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lamentations of Ramah may yet be wailing among distant stars, giving a terrible significance to the old warning that man has to account for every idle word at a future reckoning.
All these marvels, facts and fancies, must attract the active and imaginative minds of our day. It is a matter of vital moment that those who are laudably jealous for the cause of revealed religion, should not needlessly place themselves in opposition to the fullest and freest enquiry, and the most impartial search for facts and phenomena on the part of science.
Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from Him with whom is no variableness or shadow of turning." He who richly endowed the mind of a Newton to elucidate his laws, of a Butler to deduce profound analogies from His courses in nature, has not, we may trust Him, given choice gifts of perception and demonstration to our Murchisons, Lyells, Millers or Logans to dishonour his works or to falsify aught that he has revealed to his creatures. Let us have faith in our great truths, and not do them or ourselves the foolish injustice of treating them as dependant on the truth or falsehood of any received theory of Astronomy, Cosmogony or Chronology.
No record of æons and æons of ages brought up from the deep heart of earth; no trace of man's work, or of his bones in ancient gravel-bed or protozoic formation, will ever induce the world to surrender its heritage of glorious truths under the New Dispensation. The most sceptical has failed to give any plausible origin, apart from direct inspiration, for the wonderous system that rose pure, and white, and lucid, a veritable City of God, shining in stainless beauty and majesty, like His Spirit over the dark waters of an effete and perishing Paganism, of blank Atheism, or pantheistic extravagance. Men will not surrender the 'Father's house of many mansions," for Stygian rivers and Elysian meadows, or Islands of the Blessed, that shine so drearily in Horatian song or Platonic vision.
Even those who cling most closely to their favorite "Immutability of Nature," and speak doubtingly of miracle and portent, still cherish in their heart the great home-truths of Revelation. These great beacon lights of Time and Eternity still shine, and ever will shine, over the waste of speculative doubt and hinted impossibility, even as when the multitude of the heavenly host, the long drawn lines of Seraphim and Archangel, effulgent in the white light of Paradise, were swallowed up in the black depths of night, and the quiet stars unmoved
in their stately beauty, looked down on the dazzled eyes of the believing Shepherds.
A very large number of persons, members and non-members of Scientific bodies, take an increasing interest in the result of Scientific research, and would gladly become familiar with the alphabet of the system. They are generally deterred by the new language proposed to them as a condition of the desired knowledge. Ignorance of Greek, a very common disease with the masses, is a terrible difficulty in the very threshold; and without the persevering student, who knows nothing of the powers of that wondrously plastic tongue, has to fatigue his memory with thousands of (to him) most unmeaning and formidable compound terms. The variation of a vowel, the mistake of a dipthong, being occasionally so fatal to accuracy as to send the poor groper among the Infusoria into the startling company of Plesiosauria or Pachyderms. The Greek of Sophocles or Æschylus has even to undergo some comic violence in its adaptation to the anatomy and economical habits of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Scientific nomenclature is, doubtless, a necessity, and without it there could be little communion of labour or thought among the learned of many lands. Still, one may be permitted to regret, that to the increasing millions who speak that pleasant English tongue, "whose sound" (as has been grandly said) "has gone into all lands, and whose words to the ends of the earth," we cannot as yet teach the marvels of science, the wondrous story of the mutations of their own earth, and unfold its mineral and floral wealth, as readily as we teach them the history of man or the elements of morals or religion.
We are sadly in want of truly popular explanations of scientific research. The mere English scholar turns up a so-called popular treatise to learn something of an animal, he is enlightened by finding that it is perhaps a graminivorous pachyderm, or some fossilized relic that is "crustacean, semi-calcarious, striated, cordiform, and is never found in paleozoic formations." A pleasant writer says, A pleasant writer says, "Even the 'hand books' and 'outlines' intended for general readers and docile beginners, abound in words of such puzzling obscurity (not to mention the abstruse speculations frequently implied in their very mention) that one would think the English public was made up of pundits, and been reared in the nursery in the circle of the Sciences." What, in the name of Linnæus, he will ask, can be meant by the sub-Kingdom 'Cœlenterata ?' His knowledge of Greek, be it ever so extensive, will
not carry him far in this fog. It is all very well to talk of a sub-Kingdom of 'hollow-gutted animals,' but what are they ?" And again speaking of a most meritorious book by an excellent author, 'If in the next edition he would only bear in mind that even students are anything but familiar with many of the technical terms so profusely scattered unexplained through his pages, that even students are not all Grecians, and that a knowledge of Greek very often lends little or no assistance to one who does not already know the meaning of the term as applied in the special case, he will greatly improve his book. We are perfectly aware of the necessity of technical torms, Science is impossible without a strict nomenclature; but we are also aware that if many writers are misunderstood because they do not attend sufficiently to those exigencies of technical expression, many also are thrown aside unread, because they will say nothing in their mother tongue.
"Every one knows the dreadful kind of mathematical writer or speaker, who "rushes into the differential calculus on the slightest provocation." And we could name more than one biologist who rushes into Greek, and spurns the plainer and more expressive English, as if his scientific reputation depended on his not saying anything in common language."
The past year has witnessed the usual gatherings of the philosophic and scientific intellects of the age. If not marked by any special originality, they have developed more clearly than ever the strong practical tendency of the age, to subordinate all the energies and appliances of Science, invention, and association, to the correcting of social evils and the elevation and purification of man. The British Association has heard from their Fairbairn a grand epitome of the progress of material science. The Dublin Social Congress has elicited, with much crude speculation, a large amount of practical suggestions for future operations. Death has done his usual work. Besides the Royal Prince, whose departure we have already noticed, he has taken away another of the thoughtful Teutonic blood. Baron Bunsen, in the full exercise of his splendid labours, has passed away, declaring with his last breath his profound belief in that Revelation he has so often been accused of assailing. Sir Francis Palgrave, whose profound antiquarian knowledge will long serve to lighten the labours of the student of the Past, has been taken from us. Elizabeth Barrett Browning has passed away from a wide circle of admirers; and thousands to whom the name of Italy brings back grand memories of ancient
dominion, or gentler thoughts of preeminence in those Arts that delight the eye and elevate the soul, will hardly forget that the year just past has witnessed the death of Camille Cavour.
"It is a pleasant thought," says Charles Kingsley, " to feel surer, day by day, that one is not needed—that science moves forward swift and sure under a higher guidance than our own-that the sacred torch-race never can stand still, that He has taken the lamp out of old and failing hands, only to put it into young and brave ones who will not falter till they reach the goal."
Yet a few words more and I have done. The war-cloud that has risen so threateningly in our southern horizon has lately, in some degree "turned out a silver lining on the night," and the mild arts of peace may perhaps still be allowed to flourish, unchilled by the breath of War. The rising cloud may somewhat dim the cheering sunshine of our prosperity; but its shadow will fall upon a land alive with citizen-soldiers prepared to defend its soil to the last; satisfied with its political position, unprepared for changes in its allegiance. We have live long enough to refuse to turn from the chaste and gracious form of our Constitutional Liberty to the worship of the base counterfeit which has been raised on this Continent in the stead of the veritable Goddess.
Know ye not then the Harlot? Know ye not
The shameless forehead, the obdurate eye,
The meretricious mien,
The loose, unmodest garb with slaughter foul?
Your Fathers knew her! When the nations round
Received her maddening spell,
And called her-Liberty
And in that name proclaim'd
A jubilee for Guilt!
Listen to some memorable words written sixty years ago :
"Thanks to our sullen resistance to innovation-thanks to the cold sluggishness of our national character, we still have the stamp of our forefathers-we have not lost the generosity and dignity of thinking of the 14th century, nor as yet have we been subtlelized ourselves into savages-we are not the converts of Rousseau-we are not the disciples of Voltaire-Helvetius has made no progress amongst us— atheists are not our preachers-madmen are not our lawgivers—we know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made in morality-not many in the great principles of government nor in the ideas of liberty, which were understood long before we were born, as well as they will be after the grave has heaped
the mould upon our presumption and the silent tomb imposed its law on our pert loquacity.
"In England we have not yet been completely embowelled of our natural entrails-we still feel within us and we cherish and cultivate those inbred sentiments which are the faithful guardians, the acting monitors of our duty, the true (supporters of all liberal and manly morals. We have not yet been drawn and trussed in order that we may be filled like stuffed birds in a museum with chaff and rags, and paltry, blurred shreds of paper about the rights of man. We preserve the whole of our feelings still native and entire, unsophisticated by pedantry and infidelity. We have real hearts of flesh and blood beating in our bosoms. We fear God, we look up with honor to Kings, with affection to Parliaments, with duty to magistrates, with reverence to priests. Why? Because when such ideas are brought before our eyes, it is natural to be affected, because all other feelings are false and spurious and tend to corrupt our minds, to vitiate our primary morals, to render us unfit for rational liberty, and by teaching us a servile, licentious, and abandoned insolence to be our low sport for a few holidays, to make us perfectly fit for, and justly deserving of, slavery throughout the whole course of our lives."
The ring of the true metal sounds through these almost prophetic words. I need hardly name the writer as Edmund Burke. We can have no fear for the result of any contest into which the lust of conquest or outrages in our national honor may plunge us. “An unjust war is the greatest of iniquities-a just and defensive war the last and greatest appeal to the God of truth."
And now let these very discursive remarks draw to a close, not in mine own weak words, but in the lofty strains of one of our truest Poets, when he told his countrymen, threatenened with invasion :
It is not to be thought of--that the flood
Be lost for ever.-In our halls is hung