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theorists, who are every year becoming more numerous and more influential. Earnest supporters of the same doctrine were found in nearly all the sections of the British Association, and in some of them, as in the geological and the biological, they completely "ruled the roast." The watch-word, or rather password, of these philosophers, is Continuity, or, translated into vulgar English, '• no miracles!" Their belief is, that this password will gain access for them into every winding of the great labyrinth of nature, and will explain the process of the production of both inorganic and organic substances. One must associate for a few days with a large gathering of men of science to understand the strength of their present antipathy to the popular notion of Divine action in the Bystem of nature. They seem almost to shudder at the idea of anything that is popularly understood as a creation of new kinds of life, and Professor Ramsay from the chair of the geological department openly laughed at it, as " the Jack-in-the box theory" of the universe. They shrink, as from a sort of pestilence, from the idea of any sudden production of new species, or even of any sudden revolutions of the surface of the globe from the action of either fire or water, by the direct hand of God. Their idea is, that the world has very gradually reached its present state through uncounted millions of ages and without any interference on the part of the Divinity. In the same manner they think that life is one, and that all living things have proceeded from other living things already existing, changing their types according to the changing circumstances of the globe; so that it is to them quite conceivable that man in his different races has sprung, not particularly from the gorillas, but from several kinds of monkeys, as they sprang from previous forms of organic life in the preceding ages. Thus, it may be said that their belief respecting the universe, resembles Topsy's respecting herself, they "expect it growed." This is the doctrine of Mr. Darwin, and Dar
winianism in even' form was in the ascendant at the British Association of 1*<>6. The address of the president was devoted especially to the advocacy of the doctrine in relation to inorganic nature. It is held that every force can be changed into any other force; and that this correlation of forces is the final outcome of modern science. The Biologists take up the "wondrous tale." If, say they, heat, and light, and electricity, and attractive force can all be changed into each other why may not living species be similarly transformed? Flowers, trees, butterflies, dogs, pigeons, horses, men, can even now be so changed by circumstances and by combination, that the old species or forms seem to wear gradually away, and thus it is probable, say they, that in sufficient time still greater changes have occurred, and will occur; so that creation is a chromotrope, nothing " continuethin one stay." It is held that there have been no breaks in the geogenotie process by which the earth has been gradually brought into its present condition, no revolutions, no cataclysms, no sudden and marvellous upheavals of mountains and continents; and similarly that the law of Continuity has applied to the organic world. There has been a past eternity for nature to work in, and she has wrought by gradual, very gradual transformations, so that there have existed innumerable types of life, all graduating into each other, until at length the present system has appeared. If it be said in opposition. But where in the rocks are the embedded remains of all these intermediate species? Where are these forms of life which once existed, through which the ugly and brutal gorilla passed into a man? Where are the fossil remnants of those innumerable intermediate beings which formed the links between the human species, ancient and modern, since if such had ever existed, so as to dispense with fresh creations, some of their remains would have endured until this day?—The answer is ready: "Nature has preserved for us,in her museum of fossils, but a very fragmentary autobiography. She has not taken pains to preserve for us specimens of each succeeding type, but only a few examples of the myriads of forms with which she has filled land and sea. And, indeed, she has preserved scarcely any except marine animals, or those whose bones might be washed down into the silt of estuaries. The innumerable forms of life which have found their termination of being on the dry land would be speedily decomposed by the atmosphere, and mingled with the dust. So that palaeontology deals only with an imperfect record, and that which we see of the changes of living forms entitles us to conclude that in longer periods of time the changes have been greater still, so that we may dispense with the old theory of a direct and miraculous Divine action in the production of animals."
