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the course of formation, we know that fested, so as to be near its earliest the primary and transition rocks either stages." + show us the earth in the course of forma.
In the opinion of the most eminent tion, as the future seat of life, or exhibit geologists, some of these epochs of such life as already begun. “ How far that which Astronomy thus organic transition were also those of
mechanical violence, on a vast and asserts as possible, is probable-what is
wonderful scale—as it were, a vast the value of these possibilities of life in distant regions of the universe, we shall series of successive periods of alternate hereafter consider ; but in what Geology violence and repose. The general naasserts, the case is clear. It is no possi. ture of such change is vividly sketched bility, but a certainty. No one will now by the Essayist, in a passage to which doubt that shells and skeletons, trunks we must refer the reader. I When, and leaves, prove animal and vegetable continues the Essayist, we find life to have existed. Even, therefore, if strata bearing evidence of such a Astronomy could demonstrate all that her mode of deposit, and piled up to the most fanciful disciples assume, Geology height of thousands and tens of thouwould still have a complete right to claim an equal hearing-to insist on having her sands of feet, we are naturally led to analogies regarded. She would have a
regard them as the production of right to answer the questions of Astro- myriads of years; and to add new nomy, when she asks, How can myriads, as often as we are brought to believe this? And to have her answer new masses of strata of the like kind; accepted." *
and again to interpolate new periods We regret that our space prevents transition from one group to another. S
of the same order, to allow for the our laying before the reader the masterly and deeply interesting epitome are atterly at fault, in attempting to
The best geologists and naturalists of geological discoveries contained in these two chapters. The stupendous of these numerous new species, at these
account for the successive introduction series of these revelations may be immense intervals of time, except by thus briefly indicated:—That count
referring them to the exercise of a less tribes of animals tenanted the
series of distinct Acts of Creation, earth for countless ages before Man's
The chimerical notion of some naadvent ; that former ocean-beds now
tural cause effecting a transmutation constitute the centres of our loftiest mountains, as the results of changes other, has been long exploded, as to
of one series of organic forms into angradual, successive, and long.continued; that these vast masses of sedi- tally destitute of proof: and “the
doctrine of the successive CREATION of mentary strata present themselves to species,” says the Essayist,“ remains our notice in a strangely disordered
firmly established among geologists."|| state; that each of these rocky layers There is nothing known of the coscontains a vast profusion of the remains of marine animals, intermingled tradict the terrestrial evidence for its
mical conditions of our globe, to conwith a great series of fresh-water and land animals and plants endlessly life, 1 says Dr Whewell: and then
vast antiquity as the seat of organic varied-all these being different, not only in species, but in kind !-and proceeds thus, in a passage which
is well worth the reader's attention, each of these separate beds must have and has excited the ire of Sir David lasted as long, or perhaps longer, than
Brewster :that during which the dry land has had its present form.
“ If, for the sake of giving definiteness The careful prosecution of their re
to our notions, we were to assume that the searches has forced on the minds of numbers which express the antiquity of geologists and naturalists" the general condition of the earth ; the tertiary period
these four periods—the present organic impression that, as we descend in this
of geologists which preceded that ; the long staircase of natural steps, we secondary period which was anterior to are brought in view of a state of the that ; and the primary period which preearth in which life was scantily mani- ceded the secondary-were on the same
* Essay, pp. 191, 192. § Ibid., p. 154.
+ Ibid., p. 148.
# Ibid., pp. 151, 152.
Ibid., p. 155.
scale as the numbers which express these isted in any of the previous states of four magnitudes :- The magnitude of the the earth. earth; that of the solar system compared Secondly, That his history has ocwith the earth; the distance of the cupied a series of years which, comnearest fixed stars compared with the pared with geological periods, may be solar system ; and the distance of the most remote nebulæ compared with the regarded as very brief and limited.
Here opens the “Argument from nearest fixed stars,-there is, in the evidence which geological science offers, Geology”—and with it Chapter VI. nothing to contradict such an assumption.
