Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

artificial selection enacts and exhausts its cycle of permitted change-goes, in homely phrase, “the length of its tether”—with entire docility and in a short period of

. time. Sir George Sebright undertakes “head and beak in six years, and proffers any “feather” in three. ,

“ What then may not be expected from the mighty counterpart power, at work unceasingly in earth and ocean ; the enormous area, moreover, of the terraqueous globe being inter-multiplied with the millenniums of the historic past? And yet on this, the largest scale strictly accessible, there are confessedly no signs of specific change. All things continue as they were. A species may go out, but no species comes in. A species may die, but it never surrenders.

The world of reason has made enormous strides : the world of instinct is as it was, learning nothing new and unlearning nothing old. So far as any perceptible alteration is concerned, natural selection, over this immense area, has been for so long a time asleep. Now it seems less unlikely that Mr. Darwin should have been looking for the wrong sort of results than that a power of such capacity, at work on such a scale, should have no results to show. Emphatically, on such a scale. “He bringeth forth grass for the cattle, and green herb for the service of men.



trees of the Lord also are full of sap, even the cedars of Libanus which He hath planted.

O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is the great and wide sea also, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.” 49 Such the play of vitality, three thousand years ago, over two hundred million square miles of surface ; such, athwart that surface, the range to-day. Natural Selection is a mighty and a slumberless magician ; and all things in earth and sea are pliant to her spell. She has built up some pithless algal into the cedar of Libanus. She has nursed the microscopic monad into the forest carnivora. And she is pursuing her course “unhasting, unresting,” now, as at the beginning. Yet, across this area, and throughout this period, not a seaweed has approximated to the meanest fern, not an earthworm been promoted to the grade of insect! If this basis of induction be too narrow to sustain a doctrine as to the methods and capabilities of nature under the influence of mere law, it were insanity to hope for a broader.

Scale has a tongue as well as Time. And “the vast variety," we may be very sure, “ of the organized world speaks not of the operation of unvarying laws, that represent, in their uni




formity of result, the unchangeableness of the Divinity, but of creative acts that exemplify the infinity of His resources.” 50

27. With the idea of design, stamped on animal structures and instincts, Mr. Darwin, by the necessity of his hypothesis, is at open war.

He admits in the frankest way that a belief in Final Causes, or, as Cuvier

, preferred calling them, the Conditions of Existence, would be fatal to his scheme. A prospect-glass or a forceps is an instrument; they have each a final cause; that is, they were each made and adjusted for a certain

The use of the prospect-glass is to assist the eye: the use of the forceps is to assist the hand. The prospect-glass was made the better to see; the forceps the better to grasp.

The use did not make these instruments ; they were each made for the use—which use was foreseen and premeditated in the mind of the maker of them. We say of each of them without a shadow of hesitation : IF THIS HAD NOT FIRST BEEN A THOUGHT, IT COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN A THING. Now, is the Eye or the Hand an instrument adjusted to a certain use, and thus revealing an antecedent purpose in the Creative Mind, or is it not ? Can we account for either except by saying that it was thought out before it was wrought

out; that it was a concept in mind ere it could possibly appear as a configuration in matter; that before it became a fact in nature it must needs have been a thought in God? According to Mr. Darwin, we can and ought. Human mind made the prospect-glass, but no mind presided over the structure of the eye. Such mind is dispensed with by natural selection: a sensitive nerve, whence derived is not said, will in millions of ages select itself into an eye! The same solution will of course suffice elsewhere. "The new-born kangaroo is an inch in length, naked, blind, with very rudimental limbs and tail : in one which I examined the morning after the birth, I could discern no act of sucking: it hung, like a germ, from the end of the long nipple, and seemed unable to draw sustenance therefrom by its own efforts. The mother accordingly is provided with a peculiar adaptation of a muscle (cremaster) to the mammary gland, by which she can inject the milk from the nipple into the mouth of the pendulous embryo. Were the larynx of the little creature like that of the parent, the milk might, probably would, enter the windpipe and cause suffocation : but the foetal larynx is cone-shaped, with the opening at the apex, which projects, as in the whale-tribe, into the back aperture of the nostrils, where

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


it is closely embraced by the muscles of the soft palate.' The air-passage is thus completely separated from the fauces, and the injected milk passes in a divided stream, on either side the base of the larynx, into the wesophagus. These correlated modifications of maternal and fætal structures, designed with especial reference to the peculiar conditions of both mother and offspring, afford, as it seems to me, irrefragable evidence of Creative fore

“The parts of this apparatus cannot have produced one another; one part is in the mother, another part in the young one; without their harmony they could not be effective; but nothing except design can operate to make them harmonious. They are intended to work together; and we cannot resist the conviction of this intention when the facts first come before us." 52 The significance of such facts, and the legitimacy of such comments, * which extend in their principle over the whole field of organization, may be safely left, Mr. Darwin's blindness to them notwithstanding, to the common sense of mankind. is too strong to be explained away. Nature is full of plan, and yet she plans not: she is only plastic to a plan. That plan speaks self-attestingly to all healthy understandings. It has its warp indeed as well as its

The case

* Appendix A.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »