worse,

conduct than

which absolute

is practically

bad,

atheism.

For
"

religious
means

atheism
an

"

that

is, atheistical

doctrine

only

absence
may
to

of all positive
quite
consistent,

theological
as

contents,
case

and

be

in

the
a

of Buddha

be presently

considered, laws
a

with

strict observance society
necessary

of the great and
even

moral with

that

bind

together,
moral

belief in the entailed
the the

consequences
to

of actions,
"

from

generation

generation
men

as,

indeed,

Buddhists misdirected religiosity
its effect maticians
worse on

believe

of all

most

firmly ; but

reverence some

and forms

utterly

unreasonable
may

of

of superstition,
to

in

social life amount
a

what

the mathe is, something of food, the

call

minus
;

quantity,
as

that

than
not

nothing

certain poisonous,

kinds
may
to
a

though presence

immediately
some

by

of

element

unfavourable

healthy

Polytheism.

75
to

vitality, lead the
system.

by

sure

degrees

the
it

disruption

of
led
the

This other

consideration
wise ancients
or

was

which discuss

Plutarch
question
more

and

to

whether
"

atheism
a

superstition is the
which
manifestly
on

pernicious ?
of
no

question

admits

clear
may

answer an

; for, while

the

one

hand
ated

there with
so

be

intellectual atheism
goodness
may,
on as

associ
to

much

practical
there

make
other wildly

it socially

innocuous,
a

the
so

hand,
through the

be

ramping atheism .moral of society, and all the organism

disturbing degree
as

machinery
many

of human
kinds

life to

such

a

to render

of degrading

superstition

less

dangerous.
and character

Our

inquiry,

therefore,
as

into the origin

of polytheism,
to bring

connected
two

with

atheism,
aspects

will tend of
that
;

into view
reverence,

important
too

misdirected

often in it in
to

confounded
which
a

first, that
so

aspect

of
as

polytheism
to

the

good

predominates
emphatically secondly,

make

social point of

of view

preferable
that
more

all

forms graded
poetical
an

atheism

; and

de
neither
nor

aspect grace,

which
nor

presents
gracious

itself when moral

influences, dimly-shadowed
to

underlying

consciousness

of

monotheism,

contributes
or

anything

redeem
a reverence

the

absurdity,

mitigate

the baseness

of

76

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

fathered
ness.

by

fear, and
in setting
to

a

worship

inspired

by selfish
prop

And

forth the most
this interesting
to

obvious theme,

ositions

belonging ourselves

if we

confine

mainly

illustrations from
we

the
be
in

Greek
using

religion, it will be because materials
are

shall thus
persons

with
to

which
a

all educated
extent

this country

certain
use

familiar, and they will natu

in the right theological rally feel
an

of which

interest.

On

the

origin

and

significance

of the mythologi other
polytheistic learned libraryat,

cal theology
races, no

of the
amount

Greeks
of

and
nonsense,

small

both the

and

unlearned,
; and

will be this is not

found
at

loading

shelves

all to be wondered

considering

that the most
the

original and
want

imaginative

thinkers learning
are

on

subject often
men

the
too

requisite

; while
not

of

learning

frequently

destitute and

only

of that

fine feeling belongs but
from

for the

poetry
to

piety

of nature

which

specially

all

mythological
common sense

interpretation,

of

the

sound

and

freedom
to

favourite

fancies

which

is necessary quarter.

the

recognition full and

of
thor
re

truth in any
ough

But

after the

discussion during

which

Greek

mythology

has

ceived the

the and

present

century,

specially

from

Germans,

the

wider

range

of

induction

Polytheism.
by

77
Oriental
comparative excursions

opened
of the
gers,
we

up

to scholars

the

Sanscritists and
have
at
no one

other

philoloour cer

difficulty
broad
Favourite

now

in planting
scientific

foot
tainty

on

least

basis of

in this field.

theories being

and

darling
away,

speculations
a

of
can

various

kinds

blown
great

sound

eye

discern
as

clearly the
at

physical luxu

forces of nature riant growth beautiful,

lying

the

root

of the
or

of motley and
sublime

and

grotesque,

graceful,

figures of India

which and

composed Not
into

the popular

Pantheons

Greece.
enter

that "other elements
the
the

sometimes

did not

composition
main

of this popular

theology;
nature,

but

in

the

forces and

of

external
by

figured
formed
at
once

by

imagination

fired

passion,

a

groundwork
the most endeavour place. edge

of natural
to

all polytheistic

idolatry,
extensive.

and

the most
to

Let

us

realise

ourselves

how

this took the knowl of
our

Let

us one

drop
true

out

in imagination from the
to

of the

God

centre

fundamental

ideas

with

regard

the

Universe
nature
"

"

of which Christian
see
man

ideas the unity
countries remains.

of the Divine
now a

in all

forms

the

keystone

and
as

what

Imagine

creature

such
was
"

in the first stages

of society

historically

of quick

sensibility, vivid

imagination,

hasty pas-

78
sion,

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

overpowering

emotion,
"

limited

knowledge,
no

and

small

speculation

sometimes,
own

doubt,
a

grandly being of

conscious great
or

of

hi's
and

power

as

living
rarely

energy it may

scope,

but
by

not

possessed,
of
ence.

be

oppressed,

the

feeling depend
in

his

own

feebleness,
on

helplessness, what? of
or on a

and

Dependence
in
a

Place

yourself
dreary
moor
a

thought during

the

middle

broad

thunderstorm,

the surge in
a a

of

foam
a

ing

sea
or

fretted
at

with bottom

reefs,

ship

without
mountain,

pilot,

the

of

smoking
and
over

spouting rivers
ways

sulphurous of
red

clouds, rock
and
you

pouring

forth and

molten
men,

the

works
a

of mortal

will feel in
at

moment

that your elements"

life is continually AIR, WATER, of might

the
FIRE,

mercy

of three whose

and

before

manifestations

and
straw

violence,

the strongest
or

mortal
worm

is

as

weak
the

as

a

in the whirlwind,
a

a

beneath
will
a

tramp

of

rhinoceros.
creature,

What
with
natur

then
out

poor,

ignorant,

helpless

special
?
or

light, in
He

these

circumstances and appeal element
to
"

ally do
ment,

will cry out force
or

the

ele

the

behind

the

let it be
for the of
not

AIR,
moment

WATER,
to

FIRE"

with

which

he has
in
a

do ; and

this

element,

defect

further

generalisation,

will become

god

;

Polytheism.

79
simply language,
as
or

the
apt

material
to

element,

however,

we
a

are

conceive
we

it in modern

form

of what of the

call matter,
exercising
to

but
a

the
power,
we

energetic

totality

thing

apparently
exercise

of
we

a

similar nature
put

that which
and
or

when

forth

our

arm,

produce
Fire,
or

similar the
as

effects.

The

Air, therefore,
dimly
as

the person,

Water,

is

conceived the

a

at least

exercising

functions

of

a

person

;

it is force
"

a

superhuman,

incalculable, paratively
a

transcendental divine
reason some
a

that

is,

com

power, does
sort

and
not

therefore

will natur recog

ally, if curious nised
and,

interfere, be
or

by

of homage And would this
say,

worship, gener
at

acknowledged
alisation,
as

as

god.

hasty

the

logicians

will have

least

one

striking
some

fact in its favour,
advance
or

of which
in
some

it will
science,

require
some

considerable in

ripeness
to

speculation, the

special
potent ele

revelation
ments,

rebut

force.
man
means

These
as

of which

feeble
by
any

seems

it

were

the
eye

sport,
present

do

not

to

the
and

vulgar
concentuous

the aspect
; they

of harmonious

powers

rather
to

stand

forward
and
to

in the

attitude

of antagonists,
to

struggle

battle

together,

overwhelm,
one

overmaster,

neutralise

and way.

annihi We

late

another

in

a

most

unfriendly

8o

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

are

therefore,
outbursts
at
a

at

our

first encounter unreined from

with
and idea

one

of

these
power,

of apparently
far
remove

unruly

very

the
got,

of

the

Divine
step,

UNITY.
at the

Thus

we

have

by

a

single force

constitution

of

a

separate

divine

for Air, natural into
an

Water, action

and

Fire,

which,

by-and-by, will

the
shape

of

a

vivid

imagination

the

complete

figure Neptune,

of

a

thundering
a

Jupiter,

earth-shaking
with

and

metal-melting
weapons,
taste

Vulcan,
and the

all the appropriate

badges,
chastened

appurtenances,

that

with

in

West

and

grotesque

symbolism

in the
to

East

would
ages.

naturally

attach

themselves

such

person

Let

us

now

look
fact,
our

to

the

evidence

from
to

historical
mention

and

literary
in

We

had

occasion that Homer

already,
mentions

first paper,
as

distinctly
of the
an

OCEAN
gods

the

great

progenitor
was

Hellenic antiquated
comes

; and,

though

this god

rather

personage
more as

in the days
a

of the poet,
or

and
an

up

sort

of

fossil witness

underlying
famous
occurs
verse

stratum

of
v.

old

popular

tradition,

the

(II. xii.
the
more

245)
out

in which
as a

his

name

is only

significant

stereotyped the fully

proof

of the original element
equestrian Poseidon

of which afterwards

equipped

started

Polytheism.
into being. guised
ancient lus, from have
same

8

1

But

even

in later days its part

the
the

same

undis
most

element
gods

plays

with

other

in the well-known

tragedy

of ^Eschyand

which

Shelley, Byron,
favourite

Goethe

others
In

drawn
way,
we

such

inspiration.*

the

find that, though celestial archer, displaced
has

the golden-locked
in familiar

Apollo, theology
of which elemental ing

the

Greek
out

completely

the original

sun

he
sun,

grew,

nevertheless,

this undisguised

this bright, all-seeing, all-command

Helios

"

^Xto?
"

keeps
most

his ground,
solemn

distinctly of

acknowledged
which
a

in the

form

oath

pious

Greek

could

take into his mouth.

Father And

Jove, from
and
Earth.

Ida swaying

God and

most

glorious and power,

great, and ye

thou, Sun,

the all-pervading

all-hearing

Rivers

\

And

so

with

the

rest.

To

an

eye

once

open
terres

to

the fact that the great trial forces, which

embodied
partly

celestial and
the stage life,were and

form
our

partly

the atmosphere
gods of Greece,

of

human
no

the original
or

it requires

accidental
poets

extend

ed recognition

by the Greek thin

to enable

it to

see

through
*

the
"

veil of human
Bound,"

personality
scenes.

under

The

Prometheus iii.277.
4*

in the introductory

f Iliad,

82

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

which
Plato, truth modern

their
and and

elemental much

significance

lay

concealed.
saw

thinkers
spoke

below
*

his range,
and,

the
mere

it out

plainly ;

in fact,

a

poet,

from

the reverential
and

contemplation

of

the varying
reconstitute
out

forms

forces

of Nature,

will often
with
must

the persons

of the Greek

Pantheon and
a man

any

formal

historical tradition;
who
does
not
see

be dull indeed

in all the epithets

of

Jupiterand
of the
main.

Neptune,

the most

obvious
and

imperso the bil

nations

thunderous A dark

atmosphere king,

lowy

dark-blue

clouds,
in

-browed driving across
a

girdled

with of

the copper-floor of thundering and
an

the firmament, with
a

chariot

steeds, eagle
in

flashing

bolt

in his hand,

ministering

attendance, imagination
a

this

is exactly

the

figure

that

a

poetical
to

would
shape

body

forth, when
awful
Divine

wishing Force

give

human

to the

which

lies in that
we

perturbation

of the aerial

elements
are

which

call thunder.
language
"

And,

if ships

called in poetical of the deep," embodying

the white-winged for
a

coursers

how

is it possible

poeti divine

cal mind,

in human

form

the

*"

It

seems

plain
same as

that
as

the
are
now

original

inhabitants

of

Greece

wor

shipped

the

gods

acknowledged

by the

majorityof

the Barbarians,

the Sun,

the Moon,

the Earth,

the Stars and the

Sky."

"

Cratylus,

p. 397. D.

Polytheism.
the image
with
to

83

form
a

of the foaming

billows, to avoid
crowned from
wave

of

long-bearded
and

charioteer,
bounding

chaplets
wave

of seaweed,

in

a

chariot
gods,

drawn

by

cerulean

steeds,

with shells

troops

of
?
no

half-man,
this

half-fish, blowing the surface,

behind

All

lies upon
or

and

calls for
But

erudite
us

research
a

curious instance eye,
a

commentary.

let
to to
a

take

familiar

little less obvious
not

the

unprofessional

but

less certain
were

well-schooled
PIES

mythologer.
a

What
readers

the HAR
remember,
^Eneas,"

?

Not

few

of

our

will
"

from
in the

their school-days,
course

how

the

pious

of his long sea-wanderings the mighty Cape Rome,

and

stormy

toils to found
and

after leaving

Crete
certain

rounding

Matapan,

landed

upon

rocky
pelago

islands to the west called
crew,

of Greece

in the Archi there, with
to

the

Strophades,
on

and

his

wearied needful
down
"

sat down

the beach scarcely

take

some

refreshment

;

but

had

they

sat

When

lo ! the Harpies

with horrific swoop
fearful-clanging invade

Leap
And
And

from with

the hills, and their obscene

claws
o'er

wings feast the
with blasts

spread

pollution and
screams,

the board,

Pestiferous,

that rend

the

ear.*

*

^Eneid

ill 225.

84

The

Natural

History

of
from

Atheism.

At

this unseemly the voyagers
commence a

interruption
rise in wrath, vigorous

their prepared

meal, and

seize their swords,
war

offensive in vain.
no

against

their rude witches, of mortal

assaulters. they

But

Like

Macbeth's touch
an

fly off, receiving
; and,

scaith from

blade

perched of
a

on

the top

of

ad

jacentcliff, the
Celaeno,

leader

the

filthy chorus, prophecy
Rome.

called
against
In

screeches

forth

hideous

the much-enduring mythology,
original
races, as

founders
indeed

of imperial
the early

in
are

history

of

all

names

always

significant

; but

the

name

of this personage, BLACK,

Celseno,
us

meaning

in

Greek
tation

will not

help
we

far in the interpre
turn to

of the myth.

When the
names

Homer

and

Hesiod,

however,

of
from

these

vaporous

Seizers

(so

Harpies

means,

publish apTrd^co)
too

their elemental
commentary.

significance

in terms

plain for of theolo
in
ac

Hesiod,

the earliest doctor

gy, and

acknowledged of the

theologer
gods
gives

of the Greeks,

his genealogy
count

the
:
"

following

of the pedigree

of the Harpies

Thaumas

married

Electra,

the daughter

of deep-flowing

Ocean

:

She

to Iris gave

birth, the swift, and
AELLO

she to the Harpies,

Beautiful

haired,
to

yclept,

and

OCYPETE,
or

maidens the vagrant

Swiftly-winged
Breeze
on

follow

the path

of the bird,

the brae.

Polytheism.

85

Now
wind,
names

these
and

two

names

signify,

the

one

whirlthat their
as

the other
declare of
names

; swift-swooping

so

alone

their nature, the
various

as

plainly

the
ex

moral
pressed gory
case

characters by their though

pilgrims

are

in Bunyan's
it rather

popular

alle in

; and

appears his

that

the

of Apollo
no

Homer

and

brother-minstrels
with
case

had

notion

of his original identity
or

the ele
of the

mental

Helios

the Sun, plainly

yet

in the

Harpies
ness

the

poet

indicates
when

his conscious

of their original

character,
in
one

he says

of the
were

daughters

of Pandarus
away
were

line that they
and by in another

snatched that they
We have

by

the Harpies,
away
a

line

snatched therefore,
playing

the whirlwinds.*
case

here,

plain
sort

of mytholo
part im

gical personages, between the

a

of equivocal they
were

element and

of which

the
impersona
"

personation,

the anthropomorphic

tion itself. In the hymns
to

of the Rig- Veda
Miiller, and

thanks learned

the

labours
"

of Max this sort

other

Sanscritists

of equivocal, divine powers
to

half elemental,
may

half anthropomorphic
in great

be

seen

numbers, placed

and this

studied
case

great

advantage. in
some

We

have

of the Harpies
may
77.

detail before

the reader
*

tillhe
xx.

be able to

judge

Odyssey,

66 and

86

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

for himself, the be
true

from

what

root

of scholarly

induction
may

meaning How

of mythological

personage

evolved. familiar

the
the

direct

intuition

of

a

poetic

mind

with

striking

aspects
may,

and

the

vital significance learned
cance

of natural

scenery,

without

research, of these

flash

forth
in the

the
most

deepest

signifi
way,

matters

graceful

the following

passage
"

from

Wordsworth

will most

effectively declare

"

Once

more
us

to distant

ages of the world before
our

Let
The
To

revert,

and

place

thoughts
wear

face which

rural solitude swains

might
of Pagan

the unenlightened

Greece.

In that fair clime,

the lonely

herdsman,
a

stretch'd
day,

On With
And,

the soft grass,
music

through

half

summer's

lulled his indolent
fit of weariness, breath
was

repose

;

in

some
own

if he,
to hear

When A

his

silent, chanced

distant

strain, far sweeter skill could

than
make,

the sound

Which Even
A

his poor from

his fancy

fetched,

the blazing

chariot touched
groves
a

of the Sun,
a

beardless

And The

youth, who filled the illumined
hunter,

golden

lute,

with

ravishment.
eye

nightly towards
on

lifting

bright

Up

the crescent-moon, the lovely wanderer

with who
his

grateful heart

Called That And

bestowed
:

timely hence,

light, to share
a

joyous sport

beaming
and

goddess through

Across

the lawn

with her nymphs, the darksome grove,
notes
cave, moon

Not By

unaccompanied echo multiplied

with tuneful
from rock
: or

Swept

in the storm

of chase

as

and

stars

Polytheism.

87
heaven, The

Glance When His
The

rapidly along
winds
are

the clouded
strong.

blowing
rill or

traveller slaked
and hills

thirst from

gushing
upon

fount,
distant

thanked

Naiad.
apace,

Sunbeams with

Gliding Might, Into
The

shadows

in their train,

with

small

help from
sporting
as

fancy, be transformed

fleet Oreads
Zephyrs
not,

visibly.
they

fanning,

passed,

their wings,

Lacked With

for love, fair whisper.

whom objects boughs
by

they

wooed,

gentle

Withered
and
covert

grotesque,
age,

Stripped
From

of their leaves of shaggy
vale,
or on

twigs

hoary

depth

peeping mountain

forth
side ;

In the low And, Of

steep

sometimes,

intermixed
or

with

stirring horns

the live deer,
were

goat's

depending
a

beard, brood

These Of The

the lurking Deities
:

Satyrs,
or

wild

gamesome

Pan

himself, God."

simple

shepherd's

awe-inspiring

The
action

genesis

of mythological

theology
on

from
the

the
forms

of

a

reverential

imagination
nature,

and in bear
a

forces of external
few in
prominent

being
we

thus

explained
next to

instances,

have
to

mind

that

the

tendency
into

elevate gods, having general

such
and
once
case

imaginative

pictures with
not

personal
attributes,
in the

clothe
set to

them

human be

in, could

expected

confine

itself to

the few
It
was

striking

instances

from have

which
made HEAVEN

it started. the start

possible,

indeed,

to

from
EARTH,

the moral
as

physical Hesiod
;
or

dualism

of
the
as

and
dualism

in

from

moral

of the Good

and

Evil

principle,

88

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

in
stop

the

theology
; but

of the
to

the

ancient that
thunder,
an

Persians,
a

and

to

there

moment

separate

God
to

has been the

assigned

the

and

another

Sun,

the

creation

of

uncounted
was as

multitude natural
and
tree
as

of separate
necessary
as

divine

personalities

the growth
seed.

of

a

broad-branching and subdivision,
poem

from
so

a

small

Division

beautifully

described
of Plants,

in Goethe's is the law

of the
in

Metamorphosis Nature, and

of growth
in imaginative Not

the law
Now

of development

theology.
the
time

observe

what

follows. but
and
at

only
same

grand

and

overwhelming,

the

comparatively

definite
nature,

well-marked
mysterious

forces of external
and

but

the

more

incalculable, and

and

often

strongly

unmanageable
man,
come

emotions

passions

of the inward

in

for their

full share
passions

of
and

individualized
emotions,

deification; recognised their
dis

and
only

these
as

being

divine

Forces,

will naturally

receive

allotment
tinction

of worship between
the
or

without
moral

any

attempted
and
and

good

evil

from

which
quences

they
to to

spring, which FEAR*

the

good tend.
FEVER,

evil

conse

they

Altars
as

will
as

be
to

erected
*
"

and
trepidd

to

well

Livy

Tullus i. 27.

in

re

aras

PALLORI

et FAVORI

vovit.""

Polytheism.

89

JUSTICE
we

and

to MERCY.

And
the worship

not

only

so,

but

if

take, for instance,
in
as

of impersonated

passions,

themselves

natural,

healthy,
vital

and

good, under
vine,

such the and

the

worship

of

enjoyment,
of the of the form

form

of DIONYSUS,
sympathy,
to
see

the
under

planter

of sexual
it is easy

Aphrodite,
to

that fervent

devotion
into

such

divine

forces might
most

easily degenerate sensualism. Polytheism,

hot-beds

of the
we

vulgar
see

Gener
as

ally, indeed, have
of
a

may

in

we

sketched

its origin,

a

radical vice

in the want

definite and
wrong
at

well-marked
in the

line between

moral

right and
so

objectsof
by
a

popular
as

worship,
in Greece, spirit

that
was

even

its best, that is when, and

it

inspired

moulded

pervading

of beauty,

it makes
to

its appeal

to

the
our

aesthetical
compound

rather than
nature
:

the moral also,
as we

faculties of have
power,
excess

being,
any
run

seen

in its origin,
on

without
sides
to

regulating
into
rampant

it is free
; in which

all
case

the seek,
the

application

of the

proverb
"

will not

be far to of
are

corruptio optimi pessima
best
is
a're

the corruption good
us

the

worst.

When Let
things

things

bad,

they

very

bad.

see,

then, by
in

an

example, among
our

how

these

acted

practice

model-polytheists,

the ancient

Greeks.

90

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

In the minute given
century

topographical
antiquarian

description
traveller

of Athens
second
we

by
"

the

of the
"

Pausanias,

the
:
"

Grose
"

of Greece the

find

the

following

passage

In

market-place
things
a

(ayopd) of
not

Athens,

among is

other
an

remarkable
altar of

generally
to

noticed, whom,
the the
on

MERCY,

goddess,
utility

account

of

her

manifest life, the
reasona

in

all

changes

of

human
pay

Athenians,

but

Athenians
this people,

alone,

ble worship.
are

For

of all the
and

Greeks,
in all

not

only
matters,

the most

humane they
are

civilized

social their have RUMOUR,

but
*

specially
this
to

notable

for
they

piety

;

and

besides
to

MERCY,

erected and
how

altars
to

REVERENCE,

and
we see

to

IMPULSE.
states
are

And which the
same

from dis
most

this plainly

those

are

most

tinguished favoured
and ship
we

for piety, by the gods

at

time

in the

matter

of prosperity

good

fortune." and
to

And

to

show

how

this

wor

of MERCY

REVERENCE
to
a

acted

in practice passage

have

only

appeal

well-known

in

the Oedipus

Coloneus

of Sophocles,

in which

the

*

The

Bible

reader
Address who
a

will recall the

introductory
these

words

of

St.
are

Paul's famous
certainly
wrong

though (Acts xvii.), suppose that the word
sense

commentators

in tiftffi8cu/j.oi"("rT"pos this

passage

is used in

complimentary

by

the apostolic

writer.

Polytheism.

9

1

penitent strongest parent,

son

of the
to

injured old
move

monarch,

using

the

appeal
says
:
"

the heart

of his wrathful

"

For

MERCY doom

sits with
:

Jove upon
she not

the throne from
thee

In every

so

may
"

Sit far, my

father !

But

an

example The

from
elegant

historical fact will perhaps Greek
of

be better.
in

humourist,
biography

Lucian,

that

charming

morsel

entitled

"Demonax," had
one

relates

that

this
over

philosopher,
the

who
on

a

remarkable

power the
were

Athenians, from
to
a

occasion,

when

citizens,

rivalry
an

with

the Corinthians,

proposing after the stood
manner

get up

exhibition then
said
"

of gladiators the
not,
men

of their

masters,

Romans,

up

publicly forward

and
a

"Do
any

of Athens,
purpose,

bring

bill for
away

such

till you
so

have

rooted
in your

the

altar of
In

Mercy such
an

prominent

market-place."

cases

it is plain
error

that,
in

however
one
sense

founded

in

intellectual worshipping Polytheism
did

and
creature

atheistical,

as

the
was

rather
to

than

the Creator,
and

calculated
a

exercise,

actually

exercise, In fact,

moral
we
see

power

of singular

effectiveness.

as

every

day,

a

mere

orthodoxy

of the

head

in the

92

The

Nat^lral

History

of
such

Atheism.

Christian
as

world,

without

any

practical issues
to

this intellectual
so, on

Tightness
hand,

is calculated
gross

pro
error

duce,
may

the other along

intellectual
moral in any

exist

with

remarkable

Tightness. particular

The

question,

therefore,
may

whether
not

religion
to

Polytheism than

be

more

dishonouring
on

God

Atheism,

depends

partly partly

the

na

ture

of the
of the
use

deities worshipped, people slippery
on

on

the

ca

pacity best

worshipping

for

making

the
;

of

and

equivocal

materials

partly, also,
any

the

counterbalancing
may

forces which
within
own we

Polytheistic

form

contain

itself,
worst
can

neutralising

the
With

consistent

action in
our

of its

elements. have

these
in

tests

hand,

little difficulty
popular

perceiving

that,

though
ele

Greek
ments

theology

contained

certain

whose

ignoble
passed

issues completely

the justified
in the
at

condemnation first chapter least in

upon

it by
it
was

St. Paul

of the Romans,
days,

in 'the main,

its palmy and
as

morally
may

beneficent
say

in its

tendency,
ing
to

such,

we

less dishonour
man,

God,

and

less monstrous

in

than

even un

the

most

moral and

forms

of cold, self-contained,

sympathetic,
It
was

essentially indeed, that

unhuman
a

Atheism.
so

impossible,
as

people

nobly

endowed

the

Greeks,

and

whose

genius

had

Polytheism.

93
harvest-home
teaching
as
we

elevated
into such

the rude
a

songs

of

an

annual

lofty platform tragedies

of moral

find

in the

of ^Eschylus, have failed
to

Sophocles,
let the

and

Euripides,*

should
of their

grosser
and
to

elements bring

physical

theology what
were

drop,

into the

foreground

higher

elements
to

in stir

that group the noblest their

of motley chords

forces

calculated

in the human
to
some

heart, and of
the

elevate
more

worshippers beings
we

likeness believed.

perfect ingly, the

whom

they

And,

accord of
sea-

find that the favourite

patron-goddess
spear

Athenians, sailor

whose greeted
was

far-glittering
as

the

tossed

he of

rounded moral
as

the

Sunian
as

promontory,
elevating in the
an

in point

character
purest this
to

objectof
"

worship No

any

saint
same

Christian

calendar.

doubt,

Pallas, in the
a

Iliad," t teaches

Pandarus
solemn

break
But

truce

sealed

by

the of

most
one

oaths.
most

this glaring

violation

of the

weighty

points
ing-eyed
pus,
*
"

of the moral daughter
one

law,

in the person

of the flash

of the supreme those

ruler of

Olym
are

is
The

of

inconsistencies

which

preaching

power,

as

we

may

call it, of the Greek the Furies by

stage

as

a

pulpit, will be best realised by reading the

and

opening

chorus

of

the

Agamemnon

of ^Eschylus, lofty the same

genius."

f

Book

iv.

94

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

readily
poem,

condoned
and

to

the

patriotic

partiality of the

the unsuspecting bear
in

simplicity

of the poet.
no

We

must

mind,

also,

that

people,

though

it carries

along
to

with
the

it the

forms

of

ex

pression
early age,

belonging

crude

theology

of

an

is practically

influenced, by

in its stages

of

higher

social growth,
would
a

all that such
seem

crude
to

forms imply.

of expression

consistently certain

On

the contrary,

inconsistency
; and

is the sal
must

vation

of all popular be
as

creeds
as

Plato

per
or,

haps
least,

looked
over-severe,

on

somewhat in the
so

pedantic, second

at

when

book

of the

his ideal polity he inveighs theological Homer, had
mind and
an no

seriously

against

teaching

of the great
the
poet,
as

national they
over

minstrel.
"

doubt

"

called him
every
not
a

immense
;

moral

influence
were

Greek
sacred sub
;

but

his poems
was

secular,
to

no

person
to

obliged

make

formal
as

scription
were

all his theological
oracles.
to

teachings,
contrary,

if they
wise

divine

On

the

the

Greeks

reserved
from

themselves

the complete

right fact
or

of excluding
fable
as

their articles of faith any
gods Divine

asserted

of the
of

which

they

considered In
son

unworthy

the

Nature.

Aristo
is in

phanes troduced

it is quite true

that

a

disobedient
insolence

who

his justifies

to his

father

Polytheism.

95
Kronos
receives allegories.
to

by
from But

the

treatment

which

Father

young

Jove, in
had
done

the mythological
sense

the

Greeks
or

enough
the gods

know

that
comic

things

said

about

in the
"

department drama
or was

of their religious part of the national

exhibitions religion and
"

for the
said

were

done

only
as

to

excite
were

a

laugh,
said

could done,

be said
only

and
cause

done,

they

and
no

be
man

everybody

knew

that

reasonable

would

think

of transferring

such

jokes to
was

the sober
Had
stage

guidance

of life, when been
nay,

holiday

fun
on

over.

such

jokes

perpetrated had
even

the

serious

of tragedy,
committed the gods,

any

impropriety
costume

been

in
we

the

dignified the best

dress and authority

of

have

for

saying have

that the religious feelings of the public

would
would

been been

grossly

outraged,
by

and

the author

have
great

censured

the

authorities.*

But

the

salt of the
even

Greek

mythology,
days,

and
sinking

which
into
a

kept
state

it,

in its worst

from
more

of

putridity forms when

and

pollution which

degrading
was

than

many

of atheism,

it

perfectly
to
act,
as was

capable

of

this antidote
supremacy
"

ceased of

the central moral
ruler
con-

truth of the of the

Jove

the

universe
*

a

supremacy,

in fact, which

See Lucian,

Piscator, ch. 33.

g6

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

stituted behind

a

sort

of

MONOTHEISM

working
Polytheism

powerfully
from such that
steer

scenes,

and

saving

sensualistic
age, it would

anarchy

into which,

without
been

inevitably
of
not

have

plunged.
too
a

On
often
or

this characteristic
lost sight
two

Greek

Polytheism,

of,

or

fairly weighed,

word

will help
action

us

to

that

correct
as

estimate

of the

moral Atheism,
make.

of

Polytheism,
it is
our

contrasted
in

with
to

which

object
to

this place

Any

person

turning
point

the

"Iliad"
prowess

at

that

culminating
"

of

Achillean

called
in the
em

The

Battle of
a

of the Gods,"
scene as

will find himself

middle

of celestial antagonism
seems

and belief

broilment,
any

such

to

render

the

in

consistent

moral

government

from

the throne Nothing
in

of the Hellenic

Olympus
more

impossible. degrading
from the
to

deed

could
or

appear

the

Divine stabil the
un

Nature,
ity

further

removed
as

severe

of

celestial rule
and

contrasted

with

certainty

mutability
and

of earthly

dynasties, and

than
con

such

a

struggle

collision, contrariety
potencies
rages
as

fusion of Heavenly When
and gent the the

this

scene

presents.

water-god
and

against

the

fire-god,
Re
com-

brother

spouse

of the
to

Supreme the

enter

the

field openly

dispute

Polytheism.

97
by

mands, which

and
alone

to

brave

the and

authority,

virtue

of
in

all order
"

subordination that

exist

the
any

universe

how

is it possible

the

faith of
conso

religiously-disposed

person
an

should
anarchy

find
?

lation in the thought
not

of such

And
to

is

the attitude

of self-contained

indifference

all

super-mundane
ist maintains, comfortable
more

powers
at
once

which
more

the

Epicurean
and

athe
more

reasonable

?