That the existence of man upon And as the infinite extent which we ne
the earth is an event of an order cessarily ascribe to space allows us to quite different from any previous part find room, without any mental difficulty, of the earth's history; and that there for the vast distances which astronomy is no transition from animals to MAN, reveals, and even leaves us rather em- in even his most degraded, barbarian, barrassed with the infinite extent which and brutish condition, the Essayist delies beyond our furthest explorations ; so monstrates, with affecting eloquence, the infinite duration which we, in like
and with great argumentative power. manner, necessarily ascribe to past time, No doubt there are kinds of animals makes it easy for us, so far as our powers of intellect are concerned, to go millions
very intelligent and sagacious, and of millions of years backwards, in order exceedingly disposed and adapted to to trace the beginning of the earth's exist- companionship with man; but by ence—the first step of terrestrial creation.” elevating the intelligence of the
brute, we do not make it become that To return, however, to the course of the man ; nor by making man of the argument. We hear the op- barbarous, do we make him cease pressed observer asking, as he reascends to be man. He has a capacity, not this " long staircase of natural steps" for becoming sagacious, but rational, which had brought time down to the -or rather he has a capacity for mystic origin of animal existence; PROGRESS, in virtue of his being rahis eye dimmed with its efforts to tional. "decipher," in the picturesque lan- After adverting to Language, as an guage of Sir David Brewster, “ down- awful and mysterious evidence of his wards, the pale and perishing alpha- exalted endowments, and felicitously bet * of the Chronology of Life” distinguishing instinct from reason,
WHERE, ALL THIS WHILE, WAS the Essayist observes that we need MAN?
not be disturbed in our conclusions by Were Europe at this moment to be observing the condition of savage submerged beneath the ocean, or plac- and uncultivated tribes, ancient or ed under a vast rocky stratum, what modern--the Scythians and Barbacountless proofs would present them- rians, the Australians and Negroes. selves to the exploring eyes of remote The history of man, in the earliest future geologists, of the existence of times, is as truly a history of a wonboth Man and his handiwork —of derful, intellectual, social, political, his own skeleton, of the products of spiritual creature, as it is at present.t his ingenuity and power, and the The savage and ignorant state is not the various implements and instruments state of nature out of which civilised with which he had effected them ! life has everywhere emerged : their
The rudest conceivable work of savage condition is one rather of human art would carry us to any ex- civilisation degraded and lost, than tent backward, but it is not to be of civilisation incipient and prospecfound! Man's existence and history tive. And even were it to be assumed incontestably belong to the existing to be otherwise, that man, naturally condition of the earth; and the Essay- savage, had a tendency to become ist now addresses himself to the two civilised, that TENDENCY is an enfollowing propositions :
dowment no less wonderful than those First, That the existence and his- endowments which civilisation extory of man are facts of an Entirely hibits. Different Order from any which ex- When, however, we know not only
* More Worlds than One, p. 52..
+ Essay, p. 188.
what man is, but what he may become, is not only mindful of him, but visits both intellectually and morally, as we him." + have already seen ; when we cast our This may be, the objector is conmind's eye over the history of the ceived to say; but my difficulty haunts civilised section of our race, wherever and harasses me: that, while man's authentic records of their sayings and residence is, with reference to the doings exist, we fiod repeated and countless glistening orbs revealed by radiant instances of intellectual and Astronomy, scarcely in the proportion moral greatness, rising into sublimity of a single grain of sand to the entire
such as compel us to admit that terraqueous structure of our globe, I map is incomparably the most perfect am required to believe that the Aland highly endowed creature which mighty has dealt with him, and with appears to have ever existed on the the speck in which he resides, in the earth.
awfully exceptional manner asserted “How far previous periods of animal
in the Scriptures. Let us here remind existence were a necessary preparation the reader of a coarser, and an insolent of the earth as the habitation of man, or
and blasphemous, expression of this a gradual progression towards the exist- “difficulty," by Thomas Paine, already ence of man, we need not now inquire. But quoted :— I this, at least, we may say, that man, now "The system of a plurality of worlds that he is here, forms a climax to all renders the Christian faith at once that has preceded-a term incomparably little and ridiculous, and scatters it exceeding in value all the previous parts in the mind like feathers in the air : of the series — a complex and ornate the two beliefs cannot be held together capital to the subjacent column-a per- in the same mind.” With such an opsonage of vastly greater dignity and importance than all the preceding line of ponent Dr Whewell expressly states the procession.” *
that he has no concern; he deals
with a “difficulty' felt by a friend:" If we are thus to regard man as wishing." rather to examine how to the climax of the creation in space, quiet the troubled and perplexed as in time, “can we point out any believer, than how to triumph over characters,” finally asks the Essayist, the dogmatical and self-satisfied un“which may tend to make it conceive believer." able that the Creator should thus dis- “Let the difficulty,” he says, “ be tinguish him, and care for him-should put in any way the objector pleases." prepare his habitation, if it be so, by I. Is it that it is unworthy of the ages of chaotic and rudimentary life, greatness and majesty of God, accordand by accompanying orbs of brute ing to our conception of Him, to and barren matter? If man be thus bestow such peculiar care the head, the crowned head, of the SMALL A PART of His creation ? creation, is he worthy to be thus ele- But a narrow inspection of the vated ? 'Has he any qualities which atom of space assigned to man, proves make it conceivable that, with such that He has done so. He has made an array of preparation and accom- the period of mankind, though only a paniment”- the reader will note the moment in the ages of animal life, the sudden introduction of these elements only period of Intelligence, Morality, of the question, the “ accompanying Religion. If it be contrary to our i orbs !"_" he should be placed upon conception of Him, to suppose Him to the earth, his throne ? Does any have done so, it is plain that these answer now occur to us, after the conceptions are wrong. God has not views which have been presented to judged as to what is worthy of Him, us? That answer," continues the as we have presumed to judge. He Essayist, “is the one which has been has deemed it worthy of Himself to already given :" the transcendent in- bestow upon man this special care, tellectual, moral, and religious cha- though he occupy so small a portion racter of man-such as warrants him of TIME :-why not, then, though he in believing that God, in very deed, occupy so small a portion of SPACE ?
* Essay, pp. 198-199.
+ Ibid., p. 203.
II. Is the difficulty this:-That sup- giving such a peculiar dignity and imposing the earth, alone, to be occupied portance to the earth is CONTRARY by inhabitants, all the other globes of TO THE ANALOGY OF CREATION ? | the universe are WASTED ?-turned to This objection, be it observed, XO PURPOSE ?*
assumes that there are so many globes Is “ waste" of this kind to be con- similar to the earth, and like her residered unsuited to the character of volving, -some accompanied as she is, our Creator? But here again we have by satellites,-on their axis, and that the like “waste" in the occupation of therefore it is reasonable to suppose this earth! All its previous ages, its the destination and office of all, the seas and its continents, have been same;—that there are so many stars, * wasted" upon mere brute life: often, each, like our sun, a source of light, apparently, on the lowest, the least probably also of heat; and that it is conscious forms of life :-upon sponges, consequently reasonable to suppose coral, shell-fish. Why, then, should their light and heat, like his, imparted, not the seas and continents of other as from so many centres of systems, planets be occupied with life of this to uphold life ;—and that all this order, or with no life at all? Who affords strong ground for believing all shall tell how many ages elapsed such planets, as well those of our own before this earth was tenanted by life as of other systems, inhabited like at all? Will the occupation of a spot our planet. of land, or a little water, by the life But the Essayist again directs the of a sponge, a coral, or an oyster, eye of the questioner to the state of save it from being “wasted"? If à our own planet, as demonstrated by spot of rock or water be sufficiently Geology, in order to show the precaemployed by its being the mere seat riousness, if not futility, of supposing of organisation, of however low and such an analogy to exist. It would simple a type,-why not, by its being lead us to a palpably false conclusion the mere seat of attraction? cohesion? – viz., that during all the vast crystalline power? All parts of the successive periods of the Earth's universe appear pervaded by attrac- history, that Earth was occupied with tion, by forces of aggregation and life of the same order-nay, even, atomic relation, by light and heat: that since the Earth is now the seat why may not these be sufficient, in of an intelligent population, it must the eyes of the Creator, to prevent have been so in all its former conthe space from being “wasted," as, ditions. For it was then able, and during a great part of the earth's past adapted, to support animal life, and history, and over vast portions of its that of creatures pretty closely resemmass in its present form, they are bling man I in physical structure. actually held by Him to be sufficient? Nevertheless, if evidence go for any: since these powers, or forces, are all thing, the Earth did not do so! that occupy such portions. This “Even," says Dr Whewell
, “ those notion, therefore, of the improbability geologists who have dwelt most on of there being in the universe so vast the discovery of fossil monkeys, and an amount of “waste" spaces, or other animals nearest to man, have " waste" bodies, as is implied in the not dreamed that there existed, before notion that the earth alone is the seat him, a race of rational, intelligent, of life, or of intelligence, is confuted and progressive creatures."$ Here, by matter of fact, existing, in respect however, he is mistaken, as we shali of vast spaces, waste districts, and presently see Sir David Brewster especially waste times, upon our own revelling in such a dream. As, then, earth. The avoidance of such “waste," the notion that one period of time in according to our notions of waste, the Earth's history must resemble is no part of the economy of creation, another in the character of its popula60 far as we can discern that economy tion, because it resembles it in physical in its most certain exemplification. conditions, is negatived by the history
III. Is the difficulty this : - That of the Earth itself ; so the notion that
+ Ibid., p. 196.
§ Essay, p. 197.
one part of the universe must resemble this startling Essay; presenting as another in its population, because it full and fair an account of it as conhas a resemblance in physical con- sistent with our limits. Though the ditions, is negatived, as a law of crea- author professes that he “ does not tion. Analogy really affords no sup- pretend to disprove the Plurality of port to such a notion.
Worlds, but to deny the existence of IV. Nay, continues Dr Whewell, * arguments making the doctrine prowe may go further : instead of the bable,” his undisguised object is to analogy of creation pointing to such assign cogent reasons for holding the entire resemblance of similar parts, it opposite to be the true doctrine-the points in the opposite direction : it is Unity of the World. What has gone not entire resemblance, but universal before is, moreover, on the assumption difference, that we discover : not the that the other bodies of the universe repetition of exactly similar cases, but are fitted, equally with the Earth, to a series of cases perpetually dissimilar, be the abodes of life. Before passing presents itself: not constancy, but on, however, to the remaining section change - perhaps advance; not one of the Essay, which is decidedly hospermanent and pervading scheme, tile to that assumption, let us here inbut preparation, and completion of troduce on the scene Dr Whewell's successive schemes :—not uniformity, only hitherto avowed antagonist, Sir and a fixed type of existences, but David Brewster. progression and a climax.
Though it is impossible to treat Viewing the advent of Man, and otherwise than with much considerawhat preceded it, it seems the analogy tion, whatever is published by this of nature that there should be inferior, gentleman, we must express our reas well as superior, provinces in the gret that he did not more deliberately universe, and that the inferior may approach so formidable an opponent occupy an immensely larger portion as Dr Whewell, and, as we are comof Time than the superior. Why pelled to add, in a more calm and not, then, .of Space ?
courteous spirit. We never read a “The earth was brute and inert, com
performance less calculated than this pared with its present condition ; dark Essay, from its modesty and moderaand chaotic, so far as the light of reason
tion of tone, and the high and aband intelligence are concerned, for count
stract nature of the topics which it less centuries before man was created. discusses with such powerful logic, Why then may not other parts of creation and such a profusion of knowledge of be still in this brute and inert and chaotic every kind, to provoke an acrimonious state, while the earth is under the influ- answer. It is happily rare, in recent ence of a higher exercise of creative times, for one of two philosopbic power? If the earth was for ages a tur. disputants, to speak of the other's bid abyss of lava and of mud, why may not
“exhibiting an amount of knowledge Mars or Saturn be so still ?
The possibility that the planets are such rude
so massive as occasionally to smother masses, is quite as tenable, on astrono
his reason ; ” I “ascribing his sentimical grounds, as the possibility that the
ments only to some morbid condition planets resemble the earth, in matters of of the mental powers, which feeds which astronomy can tell us nothing. We upon paradox, and delights in doing say, therefore, that the example of geology violence to sentiments deeply cherishrefutes the argument drawn from the sup- ed, and to opinions universally beposed analogy of one part of the universe lieved; " $ characterising some of his with another; and suggests a strong sus- reasonings as “ dialectics in which a picion that the force of analogy, better large dose of banter and ridicule is known, may tend in the opposite direction.” +
seasoned with a little condiment of
science ;" || and an elaborate arguWe have now gone through a largement, of great strength and origiportion, embracing two of the three nality, whether sound or not, as "the sections into which we had divided most ingenious, though shallow piece
Essay, p. 198.
+ Ibid., pp. 199, 200. I More Worlds than One, p. 237, (we quote from the first edition). § Ibid., p. 230.
1 Ibid., p. 240.