The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 201 of 211
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The importance of analogy.
pp. 111 - 113
After we have traversed the subject of logic and its place in the search for truth, after
we have realized the fact that definitions, propositions, syllogisms, etc., are all important,
we nevertheless shrink from the idea of never speaking, writing or reasoning except along
the formal lines of pure logic. Such would be impracticable and most wearisome, and as
a matter of fact has not and never will be practiced. The guiding principle of life, said
Bishop Butler, is "probability". It is not mathematically certain nor absolutely sure that
the sun will rise to-morrow, yet who is there that does not act as though it were a
certainty? When we start on a railway journey, we do not, and we cannot, stay to enquire
whether the signalmen are on duty, the driver experienced, the railway company faithful
to its contracts, or that the station to which we travel actually exists. Probability is so
allied to human experience as to amount to moral certainty.
When we come to the investigation of spiritual things, there is no other means of
imparting knowledge, or of discovering truth, than by probability. The scientist cannot
see God through telescope or microscope, but the very existence of a scientist is the
surest proof that a greater intelligence than his own exists. In our studies under another
heading, we drew attention to the teaching of the Apocrypha, and in the Book of Wisdom
we read:--
"For by the greatness and beauty of things created, the maker of them is judged of
Now this word "proportionably" is analogos in the original, and the word analogia is
found in Rom. 12: 6 in the phrase: "the proportion of faith." In its primary sense and
use, analogy belongs to mathematics, and indicates the equality of ratios, which we
usually speak of as proportion, and use the formula; As A : B : : C : D (as A is to B,
so C is to D). In mathematics there is no room for "probability". There is no possibility
of doubt that: As 3 is to 4, so 6 is to 8 or 9 is to 12.
Again, it is most important to recognize that in "proportion" we are not dealing with
"resemblance", but relation. There is no resemblance, says the proverb, between chalk
and cheese, nevertheless the proportion remains the same, whether by A B C D we mean
cheeses and chalks or chalks and cheeses.  The importance of this fact will be
demonstrated later, but many an absurdity has passed for valid reasoning that has
confused resemblance with relationship even among those believers who have learnt
something of the truth concerning the "body of Christ", for some absurd conclusions have
been drawn from the title "body" through failure to appreciate this distinctive character of
Martin F. Tupper in his "Proverbial Philosophy" has one or two lines on analogy that
are helpful:--