More

reasonable, battle

certainly, of the
gods
to

and
were

comfortable,
the
or

if that

all of

Polytheistic

Providence

known incidental

the

Greeks,
worked
geration

indeed
into
a

anything
somewhat

but

an

scene,

up

melodramatic of the poet.

exag

by

the

feverish
apparent
on

fancy

But

behind

all this
sits
as

confusion
as

the

almighty

Jove
the

serene

his throne clouds for

the
a

sun

behind
day.
Mon-

wild

race

of ragged
a

on

stormy

It is always otheist of pious that Powers counsel
to to

difficult matter with
Homer and

a

Christian

sympathise
Polytheists. clatter

the

religious

attitude

knew
of
run

perfectly irate
to
an

well

all this
was as

clash

celestial
the
curs

futile in the long

disturb
of from

of

Jove, as

the barking

of

army

bring

down
As

the bright

sister of Apollo that

her

sphere.

the
on

pilot

weathers of
a roar

the of

storms

rides

gallantly

the

rim

billows,

98

The

Natural

History

of
timid

Atheism.

every

one

of

which,

to

the
to

cowering

land
craft

lubber, in

seems

destined
so

engulph

the

tiny

its gorge,

the

pious

Greek

Polytheist,

of
an

whom unshaken forces,

Homer

was

the

spokesman,
turmoil

cherishes of

faith

amid

all the
or

hostile

whether
one

terrestrial
sits above,

celestial,

that
may

an

Almighty be
even

whose
rage,

throne and
to
an

not

shaken.
Minerva

Neptune
may

may

Juno

pout

;

condescend

incidental
apart,
on
"

patronage
"

of

perjury;
peak

but

Jove

sits

the highest where

of the many-ridged

Olympus
and the

;

and

he sits, him,
as

Justiceand
as

Law

Fates

sit with firmament

firm

the

brazen Those

floor

of

the

which
unity
an

they
of

tread.
"

critics who
tear

doubt
pieces,

the
as

the

Iliad,"

and

it in
not

ill-made

Mosaic,

will certainly
controls

doubt moulds Aw
was

the

unity

of this idea, which

and

the whole
o

process

of the action. the
"

ereXetero

Povkfa and
In order

Counsel

of

Jove

fulfilled." *

to understand

the strong the from in mind hostile being that

back-bone
elements

of Monotheism of the
Hellenic
we

which

kept

Polytheism
must

dissipated

into

smoke,

bear

*

In the invocation

at

the beginning of the

of what,

notwithstanding
we

all

the micrologic

analysis
a

ultra- Wolfians, of
a

shall still wisely poetical genius.

believe to be

great

poem,

the product

great

Polytheism.

99
belonged

the original omnipotence
to
was

of

Jove, which
him
men

his character naturally order
not

as

the wielder
to

of the thunderbolt,
as

transferred
of gods
was

the head

of

a

social
capacity

and

; and

that

in this
"

only

his authority

absolute

like
"

that of the

patriarchal
as

chief in
ruler
as
was

early society undisputed,

but

his wisdom his kindly human him,
in

supreme

and
and

disposition
as

father

of the divine
as

family

unquestioned all those

his

justice. In
and
strong

fact, centre

physical
to

moral
and moral

forces, which

of

right of

belong
the

the

beneficent
order
we

upholder

physical And
so

and

of things
to
see

in the universe.

endowed, forward
on

rejoice
the

him

put

prominently

all occasions
pressed,

as

the

friend

of

the

weak the

and

op

protector
; and

of suppliants,
as

advocate

of strangers
tions

specially,
private

truth in all the rela
cement

of public he

and

life is the
a

of

society,

launches
against

his bolt with head
of the

sharp

mission

of
and

terror

the
He

perjuredperson
the
more

the

traitor.

presides

in

forum,

and

controls

the debates
not

of the senate,
than

appropri

ately, but

less potently,
In
a

the

collisions

of

the

battle-field.

word,

he

is Divine
stand

Provi
or

dence
"

fully equipped,

and
or

may

for Allah, by

the

Great

Spirit,"

any

other

name

which

ioo

The

Natural

History

of
among it not

Atheism.

the
races,

one

true

God

is known
were

monotheistic for the motley old traditions de

without of
to

offence,

groups

grotesque

figures

from obscure

hanging
grade

his skirts, which and

his glory,

his character,
is
one

caricature

his attributes.

There

other

feature

of Polytheism
we

which,
not

however
gether

ambitious
omit.

of brevity, the

may

alto plays

It opens
part

chapter

which

such

a

prominent

in the theology

of the East,

the worship
distinctive
under
a

of deified mortals.
element of head
ancient

Of

this,
we

as

it is

a

Buddhism,
;
on

shall

treat

separate

its
a

more

moderate
words

manifestation
suffice here.
no

in Now,

Greece,

few

will be

in the first place, wonderful
or

there

can

doubt

that whatever

feats of super

human
other
story,

strength

Diomede,

Achilles,
perform

or

any

highly-favoured

hero
virtue

may

in ancient
or

whether
divine

in

of

his divine birth

of
no

special occasion
ever

aid

imparted

for the
piety

nonce,

on

did the sober-minded

of the

Greeks
or

rise into that region inspired

of devout

intoxication

exaggeration
ists
on

by which the of

the Aryan

religion with break human

the

banks

of

Ganges

contrived
to

such
down

gorgeous

breadth

extravagance

all definite

boundaries
in the

betwixt
case

the

and

the divine ; only

of Dionysus

does

Polytheism.
between
of

101

some

strange

confusion

-seem

to

exist

a

sort

of

Hellenic

Noah,
and

the

first brewer
procreant

sun-

breust

from

the vine,

the great
in the

force

of nature,

working

always

humid

element,

from The

which
Theban
seen

all vegetative

and

animal

life proceeds.
in works
is
or no

Hercules,
in session

though with
to the

sometimes,

of art,
a

the

gods,

more

god

than

Romulus

Romans,
; and

St. Igna
wealth the of of

tius to the

Catholic
legends
son

Church that have

if in the

of strange
name

clustered
many

round scholars

of the have
and

of Alcmene,
an

weight the Sun,
may

seen

allegorical

impersonation

the process
as an

of his celestial circuit, this
to

well be

accretion

the original Theban
agency

Hercules, from Tyre

imported
or

through

early Phoenician but
does
not

elsewhere,

in the least

alter the fact, that in the worship
to

which perfectly
to
a mere

they

paid

that hero,
they
man, were

the

Greeks
paying

were

conscious
man
"

that

honour and
a man

a

typical the

no

doubt,
as

looked

up

to

by

whole used
a

nation

the ideal of physical
put

strength
man

wisely
"

and
or

grandly
two

forth ; but ladder
In
more

a

still

only

step

of

the

exalted
hero-wor

than
ship

Theseus of the

or

Achilles.
was

fact, the

Greeks palpable

always

separated

by

a

distinct and

line of demarcation

from

the

IO2

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

worship
publisher

of the
of
an

gods.

As

soon

would

a

modern
a
as

aristocratic

Red-book baron
dream of

confound
the realm,

knight
a

of yesterday
ancient
an

with Greek

a

religious
or

of

elevating

a

Diomede
region

Achilles
or

into

the

transcendental No
popular

of
were

a

Buddha floating

man-god.
in

doubt
mind

there
some

about traditions

the

strange

old

regarding

the terres of
some

trial

the sojourn, mighty

birth and

even

the death
But

of the bore

Olympians.
of vagrant
calculated, sceptical wise
people.

these

traditions

the

character

anomalies certainly,

and
to

local
arm

singularities,

well
of
a

the

assault

unbeliever, influencing

here

and

there, of
the

but
mass

not

in any of the

the

belief

The

most
seem

remark
to point
to

able of these the

old traditions, which

deification

of

mortal

man

as

the true
regard

germ
to

of
the The

the

Greek

Pantheon,

is that

with

birth and sting
were

death
this

of

Jove

in the island of Crete.

of
ever

scandal,
to

which
protrude
mere

the

Church
the

fathers

forward

against legend
a

Greek
king
and
on a

idolaters, lay not of gods
and
men

in the

of the

having
himself
as

had
to

beginning,
and
men

having

first shown
spot

gods

particular

of earth
a

their

destined
did
not

regent.

Mere

birth

under

human

form

present

Polytheism.

103
Greek
the
common

itself to the
any
wants

imagination

of any

pious in

as

in

wise

involving
weaknesses reigning
was

participation

and
of

of frail mortality. dynasty

All born

the
in

gods
time.

the

had

been Hermes

Apollo while
Argos all the

born

in Delos,

in Ar

cadia,
Heaven

for

the

nativity

of

the

Queen

of

and
energy

Samos
that

put

forth

rival claims
piety

with

combined
The popular enough
inquire

and

patriotism

could
was

inspire.

theology
to
assume

of Greece
an

not

metaphysical
attitude,

Aristotelian that
or

and
a

curiously might
not

whether
naturally

which

had

beginning
come

at least possibly

to

an

end.

The the

possibility
seat

of the

dethronement
cosmic

of

Jove
as

from

of supreme
Kronos
for

government,

in fact his might wellmore

father be

had

been

dethroned
purposes,
as

before,
in
was

hinted

dramatic

the
no

known
dreamt

Prometheus

of ^Eschylus,
we

but
think
sun

of in fact than

should of the has

of speculat from the fir
us

ing

on

the

disappearance

mament

to-morrow,

which
say

been
that

gladdening the

to-day. gods throne
creation

But
men,

to

seriously

father

of

and

the Supreme
the golden

Immortal chain
unity,

from that

whose
all

depends
with
a

binds

harmonious

to

say

that

this

key-stone

of all physical

reality and

all metaphysi-

IO4

The

Natural

History

of
a

Atheism.

cal consistency
man

was

historically
only been
ear

mere

man,

and

a

that
was

had

not

born,

but

who

died

and
was

buried

; this in the

of any only
and

pious
have

Greek
been

flat blasphemy,

and
like of

could

suggested
Melos,
or

by

men

Epicurus

Diagoras wished

of
to

Lucian

Samosata,
faith
into

who

bring
there ancient the

the
can

Hellenic be
no

contempt.
man

And
first in

doubt
and

that

the

who

times

boldly

consistently
of Greece
were

maintained

doctrine
men

that the gods deified, meant

all
give

mere

dead
popular

by
in

so

doing mortal
man

to

the

religion
it could
not

a

stab
recover.

a

part,
was

from

which
ian,

This
a

a

Sicil
of the

by

name

Euhemerus, and

philosopher
in
some

Cyrenaic
we

school,
not

attached
what,
to

capacity,

know

exactly

the Court
successor

of Cassanof Alex him history

der of Macedon,
ander

the immediate
in that quarter.
a

the Great
he made
cruise

Of the

tells that

voyage other

to

Red

Sea,

and

from

that

and notable

marine

wanderings
inscrip

returned
tions,

with

a

budget from
the
the

of sacred
witness

lepai

avaypcujial,
to

of which birth and

he

pretended
of

have

found
existing

mortal of

death

the whole
gods.

dynasty
as
a

supposed

Olympian
made
a

This

book,
noise

matter

of

course,

considerable

in

the

then

religious

Polytheism.

105
had
of

world
lived

;

and

the

author
and

unquestionably, under
got
as

he

in other Athens,

times,

the

eye

most

religious

might
some

have
night,
or

hemlock

for

his
a

sleeping-draught

Socrates
only
an

did for
imagined escape,

much
offence
so

smaller
against
as

offence,

rather

the local
notes, act

orthodoxy.

His

far
a

history

from

all punishment,

after

such

daring

of public
from

blasphemy,

is to

be

accounted but books
row

for, partly
a

the change
also

of the times, the
to
a

in

great

measure

from

fact
very

that
nar

in those circle
"

days

were

confined
so

a

circle not
men

wide, Latin
"

we

may

imagine,
in Shake

as

that of the
time

who

read

books
so a

speare's

in this country

and
a man

little offen social
years

sive

talk and of

street-logic

by

in the

position

Socrates

at

Athens
do
more

a

hundred
to

earlier, might

naturally against
its

raise
a

the cry

of

atheism

author

than

big

book

launched
state

into

the

literary world that

in the

disrupted Macedo
contents

of Greek
conquest

society

followed As
to

the

nian

and

partition. how far they
sort
no

the

of this book,
to

and

legitimately
of confusion
can

seemed of
now

prove

a

Buddhistic

the

human
given
so

and

the
as

divine,
the
a

opinion
is not
narrow

be
Its

long

book
certain

before
range

us.

popularity

within

of scep-

io6

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

tically-inclined
amongst

literary who

men,

such

as

Ennius

the Romans,
nothing.
as

translated heroes

it into Latin,

proves

That

some

of great
in France,

local
may,

significance,
under
reverence

the great

Napoleon
by

certain

circumstances,
to

the

exaggerated

paid

them the

in popular
state

traditions, dignity the

have

been
is
not

elevated
to

into

and that

of gods,

be

doubted

;

but

Olympian
is

dynasty
so

of Greece,

whose
as

elemental
a

significance
have had

transparent,
runs

should

whole

only

this origin,

in the face of all probability,

and

is in

no

wise

to

be

believed

without from
in the

some

substan
a

tial proof,
anomalous

very

different

that

which
swarm

few of
in

inconsistencies

motley

local

religious

legends kings the

affords.
sometimes

We

know

that
to

later times
selves

mortal title of
as
was

took
they that

them

the

god
case

whom

specially

worshipped,
pound
once

the

with

vile

com

of
sate

frantic fancies and
on

disgusting

vices who called
a

the

throne

of imperial
we

Rome,

Heliogabalus.

And
to

if
common

suppose
men, as

that

mortal

king

as

superior

this wretched

caricature ages

of kingship

was

below

it, in the earliest

of

Greek

civilisation

reigning

wisely

and

beneficently
given
to

in Crete, in

had

the title of the local god after death
in-

him

his

lifetime, and

Polytheism.

107
shall have
a

scribed
which
"ture

upon
explains

his tomb,

we

theory
sepulto
con a

all the facts of the

alleged
resorting

of

Jove
by

in that
once

island, without
revolting
to

supposition tradicted body that
of

at

natural

piety,

the speaking

symbolism
and
the
race.

of the general
contrary
to

Hellenic

mythology,
of

all of

is historically known

development

theological

ideas in the Aryan

So

much

for this strange
men

chapter

of the deifica
But
as

tion of dead

in ancient

Greece.
aside,

flinging destitute
can

the

speculation

of Euhemerus

alike of nobility and
no

of probability,
homage

there

be
paid Her

doubt

that

the
to

religious

actually
men
as

by

the Greeks and

such

representative

cules word
most

Theseus

(forwhich
opposed
on

they

used

a

special
a

evaylfav as
elevating
not
a

to

6vew), exercised
character.
demigods,

influence

the national
or

It

was

among

the

heroes

but

among

certain that

class of the the
were

supreme

Olympians
degrading

themselves,
moral

germs
to

of be

a

most

corruption

found. be

The

priest

hood such

of
a

a

worship

that

could
as

represented

by
might

debased exchanged

sensualist for any

Heliogabalus of virtuous by cultivated Hercules

well be

sort

atheism

;

but
to

the national such
names
as

honours
Theseus

paid and

Greece
one

were

io8

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

step

in the ladder
up
to

of healthy GOD.
and
we

reverence

that

con

sistently leads

One
talked
as

other
only
are

remark, of the

close.

We

have

moral

influences

of polytheism,

these

in fact the most

important.
on erroneous

A

super

stition which,

though

founded works

intel
main

lectual
so as

conceptions,
to

practically emotions

in the

cherish

the

best
energies

and

call into beings,
is

action

the

noblest than

of human

always ties,
one

better rabid
to

the cold negations, atheism.

blank
But

vacui is

or

hostilities of
which
a

there
of
mere

danger
and

religion, the growth
is exposed

emotion

imagination after however

from period
Man
:

which

its

ultimate perity
ing
may

ruin

long

a

of pros
a

surely
as

be
as

predicted.
a

is

think brain,
moves

animal

well

feeling animal

his

if not

able to supply
social and
machine,
survey

the steam-power
has nevertheless
it may
not

which
rights

the

of in
;

quiry the
ology

which

forego

and

breaches

in the

coherent Hesiod

structure
were so

of the the
many

of Homer 'that
a

and

and

so

exposed, proud ural

people

far less subtle

and

far less

of their wisdom
progress
use

than

the

Greeks,
intellect,

in the nat

of
as

the

popular

could

not

fail to

them

irresistible invitations

to assaults

from

the side of Reason,

which

no

weapons

drawn

Polytheism.
from
could

109

a

purely

emotional It is only
a

and

sesthetical

armoury

repel.

question

of delay,
soon

there

fore, not

of doubtful
or

issue, how

the

decided

monotheistic
started by

pantheistic

polemics

vigorously

individual
of into

independent
so

thinkers, early
as

such

as

Xenophanes
would tion of religious ripen

Colophon,
a

600

B.C.,

general
mind

revolt, and

large

defec

the popular
traditions it
comes

from
race.

the most No

cherished
religion
can

of their
into
a

stand

when

position

of glaring

con

trariety to the intellectual consciousness

of the age.

CHAPTER

V.

BUDDHISM.

MrjSels t"/*Ss 64\o"v tv Tairetvotppoartinj KaTa"pa"fvero ical " T"V ayyf\d)v, volts ph e^pofcei/ ^ujSareiW, flxy fyvviovnevos inrb rov ftrivdtffTitr\6yov Iv fiev ex"VTa rrjs ffapifbs avrov' ffo"("tas eOe\oQpT)OVK /cal TaTreu/o"ppo"rvvri Kal cupfiStq ar"a/j.a.Tos, (r/cefot

tv Tipy

rivl irpbs

"

Let

no

man

beguile

you

of your

reward,
into

in

a

voluntary things

humility which
he

and hath
"

worshipping
not
seen,

of angels, intruding vainly puffed up

those

by his fleshly mind.
a

Which humility,

things
and

have

indeed

show

of wisdom
; not

in will-worship, honour
to

and

neglecting

of the body

in any

the

satisfying of the flesh."

ST.

PAUL.

Colossians

ii. 18, 23.

WHEN
agnosticism, persons tineau, naturally
agnostics

I

began epiphany

to

consider
of British

seriously atheism
in

the
or

strange
as

it paraded

itself publicly

the

of Bradlaugh,

John

Stuart
my
"

Mill, Miss
attention
our

Marwas

Tyndall,
called seemed

and
to

others,
the

fact
a

which

native in
re-

to

have

special

delight

Buddhism.
had

1 1 1

cognising publicly
years,

"

that in the
for

far East
more

atheism
than
two

been

professed
was

thousand of the of the
was

and
more

at

present four

the

corner-stone

faith of
human

than A

hundred based fact
to
"

millions
upon

race.

religion

atheism

certainly

an

astounding according

a

fact, indeed,
common

un

intelligible, and language,
ing,
at

the
To

use

of

self-contradictory. least, it
seems as
as

my

understand
to

meaningless

talk

of

religion without in Euclid

God,

to talk of the

propositions

without But

the
was

postulates
not

on

which

they
to

depend.

this

all.

Contrary
the

all

human
that

instincts,

except

perhaps Atkinson
we

instincts

of

Siamese
the

pair,

Mr.

and

Miss

Mar-

tineau, ed

Buddhists,

were

informed,
; and
to

delight
entirely

in the idea of annihilation
out

be

blotted
was,

from

the world

of conscious the

existences

to

their bliss.
might

devout

imaginations,
and

ideal
as

of

human
notions them

Absurd
seem

abnormal
was

these

to

be, it

in vain
an

to

brush
of

aside,

as

one

might
stop

flap away the
ear

army

impertinent ing babble the fact
:

flies, or

to

the

maunder
stood

of
next

some

adjacent
to
us

bedlam.

Here
in the

door

at

Calcutta

East,

four hundred ing
a

millions
a

of reasonable essentially

beings

profess

belief in

doctrine

unreasonable,

H2

The

Natural

History

of
as

Atheism.

and

contradicting,
the primary

as

often

they

draw

their

breath,

instincts

of all living of the
globe.

creatures

in this Western
a

hemisphere

It

was

matter
was

manifestly
at the
same

that
time

demanded the best

inquiry
reason

; and
to

there

be

lieve that the broad doctrines, Europeans, ably,
as

statement

of these
among modified before

monstrous

it

was

circulated
to

the

sober

would

require

be

consider
it could

perhaps
as

altogether
a

inverted

be

accepted

philosophical For
not

account

of the real
is it
a

state

of oriental belief.

only

patent

fact that the professors
misunderstand the and

of hostile

creeds

generally other
; but

misrepresent

each
and
to

whole

method
in the East

of religious
is
so

philosophical

thinking
of the

opposed

the

currency

logical conceptions
of such
a

in the West,
as

that

a

fair

appreciation
was

phenomenon for in the

Buddhism
as

not

to

be

looked

first instance

possible
man,

by

Europeans
disowns

; least of all by

the English

who

all philosophy,
in

and

by

the Scot,

whose becomes
rigid,

philosophy identical
narrow,

that

deeper

region is

where

it

with

theology,

remarkably
I

and with

unsympathetic.

therefore

determined,
Dictionary,

the help

of Williams's and

Sanscrit
a

Childer's

Pali Dictionary,

selec

tion of the best

original

works

on

the

of subject,

Biiddhism.

113
to
as

which
of the

the

name

is
as

now

legion,*
least,

get that

to

the
might

root

matter,
to
a

far, at
not

be

possible

person

versed
; and,

in the
when

languages
I consider

of the Buddhist

Scriptures
the
spirit of

ed

how

truly

Christianity

has

been who of the doubt

seized
never

by
knew

hundreds anything

of thousands
but I
saw

of persons
versions
reason

modern
no

Christian

Scriptures,
succeed

to

that I might profound the

in the

attempt. is

For

though
to

philological of
knotty

knowledge

necessary

interpretation

difficult passages,

and

the

solution of
out
a

of

a

few
or

points,

the

main

character
will shine

religious

philosophical
as

system

from

a

fair translation

clearly

as

from

the

original
are

Scriptures.
as

Such St.
Paul

things,

indeed,

always

discerned,
"

teaches sympathy

(i
than

Cor.
by

ii. in

14

1

6), more

by

spiritual Have
"

tellectual

analysis. yourself

the spiritual sympathy,
not

and
out

plant

a

thing

to
"

be
on

done the

with native

considerable of view
closer
See "Buddha

effort

sometimes

point
come

;
to

and the
his

a

sensible of
any
by the

man

will ofttimes
system
Leipzig and

soul

religious
Otto Kistner,"
BUDDHISM

*

and

Doctrines;

and

London,

1869, and
in the
new

since that date edition of

articles

BRAHMINISM, by by
scholars

the

Encyclopedia
little book
on

Britannica,

of note
RHYS

; also the

admirable

Buddhism,

T.

W.

DAVIDS,

London,

1877.

H4

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

than

if he

had

devoured

all the

commentaries
of all
com

of

all the

libraries.
are
no

Nine-tenths,
impertinent
to

indeed, babble
;
an

mentaries who

mere

of persons if it
were

had

vocation

speak
into

which,

stowed
room,

away

altogether
clear
a

oblivious

lumber-

would
save

the

atmosphere

wonderfully,

and

not

littletrouble. and
accurate

Chronology
to
we

history

are

well known
: so

be the weak
must
not

points expect

of the Hindoo
to start

literature
any

with

very

well-

marked
great

and

formally

authenticated

memoirs religion.

of the
Never

Reformer

of the Brahmanic

theless, the
out

main

facts of the life of Buddha
magnified and of
no

stand
through all
over

distinctly enough, of distant
gorgeous

doubt worked
an

the mist with
and the

tradition, decorations

unchastened
"

unscrupulous
to

fancy,
of
some

but

clearly there of those

except idea-

perhaps
mongers,

the eyes whose

Teutonic

brains
have
a no

so

swarm

with

ingenious

fictions that they live, happily, in

room

left for facts. when
limbo
even

We
King

generation,
to to

Arthur,
myths,
so
we

once

consigned
restored

the

of

all the
and
on

is being
may

his personality;
take
our

with

all certainty

stand who

the
now

fact that the celebrated
worshipped
as

Gotama

Muni,

is

the supreme

objectof

veneration

by

Buddhism.
of the East,
in

115
born
of
some

all the Buddhists
the about

was

a

prince

of

Sakya
100

race

the

Gangetic

Hindostan,
six hun

miles

N.E.
our

of Benares,
era.

dred the
main

years

before

The

exact

date, like
re

age
so

of Homer,
; but,

is disputed, follow

and

likely to

if we

the

Ceylonese

authori
and

ties, who
rest

profess
we

Buddhism

in its oldest

pu

form,

shall place
in

this Luther the
sixth

of the Eastern
century

Church Christ
"

somewhere
cotemporary
; Thales,

before

with
the

Solon,

the

Athenian
; and

lawgiver the
His

Milesian
of the

philosopher Tarquins
; and

Etruscan

dynasty
name as was
son was

in

Rome.

original

Siddartha
to

his

father,

Suddhodana,
ble
arts
care

be

expected, be

took

all possi

that his

should

trained belong
a

in all those
to
a

and

accomplishments
prince
are

which
ruler of

great

Eastern But

and

the

mighty
when

empire.

fathers

often disappointed
of
a

they

plan when

the those the

destinies
sons

their large

offspring,
stock

especially
rare

have

of that

stuff in cir
In

human

family, rather

whose than
to

nature

it is to shape by them.

cumstances

be

shaped
royal

this

case

the
was

destiny

of the

Celtic saint, St.

Columba,
though could

prefigured with every

; the

young

Siddartha,
that

surrounded
attract,

every

splendour that could

and

pleasure

allure,

n6

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
the charmed
was

would
of
a

not

be

contained
To and
him

within
a

circle
a

Court

life.

Court
the
sort

only

splen

did confinement,
ure

what

Court

called pleas
He
was

only

a

more

elegant
be
more

of animalism.
an

felt himself thinker
in his

to

than
a

animal

; he

a

; besides

he

had

hunger

of human
to

love

bosom,
the

swelling of gold
sensuous

with in
an

heavings,
Indian

which
nor

neither

blaze of

palace,
a

the allurements the choicest

delight in
could

harem

of
any

Oriental

beauties,

minister

nourishment. prison
one

So he broke
day, and

the golden

bars of that

told his coachman,
to
see

Tchandaka, beyond the

to harness

his chariot and
of the palace, to

drive out what
not
some

precincts

might prevent

be found this
:

there. being

Now,

the king by
son a

could

but

haunted

fear from
one

family
a

predic
distaste
a

tion that his

might

day the

manifest

for public
mitage, range

life, and caused

desert the

throne

for

her the

he of the

whole

district within

prince's
or

possible unsightly

drive to be cleared

of every possibly splendours

unpleasant divert
and

that object
son

might the

the

thoughts
of
a

of his

from

luxuries
were

Court On

life. three
he
saw

'But all

his precautions
occasions,

in vain.

several
specta be
seen

when

the prince misery,

rode out,
as

cles of human

such

could

not

Buddhism.
by

117
unselfish character
current
so

a

man

naturally
opening

of the most
to
"

without serious

the door He
saw

a

of the most book
an

reflections.
"

the Chinese of

has it
"

in
man

one

of the streets

the body
up,

old,

decrepit

; his

skin

shrivelled
bent

his

head He

bald,

his teeth
a

gone,

his body

down.

carried

staff in his hand
as

to support

his tottering
gasped sounded,
*

limbs ; whilst, pain, and
it came,
on

he

proceeded,
from

he

with
as

the breath

his mouth
of
a saw."

like the raspings
he
no
was

And

then, that
the

inquiry,
was

informed
a

by

the coachman
spectacle,
as

this
common

by

means

singular
as

but

lot of all, prince live unharmed
its natural

well

peasant,
as

who

might found prince

till such
termination.

time

their life the
of

Whereupon
I cannot
were

replied

:

"

If this be
we

so,

think

proceeding and

farther whither
Turn
your
; it

going

to sport
:

laugh.

horses
were

homeward
me

let

us

return

to the palace

better for
contrive
to

to

pass
or

my
at

time

in thinking

how

to

escape,

least to

palliate this end
legend
:

of

AGE."

On

his

sec-

*

The

romantic
Beal.

of Sakya Triibman,

Buddha,

from
p.
on

the

Chinese This

by

Samuel
though and
may

London

1875,

109.

book,

of Chinese

manufacture,
on as

is founded
a

Sanscrit traditions, Buddhists
gener

be relied
or

giving
to

true

idea of what

ally believe,

are

taught

believe, of the great founder

of their

religion.

n8

The

Natural

History

of
on

Atheism.

ond

excursion,

he

encountered
or

the roadside of
"

"

whether

naturally
or

by

the does

glamoury
not matter

a
"

devaa

putra, angel,
and
pain-worn

genius,
man,

sick
and

with
evidence

cramped

limbs

swollen ing, pale

belly, giving and

of agonising

suffer his

miserable,
now

scarcely and

able to draw lying down

breath, and
dirt through

every

then And

in the pro

exhaustion." effect.

this spectacle
on

duced
sion,
a
"

a

similar

Lastly,
to

a

third

excur

deva-putra
a

caused
a

appear

directly in his
saw

path lift up
grass weeping

corpse

on

bier.
carry
on

Then

he

the people spreading

the bier and
upon
women

it along,

some

it ; whilst tearing grief;
arm

the

right

and

left were their heads
their

their hair and striking throwing
lamenting,

beating their
dust and
on

breasts
across

with either

others

; others

heads

; others

wailing
as

and

weeping

tear-drops
cries
as

fast

rain, with

such

sad Was

and

bitter

could
common

seldom

be lot ?

heard.
Yes,

this also

part of the
man :

replied the coach bodies and profane, the
prince
must
:

peer

and

peasant,

sacred

must

equally

die.
so, as

Then
and

finally said

If this be really
and

this body

of mine

die,

become

even
or

this corpse, should
Turn

what
I go
to

have the

I to do garden

with
to

pleasure,

why

find

enjoyment ?

again,

O

coachman

!

Buddhism.
chariot ! and
meditate entered and

119
back
you

turn

again that Then
sat

your

take
on

me

to the

palace, said. and

I may

what the

have
again,

the

prince

palace
on

silently down

pondered
*

death

and

the impermanency
I have quoted

of all

things."

this vision of the three
it shows

woes

almost

at full length, because

better than the most

cunning
man man we

style of portraiture

could

what
to

manner

of
with
"

have

to most
no

do with.
exquisite
more

We

have
moral
to
see

do

a
a

of the who

sensibility
sorrow

man

could

bear

of any

kind,
tion
to
or

without

devoting
a

himself
hungry

to
man

its
can

extirpa

alleviation, than
for

forbear
of
spec

crave

food.

Hundreds End
are
or a

and

thousands
see

people

in the West

of London
not
so

such
;
a

tacles readily,
"

but
!
"

moved

passing flung

poor wretch
the
ground,

superfluous
picked
score

sixpence

on

to

be the

up

by

a

half-naked They
; eat

suppliant, make their

settles

of their pity.
in the

the round dinner

of the Row
sunset

sunshine

with

from
and of

gorgeous edged

plates gold
or

enamelled
and

with

sky-blue,
potations

with

;

after due
as

champagne, be, sally out, of
a

port,

burgundy,

the

case

may

through

the

dark,

to

the
*

splendour
Beal
as

dancing-saloon,

above,

p. 119.

I2O

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
it deftly

where
young

they
and

remain,

tripping

with

the

light-hearted

through

the
with

small such
a

hours pro
per

of

the

morning,

till their body,
is exhausted,

longed

exercitation,

but with
I do
not

fectly easy

conscience.

Now,

say
"

that
quite

these gay
the

people
; I

are

doing
to

anything
see

wrong

contrary

like
to

gay gay

people what

; it is

natural
here
to

and

healthy
remarked

be

; but

falls

be

is simply
living

this, that from

these
to
con

fashionable week
tent,
sons

West-Enders,
from

week

and

night

to

night,

with

perfect
are

in what of Sakya

is called the gay Muni's
extreme

world,
moral

not

per

sensibility.
could
not not

The
see

illustrious Prince these things and his brother
as was

of the Sakyan dance,
weeping. He

race

could

laugh,

while

The
in big

sorrow

of his
drops,
it

fellow-men, mingled
into

it fell down

briny and

with

his cup
that

of pleasure,
moment

turned
a

gall.
a

From
man. a

he

became
was
now

sad

and
He
come

solitary
seek

His
way

destiny escape.

fixed.
might
not

must out

of

What

of it he did not where
he

know
was.

; but

he could
must

remain solitude society

longer

He

seek

in

for balm

to that

deep

heart-wound
not

which
He

might
to

hide,

but the

could

heal.

determined

leave

Court

and

become

after

Buddhism.

121

the

fashion
glens,

of Brahmanic
a
"

piety,

a

dweller desire and

in the
a
man

lonely

recluse. himself,

Through

having meddleth
and what

separated
with

seeketh

inter;

all wisdom."
Hebrew

So

said

Solomon
Hindoo

the

king

said,

the

prince This

did to the extreme
retiring into the

letter.

forest, and
mendicant
career

living the devotee,

life

of

a

pious

hermit

and

is the

second

significant fact in the

of this singu of the
;

lar religionist.
extreme

He
and
a

was

a

philanthropist
of the
rare

type,

monk
a

Oriental type

and,

if the first is always
a

virtue, the latter is To

certainly
one

not

uncommon

folly.

plunge

from
of

extreme

to

another,

overleaping

the

mean

moderation weakness

and

just equipoise,
which wise but diminish,

is the
men

common

of humanity,
to

in all ages in vain
en

have

studied
to

have rebound

deavoured
treme

prevent.
to

The
extreme

from
"

ex

sensuality

spirituality

from
"

wasteful

splendour of

to

parsimonious

bareness

from

the plethora

enjoyment to
all over
here.

total abstinence, of saints
and need

is exemplified

in the

lives of hundreds the world, If
even

and
not

religious persons

be commented
of European

on

in the sober

breast
sions

Christians such
inversions

sudden

revul

of feeling and

of mortal

habitude

122

The

Natural

History
how

of Atheism.
that they
in the

are

not

uncommon,

natural
proportions

should
over

appear

with

gigantic

charged

religiosity of the East
extreme

!

