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LIMITS TO THE LAW OF NATURAL SELECTION. THIS WORLU
A SCENE OF STRUGGLE. - APPEARANCE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. FINAL CAUSE. NEW LIFE. · UNITY AND GROWTH IN THE WORLD. — HIGHER PRODUCTS COMING FORTH. — SIGNS OF PROGRESS.
ages, of a progression from the inanimate up to the animate, and from the lower animate to the higher. The mind, ever impelled to seek for causes, asks how all this is produced. The answer, if answer can be had, is to be given by science, and not by religion; which simply insists that we trace all things up to God, whether acting by immediate or by mediate agency. Mr. Darwin would refer it all to the somewhat vaguely enunciated principle of Natural Selection, or the preservation of the creatures best suited to their circumstances, and the success of the strong in the struggle of life. That this principle is exhibited in nature, and working to the advancement of the plants and animals from age to age, I have no doubt. We see it operating before our eyes every spring, when we find the weak plant killed by the frosts of winter, and the
strong surviving and producing a progeny strong as itself. But it has not been proven that there is no other principle at work. I am not satisfied that this principle has produced life out of dead matter, that it has produced sentient beings out of insentient, that it has wrought the conscious mind from the unconscious body, that it has generated man from the brute. There is no positive proof that it has so much as produced a new species of animals out of old ones.
In regard to this latter point, it seems to account for some of the phenomena, but leaves others unexplained. In particular, there are gaps in the geological ages between the species of one age and those of another age, with no intermediate species to fill it, as being the descendants of the one and the progenitors of the other. There must be other powers and principles at work in nature as well as Natural Selection.
The law of the weak being made to give way before the strong is very apt to be abused, and will certainly be perverted by those who do not take into account the other and higher laws which limit it, and are expected to subordinate it. If they look to it alone, they will understand it as meaning that the
poor and the helpless need not be protected or defended, but may be allowed to perish : thus bringing us down to the condition of the South Sea Islanders, who kill their infants; of the Hindoos and Africans, who expose their aged parents, as having become useless. If this doctrine prevails, it will make the shadow on the dial of time go back
for ages, and bring us to the age of monster animals, or monster men, like Samson or like Hercules. Persons would look upon it as meaning that the uncivilized races may be allowed to disappear, without an effort being made to raise them; a principle which, in old times, would have required that our German or British or Celtic ancestors, in the days of Julius Cæsar, and as described by him, should have been allowed to die out and to vanish. Nature itself, if only we condescend to discover the final cause in her operations, rebels against this cowardice, and shows us the mother loving with an especial tenderness, not the strong son who can do for himself, but that weak boy who has been the object of her care from his infancy; and she will cherish him, in the hope that he may display softer and finer traits of character to which the healthy youth is a stranger. If the tenet which I am denouncing come to be the prevailing belief in this country, it will issue in the weak races on this continent, the Indian and the Negro, being consigned to a slow but certain dissolution; and ridicule will be poured on the attempts which philanthropic men are at present making to elevate them by schools and colleges, by justice and by kindness. A doctrine this, worse than slave-holding in its worst features, and quite as likely to be entertained by the self-sufficient North as by the conquered South, suffering at present for its sins, but certain to rise in the future, if only it can be induced to aim at raising and improving that race which of late
years has, all unknowingly to itself, had so important a place in the providential dealings of God towards this country; and which, as it remains among us, must be for our weal or our woe, according as we hasten to educate them, or allow them to fall into deeper degradation. I admit the tendency of mankind to degenerate; but I believe in a power to restrain and reverse it. It was the power which brought our Lord on that morning from the tomb, and whose function it is to enlighten the ignorant, to strengthen the weak, and raise the fallen ; and, as it does so, to put what it attains under the beneficent law of hereditary descent, so that it may go down from father to son, and from one generation to another, through all coming ages.
At this present time, the two theories of man's origin, the earth-born and the heaven-born, are striving for the mastery. According to the earthborn theory, there are essentially inferior races, which are doomed to give way "in the struggle for existence;” and the defenders of it look on the prospect with complacency, provided a few favored races are enabled to advance on "the principle of natural selection.” I believe that this tenet is exercising, directly or indirectly, a very injurious influence on public sentiment in this country and in others. This spirit is setting itself determinedly against missionary effort, is scoffing at all alleged good done to the degraded, and undermining that faith among our students which would prompt them to labor for the good of the heathen or the outcast. In the last
DUTY OF ELEVATING THE FALLEN.
age the cry was, First civilize, and then Christianize; and it was uttered by men who took no pains either to civilize or to Christianize. The feeling now is, that it is of no use attempting to elevate the inferior races, and that they may be allowed to disappear, provided the higher, races (such as the Aryan, and specially the Anglo-Saxon) are made to take their place. It is a fit creed and sentiment for those who wish to make the heathen, or the sunken among whom they dwell, the ministers of their grasping selfishness or of their lusts, without being troubled with any reproaches of conscience. How different in its practical bearing is the faith of the Christian, who holds that God has *made of one blood all nations ;” and that all human beings are alike in that they possess souls capable of improvement and destined to live for ever! Catching the spirit of Him who stood by the weak against the strong, who came to seek and save that which was lost, who permitted the woman who was a sinner to approach him, and ever sought to raise the fallen, the disciple of Christ recognizes as brothers and sisters the lowest specimens of humanity, whether found in pagan lands or in the lowest sinks of our cities; and, having experienced the power of truth and grace upon his own heart, he goes forth in the efficacy of the blood of Christ, and in the regenerating power of the Spirit, to elevate them for this world and the next. Need I ask which of these is the genuine philanthropy, most worthy of heaven, and suited to earth and to man's