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This picture of a Creator experimenting and trying the effect of his work, reminds us of the ironical words in the 50th psalm : "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.” How infinitely does it sink beneath the portrait presented to us by the believing Hebrew writer, of one " who spake and it was done,
“ who commanded and it stood fast.”
But our author's geological assumptions are nearly as marvellous as his physiological ones. It has been supposed we had penetrated to azoic rocks. He teaches a different doctrine. Take the following proof from page 338 :
"Thus the embryo comes to be left as a sort of picture, preserved by nature, of the ancient and less modified condition of each animal. This view may be true, and yet it may never be capable of proof. Seeing, for instance, that the oldest known mammals, reptiles, and fish strictly belong to their own proper classes [a fair prima facie evidence that they were so created], though some of these old forms are in a slight degree less distinct from each other than are the typical members of the same groups at the present day, (and some of them, though he forgets to tell us so, in no slight degree more distinct,] it would be vain to look for animals having the common embryological character of the vertebrata, until beds far beneath the lowest Silurian strata are discovered-a discovery of which the chance is very small.”
More marvellous, however, than this is Mr. Darwin's assumption of the very great imperfection of the geological record, a matter upon which he continually insists in various ways. And yet the fact is tacitly acknowledged that it was not the state of the record that suggested the idea of the loss of connecting links, but the absence of these connecting links, that induced the opinion of the imperfection of the records. For our author says :
“But I do not pretend that I should ever have suspected how poor a record of the mutations of life the best preserved geological section presented, had not the difficulty of our not discovering innumerable transitional links between the species which appeared at the commencement and close of each formation pressed so hardly on my theory,
." Is not this a clear specimen of inverted reasoning? We had marked many other passages of a similar character, but these must suffice; and we now proceed to give a brief digest of the work,
Mr. Darwin's object we have pretty clearly intimated. It is, to show that all living beings have proceeded, in genealogical order, from a few or one, and thus to overthrow the commonly received doctrine of creation. For whether or not that one, or those few, original forms must be regarded as called into existence by creative fiat, or produced by all-prolific nature, it agrees not with the doctrine of creation as usually understood.
Mr. Darwin introduces the question by considering the varieties which have been produced in animals and plants under domes
tication, by a careful selection of seeds, or of individual creatures, for the purpose of propagation. Denying the doctrine of final causes, he does not regard these varieties as being influenced by a principle of domesticability, or a power of adaptation purposely given to them, as intended to be man's companions. On the contrary, he regards them as specimens of what nature has done, and is doing, to a much greater extent than man, among all classes of animals; she having a much wider field to work in.
This, he argues, is carried on by a power or principle called "natural selection.” What that process or principle is, the reader may perhaps learn by the following passage from page5. We had marked thirteen passages on this subject from which to choose the most lucid; and we find none surpassing this, though it may be objected to as not very clear. Perhaps, indeed, it is impossible to present a muddled idea in transparent language :
As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive, and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary bowever slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.”
The argument proceeds by bringing into notice the fact that many more animals and plants are produced than can possibly be developed. Natural selection is here then brought into play to keep the strongest alive; and it is suggested that if any little varieties occur, the conditions may be such in the general struggle as to give them a better chance of life than their neighbours. Thus a tendency to variety would be produced. And thus by process of natural selection-time enough being given-species and genera might be originated. The laws of variation are then examined; and perhaps this is the ablest chapter in the book, though by no means satisfactory-theory and conjecture, here as elsewhere, taking the place of fact and argument. In chapter VI. he commences taking up the difficulties of his theory. The absence of transitional forms is got over in a rather extraordinary manner. We are told that all intermediate forms would exist in Jesser numbers than those from which they proceeded, or those to whom they afterwards gave being; and therefore the older and the newer would continue, and the intermediate die out. And that this might sometimes be the case, we may readily allow; but why it should always be so, no better reason is given than Mr. Darwin's ipse dixit. However, by such reasons as these he gets over his difficulties as well as he may, and leads us through a somewhat learned but very inconclusive course of study on the general subject of transition.
Instinct forms the subject of Chapter VII. On this subject he
seems most perplexed by the instinct being apparently given, not for the good of the creature who possesses it, or its offspring, but of other independent creatures; and on some of these cases, especially that of the ants and the aphides, he labours hard to shew that the fact is not exactly as it appears to be. indeed, apparently to his own satisfaction, that instincts which are generally considered so perfect are, after all, very imperfect; that the Ordainer of those instincts, if they were really ordained, was but an unskilful workman; and that all of them, even those we most admire, might after all have proceeded, like every thing else, from small beginnings, or almost from no beginning, by means of “natural selection.”
Chapter VIII. takes up the question of hybridism, in which there is a general dissent from the views of the best writers on the subject. He evidently feels the question to be a difficult one; but passes through it with greater power and more apt illustration than through most other subjects of difficulty. It is, however, rather amusing to find an analogy drawn between the fertility of varieties when crossed, and the infertility of species when crossed; and an intimation that this is just what we ought to expect. To our less subtle powers of reasoning this appears just what we ought not to expect. But we do not wish to enlarge on this subject.
