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either." * By this impious drivel is " offence”-and of style and expres. meant, that if this infinitude of sys- sion, are common to the Essay and tems be made by one God, who has the other works of the suspected peopled every orb as our own is author. We are not aware that up peopled, with rational and moral be- to the present time he has repudiated ings, it is absurd to suppose that He the work thus attributed to him. On has such a special regard for us, as the contrary, he has just published the Scriptures assure us He has—that a Dialogue, by way of supplement He was made flesh, and dwelt among to it, in which he and various classes us-lived with us, died for us, rose of objectors are speakers; and on one again for us; us, the insignificant of them telling him that one of his occupants of this insignificant speck critics“ repeatedly tries to connect amidst the resplendent magnificence his speculations with those of the of the infinite universe. Now, that author of Vestiges of Creation," a wild such a notion is equally irreligious work of an infidel character, he anand unphilosophical we trust no in- swers, “ If he were to try to connect telligent reader of ours requires to be me with an answer to that work, persuaded ; but that there are both which went through two editions, friends and enemies of the Christian under the title of Indications of the Faith, who fear or believe otherwise, Creator, he would be nearer the mark ; may be assumed ; and hence the at least, I adopt the sentiments of unspeakable importance of viewing this latter book.” Now, this latter the matter soberly, by such light book was published, certainly not as we have,-as God has been pleased with Dr Whewell's name on the titleto vouchsafe to us. If we have page, but by the publisher of all his little, we cannot help it, but must other works, and entitled Indications gratefully and reverently make the of the Creator; Theological Extracts best use we can of it; assuring from Dr Whewell's History and Phiourselves that there must be wise losophy of Inductive Science. But reasons for our omniscient Creator's whereas the Essay in question is having given us just as much as we written by the present highly-gifted have, and no more. He might have Master of Trinity, with the design of endowed us with faculties nearly akin showing that“ the belief of the planets to His own; but He has thought and stars being inhabited is illproper to act otherwise.
founded a notion taken up on inThe attention of scientific persons, sufficient grounds, and that the most and those of a speculative character recent astronomical discoveries point in religion, physics, and morals, has the other way "—the author declaring recently been recalled to the question, that these “views have long been in - whether there are grounds for his mind, the convictions which they believing the heavenly bodies to be involve growing gradually deeper, inhabited by rational beings,-by the through the effect of various trains publication, eleven months ago, of a of speculation ;;" it will be found, on thin octavo volume of 279 pages, referring to Dr Whewell's Bridgebearing no author's name, and en- water Treatise, published in 1833, that titled, of the Plurality of Worlds, these views seem not then to have an Essay. Internal evidence seemed been entertained by him. In book to point to a distinguished person at iii. chap. 2, we find him speaking Cambridge as the author-a gentle- thus : "The earth, the globular body man of great eminence as a mathe, thus covered with life, is not the only matician, a logician, a divine, and a globe in the universe. There are cirmoralist-in short, to the Reverend cling about our own sun six others, so Dr Whewell, the Master of Trinity far as we can judge, perfectly analoCollege. The work was divided into gous in their nature, besides our numbered paragraphs, as is usual moon, and other bodies analogous to with that gentleman ; peculiarities of it. No one can st the temptation spelling-e. g.,
“offense,” instead of to conjecture that these globes, some
* Age of Reason.
of them much larger than our own, Astronomy, some think, suggests the are not dead and barren; that they contrary. I examine the force of this are, like ours, occupied with life, or- latter suggestion, and it seems to me ganisation, intelligence. To conjec- to amount to little or nothing." In ture is all that we can do; yet even by the tenth and eleventh chapters of the the perception of such a possibility, Essay, Dr Whewell thus speaks, in our view of the domain of nature is two passages (SS 12, 20), which apenlarged and elevated.” Speaking pear to us to indicate at once the again of the stars, and supposing them spirit in which he offers his speculasuns, with planets revolving round tions, and his apprehension as to the them, he adds, " And these may, like reception with which they might our planet, be the seats of vegetable, meet. In the former, he owns that animal, and rational life. We may his " views are so different from those thus have in the universe, worlds, hitherto generally entertained, and no one knows how many, no one can considered as baving a sort of religuess how varied." And, finally, in gious dignity belonging to them, that the ensuing chapter, “On man's place we may fear, at first at least, they in the Universe," he says: “We will appear to many rash and fancithus find that a few of the shining ful, and almost, as we have said, spots which we see scattered on the irreverent.” In the latter he speaks face of the sky in such profusion, appear to be of the same nature as the earth ; and may, perhaps, as analogy be a regret and disturbance naturally
“ It is not to be denied that there may would suggest, be, like the earth; felt at having to give up our belief that the habitations of organised beings.'
