On Mysteries in Religion. (From an American Magazine, Entitled "The Gospel Advocate", Conducted by Members of "The Protestant Episcopal Church" in that Country)
Reason, Christianity, Biblical Authority, Infidelity, Chemistry, Mechanics, Magnetism, Gravity, Mathematics, Botany, Animal Development, Physiology, Human Species, Metaphysics, Unbelief, Natural Theology
Responds to certain persistent objections to revealed religion by observing that there are mysteries in religion and that 'he that withholds his belief until all are explained in a way agreeable to his reason, must live and die an infidel'. Argues at length that 'our knowledge of physical and intellectual subjects' gives no reasonable expectation of being able to resolve all mysteries in religion. (227) Reviews the sciences of chemistry, mechanics, magnetism, mathematics, life, and mind, and concludes that all are ultimately involved in the profoundest mystery. Quotes from Dugald Stewart the statement that 'it is well known that our inquiries must always terminate in some general fact, of which no account can be given, but that such is the constitution of nature' (227–28). Quotes from Thomas Reid the observation that 'we deceive ourselves if we conceive that we can point out the real efficient cause of any' of the phenomena of natural philosophy. Reports that David Hume's sense of the 'narrowness and falibility of our knowledge' led him to conclude that people were not 'justified in believing any thing'. (228) Observes that the subject of 'natural religion' is as much involved in mystery as revealed religion. Concludes that belief in revealed religion is rational, despite its abiding mysteries.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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