Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

corresponding increase of force in the determinants of that toe lodged in the germ-plasm : he only did not deny it."

Only in one passage, where he spoke of the seasonal variations of colour in butterflies, did Weismann recognise that the change, both in the germ-plasm and in the butterfly's wings, takes place in consequence of the same cause-temperature. This change is inherited ; but this is, Weismann maintains, only an 'apparent' inheritance of an acquired character. The changes in the body and the germ-plasm simply take place simultaneously.

This statement, quite unproved and unprovable, evidently renders all further discussion about the inheritance of acquired characters from a theoretical point of view absolutely useless-s0 long as we are not able to study the determinants,' and the still more minute 'biophores' of which they are composed, their ' struggles' and their 'selection 'under the microscope. Keeping still to our illustration-if it be asserted that an increased nutrition of the determinants of the middle toe of the horse is a pure matter of accident : that it may happen in some individual horses while in other horses the determinants of the other toes will receive an excess of nutrition-then there is no determinate variation ; everything is left again to be accomplished by natural selection, and the whole discussion begins again from the beginning. Or, the fact that the middle-toe determinants receive an excess of nourishment, as soon as the middle toe itself is better fed in consequence of an increased use, is admitted ; and then the 'impossibility' for the germ-plasm of being influenced in the same sense by the causes affecting the body-cells is abandoned, in which case the admission ought to be recognised in plain words. Of course, there is a third way out of the difficulty : some new hypothetical suggestion, still more difficult to verify, may be made; but then we should be landed in the domain of pure dialectics.

At any rate, we must say that the attempt to prove the 'impossibility' of an hereditary transmission of acquired characters, and, as Professor Osborne remarks, the attempt to explain evolution without recognising that transmission, have failed. So we can now return from the domain of speculation to the true domain of science-the experimental study of the question. Here

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

41 'Of course (ho wrote) we know nothing certain and nothing exact about the component units of the germ.plasm, we have no definite representation about the relations which exist between the changes going on in the determinant and those that are going on in the part which it determines'; we have only the right to suppose 'that to a stronger development of the one the determinant) corresponds a stronger development of the other, and that the reverse cannot be true at the same time. If the determinant X disappeared from the germ, the determinate X, would also disappear from the soma. So we have also the

[ocr errors]

we have such a mass of rapidly accumulating data that I must leave for another article the analysis of the experimental proofs of the hereditary transmission of acquired characters.

P. KROPOTKIN.

right to conclude from the degree of development of an organ about the force (Stärke) of its determinants, and to consider the positive variations and the negative variations of both the organ and its determinants as corresponding quantities (entsprechende Grössen).' (Vorträge, ii. 129.)

THE FUTURE OF THE OXFORD

MOVEMENT

In the third book of his Ecclesiastical History, the Venerable Bede says of Aidan, with whom he was in disagreement as to the right day for celebrating Easter, that he was 'full of zeal for God, but not wholly according to knowledge.' The words, combining as they do sincere appreciation with gentle, yet firm, correction, form a model of the way in which disputants in ecclesiastical controversy should regard one another. They represent a mind free from all taint of the odium theologicum-one for which the recognition of defects is no hindrance to the recognition of facts. One could wish that they had become part of the regular stock-in-trade of those who think and write about the Church which Bede adorned. And this is all the more desirable when the subjects under discussion relate to recent or contemporary persons and events. A combatant may perhaps succeed in blinding the spectators by raising the dust of the arena; but he also blinds himself, and renders himself unable even to see his opponent. The result is a beating of the air and many errors-perhaps even the wounding of some of those who watch; while the object of the attack comes off unscathed.

Now it is difficult not to think that something of this kind has happened in the case of two articles which have appeared in the January and February numbers of this Review, entitled * The Passing of the Oxford Movement,' by the Rev. A. H. T. Clarke. One would have expected, after reading such a superscription, to find an attempt to analyse and weigh carefully the mass of evidence-both past and present-relevant to the subject. Such analysis should reveal forces and tendencies, both within and without the Movement, which suggest that it is passing away; it should make us realise the inevitability of its decline and death; and even then it should convince us that it has not died merely to rise again in another and more potent form. Only so could such a conclusion as Mr. Clarke's be substantiated. Only by such a method, too, could the contrary case be made out, and the probability created that the Oxford Movement, even if its name changes, has still a future before it. But this last, which is the thesis of the present article, must be deferred until we have examined Mr. Clarke's position and its resources.

1

I

[ocr errors]

6

What, then, has Mr. Clarke given us of the critical estimate which his choice of a title justified us in expecting?

in expecting? There is a list of modern historical works and of recent periodicals which betray a distinctly Protestant trend': there is an appeal to the authority of a member of the Chapter of St. Paul's, without any assurance that the latter approves of the appeal': there is a reference to the controversy over the Ornaments Rubric, which completely disregards the latest enquiry into that subject? : there is as confident a republication of Chillingworth's title, The Bible and the Bible only as the Religion of Protestants, as though Biblical criticism had never existed : there is a chequered appreciation of Liddon as a man, and some tribute to his preaching : and, finally, there is a plea for the restoration of the old High Church party,' with the usual statement that the Church of England is now at the parting of the ways.'

And what of the remainder of the article? It consists of little more than an attack on the memory of Liddon and on the theology of the 'neo-Tractarian mystics' who were responsible for Lux Mundi. As to the first of these, Liddon's name needs properly no defence; while a work like Lux Mundi, and the other works which have proceeded from the same author, can only be combated by reasoning which is in pari materia—by the reasoning, that is, of scientific theology. Yet it would not be right so lightly to discharge the duty of criticising Mr. Clarke's attack. For it is an example of a method of theological controversy of which we had thought to have seen the last. I have before me a copy of the celebrated sermon of Dr. Faussett, preached before the University of Oxford in 1838, which evoked in reply one of Newman's most eloquent and outspoken letters. Its arguments and its phrases alike are strangely reproduced in Mr. Clarke's articles. The disposition to overrate the importance of Apostolical tradition '—the 'rigid mortifications, and selfabasements, and painful penances, which call us back at once to the darkest period of Roman superstition '-Baptismal Regeneration-the 'gross idea of the corporal presence in the Sacra

· I happen to know Canon Simpson slightly, and know that he had not set eyes on Mr. Clarke's article until the middle of February, and that there is no one more heartily in sympathy with St. Paul's, as Liddon, Church, and Gregory made it, than he.

· The Report of the sub-Committee of the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury, appointed in February 1907, 'to draw up a historical memorandum on the Omaments of the Church and its Ministers.' In ch. ii. § 4, p. 90 of this Report, the Five Bishops write :-'We feel bound to state that our own study of the facts leads us to the conclusion that the Ornaments Rubric cannot rightly be interpreted as excluding the use of all vestments for the clergy other than the surplico in parish churches. . .

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ment '—the 'connexion between Pagan and Popish idolatry'all these are held up to us by the learned Divine for our resentment and vituperation. And yet there was some excuse for Dr. Faussett; for he lived when the issues were so new in the Church of England, so recently revived within our own Communion, that few could have been expected to see them clearly and dispassionately. But to-day it is otherwise. By dint of living and working together, the parties to the controversy have learnt how to learn from one another, and disagreement is no bar to mutual understanding. Moreover, the researches of theologians and historians have elucidated many points, in such a way as to turn the weapons of controversy, which were serviceable enough seventy years ago, against those who would still try to use them to-day. Yet Mr. Clarke cares for none of these things.

Let us take a few instances. Speaking of the Eucharist, he writes :

For thirteen hundred years the Christian Church has accepted Augustine's view and quoted Augustine's language, to the effect that the broken bread and poured-out wine are 'symbols' of Christ's Passion. He further asserts that this was the view of all the Fathers of the first six centuries, including Pope Gelasius himself. Now this same point was also made by Dr. Faussett, and in his day it was an effective argument. But whatever effectiveness it had then no longer belongs to it now. For the meaning of the terms 'signs,' 'symbols,' ' figures,' on which the whole argument turns, has been the subject of a very thorough investigation, and has been proved to have been very different for the Fathers of the first six centuries from what it is for us to-day. On such a point I imagine that the considered words of Professor Harnack will carry conclusive weight :

What we nowadays understand by ' symbol' is a thing which is not that which it represents; at that time ‘symbol' denoted a thing which, in some kind of way, really is what it signifies; but, on the other hand, according to the ideas of that period, the really heavenly element lay either in or behind the visible form without being identical with it. Accordingly the distinction of a symbolic and realistic conception of the Supper is altogether to be rejected. ...3

Mr. Clarke also appeals to the authority of S. Thomas Aquinas in support of his views. He gives only one reference, but that unfortunately tells directly against him. He has fallen into the common mistake of all those who are not familiar with the

* Harnack, History of Dogma, ii. p. 144. Compare also words to the same effect in vol. iv. p. 289, n. 2 of the same work.

Summa. Quaestio LXXV., art. i.

« VorigeDoorgaan »