The

form

which

moral
to

mortification and
in the East

religious self-denial delights

assume

will be best understood of Sakya
Muni after he is to

by observing

the procedure The first head

left the palace.

thing

he does

take off from
pearl, and

his royal
giving him
:
"

dress the precious faithful Tchandaka,

Mani

it to the

thus addressed

"Tchandaka, you
return

I

now

give you

this precious

Mani

pearl, and

bid

arrived

grief or fluenced

Maharaja ; and when with it to my father Suddhodana due salutation, bid him dismiss all in his presence, after in him that I am ; assure my account useless regrets on
by
no

delusion

in leaving

him
no

thus,

nor

by

any
or

angry

or

resentful feeling; tell him
what
"

that / seek
no

personal gain
even

by profit
in heaven

I do, that I look that

for

reward

"

not

to be born

but

I seek solely the have wandered
in dark

those who who
are

to benefit men (all flesh), bring of from the right path, to enlighten

back those
the

living
recurrence

and
birth

gloomy and

error,

to to

save

them

from

constant

of
loving

death,

remove

from

the world

all

sources

of sorrow
so

and

pain" for these purposes 2 have
Father, seeing
me

left my
sorrow

home
out
on

; and

my

thus

rejoicing

in carrying

this purpose,
my
account."

should shake

off every

feeling of -regret and

After and
tent
cuts

this he draws
off his rosy, that,
causes
a a

his sword
curling

from

its sheath,
not
a con

locks, and,

with

hairdresser shave

with

razor

to

appear,

and

make

clean

of all the

hairy

Buddhism.
of his poll ; and,

123
complete

vesture

to

the
purple

meta

morphosis,

he
on
a
"

takes

off his splendid
much-soiled and
no no

robe, gar

and

puts

dirty and thus

kashyn

ment."
a

Being oath

shorn

disrobed,

he be

took

solemn Prince
or

that he should

longer
other

known
than

as

Siddartha,
the Recluse. by

but

by

name

Muni,

Undisturbed
seduced

the

rattle of busy

life,and
pleasure

un-

by

the attractions of sensual

and

light frivolities, in the

solitude
now

of the

forest the brood and
of
to

thoughtful
over

prince

had

full leisure to
of humanity,

the
out

sins and
a

sorrows

think
common

plan

of salvation.

Converts

the
their

stamp

do not

take long to excogitate diseases of humanity
:

remedy

for the
as

moral

they

take

it

they

find it in the traditional orthodox

forms
course

of their country, of
into
a

and, after going
personal

through

a

thorough

reformation,

often

dash

fervid apostleship

with the ready-made
in the lump,
to

shibboleths with
dry
no

of their creed, applied
at discrimination,

and
sun

attempt

all and

of

the

unconverted

multitude. anywhere where they

Apostles

of

this class may

be found

in these islands ;

especially in Scotland,
corners

make

the street with their

and

the public squares
to

to re-echo

earnest,

shrill appeals

the careless sinners of the

124

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

passing

crowd.
to

But

the Sakyan
He

prince
not
as

had

a

more

difficult work Brahmanic
nay,
a

do.

could
simply

accept

the
it ;

way

of salvation
saw a

he found

rather, he

in that whole
narrow a

sacerdotal
a

system

Pharisaic

pride,

exclusiveness,

shallow

ceremonialism, repulsed him

and
; from

super-subtle

theology,

which
not

which

certainly remedy

he

could

hope spread

to

educe
miseries

any

catholic

for the wide
had
therefore

of human
a

life. He

to fashion

forth

system,

chiefly ethical, but partly
and
a
man

also metaphysical, sented
years,
system,
as

for himself;
done help

this he is repre
space
or

having
any

during

of

seven

without if not

from

God.

His
"

particularly

original the

in its matter
same
"

for moral

truth is everywhere
to

was,

or

at

least claimed
duction. flowed of
severe

be, altogether
wells

original

in its pro
case,

The

of living water, within,
were

in his the pure
and

altogether and with having
of
course,

from

issue
com

long-continued his
own

meditation
in the

munion

heart

leafy solitudes.

After
desire,

excogitated
in
a

his

doctrine,
possessed
to

the
with

next

character
was

his the

grand
way

rage

for humanity,

promulgate

of salvation

to his fellows ; but

in the threshold
as

of this purpose,

he

is represented

overwhelmed

with blank

despair

when

he thinks

of the stupidity

Buddhism*
sinfulness of the creatures This doubt
was a

125
he is attempt enough less, who
temp

and

whom
natural
or

ing to convert.*
tation, felt no

by all, more

have

made

any

serious

attempt
; but

towards
men

the reformation

of their fellow-men

of

John

Wesley's

or

Sakya
mately

Muni's
to

type

will not

allow
a

themselves
moral

ulti
enter

be turned

back

from

great

prise by

cowardly
we

considerations

of this kind he
was

; and

accordingly

find that

when

wrestling
Brahma

with such discouraging
and Indra, two
visited him

imaginations,

Maha

of the mightiest

of the Hindoo persuaded him

gods, forth

in the forest, and
an

with to

commence

apostleship

for the conversion he
His girt first

of benighted

mortals.

Thus

strengthened,

himself to the task of world-regeneration.
attempts he met
were

made

at Magadha,

where,
at

however,
city

with

littlesuccess

; t but

the sacred

of Benares,

whither

he next

bent

his steps, he made

his

first five

disciples ; and
to

from and

that

germ

the forth the

apostleship

began
success.

burgeon

blossom
at

with

notable

Unassisted
course,

first by

civil power, from

and,

of

with
and

much

opposition

the Pharisaic

priesthood, the
par

the devotees
doctrine

of of

their ceremonialism,
*
"

pure

moral
Feer,

Etudes

Buddhiques,"

St. Leon

Paris,

1870, p. 7.

t

Feer,

p. 25.

126
Sakya
of the

The
Muni,

Natural

History

of Atheism.
made
a

now

called Buddha,*

conquest by the

multitude,

like Christianity, mainly

catholic
noble
course

humanity

of its inspiration, character

and

by
In

the
the
was

self-denying

of its author.

of time,
on
a

however,
ground
so

just as

Christianity
by

placed

strong
year

of vantage

Constanheresy from

tine in the

323,

the great Buddhistic

received

the

stamp

of secular about

respectability

the Emperor
century
B.C.
manner

Asoka

the middle

of the third

In this the usual
grown

the

grain

of mustard
moral might
course

seed, after had

fashion
a

of all great
and

reforms, under

into

great tree, have, utterly

favoura
pre

ble circumstances vailed
from
so

in the
to

of time,

far

as

extirpate

Brahmanism
and

the whole
; but

district between
was

the Indus

the

Ganges

it

not

so.

After

generations

of

hateful reproach
antagonists,

and

humiliation found

from

their upstart
strong

the Brahmans

themselves from
India,

enough

to expel
was

the Buddhists expelled

justas
of

Protestantism Europe by

from

the

south

the

combined and

conservatism But
are

of Italy,
as

Spain,
*

France,
words

Austria.
and Boddha

here,

in

the

The

Buddha

the Sanscrit forms
or

of the

o18a and the Plato's insight.
wit

Greek

Latin

video,

signifying knowledge
German
wissen
same

spiritual

"pp6vii"ns. The

and

the English

and wot

are

obvious

variations of the

root.

Buddhism.
Christianity,
only
to

127
persecution

obvious

parallel of
served
to

and of the

banishment

spread

the seed

doctrine, and
sionaries ; and

ennoble
the

the

character

of its mis
Muni made

gospel

of Sakya

moral
the

conquest

of millions of human
regions

souls through

extensive and

of

Ceylon,
amply

Burmah,

China,
for
on

Thibet,

Japan, which
in

compensated

its total disappearance banks

its original seats

the

of the Ganges much for the

and

the

Jumna.
scene,

So

outward notable
on

and

the

exter

nal fates of this most Let and
what
system
extreme
us now

type

of oriental piety.

look steadily features.
on

its internal character mentioned already, Buddistic
against

moral

We

have

is agreed
must

all hands,
as a

that

the

be

regarded

protest

the

sacerdotalism and in this

of the
respect

existing

Brahmanic is
a

system,*

there

perfect
as

analogy

between

the
and

position

of Buddha

a

re

ligious reformer,
nism

that
as

of Christ in his antago Luther There

to the Pharisees,

also that of Martin hierarchy.

in his opposition is,however,

to

the Roman

this important

difference to be observed

*

It is noteworthy,

in this view,

that

in choosing
to

his form

of

incarnation,
caste

the destined
or

Buddha

chooses

be

born

in the secular type of the

of

Kshatryas,

warriors,

the rejecting

sacerdotal

Brahmins.

Beal, p. 30.

128

The

Natural
Buddha

History

of Atheism.
two
cases :

between

and
or

these
at

Buddha the whole

altogether, rejected
strictly theological creed which
was

least ignored, of the

foundation

Brahmanic the
mono

his cradle ; whereas, Hebrews,
unquestioned

theism
ments,

of

the

with

all its accompani

passed

into

Christianity,
the

as

did

likewise

the
of

theology
course

of

Christian
of

Churches,
some

always

with

the exception

later Roman of

excrescences,

into the Protestant Zwingle.

ism dha

Luther,
was

Calvin, and
a

What human

Bud ethics,

preached
not

gospel

of pure
and

divorced

only from
even

Brahma
the

the Brahmanic
of God
upon
:
so

Trinity, but

from

existence
come

that, while his moral
in many
respects,

discourses
an

the

ear, on

like
is
one

echo
sentence
occur

of the

Sermon
sermon

the Mount, which

there

in that

could not

possibly
"

in any

of Buddha's
PERFECT,

exhortations.
EVEN

BE FATHER

YE

THEREFORE WHO

AS
""

YOUR

IS

IN

HEAVEN

IS

PERFECT

whereas
of the
PERFECT,

the

constant
was,

and
BE
AM

consistent
YE THERE

voice
FORE

Indian
EVEN
we

Messiah
AS

I, BUDDHA,

PERFECT.

And

in this view,

may

certainly
as as a

say

that

the

preaching
was

of Buddha,
so

viewed religion

to

its contents,
;
a

not

much

a

philosophy
according

philosophy,

however,

published

to

Buddhism.
belief, not
by

129
like Zeno,
tran

popular
or

a

vulgar

mortal
an.

Marcus

Antoninus,
personage,
any Being

but
or

by

altogether
who,

scendental
not
seems

god-man,

if he did
as

worship

higher
to

than
sacred

himself,

he

certainly, according
done, could
not

tradition, not

to have

avoid whom

being
his

worshipped
teaching
re

by the millions
deemed, sin and
peace
or

of mortals
to have

seemed
and

redeemed,
into
a

from

earthly

sorrow

shame

state

of holiness,

of mind,
us

and
state

unspeakable
under

beatitude. the main
ethical ;
so

Let
points

now

distinct heads

of his doctrine,

philosophical
theology,

and

for, though
as

he
man

had

no

strictly

called,

a

thinking

he about
out

could human

not

avoid
life and
as

entertaining
man's

certain tion
on

opinions

posi
a

the

earth,

of which,
into shape.

from

root,

his moral

system

grew

And

in the

first place

here

we

encounter
at least

the
ex an

startling doctrine
istence
as

that
beings The

existence,

such

human
a

brook

on

this earth, is

evil, not
according

good.
to

conditions necessarily
we

of human imply
must

life,

Buddha,
get

evil ; and get
rid of

therefore human

to

rid of evil

life altogether,
limitations evils

at least

of human

life under
conditions.
creation

its present

and

degrading

The

four

under

which

the

whole

130

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
BIRTH,

groaneth
DISEASE,

even

until
DEATH

now

are

OLD

AGE,

and
and

; and

these
out

must

be

abso

lutely

altogether like
a

swept

of the happiness

account,
can

before

anything

reasonable
was

be

expected

to arise.

Christianity
to

content,

in St.

Paul's death,

language, and
victory

take the

away

the
; but

sting

from

from

grave

the Indian
such the

transcendentalist
vulgar

will not
; he
must

be content
"

with any

ambition
ocean

save
*

all flesh from

fearful
nary
ear

of birth and which
sounds

death."
as

This

extraordi
to
a

dogma,
as

monstrous

sane

the
no

stoical paradox
good,

that pain

is

no

evil, and when

pleasure viewed

becomes

intelligible only doctrine

in the light of the
"

of transmigra
the root

tion of souls

a

doctrine

which

lies at

of

all oriental does in the

anthropology, theological
By the
race

just as
system
man,

the
of
as a our

fall of

man

Christian
theologians
and,
so

Churches.
teach, the

fall of

human
curse

lies under

curse,

long
a

as

this

remains,

life, though
persons,

enjoyed in
is in reality

low
curse

way

by rather
only

unregenerate
than
a

a

blessing ; and

becomes from

a

blessing
curse

to those

who

are

redeemed

the

by

faith in Christ
produced

Jesus and
that
p. 137.

the moral faith.

regen ori-

eration

through
*

The

Beal,

Buddhism.
it abstains
to
a

131
from
tracing derives the
the

ental theology,
sorrows "sorrows

while
race

of the
of the committed previous
to

federal head,
from

individual
in stages
a

sins of the stage,
; and
or

indivi rather only

dual
many

previous

of existence
is by

the

way
an

get

rid of them
of moral
as

accumulating

such

amount

merit,

in various

successive person
to

existences,

may

enable

the

virtuous

rise at last above

all conditions
a

of sorrowful
state

human
uncon

existence ditioned
nically

into

super-mundane
in the

of

beatitude,
termed
point

Sanscrit language
Seen
human from

tech

NlRWANA.

this tran
in the may

scendental

of view,

existence, East,
a

exaggerated
said to be
an

language

familiar to the
thing, and
as

be

undesirable

curse a

rather

than

a

blessing ; at all events stage in
a

only

somewhat
stages

uncomfortable
more or

long

journeyfull of
and
on no

less

uncomfortable,

occasion

creating

the

feeling of

a

happy

home.

What
are

are

called the
more
or

pleasures

of life, in this view,
a

all

less delusions, of which
as

wise

man

should
all its

get
gay point

rid

soon

as

possible

:

life itself, with is, from

parade

and glittering show,
a

this higher and
a

of view,

delusion
possesses

; it is all fleeting
no

momentary,
man can

and

permanency
a

which

firmly grasp

; it is

hollow

vanity ; and

132
the

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
belongs
to

sting

of

the that

curse

which

it lies
are

mainly

here,

its most

vaunted

pleasures

its most of health

deadly
a

poisons,

and

its most

florid flush

veil for rottenness

in the bones.

So
now

much
are

for the
to

curse

of
"

human
only

life.
in
on

How
way,
run a

we

get

rid of it ?

one

justas
out

you

would back
may

get

rid of
or

a

house

fire ;

by

the
as

door,

let yourself
to

down

from

window,
escape

happen

be

practicable. life, we from
the
our

To
as

from

the miseries
withdraw and

of human
ourselves
contest

must

far

as

possible

the world

great
;
we

current,
must

struggle, mortify
our

of

desires,

control
and
a

passions,

practise
not
ence serene
a

moderation

in all things cultivate interests,

abstinence

in

few, and
to

generally human

lofty indiffer
a

vulgar quietude

and above

spirit of

far beyond
storms

and
of

the that

turbid fill the

tides

and

gusty
men

passion

hearts
spair. The

of

with

fret, disappointment,

and

de

student

of the

moral

and

religious history
nothing

of society will recognise but stoicism,
oriental

that he has
a

here

tinged

with
and

very

strong in certain

touch

of

asceticism,

rooted

strange

transcendental

notions

about

the pre-existence But in addition

and
to

post-existence

of human

souls.

Buddhism.
this lofty stoicism the
have petty
in
to

133
indifference to
life, we

and
and

philosophic
troubles evangelic missionary

passions

of human element

Buddha others
"

the
the
to

of

doing Dr.

good

spirit, what

Chalmers

used

call the

aggressive

attitude

of

Christianity.
tary meditation

Retirement
on

from

the

world

;

soli life, and

the

realities of the

moral shows

and

the fleeting nature
;

of all sensuous
and

pleasures
active

self-control

self-restraint ;

and

benevolence;
is practically
and

these

four

chapters
in the
not

contain

all that Buddhism,

significant in fact, do ethics, except

ethics

of

which,

differ mate self-con
-

rially from

Christian
and

in the

tainedness

self-assertiveness of their transcen But
a

dental

stoicism.
we

it will give

vividness

to the

picture, if teaching

add
own

few

passages

of their ethical The
vision of the
seen,

in their
sorrows

language.

three great

which,

as

we

have
prince

were

the

means

of leading
was

the Sakyan
on

to

serious by
a

thinking,

succeeded

another

occasion

fourth apparition,
book
as

which
"

is narrated

in the Chinese

follows

:

"Then
tra by

the prince, having

set

out

his spiritual power
a man

caused
crown

his excursion, the Devapufar in front of the to appear, not
on

chariot,
with

with

a

shaven

and

wearing hand
a

a

Sanghdti

robe,
in

his right shoulder

bare, in his right

religious

staff",

134
his

The

Natural
holding

History
's

of Atheism.
bowl,
and
so

lefthand

a

mendicant

alms

going

-with

measured

pace, along
him,
in front of

the road.

The
"

prince
'

having

observed
! who

this
is

figure before this
man

asked
me,

the coachman proceeding
nor

Dear

Coachman
slow

with
the

such

and

dignified
unlike

steps,looking
his head the white-clad hue,
"

neither

to the right

left, with fixedattention,
earthen colour,
too

shaven,

his garments

of

a

reddish

mendicants, like the stone " toi " ? the
'
"

his alms
'

dish

of

a

purplish shining

Then thus
a

Devaputra

T'so-Ping
and

excited

the

coachman

to

an

swer

Holy

youth

illustrious prince ! this person

is call

ed
"

mendicant

(parivrdjika)?
asked ?
'
*

Then
a

the prince mendicant coachman

again,

And

what

is the calling and

con

duct of
"

The

answered,

'

Great

prince ! he

this
gives

man

con

stantly charity,

practises virtue,
and restrains with
one

and

avoids

wrong;

himself

to

his
men,
as

appetitesand
and hurts
as

his bodily desires ; he is in nobody, neither

agreement

all

killing
to

nor

poisoning any
is full
'

; but,

far

he. can,

he does good
reason

of sympathy for
If this be

all.
so,'

Prince

! for this
'

all, and he is called a
a

mendicant.'

said the prince, coachman
! and

and let

he is of such
me

dis

position, drive up to him, This done,

O

speak said,
At
'

to him.'

the prince addressed
I pray
you,

the mendicant
man

and
!
'

Honour the

ed Sir ! tell me, Devaputra thus"
'

what

you

are

this time
him 'And
to
answer

T'so-Ping

by his spiritual power I
am

caused

Great

Prince!

called

a

mendicant!'
one,'

what

is

that?'
*

inquired
has

the prince.
world

who and

leftthe
in
much
as

home
so

order

nothing
creatures
am

and
a

to do

called
"Then

mendicant

rejoined, forsaken friends to find deliverance desires for himself, and by some to expedient or other to give life all harm to none O prince ! I ; for this reason, homeless (parivrajika, one).'
and
its ways, who has

'It is

the

mendicant

the prince, what

resuming character

the of

conversation the

said, 'Venerable
necessary

one

! and
at

is the

preparation

for

arriving
'

this condition?'
! if you
are

(To which

the mendicant

replied),
505, n.]
as

Illustrious youth
sense

able to behold
vide
none

(or regard) all objects
Introd.,
;

[or of (sansara) the impermanent, to think no

Samskdras,

p.
on

evil and do

but,

the contrary,

Buddhism.

135

to benefit all creatures to the condition

(by your life and teaching)then this will lead
mendicant
;
as

of

a

the Gatha

says

"

"

To To Done

regard

all earthly things

as

perishable ;

desire above with

all things the condition of Nirvana, hatred or love, the heart equally affected, all earthly

Freed

from

of objects
or

desire ;
or

Frequenting

the solitary pits
on

forests

beneath

a

tree,

Or

dwelling

the cold earth in the place of tombs,

Thoroughly

emancipated
to regard

from

all personal

consideration,
a
' "

This

is the way

the character

of

mendicant."

Here
Buddhist

it will be observed saint is
a

that
;
a

the

ideal of
in which and
an

the
it

monk

feature

differs essentially both lenic life :
verse,

from the

Christianity
ideal with
a was

Hel
active uni

stoicism,
a

of

which harmony

reasonable according
to

reasoned

Zeno

;

a

faith in the by

Divine
ac

government cording
to

of the

world,

working

love,

St. Paul.
a

In reply to

seductive
sent turn

band
Mara,

of female
the his

beauties,
or
a

who
Hindoo

had

been devil, to

by him
"

evil spirit
purpose

from

of

holy
with

life, Boddhi-satva
the
"

that is, the

hermit-prince in his lan

destiny

of

complete
as

Buddhaship

breast,
guage
**

is represented

using

the following

:"

All those pleasures Are By
sources

in which

the world

indulges

of

sorrow,

sin, and

distress !

reason

of this, the worldling

loses all spiritual discernment

j

136

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

Clouded
Men
are

with ignorance,
never

he lives in darkness the

and

gloom.

satisfied with
ago

enjoyment of
them,

these things, and

But

I

long

have

utterly

discarded

escaped

from

their slavery. As
a
man

flees from
long

a

burning up

furnace,
sources

or

a

poisonous
sorrow.

drug j

I have

since given

these

of wisdom

I have- tasted My And

of the water

of eternal

;

heart

enlightened,

I desire to enlighten

others, law.

to declare

the doctrine

of the most

excellent

But Then
For

if I

were

to partake

of these polluting

pleasures,

I should

in the end

fail to attain wisdom,

it is by continuing
a man

in these deceitful pleasures,. the infection
nor

That

acquires

of folly and

sin,

Neither profitable
It is these pleasures Even They
as
are

to himself

able to profit others ;
"

I, therefore, desire not

these things
up

I cast

them

away.

that burn

all living things, burns the world.
on

the fire at the end perishable
a

of time

as

the bubble
as a

that rises

the water,

Light
Hollow

as

dream,

unreal

phantom,
;

and false, deceiving
man

the worldly-wise

But

the

of true
see

wisdom

finds

no

delight

therein.

Just as
Playing

you

the child with himself

his fellows with
man

and

polluting and

filth,

So is the ignorant
He And
sees

besotted

polluted

by

these ;

the dazzling
there

sheen

of the

trinket, jewelled
a

forthwith

arises in him

covetous

desire.

That
What Your Your They Your What And The
As

hair of yours pollution,
teeth, that lips and
are nose as

which
sores, are

grows
and

from

the brain,
;
;

ulcers it generates
one

secretly shed and

by

one

mouth

and

eyes,

but

the bubble

for permanence. buttocks
and

waist

and

loins, your

hams, the blood

pollution
what
man

is here, proceeding

from

;

impurities,
who

the effect of indulgence.

delights in these is foolish makes
every
a

one

who

millstone
one

to grind

his

own

body.

And

therefore

who

is wise,

Buddh

ism.
I have

137
shown,

Distinguishing
Will
He As

these matters,
forsake his body,

as

and reject will behold

all such false delights.

the receptacle holding
it.
you,
a

and night circulating its blood, of that which is unclean, and find no joy in be
day

So it is I
As For These By And They
a

see

standing
dream,
an

before my
unreal

eyes
"

phantom,
all things pleasures
men

appearance

spring from connection
are are

of cause
the path

and

effect,

in themselves drawn
away

false and

delusive ;

these,

from

of happiness,

led captive
are
as a

along

the ways

of misery"

fiery furnace,
"

As vessels full of poison As The the head
causes

of

an

angry

snake and

not

to be touched,

of ignorance
tampers,

delusion
these,

and

death ;

Whoever
Deserting

then, with of purity

the path

and

wisdom,

Shall in the end, So, then, having
I
am now

without
let go

perish in Hell. these things, and forsaken
doubt,
or as

them,
be bound

free

as

the air

space, which

cannot

with

a

chain, etc."

After

these

two
on

passages

it

seems

unnecessary

to enlarge

further

the special character
it is remarkably

of Bud
pure,

dhistic morality. in much the

That

and

of its tincture of

and

tone

closely
as

reflecting they
are

ethics

the

Gospel,

especially

manifested

in the organism It

of the Romish aimed in the
to

Church,
perfectly

is sufficiently evident. successful, and,
no

be

doubt,

person

of

its the

founder
practice

was

perfectly

successful of

in achieving
patience

of

self-restraint,

great

and

endurance,

of fearless courage,

and

victorious voli-

138
tion.
ousness women

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

It succeeded
;

in the annihilation renunciation

of all covetand
easy,
com

by

the

of
was

property

every

other abstinence
morality
*

rendered its most
anger,

and

the negative
;

achieved strife and

plete triumph
the

lust and

and

all

painful and

twinges

of doubt

in the bosom

of the
The
aggres

unstable

double-minded,
evils that proceed and the by

disappeared. from the

innumerable
siveness

of selfish passion,
were

the lust of appro
root
man
no

priation,

cut

off by

; the
to
man,

various

forms towards

of

cruelty

practised
creation,

and among
; and,

the brute

found

place

the disciples of the pure
on

and

perfect Buddha highest

the

other from
were

hand,

whatever
exercise

pleasures

flowed

the habitual

of the benevolent whose greed and

affections
was

theirs in full by

measure,

not

fed

the
was

desire
not

of

accumulation,

whose
power.

ambition

stimulated

by

the

love of

We

now

come

to that special point

in the

Bud
woven

dhistic doctrine
into

which of

occasioned papers
to

its being
; viz.

the

tissue

these
in order
a

its alleged

ATHEISM.
we

And,
start with

clear up

this matter,
cases

must

distinction

in all such

*

Feer, p. 34-37.

Buddhism.
be forgotten
distinction
convictions

139
between
of the

too

apt

to

:

the

the religious belief and

personal

founder
accept

of him
no as

a

creed,

and

the

belief of those

who

as

the prophet

of that creed. beliefs may
preached that

Some
be there this
sen

times,
same
one

doubt, when and

these
Mahomet

two

the
is

;

God

Mahomet

is his prophet,

tence

contained of the
case

the pith both

of his personal followers.
see,

creed But

and the

faith of his orthodox
as more we.

of Buddha,
a

shall

is different ;
;
a rare,

he

was

great

deal

than

a

prophet

exceptional, nation

and

altogether perfection

transcendental
; and

incar
case

of moral well be,
or

in

such
was,

it

might creed
portant
master.

rather by

necessity
at

that the
one

of the

disciples
more

contained than
the

least

im

article In what

creed

of

their

exact

terms
or

the historical Bud
agnosticism of
we

dha
no

expressed
evidence

his atheism
; but

have direct

the
a

omission

all

acknowledgment

of

great

original

First

Cause,

the

supreme
as

objectof
well
as

worship,

in the
tone

legendary
spirit of of the

accounts,

the whole

and

the sacred
most
no

traditions

afford moral
that Buddha

evidence

satisfactory kind

acknowledged
indeed,

being have

superior

to
so,

himself;

scarcely,

could

done

consistently

with

the

tran-

140

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.
believed

scendental

excellence

which

his followers

to be inherent

in his personality.

In the Chinese
one

version
on

of the traditions there is only Buddha
Powers
on a

occasion
to
on

which

is represented
; and

as

praying
was

any

heavenly
entrance
was

this occasion life, when,

his

religious

of

course,

he

far from bade

perfection.
to

As

he

left the of

palace,
sense,

and
"

final adieu

all the
door invoked been

pleasures

he stood the
as

at the eastern

with closed
all the

hands,-'

says
or,

book,

"and

Buddhas,"

it has sometimes

translated, the raising

Uni
he

versal
looked
stars

Spirit:
up

"after

which,
and
But

his head, the

into

heaven

beheld

countless

of the night."* that

this text

is not
a

sufficient

to

prove

Buddha
theological

acknowledged
sense

Supreme much

Cause

in the
was

of the word,

less that he
to any

in the habit of offering up

prayers

such god
enough

of gods.

There

were

devas

and devas

gods

in the popular
as

belief, powerful
legends

and show,
a

devils too, but they

the

sacred be
no

abundantly worship
as

could

of objects

to

being

of such

transcendental

excellence

Bud
minis

dha,
ter

rather by
as

their very
the angels

nature to

could
in

only

to him,

Christ

the
we

Garden have

of Gethsemane.

As
*

a

religious reformer,

Beal, p. 131.

Buddhism.

141
devotee
a

said

that Buddha

was

not
a we

merely and

a

and

a

philanthropist, and

but

thinker
have admit
"

philosopher,
on

in this capacity

it distinctly

record
of what

that he either

did not

the existence
a

the
"

Hindoos
at

call ISHWARA
to

Supreme
such
an

Creator,
idea
as

or

least refused
notion

admit

a was

fundamental
to

in the world

gospel
sin
on

by
and

which

he

redeem
a

the

from

misery.

There

is

remarkable and

conversation
one

this

subject
doctors
to
:

between

him

Alara,

of the great

of the Brahmanic read
"

theology,

which

deserves
as

be
"

with

particular attention.

It is

follows

The

discourse

then

proceeds

to

a

consideration
consequent by Isvara,
no causes
as

of

the

power

called

self-existence Bodhisatwa be
no

(Isvara), and objects
succession all
men

the

possibility
because

of

creation.

to

creation

then
no
"

there

could

of events, would
regard

of

sorrow,

variety of Gods, there exists
must

but
no

Isvara

their Father

could
or

be
"

disputes about

this very created

w subject,hether

Isvara

not

in short, if Isvara Good,

all things, then
no

all things

have

been

and there could have been the great
on

possibility of evil. but be
a

"On

this, Alara

commends

wisdom

of Bodhisatwa,
there

deprecates

further discussion

the ground

that unless

power

beyond

ourselves capable problem

of creating and
source

sustaining the world,
trouble
can never

that the great solved ; for he

of the

of evil
or

or

be
"

said, either
caused whence

Karma

the

Body

existed

first

if

Karma who

was

not

by the
came

previous it ?
But

existence if the

of the
body

body,

then

made

it, and
then been

existed before
case

Karma,
must
"

it existed
a

independently

of it.

In

either

there

have

Creator.
'

To

which

Bodhisatwa
as
a

replied,

I dispute not in

with

you

on

this evil

ground,

but

man

who

participates

the

great

mass

of

142

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
me

which

exists, I seek only

a

physician to give

health, I throw

no

further difficultiesin the way.'
"

On

this,

one

the ground

that

Bodhisatwa, ascetics greatly commends all religious disputes and controversies, where of the
only, certainly lead to hatred

on

the

is object victory
any
"

and

greater

evils than

good
'

they

can

effect.

But

although,'
I seek
a

Bodhisatwa
condition
'

'

says, of escape
Alara

I desire not
that admits

to

wrangle,
no

nevertheless
to

of

return
as

life and

its troubles ;
*

on

which
'

speaks

of his system
'

teaching

this.

But

how

?

enquires

Bodhisatwa,
a

at

one

moment

you

speak

of your the

discipline leading to
next

definite condition of
no

of Being
"

(bhuva), and
strange.'
"
'

you

say

it admits

return

this

is

And

so

it is,'said Alara, Brahma,

'

for this condition
substantial without

is that of the Great perfect quietude,
or

limits,

no

without first or last, his
marks
"

whose beginning,

of which I speak of existence is one

operations

bounds end ; without his form inexhaustible,

without
'"But

parts

or

immutable, said
at

incorruptible.'
'

if this be
is He
up
to

so,'

Bodhisatwa, of

what Kalpa, up

becomes

of him,
and

and

who
even
"

when

the end

the

this heaven

earth, stroyed
"

^he abode

of Sakra,

is burnt
'

and

entirely de

where

then is your

Creator
a

?

Alara

remained

silent, with

quiet smile

on

his lips, whilst

one

but the wisdom of Bodhisatwa, of his disciples greatly commended him that in old time the great Rishis all attained perfect reminded in the way described by Alara for instance (here follows wisdom
"

a

list of

Rishis), of all
then is this

whom

entered into the brightness

of the

sun,

and
"

attained
'

the straight path.
"
" entering into the brightness of the sun ? I admit can these, how and rf I worship '

What

enquired the idea
'

Bodhisatwa, of Then
an

'

Isvara

or

Supreme

God,

who

alone

deserves

wor

the conviction seized Bodhisatwa, that this system of Alara could not be a final and complete exhibition of deliverance, and his heart became sad.
ship ?
' *

Alara
*

perceiving What then

this,

rose

from

his seat

and

addressed

Bodone

hisatvva, have

is the system you

illustrated, after which

of deliverance, beyond look ? '

the

I

Buddhism.
"

143
a

To

which
the

Bodhisatwa
elements about
or

replied, 'I shall have
senses
"

seek

system
"

in which
there

ques

tions about be
or

no

place

in which
"

shall

no

discussion

the

or

their

objects
about

no

talk of death

birth, disease
non-existence,

old age
about

no

questioning
or

existence in which

(bhuva)
words

or

eternity

non-eternity, boundless and

shall be

useless, and
not

the idea of the

illimitable

(real

ized),but
"

talked about.'

