Изображения страниц

the hardy plants in a plantation from among the tender ones as effectually as if the intelligence of the gardener had been operative in cutting the weaker ones down."1 If this means anything, it means that as the winds and waves of the Bay of Biscay can make heaps of sand, so similar unconscious agencies can, if you only give them time enough, make an elephant or a man; for this is what Mr. Darwin says natural selection has done.

Rev. Walter Mitchell, M. A., Vice-President of the Victoria Institute.

The Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society of Great Britain, under the presidency of the Earl of Shaftesbury, includes among its members many of the dignitaries of the Church of England, and a large number of distinguished men of different professions and denominations. Its principal object is, "To investigate fully and impartially the most important questions of philosophy and science, but more especially those that bear on the great truths revealed in Holy Scripture, with the view of defending these truths against the opposition of Science, falsely so called." The 1 Lay Sermons, p. 347.

Institute holds bi-monthly meetings, at which papers are read on some important topic, and then submitted to criticism and discussion. These papers, many of which are very elaborate, are published in the Transactions of the Institute, together with a full report of the discussions to which they gave rise. Six volumes, replete with valuable and varied information, have already been published.

Very considerable latitude of opinion is allowed. Hence we find in the Transactions, papers for and against evolution, -for and against Darwinism. It would be easy to quote extracts, pertinent to our subject, more than enough to fill a volume much larger than the present. We must content ourselves with a few citations from the discussion on a paper in favor of the credibility of Darwinism,1 and another in favor of the doctrine of evolution.2 In summing up the debates on these two topics, the chairman, Rev. Walter Mitchell, presented with great clearness and force his reasons for regarding Darwinism as incredible and impossible. In his protracted remarks he contrasts 1 The Credibility of Darwinism. By George Warington, Esq.,

F. C. S., M. V. I.

2 On certain Analogies between the Methods of Deity in Nature and Revelation. By Rev. G. E. Henslow, M. A., F. L. S., M. V. I.

the Scriptural doctrine, that of the Vestiges of Creation, and that of Darwin on the origin of species. He thus states the doctrine of the Bible on the subject: "If," he says, "science be another name for real knowledge; if science be the pursuit of sound wisdom; if science be the pursuit of truth itself; I say that man has no right to reject anything that is true because it savors of God. Well, what is this hypothesis older than that of Darwin which does, and does alone, account for all the observed facts, or all that which we can read, recorded in the book of Nature? It is, that God created all things very good; that He made every vegetable after its own kind; that He made every animal after its own kind; that He allowed certain laws of variation, but that He has ordained strict, though invisible and invincible barriers, which prevent that variation from running riot, and which includes it within strict and well defined limits. This is a hypothesis which will account for all that we have learnt from the works of Nature. It admits an intelligent Being as the Author of all the works of creation, animate as well as inanimate; it leaves no mysteries in the animate world unaccounted for. There is one thing


which the animate, as well as the inanimate world declares to man, one thing everywhere plainly recorded, if we will only read it, and that is the impress of design, the design of infinite wisdom. Any theory which comes in with an attempt to ignore design as manifested in God's creation, is a theory, I say, which attempts to dethrone God. This the theory of Darwin does endeavor to do. If asked how our old theory accounts for such uniformity of design in the midst of such perplexing variety as we find in nature, we reply, that this can only be accounted for on one admission, that the whole is the work of one Author, built according, as it were, to one style; that it represents the unity of one mind with the infinite power of adapting all its works in the most perfect manner for the uses for which they were created." "Whewell has boldly maintained, and he has never been controverted, that all real advances in the sciences of physiology and comparative anatomy, such as that made by Harvey in discovering the circulation of the blood, have been made by those who not only believed in the existence of design everywhere manifested in the animate world, but were led by that belief to make their discoveries."

[ocr errors]

When discussing the paper of Mr. Henslow on evolution, he says: "In speaking of this paper I must commend the exceeding reverent tone in which the author has discussed the subject, and I should like to see all such subjects discussed in a similar tone. The view which Mr. Henslow brings forward, however, does not appear to be a very original one. It was the first view ever brought forward on the `doctrine of evolution, and I was the first one to point out that the whole doctrine was one of retrograde character. The whole tone and character of this paper, except that which relates to the attributes and moral government of God,1 is nothing more or less than the same view of the doctrine of evolution which created such a sensation in this country when that famous book came out, 'The Vestiges of Creation.' So far as I can understand the arguments of Mr. Darwin, they have simply been an endeavor to eject out of the idea of evolution the personal work of the Deity. His whole endeavor has been to push the Creator farther and farther back out of view. The


1 The second part of Mr. Henslow's paper concerns methods of the Deity as revealed to us in the Bible." The same is substantially true of his work, The Theory of Evolution.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »