The Authority Of Faith -- By: George F. Herrick
BSac 26:102 (April 1869) p. 268
The Authority Of Faith
In nature law is supreme. This supremacy is absolute: it knows no will; it leaves room for no choice. Obedience to law in nature is necessary, and the existing harmony is perfect of its kind. The law of gravity, which holds the universe together, is central, unifying, absolute. Its authority is supreme. But the individual force (if we may so call it) inherent in each separate planet, is a force working counter to this. Let the centralizing force be sole as well as absolute, and the result is the unity of motionless and indivisible matter. Let the individual or centrifugal force be supreme and a chaos of repellant, scattered, and fleeing
BSac 26:102 (April 1869) p. 269
worlds is the result. Join these forces in actual and orderly working, and the result is the perfect and beautiful harmony of the universe.
In the life of nature, whether in animal or vegetable life, we find a uniform conformity to generic type which enables the naturalist to trace species, with but the clue of a bone or a leaf, through all the infinite range of living existence. The law of adaptation to an end in the species or the peculiarities of the individual modify, but never obliterate or contravene, the more absolute law of conformity to type, whose most general expression is found in the harmony of all created life in relation to the unity of the whole. Natural science is but the unfolding, in a methodical and impressive manner, of the beautiful and perfect harmony, the order, the variety in unity, and the unity in endless variety, which results from the co-working of counteracting forces, obedient to law, observable in all the infinite phenomena of nature.
Enter now the domain of human action. Here law means authority. The centralizing, unifying power of authority, and also the assertion of personality, the freedom of the individual, are both conspicuous. But the actual harmony observed in nature becomes here actual disharmony, often extreme. Political convulsions, desolating wars, the extermination of peoples, religious persecutions, the decay of morals and religious cultus, attendant upon advance in wealth, science, and civilization, show a result diametrically opposite to the harmony and order produced by the countercheck of diverse forces obedient to law in nature. And not only in the great movements of society and governments, but also in all the observable phases of human life and action, we see the influence of authority, true or false, and the assertion of the will of the individual operating, not as counteracting forces, but as hostile and warring forces. Faith and worship in the original promulgation, whether of a human or divine religion, are simple, and their authority is absolute. But ...
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