Then

he added

this Gatha

:

"

'

In

the

beginning

there

was

neither birth

or

death,

or

age

or

disease, Neither Then
But
a

earth
was

or

water,
no

fire, wind,
of
a

or

there

need

Teacher

space, for the three worlds,

condition
"

of perfect freedom,

lasting, pure,

and

self-con

tained.'

Possibly
an

one as

element
expressed
to

in Buddha's

objectionto
may

Iswara, the

in this passage,

be doc
so

only

aversion

the

received

Christian

trine of the creation
commonly

of all things out

of nothing,

heard and

in the mouth

of the masters
men

of phy

sical science
generation

other thinking
this, of
an

of the present
room

; and

course,

leave will still
Pantheist,

for Buddha
ing to the

being
common

orthodox

accord

conception

of Indian affords
mind

theology. evidence

But of
a

the

passage,

unfortunately,

general

dislike in Buddha's
"

to all theolo

gical speculation.
in "I

As

a

man

who

participates he,

the great
seek

mass

of evil which
physician
to
man,

exists," says give my
me

only
am
a

a

health:"
is to

that is, I

practical

mission

144

The

Natiiral

History

of
course

Atheism.
of sin, by the
see

preach
practice

redemption

from

the
I do

of virtue ; and
about

not

that

curious
can

speculation help
many
me

the

creation

of

the I

world do
see

in my

work.
Brahmins

Nay,

rather

that with

learned

occupy

themselves other them

speculations

about

Trimurti

and around

theological
is lying in

formulas,
sin and
tone

while

the world

wretchedness.
our
own no

This

is somewhat Mill, and
men

like the
of his plausi of
are

of

John Stuart
doubt forms
can

school ble

; and

is amongst

the most

and

pardonable
or

that the
assume.

absurdity There

atheism other
point

agnosticism in this
same

points
to
an

discourse,

which

plainly philoso

identity of Buddha's that of

negative

phy The
"

with

the

great
a

English

Utilitarian.
to both.

existence

of evil is been
; and
a

stumbling-block

If there

had
good

Creator,

all things be
no

would

have

been

there would
no

possibility
this ob
not
can
a

of evil."

There

is

need

of answering

formally jection
better than something
tion of
was more no
our

here ;

it is manifestly
a man

whit

saying

that because he thinks

imagine
construc

which

better in the

existing

steam-engines,

therefore of evil
supreme

there
can
no

James
prove

Watt.

The

existence

the non-existence

of

a

author

of good,

than

the

existence

of

a

rainy

day

can

Buddhism.

145
the
sun.

prove
mere

the
term

non-existence

of

Evil and

is
no

a

of relative inconvenience,
in the harmonious
system

has

meaning

totality of the divinelyuniverse.

regulated
Buddha's
"

of the

Another

of
:

difficulties in this passage
was
"

recalls Mill
son

If

there

an

Iswara"

says
no

the

of Sud-

daohana,

there could

be

succession
eternal

of events"
centre

Strange
which

; when

he is

just the
must

from

all successions
:

necessarily

be supposed
an

to proceed
statement

but observe, the famous

this is merely doctrine
his school
a

oriental
invariable
as a

of

of
use

sequence,

which

Mill and

shib
out

boleth

to

jugglethe
That

idea of

great
are
cause

First Cause

of the world. gether Buddha's
"

all things law of

connected

to

by

a

necessary

and

effect, is

fundamental
practising
around
once

principle of metaphysics.
rules

Whoever,
world

the

of

a

Brahmana,

observes

the

him

(tchu-fa, damma}, ye
are

Sees at

that these things

produced by mutual
him

relation

ship ;
Perceiving
that the world

around

is produced by this mutual

dependence,
He
recognises

then
*

that all phenomena

are

but the result

of cause

and

effect."
other mind,
to

And

in many

passages.
as

Now
system
stanza,

how
of
"Ye

is it that

in Buddha's
*

in the

J. S.
damma

Mill
hetu

This

seems

be

the

well-known

prabhasa,"

etc.

7

146

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
sequence it

and and

his school, this notion
necessary

of invariable should
absurdity

interdependence
an

connect
as

self with

such thus:"

unreasoned Every chain

atheism. delights

Simply

popular

theology
we

in ignoring
causes,

the

of what for them

call secondary
the

and

substituting

direct action

of
the

a

God

specially intervening
believer.

and

interfering
is done

at

call of the

Whatsoever

in

the world and

is done

directly by of
me,

God,

at

the instance This
theolo

for the

benefit

his worshipper. of what
; and
our

is everywhere

the theology
man

gians call the natural
that

it is only

natural
idea the
in

such

an

altogether procedure

false and should

degrading

of the

Divine

be

met

by

scientific assertion

of necessary philosophers
largeness

sequence

and

variable
Mill, who absurdity in
a

law. have of

But the

like Buddha of view
to
see

and
the

the subjecting
various

scheme
to

of Divine the

action

vast

and

universe

momentary

conveniences

of

a

petty
an

individual, should
invariable
sequence,

also not

fail to observe
constant

that

and

a

dependence,
or

is inconceivable
underlying

without

a

persistent inherent by and
its unifying

Something

which,

action, makes
not

variability invariable, !
from

dependence
thus
see

accidental

We

how

Gotama,

whether

having

Buddhism.

147
of
a

been
school

brought

up

under
"

the influence
and

sceptical been
the
as

of metaphysics all schools of his

India

has always
"

fertile in

of metaphysics
own

or

from

idiosyncrasy religious being

mind,

while

starting

a

reformer,
to

had

the

strange

misfortune the

of

forced

throw

behind

his back

great

lever-power
of GOD.
to
tus,

and

key-stone

of all religion, the idea

Had
?

he then Was

nothing
an

but simple
Zeno,
or

morality

preach
and

he
more

Asiatic
?

Epicte-

nothing

Could
and

he

conquer

the

world
cism

by

cold, stoical morality,
No.

sublime

asceti
more

alone ?

He

required

something

;

and

he found
to

it in that wide-spread
we

oriental adverted,

doc
THE

trine,

which

have
OF

already

TRANSMIGRATION

SOULS.

This

doctrine,
is
a mere

in

the

mind

of the general
fancy,

English

reader,
are

Pythagorean
among the but, in

of which

traces

found

also

Jews, at
order
upon

the time
to

of

our

Lord

(John ix.
we

2) ;
must

comprehend
as a

Buddhism,

seize

this fancy

living fact in the
part of the very

popular

religions of the

East ;

as

atmosphere

of all religious life, and theology.
common

the substratum

of all oriental
ance

The

slightest acquaint

with
"

the
as

books
Hitopadesa

of Brahmanic
"

wis

dom

such

the

will show
roots

how of the

deeply

this notion

lies at

the

very

148

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.
It

whole

moral

life of the
virtue

Hindoos.

was

a

doc

trine, like the did not Logical

of ascetism,
simply

which
as

Buddha
it.
;

invent, but accepted

he found
was

proof

of such admirably evil in

a

doctrine
so

there

none

but it served
ence
same

far to explain and

the exist
was

of moral
time
a

the world, constantly

at
exem

the

striking and

present

plification of
necessary
we

Gotama's
or

metaphysical
invariable has and law,

doctrine which,

of
as

sequence,
seen

have

in his system,
Reason

usurped

the func
volition.

tions of the Divine

the Divine that
in

And
sence

it will readily be

confessed,

the ab will in
so

of

a

habitual of that

reference

to the

Divine

the exercise

living faith which
in

St. Paul

philosophically
there could
is
no

defines lever
more

the
a

Hebrews
religious

(xi. i.)
teacher of

moral with

that

wield

effect than
see

this doctrine
it works.

metempsychosis. life of
enon man on

For

how
an

The

this earth is not
sequence
a

isolated phenom
lives that have

; it is the

of many chain

preceded
tion, and

it, by

necessary

of moral
lives that

causa

the precedent
of the
same

of many chain it. By

by

the

continuation
pendence

of cosmic
virtue

interde

shall follow moral

of this chain
evils

of

necessary
or

sequence,

the

and

the

blessings,

rather

the

exemption

from

certain

Buddhism.
forms
as

149
t6

worse

of evil in terrestrial life,are retributive consequence
in previous
no

be

re
or

garded
virtues
as

the

of vices of existence

practised
manner

stages indulged

;

in like

vice

in here of be

can

remain

without future
without
or

its propagated

seed
can

misery

in

a

state,

and

no

virtue

prac
re

tised

insuring

a

certain
merit

necessary

ward, phasis

necessary

issue

of

in

some

future
of
curse,
a

of transfiguration.
vicious

The
or

awful

power

propagated
in the
case

tendency,
early

inherited

of certain
to
some

Greek
most

families, lends solemn

inspiration
in the Greek

of

the

choruses of every
some

drama

; and

the experience
issue
or

day

life exhibits sin, marring

the

ugly

from

pa
rotten

ternal
ness

the features

giving

to

the

bones

of their unfortunate

progeny.

A
and

habitual
misery

realisation of this fearful power
to

of sin through

propagate might

themselves
many
an

long

generations
folly,
or

prevent

act

of

reckless with

habit

of

degrading

vice,

even

reference

to the present

life ; but if, with
or a

the

additional morphosis, believed
of the
ages,
to

horrors
the

of

a

creeping

slimy

meta

consequences
over

of to-day's and

sin

are

extend

hundreds

thousands but
in

not

in the person

of his progeny,

very

transmuted

blood

and

bone

of

the

150

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
arising
; nay,

offender, the
faith cannot
act

moral be
as

restraint

from

such

a

inconsiderable the hope
of

rather,
and

will

precisely

Heaven

the fear

of hell act upon No
man a

the minds willingly
or a an ass, or

of professing

Christians.
idea
a

would pig,
or

cherish
a

the
or a

of be

coming
or
a

or
a

snake,
or

crocodile,
in
re

newt,

toad,

spider,

goose,

a

future state
appearance

; but

the fear of such

an

embruted
in the eye

of self, stands devotee of

constantly
or

of

the works

pious

Brahma

Buddha,

and

accordingly.
consummation

The has
run

of metempsychosis,
its complete
is NIRVANA,

when
most

it

through

series of the
or

favourable
tude

changes,

eternal To

beati

in the bosom

of the Infinite.

the contem

plative

Hindoo

mind

the

miseries

of life present
tossing

themselves
on

in the
stormy

similitude
sea

of

a

continual
contrary

a

very

; and

the

of this,
a

which
and

is the

supreme

objectof
of perfect

desire, is The

quiet
same

breezeless
of
in
"

haven
a

of eternal repose.

conception
appears

state

bliss after death
of
an

the

Christian

analogue

eternal

Sabbath
would

a

Sabbath
be
an

of rest which,
extremely

literally taken,
state,
even

indeed

stupid

for the most energetic

lazy saints ; but which,
natures,

to active to

and

such

as

belong

most

well-

Buddhism.
be

151
a

constituted
erable

Englishmen,
and

would

state

of intol
The

stagnation

uninterrupted
rest,

fret. is to
a

Christian
understood
which cession
nature

Sabbath

of

accordingly,

be
in
suc

relatively;

it represents shall be freed

state
a

the human

being

from

of sorrowful
on

struggles,

by

which

his higher
;
so

earth

is oppressed

and

strangled

also the

Nirvana

of the

Buddhists.

It is merely

the from

stoical indifference, the
vain
a cares

philosophical

freedom
seren

and
living

the unclouded silly joys,
in perfect

ity of

soul

harmony worked
state,

with
up
to

the
its
ex

constitution ripe

of

things ; this
in
a

consummation

future

and

pressed the

with

all the

exaggeration

belonging and

to

full swing subtlety

of

Oriental

imagination,

the

curious

of Hindoo

metaphysics.

It is, in

fact,

our

eternal

life, and
or

nothing
verses,

else,

as

the

following
declare
:
"

Gathas,

memorial

distinctly

"

'

There Who
The

is

one

born

now

amongst

men

has practised Prince
Royal,

the rules of piety for ages,
son

of Suddhodana

Raja,
become
a

Who
He, Is
now

has resigned
desiring
to

the royal dignity and

recluse ;

open the gates of everlasting
towards
so,

life,

proceeding
are

the Bodhi nnd equal
to

Tree. the task,

If you Repair

able to do

straightway

and
to

see cross

him
over

there beneath
to

the tree, side

For

now

he is about

the other

152
And

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
others with himself;

desires above all things to save Bodhisatwa, himself enlightened, " Desires also to enlighten others.'

And

again
! Brahma willing

:

"

"

'

Oh
I
am

Devaraja, attend
now

carefully !
.

to

If any Let

open the gate of immortality
come

will listen, let them hearken
to
me as

gladly ;
"

them

I declare the tidings of this Law.'

And

this other
I
now

:

"

"

'

desire to turn
this purpose
am

For

the wheel of the excellent law; I going to that city of Benares,
in darkness,
to
men.''
"

To give And
to

light to those enshrouded

open the gate of Immortality

And

yet again

:

"

" they addressed Buddha as follows" Venerable Gotama ! body is of a beautiful your face and your eyes appearance, your round and fresh, and all your senses in perfect accord ; you must indeed have found the immortality, elixir and the way

"

Then

of

"

Then

of ti/e.J
not

the world-honoured
by

one

replied,

Tathagata

calling him

"

the venerable
shall

Rishis ! mock Gotama." Ye are
sorrow

'

Ye

in

deed in the way
ment

of
now

death, and

reap
I
am

and
the way
to

disappoint

by continuing
am

therein ; but I have
abiding in
it.

found
my
man

of Immor
instruct
you

tality^ and

able

therein, if you will but but walk to according
leave the world, and

attend
my

consider directions; if a
me,

and

words,
or

if you

will will

woman

follow
an one

desiring the

to

dition

of

a

true

Brahmana,

to reach

find that highest con fountain-head of such

a

condition,

desired

shall surely find it, and arrive at the goal ; his faculties perfected, he shall cut himself off from such

then

Buddhism.
further birth and
he

153
in his religious life

death;

and
no

well-founded
other

shall

receive hereafter

form

of temporary
on*

existence

(bhavd).
says
"

This

is "what ye should

meditate

And

so

the Gatha

"

*

five Rishis mockingly Gotama, as spoke of Buddha The world-honoured in pity taught them, saying, one " Let not your thoughts be so proud and high ;
Those Let
go

that pride of self, and is no pride of self in in you
me,

obey

and

reverence

me,

There

but perfect self-composure of your

;

I desire to change

the ground

destiny,

I, who For

have

become

Buddha,

honoured

by the world,

the sake of all living things, I would

bring this good."

'

"

We

have

given
may

these

passages

at

length
true

that

the reader
assertion

perceive tell
us

how

far from Buddhist

their

is who

that the

finds his

highest
People they of Had
meant
a

bliss in the ought
to

prospect

of ANNIHILATION.
ten
on

have

thought

times

before
founder

allowed
great

themselves popular

to father

the

religion any
like the

such
ancient

absurdity.
Hebrews, of

Buddha
to ignore

really,
a

future life in the
simply

enunciation

his law, he would
it ; but ducing ing"

have have

said nothing
come

about
in

he
men

never

would

forward,

to

become

his disciples by proclaim

"

O sin-laden /, Buddha,
LATION

creatures,
am
now

and

miserable
ready

mortals,
to

attend

revealed
' '

open

the gates

carefully, of ANNIHI

to all

! flesh

7*

154
What

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
annihilation of
our

he

taught

was

the

wretched
of
a

limited

existence eagle

here, like the existence
in
a

poor

prisoned
condition

small

cage,

as

the
un

necessary

of

a

participation

in the
not

hampered bonds

life of beatified blood,

spirits, knowing
nor

the

of flesh and

the

fretful distrac
In interpreting

tions of petty
the

terrestrial relations.
as

Nirvana
we

every

other
our

dogma

of

oriental
imagi

theology,
nation

must

put

sober bear

occidental-

into training,

and

in mind

constantly

that the whole
are

phraseology is systematic
true,
no

in which

their dogmas

expressed

exaggeration doubt

and

para

dox.

Perfectly in
"

it is, that
ecstasy,

when talks

Buddha,
of the

a

state

of transcendental

absence

of all relationship,
the non-consciousness

the destruction
of
an

of personality, and what
a

Ego,

condition

of mind what

letting go
does
not

all thoughts
*
"

of
a

exists, and

exist,"

such
a

description minded absolute

of Nirvana,

when

analysed
seems or

by

sobermean

European

metaphysician,

to

blankness
we

and

vacuity,
to

simple

annihila

tion ; but what

have
of the

do

with, in determin

ing the doctrines
cally received Asiatic

Buddhist
by

faith, as
the

practi

and

cherished the

millions

of

souls, is not
*

analysis

of metaphysical

Beal,

pp. 176, 237, 172, 246, 284.

Buddhism.
but
impression like

155
made
some

exaggerations,
by
a our

the

popular

popular

Nirvana, similitude ; for
doctrines, though
was

of
'to
a

Christian
as
a

now

presented

us

crystallised dogma,
as a

originally only

simile, such

could
state

most

strikingly impress celestial bliss from And
as

the
the far

exemption
common as
woes

of

of

of terrestrial humanity.
of Buddhism of the

the practical working
its effect
we on

is concerned, great

and
masses,

the minds
.never

believing

must

forget that perfect Nirvana
altogether and
no

is

a

potency

of beatitude Buddhas, and
an

exceptional,
saintly of

peculiar

to the

the
more

more

their devotees,
calculation
common

could

lie within than look

the
any

of
pious

ordinary
Roman
in the
or a

worshipper,
can

Catholic
Calendar
place Mary,
in

for

a

recognised
Francis

place

along

with
on

St.
the

of

Assisi,
of the
a

in Heaven

right
once

hand
only

Virgin
mother

who

was

indeed
now

devout

Israel, but. is
of

worshipped dom
as

by

more

than of Heaven

one-half
and

Christen
Mother

the

Queen

the

of

God. So
far we

have attempted

to draw

in rapid sketch
as

the main
and
now

lines of the Buddhistic

piety

professed
We is
a

practised

by

the

great

Buddha present

himself. purpose

proceed

to what

for

our

156
much which
ite

The

Natural
important
requires

History

of Atheism.
;

more

question

but

a

question

happily

very few words

for its defin faith of millions

answer. now

What

is Buddhism

in the

those
of

who

profess

the

religion"
in

the

pious

orthodox

devotees and
now

Ceylon,
The

China,
question
was,
a

Thibet,
we

Burmah,
to
answer

elsewhere?
is not

have

what

Buddha

according

to

the

best

historical

results

which

careful analysis what conception

of the
is he

traditions yields, but under actually worshipped
; for it

is from
to

this conception
an
as

alone
our

that

we

are

entitled

draw

answer

to

inquiry.

Do To

the Bud reach
the

dhists

a

sect

profess of view

atheism

?

Buddhist
we

point

in reference

to this matter,

must

have

recourse
or

again

to the great

doctrine form

of transmigration"

rather, that particular
to

of it which

we

are

accustomed

express

in the

ological language
stated
mere

by the term by

INCARNATION.
us

We
on as

before
man,

that, though

looked

a a

to the Hindoo
a

conception

Buddha

is

God-man"
shipped,
not

Messiah"

and

therefore

justlywor
such
or

with
paid

merely
to

heroic
and

honours,
Hercules,
ever

as

the Greeks
Romans of
to

Theseus
No

the

Romulus.
as

Roman before

conceived
on

Romulus

existing but

his birth

the

Hill; Quirinal

the oriental Buddha

appeared

Buddhism.
the Messiah

157
perfect law, only after
spent with Devas,
one

on
aeons

earth,

as

of

a

of supermundane
other

existence

and

divine personages, Nor is Buddha

in
the

of the Hindoo being
or

heavens.

only

of his
will be
many
;
to

transcendental
sent,

kind

that

has

been

sent,

into
:

this lower
in

world.

There

are

Buddhas and

the

infinity

of ages,

innumerable

the

orthodox
may

Ceylonese
stated

belief with

regard
In
sense,

Buddhas
to

be

formally

thus

:

"

order

redeem
misery

mankind of

from

the slavery
time
man

of

and
perfect

the Being
to

sin, from

to

time

a

in the
as an

form

of

a

is sent guide

into the world
to

serve

example

and

all who and

are

striving

to

lessen the evils of existence,
long called end,
to

possi

bly, in the
These
are

attain supreme
:

beatitude.
thoroughly of Divine
supreme

Buddhas
to

they

are

enlightened
law
; and

in reference in consideration

all matters

of this, deserve from
men.

honour

and

reverence

They

derive
in

their inspiration

from

themselves

; their insight

all spiritual matters oracular.
or

is intuitive, and

their utterance
kalpa,

Of these Buddhas,
world,
supreme

for the present Buddha,
or

age

of the
is the
or

Gotama
; and

Sakya
Being

Muni,

if there be any all human

in heaven

earth down

before with

whom

beings

ought

to

bow

unreserved

submission,

158

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

as

at

once

the

true

expounder

of the
itis Gotama it cannot

Divine

law,

and

its radiant

manifestation, indeed,

Buddha.

Absolutely
that

certain,

be said to be institu

this great

religious reformer of himself:
set

formally
is
no

ted the worship

but there

record
higher
ac
as

of his having

before
; and

his disciples
it is in every
to

any

object of
cording
to

adoration

view,

Buddhist possible human

theology,

be

regarded

the highest
stincts

satisfaction to the religious
nature,

in

of

that

the
as

figure

of

the

supreme

Buddha

sits enthroned in all Buddhistic

the

supreme

object of
cording ists cannot

worship

temples.

Ac

to this doctrine,

the religion of the Buddh be charged

in any

sense

with

the

ab

surdities of atheism.
consists

The

peculiarity

of their piety
of the feeling

simply
on

in the

concentration

of

reverence

the transcendental of the eternal
director
out

personality

of

a

Divine
as

proclaimer
and

moral

law

; God,

the creator

of the physical

universe,

being
system quate,

left entirely

of view.

And,
narrow

though
and

this
inade

is undoubtedly it has
at

both
the
an

least
to most

merit

of

directing
once

the

faculty of worthy
there
cause

reverence

objectat
that

the most

and
can

the be

practical ; and, Plato,

in this view,

little doubt
so

who

found

to

protest

strongly

against

the immoral-

Buddhism.

159

ity of the
to

Homeric mortal

gods,

as

of most
would

evil example
have allowed
even
can

their

worshippers, without
of
censure,

Buddha
a

to pass

perhaps
Neither

with the

kindly

nod

approbation.
charged

Buddhists

be justly from Romans

with

the

humiliation
men,

which
such
as

arises

the

deification practised

of mortal
they

the

when the gods.

placed only there

Caesar and
was

Augustus
an

amongst

Not and

Buddha
more

eminently

moral

man,

fore
gods

worthy

of worship
; but

than
was, as

the
we as

immoral

of the
a

Greeks
god

he

have

said

repeatedly,

and

above

all gods,

the Gatha

has

it
"

"

'

Above,

below,

and

through

the Earth, life, is chief.' "
*

Amongst
Whether

all creatures

that have

gods

or

men,

Buddha

So

much

for the have been

practical generally

atheism

of which
The

the
wor

Buddhists shippers
gator
can

accused. Messiah,

of

a

transcendental
eternal

the promulnever

of the

law of moral
the deniers practical
as

rectitude,
; they

be classed
to

with

of God

only
the

refuse

complicate question
at p.
a

religion

with

metaphysical
*

to

the origin of the unias

Beal, p. 365 ; and through

71 he is represented
moment.

omniscient,

and

seeing

all things in

160

The
; from

Natural

History
by
never

of

Atheism.

verse

which,
were

the

way,

the

Greeks

also
but
in

abstained,
an

and

accused

of anything
But
not
even

anthropomorphic

superstition.

speculation

is it necessary

for
an

a

Buddhist
or

to

deny

absolutely

the doctrine Whatever had
to
on

of

Ishwara,

supreme

Creator.
might
averse

difficulties Buddha this up

himself however

have

subject,and
theological

he
the

was

mix

speculations

with
ing made

obligations

of the moral
statement

law, the follow from
a

exceedingly

curious

speech pub

by

a

Buddhist
on

priest, in the celebrated

lic debate
will amply

Buddhism

held at Pantura,

in Ceylon,
con

demonstrate
as a

that his priests do not amid
*
"

sider themselves less vacuities of
"

floating about
:

the

reason

blind atheism
deny
; but

He

did (the priest) his existence
to

not
one

a

Creator, should he The

but he
was

owned
come

why

that he admitted be allowed to be
now.

the enemy

of the

Creator it
was

? which

If any
theory who

one

deserved

God's
was

conversion he

he.

Christian
to

of

a

Creator
true

false, and
was on

will presently he believed,
account
was was

explain
and

them

the

Creator
out
even

whom

what

he

says

will be
must

borne

by the Scripture

of the

creation.

He
by

say that

this part in. no
on

of the
a

Bible It

most

prudently that why

written the

one

who God

was-

way

fool.

said there
; and

Spirit of
this fact

moved been

the

face of the
if not
cause

waters

should

have
on

mentioned,
was

to

show

that

the and

acting

of this Spirit life. This

the water
*

the

of all animal

vegetable held

A

full account

of the Buddhist Times

controversy,

at Pantura,

August,

1873.

Ceylon

Office, Colombo,

1873.

Buddh
The certainly so. animal life; if a cocoanut,
was

ism.

1

6

1

action of air
which
ten

on

water

always
on

produced
tree

usually be

remains pierced inside

the

with

out

rotting allowed
; and

for
to
so

nine
enter

or

months,

through,
was

and
to

air

be
worms
no

into
as

it, the

water

sure

breed
was

long

air could be excluded Likewise
upon

from

water,
'

there the

generation
as

of any it
was

insect.

in this instance, the

Spirit
and
even

of God,' produced according
water.

called, acted life. The

face of the waters,
was

it

animal
to

origin

of all species
was

then,

the

Bible, air, with heat, air,

which
and

associated
by Iswara, only

heat

and
name

These
"

three,
as
"

water,

whatever
or

known
and

whether Ghost

Brahma,
were

Vishnu,

and

God, of

Son,

Holy
were

the

identical and
and him

origin

species.
; and
as

These
neither

their only Creator,
nor

he would produce and
to

worship
beings

air,

water,

nor were

heat

could

any
so

without

the aid of the other, but with
ences,

co-existent
not

closely associated

each other that they could
the Christians
were

be said saying

have

separate

exist
are

in justified

that

though
yet

there
were

three beings, the Father,

Son,

and

Holy

Ghost,
were

they

not

three Gods,
states."

but

one

God.

These,

however,

not

beings, but

This

is Pantheism and

"

the Pantheism
of the other

of Heraclitus, pre-Socratic
not
as

Anaximenes,
thinkers The

some

of Asiatic
above

Greece

; certainly
as

Atheism.
possible

outlines, given of the the original
intelligent

much

in the words hoped, in
a

documents,
reader,
to

will, it is brought
some

enable
European

up

atmosphere,

understand
aspect

thing ism,

of the proper
as
one

attitude and notable

of Buddh in the

of the most
of

phenomena It
remains

moral for the

history

mankind. greater

only,

sake

of

clearness

and

decision,

1

62

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

that
our

we

give

a
as

short
to

summation the

of the results of
and worthlessness

inquiry

worth And

of
ness.

this phenomenon.

first of its worthless-

Buddhism,
many

after making
of practical
to

every

allowance and
East,

for its

points

excellence,

of happy
can

adaptation wise

the

genius
as

of the
anything

in

no

be

looked

upon

but

an

abnormal

manifestation
as

of the
on

religious

life of

man,

being,

it is, built up

the foundation
:
"

of the following

five essentially false propositions The (i.)
proposition
an

that This
a

human
proposition and

existence

on

this earth is

evil.
were

could

only

be

true

if God

devil,

if the

general

arrangements
were

of the system

of life in the universe purpose
to produce,

such

as

showed

a

manifest
a

and
ery

did actually
; but
are

produce,

preponderance
reverse

of mis

this is exactly headaches aching head

the

of the
every

fact.
is

If there
not

in the world,
are

head

always

; if there

toothaches,
longing
to

every

tooth

in every

is not

always

offer

itself to the expert
are

wrench all
over

of the dentist ; if there

rainy

seasons

the
rain
as

world, is not the

and the

whole

months
product

of rain in Skye,
of the atmosphere,

constant

clouds

do

not
even

always

blind the brightness

of the firmament,

Buddhism.

163
shoot themselves murder always from
their lovers,

in Skye
passion,
wives

; if lovers sometimes

and

husbands
men

sometimes
are

from

satiety, all

not

all lovers do not shoot themselves, do not
society. III.,
nor

and

all husbands of their Richard Pelopidan
drama,

murder

their wives, Romeo
nor

or

even

weary

Neither Hamlet,

and

nor Juliet, nor

Othello,

the

and
are

Labdacidan tragedies

enormities

of the
every

Greek

that

occur

day

; rather

it is

their extreme
popular shot

rarity

that
and idle

fits them

specially Larks

for
are

excitement

stage boys,

effect.
or

sometimes

by dainty

comprehensive
ancient
:

providers
emperors

of
or

suppers

for

Roman

modern
a

French

gourmands
to

but

the

shooting
its singing
mers as a

is

moment

of misery
continued sunshine.
to

the

lark, while long
sum

has been

through

of bright breezy

Existence,

taken
as or

whole,

is

as

preferable
or an a

non-existence of cool tumbler.
spit
water

light is to
warm

darkness,
wine is
to
an

glass

port

empty

To

say
sun's

that

existence

evil, is to
persons
no
sun,

in the
cataract

face, because
to
to
ence row,

some

have
because

;

or

say

that

there is the
a

you

happen
Exist
a

live under
is not

shadow
but
a

of

an

eclipse.
; not

bane,

blessing

sor

but

a

joy ;

and

he

lives most

wisely

and

164

The

Natural

History
knows
most

of Atheism.
how
to

most

religiously
to

who

enjoy

it,

according largely. The (2.)
consists

its nature,

intensely and

most

second

fundamental
human

error

of Buddha
in medi

in his placing

excellence The hero
is

tation rather than
always
a

in action.
a

with
a

him

is

saint,

never

king.

This

subordi
universe, is
a

nation

contrary
no

to to

the great be

fact of the The
a

and work
are

in

wise
a

accepted.
is

world

; life is

work

; growth

work

; all things

full of labour, and labour.
True

attain to their perfection only
no

by

it is,

doubt,

in the

order

of

abstract relationship, thought and

is the father of speech,

speech

is the harbinger of thought

of deed
is
a

; but

this ab
in

stract

fatherhood without

thing

itself of
an

absolutely
orange,
most

reality ; the

mere

thought

though

entertained

and

cherished

in the

capacious
never

of fertile brains
an

for infinite ages,

will

produce

orange

:

abstract

thought
mere

is

essentially

unproductive. highly

Hence

it is that

thinking
never

in the most

gifted of human
except

beings
as

produced of given
may

anything, materials,

in
to

so

far

the

using

according

the dictation
; but

of thought,

be called production
or

God

is

essentially

productive,
any

what

we

call creative,
is

and

with him

manifestation

of living energy

Buddhism.

165
deed.* We

necessarily

both

thought
to
to
a

and

cannot,

therefore, in aspiring
dignity

divine life, overlook
an

the

of the

deed,

make do

idol of thought.
a

A

German

professor

may

this, with

portentous

ambition,

amid

fumes

of tobacco by

and

stale beer, of
a

constructing

the universe

the stages
:
a

logical
pro
a man

process ceeds
may

; but

it is all vanity
a

living world

only found
an

from
a

living

God

; and

though

metaphysical

system,
on

he

never a

can

preach

effective practical gospel meditation, towards when
an

such
an

basis.
not

Religious
as an

set up

as

end,

exercise
more

end,
minds

can

issue only

with

all the
reverie,

highly
the

gifted
great

in transcendental devout
tor

but with
pious

in majority

por

and

monotony.

In (3.) session

the third place,

coming
tree

out

from

his long
medita

under

the
as

Buddhi might

of devout
been

tion, Buddha,

have

expected

from of

such

a

beginning,

falls plump

into the vulgarest
cure

all ethical heresies, viz., that the proper
abuse

for the
regula
cause, our

of

our

passions

and

appetites

is not exciting

tion, but total abstinence and violent
extirpation goes
Goethe

from

the

of the appetite.
to
war

Here

oriental
*

saint
is what
a

directly
meant
"

with

Nature,

This in

when
IM

he
ANFANG

put

into the mouth
WAR DIE

of

Faust,

well-known

passage,

THAT."

