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fected by Natural Selection, which continually preserves the favourable variations.
Then, also, all that we have before said about the wisdom seen in the nes in which variation has been guided, applies here with a force proportioned to the utility and beauty of the results; and how remarkable the results are, as, e.g., in the case of the hive bee! "He must be a dull man," says Mr Darwin,1 "who can examine the exquisite structure of a comb, so beautifully adapted to its end, without enthusiastic admiration. We hear from mathematicians that bees have practically solved a recondite problem, and have made their cells of the proper shape to hold the greatest possible amount of honey, with the least possible consumption of precious wax in their construction. It has been remarked that a skilful workman, with fitting tools and measures, would find it very difficult to make cells of wax of the true form, though this is perfectly effected by a crowd of bees working in a dark hive."
If the tendency to a beneficial habit died with the individual who first exhibited it-if the law of heredity did not co-operate with the law of variation-the growth of instinct would be impossible, and the bees and ants would be in the position of their rude progenitors. The preservation of each new favourable variation of instinct is to these insects what the preservation of the best thoughts and discoveries of men, preserved in literature or taught in school and workshop, is to the human race; and the insects have this additional advantage, that Natural Selection, like a Romanist Council of the Index, rigorously but unerringly destroys what is not good.
1 Darwin's Origin of Species: chap. on Instinct.
Our prospect widens. If instinct is formed in this way we cannot stop at instinct. Even in animals very low in the scale of nature a little dose (as Pierre Huber expresses it) of judgment or reason often comes into play. How godlike a power is man's reason, and how wondrous must have been its evolution! Man, again, is a social animal; and if the moral sense or conscience has been developed from the social instincts, as suggested by Sir Benjamin Brodie1 and maintained by Mr Darwin,2 what wisdom must have been at work here! Morality leads on to religion,-belief in a Creator, faith in God, love to God! Surely the Creator has looked forward from the beginning to the evolution of a race made in His image, able to understand something of His work, to see a part of absolute truth, to appreciate in a degree absolute goodness, to sympathise with Him in what He approves, and to aim to realise it in themselves and in their fellow-men!
REASON AND CONSCIENCE.
1 Psychological Inquiries, first part, p. 199.
THE BENEFICENCE OF THE ALMIGHTY SEEN IN EVOLUTION.
BENEFICENCE is so combined with wisdom in the works of the Almighty that it was difficult to avoid the frequent mention of the one attribute in treating of the other. As, however, it must have suggested itself to the reader's mind as well as the writer's, the same ground will not be gone over, to any great extent, in the present chapter.
§ 1. Difficulties Removed.
All who have sought in nature some evidence of the character of God have been perplexed by the seeming conflict of the indications: there is so much that looks like beneficence and so much that might be maleficence that the Dualism of ancient Pagan theologies is understood though not assented to.
"We trusted God was love indeed,
Existence of Carnivorous Animals. Professor Huxley, who says that cats were not created in order to catch mice, consistently says in another place that the human eye was not constructed in order that man might see. It is clear that these two things must go together, and
he who contends that Design is exhibited in the human eye, must see it also in the claws and teeth and digestive. canal of the tiger—so admirably suited for catching, and tearing, and assimilating to itself the flesh of other creatures. Yet it grates against one's feeling to read a passage like the following:-"Why then has nature. deliberately sacrificed a certain amount of force, by putting a triangular muscle into the leg of the tiger, to do the work which she does so effectually in my leg by a straight rope of muscle? The answer is this-I am a man and not a tiger; I am not intended, as a tiger is, to hide in a jungle, to jump from the jungle at a troop of horsemen going by, to take one of them and carry him off, spite of the rest, and eat him. That is not the purpose for which the Creator brought me here; but if I were brought here for such a purpose, I am sure I should have a triangular muscle in my leg."1 On the one hand, we cannot escape from the admission Mr Spencer would force from us, that if organisms were severally constructed with a view to their respective ends, then the character of the constructor is indicated both by the ends themselves, and the perfection or imperfection with which the organisms are fitted to them;" on the other hand, our own better nature revolts from the deliberate infliction of pain. The whole difficulty has arisen from metaphysical views of creation and of Deity—from the supposition that, by an Infinite Being, results could be attained without processes, and ideal perfection without temporary incidental evil. The moment we learn from Evolution that struggle and
1 See Professor Haughton's "Lectures on Least Action," Brit. Med. Jour., May and June, 1871.
2 Principles of Biology, i. 340.
death were absolutely necessary in order to render possible the advancement of the forms of life, and the eventual birth and perfecting of man, the existence of carnivorous animals ceases to appear a satire on the Beneficence of the Creator. In the lower animals there appears to be something approaching a complete enjoyment of life while it lasts; and when the end does arrive it is in most cases unforeseen, and the suffering which attends it is in general of only momentary duration. To the objection that the Creator could have fitted all animals to live on a vegetable diet, we may oppose first of all the answer of Dr Andrew Combe,-Had there been no beasts of prey, the world would soon have been overrun with herbivorous creatures to such an extent that their numbers would speedily have become excessive in reference to the possible supply of food, and there would have been infinitely more suffering from starvation and disease than what actually arises out of the existing relation of different classes to each other. On the present plan there is ample food and enjoyment for all.1 And further, we can see, as Dr Combe perhaps could not see in 1845, that vegetable feeders, with abundant food, would not have struggled as animals struggle now, and the higher forms of life would not have been possible.
Existence of Parasites and of Diseases.—The existence of parasites, though less is said about it, is a greater difficulty than the existence of carnivores: for here it is the inferior which destroy the superior, and the suffering seems to bring no compensating benefit. There are two kinds of tapeworm which flourish in the human intestines, producing great constitutional disturbances, sometimes ending in insanity; and from the germs of
1 Combe's Physiology of Digestion (Edinburgh, 1845), c. vi.