We wish to impress on our readers that, however opposed to their own notions, this is the manner in which Creation is now looked at by the most numerous section of our scientific men. It is needless to say that it is a mode of looking at things which is not favourable to the belief of a miraculous revelation. It is not necessarily hostile to the belief in a God, since it is possible to hold the new doctrine on force and on life, along with a devout belief in a Divinity, who at first formed the germ out of which the Creation has grown, and who has in every epoch superintended its development. Indeed, there seems more need than ever for believing in the perpetual presence and action of God, in all the slowly operating laws of the world, if we maintain that the elements are so ready to lose their identity, and organic beings are so ready to yield their type to the impressions made by changes in external nature. But it must be confessed that those who have learned to look on nature in the light of a perfectly continuous manifestation of Divine power, are so far thereby indisposed to give credence to the report of a miraculous revelation within the human period. In fact, the last position reached by these philosophers is a direct denial of the
first statement of the Bible—the recent and !' miraculous" creation of man. We fear that it is useless to conceal that the generality of such physical philosophers are unfriendly to the belief of a revelation in which direct interventions of God occupy a large space in the historic narrative. The miracles of the Bible are likely to be stumbling-blocks to those who can find no analogies in nature. On this subject we have space only for two remarks, in the way of comment First, it must be understood that although the Darwinian party of theorists have had it almost all their own way at Nottingham, and have enjoyed the benefit of the advocacy of the President, they do but form one party among English pliilosophers. and are opposed by naturalists of at least equal weight with themselves. It is understood that in the matter of the production of the globe, Sir Roderick Murchiscn firmly maintains the older theory of direct divine interference in the causation of sudden and violent revolutions in the crust of the earth in the foregone ages; and in the department of natural history, Professor Owen maintains the successive creation of new forms of life from time to time, and the recent direct creation of man. When two philosophers of this rank are thus decidedly opposed to the fundamental doctrine of the Darwinians, the theory of Continuity must learn to speak in a modest tone, and not dignify itself with the name of absolute science.
The other remark which may be made upon this doctrine is, that surely one method of leamiug the manner of Divine Action in tlieworU is to study its operations during the period of human existence upon the globe, in the ages of which we have the most satisfactory record. During these ages it is asserted that there is strong evidence of a miraculous action of Deity in the government of the world and in the gift of B revelation. It is unphilosopliical to reason d priori from what is imagined to be the testimony of nature in former times to the absence of miracles, and to assume that such a revelation or divine action is' improbable. This is a question to be decided according to its proper evidence, the evidence of testimony— evidence of precisely the same kind with that on which naturalists depond when they believe in the transmutation of butterflies in South America, and of pigeons in China,— the evidence of competent and credible witnesses. If there be evidence sufficient to prove that Christ rose from the dead, it is of little avail to maintain that it is incredible, because one sort of butterfly changes into another of somewhat different plumage, or because of old the mountains probably arose much more slowly than our grandfathers imagined. The only question to the purpose is. was Jesus put to death, and did He rise from the tomb on the third day ? Let any one try to propagate a religion in our time based on the statement that either Lord Nelson or the Duke of Wellington rose from the dead from the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, and were "seen of many." The result of such an attempt is instantly foreseen. Not a single sane disciple of such a religion could be obtained. Yet the apostles succeeded in persuading enormous multitudes of men of all nations in the first century to believe that Jesus rose from the dead; and more than that, to be ready to die rather than abandon their belief in that resurrection. How can this be accounted for'.' The conversion of the Roman empire to Christianity was effected in the full blaze of Mediterranean civilization. M. Renan says Mary Magdalen imagined in her grief that she saw Jesus after His death, and that her idle dream was received and propagated by the apostles. Is this credible? Much more, is it credible that such a foundation could have sufficed to persuade Romans, Corinthians, Athenians, and learned Jews of Alexandria, to "count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ ?" Men who will believe this must be hard pressed to escape from the far simpler solution of the problem—that Jesus really rose from the dead, and that
it was well known to be a fact. For it is a fact that must be taken with all its belongings. It was a miracle foretold by the Jewish prophets; it was a miracle most artlessly told by men who were evidently incapable of inventing a new religion, and who could not have invented one less likely to persuade the civilized world to adopt it; and finally a miracle which was wrought in support of a religion which threatens all impostors and false witnesses with perdition. Well, now, if this one miracle be proved, and it is proved by every conceivable kind of evidence, there is an end of the doctrine of Continuity in its absolute sense. Here is one direct divine interference; and if there be one there may have been many, and if there may have been many in the history of mankind, there may have been many, even miracles of cataclysm and new creation in the periods antecedent to the appearance of humanity. It seems to be quite as reasonable to argue backwards from proved miraculous action of late, to probable miraculous action aforetime, as to argue forwards from an imagined uniformity of natural action in the genesis of the globe to a similar uniformity in the subsequent development of human history. At all events, our philosophers must succeed in finding a great deal more than they have as yet found in the rocks before they will achieve the enterprise of destroying the evidence of the miraculous history of the Bible.