1

66

The
has

Natitral

History

of Atheism.
of succeeding
or

and

just as
to

much

chance

as

in
a

attempting

to live without

his dinner,

making

railway

the

sun.

Nevertheless,
a

this device and

of fre and

total abstinence
quently certainty practised,

is

very

old

blunder,

from

the apparent

directness

of the remedy. and

Cut

off the supply will not

at the

fountain-head, the valley.
the

the waters
But

overflow

in

Certainly.
be

if all the supply
cut

of all

fountain-heads of your there?

imperiously and

off, what

becomes
vegetation

valleys then,

of all the green
eye

"If thy right

offend thee,

phick
cut

it out ; and
"

if

thy

right
text

hand

offend thee,
highest
case

it

: off

an

evangelic

this of the
a

value, and
a case

the

best of all rules for
extreme

special

;

in which

diseases cry out
never a can

for extreme

remedies,

but

which

afford rule.

rational

ground minded

for the statement
men

of

general

Sanetheir where

will keep
as

their right
as

eyes

and
can

right hands they and belong.

long The

they of
man

possibly
is not

end

to amputate

to cripple his functions, to

but to put
in the

them

forth
of

lustily, and
their energy.
no

enjoy himself
Morality
to
to
see

luxuriance

with all its excellence
the place

has

commission

usurp

of

enjoyment.
rule of

God

delights

his creatures

flap their wings

in the free expatiation

of sweet

life. The

Buddh
rieht is not
o

ism.
fell, but

167
to
use

the

woodman's

axe

the

gardener's known

knife to prune

; it is,to

Plato's wellthe

simile, neither

the

chariot

nor

steeds
that

that draw

the chariot, but, only

the coachman
or

holds

the rein and
as

applies the spur
may

presses

down

the drag, The (4.)

the

case

require.

Buddhist,
certain

and

indeed
err

the

Brahminists

also, to

a

extent,

in teaching

that the
the self-

natural and
existent

necessary

boundary

between
can

and

all-derived existence
of human

be overleapt

by

any

amount

virtue,

however

fault

less. The
confusion

of the Divine

and

human

spheres
to
us

of existence
so

is the origin of much
in the religious

that appears

strange

fictions of the Hindoos. in his
;
"

For

the purposes

of fiction, Southey,
use
a

Curse
sober
It

of Kehama," thinking
seems

might

it wisely

but

to

it remains

gigantic
under

monstrosity.

natural to pantheism fall into this
error.

certain conditions

to

Spinoza

and

Giordano

Bruno,

Timogine, and

kept

quite free from dualism,

it. Hebrew,

Mahommedan,
steer

Christian
such

of

course

clear of any tendency

portentous

imaginations. depress

The

in them

rather
by

is to

and
pre

discourage
sence

the creature
an

the overwhelming overpowering

of

omniscient

and

Creator.

1

68

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
weighty
seriousness piety,

Hence
not

the

awful

gloom

and

unfrequently

associated

with and

Christian
with
an

especially
environment.

in its early stages,

unkindly

The (5.)
consists
as

last fundamental

error

of the Buddhists

in the imagination
can

that
ever

the

human

mind,

essentially reasonable,

be satisfied with
plastic Reason,
as

out

the

faith in

a

self-existent of which

the living root
of things, which words

out
we

this wonderful
grows

whole

call the world,

; in other

that the human
of
an

mind

can

rest contented

with

the conception
without sequence.
a

invariable

sequence

of things of
all

reasonable

substantial

ground

It will be observed

that

this

error
as a

touches

only

the intellectual side of Buddhism

philosophy,
effi

and
cacy
not
unum

does
as
a

not

necessarily

vitiate

its practical time,

rule of life.
that

At
man

the

same

it must
say,
as an

be forgotten

is, as the lawyers
a

quid ; that he that

has

head

as

well

heart ;

and

indirectly the
will be principles
instincts
as

practical

efficiency of any
its funda

religion

seriously
are

affected, when be
at
war

mental

felt to
human

with

the

primary indeed,

of

thought. and

So

long,

thought such
a

is suppressed,
religion
may

education
to satisfy

neglected,

continue

Buddhism.
dominate
question

169

the

masses,

and

the
; but

popular the moment

sentiment
a

without vated
mate

serious

culti

reason

is stirred to the
a

exercise

of its legiti

functions, such

religion droops. is forgotten
assertions,

The

no

bility of its moral absurdity of

inspiration

in the

its intellectual

and
a

the
man

blackness
will not
system,

of its intellectual negations the
to

; for

envy

position

of moral

saintship

in

a

where

be

an an

orthodox
ass.

believer implies

that he is intellectually
In the view of

these serious

defects,

one

cannot

but feel considerable
such
a

difficulty in understanding

how
reform
its pe

system

should

have

succeeded,
; inasmuch
more

as

a

of the

existing

Brahmanism
are

as

culiar doctrines
statements

little

than

overstrained of what

and

paradoxical

exaggerations

already rational person

existed in Brahmanism,
recognition

less the altogether Mind. Any

of

a

creative

who

will take the trouble of the
Laws

to read

the open
by

ing chapters

of Manu,

translated
perceive

Sir William
much
more

Jones, cannot
rational
is than
and

fail to

how
of the about

noble

the theology

Brahmans
invariable unexplained

the soulless talk of Buddha
and unavoidable
can

sequence,
causes.

effects from attribute

We moral

therefore

the extraordinary

conquests

of the Buddhis-

i

;o

The

Natural

History

of
to

Atheism.
intrinsic protest the

tic doctrine,
superiority against the
as

not
to

so

much

its

own

its emphatic

practical

selfishness ceremonial

of

sacerdotal

caste,

Pharisaic penances,
ments*

and

element,

with the extreme

mortifications, thereto belonging,

and
as

sacrificial
also

atone

fire-worship,

and which
strous

other

forms

of idolatrous
time
as

superstition, assumed such

all of
mon

in Buddha's

had
rouse

proportions

to

the moral
same

indigna
way

tion

of society, pretty
market

much

in the

that

the public
popes

of indulgences

by

the

Roman

in the early part of the sixteenth

century

had

prepared

the

popular

mind

for the anti-sacerdotal

protests of Martin In

Luther. penances

reference to sacerdotal
of the

and

ascetic
to

mortifications

flesh, it is of importance
in

observe
sketch

that, though

the

above

biographical and
pro

the characteristic features of asceticism
mendicancy
seems

self-imposed nounced,
tinction

sufficiently
a

there between

exists, nevertheless,
a

broad

dis

system

of artificial abstinence self-torture ; and
in op
in all

and

a

system

of unnatural
to

posing
"

himself

such

unnatural

practices

*The
the

Chinese

book

contains

repeated

strong

protests

against

shedding

of blood

by sacrificial atonement.

See

particularly

P- 159-

Buddhism.
forms,

171
his precedents,
is certain

Sakya

Muni,

considering

and

the

atmosphere
a

which

he breathed,
amount moment

ly entitled to Bitten version
as

very

considerable the very

of praise. of his
con con

he

was

from

with

that rage
is the

of plunging impulse

into

the

trary, which
converts,

natural

of all sudden
per

it cannot

be
a

doubted
course

that he went of that
was

sonally culum

through
of sacred doctors
our

regular

curri by

self-torture which
of the

lauded church

the

then
as

Brahmanic

; but

herein,
works
and

modern law, he

evangelical devotees found the that
to
no

in the

of the

rest

to

his soul ;
of devout form
im

hence

was

led, in

process
more

meditation,

to strike out

moderate

of self-discipline, which,
agination,

his high-strained

and

set

against

the

orthodox
well

cycle

of
it

Hindoo
self as
ment

mortifications, the and
true

might

commend carnal

via

media

between In

enjoy
to real

religious

castigation.
we

order down

ise this with all vividness,
a

shall set

here

curious

passage

which

recites how,

in the outset
or

of his religious designates,
upon
In
saint.
a

career,

the

Bodhi of

satwa,

Buddhi
came

in the

solitudes of Rishis,*

the

forest,
were

company

who
a

practisseer

Williams's

Sanscrit Dictionary

Rishi is defined

and

172
ing

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

their
the
:
"

prescribed
various

austerities, and

learnt

from
as

them
follows
"
'

phases

of

self-mortification,

Venerable

brother

!' they replied, 'you
our

may

ask any
we,

questions
as

you

please

respecting

religious
to

discipline, and
you in detail.

far

as

possible, will explain
there
are some

everything
mortify
or

Amongst nothing

us

who

themselves shoots
tree,
or

by

eating

except
or

edible
tender

herbs
stems

(tsae),
of the
tree

spouting

of

plants

(t'he),

the
or

Nyagrodha
; whilst

of the

Dukula

(?)tree,
of the

of the Kanikala

others others

eat

nothing

but the stems

of one
ox,

particular
others
different
to

tree

(ekadruma),
but the roots again

eat

the

excrements
or

nothing

of certain plants,
there
are
some

the mashed
take

fibres

of

shrubs; preserve

others

who

just water
with
others
;

enough

life, etc. ; with

clothe

themselves sheep

hempen
with
others

vesture

; others

the fleece of the
the
cotton

black

grassy

robes ; others

with

of the wild
with

caterpillar ;
;

with

the dragon-beard
or some

plant ; others

deer-skins

others
on

with

the rags of corpses,
some on

with
on

filthy rags ;
tree-trunks,
;

some
some

again
on

sleep

boards,
mers

chips,

pestle-ham holes ; others
use

;

some

again
open

dwell

in

cemeteries
stand
turn

others

in

under
to

the

heavens;
;

others

in water;
to

others the
so
sun

fire

their inconvenience
arms

others

always keep

; others
sit in bodies

raise both
one

above
on

their heads
the have

and

them

;

others

fixed

posture
others

earth ; others

cleanse

not

their

from
out

filth ;

their hair
; others

spirally-twisted ; the hair
on

the hair of their heads

pull out

pull their faces ;
whilst in

others

thus it is these
turn

different Rishis themselves
to
to

practise self-mortification,

they

give
vows

prayers, amongst

and
men."

be

ardent and meditation profound in Heaven, born to be born or again

In opposition grim
was

to

such

monstrous

distortions and

caricatures

of

rational

self-control, Buddha
as
a

entitled to plant

himself

sort

of monkish

Buddhism.
sanctity in the

173
mean

Aristotle, placing
extremes

betwixt
we

two

; and

this, in

fact, is what

find him
:-.
"

doing

in the following

remarkable

passage

"

*

Ye

Bhikshus

! who

have

left your
"

homes,

there

are

two

things

ye should

of pleas bodily ure and and of gratification, also excessive mortification body, -which neither tend to nor the profit of others ! self -profit
renounce

finally and

forever

all worldly

sources

'

And
"

so

the Gatha

says

"

'

Rejectand
Check
If
a man

forsake

places and

modes

of excessive penance
gratification ; lines of conduct
way
"

;

and

entirely control

sensuous

is able to follow these two he will attain the true continued each

Immediately
"

of
'

ETERNAL

LIFE.'

Then

the Buddha given
up

his address
erroneous

Bhikshus methods,

! be assured

that

I have

of these
I have

and

this is

the middle

path
are
a

to which

attained
my

; thus

am

I enlightened, and

thus my have

eyes

able to

see

and

mind

to know,
am

therefore

I
of

gained

condition

of rest
have
now

(santi), and
accomplished
a

in possession acquirement

complete

spiritual life, and intelligence, and
and
am

the

of

perfect

am

true

Shaman,
Bhikshus,

and

have

reached
to

Nirvana

perfected. If
also
use

then,

ye wish

reach
used,

this condition, and
and your you

ye must

this middle
wisdom

path which
shall spring

I have

eyes shall be shall

opened, and

up within,

and enjoy rest, and reach holiness (As'htanga Marga), viz. Samyak-drishti, of kalpa, Samyagvak, Samyagadjiva, Samyak-karmanta,
"

Nirvana,

the eight paths

Samyak-samSamyagvy! is the

ayama,

Samyak-smriti, path,

Samyak-sarrradhi.
attained
to, my

This,
eyes

Bhikshus
are

middle have

which
rest,

having
To

opened,
to tend ;

and
as

1

found
says
"

etc.

this, therefore, ye

ought

the

Gatha
" '

Because
man

of these eight paths
casts

leading

aright, and

A

off the trammels

of life, death,

fear,

Having

entirely got rid of all the effects of Karma,

Through

eternity he shall

"

no

more

receive migratory

existence?

174
In
not

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

preaching

thus,
as

the

Hindoo

reformer

could

but appear
pious

the

spiritual friend and
to
use

deliverer
of been
nor

of many the

souls, who, of

the for

language
ages

apostles

Christianity,
a

had

groaning their

under
had

yoke

which
to

neither
bear
a

they
we

fathers

been

able

; and

may

with ual who

perfect truth recognise brotherhood
taught

in him great

certain

spirit

with

the

Western there

preacher
is neither
a new
crea

that
nor

in Christ

Jesus

circumcision
ture.

uncircumcision,

but

But (2.)
secured
over

the

principal
such

element
a

which

in the end

to

Buddha

remarkable of his

triumph
be

the

established
was

religion the extreme

country,

yond

all doubt

innocency,

purity,

benevolence, himself fervour and

and

disinterested

philanthropy
It
was

of
the
in

his immediate
missionary
as

disciples. spirit that

of the

conquered

the
case

case

of Buddha,

it has

so

often done
In

in the

of

Christian
love

missionaries.

all times

and

in all places

is the
in

key

to the

human

heart,

and

the

great

weapon

all moral

battles ; in all
there
the
is
a

high-minded,
contagion

self-devoting which,
when

apostleship, applied, gunpowder it.

aptly

human
can

heart
own

can

no

more

resist than

dis

the

spark

which

ignites

The

admiration

Buddhism.
by

175
altogether
unworldly
prince

produced

the noble
of

and

self-renunciation
comes

the

young

Sakyan

out

in several passages

of the Chinese
:"

book,

and

notably

in the following

having observed the of the company, another Brahman manner, standing by addressed one grace and force of Bodhisatwa's ' ! it seems to me one that this is no other than and said, Venerable
Then
a

"

child of Heavenly
now

birth, thoroughly
means

acquainted

with

the

human

heart, who
some'
men

by

of this expedient For
why ?
we

desires to find that up my

accomplish
world

illustrious purpose. speak
thus"" they grow I must

in the
sons

nourish they may

and

bring

in order

that when

up

help

to establish and

benefit my
me, so

family
when
and have this

name,

in buying old I may

and

selling and getting profit for
to devote
men

that

I

am

be able

myself

to religious inquiries

practices."
a

It is thus

generally
to their
own

think

and

speak,

they with he

reference
it is not

in all they do

advantage.

But
own,

one

so,

he seeks the good
"

of

others and

not his

provides nothing for himself .'

And

again

:
"

"

Then

one

of the Manava
eulogy,

youths,
his hands

a

disciple of Alara, broke together in
token

out

into the
reverence,

following
as as

clasped
'

of

he

addressed

Bodhisatwa,
times

Oh

! rarely Seen

is such

wisdom
worldly

thine ; in olden

indeed

many homes,
so

kings, and

satiated with

pleasures, have

forsaken their

sought
and

for
to

reli

gious

in perfection

the solitudes;

but thou !

young

in the vigor

of your fer the
now,

age, to give up the certain enjoyment Royalty, and of in the desert" the harshness a life companion
the

pre
And

beasts, and
Alara, way

of birds'! wonderful indeed unfettered
Bodhisatwa,
'

of wild
'

is this !

addressing

said,

Venerable
you

Sir ! seeking
your

what

and in pursuit of what

have object,

bent

steps

hither?'"

176

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
and
scope

All this, and
dha's teaching,
ment

the general
stripped

tone

of Bud

of the grotesque

bedizenthat
tri

in which

it is presented,

plainly shows
as

Buddhism umphed, tles, love
siveness,
ness

triumphed, fundamentally
and

just

Christianity
in all moral

because with

bat

humanity,

their innate
over

expannarrow

will always self-contained

triumph
pride

the

of

and

unsocial
realm
as

ag

grandisement. cal forces teaches, healthy
eased,
a a

If there be natural

in the

of physi
Darwin
more

selection,

which,
stronger

necessarily
type

leads

the
the

and

to overwhelm

feeble

and

the dis world
re

not

less certainly is there in the moral
selection,
as

law

of moral before

which

forces
to

lies to day,

treat

truth,

night yields

the

and

Malignity

to grind

her teeth and

to spit her venom

before Benignity
How

in vain.* Buddhistic
evangelical
a

far the and

religion, notwithstand
tone

ing the high
may

of its morality,

have
a

proved

great practical failure, I do not

feel in religion
*

condition that
starts

absolutely with
a

to

declare.

Every

high

and
that
a

unworldly
Buddhism
and

Even

a

zealous

Christian
"

missionary
a

allows
than

in
is to

the East
be

has

proved

more as

of
a

blessing

curse,"

regarded
lectures
10.

historically
on

notable

engine

of

social elevation. London,

Three

Buddhism

by the Rev. Ernest

T. Eitel.

1871, p.

Buddhism.
failure
to

177
a

ideal, must
it becomes

in
a

one

sense

prove

as

soon

as

fashion
in this

and
sense,

tradition

profess
a

it.

Christianity,
dous

has

proved of
course,

tremen

failure ; and

Buddhism,
a

could
as

much
it
was

less escape
less human

similar

doom,

in proportion and
more

in its sympathies,

removed Buddhism
in
so

from
must

common

life in its practices.
merely

For

fail, not places, by

like Christianity

many

outstriding the moral

the

moral

ambition

and

transcending

capacity
to
over

of

its professors,

but

by

insanely

attempting

ride the
own

common

instincts

of humanity,
on

and

dis

the

primary
are

conditions The

which

human
result of

creatures

created.

necessary

such
a

an

overstrained

system

is

a

double

morality,

morality

of artificial sanctitude
and
sometimes

combined
systematic

with
hy

natural

stupidity,
in the

pocrisy

priests

and

a

morality

of worldly and
cus

accommodation,
tomary

external
in the
or
a

observances,
people,

indulgences

combined

with
of
a

the

silly ceremonial

barren

formalism
service.

religion might in

which

is not

reasonable indeed,

It

have

been

expected,

that

Buddha,

protesting like

against

the

exclusiveness
the
to

of caste,
to

and,
poor,

Christ,
have

preaching prevailed

gospel

the

might

deliver his followers

178
from

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
a

the

burden
performing

of supporting
a

number

of idle

persons

routine

of

silly mummeries,
must

called and,
caste

priests ; but

religious

teachers the

exist ;

whether
or

formally

claiming

privileges them

of

not,
a

they

will not
knit
powers,

fail to

organize

selves

into

strongly

association
so

of persons
as an

exercising

sacerdotal

long

artifi

cial ideal of sanctity
are

is maintained,
to

and

the people that admin
common

not

sufficiently instructed is not
separate
a

understand business but
a

true

religion

separate

istered

by

a

profession,

principle
elevation I

of action
to

inspiring

all breasts,

and

giving

all forms
two
no

of social energy.

subjoin

passages

from

recent

writers,
side

exhibiting
practical
expect
to

what,
Buddhism be very

doubt,

is the

dark
we

of

(forthe
patent

light side

cannot

to English

residents

and

foreign

missionaries),
as

but

which
so

still,I fear, must

be accepted
"It

a

true

picture,

far

as

it goes
by the

:

"

is specifically urged they unfit
men so

against the doctrines for the entirely
or

of Fo,

Con

fucians, that

business
on

and

duties of life, by of existence
as

fixing their speculations
to lead
some

another

state

fanatics to' hang

drown

themselves
been
man

in order
to commit

to antici

pate

futurity ; nay, two
with The the

persons

have

known

suicide the
next

together
world.

view
are

of becoming sometimes
women nun
or

and

wife
of

in

priests

accused

employing
women,

their least,

superstitious arts in seducing
called Ny-Koo,
a

; societies of

at

species of

female

devotees,

are

encouragex.1

Buddhism.
by

179
use

them.

The

tricks occasionally

made

of

by

the

priests,

Le Comte tellsa story the practices of the fakirs of India. in a vessel stuck full of nails (some about of a bonze, who went are thing like that in which the Carthaginians said to have shut up a merit to relieve him from "Regulus),and pretending that it was his pain, he sold these nails to the devout at so much per head. resemble
to aim at get quietism, seems itself, and ceasing to be ting rid of all passions, even of thought desires: a species of mental by any human annihilation. urged Certainly, to judge of its effects on the priests, the practice of Bud
"

Their

notion

of abstraction,

or

dhism
nearly

appears

to

have
an

a

most

debasing

influence.
to

They

have, is

all of them, acquired

probably

expression in that dreamy
is said to They have

approaching
state

idiotcy, which
one

in which

famous

professors
a

passed

nine

of their most years, with his eyes
their systems
an

fixed upon
moral

wall !

say, with
a man

reference
receives
now

to

of

retribution, that what

is

indication of

his conduct in a former state ; and that he may augur his future con in this life. The dition by his behaviour merit, however, would in inaction as action : in the abstinence to consist as seem much

from

evil,

or

the

mere

self-inflictionof pain,
make

rather

than

in the and de

practice of good. mand their the balance
own,

They

up

an

account

with
*

heaven,

in bliss, or

pay it by sufferings and

penances

of

like just

the papists of Europe."

The
man

next

witness

is from
years

an

intelligent Scots
:
"

who
"

resided

eleven

in Ceylon

During
to

the continuance think
it incumbent

of the festival, the priests of Buddha
on

seemed
with

them

to

perambulate

the

town

their begging

dishes, and
on

to go

through with

the ceremony their fans before

of

re

They moved ceiving alms. faces, occasionally halting them, but not asking

slowly receive

their

to

whatever
to
me

food

was

offered
was more

for it.

It appeared

that this

to live than a regular practice, although penance of a temporary Theif sleek faces by by alms is enjoined the rules of their order.
*

uThe

Chinese,"

by

J. F.

Davis.

London

:

Knight,

1840, p. 219.

i

So

The
sly looks
and and

Natural

History
better

of Atheism.
elsewhere
in heavy
more

and

spoke

of

fare procured
wandering from

with

less

trouble Kandy,

more

certainty than for supplies

rain

through

wailing

the
*

devout

portion

of

those professing the Buddhist

religion."

Very

sad, all this ! but neither
do
men

it could
nor

not

be

other
or

wise ; for

in

Ceylon

in

Canton,
or

elsewhere, of thistles. wedded
a

gather long
as

grapes
reverence

of thorns is not

figs

So
reason,

firmly

to

religion
nonsense,

can nor

never

exist without

certain

alloy of

morality
in
a

become
creature

altogether

identified Truth

with
one

Nature
proper

with whom
one

is the

law, Love according

the
to

seemly

inspiration,

and

Energy,

truth and
*

love, the chief end
Years in Ceylon,"

of his existence.
vol. L pp. 312 and 301.

"Eleven

by Forbes,

CHAPTER

VI.

THE

ATHEISM

OF

REACTION.

QdffKovres flva ffoQol
ST.
PAUL.

ACTION
CONTRARY

AND

REACTION
:
so

ARE

EQUAL
many

AND

I

was

taught

years

ago

in

the

Natural

Philosophy
; and

class, Marischal
a

College, had
ness

Aberdeen

through
the

long

life have
correct

constant

occasion

to note

general
sentence.

and wide
nature

applicability of the

It is
up
to

the
a

of every of

force, in
opposing

a

world

made

of be

rich variety

forces, either
as

stopped

in its action
a

altogether"
"

the

advancing
on

tide by
own
a

rocky
as we

coast
see

or

to

be

sent

back
to and

its

traces,

in the heavings

fro of
in

great crowd
direction

of people, produces
till
a

when

the over-pressure
pressure

one

stronger
sort

in the

opposite

direction,

some

of comfortable the

adjustmentbe

achieved

in which

thoujostled

1 82

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
in the

sands
great

may

breathe

freely.
moral

So it is exactly
movements

intellectual and
constitute

of society, of
single

which

the

marked

epochs
of
a

history.
gener

It is impossible
ation
stances

to live the space

in

the

world

without

seeing

striking revulsion

in

of this sort of propulsion
pass

and

of be of

sentiment
come
now,

before

our

eyes.

What
grand

has
burst

for instance, enthusiasm Lord
on

of that
some

classical
ago,
ous

which,
and
some

half-a-century of adventur
of driving
a

sent

Byron

score

Britons
out

the romantic of Greece, and
men,

expedition

the Turk dom

reconstituting

king

of Greek-speaking the
Periclean

beneath
?
a

the The

white

majesty of
is
now,

Parthenon

Greek

in

John

Bull's estimate,
and

only

merchant

of very old
swing
some

sharp

practice,

nothing

more.
a

Our
similar

ally, the

Turk,

has

suffered
; and

under

of the pendulum

the
ago

Russophoby
is
now

of

thirty
to

or

forty

years

veering

round
compass,

the and

Russophile
accustoming

point

of

the
look

political
with
a

itself to
even on

grand

cosmopolitan
a

sympathy settlement

the
great

proba Arctic
again,

bility of
bear
on

speedy

of the

the tip of the Golden
of

Horn.
into
say

Take,
any

the
great

department English

Art.

Look and

of
you

the
see

cathedrals,

what

The
The

Atheism

of Reaction.
of
an over

183
an es

there.
sentially
monuments

internal walls
type

edifice of all round
in

Gothic
and

stuck

with
pure

other

decorations,

the
as

Greek,
to

or

composite should growing

Italo-Roman
expect up
so

style,
as a

unlike would of
on a

what

one

there, high
on

tree

be

which,

the

type

white-stemmed
the end
a

birch, flinging its tresses should suddenly
alter

lightly

breeze, in the

its style, and

ruddy
pine,

arms

and
was

dark-green
the
cause

needles

of

Scottish
the

What from the

of this ?
style of the

Simply
Middle

reaction

the

Gothic
of

Ages,

and

rage

admiration
that

which
boast

possessed

Europe

for everything
and Roman

could

the prestige

of Greek books

kinship. days,
you
or

In the will find
on as

architectural
the Gothic

of

those

style of church,
now

college,

cottage,

which

we

pride
a

ourselves, cultivated

simply
taste

noted

a

barbarism,
avoid.

which
a

will look
may

at

to

And

similar

phenomenon of physical,
we

be and

ob
in

served

in every
50

form
that

moral,

tellectual life ;
as
a

may

almost

lay it down
validity
:

historical proposition social state
and
sooner or

of universal

every ry ;

later begets its contra
the natural and
power

that not
we

only
see

by

of

recoil which bodies, but

in springs
mere

other

elastic

from

the

love

of novelty.

In

184

The

Natural
is

History

of Atheism.
remarkable.
antithesis,

poetry

this
poetry

particularly
of sparkling

When
sonorous

Pope's
swell, day,
no

and

shrewd

condensation powerful,
in
a

had

enjoyed
have

its

genius,

however

could

im

pressed

the British public
itselfin the
and

similar degree,
form.

had
new

it presented

same

A

quite grand

form

of conceiving
was

picturing
; and

the

old

truths of Nature
after from
a

required

this the public,
in large

short

season

of ebb, received
Burns,

flood

Cowper

and

Wordsworth
An
so

and

Shel

ley, Byron,
acts
so

Scott, and
and

others. spreads

influence which widely
in

potently

the

domains
not

of politics, poetry,

and

the
If

arts,
our

could maxim

fail to show
true

itself in theology.

be

that all action
and

has

a

tendency

to

go

into
or

the extreme,

that every

social state

sooner

later begets

its contrary, and

then in the movement

of

public opinion,
ment,

the revolutions

of social senti

it may

sometimes

happen

that
becomes

religion be
the

gets irreligion, and

orthodoxy

father
to

of

heterodoxy"* but

paradoxical quite

thing,
true,

no

doubt,

say,

nevertheless And
to

when

rightly
we

understood.
must

understand

it rightly

remember good is
an

the great Aristotelian
or

maxim,

that
limita of

any

misapplied,
evil ; and

applied

without
movements

tion

that the great

The
human

Atheism

of

Reaction.

185
and

society

called

reforms,

revolutions,
fashion
a

revivals, take

place
or

generally strong of the This Be

after the
in

of

floods
which
cry

in water,

pressure
case

crowd,
and
meant
:

in the nature

tend

to excess,

for limitation. he said
:"
"

is what

Solomon

when

not

righteous

overmuch
Be
not

why

shouldst
:

thou
why

destroy shouldst

thyself ?
thou die

wise

overmuch
time?"

before

thy

When
begotten
we

we

say,

therefore,
a

irreligion is
natural
re

ofttimes
action,

from
mean

religion by that
piety

simply in
a

exhibited

to

the world
aspect,
pr

graceless, -clumsy, and unpleasing forwardness, or an obtrusive with
or

a

feverish
ousness,

impatience,
a

with
or

a

dictatorial imperiin any

stern

harshness,

other

form of

destitute of the proprieties

and

the pleasantness

well-conditioned
if
an

nature,

will have the very

itself to
contrary

blame
to

effect is produced

that

desired. and think

Shut

the door strikes you
?

with
on

a

bang the

and

it opens,
Do you
sur

perhaps

face.
as

that strange

No.

Then rigid, and
should the

little be

prised if certain stiff,and of theological

bristling forms
hetero

orthodoxy
even

produce
only

doxy
theory

; nay

that

theism,
in the

reasonable fashion produce

of the
you

universe,
state

blundering

in

which

it

may

possibly

1

86

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

atheism,
Every
ed

the

most

unreasonable
statement,
even
or

of

all theories.

exaggerated
"

offensively-word
is fundamental

proposition

when
cannot

there
escape

truth in the

matter

"

from

a

double
person

evil consequence

; it not
meant to

only

irritates the

whom
him make abuse

it

was an

convince,

but

it supplies

with
a

argument
use.

of which

he will not
in this way,

fail to
every

dexterous

And
every

in religion, and

crude

conception

and

rash assertion
to

in theology,

has
to

a

natural
end,
or

tendency

produce

irreligion,. and
co-operate,
in

where

other

influences

practical

speculative
to

atheism.
look
at

It will be the business

of this paper somewhat

this special phase

of atheism,

in

detail. Let
greatest
us

take
event

a

glance, the

in the

first place, at the
of

in

moral
or

history

modern
as

Europe should

"

the

Reformation,

Revolution,

it

rather
in

have

been

called, of the
century.
"

Christian
terrible
quite reaction

Church

the

sixteenth

This
we

ecclesiastical

earthquake
"

for

so

may
a

soberly from abuse the

call it
excess

was

unquestionably

of sacerdotal

assertiveness,

and

the

of ecclesiastical power,

in the latter centuries did

of the Middle

Ages.

How

this

excess

show
offence

itself? and

in what

shape

did it give sharp

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

187
and of

to
rouse

the

delicate conscience
his sleeping wrath
?

of Martin
into
a

Luther,

thunderstorm his
parading

holy
public

indignation
places, and

Plainly marching
a

by

the

through

the highways gospel of salva
?

of Christendom
tion
course,

with
:

sacerdotal what
sort

by

works

and

of

works

Of

conventional
payments

and

arbitrary kinds

works,

penances

and

of various all-powerful
common

imposed

by

author

ity of the nothing
in
a

clergy, and
the

having
of

littleor
a

with character,
gospel

morality is the
as

pure

life,and

noble

which

character contrasted

istic glory

of the
great
mass

of Christ,

with

the

of polytheistic
sensuous

religions, the

strange

growths

of

excitement

and

trans

cendental protested
lar effect,
ism,

imagination. exactly
as

Against
same

this abuse and

Luther
simi

in the

way,

with the

St. Paul

protested and

against

ritual
various

ceremonialism,
on

externalism raised
a

of

kinds,

which

the

Jews

meritorious

claim of preference

before the general
meritorious

Father

of the
claims,

human

race.

Of
when

preferential works of
a

especially

founded

on

conven

tional, arbitrary, and
can

institutional character,

there by

be
"
"

no

mention

before

God

"

:

the

justlive
a

faith

faith in that Saviour existing

who

preached
as a

per

fect ideal of morality,

always

measure

1

88

The

Natural
but

History

of

Atheism.
This

of attainment,
great and

never

as

a

claim of merit. St. Paul
and

doctrine, preached
stated
to

by

Luther,
in the

with the world

most

effective and
"

emphasis

Epistle saved

Romans twice

the from

Galatians,
the
of

has

the

once

cumbrous

and
and

narrow-minded
again

ceremonialism

the

Jews,
But

from

the despotic

and

soul-stupefying

sacerdotalism
the miner's canic
a
son

of the Romanists. of Eisleben
to
was a

So
man

far well.

of too the of

vol

temper

be

able the

to

keep

reaction

which moral

he

roused

within The
cast

bounds

salutary

therapeutics.
he

sacerdotal blood
a

ossification
a new

into which

had

the

of

life,

found

itself confronted violent and

with

fever of individualism
manifestations,
re

in various

grotesque

moved

not

less from
popes

the

imperious

dogmatism
moderation,

of hu

the

Roman

than

from

the

manity,

and

sound-mindedness of St. Paul the of
:

which anarchy

characterised and
ass

the gospel
sion, with

and
a

confu

braying
a

of

theological there, and in
a a

here,
rav

the cackling ings began
and

clerical goose madman

the

of

a

sectarian

third

quarter,

to show

face to such
men,

quietly-disposed

sensible .that became like Erasmus,
spirits they had
a
con

degree

seriously alarmed

before

the

jured up,

and

retreated,

with

devout

timidity,

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
old* Catholic the
live by

189
Church.
simple faith,

into But

the
even

sacred

ark

of the

with

all these

extravagances,

doctrine
was

of Luther,
as a

that the

justshall

exactly,

in the time

of St. Paul,

forthwith
even now

to subjected

misunderstanding,
in
some

which
Protestant

works

perniciously

churches,
a

and

breeds,

in

a

certain class
may

of minds,

distaste gen

for Christianity which

naturally

fall into

eral irreligion, and

even

rush blindly into the blank

vacuities of atheism. in
planting

This

abuse

consists
not to
or

simply
ceremo

faith antagonistically, and
statutory

nial, conventional,
set

work,

to

work

up

as

a

meritorious

human
;
a

claim, but

to vir

tuous

works
to

generally
any
one

perversity

sufficiently

evident

who the
as

will seriously Epistle
a

study

the

eleventh where the

chapter

of

to

the

Hebrews, of
a

faith is defined
reality

practical

conviction
and
necessa

of

God's

moral

government,
and

conviction rily in
a

manifesting
course

itself naturally
virtuous,
as

of such

self-sacrificing, and
in

heroic

conduct,

we

see

the lives of all
prophets which
up for

the great the
common

statesmen,
consent

patriots,

and

of
in the

mankind
great

has

set

models
manity.

of imitation Thus but
are

Pantheon works
or,

of hu
are

Christian

faith and
one

not

opposed,

essentially

;

at least, two,

190

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

of which
as

the

one
a

as

necessarily

produces

the other,
out
or

the

fruit of

flower

is developed misapplication

of

the
one

blossom. sided of
in

How

far this
of

statement

the

great

Protestant

doctrine producing,

salvation the way

by

faith has
a

worked

in

of reaction,

against prejudice

Evan
ears

gelical
are

preaching
to

altogether, is felt and

those
said

whose
some
us,

open

what

by of

of the

most
no

serious

thinkers

in the midst

will have

difficulty in perceiving.
or,

Persons and

who
Miss
or

reject
Mar-

Christianity,
tineau, cism,

like Mr.
a

Atkinson
sort

openly

profess

of atheism
on

agnosti that
not
a
re

do

it not has

unfrequently failed in
"

the

ground
;

Christianity
converted

its mission
no

it has
; for
not

the world,*

and

wonder

ligion that preaches

salvation

by

faith and
into
a

by

works, dental

naturally
region

directs attention what

transcen
"

of and

has

been

called

otherpractical
and

worldliness,"
plans for the

far away

from

all those

improvement

of the world
fall under the
we

the

progress
category say

of society of
good

which
works.

profane do
not

Of

course case case

that

this way
of the

of

stating

the

against
to

the

religion
as
a

gospel
of

is in any

be taken
;
so

true
*

account

the
and

whole
MARTINEAU,

matter

far

Letters

of ATKINSON

p. 172.

The

Atheism
has

of
gone,

Reaction.

191

as

my

experience
even

the

most

zealous bigoted,
compari

Christians,
as son,

when

narrow-minded
are,

and

they
in

too

frequently of good

can

bear with

respect

works,

the

most
or

decided
agnostic

and

thorough-going but that there it behoves consider,
a

of the
is
some

atheistical truth

class ;

in it,

and
most

a

truth, which
seriously
to

Christian
I have

preachers
been
con

long

vinced.

There

is

style of preaching, of which
has

the unprac
a

tical and
to drive

unfruitful nature persons of
a

tendency directly
see

practical turn

of mind
:

into irreligion and something ought
will
not

practical atheism
to

they

that the do ; be,

be done
or

for society

which
cannot

Church
and,

do,

the

Church

therefore,

they

resort

to other to

and, it may

antagonistic

agencies.

Akin

the one-sidedness faith rather
guilt, than
as
as

of that
means

theology of

which

preaches
past

a a

from justification

habitual
and doxy
to

formative

principle to mould

the character
ortho of
it

direct the life, is the sort of rampant delights and
which
in

which

doctrinal
never
so

exaggeration

mysteries,
can

is

happy

as

when

plant

itself behind and

the broad
traditionary

shield of unintel shibboleths, bid
open
to

ligible formulas pluck
to that

Reason

by the beard, principle

and

defiance

grand

of the Scottish philosophy

1

92

The

Natural

History
Those

of Atheism.
who
excite
sin
even

called

common-sense.

to
more

an

atheistical reaction
grievously against

in this fashion, St. Paul's

doctrine

in the

He

brews
exhaust

than

those

so-called federal thought

theologians

who
of
a

their whole

in the inculcation

faith, whose
den

principal

is object to

shake

off the bur
us

of inherited
our

guilt which

lies upon

from

the

sin of

primal
a

father
very

in

Paradise. element

For

there is
a

unquestionably
nature

strong

of
in
so

moral far it is

in

this faith ; and But
mailed
a

therefore

evangelical.

that

other

faith of

cataphract
we as
now

orthodoxy
speak,
is

in triple brass, of which intellectual affair, and

purely
outside

such

altogether which dragged slavery

the pale of that saving
under mire

faith, by
are

sinful souls
out

gospel of

preaching
and

of

the

sensuality,
into

the

of

degrading
sons

fashions,
No

the
as

glorious

liberty of the

of God.
states,

doubt,
must

St. Paul
a

distinctly enough

there

be

root

of

firm doctrinal belief at

the bottom

of all Christian
:

faith, or for who

rather,

we

might

say, of allpractical faith

will leap from
and

his bed

and and
not

rouse

the town
his hand

at midnight,

cry for water,

apply believe
to

to the forcing-pump,

if he does Who

that the bury
?

house

is

on

fire ?

will prepare

his

friend, if he does not believe that he is dead

Who

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
not

193

will sow

seed in spring, if he does
a
"

believe that

it v/illbear autumn?

rich crop
He

of beneficent
to

fruitage in the therefore
IS,

that cometh
"must

God," that He

unquestionably,
that seek

believe
of them

and

He

is the

rewarder

that diligently
a

Him." saying

But

this is quite

different thing
not

from

that whoso about be

believeth

this

or

the

other dogma
out

the Divine

nature

shall, with
we

doubt,

eternally damned.

Here of
an

have

a

usurpation

of the rightful throne
a

essentially

moral

faith, by

faith purely has

and

avowedly

intel

lectual, and which
evangelical
proposition

just as

little to

do
love,

with the
as

faith which in Euclid

worketh

by

any

has, about
formula
man, a

the qualities of tri about
or

angles,

or

any Algebraic

the relations
without

of numbers.
sleeves, who
and

To

any

with

lawn

stands

up in

Christian congregation,
to poor
one

fulminates
grounds,

damnation

sinful mortals

on

such
"
"

there is only
not

reply to be made of spirit ye
are

:

Ye

know

what

manner

of."
of

The

spirit from

which
is
a

damnatory mingled

declarations

this kind
conceit,

proceed

spirit of ignorance,

presumption,
more

insolence,

and
way

pedantry

;

and

has

to

answer

for in the

of creating

atheism,
ers

than

any

other
under

fault of Christian preach
my

that has
9

come

observation.

Against

194

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
solemnly made,

declarations
and

of this kind, however traditionally hallowed,

however

the moral

and

intellectual nature minds

of the most

soundly-constituted

rises up in instinctive rebellion ; the intellect

ual nature,
a

because

the propounding

of dogmas of the Supreme

in

scholastic form
shows
an

about
utter

the nature
ignorance human

Being,

of the proper intellect ; and

func the
to

tions and

limits of the
even

moral make
merely

nature

more

emphatically,

because
on

fellowship

in any

religion conditional

the

intellectual acceptance

of

an

abstract propo
is to
remove

sition addressed

to the understanding, out

religion altogether
can

of its

own

region,
it into
a

where

it

bear
can

fruit, and to transplant
only prickles

soil where
skin, and

it

show

that

fret the flesh
than
"

thorns

that go deeply
a

into the

a

procedure,
pota

in fact, not
toes
on or

whit

less absurd
and

to plant

bare
to

rocks,

expect

that

they the

shall
dry

grow,

fling

a

flouncing

fish upon

beach,
So

and much

demand

that it shall swim.
of faith which, have

for the caricatures for the
genuine
persons

being
a

mistaken
dency
to

portraiture,

ten
a

drive

of
into

a an

hasty

temper

and

superficial observation
tude,
or
even

anti-Christian
the

atti

right

off into

dreary

silences,

blank

vacuities, and

blind necessities of speculative

The
But

Atheism

of Reaction.

195
of present

atheism.

it is not only in their way

ing faith generally,
statement
our

but in their rash and

unreasoned

of special points have
a

of Christian belief, that erred.

theologians
made

greatly

What, the
world

for

instance,

greater
at
one

noise time

in than

of

theological of the Synod

doctrine

the five points the persecution
of Arminian

of Dort,

which noble
?

caused
company

of Grotius
doctors windy in

and

the

Holland

Wonderful
no even

subtleties
man

and
at

battlements,
day
?

all of which worthy these and

of of
a

sense

the

present

thinks
Because

passing

regard.

Why

famous
not to

five points
man's

all relate to God's and therefore
to
our are

decrees,

work while has
we

;

properly
No

left to

God,

attend down

duty.

doubt

St. Paul

laid

the doctrine

of divine decrees
; and

grandly

in the
to do

Epistle to the Romans
so,

he

was

obliged nourished

in arguing

with
were

the
a

Jews, who
chosen

the

conceit

that they

people,

to whom,

by

preference,

God

must

communicate

his saving
was

knowledge,

while the rest of the world
ignorance,

allowed
in the

to sleep in the darkest

and

to rot
a

lowest minded

sensuality. conceit

To

beat

down

such

narrow-

and

presumptuous

notion
was

of herito

ditary privilege, the great
state

Apostle

obliged
comes

the doctrine

that, though

all privilege

196
from
does

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

Divine
so,

decree

and

special

Divine

favour, it
a

not

for the purpose
on

of creating

ground
or

of vain
person,

boast

the part of the favoured and with the

people

but for the purpose
up
a

effect of
a

opening
serious

higher

sphere

of action, is to

with
in

more

responsibility ; that he
taught the
not

say,

other

words, and

doctrine

of

predestination selec

reprobation,

in the way the extreme

of arbitrary

tion and

as rejection,

Calvinistic theo
in the

logians
necessary

have law

rashly taught,
in

but

form

of

a

the

moral

world,
"

according all gifts
come

to

which from

divinely

conferred abused,
to

gifts lead
greater

and
to

God

"

when

forfeiture and
gain
to

loss, when

improved,
privilege.
"

and

more
com

distinguished
mon-sense

According plain

this

view

and
"

it is the

and

obvious gladabout

drift of the Epistle
iatorship

all the fierce and

bloody

between

Calvinists and
five points
was

Arminians

the

orthodoxy

of the

of

a

scholastic in the

doctrine
great who

of Divine

decrees

an

episode by

epos
were as

of Christian
remote

life,interpolated
the broad, they
were

men

from
as

practical drift

of the
common

Pauline

gospel

devoid

of the

feelings of humanity. occasion

St. Paul, the inno
would

cent

of
scores

all this barbarity,

have

made

short

of

their

interminable

debates

The

Atheism
dogmas.

of

Reaction.

197
he

"

and would
cal
"

overbearing
have sagacity

Gentlemen,"

said, with

that fine instinct of practi

which
you

directed beat
can

all

his

teachings,
is

Gentlemen,
because Divine

the

wind:

Necessity embrace

true,

nothing

escape
:

the wide
"

of the erty
common

Sovereignty
certain

Liberty
a

that is, lib because
that it is

within

limits, is

fact

"

the
so

instinct of humanity
must

proves quarrel
or
as

:

you But

believe
not

both, and

about

neither.

believe

metaphysically
in such
a

scholastically, the

but

practically, and did
not

way

Jews, my
accord
spe

countrymen, ingly."

believe, and forward the by
are

suffered

I have

brought

this matter

cially because,
are

though
known
they

five Calvinistic points
name

now

scarcely
persons,

to

many

well-

educated

all involved

in the cate

chism
and
amount
sons

used have

in the elementary
to

schools

of Scotland,
no

my

knowledge and

occasioned
to

small per
great young

of misery beginning

soul-torture
to

young

seriously

look

into

the

truths of religion and
persons

morals.

Thoughtful the
influence
vexing

in Scotland,

under

of such
and
per

Calvinistic teaching,
plexing

will be found
most

themselves
or

lamentably
; than
out

about which
a

their
more

special election

reprobation
or more

unprofitable

exercise,

of place, cannot

198

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
questions

well

be

imagined.
past
or

All

such

belong
such
lie

either to the

to the future,

and
is
a

as

in the bosom the present

of the Infinite.
; and

Man

creature

of
the

he

must

strike the nail upon

head

in the

special work

before
to

him,
so,

not
or

because
it

he
may

has

been
out

predestinated

do

because
been pre

turn

after trial that
so,

he has not

destinated

to do

but simply

because

it is before promi

him.
nently

With
they

the
may

decrees

of God,

however

stand
a

in the vestibule

of the As

sembly's

Catechism,
no more

young
to do
or

man

on

the threshold

of life has
creation

than

he the

has

with

the

of the

world,

with

consummation

of all things.

Another

dogma,

with

the

inculcation done good
some

of which
service respect

the Calvinistic theologians
to

have

the

anti-Christian

tendencies

of

able classes of the

community,

is the

doctrine

of

original sin.
in other
proper
not
a

With

regard
spoke

to this,

Coleridge,

whot

matters,

vaguely
"

enough,
"

said the
sin

thing

in

a

single word
a

Original

is

doctrine, but
we see

FACT."

So stated, it is only
our

what of

every
no

day

before

eyes,

and

can,

course,

form That
out

special

against objection

Chris
will

tianity. grow,

out

of good

seed
a

a

good

plant

and

of bad

seed

bad

plant, and

that

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
till the
a

199

from
fresh

generation

to

generation,
cause

action

of
is
a

favourable

influences

change,
are as

principle
as

of which
range

the exemplifications organized written
on

wide

the

of
been

life upon

the

globe.

Books

have

hereditary family

virtues

and

hereditary
going

vices ; and

every

portrait-gallery,
notwithstanding
cross

back

for

long

centuries,

strange

variations, arising naturally from
now

affin

ities, will revert

and

then

to
so

a

striking trick
But
now

of the
in
comes

original
our

type.

So

far,

well.

cataphract

theologic

doctor, with
and

his
out

host of dogmatic

exaggerations,

thunders

his dogma
an

of inherited GUILT,

at which
nature

straightway bristles up
are

honest

thinker's whole Moral of things
merit

moral and

in rebellion.
very
nature

demerit
; to

in the

personal

imagine

their

transference baby
sion ago
a
"

is to destroy

their definition.
an

If every

when

born,

in virtue of
some

act

of transgres
years

committed

six

or

eight
must

thousand be
on

by

the

father of the sinner,"
as

race,

confessed

hell-deserving
eternal

and
soon

lying
as

the brink
on

of

damnation
every

it lies

its

nurse's

lap, then

man

of sound
a

moral

feeling

is entitled to such
a

protest

against
is
a

doctrine

of which

cruel absurdity

necessary
stone

postulate. of stumbling,

This

brings

us

to

another

2OO

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

which

the Christian
as
a

doctors
ugly

have
porter

set up, and
to

which

stillremains
standing
at

very

many

persons is called I
mean,

the

gate

of the
a

house

which

Beautiful,
of
course,

and the

barring

kindly

entrance.

doctrine

of

eternal

punishments.
; but
one

The
they
may
more

ancient

Greeks
it in
a

also taught
very

this doctrine form,
as or

taught
see

modified book

any

in

the

sixth

of Virgil,

in

the

detailed

descriptions
"

of his great

predecessor
:
"

in that teaching

the philosopher
"

Plato

Sedet, seternumque

sedebit,

Infelix Theseus."
"

Discite

justitiam moniti,

et

non

temnere

divos."

Only

a

few

flaming

offenders

were

condemned
and

to

this state of hopeless
torture

reprobation
as

inexhaustible theology
not

; and

besides,

part

of

a

laid down
in the

in rigid propositions, of

but floating loosely fancies, such
any

shape

traditional

things
great

could
offence

be stated in books,
to

without
They

giving

serious

thinkers.

quietly

pushed
clung

this and
to what

other
was

offensive and

matters

aside, and
But do

good

profitable.
cannot to
a

the Chris
so.

tian churches,

unfortunately,

They
drawn
prop

have

committed

themselves
in

a

theology,

up by scholastic persons,

series of formal

ositions which

challenge

contradiction

and

refuse

The

Atheism

of
the

Reaction.
doctrine

201

compromise.
torture
a

Therefore,

of

infinite
as

for finite sins is still stoutly

maintained

point
a

of Christian

faith, and

as

stoutly

disowned
per

by
sons,

large class of benevolent

and

thoughtful
as

who

look with
Being.*

upon

such

a

doctrine of
a

utterly in
and
a

consistent

the

conception

wise
not

ben great

evolent

Now,

if there
a a

was

deal of dogmatic
meneutical cowardice

obstinacy,
and

fair amount considerable

of hervein

ignorance,

of this

also

in

the

ecclesiastical mind,
easily be removed.

stumbling-block
not

might
very

It does
to know

require

any

profound

scholarship
we

that

the word
not
:

alwvios, which
signify eternity

translate everlast and
we

ing, does
physically that is
a

absolutely
as

meta

but
is
an

only

popularly,

when
only

say

a

man

eternal fool, meaning fool.

that he
also
seem

very

great

Biblical
which

interpreters

ought

to bear

in mind,
to

they

constantly

determined
are

rather

forget, that
style of
a

the

Scriptures
or

not

written

in the

metaphysical the
and

curiously-scientific

treatise ;

but

language perhaps

throughout
necessarily
*

is

essentially

popular,

with

somewhat

of that vagueness
chap.
where

which

J. S.

Mill's Autobiography,
article NIBBANAM,

ii.
he

Read

also Childers' Pali the Buddhist

Dictionary,
annihilation

compares
not

with

the Christian

damnation"

to the advantage

of the latter.

202

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
as

characterises with
the

colloquial
a

language

contrasted
or a

style of

professorial lecture,

scien

tificdefinition. Another have

stumbling-block
of the

which devotees
OUT
OF

theologians
of physical
NOTHING.

laid in the way is the

science,

CREATION
as

This

dogma,

which,
contained

every

scholar knows,
place, whether
arose

is not

necessarily

in any

of the

Old

or

New

Testament,

in

the

Jewish

Church,
authority

and
in

has

been

stamped partly

with from

orthodox
a

Christendom,
the. Divine stupidity

pious

desire to magnify

Omnipotence,

partly

from

the

timid

of clinging

to the letter,

instead

of breathing

the

spirit of Scripture
we

; and

partly also from

the evil trick which metaphysics Bible, from

have

just

mentioned

of importing
the

and

scholas all the

tic definitions into

which

Scriptures
Now modern

are

the

furthest

possible
on

removed.

the

to objection

this doctrine
conceive
to

the part of
this
"

thinkers
not to

I

be

that, it is im

though
contrary

perhaps

absolutely
experience,

impossible,
and

all known
are
we

highly

probable,

if we

to

judge of
see,

the constitution

of

things from
to

what

not

from

what

we

choose which
as a

imagine.

It is the

vulgar

imagination

delights to represent

the

Supreme

Being

sort

The

Atheism
harlequin,

of

Reaction.

203

of omnipotent
volition,
mime
comes

launching gentleman

the fiat of his
in the
panto
out

as

the nimble
the
or

strikes
a
man,

table
monkey,
is
man's man's

with
or

his wand,

and

a

something

else, out
; but

of nothing.

This
are

crude
ways

conception
:

God's

ways

not

as

and

his way

is
;

EVOLUTION.

Nothing volition, be conceived
even as

is created

out

of nothing
Being,

and
cannot

mere

of

an

omnipotent
into

bringing

existence called above
mat

a

thing
ter.

of

an

absolutely
we us, see

opposite

nature,

What
around of the

everywhere
is, that

in

us

and

us,

and
out

simply
as

the

present
out

grows

past,

the

future

grows

of the
essen

present.

Growth,
by

therefore, necessary
inherent

and

tial growth, proper universe.

reasonable
Divine

force, is the
fact of the
creatures,

expression To is
us a

of the great

dependent
Divine

ephemeral
the

all existence
ity of that

miracle ; and
in the shape
we can see,

continu
we

Divine
is,
so

miracle far
as

of what

call growth form
dualism

the eternal absolute
in the

of

the

Divine
and

creativeness.
matter

The

of mind

which

is implied is not
can

received
ed

orthodoxy fact that
do
we

of the Church,
exact

warrant

by

any

science

recognise
a

;

nowhere

find mind

acting without

mate

rial instrument,

nowhere

matter

absolutely

divorc-

204

The
from
the
most

Natural

History

of Atheism.
forces, inasmuch
condition
as

ed
even

the action of inherent
most

motionless

statical

of

things

solid is always
in
some

produced
other
"

by

a

balance if

of forces
they
are

way

or

forces which,

not
as

blind, but acting
they manifestly This
view quite

according do,
are

to a calcu

lated
name

law,

only

another

for Mind. universe,

of the

constitution

of

the

though Greeks,

familiar to propounded theology, horror

the

wisest

of the ancient of
our

when

in the face is generally
as

orthodox

Christian
a

disowned
ism,
a

with

certain
a

pious

Panthe

word

to which

great
are

chorus

of thoughtless
ready
to

and echo
terms,

ill-informed

people
"

straightway

back, Atheism
though
are

with the feeling that the two
as

etymologically practically the

opposed Now

as

white

and

black,

same.

the

re

ligious
very

world

here

is evidently under
a

confounding
common
name,

two
as

different

things

the
ing

word
phases

Sophist,
of
more

for instance,
than
two

through

the
years

shift
of
most
a

thousand
to
man,

literary life, has

been

used

denote from

the
the

varied

types

of the intellectual
to the

proPan
to

foundest theism,

thinker

shallowest

quibbler. has

scientifically understood, materialism
or

nothing

do either with

or

with

atheism.

It is simply

opposed

to

Bitheism

to

Dualism,

and

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
opposite

205

denies the existence
world
ence

of two

entities in the the exist
one

of Divine of only
the All,
one.

reality, while

it asserts

The

world

is essentially
many,

;

and

though

externally
roots,
not

is, when

traced to its deepest

different from

the

One
one

;

as

the
many

human
;

body,

for instance,
are

is both

and

the

fingers, which
to

five, be
the hand
;

longing
and

nevertheless
and

the

unity

of

the upper

lower
same

extremities,
way

though

four,
unity

belonging

in the

to the essential

of the
not

body.

The

term
or

Pantheism,

therefore, is of unity
as

opposed

to unity,

to the principle

in the

world,

which

is God

; and
may
to

a more

Pantheist,

Hegel
be

well said of

Spinoza,

properly

said to deny

the world, for
as a

than

deny

God.
such

It
a

is possible, however,

Pantheist
to

to be

one-sided
unity

creature

not
cosmos

perceive into
a

the

central
organ

which

binds He and

the may
see

grand

ized whole.
appearances,

look

only at the outside but
an

of

nothing

infinite drift
atoms,

and

jostle and
in
on use

jabble of
we

unreasoned

pro

ducing,
a

some

blind, utterly

inexplicable
an

fashion
unity

thing

which

impose

imaginary

by the

of the term
becomes
an

universe. is usually
most

In

this

case a

the

pantheist
rialist,or

what

called

mate

atheist of the

hopeless

and

in-

206

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
holds
ez"

curable
poles

class.
of actual
"

But

whoever
"

by

the
irav

two

existence

the
and

and

the

of

the Greeks analogy pantheist,
simply

or
a

the centre circle may whatever

the periphery,
to suit better
"

if the

of

seem
name

this

by

he
asserts

may

be

called,

denies

dualism,
necessary

and

the co-essential of the
many,

and
and

co-eternal

existence and the His

internal
in the affects together

the

external, the
of the

one

constitution

universe.

theory

only

the nature

of the bond

which

binds
All.

the outside
ing
world
times
to

and

the inside of the
analogy

If, accord

Dr.
may

Paley's by
a

taken
generation

literally, the have
by
way
an some

mechanical
as a

been

conceived
to

watch

made

a

watch

maker,

according

the

pantheistic

of look
animal

ing at things
"

the world
Plato,
we

might

be called

0eiov

as "(oov,

remember,
"

has it, in the Nor
even

concluding

sentence
a
man

of the
who

Timaeus." is
a

will
in

it do to say that the best
cause
sense,

pantheist,
deny

must

necessarily

religion, be and

his theory
individual all human

destroys

human
on

personality,

denies

responsibility,
society,
as

the
as

foundation

of which

well

all religious
personality,

obligation, and

is constituted.
are

Freedom,
no

responsibility

facts which
can

theological
with, any
more

or

metaphysical

theories

meddle

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
or

207
or

than

they

can

with

generation,

appetite,

di

gestion.

The

charge
can

of

annihilating
against

individual

responsibility with
as

be
as

brought

Calvinism Spi-

much
The

and
answer

littlejustice as
to. all such

against

nozism.
tions

speculative

objec
:

from

transcendental of practice,

theories, is
a we

when
a

brought
flogging

into the world

fact and read

somewhat

in the

style that
was a

of Zeno

the

Stoic, who,
and
for
on

like Calvin,
occasion,

great predestinarian,
to flog his slave

one

being

about his

an

act

of his

theft, had
face,

philosophy apology
"

thrown "Yes,
not

abruptly
master,

in

with

the

I did

steal the

article ; but

I could

help it: it was
pher calmly

ordained."
replied
:
"
"

To Yes

which

the

philoso ordained

; but

it was

also that whoso The
men,

steals shall be flogged by
theologians in
an

!
to

"

offence given

reasonable

when

they

set themselves

authoritative Divine people
pro

and

oracular and

style to
to

interpret
out

the
pious

cedure,
"

point

what

call

judgments," is so
whole chapter
to

manifold tell off The

that it would
even

require

a

the

heads
principle

of its that of
to

multiplied
lies at the Providence

absurdity.

general

bottom
may

of all these be
described

false readings
as
a

tendency
energy

look

at

every

manifestation

of Divine

that

208

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
interests, only.
part

falls under
and

our

eye
narrow

in the light of human human
point
a

from
is
an

the

of view
prominent

This

element

which
;

plays and

in all early
ourselves
plays
no

mythologies much
our

we
we

shall imagine

deceive

very

indeed,
sermons

if and

that it
of godly

part in
now.

our

books

edification

And

yet if we
system,
we

consider

the mag

nitude

of the mundane

and

the complexity
to

of the spheral

relations, be
more

ought

perceive
to

that

few that

things
a

can

absurd

than

imagine
or a

terrible

thunderstorm,
in Morayshire

for instance,
or

swell of the waters Islands,
or a

the Sandwich
crop,
must

failure in

the
to

potato do with

necessarily
or

have

something
some

the

follies
may

the faults of

person

or

persons

who

suffer from
we

such

calamities.

Generally
which

speaking
any

may

say, that the
creature

discomfort
at

indi

vidual
course

may

any

time

suffer

in

the

of his

career

from

the general

arrangements

of Providence, his looking
on

affords not

the slightest ground
as

for
any

these

discomforts

having

special personal
ent,

reference

to himself.

It is differ
our own

of

course,

with

evil which
cause

arises in

little world,
may

both

the be

and

the

cure

of which
If
a man

oftentimes

sufficiently patent.

drink

half-a-dozen

glasses

of

strong

spirits, and

The
lose the
pleasant
is
"

Atheism
of his legs

of Reaction.
to-day,

209

use

and

find

an

un

throbbing

in his temples

to-morrow,

this

a

judgment"
and
woes

which with
a

he may
great

interpret, without

presumption, invasion should

profit.

But

if

an

of

and

prostration

of all prosperity

overtake

him,

such

as

that which let him
read

over

whelmed wonderful learn counsel
may
set

the patriarch
old

Job, then
drama and

that
and

theological his
tongue,

carefully,
to

to

hold
in the
many
an

withhold High.
no

his
Man
to

presence

of the

Most

know
up
as

things, but

he has

vocation Divine
or

interpreter-general in reference
to

of the himself
; but
a

pro

cedure,

whether

to

his
is in
too

fellow-men.
a

I say it with

sorrow

there

certain

class of

pious

books

great

deal

much
stances,

of this theological
as

interpretation

of circum in the

if God

were

doing

everything

large scheme
reference individual,
to
"

of his varied
the frames
no

universe

specially with
"

and

feelings

of

a

petty

of

more

consequence

in the system

of things than the economy
in

the single ant of
a

of

a

single ant-hill in
to prayer

large forest. of pious

Answers
are

the

biography
as

persons

often
are

as

ridiculous
sumptuous.

interpretations If there is not

of

judgments

pre
to

the slightest

reason

conclude

that those

on

whom

the Tower

of Siloam

2io

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
on

fell were
not,

greater

sinners

than those
an

whom
answer

it fell
who
that
con

and,

if they

justly got
man as

evasive
or

asked

whether born
that
a

this

sinned

his parents
you
to to

he

was

blind, poundhand
you
you

littleright have

clude
an

note,

which

came

you

from

unknown

through
were

the Post-office, at
the
point

the for

moment

when
to

at

of

need

it,

came

by

special

Divine

interposition

because

you

had fervent
"

that

morning

poured these the
"

forth
interpo

a

particularly
"

prayer.
"

All
are

sitions devout

and
conceit,
way

interferences that
can

product

of

a

be satisfied with
than
as

nothing
constant

less in the

of religion preferences
partial
mamma.

such
a

a

display
receives

of

petty
a

spoiled The idea

child of
a or

from

God

constantly is
one

interfering in

answer

to

prayer,

otherwise,

of the most
conceptions.

anthropomorphic

of said

all theological
to
"

God
general
can

cannot

be

interfere," with
any
more

the

order

of Provi
in

dence,

than

the steam
motions

be said to

terfere with
engine.
motion,

the who

regular

of
the

the spring

steam-

He

is everywhere
source

of all
cannot
answer

and

the

of all vital energy,
of his way need.
to

be supposed
any

to be

called out

invocator's
west,

particular
west

If the
a

wind
neces-

is

blowing

it blows

from

Divine

The

Atheism

of
currents

Reaction.

211

sity in the harmonious which
to
can
no more

of the atmosphere,
by your
can

be changed Niagara

wanting

it

blow

east,

than have

stop
cast to

its swell

because
upon

you

thoughtlessly
Those who
no

your

shallop with
a

its sweep.

wish

pray
can

reasonable

piety, to which

atheism
or

object,
of
but
lie
:

will find in the

Lord's which

prayer,
cannot

in the prayer be excelled

Socrates,
rewards deeply
wise

a

model

and seated

punishments
in the

for

violated

law

general will not

system

of the
by

Allany

government,

and
even

be

evoked

special theology

application

of the

most

pious.

For
must

of this puerile
as
an

description,
not

Homer

be
tian
to

quoted

authority,

Paul.

The

Chris

Jove

neither
heads

launches of special for the church

special

thunderbolts
nor

strike the

offenders, boys

pre girls

pares

sugar-plums grand

good
or

and

of

the

State

the

unrecognised

conventicle. Let
on
no man

imagine

we

are

unwarrantably
we

hard
these
as

the

religious

world,

when

mention liable

things. other sliding these
correct

The world into
a

religious world
to

is justas

any

the

general

human

weakness

of

caricature

of

itself, and

presenting
as a

distorted

features for general

admiration

likeness.

Besides,

it is of the very

nature

212

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
to admit

of

a

high ideal to be unattainable,
; and
one

only of
compli

approximation
ments

of

the

highest

that

can

be paid to Christianity is that, when
it is apt to
to
seem a

purely good

presented,

great

deal too

for the
so

creatures
our

whom
purpose

it is addressed. is concerned,
even

And,

far
upon

as

present profession

looking

the form

of atheism,
as
a

in

the modified
in the
on

of agnosticism,

monstrosity

moral

history of the world,
of reaction offensive
we
or

explicable
from

only

the theory and

revulsion

certain

abusivethese the

aspects
exonerate

of

Christianity
ourselves forth A

in

times,
necessary

cannot

from
these few

work

of

marshalling

abuses

and

offences in all their nakedness.
not

still remain, social,
or

of

a

doctrinal, but which
comes

of
we

an

ethical, shall
now

aesthetical character,
allude
"

shortly
and

to.
a

First sad

there and

asceticism

monkery

very

lamentable and which,
wipes

chapter in
so

in the history
as

of the

Church,

far the

it has

triumphed,

completely

out

grand and

practical Buddhism.
one

distinction

between
we we

Christianity
not

Whatever
thing certainly

know
do

about

Buddha,
commenced

know,
person

that he
and mendi
a

with and
; and

being
ended

a

licentious

voluptuary,
cant

in the character
"

of

a

monk

succeeded

as

indeed

Brahman-

The
ism did in impressing unsocial

Atheism

of

Reaction.
before of
an

213
him
in and

a

considerable this ridiculous
as a

measure

"

type

unnatural

sanctity

model

for human

admiration
to

from

the Ganges
a

to

the

Amoor.