Chapters IX. and X. are on the imperfection of the geological record; and the geological succession of organic beings. On this subject we have perhaps already said enough to shew the novel manner in which Mr. Darwin reads the records which the stony tablets of the earth contain. Chapters XI. and XII. are on the geographical distribution of animals and plants. In them the author contends against the views of “centres of creation” as against creation altogether. Chapter XIII. is on the mutual affinities of organic beings, as morphology, embryology, and rudimentary organs. And Chapter XIV. forms a recapitulation and conclusion.
We are compelled by want of space to leave more than half the passages we had marked unnoticed ; but on the subject of morphology we cannot forbear making a few remarks. Again and again does Mr. Darwin urge that the homologies which have been traced in vertebrate creatures, the adaptations of the vertebrate skeleton, and especially of the bones of the limbs, to so many different purposes, are proofs of genealogical relation-proofs of all having descended from the same parent; though men of much greater reasoning power have only seen in it an evidence of the Creator choosing certain typical forms, and adapting them to various uses, as occasion demands,— thus evidencing a family likeness, in the use of types, between nature and revelation. And again and again does Mr. Darwin urge that the morphological -relations, or those of shapes and form, between distinct classes
and orders of creatures, their many and unmistakeable resemblances to cach other, are inexplicable on the ordinary view of creation, and only to be satisfactorily accounted for by their hav. ing proceeded originally from one and the same parent. But if Mr. Darwin can lift his eyes a little above the earth he treads upon, he will find that the same adherence to certain typical forms is carried out in far distant regions—that the heavens can, in the way of morphology, claim relationship with earth. And surely he will not argue that, because, like the leaf-producing principle of every plant, around its stems or twigs, the moon describes a spiral motion round the earth, that therefore either the moon was the progenitor of the plant, or the plant the progenitor of the moon! And surely he will not argue that, because many of the spiral or conchoid nebulæ bear the strongest resemblance in shape to a common mollusc shell, that therefore either the mollusc was the progenitor of the nebulæ or the nebulæ of the mollusc! The true philosopher, who can generalize more widely, sees in homology and morphology clear indications of the universe being the work of one and the same Creator. But he who rejects all the evidence which lies upon the surface of things, and is resolved always to plunge beneath the surface in order to find contra evi. dence, need not raise our wonder if he sometimes plunges into the dark !
In concluding our notice of this extraordinary work, we can only express our regret that a man, evidently possessed of much patience and perseverance, and no inconsiderable powers of investigation, should have prostituted his talents to so bad a purpose, and have entitled himself, not to the gratitude, but to the reprobation, of the whole Christian world.
THE EDUCATIONAL WANTS OF INDIA.-II.
"Is it not imperative on us to do more for Christian education in India ?” Such was the question with which we closed our former article, when we contemplated more than 32,000,000 of native children, all of a school-going age, entirely abandoned to the moral pollutions of Hinduism and Mahommedanism. But this is a question which we can better answer in the abstraet, than in detail. That England should sit down quietly under a state of things so appalling, and attempt no remedy, is what few, if any, persons would maintain. General concurrence, however, in the nature of the remedy is not at all so evident.
Perhaps our first instinct is to look to a rectification of the government evil ;-to obtain, if possible, a removal of the prokibition which is placed upon the word of God throughout all the government schools. At present an absolute interdict is laid upon it. The heathen in those schools can get no bible-teaching, even if they desire to have it. Hence, on this system, the spread of government education can have no tendency to give spiritual light to the people. On the contrary, the further it extends, the more the ground becomes preoccupied with avowedly nonchristian, if not auti-christian, influences.
To remove this unholy interdict upon the word of God would be a great step gained. For, without the slightest attitude of proselytism, which we should strongly reprobate in any government, the schools would then be open to inquirers; and Christian instruction, without being in the least degree compulsory, would be at all events possible. But to judge from the feeling exhibited in the house of Lords, when the duke of Marlborough brought forward his recent motion on the subject, any immediate hope of such a change seems overcast. We must, therefore, "cease from man.” But souls are perishing, and we cannot afford to lose our opportunities of usefulness by attempting impossibilities, and struggling with worldly-minded politicians. The church of Christ has a nobler mission to perform, than to go out, like Don Quixotte, tilting at windmills. She must energize her strength for practical objects, and seek the Christian education of India through means that may be placed, by God's blessing, within her own reach.
After much reading and reflection on this subject, we are convinced that the work to be done is, comparatively speaking, simple. Looking to the educational wants of India, everything points to one great necessity, viz., --well-trained native Christian schoolmasters. Let us only succeed in developing these, and the rising masses will soon be in a fair way of evangelization.
But why must they be trained, when the Spirit of God would be ready to bless their bible-instruction, even if their schoolmanagement were otherwise imperfect? Because, in many places, they would have to compete against the well-trained teachers of government, and would therefore attract but very few pupils to their schools, unless equally well qualified for their own work. Again, in all other places, they would have to compete against the indigenous village schoolmasters; and, therefore, unless they could tempt the heathen lads by superior methods of instruction, the open bible would be useless. Besides which, all experience shows the error of expecting any well organized system of instruction, without properly trained masters. Lord Brougham, in a speech in the house of Lords, on the 2nd of May, 1835, remarked,
“ Seminaries for training masters are an invaluable gift to mankind, and lead to the indefinite improvement of education. It is this which, above all things, we ought to labour to introduce into our system. .... Placenormal schools ---seminaries for training teachers, in a few such