But enough on the President's discourse. Let us now take a turn in some of the sections. Here in the School of Art are gathered the mathematicians and astronomers. In the chair sits thatwonderful man, Professor Wheatstone, who has spread the nervous net-work of the telegraph over land and sea, and who has lived to witness the final triumph of his genius over the difficulties presented by the Atlantic. The associates are listening to Mr. Glaisher, and to one of his astronomical "fags," while they describe the progress of the new work for a perfect map of the moon. It seems that English astronomers are bent on beating the Germans in selenography. Accordingly, every speck and point on the moon's surface is being subjected to a new and searching examination, by the aid of the most powerful instruments; it is a regular "ordnance-survey;" the result will be, no doubt, to furnish any travellers who may succeed in reaching that satellite "with a most efficient guide for their peregrinations. Turning into the geological section, we listen to a very interesting discussion on the comparative gain and loss of England by the action of the sea. The president, Professor Ramsay, opens with an intimation that England has been many times joined to the Continent in former ages, and again and again separated from it, but he sees nothing in the fabric of the strata to prevent the final washing away of the island, only give the ocean time to do his work of demolition. This brings up members who have had experience of the destruction going on in their own neighbourhood. Mr. Pcngally, of Torquay, describes the enormous destruction of coast there within his own memory; and other gentlemen confirm his statement as to damage done on the eastern coasts. But it is soon seen that it is necessary to listen to the counsel for the defendant. The sea is shewn to pay at least as much as it takes away. It destroys Torquay and the Isle of Wight, but it adds two miles of coast to the shores of Sussex and Kent, and leaves some towns, which were once ports, inland. It batters the chalk fortifications of Margate and Dover, but it creates almost a new county in the Wash, and adds immensely to the productive soil of Lincolnshire. The discussion seemed to be settled rather in favour of the sea, and certainly afforded a new illustration of the maxim that it is unsafe to believe scandalous reports affecting character, until we have listened to what can be advanced on the other side.
The attractions of the geographical section were very great. Here were to be seen, sitting in a row, Sir Samuel Baker, the discoverer
of the fountains of the Nile: Du Chaillu.the famous,but much abused enemy of the African gorilla; Mr. Palgrave, the celebrated traveller and pseudo-physician in central Arabia; Mr. Markham, the preserver of quinine for the world by transplanting the chinchona frcn South America to India; old Mr. Crawford, the historian of Siam; Sir Roderick Murchison, the poster tate of Siberia; Sir John Lnbboct banker and anthropologist, together with others of inferior note. On am day the spacious hall was filled with an enthusiastic audience listening to Sir Samuel Baker; on another to Mr. Palgrave. We were fortunate enough to hear the latter, and ever- tainly his speech and bodily presence well maintained the renoirt won for this extraordinary man by his published "Travels." Those who have read that work sill acknowledge that there are few such narratives to be read anywhere. The description of his shipwreck in the Persian Gulf is perhaps one of the finest descriptive passages in Eng lish literature. The discourse A Mr. Palgrave was a marvel of power and lucidity. Although unused to English for eighteen years, he played upon the language as the most skilful musician upon his harp or organ. Sentences apparently as complicated as a clock-spring, foil within fold, were unwound with consummate ease, and brought to an end without the slightest failure or confusion. The clearness of the enunciation was such as to move the envy of all who know how difficult a thing it is to speak distinctly in a sustained discourse: and might serve as a model to all whose profession it is to instruct by oral discourse their fellowmen. The strange and fascinating story of his sojourn among the Arabs was delivered, moreover, with a quiet and racy humour which captivated the audience, and commanded the breath less attention alike of sage u>j simpleton. The published report of Mr. Talgravc's address affords bet an imperfect notion of the effetf which it produced when spoken ■ Nottingham.
