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gifted, and any regulation that the former should fare any worse than the latter must be ultimately, however we may obscure it, a rule of brute force pure and simple." (Pp. 75-6.)

Would it be possible to present any argument as the product of pure reason which is so absolutely irrational? Is human reason really so weak and so deceivable as to be incompetent to detect a string of fallacies so gross as these? One thing is specially to be observed in this illustration of the unreasonableness of Nature, and that is that it is not taken from any of the acknowledged anomalies and difficulties which have long attracted attention, such as the birth of monsters and deformities, or as the occasional success and triumph of the wicked. On the contrary, it is an illustration taken from the normal and natural course of things from the action of the most fundamental and necessary laws which govern the world. It condemns, as essentially contrary to human reason and to the human conscience, the whole of that system of things which tends to the success of superior genius or virtue. And be it observed that this condemnation is made all the more sweeping from the writer's representation of the principle on which Nature works-that principle being, as we have seen, of the harshest kind. In all the pictures he presents of the actual phenomena of life, he uses the very coarsest colours, and these alone. It is all shadow and no lights. He says nothing of the beneficence of Nature of the vast sum of enjoyment which fills the living world with a perpetual succession of conscious happiness. He says nothing of that combination of natural causes which do most visibly work together for good to them that love Him who is the Author of them. He says nothing of that view of Nature which has been lately well expressed by the eminent naturalist Mr. Wallace-the view, namely, that we are apt to exaggerate beyond all reason the amount and the kind of suffering which Nature inflicts on the lower animals in the system of mutual destruction which is universal. The absence of conscious anticipation, and the dulness of sensation in all the lower organisations, are considerations which are never sufficiently appreciated in our imagination of the reign of death and of destruction. As regards human society our author adopts all the most extreme delineations of the ultra-socialistic school, without even hinting that they are one-sided, totally forgetful of all other aspects but one, and reading into the history of past times the standard of desires and aspirations which belongs to later times.

What, then, is the feature in his philosophy-what is the connection of ideas-which leads up to this revelling in the most pessimist aspects of Nature and of human life? It is only when we ask this question, and when we discover the answer to it, that we can estimate fully the peculiarity of this book. Strange to say, the leading idea is to exalt religion at the expense of reason. It is religion alone which can reconcile us to a world which is otherwise badly and unjustly constituted. In all its fundamental laws it revolts both our reason and our conscience. But religious beliefs, and these only, can induce us to submit to it, and can implant in the human mind a counteracting influence and power.

It is surely needless to point out what a dangerous line of argument is here presented to us. It separates absolutely our intellectual and reasoning from our moral and religious nature. It represents religion nakedly as a set of beliefs which, whether they have or have not any foundation in facts, are nevertheless invaluable as performing a particular function in the world. That function is to make men submit resignedly to the cruel and unjust system under which they live, and also to introduce into the minds of men those ethical feelings which, though essentially irrational, tend to mitigate its effects in a greater or less degree.

We may well ask whether this is a safe foundation on which to place the defence of religion before the minds of men who have not inherited its beliefs, or who have abandoned them, or who have been feeling doubtfully and painfully their way towards them. It seems to recommend religion to our acceptance, not on account of any inherent truth, but on account of its immense utility. It comes perilously near to the famous dictum of Napoleon, that if there were no God it would be absolutely necessary to invent one. Accordingly, when we look at Mr. Kidd's definition of religion, we find that in his understanding its actual use-its special func'tion-in the organism of human society is that one essential characteristic by which alone its very nature can be identified and recognised. He passes in review a number of the definitions of religion which have been given by various modern writers, and a sad list it is of incompetent and ambiguous phrases. Glancing at these definitions, and describing them most justly as 'puzzling and conflicting in an extraordinary degree,' and supposing them to be read by some visitor coming amongst us from another planet, Mr. Kidd says that such a being would come to the speedy conclusion that in

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religion he was dealing with a class of phenomena the key 'to which he did not possess.' This key our author accordingly proceeds to supply. He finds it first in this one idea, that man is in some way in conflict with his own 'reason':

'One of the most remarkable features which the observer of religious phenomena could not fail to notice in connexion with these religions would be that under their influence man would seem to be possessed of an instinct, the like of which he would not encounter anywhere else. This instinct, under all its forms, would be seen to have one invariable characteristic. Moved by it, man would appear to be always possessed by the desire to set up sanctions for his individual conduct which would appear to be super-natural against those which are natural-sanctions which would appear to be ultra-rational against those which were simply rational.' (Pp. 90-1.)

Here we have the idea of the inveterate antagonism between religion or morality and reason reinforced by the further idea that the conscious religious instinct is not only exclusively confined to man, but that nothing like it could possibly be encountered anywhere else. Of course this is a conception which tends to represent religion as purely subjective in man, and to stand unrelated to any other phenomena in the universe. If so, then religion cannot have the basis or sanction which all religions have more or less formally claimed for themselves, and which is an inseparable part of Christian belief-the basis, namely, of objective truth, so that the God in whom we believe, and in whose law we recognise the only final sanction of all moral obligation, is conceived to be the one Supreme Being whose Will is the universal Law.

