Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

that order is, are among the very things to be unknown to the whole course of nature-a manifested. Now, according to the constitu- principle hitherto peculiar to the Creator him. tion of the human mind, we are led to the con- self,—the sacred and mysterious principle of clasion that there is; and that the earliest LIFE ; and that innumerable pre-existing display of the Divine Nature will be that of a phenomena were now for the first time emperfection fundamental to all the rest, namely, ployed as means, for the development of this Power. ... The display of every other attribute new principle as an end; this would surely be supposes the co-cxistence and manifest co hailed by us as an epoch in the progress of the operation of this in order to its display. But | Divine Manifestation."-Pp. 157—159. the exercise of this does not necessarily suppose the manifest co-operation of any other.... Now Our author, therefore, proceeds in the revelation and science harmonize with reason, fourth part to illustrate the “laws ” in and are decisive on the subject that, as far as respect to vegetable life. the visible universe is concerned, the formation The fifth part is thus introduced :of its material preceded the formation of every thing else.”—Pp. 68—71.

“Let it be imagined that another extended The application of the “lawz " to the period has elapsed since we took our last survey material universe occupies therefore the of creation, and beheld the wisdom of God as

displayed in vegetable life. It seems but third part of the work.

natural that the view, so far from leading us to If it had been possible that we should conclude that we had reached the ultimatum of observe this universe at present untenanted, the inquiry would necessarily rather an expectation of beholding ulterior dis

Divine Manifestation, would have awakened arise, For what purpose bas it been brought into existence? What, then, is plays. The Being, we might have said, whose the attribute of the divine character Power called this visible universe into exist

ence, and whose Wisdom has ever been conwhich is likely to be next displayed ?

ducting it from one stage to another, till it is “We have already," says Dr. Harris, "an- literally organizing its elements and exhibiting swered the question, in effect, by supposing them in the possession of life, can surely know that the manifestation of that power has filled

no limits to His operations, but such as the us with wonder as to what is the design of the

same Wisdom may see fit to prescribe. The universe of matter. Wisdom, then, is the next use which He had made of matter when last we perfection for whose manifestation we look; for looked on the scene of creation, seems to warwith God, design and wisdom mean the same

rant the conjecture that, if life can be added to thing. Wisdom is evinced in the adaptation matter, something equally wonderful may be and adjustment of means to ends. ... And here, added to life. What if that addition should if the mind would do anything like justice to consist of enjoyment! Who can say but that, those primary displays to which, in the order in the revolution of ages, the period may come of the subject, we are now approaching, it when forms of organized being may not only should labour to divest itself, as much as possi- live, but move and be happy! ble, of all the impressions of the Divine Wisdom

“Another visit to the object of our meditawhich it has received from the later and loftier tions is at length permitted us; and a scene stages of the manifestation. Placing ourselves, opens to our view which compels us to exclaim, then, in the situation of beings to whom nothing How great is His goodness! For the sake of of the kind has yet been disclosed, what, we illustration, let the season of our supposed visit repeat, should we be willing to consider as a be fixed, long after the new era of animal display of wisdom-of wisdom so marked, as to existence had commenced, yet before the time constitute an era in the manifestation, so of the Adamic creation; and let it be imagined wonderful, that it should seem to unveil to us that the various changes which, at long intera new view of the Divine character, to bring vals, had occurred since our last visit, were all 113 nearer than ever to the Divine presence, laid open to us. We should find that not only and to remove all bounds from our expectation had the great change itself, which had been the as to the future?.... What, then, if some

subject of our conjectures, taken place—that form of organic vegetable life had now for the vegetable life had been actually succeeded by first time met our view! It matters not whether animal enjoyment, but that even that enjoythat form came into existence slowly or sud- ment had reached a point which awoke the denly, alone, or in company with kindred tribes, expectation of something greater still at hand.” and with millions of each tribe; the fact that -Pp. 220, 221. the earth, after the existence of a limited eternity,' has become the owner of a new prin The illustration of the “laws" in ciple-a principle, be it remarked, hitherto reference to sentient existence, follows

a

on the same plan as in the two former “ In the following pages,” he says, "the parts.

principles introduced are to be regarded as We have given thus, in one view, an employed only in this conditional manner. The outline of the general argument in pre- reader is to view them, as far as their application ference to noticing the application to nature is concerned, as entirely tentative and of individual Jaws to particular provisional, until their applicability has been elasses of beings, both because this tested. If on a comparison of the inductive general view may be considered as an truth adduced, with these deduetive principles, illustration of some of the most im- their applicability is apparent, let the obvious portant of the laws laid down by Dr. inference be accepted, that there is a theology in Harris, and because it will serve to nature which is ultimately one with the theology render more intelligible the remarks we of the Bible—that there are principles of varied, have to make on this method of reason- but universal application."-Preface, pp. X., xi. ing. Notwithstanding the beauty and aptness of illustration which we fre This protest against the objection we quently meet with in the work, and the have ventured to make, does not, howtruth and effectiveness of many of the ever, seem to us to obviate it. For, in proofs taken separately, we are not, as we the first place, it is expressly limited to have already said,satisfied with the validity the applícation of these principles to of the argument as a whole. It seems to “nature;” and then again, it is, we us to labour under the difficulty com- think, to a great extent lost sight of in mon to all “a priori” reasonings on the work itself. such subjects. It is, according to our But apart from the logical objection, apprehension, arguing in circle. and even allowing that the principles Whence are the laws derived according assumed are“ entirely tentative and proto which all the works of the Eternal, visional ” till they are proved by facts, whether in the material or the spiritual it is clear that the facts themselves universe, are to be manifested? Plainly must be viewed and arranged according they come from our knowledge of the to the assumed principles, and the divine character. But how do we gain argument takes for granted that this this knowledge ? From external exist- arrangement of the facts will exhibit ences ? They are His works. From our them in all their relations, and that these own minds-our conceptions of the fair principles, when proved, will form a and beautiful, the true and just ? These basis sufficiently large to build on it a minds, with all their powers and capa-consistent account of all the divine bilities, are His works. From the revela- operations. Can we, then, have that tion He has been pleased to make to us? complete knowledge of God and of his That is emphatically and pre-eminently designs which will enable us to say, His work. Thus all we know or can either that there are no principles in the know of the Creator, is by means of His divine government which will unexworks (using the term in its largest pectedly to us modify, and, it may be, sense). "It is by these He manifests His greatly alter, the results; or that we are character–His will - Himself. Is there so perfectly acquainted with those we not, then, a logical inconsistency in lay- have assumed and proved as to foresee ing down a few "primary truths" as the what will, and indeed must, be the foundation of laws, according to which method of their manifestation ? If not, the works of the Most High must pro- in either of these cases the argument ceed, when these truths and the laws will fail. arising from them can only be known As an illustration of the first of by those works?

these causes of failure we may just Dr. Harris is not unmindful of this refer to that greatest of all diffiobjection. In his preface he states, culties, the existence of moral evil. with great accuracy, the distinction Is there anything in the primary truths between abstract principles, and the laid down by Dr. Harris which would knowledge which is to be obtained by lead us to anticipate “the curse ?" induction. Speculative principles, as he According to what “law of manifestatruly states, can only be used to guide tion” does it arise? The fourth and our inquiries, and must be regarded as fifth “laws" have indeed been framed “hypotheses” till, by experience and so as to provide for this emergency. induction, they are ascertained to be But we confess ourselves unable io true.

see how the alternative of the fourth

[ocr errors]

law, on wbich the whole question Then let it be considered that, whathinges

, is derived from the primary ever may have been the order of truths. Suppose the case of an intelli- creation, the order of actual manifestagent being of limited capacities like our- tion to intelligent beings cannot, of selves, without any knowledge of the necessity, be that which Dr. Harris lays existence of sin, and we submit that he down. Whenever the first intelligent could lay down no such alternative. Is being began his existence, he could not it not, then, in the highest degree proba- have had the divine attributes placed ble that, from the narrowness of our before him in the order here prescribed; knowledge, we, in forming such a sys- they must have burst upon his contem of laws, may miss many fundamental sciousness at once in their manifestation truths, the absence of which not only of the divine Being as his creator; and renders our system imperfect, but abso- if his powers were of such a kind as to lutely viliates it, in some cases at least, grasp this sublime idea at once, what when applied to actual existences. This need was there, as to him, of the sucquestion, and many others of the like cessive manifestations ? Or if he kind, however, must be left till Dr. were obliged, as the human mind is, to Harris enters on that part of his subject separate the divine character into disin which they will find a place.

