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declare the glory of God, the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Huxley says: “I hold with the Materialist, that the human body like all
living bodies is a machine, all the operations of which will sooner or later be explained on physical principles. .... But when the Materialists stray beyond the borders of their path, and begin to talk about there being nothing else in the universe but matter, force, and necessary laws, and all the rest of their grenadiers, I decline to follow
And again : " I shall have to consider animals, not as physiological appa
ratuses merely, not as related to other forms of life and to climatal conditions, not as successive tenants of the earth, but as fabrics, each of which is built upon a certain plan.” †
And finally Darwin, whom we have so often quoted, when he finds it necessary for the purpose of supporting the doctrine of natural selection, but certainly not with any desire to prove the presence of an active designing Mind immanent in nature, even Darwin makes the following confession of faith :
“How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of Man! How short
his time! and consequently how poor will his products be compared with those accumulated by Nature during whole geological periods. Can we wonder, then, that Nature's productions should be far 'truer'in character than Man's productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, and should plainly have the stamp of a far higher workmanship? It may be
* Lay Sermons, &c., pp. 372–3. Macmillan.
t . On the Elements of Comparative Anatomy,' p. 2. Churchill. 1864.
metaphorically said that Natural Selection is daily and hourly scrutinising throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest, rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.” *
This is what one of the profoundest naturalists and ablest scientific generalisers of our day says, “ metaphorically,” of the Power which he cannot but admit is “ daily and hourly” scrutinising the universe. To him that Power so far resembles the human mind as to see what he calls “good” and “bad " in nature, to select wherever the opportunity “offers ”; not to create its own opportunities; and to be incessantly planning, working, and improving. But whatever may be his peculiar views concerning the Power in operation, yet the study of the work it accomplishes he pronounces to be “truer than Man's productions,” and to bear “ the stamp of far higher workmanship.”
This is all that is requisite for our argument.
The cumulative evidence of the most advanced men of science, and a comprehensive observation of nature, have established the existence in the universe of a Force or Power, distinct from and operating upon inert matter. They have exhibited that Power as omnipotent, omnipresent, ever associated with matter, which from time immemorial it has been moulding into definite shapes of ever-increasing complexity. This Power, notwithstanding its varied phases, has been shown to be one and Indivisible, and to have been operating after what appears to be a well-defined * Origin of Species,' p. 95.
plan, towards a definite end; and finally, the examination of the productions of that Power, as well as the contemplation of its modus operandi, have clearly proved that it acts under, and is almost beyond a doubt immediately associated with an omniscient and all-surveying Intelligence.
This association of Power and Intelligence in the universe, Man has learned to regard as the ideal of goodness, and he has consequently called it “God.”
THE PERFECTION OF GOD IN NATURE.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”—MATTHEW V., v. 48.
“The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”—PSALM xix., v. 1.
“He is also contained in this drop of water.”—THE VEDA. “ Du kannst auf's Feld nicht gehn, ohn' irgend eine Blume Zu finden, welche sagt von ihres Schöpfer's Ruhme.”
(Thou canst not wander in the meadow, without finding Some lovely blossom, of its Maker's fame reminding.)
The perfection of God's works and ways in nature has been sung by all peoples and in every land; but the attempt on the part of any writer, were he ever so talented, to depict him as He reveals himself in the universe, would be as vain as it would be presumptuous. Those who desire to contemplate his perfections must place themselves under the guidance of experienced observers, and study with their own senses. They will then feel as well as see what He is revealing of himself, and the pursuit of such knowledge will not alone afford them intellectual pleasure, but unconsciously to them, it will exercise a most elevating influence upon their minds. All we can pretend to do here, is to indicate a few of the channels of observation which are open to us, and where we may contemplate his wondrous ways, either with the
unaided sense, or with the help of those instruments which have imparted to us a second sight, the telescope, the microscope, and the spectroscope. In former chapters we have had occasion to illustrate some of the Divine attributes, as prescience, or forethought, in the storing up of fuel and useful metals for Man's use ages before he appeared on earth; in planting trees of which every portion was, and in some lands is still, indispensable to his existence; in painting insects with protective resemblances to surrounding objects, to secure them from the attacks of their feathered enemies. Those were, however, but isolated cases, which are multiplied indefinitely when we come to seek for them in nature; for are they confined to one group or class of animals. An experienced observer has said: “There is a general harmony in Nature between the colours of an animal and those of its habitation. Arctic animals are white, desert animals are sand-coloured ; dwellers among leaves and grass are green; nocturnal animals are dusky. These colours are not universal, but are very general, and are seldom reversed. Going on a little farther, we find birds, reptiles, and insects so tinted and mottled, as exactly to match the rock, or bark, or leaf, or flower they are accustomed to rest upon-and thereby effectually concealed.” *
* Wallace on Natural Selection. Macmillan. 1870. The author does not see in this adaptation of means to ends the result of the “direct volition of the Creator,” but only of “the action of comparatively well-known and simple causes.” If any of our ecclesiastical readers should feel aggrieved by the omission of theological references in modern scientific works, we recommend them to read this, one of the ablest treatises on natural history, and after that they will probably be content to let men of science “ render unto Cæsar the things which be Cæsar's."