It is needless
war

say that

religion which
instincts
on

declares
of the human
one

against
nature

the

fundamental
always

must

fail, equally of the

side
many,

in regulating
and
on

the passions other

thoughtless

the

in commanding

the suffrages of the thought of all asceticism
; but, though

ful few.

The

principle

is not

to

regulate, but to extirpate
may
stare at the
man

the
to

masses

who

does the the
to
name

violence
of

all his
and

natural
rends they and

instincts, under

piety,

his flesh to will
never

prove

strength

of his will,
;

be induced

follow his example
give

as

for the few persons
on

who

themselves

up

to speculation

the

principles

of human
whatever

action
name

whom

the world

calls philosophers,

they may
test

bear, like the poets

they

have
"

only

one

by

which

they

measure

all things
nature

NATURE. live

If it be contrary

to man's
or a

that he should
any

like

a

mere

pig,

tiger,

or

form

of brute
not to

beast, it is equally
like good
a

contrary

to

his nature
from
no or a

good
wine.

dinner,

and

to

shrink

glass of virtue
in

Philosophy

recognises

walking

with peas

in

a

man's

shoes,

quarrelling

214

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
It is perfectly

with
true

the butter
that
in all

on

a

man's

toast.

enjoyment,whether
is
a

of wine

or

of
;

butter-toast, the too much
very
acme

there

certain element
at

of danger

is always

hand,

and

chiefly in the
the sub the low.
;

of pleasant

excitement,

to turn
or

lime of

enjoyment
there

into

the

ridiculous

In this view

is always
"

safety in abstinence
weakness,
poverty
so

but

there

is also weakness meagreness against
nature

and

cow

ardice, and
an

and

of spirit, and that the
very into

offence

gross,
a

aspect

of it is enough
I, for
one,

to

tempt
can never

man

to rush

its opposite. sallow Heaven
saints

look upon
gazing
up

these
into

perusing

skulls, and

through
you

the
see

narrow on

window-slits walls

of
our

a

dark
great for

cell, which

the

of all

picture-galleries,

without

feeling myself sympathy with
or

driven
a

relief into Hercules,

a a

heathenish
blooming Always
and

brawny
rubicund

Venus,

a

Dionysus.

everywhere

enjoyment
selfway
case

is natural ; abstinence,

self-mortification, and shape

crucifixion
training for the
man,

in
some

every

(except by
as

of of

special purpose,

in the

Greek
and

abnormal, athletes), absurd. And
yet

monstrous,

inhu

in the

Lives

of the
pedan

Saints, and
tic, and

elsewhere,

this purely

negative, is set

ridiculous sort

of virtue

up before

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
the

215

the Church
excellence

to admire, to which

as

ideal of the highest
can

human
a

nature

attain.
sun

As

reasonably

might burnt up,

flower
as
a

avoid

the

for fear

of being

man

forswear

enjoyment
amount

for fear of falling into vice. peril is the price which whoso
must rot
ness

A

certain

of
; and

we

pay

for all pleasure the

for fear of
sit at
a

the

peril refuses in
or a a

pleasure,

smoky in
case

fireside, or
a

dank

cell, and

his life away
"

spiritual

carnal mouldi-

in either

stupidly.

We
Britain

have

neither I

monks believe,
East,

nor

nuns

in stupid

Great
kind of of
a

just now,
Buddha

of

the the the

which

in the

and
upon
mere

Romanists platform

the Middle

Ages,

perched
nuns are

false ideal. who
devote

Our

sisters of charity,

themselves
wear
a

to

deeds

of active benevo
more

lence, and
way

certain funereal dress

by the from
any

of protection

against
or

rude

insult than
conceit

worship

of

death, To

perverse
a

of unnatural from
the bus

mortification.
tle and
a

such

withdrawal
a

whirl of

common

life into there

quiet
can

corner
no

for

special

rational let not holy than

purpose

be

objec
allow
com

tion ; only
are
more

such

persons

imagine

that they

their secular sisters, who
at

themselves
mon

to browse

large

on

the

broad

of the world

without

any artificial restrictions.

216

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

Perhaps
pic
:

they

are

more are
some

pure only

and
more

more
narrow

philanthro
and
more es

perhaps But
the

they
in

meagre. pecially

parts of these

islands,
we

north-west

of

Scotland,

have

a

school
who,

of sombre

religionists and
professedly

black prophets,
make
piety

though
of
a

not

monks,

their
and

boast
morose

certain

artificial gloomy
leads

morality, sensuality, newspaper

which

by

direct

revulsion

into

irreligion, and columns and

practical

atheism.
are

Our

anecdote-books and Mr.
great
men

full of strange fected with who,
pher,

stories about

ministers

in

this dismal time,

superstition. passed
that for
a

Buckle, philoso

for
was

some

of opinion
was

this lowering product

Calvinism

of the north bens

the natural Ross-shire,

of the savage

of West
:
a

and

the

frowning
rendered
was

crags
sus

of Glencoe
picious

theory

unfortunately

by
not

the

fact that

Calvinism
or

born
and
a

in

Picardy, the

in Poolewe

Ballachulish,
was as

that
dis idea and the

original

Calvin
as

in Geneva

stern

ciplinarian, and
of the
song,"

far removed
' '

from

Luther's
women,

model
as

man

who

loves wine,
or

any

Macdonald
But

Mclntosh

beneath
may

Grampians.

whatever
remains.

the

cause

be, the
class of spe-

fact undoubtedly Christian
ministers

There

is

a

in the Scottish Highlands,

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

217
who
and

cially amongst

the clergy of the Free that
are

Church,
singing,

declare

openly

dancing, deadly

and

cards, and has anything

theatres
to do
as

sins, and
amusements

whosoever
must

with

such

be

looked

upon

the servant
damnation.

of the devil, and
It would

in dan
as

ger of everlasting

appear

if these persons

wished
into

to change

all the brightness
own

of the moral bleak
moors

world and

the similitude of their bogs, with
pewit,
no

black

sound

but the of the

melancholy

cry of the
or

the whistling

cold wind,
it might their
own

the drizzle of the persistent
seem a

rain.
to hold

Or
in

perhaps hands and
:

that they despotic

wished

monopoly

of all vital
of the hu drone

utterances
man

all moral
no

manifestations

creature

music,

but the long-drawn
;
no

of their melancholy prayer-meetings
;

psalm-tunes
no

meetings,

but

eloquence,
own

but

the alternate
sermons.

whine

and
must

screech
speak

of their

sepulchral about
do
as

One

not

mincingly

these gospel much
as

lers, because
man sons

they unquestionably
can

hu
per

beings
out

do to drive all healthy-minded
of the Church

of the bosom

and

into

the
and

bosom
any

of Mr.
kindly
may

Atkinson of
arms

and the

Miss

Martineau,

devotees

agnostic

persuasion them.

who

spread

their

to receive

The

airs of solemn
10

authority

assumed

by these persons

218

The

Natural

History

of
have

Atheism.

in remote

districts where
are

they

no

one

to

con

tradict them, I have
county meetings

almost

incredible.
in
a

One

of them, the
wide merry

been of

informed,

district of
to

Inverness,

wishing of every

abolish
in his

and

dances that
a

kind
some

parish,
instru

and
ment

knowing
was
a

riddle

or

musical such

necessary
one

adjunctof
when
to

assemblies, who
on

took
was
woman a

occasion

day,

her

husband,
to to

fiddler, happened

be absent,
in order

call
give

a a

of his congregation,
remonstrance
on

her

serious
at

the grave The the there the
man woman

sin of

fiddling

balls
it

and

weddings.
not

confessed
occupa

that

was

exactly
see

most
was

saintly
any

tion, but she did not

harm

in it ;
own

that

even

King

David,

after God's which
some

heart, danced have
ment
earn

before the Lord,
a

he could such

not

done
; and
a

without

fiddle,

or

instru

besides
in
not
"

that, her

husband
year by

might

often

pound could

the

half

his fiddling,
the rent
"

which
to be

be well wanted Well," and
:

when

was
a

paid.

said the minister,
give
me

here's The

pound
woman

for

you,

the

fiddle."

obeyed the

she brought and back
the

down

the fiddle and gentleman with
a

pocketed

pound, the

reverend

forthwith
violent

broke bang

of the instrument
flung

upon

the

table, and

the wreck

The

Atheism

of
was

Reaction.

219
; but

of it into the fire.
the fiddle
true
was

This

dramatic

enough

not

yet exterminated.

The
on

woman,

to her

descent

from

Eve, the of

had,

this trying with
a

occasion,

encountered wisdom
an

clerical bear
serpent.

touch
brought

of the down

the

She
from

had
the

old

obsolete

fiddle

garret, and
case

left the real offender

unharmed

in his

!
is
one

There

special
on

point its point
a

in which

Scottish
and
in

Christianity
which,

stands

of

honour,
part

of

course

also, plays

prominent

the

grave
;

religiosity
we mean

of
the
in

these

trans-Grampian
of the highly
pride,
as

Pharisees bath ;
an

observance
the
on

Sab
com one

observance and
to be

main with

mendable, of those
calm

looked which

fountains
and

from
moral

Scotsmen

draw

that

strength
so

seriousness
so

which the found.

makes
earnest

them
work

efficient and

reliable in they
are

of the world,
is undeniably

wherever
a

But

there

superstitious in

Judaical and
of

anti-Christian
Highland
be ed openly
on

element about

the

notions

these
must

ministers

the sabbath,
practically it tends
to

which

condemned,

and

contradict

all occasions, both
to

because

make

reli have

gion
reason

disagreeable

and

ridiculous.

We

believe

that in most

Highland

families

220

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
venture

no

minister's daughter
on

would
to

to

touch
:

the
and

piano in

Sunday,
parts of

even

play

psalm few

tunes

most

Scotland,
to
on

very

clergymen outside known

have

courage

enough wall

show that
in
a

themselves
day.
I have

of their garden

the

case

of
a

a

landlady

civilised town,

who
to

dismissed
piano
on

lodger

because

he sung
gave

hymns her

the
an

the

Lord's

day, and

house

ill-name.

A

religion which of the world
emotion,

thus commends
the unnatural

itself
repres cul

to the notice

by

sion of healthy
ture

and

the sympathetic

of

a

stupid seriousness, biographies of not

need
a

not

be surprised,
persons

if in the

few

notable

it finds itself enumerated led
to

among

the agencies
various
away

that of

perilous

flirtations with and

kinds
into

latitudinarianism,
hostile ranks Two
England
matter

then

clean

the

of No-Church. of offence
seen, more,

points

and

we

have

done.
in
.

has

in

these

latter days, ceremonial
the thing
stars
as a a

the

of sacerdotal
a

claims, and
to
no

mum

meries,

phenomenon
can

make
such

blush. priest
power
caste

There hood

is, and

be,
:
so

in Christianity

the Egyptians
had
was

had

ful hierarchy,
system
same

and

the

Jews

; the

of the Brahmans

another

variety

of the

rigid form

of

social organization

; but

the

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

221

character
personal, privileged
maturgic power

of
and

Christianity
democratic,

is essentially

popular,

and

knows

nothing

of

orders, much
virtue

less of persons

with
a

thau-

in their right hands,

and

magical
that

in their touch.

This

is

a

phenomenon

belongs
ism,

partly to the vulgarest
partly is
a

phases

of Heathen
of

and

stupid

importation

Judaism

into Christianity, which

deprives and

it of its essentially it with

humanitarian
that is most
the

character,
puerile

confounds

all of

and

trifling in the

practice

lowest

superstitions.
is

In Christianity
; the

the
are

con

gregation

the the

Church
prayers

people

the

priests ; and
are

and

praises of the saints this distinctly in
ago

the incense.

St. Peter taught
hundred
in Rome

a

public letter eighteen
but 5), his
successors

years

(I

Pet.

ii.
a

slid rapidly and the

into

total forgetfulness party
seem

of the

truth;

high-

church
moment

in the English emulously

Church
on

at the

present

bent

showing
to

whether religion of their

they

will do
they

the

greater

insult

the

which
churchly
services, thies.
array

profess

by

the

insolence

claims,
or

the

puerility

of their devotional
sympa

the

narrowness

of their human
consist
in
a

If religion

is to

marshalled

of antic observances,

postures,

genuflexions,

bowings,

dresses and

decorations,

and

all sorts

of

222

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
means

prescribed the
ancient
to
man

externalities, by

all

let
to

us

raise
us

Greeks
the

from

the

dead,

help

at

least But
ment
a

do

thing has any how

naturally

and

gracefully. Testa
concern

who

smack

of the New

must

know

very

far this curious is from

about

ecclesiastical mumming
from the soundness be

the mind

of

Christ, and
ing.
"

of apostolic decently

teach
and in

Let
"

all things

done

order

!

is the wise
to

precept

of the great

apostle,

in regard
worship outward right
to
our

the
to

external make
a

arrangements conscience of

of sacred
any is to
mere run

; but

show

and

paraded

symbolism,
text

in the

teeth of the great
simply
says,
nor nor

which,
in

applied

times,

that

Christ
nor

Jesus
High
nor

there

is neither
nor

priest

presbyter,

Church,

Low

Church,
a new

attitudinarian,

latitudinarian, but
The other

creature.

offence with
against

which

we

conclude and

this

bill of indictment
men, was

Churches
The

Church
it

is of written
a

a

political nature. long
ago
"

Churchman,
poetical moral Well,

by

the great of power."

ist, is great
man

creature

fond

he

has
hu
;

power

naturally
reverence

by

virtue

of the
he

great

instinct of

which
belongs

represents

and, if to this power,
office, there

which

to his spiritual

be

added

great

worldly

dignity,

a

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
of the good
place

223
of this

more

than average
perhaps
an

share

things

life,and

honoured

in the supreme is nothing society

counsel
wrong, otherwise

of the nation, in all this there
or

rather

a

great

good,

if

a

be
;

well
as

managed

and
go,

justlybalanced
a

nevertheless,
of the clergy

things

such
danger

proud
to the

position

is not

without

Church,
to

lest

it should

become

worldly, become
and

and

danger

religion,
odious

lest it should

identified

with

oligarchic The

privilege

selfish oligarchic

exclusiveness.

democratic

atheist is
we

a

species

of the
and
as

unlovely

genus

which

specified

above

;

there cannot
in England,

be the slightest doubt democracy
as

that where, of the civil glorifica

the form
sacerdotal
a

government
tion among type

is combined

with

the

clergy, and

distinct aristocratic atheist is
an

in Church

polity, the democratic

animal

that will show confidently,

front in large centres
and
cast
sun's

of civic
un

life pretty
gracious observance. argument

his volleys of face,
is not
not meant

denial

into

the

without
as

This, of
for the

course,

any

dis-establishment
; it is merely
to

of any

of the

British
cally
as an

Churches
helping

noticed
for
more
a

pathologi disease,

account

moral
widely

and among

intellectual perversion
certain secti'ons of the

spread

working

classes in

224

The
large

Natural

History

of Atheism.
persons
are

our

towns

than

many

apt

to

imagine.
It remains
a more now,

in order

to

bring
bearing,

the matter
that
we

to

distinct and

definite

pre

sent

the atheism the reader
; that
we

or

agnosticism

of the present of its
own

clay

before
cates
a
or

in the words
see

advo
are

may

how

far their opinions law of

mere

illustration of the vulgar
far anything logic,
or

reaction
reason,

;

how

like

a

substantial lies at the

sound

subtle

sophistry

bottom
turn

of their abnormal
out,
on

speculations. face to face with philosophers,

If it should the
utterances

coming negative
more

of

those nothing vulsion

that
urge

there

is really

in what

they
or

than

a

hasty

re

from

the

real

imaginary it will be at

aberrations
once a

of

the received
confirmation

orthodoxy,
to sound

great

theism,
one

and

a

vindication

of

human
tions.

reason

from folly
or

of its strangest of the

aberra

The

presumption
to have

unreason a

ably orthodox
vocation into
a

will appear

supplied

pro

which
position

has driven the reasonably
of

heterodox
otherwise of the most
in the
age

which

they
"

would
one

have

been

ashamed.
ancient

Protagoras

notable of
on

of the

Greek
his

sophists
most

Pericles"

commenced

famous

book
quite

the

principles

of

human

knowledge,

The
in

Atheism

of Reaction.
agnostics

225
in these

the
:

spirit of

our

modern

words

*"

If there be gods,

Or

if there be not,
this I know
"

overjumpsmy
I
am a measure man,

ken

:

But

Of things that be the
And

and take for myself,

things that be not."

Now, Plato
meant
not

if this most
paints

reputable

of the

sophists

"

for
"

him

in the most
sentence

favourable merely and

colours

by

this famous

that he did
Apollo, by
as

know
were

whether
then

Jove, Athena,
and and
care, was

they

conceived
or

worshipped determined, said what him
in
names,

the
as
a

Greeks,
practical

existed
man,

not, to
can

not
now

he

no

im

partial thinker
meant to

blame

for.
no

But

if he

say

that he

believed
these

self-existent and.
saw no

Divine
cause

power

underlying the
say

for
we

supposing

existence
was as a

of
or a

any
man

such
not

power,
to
a

should

he

fool,
not

be dealt with world

reasonably,

perceiving

that

everywhere

full of reasonable
to
come
a

construction
or

could
exist

be for
so

supposed
ever,

into

existence,

to

without
our

reasonable
agnostics.

substratum.

Exactly

with

modern
term

If

we

find

that by
they

the

general
mean

atheism
certain

or

agnosticism
concep
cannot

merely

to

deny

popular

tions about

the Supreme
10*

Being,

which

they

226

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
:

believe, this is
be right
or

an

intelligible position
in their notions

they may
their atti

wrong

; but

tude is not

unworthy
more or

of rational beings, less leniently
to the

and

will be

judged

of

by
or

the impartial less amount

spectator,

according

greater

of the provocation
which
on

from
seem we

the unreasonable
to

orthodox When,
a

they

may

have

received.

the other

hand,

find them
from

flying off in the prevalence
may

fit of

of hasty
what they

revulsion,

and,

believe

to

be, and

what

actually be,
notions
a

shallow, perverse, about the

and

altogether

unworthy
at

Supreme
no a

Being,
we

concluding, only had
pity

jump,
to

that there is
sensibility of

God,
temper
men

can

the

morbid

which into
so

the

power
an

drive reasonable
tude.
say

unreasonable they

atti
to
or

Let

us

hear, therefore, what
First, Miss

have
"

for themselves.

Martineau

rather, her father
then
most

in atheism,

Mr.

Atkinson
are more

"

and

Professor

Tyndall and

; for these

two
coarse

of the and

respectable,

whom

the
can

rabid

of the negative
as

faction

only

be

benefited

by

accepting

their representatives.
MR. ATKINSON.
thought,

1.

"Instinct,
"

passion, 6.

are

effects of

organized

sub

stances."
2.

Page every

"For

effect there is

a

sufficient cause;

and

all

causes

The

Atheism
influenced
than
matter

of
by

Reaction.

227
;

are

material

causes
more

surrounding

circumstances by
matter."

which "Page
'*

is nothing

being

influenced

7.
What
or

3.

use

is there

in disputing
?
or

with

a

Mohammedan Catholic
English

about
about his

his prophet,
saints and about

his harem

with
?

the Roman
or

his transubstantiation

with

the

Protestant

his dull formalism,
for wealth
?
"
"

his services, and his worldly
Page
10.

pride, and vul

gar regard
"

4.

Mind

is the product

of the brain ; it is the manifestation
"

or

expression

of the brain in action." animal
vegetation,

Pag?
there

1
were

7electric currents from winds
; then

5. "Before
aroma

existence
and and

and
sen

from
was

solemn
more

music
ages

tience upon

provided
"
"

;

after

consciousness

followed

sentience.
'.'

Page

26. of the
and laws of mind
mercy,

6.

It is only

knowledge

and

the

law

of
the

love, and
world. rewards be of
a

exhibitions Inferior and
more

of goodness

that will reform

minds

will, doubtless,

always

be

influenced

by

punishments wholesome

; but these rewards

and punishments

should

character,

and

not

such

as

brutalise, and

encourage

the selfish impulses. will
"

Preaching induce
reverence

the horrors

of

a

hell and
or

eternal damnation

never

for higher

things,

reform

the world-."
"

Page

136.
Bacon's
must not

7.

We

must

profit by
we

admonitions,
see

and

not

mix
"

up
see

theology the ghosts
or a

with

science;

ourselves
we
our

reflected

of ourselves in Nature,

and
must

imagine follow

recognise
great

design
master,

human and

origin of things.
make
a

We

Bacon, and

stand weak

against

the

fallacy of natural of
Paley's about off, and

theology,
the watch,

that

exceedingly
the

argument

which the

only places

difficulty a with
by design

little further
or

confounds design
is

idea

of
Men
"

creation

manufacture.
the laws

To

human.
Nature."

design

following

which

constitute

Page

139.
sees

8.
them
at

"

Ignorance
causes.

Nature

in parts, personifies effects, and
horrors
and

takes

for
own

It creates

spectres, and gods

then
and

startles in
a

its

creations. Knowledge

Ignorance

imagines the
true

devils in

legions. whole,

establishes
one

relations of things

and

has

only

God

;

and

that

incomprehensible

and

228
unknown,
personal
trary,

The

Natural
cannot
an

History

of Atheism.
of Evil,

and demon"
good

admit

a

principle

much
on

less the
con

a

embodiment the

of all villainy ; but,

sees

in evil, and
sees
no

general good in a crooked
Ignorance

; and

more

stick in the water,

of general laws for the working disposition than sin in a crooked in a hump-back, or or a squint.

conceives its will to be free : a strange arrogance, if it recognises universal law, and that nothing could see it. Knowledge is the be free or by chance" God ; but that God no, even can not substance of law, and
is
a

origin of all things."

Page

141.

9. "There
to

trinity in unity described
commencement
or

by Bacon
:

which
matter,

seems

offer

a

sound

of philosophizing the power
or

form,

and

the principle of motion,

mind

of Nature,

if

All is change" eter change such expressions be preferred is fundamental to the constitution of Nature Motion ; and the nal. forms of matter (which is one form of and the condition of mind the

properties
as

of

matter) are
equally chain

all passing

various the

the wind,

determined

fleeting and phenomena, by law, bound down by is nothing all
these We

adamantine
we

what

conceive

There of necessity. fundamental to to be is beyond

stable
forms
assume

but

and
a

changes, something
a

but
and

which
a

principle

sense-impressions. because the form of mind
; and

requires it, as
I, wrongly

thing essential, though
perhaps,
"

unknown God."
no
"

it is this which

enough,
10.

termed finds

Page

170. ;
no

Philosophy
nor

God
of any."

in Nature
"

personal Being

or

Creator,
11.

sees men

the want

Page

173.
is beyond
our

will make let the poetry be hension,
the God

"If

a

fable for what
and

be

an

and

elevating;

worthy of the subject. ideal abstract of all that is unimpassioned, noble, a thing not and, above all, let it be a mystery" sublime
or

compre Let

carved
human

in stone,

shaped

out

in

blood

and

bone;

a

thing

of

it after passion and imperfections, fabricating that which wards finds imperfect, and repenting of having made it."" -Page 174. be no favouritism Nature or "In 12. there can predestination, law which to law" though all things be fated as being according
rules impartially,

though

individuals having

suffer cruel
some

extremities towards substances

from

necessity ; all evil, however, sal good,
as manure

tendency
are

univer
essen-

and

decaying

matter

the

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
harvest.
But
own

229
fancy that
in
Nature, from

tial to
they

regeneration
the

and

the golden of
they
a

men

recognise

doings that

mind

like their
are

instead of perceiving
Nature, without. and

themselves
or

of

a

form
form

cast

and

a

response

to the surface

phenomenal

of things
causes,

Thus
an

deluding

themselves,
see
"

they wander
own

after final

by

inverted
a

reason

their

image

in Nature,
;
as

and

imagine laws and

design and
were

Designer
not

creation and
an

and

a

Creator

if the

of matter design
were

fundamental,
and simply
an

sufficient in themselves, imitation To

not
'a

human,

;

or,

as

Bacon

designates
doings, designs;
"

it,

and

with the fitness and form
memory

application.'

call Nature's Man

of things, design, is absurd.

nature

is."
"

Page be
more

175.
noble and
more

13.
and

What

can

glorious

than

a

calm the

indifference joyful in And
vanities,
on

about

self and the
creeds

the future, in general and good

merging

individual
Nature? empty

the

general
are

good, all
our

in

universal
but
"

what
a

conventionalities

false show, decaying

the

swaddling-clothes
down

of children by

the crutches

which

age, broken 189.

false stimu

lants, supports
14.
"

itself? ""Page

He

is taught
man

to respect
can

this morality

of vengeance
yet
an

and
a

of
free

partiality ; that
will ; and be that

do
or

no

good

of himself, and
be separated He
as

has

the

soul

life can

entity, and

independent
to

chosen is to
may

of the heaven, but the greater number
a

living thing.

is taught
to

that

few

are

damnation
And

; and

this

be
be

considered
born
to

most

consoling
are one

doctrine.
to

hell-fire, they
to to
are

instructed
another by be
are

while men love God with all
the
seventy

their
seven.

hearts,

and

forgive

to

times

Stimulated
they
on

selfishness
to

the

idea

of

reward
urged
to

and
set

punishment,
their hearts could
not

required things.
as a

unselfish, and

high

They

taught

to

believe and
as

that

they
;

have

existed
were

consequence by
a

of Nature,
resembling
; that

Nature

but that they is at made
cause,

created

Being

themselves, is
"

the
out

same

time

incomprehensible
but
a
man

all nature

a

who fabric first
to

of

nothing;
without

that
cause

this wondrous
or

Being

the
are

is himself

beginning. have Page
a

They

consider
demand

it necessary

that

should
"

maker,

but

that

the

of causality is to rest there."

204.

230

The

Natural

History

of
man

Atheism.

15. "From
a

the
LOVE.
a

recognition
We

of universal
see

LAW,
can

we

shall develop
a

universal
is not

shall
to

that

no

be

friend to

us

who

friend

all.

We

shall

learn
"

that

dirt is beauty

unformed,

and
Men

that evil is undeveloped

good." glory

Page God,

209.
seeing in Him

16.
a

"

sing to the
the wretched
man a

praise and

of
own

man, jealous

image
make
or

of their

miserable
worm same or

selves." particle of

17.

"

Though

cannot

the smallest
to

dust, he petent
1

imagines
as

Creator
"

Cause

be the

vain, incom

animal
"

himself." in

Page

227.
no

8.

Fitness

Nature

is

evidence
the
eye

of

design.

That
no

the
more or

lungs

are

fitted for breathing,
of design
than that

and

for seeing, is

evidence that two

the seal is fitted to the impression,
"

halves make He who does

the whole."
not

Page
a

228. God
or

19.

"

suppose

personal

Lord

for
"

a

future, may,
so

nevertheless,

be

most

unselfish and all the forms
and

deeply

religious

religious, that he
sees

shrinks

from

he
not

in them

all but the
no

forms
image

of worship,
of truth.

of worship, because forms of fancy, and
are one

the

spirit and
who

There
on

thousands
question

upon rela them

thousands

have

clear knowledge yet
are

any

ting to their religion, and

most

proud

in declaring

selves Christians, although
one
"

it be not virtue. among recognise
'

certain

that

they possess

any

Christian Were

self-denying
to

Christ
;
nor

appear
he

such them

persons,
as

he

would

not

be

recognised
*

would

Christians.
!
'

Saying,
open

I

am

a

Christian,' and
to any

crying,
man

Lord those

! Lord

will not

the

gate

of heaven

; and

who

would and

in jostle

before

their neighbours
"

shall be the of
a

last to enter and

the least in heaven,

in

the
may

heaven
be
so

truly virtuous
as

loving

heart.

I think

a

man

religious

to be

quite shocked with
great

with

all notions

of
We
the

prayer
must

and pause

all familiar in wonder the

intercourse

deity mystery

whatsoever. of
Nature,

before
cause,

the

hidden

truth and

and

learn that knowledge and
is

is power,

and
;

knowledge

is wisdom,
to

and

wisdom the
and

power

are

in obedience
the works
are

for, by yielding
accomplished. Socrates

this law, lived for

law

fulfilled, and

Christ

died good

for

the

good
;

of and

mankind
so

;

lived and

died

the

of mankind

ought

The
live and
self shall

Atheism
die
we

of Reaction.
good

231
and
only
not

we

all to forgetting of

for the

elevate and

mankind life. ennoble
were

of

;

by
ac

I would go
to

cept

heaven

if I thought

that

others

to

hell."-

Page
20.

229.
"

Christian
weeding

morals
and

are

considered

perfect ; but they will
they
can

re

quire

much and

developing
minds"

before

be

accepted

by high
minds of

philosophic
present

by the

best and
no

most

enlightened
man's

the

day.

And

is there
of idols ?

place

for

faith

when

he

has

ceased

the worship

It is the idlest folly to
men

suppose

that the idea of Necessity But,

would

let

loose among
to
reverence

their

evil passions.

that

we

require is true
chart

something
:

and
a

elevate elevated
and

our

thoughts
gives

towards,
us

knowledge
laws

gives

us

more
us,

poetry,

the

and

of mind

to guide

for reverence. will exhibit to us higher objects to have faith in Nature ; to have faith in knowledge,
which is the fruit of knowledge
Is it nothing
to regard

Is it nothing

and

in good

ness,

?

Is it nothing

to have

faith
pro
no

in love ? found place
Trained
to
one

Nature

in all her

forms

with

reverence

? to love of

truth

and

worship
thing
or

goodness,

and

find

for

contempt

any

living

in the knowledge
offence ; what
a

of the laws of mind, soothing
a

of matter? condition to find it impossible What
a

take

influence !

blessing

this
!

and

! What circumstance for peace of mind !

foundation

for virtue
to cast
a

and

generosity
ambition ? to

Is it nothing

away

desire excellence

rather
are

than
a

to excel ? to feel

noble

contentment

in reflecting that you
Is there nothing

part of Nature

"

a

form

of the eternal ?
out

in that

faith which

seeks for

happiness
ture
"

of self that
you ?
"
"

in the happiness

of others, and

the glories of N

content

in death
shall be
as

the
you

lease
were

of personality before
you
were"

shall pass in
a

away,

and
evermore

that

sleep for

Page
21. causes.

230.
"I
am

far from well might
we,
or,

being

an

atheist,
on

as

resting

on

second there

As depth

resting

this earth, deny eternity.

that

is any

beneath,

living in time, deny
no

I do not

say, therefore, that there is irreverent
nomena

God
a

:

but

that it is extravagant All
we

and

to

imagine that In

that the

cause

Person.
cause

know

is phe
our

;

and

fundamental
not

is wholly

beyond but

conception.

this I do

suspend

my

judgment;

rather

232
assert

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
principle of things we nothing : that no form of form it ; and that no of
or

plainly that of the
abbolutely
could

motive
and
can

power
know

know
words thought Nature

nothing,
any

convey

knowledge that which
nature
'

could is to

imagine

of is wholly
of
the

aside mind,
'

of

Nature
as

(as
were,

us),and of the
A

and, is
an

it

behind
mystery.

the understanding. Phenomena
term

cause

necessarily
The
most

of have

causes
a

unfathomable and
order law

certain and

form

which what God,

we

la-,v.

fundamental
believe
and
a

general

is

Bacon
as

terms

Forms.

I

cannot
a

in

a

manufacturing
;
nor can

implied

in the idea of
or

Creator

creation

I

believe
cause

in any

beginning
or

end

to the operations

of Nature.

The

in Nature
stars

and
"

may

The earth is eternal and immutable. of Nature is eternal pass away into other forms ; but the law plants,
stones
are

man,

animals, of
man,

consequently

in Nature.

The

mind
of

the instincts of animals,
and the properties of

the sympathies
are a

(so

to

speak)

plants,

stones,

results of material
result of

itself being ; that development or and the inherent cause erties of matter, basis of matter. If to have this conception
development atheist, then
to repose
am

the prop is the

principle which

I the

an

atheist.

If to

renounce

of things is to be an all idolatry, and
of
an

upon
cause or, or
"

deep
a

and

solemn
as
*

conviction
our

eternal

and

necessary
not

such

Cause

that, with
could
so.

faculties, we and live
'
"

could
if this

know,

as

it is expressed, be

not
care

see

be atheism Page
22.

materialism,

it

I

not

about

terms.""

240.
"

What

is mind,

but

an

evolved

condition
?
a

or

form
are

of the the in

powers

of Nature,

like light, heat, magnetism and the mind
?"
"

What

stincts of animals

of
Page

man

but

result of chemical

action

or
"

material Perhaps

processes

257.
be
seen

23.
that
more are

in

the end

it may

that

some

of

those
:

the most called Materialists are spiritual, at least, than those who the
; who
same

spiritual in their notions
talk of gross

materialism, sits upon and
time
a

and

at

time

throne wisdom,

talk

their material who disparagingly affections, of human
and
at

invoke

God,

human fashion

nature, and poor human Page God in their likeness." their
"

the

same

259.

