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believe the horse to have been predestinated and prepared for man.
Darwin, in his work “On the Origin of Species,” has given some striking illustrations of the modification of nature in the varieties of pigeons. History shows that the breeding of pigeons occupied the attention of naturalists two thousand years ago, and was an amusement even for kings; so that now we have remarkable and extensive varieties, as the Tumbler, the Carrier, the Trumpeter, the Fantail, the Turbot, the Barb, the Jacobin, etc. These are all one species, and have descended from the Columbia Livia, or Rock Pigeon. The changes which have been effected both in the form and habits of this bird are remarkable. The short-faced Tumbler has a beak in outline almost like that of a Finch. The Tumbler has a singu
a lar habit of flying in compact flocks, and tumbling heels over head. The Runt is a bird of great size, with long, massive beak and large feet. The Pouter has an enormously developed crop, which it glories in inflating. The Turbit has a line of
, reversed feathers down the breast; the Jacobin has its feathers so much reversed along the back of the neck as to form a hood. The Trumpeter utters a different coo. The Fantail has thirty or forty tail-feathers, instead of twelve or fourteen, and they are expanded and carried erect, so that in good birds the head and tail touch. The Carrier will find his way home from Brussels to London. The means by which these changes are effected are now so well understood, that Sir John Sibright affirms “he could produce any given feather in three years, and any head and beak in six."
A curious instance of the pliability of an animal organism is seen in the changes which have been wrought on the Golden Carp. Not only has an infinite variety of spotted, striped, variegated colors been produced in these fishes, but, especially among the Chinese, all sorts of changes have been brought about in this single species. Some are rendered short and stout, others long and slender; some with ventral side swollen, others hunchbacked; some with the mouth greatly enlarged, while in others the caudal fin, which in the normal condition of the species is placed vertically at the end of the tail, has become crested and arched, or is doubled or crooked, or has
* Professor Owen on Life and Species, in the American Journal, Jan., 1869, p. 43. * Agassiz's “ “Method of Study in Natural History," pp. 146, 147. FOURTH SERIES, Vol. XXII.—15
swerved in some other way from its original pattern. All these are striking variations in a family of fishes which, in their wild state, are very monotonous in their appearance all the world
Darwin adduces many of these instances of variation in support of his doctrine of " natural selection.” He thinks that the origin and diversity of species may be accounted for by the natural action of the conditions under which they exist. Because the intelligence of man has been able to produce certain varieties in domesticated animals, therefore physical causes have produced all the diversity existing among wild ones. This conclusion, as Agassiz has shown, does not follow logically from the premises. “Domesticated varieties do not explain the origin of species, except, as I have said, by showing that the intelligent will of man can produce effects which physical causes have never been known to produce, and that we must, therefore, look to some cause outside of nature, corresponding in kind to the intelligence of man, though so different in degree, for all the phenomena connected with the existence of animals in their wild state.
“So far from attributing these original differences among animals to natural influences, it would seem that, while a certain freedom of development is left, within the limits of which man can exercise his intelligence and ingenuity, not even this superficial influence is allowed to physical conditions unaided by some guiding power, since, in their normal state, the wild species remain, so far as we have been able to discover, entirely unchanged; maintained, it is true, in their integrity by the circumstances established for their support, but never altered by them. Nature holds inviolable the stamp that God hus set upon his creatures, and if man is able to influence their organization in
; some slight degree, it is because God has given to his relations with the animals he has intended for his companions the same plasticity which he has allowed to every other side of his life, in virtue of which he may in some sort mold and shape it to his own ends, and be held responsible also for its results.'
These facts and principles may serve to indicate for us man's place in nature. He is not a mere thing of nature, bound down and imprisoned
by the necessary laws of cause and effect, but a being above nature, who can subjugate nature by his intelligence and liberty. “Using nature as his organ, the Deity transcends it: the act in which he does so is the exercise of his free volition, rendering determinate what was indeterminate before: it is thus the characteristic of such act to be supernatural ; and man, so far as he shares a like prerogative, occupies a like position, standing to that extent outside and above the realm of natural law, and endowing with existence either side of an alternative possibility.”* Revelation teaches that man is invested with dominion over the material and sentient creation; he is
Creation's heir, creation's lord. " Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea." Psalm viii. The world was therefore made for man; made to be the theater of his activity, the school for his education, the gymnasium for his moral development and spiritual perfection. This is also the doctrine of science. Geology teaches that through countless ages God has, by the slow operation of natural law, been preparing the earth as a suitable residence for man. The mineral treasures of the earth have been laid up for his use; its rocks and soils have been prepared for him; the plants and animals are subject to him, many of them exhibiting a readiness and aptitude for domestication, and a flexibility of nature to be shaped and molded by the hand of man.
“Man,” says Agassiz, “is the end toward which all geological changes have looked, the end toward which all the animal creation has tended, from the first appearance of the vertebrated type.” And nature is also the field for the exercise and development of the free powers of man. The mind of man has a creative force and energy. It has also within it the ideas of utility, of beauty, and of perfection, which are ceaselessly tending toward actualization. The material universe is the field in which these powers of man are to find their fullest exercise. Man is not the slave of nature, the mere sport of external conditions, but the master of nature's processes, the interpreter of nature's laws, and thus able to guide unintelligent
o Martineau, “Essays," p. 126.
nature-forces toward rational and beneficent ends. "Human freedom,” even the skeptical Strauss admits, “controls natural development.” *
Hence it is that man, as distinguished from the brute, is a progressive being, and tends toward a higher perfection.
Guided by the facts and principles above developed, we may readily detect the fallacy of that philosophy which insists with so much vehemence on the absolute “uniformity of nature” as a chain of universal causation, embracing all being and excluding all
providential interposition. The system of the universe is one in which we have general laws securing uniformity, and in which we have also particular dispositions and collocations of physical forces resulting in complications and fortuities. There are not only necessary events but contingent events. There is not only that which is designed, but that which is fortuitous and accidental. There is not only uniform sequence, but there is also chance. There are
. not only inanimate things subject to unvarying law, but there are free beings having an alternative power of choice.
Nature, therefore, is not sternly rigid, but flexible ; pliable to the hand of man, and especially to the hand of God. It man has molded nature and controlled it, so that destructive agents, as fire and electricity, have been converted into beneficial agents, and poisonous agents have been rendered remedial agents, much more may God control nature-forces, of which he is the author, and constrain them to fulfill specific ends, beneficial results, which nature in her uniform movement would not have produced. If nature is controlled by finite mind it certainly may be controlled by the Infinite Mind. Amid the fortuities and contingencies which arise in the crossing and conflicts of opposite forces in nature, and especially those which arise in the exercise of the power of alternative choice which is exercised by free beings, there is abundant room for prndence, skill, and foresight on the part of man, and special providence on the part of God.
For what is providence but prevision, foresight, forethought, and wise provision for all contingencies. It supposes a preconcerted plan, a constant supervision of the working ont of that plan, and the direction, management, and subordination
Vol. i, p. 72.
of all agencies toward the completion of that plan. It is of little consequence to our argument whether all the contingencies which may arise in the conflict of nature-forces, and of human passions and interests, were foreseen and provided for before the foundation of the world," or whether they are specially provided for in the time-march of nature and history; in either case it is providence, that is, the action of an intelligent will on nature and humanity. In neither case is the divine wisdom “taken by surprise,” nor is there any "amendment” or “patching up” of natural law to meet an unlooked-for energency, as some have foolishly insinuated. When man, in the exercise of his prudent forethought, provides against future contingencies—when he erects his metallic rod to guide the fiery lightning harmless to the earth, and thus protects his earthly dwelling-place—when he builds his fire-proof safe to resist the ravages of fire--when he shields his fruit trees against the blasting power of frost-when he tears the rocks in sunder by the force of explosive chemical agents--when he lays up a store of provision against a season of dormancy or droughthe does not violate the laws of nature, but subordinates and utilizes them, and compels them to subserve higher and nobler ends. And so the “ special providence” of God works in harmony with natural laws which are the ordinances of his general government. “The universe is the manifestation and abode of a Free Mind like our own; embodying his personal thoughts in its adjustinents, realizing his own ideas in its phenomena, just as we express our inner faculty and character through the natural language of our external life. . . . The grandest natural agents are thus but the servitors of a grander than themselves; the winds .are his messengers, and flaming fire his minister. Using nature as his organ, he transcends it; the act in which he does so is the exercise of his own free volition, rendering determinate what was indeterminate before; it is then the character of such act to be supernatural.” Instead, therefore, of confining the “supernatural ” within the "bounds of natural law," and thus making the term itself a misnomer and a contradiction, and subjecting the divine will itself to natural law, as the Duke of Argyll has done, we must say with Martinean, that "all that is natural lies within the supernatural.” We can have no sympathy with the science or the