Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

us

planetary motions : the subjects of the classification fall, for the first time, into their true places—a mob of animals becomes a regular army.

What it concerns here to observe is the consonance of the division so obtained on other grounds with the earlier stages of Creative workmanship ; through inferior sustaining structures towards the vertebrate skeleton, through attempered fluids and functions, towards the mammalian bond. And thus, as in the former leets, are the triple tribe of under-brains walled off from the Brain of Man. A third time there falls a voice from the Excellent Glory : “One shall be taken, and three shall be left."

43. POWER, LOVE, WISDOM ; are not these words written on this trinal ascent ? And, if so, has not God inlaid a revelation of his very nature in the graduation of his works? Has He not engraved this Gloria Patri on the old tables of stone ; and mirrored the majesty of that Divine Name we worship * in this procession of styles in the animal architecture ?

a

* Blessed and Holy Three !

Glorious Trinity!
WISDOM, LOVE, MIGHT!

Boundless as ocean-tide,
Rolling in fullest pride,

O'er the world far and wide
Let there be light !--- Marriot's Hymn.

44. Below the fish, how comparatively powerless all creatures are! The primates of sub-vertebrate nature are the ant and the bee. Most mollusks are anchored to one spot for life, and the bulkiest of crustaceans (page sre 50), shorn of other locomotion, could only crawl in shallow waters among his rocks and sands. The advent of the backbone is the advent of animal power—the a type of an all-pervading and resistless energy. To its possessors it is literally a “pillar of strength.” The wing of the eagle, the jaw of the crocodile, the spring of the tiger, the teeth of the shark, the terrible coil of the boa constrictor 83 — the backbone is the basis of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

them all.

45. Below the mammal, again, how loveless, by comparison, is the world of life! As we approach the mammalian frontier, it is true, the dawn of the new endowment is distinctly seen ; just as a great city shows itself miles and miles away. But even in the bird, and

. far more in the insect,84 the tie to offspring is justly construed as mechanical obedience to impulse rather than as individualized and intelligent affection. There are no sub-mammalian mothers : animals below the line are parents or producers only.85 The crossing of that line is a great work of Deity. God creates a new thing

2

in the earth when He hangs the nursling on the breast of its mother, and bids the two be as one.

Till now there was but a simulating instinct ; but this is love. Along with the prerogative of the nurturing bosom, there everywhere start up, in land and sea, the most touching examples of brute devotion and of passionate maternity

46. Deep calleth unto deep, and the cry is still Excelsior! Nature is a hierarchy, and the head is Man. Mind, language, civilization, worship—the will to determine, the tongue to speak, the hand to do—these, in their boundless purport, are all awanting till the Creator plants upon the scene the solitary owner of the Perfect Brain. Named in one word, all these are wisdom; and Man, “thinker of God's thoughts after Him," is, among uncounted myriads of lower existences, on this earth the Only Wise. Of this superiority, the human brain is the badge. Attempts have been made to abate, or even efface its significance : it has been argued that the differences in cerebral structure between man and the higher quadrumana are anatomically slight; that the lower varieties of the human brain form a link to the ape brain ; and that the brain-differences of a European, a Negro, an orang, and a lemur, might be serially re-. presented by the letters a, b, c, d, as a mere matter of

, degree and not of kind. 88 To this I answer, all healthy human brains are structurally perfect ; whereas the highest brute-brains are structurally imperfect.

The human brain is pleno-cerebral; all other brains are manco-cerebral. The former, in its least cultivated manifestations, retains the latent franchise of progressive reason ; the latter exhibit the rigid circumscription of unprogressive instinct. Any human infant is susceptible of human culture ; no brute is.

This is a difference strictly immeasurable. Bear with a local illustration. On the Aberdeenshire coast, and at the most easterly point of Scotland, are two conspicuous buildings within a stone-cast of each other. In height and general architecture they are much alike ; both, moreover, possess an internal staircase; and there the resemblance ends. One is seen by day, when to see it is useless, far more conspicuously than the other ; but it ceases to be visible on the wild winter-night, when its neighbour is flashing unwearied warning for leagues across the German sea. That, however, is not the digsimilitude on which I wish to seize. Each of the towers, it has been mentioned, has an interior staircase. The lighthouse spiral is complete, and commands at the

.

[ocr errors]

summit a magnificent sea-view. That of the Reform Folly"-such the nickname its defect has earned from those who had no goodwill to its being undertaken-is all but complete : only half a dozen steps or so are wanting at the top. But that want is decisive. You ascend by help of a glimmering light let in through chinks in the wall, increasing slightly from above as you near the summit; but the summit you never reach. You miss the view, that is all. The spectator from the other tower sees a dozen leagues off ; so would you, by the aid of half-a-dozen steps : as it is, you see a couple of yards.

So of that endowment gifted away with man's brain, from the under-brains of whatever grade withheld. The former means capacity, progress, light; the others, at the best, stagnation, darkness. In the works of God there is no failure, far less“ folly ;” but such is the barrier He has been pleased to raise. The brute has its own sagacity, but it is left a brute : the man has his own measure of capacity, be it more or less, but it is such as stamps him Man. The lowest human brain has all that manifestation of reason proper needs; the best-brained quadrumana want all. Even if

. the physical sign be adjudged slight, 87 the concomitant chasm is infinite. This so seeming-small a difference

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »