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and lower sentient worlds, and attains consciousness in ethical man and full completeness in the Divine Man Jesus, the one perfect incarnation of the ethical power that rules the universe. In the inorganic one stratum is superinduced upon another. Individualism is rebuked in the slow movement from layer to layer of the earth's crust. No single stage is permitted to hold perpetuity of preeminence. In botanic life there is a great step in advance. Each individual has all its energies focussed upon the end of propagating its kind, and this it does with lavish profusion. No plant liveth unto itself. No species liveth unto itself, but yields place to higher forms when its function in the system is ended. The profuse crop of variations from the specific type, from the myriads of which some favoured one steps forth, as the tyrannus usurped supreme power in the democracies of Greece, is analogous to the myriads of acorns shed annually by the oak, some few only of which are privileged to succeed to the ancestral ground in the rigid entail of nature. Type after type effaces itself in the advancing march of the animal kingdom. Race after race of non-ethical man struggles to the throne, reigns a while, then passes on the sceptre to its successor when the virtue has died out of it; and from the whole series of nature up to this point there rises in inarticulate tones the cry of cosmic resignation to the Great Governing Principle of the Universe, “ Not my will, but Thine be done."
Darwin, by showing the origin of species to be an intelligible process, has brought men face to face with God in nature. His system is a new teleology. It is at least an instalment of a great concrete exposition of the divine mind and ways. God does not operate by fits and starts. To Him a thousand years are as one day. In the beautiful “ garment we see Him by," He moves steadily forward with the execution of His stupendous plan, from variety to variety, from species to species, from genera to genera, from the slumberous formless amoeba to man," the paragon of animals.” The whole terrestrial narrative, whether written down in God's own manuscript of the rocks, or penned in human characters under His dictation in scientific treatise, in human history, in many-sided literature, is the great autobiography of Him in whom all live, and move, and have their being. And all a cosmos too. No unintelligible gap-no jungle, haunted by superstition and terror, and closed for ever to man's ken -but every tract of the vast territory destined
sooner or later to be explored and registered and set in intelligible relations. Not the rustle of a leaf, not an insect that flutters its brief hour of being in the sunshine, but has its part in the great worldsystem. Not a thought of the intellect, not a movement of the will, not a gust of emotion that passes over the soul, but has its part likewise in a great moral system, and, consciously or unconsciously, aids a mighty spiritual movement, to which all the arrangements of the material universe are subordinated, and which is ever speeding onwards towards the realisation of the ultimate purpose of Him whose dwelling-place is Eternity.
THE CHOICE OF HERCULES.
THE cosmic discipline of self-sacrifice, so freshly revealed to us in the Darwinian conception of nature, is the pathway to freedom. At the point where man with opening consciousness perceives and accepts the ethical law of the world as the law of his life, the dynamic of nature takes a new direction. Hitherto individuals, in their self-regarding struggle, were unconsciously working towards higher things through their own extinction. Now, by subordinating self to the law, they at once raise the species, and perfect and secure themselves. There is no other basis of altruism or regard for others than this conscious subordination of self to law. Many have spoken of altruism as an instinct, and connected it with instances of affection found among the higher animals. But however welcome these instances may be among the higher animals and
the higher animals and in non-ethical man as adumbrations of what was to follow, we have but to glance at the seemingly instinctive altruism of many states of society to see how uncertain and inadequate it is. There are savage races that have no compunction in killing aged persons whenever they become a burden on their offspring or the community. Even in the high civilisation of Greece instinctive affection did not prevent parents from leaving children of defective formation to perish. The displays of unselfishness that spring from impulse or instinct are at best spasmodic, and could not set human society free from the iron law of the struggle. With the first appearance of permanent family groups there is the dawn of a higher life. Some sense of duty to others, however imperfect, must have cropped up in the breasts of the parents. It may have been the vaguest possible feeling beginning to be realised that a closer tie subsisted between them and their children than between them and the other members of the tribe. But that feeling must have been accompanied with a sense of obligation, otherwise it could not have been the beginning of a spiritual environment. And now man has entered on the pathway of conscious self-sacrifice that leads to freedom.