In his pursuit of this strange argument for religion Mr. Kidd is, of course, compelled to take part with those who denounce all attempts to get rid of what is called the 'super'natural' in religion. With him religion is essentially the supernatural, and nothing else; and he calls upon all secularist philosophers to recognise it as a fact that at all times and among all races, however low, the one only source of the sense of any binding obligations has been in those beliefs in man which are above, and antagonistic to, his individual reason. He does not call upon them to recognise any element in religious beliefs as in themselves true. What he does call upon them to recognise is the bare fact-actual and historic that the beliefs represented by all forms of religion must have some immense utilitarian function to 'perform in the evolution which is proceeding.' The only



word he speaks in defence of religious beliefs as founded on fact and truth is a word well and justly spoken in condemnation of attempts, such as those made by Mr. Herbert Spencer, to assign a purely fanciful and superstitious origin to religious conceptions. It is hard to follow the author' (Mr. Spencer), he says, ' in his theories of the developement of religious beliefs from ghosts and ancestor worship, without ( a continual feeling of disappointment, and even impatience, ' at the triviality and comparative insignificance of the ex'planations offered to account for the developement of such 'an imposing class of social phenomena.' He pours scorn -not more than is deserved-on such writers as Mr. Grant Allen, who speaks of a characteristic feature of the higher forms of religion as so much "grotesque fungoid growth " 'which has clustered round the primeval thread of "Ancestor ""Worship." There is much that is excellent in this part of Mr. Kidd's argument; but its permanent value must depend on dissociating it from the incongruous idea with which it is connected in his mind-and which is perpetually intruded upon us-the idea, namely, that the moral precepts which are enforced by the supernatural sanctions of religion are not only above or beyond reason, but in contradiction to it, and can therefore never rest upon any rational sanction in the intellectual faculties of the individual man. We do indeed welcome the alliance and the help of any mind which-from whatever strange point of view-sees and feels the incompetence of all explanations of the world which reduce its phenomena to the terms of matter and of force. But we must protest against the very word 'supernatural' as in itself involving the very false idea that what we know as nature' does not contain that one great mental element-Purpose of which we see it to be full even to overflowing. Still more must we enter this protest when the system of nature is declared to be, to our understandings, essentially irrational, violent, and unjust. We can accept and use the word nature in no other sense than that in which it means the sum of all existence—and in this sense, of course, there can be nothing conceivable outside of it which is not also in it. The plain truth that what we call nature is full of that which is illogically called the supernatural. We do, indeed, see much that is super-physical, much that we can only conceive of as super-material, much that is above the reach of discovery by our understandings. But this is a very different

* P. 22.



idea from that which depicts nature and its whole system as one which presents to our reason no rational sanction. Lame and useless as are most of the definitions of religion which are constructed to avoid all mention of spiritual agencies other than our own, there is one at least, by Matthew Arnold, which recognises the truth that nature does present to us a stream of tendencies which make for righteousness. It is certainly untrue that man does not possess as an essential part of his rational nature any perception of the truths which condemn brutal violence to all around him as incompatible with the very existence of society. Mr. Kidd takes part-as we also do with those who maintain that no race of men, however low, are destitute of conceptions which are religious in the strictest sense-that is to say, conceptions as to their dependence on spiritual agencies which they must obey or conciliate. But it is equally true that no race of men, however low, is destitute of some rational perception that there are some actions which would be wrong. In however low a degree there are no men who do not do by nature the things 'contained in the law, their thoughts meanwhile accusing or ' else excusing each other.' This is due to the ethical sense, which is quite as innate as the logical sense, and as much part of the original furniture of the human mind. Kidd is evidently one of those who accepts implicitly the theory that man has been developed by ordinary generation from the brutes. Whether this is a proved scientific fact, or only an assumption involved in an hypothesis, it at least ought to carry with it one consequence, and that is that man must have inherited one of the most conspicuous instincts of the lower animals--namely, so much of altru'ism,' so much of self-sacrifice, as was absolutely necessary for the preservation of the race. We do not demand for him such highly developed instincts of this kind as those which can alone account for the polity of ants and bees. But we do demand for him at least a share in such courage and devotion as all parent beasts show for their offspring when threatened with danger, or even in the ordinary providing of daily food. Yet in their case it cannot be said that this instinct is due to what is called supernatural religion. It is due solely to implanted instincts-implanted by the Author of Nature as part and parcel of His creation. Yet Mr. Kidd's theory seems to be that man lost all these instincts in getting his reason. ferring to the innumerable customs of all savage tribes, who represent always in evolutionary science' the con



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