The Expositor, 1885, Vol. 9 (Classic Reprint)

The Expositor, 1885, Vol. 9 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Expositor, 1885, Vol. 9

Secularist chie?y prizes it. There can, we think, he no doubt that its most widely diffused results have not been religious. In breaking with the past, it forced the human mind to begin anew its ascent of the path of knowledge, to divest itself of all previous beliefs in every sphere, to distrust even the methods of reasoning by which those beliefs had been attained. In no de partment was the revolution more complete than in the world of Science, and in no revolution were the preconceived opinions of humanity so completely over turned. It is not too much to say that the change from the Ptolemaic to the Copernican system of the heavens proved a more immediate and direct trans formation of human ideas than the transition from the religious creed of the Romanist to the personal faith of the Protestant. It is not denied that the Reforma tion was followed by an age of religious scepticism, and of that scepticism the Reformation has often been made to bear the reproach. Yet, to our mind, nothing is more Clear than is the fact, that the religious anarchy of the post-reformation age had its root, not in a new order of faith, but in a new order of science. That stream of Deistic tendency which arose with the spi ritualism of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and culmi nated in the sensualism of Mandeville, was in no sense the result of Protestant individualism. It took its rise in a new apprehension of Nature, in a conception of the material universe in which the individual mind almost lost its Protestantism in the overpowering sense of its nothingness. Man had ceased to be the centre of Creation. The fond dream of the Jew and the Mediaevalist had faded in the light of a new heaven and a new earth. That world, which men had believed.

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