the planets and the stars probably conUndoubtedly these remarks are pen
tain servants and worshippers of God. ned in a cautious and philosophic spirit; It must always be a matter of pain and and upwards of twenty years' subse- trouble, to be urged with tenderness, and quent reflection, by the light of vari- to be performed in time, to untwine our ous splendid astronomical discoveries reverential religious sentiments from during that interval, is now announc- erroneous views of the constitution of the ed to have so far shaken Dr Whewell's Universe with which they have been infaith in such “conjectures," as to in- volved. But the change once made, it is duce him, “in all sincerity and sim- found that religion is uninjured, and re
verence undiminished. And therefore plicity," to submit “to the public the
we trust that the reader will receive with arguments, strong or weak,” which
candour and patience the argument which had occurred to him on the subject;
we have to offer with reference to this “and which, when he proceeded to view, or, rather, this sentiment.” write the Essay, assumed, by being fully unfolded, greater strength than In this tone of manly modesty is exhe had expected.” He is now dis- pressed the whole of this really reposed to regard a belief in the plural- markable work; but all competent ity of worlds “to have been really readers will also be struck by the produced by a guess, lightly made at dignified consciousness of power asfirst, quite unsupported by subsequent sociated with that modesty. These discoveries, and discountenanced by two characteristics have invested this the most recent observations, though book with a certain charm, in our too remote from knowledge to be eyes, which we cannot but thus avow, either proved or disproved.” And after having given his Essay, and further, he thus indicates the grand the Dialogue, in which he deals scope of the entire inquiry : "I do with various objectors to his Essay, not attempt to disprove the plurality due consideration. A calm perusal of of worlds, by taking for granted the that Dialogue may suggest to shrewd traths of Revealed Religion; but I opponents the necessity of approachsay that the teaching of Religion may, ing the writer of it with caution. to a candid inquirer, suggest the Here, then, we have a man of firstwisdom of not taking for granted the rate intellectual power, a practised Plurality of Worlds. Religion seems, and skilful dialectician, formidably at first sight at least, to represent familiar with almost every departMan's history and position as unique. ment of pbysical science, in its latest
VOL. LXXVI. -NO. CCCCLXVII.
and highest development; an eminent mankind in conclusions arrived at by moral writer and academical teacher, the profoundest masters of science, he and an orthodox clergyman in the must take the consequences of being Church of England, coming forward deemed presumptuous and trifling, deliberately to commit himself to and encounter the stern rebuke of opinions which he acknowledges he those whom he is not entitled to treat does not publish “ without some fear with disrespect. of giving offense :"-opinions at vari- Now, a careful and unprejudiced ance with those not only popularly perusal of this Essay has satisfied held, but maintained by perhaps us concerning several things. It is three-fourths of even scientific per- written with uncommon ability. The sons who have bestowed attention on author has an easy mastery of the the subject. Who can doubt his right English language, and these pages to do so, especially in a calm and abound in vigorous and beautifullytemperate spirit, as contradistinguish- exact expressions. From beginning ed to one of arrogance and dogma- to end, also, may be seen indications tism ? None but a fool would rush of a subtle and guarded logic; a angrily forward, to encounter such an felicitous and masterly disposition of author with harsh and heated lan- his subject; a thorough familiarity guage, or derogatory and uncharitable with the heights and depths of phyinsinuations and imputations. Asics, divinity, and morals; and, above philosophical and duly qualified op- and infinitely beyond all, a reverent ponent would act differently. He regard for the truths of revealed rewould say, In this age of free inquiry, ligion, and an earnest desire to adno matter how bold and serious the vance its interests, by removing what, attack on preconceptions and long- in his opinion, many deem a serious established opinion and belief, if it stumblingblock in the way of the debe made in a grave and manly spirit vout Christian. That stumblingblock of inquiry and argument, and espe- may be seen indicated in the audacious cially by one whose eminent character, language which we have quoted from qualifications, and position, entitle his Thomas Paine. If this be the object suggestions and speculations to deli- which Dr Whewell has had in view berate consideration, that deliberate and who will doubt it?-his title to consideration they must have. “I respectful consideration is greatly have presented,” says the writer of enhanced. He must be given credit the Essay, in the Dialogue, "gravely for having deliberately counted the and calmly, the views and arguments cost of what he was about to dowhich occurred to my mind, on a the amount of censure, ridicule, and question which many persons think contempt which he might provoke. It an interesting one ; and if any one seems that he has felt himself strong will introduce any other temper into enough to make the experiment; the discussion of this question, with and here he sees a distinguished him I will hold no argument; if he contemporary, Sir David Brewster, write in a vehement and angry strain, quickly ascribing “his theories I will have nothing to say to him." and speculations to no better feeling The author is here alluding to Sir than a love of notoriety ;'* who David Brewster, the author of the again stigmatises an argument of the second of the three works placed at Essayist as “the most ingenious the head of this article. If, on the though shallow piece of sophistry other hand, a man of great authority which we have ever encountered in and reputation be unwise enough to modern dialectics." + run counter to opinions universally That Dr Whewell offers us, in his received, and that by persons of high Essay and Dialogue, his real views scientific and literary reputation, and opinions, and that they have merely as a sort of gladiatorial exer- been long and deeply considered, we cise, disturbing views rightly associ, implicitly believe, on his own stateated with religion and science, and ment that such is the case.
It may with levity shaking the confidence of nevertheless be, that he is the uncon
* More Worlds than One, p. 199.
+ Ibid., p. 202.
scious victim of an invincible love of a fact as you allege to exist, or the paradox; and indeed Sir David best kind and greatest degree of Brewster unceremoniously character- evidence which may justify me in ises the Essayist's conjectures con- assenting to the existence of such cerning the fixed stars as “ insulting a fact. We are dealing with facts, to Astronomy," and "ascribable only probabilities, improbabilities; and I to some morbid condition of the mental repudiate any intrusion of sentiment powers, which feeds upon paradox, or fancy. If God has told me that and delights in doing violence to sen- the fact exists, I receive it with revetiments deeply cherished, and to rence; and wonder at finding myself opinions universally believed;"* that a member of so immense a family, having once conceived what he re- from all communication with which gards as a happy idea on a great He has been pleased to cut me off question, he dwells upon it with in my present stage of existence. such an eager fondness as warps his But if God has not told me the fact judgment; that having committed directly—and I feel no religious oblihimself to what he has seen to be gation to hold the fact to exist or a false position, he defends it des- not to exist-I will regard the quesperately, with consummate logical tion as one both curious and interestskill. Or he may believe himself ing, and weigh carefully the reasons entitled to the credit of having which you offer me in support of demolished bold and vast theories, your assertion.
But will you, in and plucked up by the roots an return, weigh carefully the reasons I enormous fallacy. It may be so, offer for asserting a fact which apor it may not; but Dr Whewell's is pears to me, however you may think certainly a very bold attempt to erroneously, of incalculably greater swim against the splendid stream personal moment to me as a member of modern astronomical speculation. of the human family-namely, that He would say, however, Is it not“ man's history and position are as bold to people, as to depopulate unique ;-that the earth is really the the starry structures ? It is on you largest planetary body in the solar that the burthen of proof rests : you system-its domestic hearth, and the cannot see, or hear, inhabitants in onlŷ WORLD in the universe ?" I other spheres; the Bible tells us am quite as much startled at having nothing about them; and where, to receive your notion, as you may therefore, is the EVIDENCE on which be to receive mine. My great engine you found your assertion, and would of proof, says his opponent, is coerce me into a concurrence in analogy: well, replies the other, your conclusions ? I long for the there I will meet you; and the first production of sufficient evidence of grand point to settle is, whether so awful a fact as that God has there is an analogy ;t when that created all the starry bodies for the shall have been settled in the affirmapurpose of placing upon them beings tive, we will, as carefully as possible, in any degree like man-moral, intel- weigh the amount of it. lectual, accountable beings, of equal, This is the point at issue between higher, or lower degree of intelli- Dr Whewell and Sir David Brewster; gence-consisting of that wondrous who resolutely undertakes to demoncombination of matter and mind, strate“ More Worlds than One” to body and soul, which constitutes be“ the creed of the philosopher, and man, existing in similar relations to the hope of the Christian." It is to the external world. The mere sug- be seen whether this eminent member gestion startles me, both as a man of of the scientific world, also a firm science and a Christian believer, on believer in the Christian religion, has account of certain difficulties which undertaken a task to which he is equal. appear to me greater than perhaps He must present such an amount of even you may have taken into proof as will require the plurality of account. But, however this may be, worlds to be accepted as his CREED, I call upon you for proofs of so vast by a PHILOSOPHER; that is, by a
* More Worlds than One, p. 230.
