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the names of any of the objectors, because, had I done so, it is ten to one that they would think themselves mis-represented, and the Society would be involved in a discussion foreign to the objects which we have in view. With respect to the observations of the Chairman, I must say that I was not aware that the scientific accuracy of the statements in the Bible with respect to the ant was still maintained, and I must so far qualify that passage in the paper. So far as I had previously heard, no one had ventured to dispute the facts as I stated them. I knew, indeed, that an attempt had been made to prove that the hare and coney were not the animals alluded to, but I was not prepared to hear it stated that the ant gathered in food for winter. The authors from whom I quoted found their objections upon a careful observation, not only of the habits of the ants in England, but in Palestine. With respect to the translation of the Septuagint, it was plain that the transcribers were aware that the hare and the coney did not chew the cud, for they inserted the word “not” in the passage, though it clearly did not belong to it, and destroyed the sense in toto

The CHAIRMAN.-I confess I was not aware of that fact before.

Mr. WARINGTON.-If the chairman will examine the text * he will find that the word “not” has been inserted. With these observations, I will only thank you for the kind attention which you have given to the paper, and I hope that it may prove in some respects beneficial to the cause which we have all at heart. (Applause.)

The CHAIRMAN then adjourned the meeting to the 18th of June.

* Vatican MS.



The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The following Paper was then read by Montagu BURNETT, Esq., M.A., in the absence of his father :


BURNETT, Esq., M.D., Vice-President.

just than that the natural mind of man, that mind which was made to contemplate every visible object we behold around us, should be adapted and fitted for that purpose with the highest degree of accuracy ; so that precision and perfection should be in its ultimate sense the end to be obtained.

We have, accordingly, provided for this purpose, both external and internal organs of sense, which, when applied to the objects around, cannot fail to convince us, that they have been furnished with a view to ascertaining the more intricate nature, or the more obscure characters of those objects; by which we have put into our possession an instrument that conveys to us with assurance doubly sure, that we cannot be mistaken when they undertake to inform us on such matters. So that while our outward senses are engaged to put before us within a prescribed range all that really comprises the outward world, we are enabled with our inward faculties to compare, to reason upon, and to bring to bear the order and the regularity, as well as the beauty and perfection of that work which is set in our midst, apparently for the express purpose of our guidance and contemplation.

The more we ponder upon this magnificent work, the more we become impressed with the sublimity and grandeur of its design; so that before we ascend to those surer and higher


tests which are to convince us still more assuredly that a profound design, an unvarying precision, marks the movements with which this globe performs its daily evolutions; the more certain are we, that one great Artificer made it what it is, and stamped it with laws which cause every part to be dependent on the rest; and thus we have a proof that one Mind and one Will gave it a real existence.

But could this Being have determined that any other result but truth should issue from the contemplation of such a work? Could any uncertainty be made to proceed out of a work which, on every side, bespeaks not merely magnificence and beauty, but regularity and order.

Surely we could not decide, with the reasoning powers we possess, that this fair and beauteous work was made to mislead and misinform man, that one of all the denizens of the earth who alone is able to be convinced that a perfect God made the heavens and the earth, and all things therein, with a marvellous wisdom.

Can we then be surprised that man should believe that he beholds in this work the finger of an unerring and perfect God, and that it should be set for his natural belief in the greatness and unchangeableness of that God ?

Can we be surprised that with such faculties as enable him to do it, man should have power to link together the worlds that float in the heavens around him, or to discover the laws by which those worlds are moved, or to note the revolutions which they were made to observe?

Can we be surprised that as man's knowledge of one law was succeeded by that of another, and that as his apprehension of those laws became more certain, more cumulative in character, that he became less disposed to give them up as a standard of truth, as a foundation on which to erect a chronicle of time and of events, to which he could look backwards or forwards with security and confidence? And before we take upon ourselves the authority of answering these questions, we must state at once, that with regard to the work in question, there cannot be any doubt abstractedly of the correctness and invariableness of this standard. It is not, therefore, on the side of the standard of Truth itself, that there is any shortcoming in its ability to furnish it, but the imperfection is on the side of man. Fallen from his original perfection, he fails to bear morally that relation to the natural creation which he did before the fall, and therefore his impaired faculties have failed to justify his reliance upon them as a standard of Truth.

We have not only the experience of ages to prove this, but it is confirmed by Revelation, another standard of Truth given to man after his fall, by the same Being who established the first standard, after man was in a state which shut out from him the possibility of his reaching all the knowledge necessary for his eternal salvation.

Every believer knows that "the world by nature knew not God, and that we cannot by this means find Him out to perfection.

“Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection ? It is high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know ?” Yet that man in his natural state had every inducement to believe that by the light of nature, when unassisted by any other standard of truth, by which he was to arrive at a higher fuller meaning of the word, I must deny.

If in this belief he was otherwise to be instructed, if he was to learn that up to a certain point only his conclusions might be right, and that wisdom, order, and unchangeableness were in this direction to be the only evidences which natural philosophy would afford him in finding out the ways of God; it is no discredit to him that he had overrated this standard as an evidence of truth, and had given it a power of unfolding more definite and important truths which it really had no means of accomplishing. This fact has never been placed before the mind of the natural philosopher in its true light, but too often opprobrium and contempt have taken the place of that reasoning which it was in the power of their opponents to use with so much success. If the natural philosopher were ever to be convinced that he had at this point taken a devious path, it would have to be accomplished only through a wellconsidered and well-conducted argument, too sound to be refuted, and too unmistakeable to need any mixture of ridicule or abuse. For if we know our adversary is in error, this calls the more strongly on our part for forbearance and patience, but above all for circumspection, lest in our zeal to correct others, upon so difficult a question, where faith plays so important a part, we display a mind and a temper which badly recommend the truth, and are totally at variance with that far higher knowledge which we profess to believe in, but which, by our want of charity, we have failed to recommend to others.

But now, for the sake of argument, I will ask you hypothetically to believe, that no other knowledge but that which we derive from nature, has been placed within our reach ; and that man has been provided with no other source whence to discover the truth of his real destiny. Let us, for the sake of preserving the hypothesis, suppose him to proceed to investigate all that he can see around him in the earth and in the heavens. Feeling sure that truth can only be arrived at through this one channel, he spares no research, and is neglectful of no means likely to make his conclusions certain, and his inferences not to be disputed. He weighs these things in the balance of induction, and he tests them there, by their conformity to those laws which he has now discovered to be unchangeable. He penetrates the crust of the earth, and the very first object that presents itself to his mind, is one that, while it confirms the conjectures which he has already arrived at, by seeing that both man and animals are subject to death, presents also a difficulty which he is unable to explain by any law within his reach ; for the difficulty is opposed to the care

.; ful and regular computation of time. He finds, for example, that not only whole genera and species of the living creation have been entouibed in the earth, but that genera and species, not now forming any part of the living creation, have also been buried there. And from the space and order and other characteristics which these remains exhibit there, he gathers that the living creation was not the first creation, but only one of a series which have followed each other in succession during countless ages of the world. He discovers, further, that these acts of creative power were manifested by slow and varied degrees, so that they took many thousands of years for their completion. Further, he discovers that man was created at a comparatively recent period of the earth, only parallel with those animals we now see alive upon its surface. And the truth of all these deductions rests alone upon the position of these remains in a certain relation to others, and in such order, that the inference cannot otherwise be drawn, than that they occupied in time a regular and independent place in the order and sequence of creation. That is, he recognizes several distinct creations, which had no more connection with the one that went before, than what was to be implied in the supposed fitness of each for a condition of things then existing on the earth, which had not previously existed.

That these difficulties, unfolded by the investigation of the earth, as the natural philosopher explored her interior for the discovery of truth, ought to have led him to conclusions so vast and so important, with greater caution, can only fairly be admitted. They should have led him to examine the grounds on which he sought to establish so wide and so high a standard of truth, upon a basis so limited and unsustained. Whereas, a fair amount of reasoning should have satisfied the natural philosopher, who joined in this hyphothesis, that no such inference could justly be drawn; that because a large portion



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