The

Atheism

of Reaction.

233

MISS

MARTINEAU.

24. the

"

When

men

are

driven out of their grosser
which
are

superstitions by
them,

evidence

of

LAW,

everywhere
a

around

they

still cling to the baseless notion of Nature, himself

of

single conscious
not

Being

outside

unaccounted

for, and

himself

accounting

for

Nature.""

Page
we

218.
have

25. "When
to
a

finally dismissed
"

all notion

of

subjection
about
"

superior

lawless

Will

all the

perplexing
and
our

notions

sin

and stand

responsibility,

and

arbitrary
we are,
"

reward

punishment
own

and
and

free to
our cave

see
own

where

and the

to study

nature,

recognise
out

of

a

conditions full of painted
round about

relief is like
under the the

that

shadows
us

of coming free sky, with What
a new

the

earth

open
we

to

horizon.
"

perception
of and
ence
a

obtain

of 'the
"

beauty

of holiness' with
!

the

loveliness of Nature, of
rever

healthful moral
not

condition

accordant

the laws
a

with

the requisitions of theology in
us

What

sense

awakens

when,

dismissing
we

the image

of

a

Creator
that

bring very
and in

ing the universe
conception deeper
down

out

of nothing, is too

clearly perceive

the

of

origin

great

for

us,

and and
see

that

deeper
away
a

in the abysses
ages, all
was

of time, further stillwhat forms
we

further
it
now
"

the vistas of the of ever-working largely various table
Law
!
am
"
"

system

forces, producing in the whole,
Page

uniform

in certain lines and of immu

and

all under

the operation

219. that
2.2,2..

26.
out

"I

convinced
"

the true

moral

life is found

in going

of ourselves."

Page

We

have

presented from
so a

these

extracts

at

consider

able length could be

conviction

that

no

other method

effectual in showing
self-contradictory
can

the
nature

emptiness,

absurdity,
guments
monstrous

and

of all
of

ar

that

be

advanced

in favour

the

doctrine

of atheism.

Part of the affair

234
is

The

Natural

History

of
a

Atheism.

a

mere

logomachy
part

arising is
an

from

strange

use

of

words against

; another certain

impatient

recalcitration

doctrines

of the received
or

theology of

of

the Christian
ignorant

Churches,
and

of the

theology

certain
tian

foolish vain of

talkers in Chris
devotion
;
a

pulpits

and
an

books

Christian

third part is
tians, and and
a

exaggeration

of the vices of Chris of atheists ; of misunder
resists

glorification
a

of the virtues

the rest of it is
and
at

conglomeration

standings attempt

cross-purposes

which
the

all
a

being logic.

brought
Le.t
us

within

pale

of

reasonable
in detail.

take

it with

all briefness

REMARKS.

Nos.
these

I,

2,

4, 5,

22.
we

To

bring

any

sense
a
new

out

of

propositions
MATTER.

shall

require
is made

defi
include primary
MOVE,

nition of motion,
source

If matter
motions

to

both

secondary
"

and
we

that

of all energy
our

in whom then of
course

live, and
we

and have

being,"

may

say with
matter
true

all truth that everything influencing
to

in the world it would
and
to

is only

matter.

But language is only

be equally
say

adopt

Spinoza's world

that every

thing But

in the

God

influencing

God.

what

sense

is there

in inverting

the

common

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

235

acceptation
a

of known
from

terms,

and

then

tricking out
?

philosophy
was

such

perversion got
a

of language himself
a cer

It

in this way
temporary

that Bentham
as

tain

reputation good

moralist, by

con

founding
can

the
no

with

the
error,

pleasurable.*

There

be
a

speculative uncalled-for

though

unquestion
con

ably

most

amount

of practical
MATTER

fusion, in substituting provided those
tions great
more
we

the word into
our

for God,

import

idea

of matter and

all
func

transcendental which
First

virtues,

energies,
as

the theist recognises

inherent

in the

Cause.
were

But

why

this

juggle?
to

Far of

reasonable
altogether,

it to
to

deny

the existence

matter

than with

attribute

it qualities
concep

plainly
tions.

inconsistent

its fundamental

When

it is said

that

"

the mind
true
as

is the product
to say

of the brain," this is

justas

that the
brain
"

horse
and
we

is the

product
are

of the cart.

No

doubt

thought
might

indissolubly horse
are

bound
cart to

together
be
"

as

conceive and

and

but

as

both

mind

brain

products

of the of the

inherent
universe,

self-energizing,

self-plastic Mind

*

That

Bentham's

ethical system

is utterly worthless,

was
"

after Essay

wards
on

confessed

by his principal

disciple.

See

J. S.

Mill's

Bentham."

236

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
unwarranted They
are

which the
one

we

call God,
the product of God
;

it is quite

to call

of the other.
or,

both
pro evolu
neces^

products ducts,
tions.

if you

dislike the word
emanations,
or

say

manifestations, all such
sun

Behind
as

phrases
the

God

lies

as

sarily

the

behind

radiance

which

he

sheds.
To
No.

the

doctrine
can

of
no

EVOLUTION

enunciated

in

5 there
we

be

provided objection,
the absurdity
reason

always

that

do not
out

assert

that something
out

is evolved order
out- of
mere

of nothing,

of

unreason,

out

of confusion,
or

light out

of darkness, shape
cases
a

fire of
only

frost,
blind

the

positive In

in any

out

negations.

all

such

the

most

superficial
or an

will

confound
priority,

historical
a

sequence,

accidental
or a

with

meta

physical No.
tians anity

priority,

Cause. Chris
Christi
in
sum

3. The have
than up
an

faults and follies of professing
more errors

no

logically to made
by

do

with

the

schoolboys with

ming

arithmetical of number.
is
a

column

the principles

of the science
In No.

6 there

confusion
acting

between

the

con

ferring of rewards
taining motive rewards.
of
course

and

for the

sake

of ob

The

interpolation the purity

of the selfish of the action ;

corrupts

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

237
those

but it is not from

therefore regards,

wrong have

to reward

who,

unselfish

sacrificed

themselves

for the good No.
to mix

of the community.
is quite

7. Bacon
up

right when science
were

he tells us he would
not
to

not

theology

with

; but

be

altogether wrong,
up theology
narrow

if he

to tell us

mix
in
a

with and
or

philosophy. has
no

Science
to

works

range,

function

meddle
at all.

with The and
it
or

philosophical
question

theological
is
a

questions

of design
a

philosophical
man

question,
asserts

the

moment

scientific
out

either

denies
is,
or

it, he walks
attempts
to

of his proper
a

sphere, As for

and Dr.

be,

philosopher.
no

Paley, know stand

and has
a more

his simile of the watch, been
more

writer

that I
to

grossly

abused

and

made

unreasonable

test

in the literal inter

pretation
common-sense,

of his words.
as

Dr.

Paley"

the genius
"

of

he has been

well called degree
or a

did not
mean

say,

and

did

not

in the remotest

to

insinuate,
ture

that the world shape. He

is

a

watch,

manufac
as we
see

in any

merely

said that

and

acknowledge
in the

design,
machinery
ignorant

plan, purpose, of and
a

and
so,

cal

culation
we we

watch,

unless

are

altogether

purposely
plan,

perverse,

must

acknowledge
in the structure

design,

calculation,

purpose,

of the human

body,

and

238

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
; and

in other expounded Socrates,
David,

organisms
more

of Nature than
two

this doctrine,
years

thousand

ago

by by
so

the wisest
noblest
and

of the Greeks,

and

besung

the

of the

Hebrew
true

lyrists, is
no

strikingly
and

pervadingly and wretched

that

subtleties
a

sophistries
negative

verbal
can

juggleries of
hope
or
a

purely
turn

physical do
not

science

to

over

it.

We

require is
a a

the atheists growth,
not

agnos
manu

tics to tell us

that Nature
is not

facture ; that God
we

mechanic,
"

and

so

forth ;
to

know

this perfectly
as

well

we

happen

have

been^taught,
and
our a

Christians,
we

that

God
move,

is

a

Spirit,
have
con
as corn-

spirit in whom
; but
a

live, and
to

and
any

being

growth,
requires
any

rise

into
as

gruous box,
or

proportions,
a

design,

well

a

house,
"Man

or

piece

of mechanical Nature

pagination.

designs,
is
an

is," says

Mr.

Atkinson.
which The
IS
:

This
a

antithesis merely
mind
conveys
no

in words, meaning.
; Nature
man

to

thinking
should

writer

have

said, Man

MAKES
sense,

though,
even

indeed, make

in the proper
only
nor uses

does
But

not

; he

what
using,

is.
nor

neither being,

in

the

making, the

the
reason

the
exclu

is there

slightest

for the and
must

sion of design.
to

Design

belongs,
every

belong,

all the three ; otherwise

human

workshop

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
of incoherent
everywhere
a

239
frag full of chaos

would
ments,

become
and

a

lumber-room of
a

instead
law,
we

world

reasonable

should Bedlam.

have The

lawless

and

a

maundering

against prejudice

design
men

in the minds
arises

of
two

a

certain class of scientific
"

from
not

causes

I.

Because

mere

science
causes,

does and

mount

up

into the region

of final
deny
it

therefore

takes
own

upon

itself to

generally

what,
require

for its
;
2.

special
some

purposes,

does
gians

not

Because
a

foolish theolo
into certain
a

have

interpreted

design

parts

of the
edge

Divine

workmanship, of Nature
;

which

little knowl
to

of the

scheme

proved Because

be

alto

gether

inadequate
we

and

3.

the

design is part
to

which of
a

admire

in the

scheme
a

of Nature whole,
not

plan

comprehending by the

vast

be

interpreted those who
the
part
as

hasty

inspection
on

of

a

part ; and
cause

expatiate

largely

the final

of this

if it were

the whole,

and

look

at

part and
and

also only in the
comfort,
are

light of human

convenience

justly chargeable
God
this vast pleasure

with

ignorance
not

presumption.

certainly does and
or

do

all

that

he

does

in

complex
mine
;
nor

universe

merely
you

for your
I
can

because of any

and

make

profitable application does

thing

in the world

it logically follow that this

240

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
and
not

use

was

in every

case

an

end,
; but

rather

an

accident is
a
a

of their existence blind
person

unquestionably does does
not
see,

he
and

most

who
who

most
as

ungracious

person
says,

not

acknowl done comfort
says,
a

edge,
very

Socrates

that the gods human
beings

have
as

great
as

deal to make

able that
cause

possible.

As
parts

to what

Mr.

Atkinson

fitness of

does

not

prove

design,
a

be
may
not

the fact that
prove design

two

halves
answer

make

whole
that

not

; the
or

is plain,

every

adaptation
such
a

congruity

proves

design,
means

but
to
a

only
common

combination
as

of diverse

end

is absolutely directing
we

impossible
presence

to

con

ceive

without

the

of that
a

im

perial Unity in two, You
say

which

call Mind.
two

Break together design.
stones,

bridge
again.

and

join the
not

halves

this does
as a

indicate

But

did
or

the bridge, boards

skilful
two

junctionof
banks
?
or

bars,

to connect

of

a

river, put
even

itself
two

together halves
fitted been
a

without of
a

design
or a

could

the

bridge,

of any
whole,

other

body, had

have
not

so

exactly

into

if there
power
a

shaping
to

and

moulding
them

behind whole
?

the
Let
or

materials,
us

shape

into such is
no

not

therefore
cause

say,

there

reXo?,

design,
we

final

in the works

of God,

while

admit

The

Atheism

of
of
man

Reaction.

241
it ;
:

that
but

no

meanest

work

can

be without

let the manifest designs
with

truth
are

rather

be

stated

thus

the
only
one,

of

man

petty,

partial, and

dealing of God
is

supplied

materials

; the

design

pervading,

inherent,
are

self-acting, unavoidable.
mind
out

As

thoughts shaping and

in

the

of

a

great

poet,

always
reason

themselves
design

by

constructive

intuitive

into organic
so

imagina

tive structures

called poems,
are

the eternal ideas in
shaping
eternal,

the

Divine by

mind

always
necessary,

themselves self-evolv of With
and

forth

inherent,

ing, self-plastic Reason

into those
we

living poems

the creative

intellect which thought
is
a

call worlds.
; and

God
deeds

every

deed
in
we

thoughts

together

evolved

the

miraculous
are

chain
the

of vital continuity
essence

which

call growth

of

that

incomprehensible, called

reasonable which all pure

Source
religion

of all existence
devoutly

GOD,

worships, and

all sober
no

philosophy
argumenta

piously
tion
can

acknowledges,
explain
8,
21.

subtle

away.

No.

There be

is littlehere
to

that

a

reasonable declar
and
was

theist would
"

disposed

deny.

The

ation

that God

is the substance

of Law,

the for

origin of all things,"

shows

how

difficult it
man

Mr.

Atkinson

or

any

sound-minded

to main-

242
tain

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.

consistently
atheism. 9.

the

unreasonable

negatives

of

pure
No.

Curiously
himself

and
for

perversely having
to

enough, the

he
term

here

corrects

used of
a

GOD,

and

thinks

it safer

talk

fundamen

tal something
change. reasonable
use

beyond
can see

sense,

and

underlying

all
un

One
and

nothing

here,

but

an

superstitious
name

horror,
has

against

the
sanc

of

a

venerable all the

which

been and

tioned

by

noblest that
to
were

religions assayed

all the for in

loftiest philosophies
mulated
utterance

to give

the

most

deeply-seated

stincts of human No.
10.

consciousness.

The
science

of objection
to
"

modern

devotees
seems sense

of
to

physical arise from of human the

a

personal

God,"

their using person.
an

the term

p'erson in the

It is therefore anthropomorphic

identical

with which

objectionto
the days
in the
van

God,

from
found

of Xenophanes of all
modern

downwards

has been the popular
bear
; and
even

objectionsto
polytheism phrases,
on

theology mind the
most
use

; but

should objectors
is not

in

that Christianity of

that the

anthropomorphic

by

spiritual
a

Christian theologians
of the human

occasions,

arises from

necessity in the

imagination,

and

does

not

least imply

that the persons

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
of
men

243
the Greeks
rather
a

using

such

phrases

think

Jehovah
are

as

did of
prosaic,

Jove.
and

Scientific
may

sometimes

be

excused
;

if they

mistake

simile
persons

for

a

proposition

but

philosophers,

or

propounding know better.
we

philosophical As
to

propositions,

should
term

the
a

to objection

the

Creator,

have

stated in

previous
out

chapter

that

the production

of something
causation is not

of nothing, formally

by

a

metaphysical
text
12.

taught

in any No.

of the Christian

Scriptures.
and
predestination

The
is

favouritism
a

al

luded Pauline
we

to here

vulgar

misunderstanding
a

of the

doctrine

of election,
stated,
was

doctrine by

which,

as

have

already

taught the

the ancient
views of

Stoics, and
the
of

is founded
course

on

soundest

general

of Providence.
necessity is

The

doctrine

philosophical
it denies

only objectionable
we

when

the limited liberty which it is stated, with
or

plainly
as
a

enjoy,or
blind

when

the
a

atheists,

necessity

chance,

not

seeing

necessity

of the living God.
No. 13. the

The
root

extraordinary
of this passage
are

conception
is, that

which because
is

lies at
some

Christians

selfish, therefore because Mr.

religion

essentially selfish, and

Atkinson,
are

Miss

Martineau,

and

other

agnostics

benevolent

244

The

Natural

History

of
to

Atheism.

persons, with

therefore

the only
is to

way

infect the world

beneficence

adopt

the atheistical opin

ions of those
No. 14. and
are so

persons
is
a

!
fair average
views

This

specimen Christian

of those
ethics

oblique

perverse
common

of

which
tics.

in the mouths

of the agnos
provocation

That

they

have

received
and

some

from
we

foolish advocates have
all along
to be

inconsistent

professors,
men

admitted above
to

; but, surely

pro
not

fessing
allow

wise

their fellows led
see

should such such

themselves

be
to

away

by

hasty dis

generalisations, torted
Nos. optics.

and

things with

15, 17.
those who

The

word
to

LAW
use

is the

last term
of GOD,
cause

with
as

disdain of the

the

name

the symbol

underlying

reasonable
But

of the grand however

order

of the universe.
is utterly void

this word,

fashionable,

of philosophi regular method
or an

cal significance.

A

law is simply
implies whose

a

of operation,
external
ent

and

either

an

internal
and

causal

Force,

constant

consist

action motion

produces of the
to

that
piston
a

method
in
a

of

operation. pro

The
ceeds dream

steam-engine
no sane
man

according of

law ; but
that

could of
regu

substituting

expression
true
cause

larity in the movement

for the

of

the

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

245
case

movement.

The
of steam with

cause

of the law

in

this

is

the nature
Watt.

+ the designing

mind
:

of
men

James
on

So

everything
balls
on

else
a

the

a

chess-board, soldiers in law
; but
an

the

billiard-table,
according

the
to
a

ordered
substitute

battle,
that

move

to

law

for the
The

cause

of

these motions all motion reasonable is the
a

is unmeaning
a

babble.

cause

of

is

motive
or

force ; and
motion

the

cause

of all
a

motion,

according And
in

to

law,

reasonable
cause

motive

force. of

this way
we

of the
to

laws

Nature,

which
is the Force,

are

called

upon

substitute
or

for God,

supreme

designing
call God, Divine

Reason,

reasonable of the

which

we

plus

the nature
uses

materials

which
of the

Force

in working

the organism

universe.

No.
deny

20.

There atheists noble from the
are

is not and

the

slightest
may

reason

to most
own

that

agnostics
may

lead
their

virtuous

and

lives, and their
easy
own

have

special comfort only

special creed.
by
to

We
all the

object to
virtues

egotism

which the

higher creed,
No.

appropriated
to the theistic.
we

atheistic

and
24.

denied
Here

have

that phantom

"

of which

a

sin

gle conscious
to

Being,

outside nature," mind

seems

have

driven

the atheistic

of these

times

246

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
conception either
on

out

of its proprieties.

The

of

a

Jupi
to

ter sitting outside
most

of the world,

the top

peak

of

Olympus,
theism
and

is quite
to

foreign

both

philosophical

spiritual

Christianity ;
to

but, notwithstanding

the plainest obliquity
sound

contradictions these people

the rush
ative

contrary,

the
mere

of of
an

will

off at the

innocent

imagin nega
or

expression,

right

away

into and

the black atheism,

tions

of Law

and

Necessity,
an

at

least what

they
a

call

impersonal they him

God.
do

When
not

theists call God
so

person, conceive
narrow

certainly
as a

do

because by

they

separate

unit,

bounded
ity, but

the

limits of human

personal suitable by
to

because
the

they

deem
cause

it most

describe

supreme

of all nature We know

that

which higher
nothing
an

is most

noble

in nature. than

nothing
; and

in the visible world

personality

higher

in the invisible than

God.
a

If by freed there

impersonal

God

is meant,

only

God

from
is
no

all limits of merely
great
; and
at

human

personality,

harm
may

in it ; but
mean

the phrase
or

is extremely

vague

something,

anything,

or

nothing nothing
vacuities

all.

We

shall therefore,
It may fillup

wisely, have the yawning
; other

to do

with it.

of atheism,

with

some

decency

wise worthless.

The
I have

Atheism

of

Reaction.

247
the reli
not
to

given

this full consideration
opinions
or

to

gious and theological
because I attribute,

of Mr.

Atkinson,
reason

have

the slightest
to

attribute, any

peculiar

authority
represent

his utterances,

but because
oblique

his words

fairly enough

that

vision, and and

distorted

portraiture

of Chris
up

tian doctrine the

morals,

which,

seasoned

with
is
or

favourite
up

scientific phraseology
so

of the hour, of
more

cooked

into

many

shallow

shapes

less distinctly enunciated
tineau specially,
we a

atheism.

Of

Miss

Mar-

have

said nothing.
only

Unques
intellec the
most

tionably
tual

she

was

lady, not
a

of

rare

gifts, but

with

moral

nature

of

delicate
was

sensibility ;
to put

theologically,

however,
as

she

content

herself before of Mr. We
now

the world and

the
must

mere

reflective mirror
or

Atkinson,
turn
to

stand

fall with him.
a

Professor
pre

Tyndall,
tensions,

scientific expositor
one

of much

higher

and

from

whose

well-weighed
at

words,

placed

before the

British
may

Association

Belfast in
with
more

the year

1874,
the

we

expect

to gather

precision
and

real

sentiments

of

the

materialists
read

agnostics

of the present
over now

day.

I have
times,
as

his

celebrated
care

address I have

several

with
to

great

; and

little doubt
It certainly

its real
not
an-

significance

and

drift.

does

248

The

Natural

History

of Atheism.
of nature
; the

nounce

an

intellectual philosophy
which favour

prominence
and the

it gives to the doctrine

of atoms,
Epicurus,

shown
as

to

Democritus,

and
and

Lucretius, Zeno, gives
to

compared decidedly

with

Plato, Aristotle,
or

a

atheistical

material
; but
on

istic hue

the

introductory

paragraphs
and

the whole,
tone

the concluding
remarks
to

sections

the

general
address
a

of
me

the

in the

body

of

the

incline

conclude
would

that the
have

lecturer is
no

Pan

theist, and worship

who

objections to
Bruno,
or

the

God

of Spinoza,
movement

Giordano
in his

Goethe,
wards

if he worship

felt any
at

soul

to

all.

The which

concluding
the learned

lines, in

deed,
man

from

Wordsworth,

gentle

has italicised, are
"

distinctly Pantheistic,
and
a

A motion

spirit that impels
all thought,

All thinking
And

things, all

of objects
"

rolls through

all things"

and with

one

can

hardly

conceive
at

a

writer, sympathizing
at

Wordsworth
in the blank

all, and

the
barren

same

time

dealing

vacuities

and

negations

of pure

atheism.
so

I have
as

already

explained

that

pantheism,
and
verse,

long mind

it asserts
in
a

the unity

of motion
uni
to
un-

spirit and is
not
a

reasonably-ordered form of theism,

perfectly legitimate
even

which

orthodox

Christianity, rightly

The

Atheism
have
and

of

Reaction.

249
But

derstood,
there
is
a

need
mist

any
a

serious

objection.
and
a

confusion TyndalFs

slippery

ambiguity
which
ing

about

Professor the

phraseology from
extract

prevents

impartial the

reader

all that

joy

from

final Wordsworthian
naturally
create.

quotation

that it might

otherwise

The and shows
phy

very

fact of placing formally

Democritus, Plato

Epicurus, and Aristotle philoso
writers reconcile

Lucretius
a

above

want
no

of something
quotations
can

in the writer's

which
a more

borrowed supply.
as

from
To

of

lofty school and

Democritus impossible.

Wordsworth
as we

we

know

them
we

is

I say

know

them,

because
; and

know have
atomic

Democritus

only from
case

fragments the
great

it may

been

the

that

father

of the
wise

doctrine,
sages,

like Thales
had
a

and
or

the

other

pre-Socratic
background,

Aoyos,

Reason,

in the

by

the help of which
into
a

his atoms
universe.

might
But

shape
as

themselves
now

reasonable

things

stand

neither
nor

Epicurus,
nor

the

exposit

or

of Democritus,

Lucretius,
any
use

the modern
or

scientific lecturer, makes
or

of ^0709,

IVou?, of

any

intellectual potency
It
constructs

in their construction

the

universe.

itself by
a

evolution,

natural selection, laws, and phrases, which,
n*

few other fashionable from
a

divorced

self-existent,

250
plastic

The

Natural

History

of
we

Atheism.

Aoyos,
to
a

or

Reason, thinking

as

have have

already
simply

ex
no

plained,

mind, thing
sort
we

significance at all.
seems

Of
:

one

Professor of
must

Tyndall

wisely
agnostic

aware

if this
on,

materialistic

and

talk is to go

change
no

our

definition of the word
it is made
motion,
to

MATTER

; and,

doubt,
only

if

include

motion,
motion,

and and
say

not

blind

but reasoned
a

motion

accord
so

ing

to

law,

we
"

may

then
promise
as we

that

Matter

gifted

contains

the
But,

and

potency

of all
to

terrestrial life."
Mr.

said with

reference

Atkinson,
using

why words
sense

confound in
?
an

all reasonable entirely novel includes

discus
and

sion by

self-

contradictory then
in
a

If matter
-f
=

motion,

matter

+

motion

form,

the result of motion
; and

reasonable

world,

GOD
of

why

not

deny
a

matter

altogether,

instead

elevating

it into maintain?

position But

which

it cannot
we

consistently
observe Mr.

letting

this pass,
no

further

that
is

Professor pursued

Tyndall, by

less than of
an

Atkinson,
mechani of
whose

the

phantom
and

external,

cal, detached,
existence
no man

interfering

God,
ever

sane

Christian
against

theist

dreamed.
seems

Another
be
were

of straw
"

which

he

to
as

fighting is

a

series

of creative

acts,"

if it
in

at all necessary

for any

theist to

believe

The

Atheism

of Reaction.
acts.

251
as

the existence
is everywhere

of any

such

Inasmuch be
to

God

present, energizing

he

must

everywhere the necessity
nor

and

always
own

according
; any

of his
can

eternal be

reason

and

there is not,
thing
as
a

there

conceived,
in

such

want

of continuity
which

the

indwelling shaping

plastic

energy

by

he is constantly

forth the life of the the
is
can

universe.

And

Evolution,
large

of which

learned doctrine

lecturer also makes
to

discourse,

a

which

no

Christian

theologian

have

the
some

slightest

; objection

unless, indeed,

there be

divines who,

taking

the
"

first chapter
only
a

of Genesis
prosaic

in

its literal signification

which
do

person

of the lowest created strokes then
as

order

would by
six
one scene,

"

imagine

that

God
the

the of
a

world

verbal
in each

fiats, like
of six days, nothing
to

harlequin, from the

and do,

retired

with

I have

heard
to
"

it sometimes

expressed his
own as

in the pul

pit, but
tions !
"

contemplate

Infinite perfec

HaviYig idea

dispensed
a

much

as

possible
universe,

with
and

the having

of

plastic the newly

MIND

in the

assigned
to
a

natural
baptized

functions
Matter,

of such
we on
are

plastic
not

Mind

to be

surprised
the famous

if Professor shibboleth Dr.

Tyndall

goes

to

magnify physical

of

the

ingenious
to

speculator,

Darwin,

and

employ

252
"

The

Natural

History

of

Atheism.
devout agreed and

natural
thinkers with
wise

selection"

to

do

the work
Kepler other

which
have

like Copernicus King
David,

and
and
to

Moses,
men,

prophets beauty

in ascribing

God.
to
us

The natural

of

flowers,

he
so

tells good

us, as

is due

selection. when
on a se

Will he be lection

tell

whether,

is made,

it must

not

be
the made

made
act

some

principle, which

both

renders
it to be

of selection
a

possible, and
way
?

causes

in

particular that

If the selection is made overwhelms
it is plain

in the fashion

the stronger
in this
case

and that

absorbs
must

the weaker,

there

be

a

princi
over

ple of strength
weakness.
To But

in nature

which
no

forces its way
man

this doctrine
same

of

sense

can

object.
place
ness,

in the

way,

if the selection takes prevails
a
own

in the fashion that beauty
it
can

over

ugli

only be because that

there is in its

principle of
propaga is such
a

beauty
tion.

in nature

rejoices

Well,

then, unquestionably
otherwise and how

there
could

principle in nature, everywhere
or or

the world

be blooming

bursting beauty
in

with beauty,
some

at least tending

towards

shape Professor
and Beauty Epi is

other ?

But

what he
answer or

is this principle ?

Tyndall,
curus,

unless

gives

up

Democritus

cannot

this. Mind,

Plato

can.

the ^670?, IVoO?,

of the

cosmos,

manifest-

The

Atheism

of

Reaction.

253
of

ing

itself in

the

delicately-shaped the beauty
IN

congruities

visual form. leafy tracery.

Hence

of ferns and

other

GOD FOR
these

ALL
is the

AND only

THROUGH
formula that evolu
con

ALL
can

AND
explain

ALL,

things.

Without natural

God,

tion,

continuity

of nature,
or

selection, other

servation

of
to

energy,

whatever

phrases
are mere

happen
sound

have

currency

for the

hour,

and
so

smoke, called.

and

imaginations

of

science

falsely

THE

END.

A

BOOK

WORTH

READING.

BLACKIE'S

FOUR
SOCRATES,

PHASES
ARISTOTLE,

OF

MORALS;
AND

CHRISTIANITY,

UTILITARIANISM.
BY

JOHN
PROFESSOR OF

STUART
GREEK

BLACKIE,
IN THB

F. R. S. E.
OF

UNIVERSITY

EDINBURGH.

One

volumey

I2tno,

$1.50.

SELECTING

Socrates,

Aristotle, Christianity, and
shows how

Utilitarianism

as

the

four great types,

Prof. Blackie

the theories of the ancient where soul. they fall short

school*

intersect the activities of every-day
the demands
clear and and

life,and

of meeting

necessities of the human vigorous

The

volume

is remarkably

incisive in style, and

and

stimulating

in thought.

CRITICAL
Front
the Boston

NOTICES.
Daily
A dvertiser.

in bringing out with great perspicacity the salient The Professor succeeds features of the four most distinguishing phases or schools of remarkable and have influence in determining had and still have the moral science which
civilized peoples. of the present speculative opinions and practical conduct directed to The style of these lectures is for the most part plain and always the thought. Watchman Front the Boston and Reflector.
We regard this book of Prof. Blackie' s as containing by far the ablest vin dication of the divinity of Christianity which In the the year has produced. its thought it takes in all those principles which the of underlie wide sweep but of modern The various forms not only of ancient error spirit unbelief. faith, pervades of finest scholarship, of broadest charity, and of a reverent the entire book. Front A dvocate. York Christian the New

author is eminently orthodox, both philosophically and theologically. It is a thoughtful highly suggestive of thought and must prove work, to all who may read it appreciatively. The
....

Front

the New

York
often

Examiner

and
"

Chronicleonce adorning and illus lit ancient and modern

His style is very readable, by varied trating his themes
erature.

beautiful,
to

at

allusions

the best

From

the New

York

Evangelist.

The a large acquaintance shows volume ilear and often eloquent.

with the

a subject,nd is uniforml

Sent post-paid upon

receipt of price by

SCRIBNER,
743

ARMSTRONG,
"
745
Broadway.

"
New

CO.
York

A

Vade Mecum

for Young

Men

and Students.

ON
INTELLECTUAL,

SELF-CULTURE;
PHYSICAL,
AND

MORAL.

BY
PROFESSOR
OF
GREEK

JOHN
IN
"

STUART
UNIVERSITY PHASES OF OF

BLACKIE,
EDINBURGH, ETC. AND

THE

AUTHOR

O"

FOUR

MORALS,"

One

volume,

i6mot

cloth,

$1.00.

CRITICAL'NOTICES.
From

the New

York

Evening

Post.

Everywhere Blackie's precepts. here particularize Professor the desirableness action, of a buoyant outlooking of healthful dull. There is not flippant, never fresh, never is always He a energy. The himself not reader repay quotation would page which fine sugges It is full of excellent sense and must go to this littlevolume. is forcible, simple, and The the thought clear and tion. elegant; style have said enough. we quality of the book scholarly ; of the high moral

We

cannot

he teaches

From

the Boston

Transcript.

Scotch common-sense little book is so full of strong and habits of young in regard to the aims, studies, and head to the to the library, and to find its way men, that it ought and heart in all English-speaking too woman man young and young of every countries. Front the Congregatioualist. Prof. Blackie's

of judicious counsel

"

"

To

speak

moderately,

Self-Culture is positively admirable.
From

the New

York

World.

is a plain and forcible statement As a whole, the book of rather obvious more truths, and it will doubtless service than the reader practical prove of t tand does not himself in need of its aid will be at first sight disposed who
to

think.
From

the Churchman.

It sets forth to read. is one man The every ought young volume wnich intel has equalled, the relations between in a way no recent writer which as a most truly -serve lectual, physical, and moral valuable culture, and will vade
mecum.

From

the

Watchman

and

Reflector.

from Prof. Blackie's pen, bears the marks This last volume of the same large, earnest fertile thought, finished scholarship, strong, vigor spirit, and men, book The was literary style. and ous written especially for young in nature. bugle call to all that is truly manly the young line is like a every
From

the

Christian

Intelligencer.

for young men, especially and wise suggestions counsel literary or professional for or entering pursuits, on upon whose preparing culmoral culture, and Lhe subjectsof the culture of the intellect, physical in their common The consists of Prof. Blackie's counsels wisdom .ure. brevity. in their condensed Knse and practicalness, and also
Full

of sensible

_

Will

be sent post-paid

on

by t/te publishers receipt of the price

,

SCRIBNER,
743

ARMSTRONG,
"

"

CO.,
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745

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York

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