+ Essay (2d edition), p. 261.
Baconian-one accustomed to exact opinions as “more than rash :” he and patient investigation of facts, and regards such "analogies" as, “to say inferences deducible from them; who the least, greatly exaggerated ; and rigorously rejects, as disturbing forces, by taking into account what astroall appeals to our hopes or wishes, our nomy really teaches us, and what we feelings or fancy.
learn also from other sciences, I shall There are two questions before us; attempt to reduce such analogies to to which we shall add, on our own their true value." We have seen account, a third. The first is that Dr Whewell, in 1833, expressing an asked in 1686 by the gifted and opinion very doubtfully, with a "persprightly Fontenelle (whom Voltaire haps, that, as analogy would sugpronounced the most universal genius gest, a few of the heavenly bodies which the age of Louis XIV. pro- appearing to be of the same natare as duced), and echoed in 1854 by Sir the earth, may be, like it, the seats of David Brewster : Pourquoi non organised beings.” He is now disWhy should there not be a plurality posed to annihilate those analogies, of worlds ? The second is that asked so far as they are deemed sufficient by Dr Whewell: Why should there to warrant such an immense conclube? “I do not pretend to disprove a sion. But that to which he is now plurality of worlds; but I ask in vain disposed to come is equally immense. for any argument that makes the He says, " That the earth is inhabitdoctrine probable."* The third, is ed, is not a reason for believing that our own. And what if there be ?-& the other planets are so, but for bequestion of a directly practical ten- lieving that they are not so." Her dency. We shall take the second orbit " is the temperate zone of the question first, because it will bring solar system, where only is the play Dr Whewell first on the field, as it was of hot and cold, moist and dry, poshe who has so suddenly mooted this sible. . . . The earth is really the singular question. But we would at largest planetary body in the solar the outset entreat our readers, at all system ; its domestic hearth; adjustevents our younger ones, to remembered between the hot and fiery haze on that we are dealing with a purely spe- one side, the cold and watery vapour culative subject, respecting which zeal- on the other. This region only is fit ous partisans are apt to draw on their to be a domestic hearth, a seat of imaginations—to assert or deny the habitation ; in this region is placed existence of analogy, on insufficient the largest solid globe of our system; grounds; to overstrain or underrate and on this globe, by a series of its force; and lend to bare probabi- creative operations, entirely different lities, or even pure possibilities, some from any of those wbich separated wbat of the air of facts, where facts the solid from the vaporous, the cold there are absolutely none.
from the hot, the moist from the dry, I. Why should there be more worlds have been established, in succession, than one ? “ Astronomy," says Dr plants, and animals, and man. So Whewell, “no more reveals to us that the habitations have been occuextra-terrestrial moral agents, than pied; the domestic hearth has been religion reveals to us extra-terrestrial surrounded by its family ; the fitplans of Divine government;" and to nesses so wonderfully combined have remedy the assumption of moral been employed; and the earth alone, agents in other worlds, by the as- of all the parts of the frame which sumption of some operation of the revolve round the sun, has beDivine plan in other worlds, is unau- come a WORLD."S Now, let us here thorised and fanciful, and a violation cite two or three passages of Scripof the humility, submission of mind, ture, one of them very remarkable. and spirit of reverence, which religion “ The heaven, even the heavens, requires.f He considers Dr Chalmers's are the Lord's ; but the earth hath he allowance of astronomy's offering given to the children of men." || “Thus strong analogies in favour of such saith God the Lord, he that created
* Dialogue, p. 37. + Essay, pp. 133, 134.
$ Ibid., pp. 308, 309.
# Ibid., pp. 299, 300. || Psalm cxv. 16.