tinct attributes, why, since this separaIn respect to the second cause of failure tion resulted from the narrowness of his at which we have hinted, the present own mind, should he say that his view volume seems to afford an example in must be that which has regulated all the point, Dr. Harris considers that he has divine works? But even in this case the proved from the laws of manifestation divine attributes are not presented to that the attributes of the divine Being him singly; they appear to him in must be exhibited in the order of power, combination, and it is his work to Fisdom, and goodness, and that thence separate them. The end, then, for which it follows that the creation must have they were manifested in the assumed proceeded in the order of material ex- order, does not appear to be attained. istenee, vegetable life, and animal life. For this purpose there would seem to have We are inclined to demur to these been required the creation of intelligent inferences. Let it be allowed that the beings consentaneously with the first order of our conception of the attributes manifestation of the divine attributes--of the divine Being is that which Dr. beings who should be able, by new Harris here lays down, does it follow powers successively granted to them, to that this should be the order of concep- receive the ever-augmenting knowledge tion to all intelligent beings ? May of God which the external universe prethere not be intelligences so exalted as sented-at first, susceptible simply of the to grasp at once the three attributes idea of power, then of wisdom, and then of bere specified, and for whom therefore goodness, and last of all endued with the the fitting exhibition of the divine faculty, which we must suppose they had nature would be that in which they not possessed hitherto, of self-consciousWere at once manifested ? Dr. Harris ness. Dr. Harris has, in part, avoided does, indeed, avowedly, in a passage this difficulty, and, we imagine, removed already quoted,

base this order of mani- it from his own view by the supposition festation on it's accordance with “the which in each case he makes, that constitution of the human mind," intelligent beings are looking upon the page 69; and herein, as we conceive, is successive manifestations of the Deity. the weak point of the whole super- This is, from the very hypothesis, an structure. It seems to us to furnish an impossibility. The whole must come to illustration of Bacon's remark, that final their view at once. causes are not to be taken as our guide We fear that we should enter too far in physical inquiries, inasmuch as they into the region of metaphysics were we are plainly in accordance with the nature that, while there, we are only among causes and of man, rather than that of the universe, expects. It is not until we get into our present - ex natura hominis potius quam region of organization that we find ourselves among

means and cut," page 170. That Bacon objects, howover, to the use of final causes in the investiga

tion of nature in general, and does not confine his * Nov. Org. Lib. i. Aph. 48. Dr. Harris speaks of remark to the mechanical part of it, is manifest from "the sagacious

remark of Bacon that final causes the passage quoted above; and indeed final causes are not to be admitted into physical or mechanical could not be employed, except where ends (and not ingaines," and adds as the probable reason of 4, merely retai are presunied to be discoverable

universi."

it

to pursue this subject further. But we tradictory to the statements of Moses ; felt it the more needful to state briefly and to explain the facts of geology in the grounds on which we consider the accordance with what he conceives to argument to be inconclusive, inasmuch as be the Mosaic account of the creation. Dr. Harris's work contains so much to re It would be utterly useless to give an commend it to the student of the ways account of the writer's arguments, since and will of God, that we feel confident it the work is so full of errors of fact, in will exert a considerable influence on regard to all subjects on which the minds of many intelligent persons. touches, that the conclusions at which And let it be remembered, that if the the author arrives can have no weight. argument taken as a whole is not con- Whether in biblical criticism, astroclusive, this failure does not at all nomy, chemistry, physiology, or geology, lesson the value of the inductive proofs the author seems to have acquired his which Dr. Harris gives of the divine knowledge, either from a very unintelliattributes. We would gladly extract gent perusal of the books from which he many of his illustrations, but the length quotes, or else from a vague and freto which our remarks have already ex- quently erroneous recollection of statetended forbids. We must content our- ments something like those he so gravely selves with recommending our readers puts forward. His notions of biblical to study the work for themselves. The criticism may be gathered from the illustrations and proofs will often charm fact, that in proof of the excellence of them by their beauty, and if they do not the LXX. version of the Old Testament, agree with the author in his whole he brings forward the exploded legend argument, they will, nevertheless, if we of its production by seventy or seventymay judge from ourselves, find the two translators, each of whom “was perusal of the work to be alike refreshing shut up in a separate cell until he had and beneficial.

produced his copy, and that the several

copies so made, on being compared, Scripture Evidences of Creation ; or, The other,” page 94. In one instance he

were found to agree verbatim with each Mosaic History of the Creation Illustrated speaks of “the Hebrew and Greek by Geological Discoveries. London : versions of the bible," page 109, and Seeley. 12mo. pp. xvi. 295.

uniformly places the Greek version on The Mosaic Creation, viewed in the light of an equality at least with the Hebrew

Modern Geology. By George Wigur. original. In astronomy his blunders are Recommendatory Note, by W. Lindsay really astonishing, seeing that he has Alerander, D.D., F.S.A.S. Glasgow :

taken Sir John Herschell's excellent Maclehose. 12mo. pp. xx. 256.