In the geographical section on the following day occurred a little "scene," very characteristic of the internal schisms of our philosophers on matters affecting ltevelatiou. Mr. Reddie had delivered a written discourse on the " religious view of the origin of man," in which he handled with some severity the doctrine of the "anthropologists." Those gentlemen were sitting in rank and file on the platform, listening to this unwelcome diatribe on their demerits, and drawing from the audience sundry murmurs of philosophic observation on the wonderful and singular likeness of their own physiognomies to the beings whom they believe to have been their progenitors—when at length their wrath could be restrained no longer. Sir John Lubbock first rose, and said that the attempt to represent one doctrine as more religious than another was quite intolerable. The only question was, which was time? The anthropologists maintained that theirs was the truth, and if it were true it must be the basis of the true religion. The audience was highly amused at the idea that Sir J. Lubbock was the prophet of a new "faith," and that the apostles of tho idea that we are the lineal descendants of apes, considered themselves to be divine messengers to reclaim the world from debasing superstitions. This, however, was not enough. Professor Huxley rose next, and affirmed that Mr. Reddie's paper ought not to have been read in the ethnological section, but in the biological, of which he, Mr. Huxley, is president. He went on to say that in his department of the Association they had a custom of referring certain proffered discourses to a subcommittee, before permitting them to be brought before the section. And if it was considered in subcommittee that any particular paper contained nothing new, nothing true, and nothing worthy of scientific attention, they refused to allow the time of the section to be wasted in listening to it. He added that lie would not answer for it, if the paper just read had been proposed to the biological department, that it would
have passed the ordeal of the subcommittee. Loud cries of oh ! mingled with anthropologic cheers, greeted this unmannerly avowal. But the incident may serve to discover how completely tho physiological section is under the control of the Darwinians, and how unscrupulously they are prepared to use their power in setting aside any argument in favour of the truly divine origin of man.
But we must bring to an end this trilling sketch of the great Scientific Parliament at Nottingham with a description of the soiree in the Exhibition Building—the triumph of the good people of the town. This structure of brick, iron, and wood, in about equal proportions, originally raised for the reception of the ingenious productions of the workpeople of tho neighbourhood, was now furnished and prepared to entertain the science and art of England. It is a lofty parallelogram of about two hundred feet in longth, and fifty in breadth, an iron gallery running completely around the area, about twelve feet from the floor. Tliis vast hall was ornamented on the pillars with flowers, and all around tho walls of tho gallery, with pictures lent by tho inhabitants, whde the floor was furnished with tables, on winch were placed philosophical instruments of every description, for the entertainment of the guests.. The tout ensemble of tho building, when lighted up with a profusion of gas, and filled with the immense company, was exceedingly magnificent, and great was the interest of the company itself. Not to dwell upon the beauty which shone around on every side in the ladies and lasses of the county, here were gathered together the men who were the very brain of England, whose marvellous science and skill have, during this last generation, raised their country to its present roud eminence among the nations, t was in truth a spectacle which might well cause the heart of every consideringobservertoswell with the thought of the triumphs of humanity over nature. And yet there seemed to sound in your ear, as you looked