treatise as his guide. Thus he informs

us that “the sun is estimated to be We had intended to include our 1000 times larger than the earth," notice of these two works in the pre- page 20, and on the same page quotes ceding article ; but the geological part Herschell's treatise, from which he of Dr. Harris's treatise is so completely might have also learned, that “in subordinate to his main design, that we linear magnitude it exceeds the earth found ourselves unable to touch on that in the proportion of 1111 to 1, and branch of the subject. We may now in bulk in that of 1,384,472 to 1,"— remark, that in his rapid sketch of Herschell, page 192. We are further geological phenomena, Dr. Harris re- informed that the calculation of the cognizes as facts the discoveries of velocity of light is “proved to be so modern geology, and has no sympathy perfectly accurate as to enable astronowith those who shrink from the investi- mers by its means not only to describe (!) gation of nature, lest its voice should the ordinary revolutions of the heavenly be contradictory to the word of God. bodies, but even to predict the torIn this respect, the second of the two tuous (!) motions of a comet for many works at the head of this article agrees years before its appearance,” page 23. with Dr. Harris. The other work is of a In chemistry our author equally very different character in every respect. original. Most chemists will be sure The object of the author of the “Scripture prised to learn that gases are now Evidences” is to assail the positions admitted to be the elements of all which geologists believe they have metallic, as well as rocky substances," established as being in his view con- page 166; and that as the heat at the

censure

a

we

earth's centre is intense, we may | those who have maintained that the sea fairly assume that the metallic bases and land changed places at the deluge. are fused and converted into oxygen, or But the author seems quite to have any other gases of which they may be forgotten, in his zeal to maintain composed, at some distance from this his view of one part of the Mosaic centre," page 148. We cannot help account, that his whole theory is opwondering how it is that granite should posed to another, viz., the very precise be so enduring when we are informed topographical description of the garden that felspar, one of its constituents, “ is of Eden. According to our author's fusible at a heat of 120 or 130 degrees,' own diagram the site of the garden of page 161 ; so that if we put a piece of Eden was originally part of the ocean granite into boiling water, we may bed. There could not, at that time, Expect that the felspar will be dissolved have been any such rivers as the and the rock crumble to pieces! His Euphrates or the Tigris ; the whole of notions of physiology are of the same Asia, north of twenty degrees N. lat., crude kind. On the authority of was then in the process of formation at Buffon he reduces the number of species the bottom of the ocean.

This one of fourfooted animals to 200 or 250, circumstance is fatal to a theory expage 120. He further states that “the pressly framed to preserve the literal present iguana of the Ganges may be interpretation of the Mosaic account. considered to have descended” from the Why should we be called to reject the fossil iguanodon, the latter however account of the site of Eden given by " being 100 feet' in length, or twenty Moses in order that we may embrace a times that of its present representative, particular view of his account of the page 256. In both these statements he creation ? is unconsciously advocating Lamarck's We are sorry to be obliged thus theory of development and change of to

work written, species

. Again we are informed that doubt not, with very good intentions ; the organs of the fossil reptiles “ were and we gladly turn to Mr. Wight's fitted to the consumption of the large little book, which treats of the same portion of carbonic acid gas then pre- subject in a very different manner. Failing in the atmosphere," page 256, With equal reverence for the word of thus presenting the germ of a new God, Mr. Wight possesses far more theory of respiration. After these proofs knowledge of the subject on which he of the extreme inaccuracy of our au- undertakes to write. Taking the facts thor's knowledge of the subjects on of geology as they are at present ascerwhich he professes to treat, we shall tained, he fairly meets the question, not expect much satisfaction from his How are they to be reconciled with the geological theory. It is briefly this.- Mosaic account ? And though we should The original creation is that which demur to some of his positions, he at Moses describes as the work of the six least shows that a pious mind may days; but the greater part of the receive and hold as true, with equal present crust of the earth formed then firmness, both the facts which are the bed of the ocean. During the interval gathered from the works of God, and between the creation and the deluge, the statements of his word. For our the secondary strata were deposited in own part, we prefer postponing the this ocean bed, and portions of them attempt to reconcile geology with the Were successively

left dry. Still further scriptures. We are perfectly satisfied were effected by the deluge, that there can be no real contradiction though the author does not consider between the works of God and his

any great changes were wrought revealed will, and are therefore ready by its effects in the primary or secondary to believe whatever geology proves to strata." The author gives a diagram us. But we think the science itself has to illustrate the supposed original dis- not yet arrived at that state of maturity position of land and water as contrasted which will assure us that we have the with their present positions, according to true explanation of the Mosaic account, which all the land was originally com- whatever may be the theory we adopt. prised within thirty degrees on each And as, on the one hand, we strongly side of the equator. This theory seems deprecate the attempt to impede the to be framed in order to avoid the investigation of natural phenomena by

80 powerfully urged against I forcing on nature our pre-conceived in

[ocr errors]

changes

" that

[ocr errors]

objections

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »