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Title: Facts and fancies in modern science - Studies of the relations of science to prevalent - speculations and religious belief
Author: Dawson, John William, Sir, 1820-1899
Language: English
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                    FACTS AND FANCIES


                     MODERN SCIENCE:

                    RELIGIOUS BELIEF.

                   SEMINARY, FOR 1881._

            J. W. DAWSON, LL.D., F.R.S. ETC.

                  1420 CHESTNUT STREET.

 Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1882, by the
   In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

                   WESTCOTT & THOMSON,
        _Stereotypers and Electrotypers, Philada_.


The object before the mind of the author in preparing these Lectures
was to present a distinct and rational view of the present relation of
scientific thought to the religious beliefs of men, and especially to
the Christian revelation.

The attempt to make science, or speculations based on science,
supersede religion is one of the prevalent fancies of our time, and
pervades much of the popular literature of the day. That such attempts
can succeed the author does not believe. They have hitherto given
birth only to such abortions as Positivism, Nihilism, and Pessimism.

There is, however, a necessary relation and parallelism of all truths,
physical and spiritual; and it is useful to clear away the apparent
antagonisms which proceed from partial and imperfect views, and to
point out the harmony which exists between the natural and the
spiritual--between what man can learn from the physical creation, and
what has been revealed to him by the Spirit of God. To do this with as
much fairness as possible, and with due regard to the present state of
knowledge and to the most important difficulties that are likely to be
met with by honest inquirers, is the purpose of the following pages.

It is proper to add that, in order to give completeness to the
discussion, it has been necessary to introduce, in some of the
lectures, topics previously treated of by the author, in a similar
manner, in publications bearing his name.

                                                         J. W. D.

     APRIL, 1882.





     THE ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF MAN                          137

     NATURE AS A MANIFESTATION OF MIND                        175

     SCIENCE AND REVELATION                                   219



The infidelity and the contempt for sacred and spiritual things which
pervade so much of our modern literature are largely attributable to
the prevalence of that form of philosophy which may be designated as
Agnostic Evolution, and this in its turn is popularly regarded as a
result of the pursuit of physical and natural science. The last
conclusion is obviously only in part, if at all, correct, since it is
well known that atheistic philosophical speculations were pursued,
quite as boldly and ably as now, long before the rise of modern
science. Still, it must be admitted that scientific discoveries and
principles have been largely employed in our time to give form and
consistency to ideas otherwise very dim and shadowy, and thus to
rehabilitate for our benefit the philosophical dreams of antiquity in
a more substantial shape. In this respect the natural sciences--or,
rather, the facts and laws with which they are conversant--merely
share the fate of other things. Nothing, however indifferent in
itself, can come into human hands without acquiring thereby an
ethical, social, political, or even religious, significance. An ounce
of lead or a dynamite cartridge may be in itself a thing altogether
destitute of any higher significance than that depending on physical
properties; but let it pass into the power of man, and at once
infinite possibilities of good and of evil cluster round it according
to the use to which it may be applied. This depends on essential
powers and attributes of man himself, of which he can no more be
deprived than matter can be denuded of its inherent properties; and if
the evils arising from misuse of these powers trouble us, we may at
least console ourselves with the reflection that the possibility of
such evils shows man to be a free agent, and not an automaton.

All this is eminently applicable to science in its relation to
agnostic speculations. The material of the physical and natural
sciences consists of facts ascertained by the evidence of our senses,
and for which we depend on the truthfulness of those senses and the
stability of external nature. Science proceeds, by comparison of
these facts and by inductive reasoning, to arrange them under certain
general expressions or laws. So far all is merely physical, and need
have no connection with our origin or destiny or relation to higher
powers. But we ourselves are a part of the nature which we study; and
we cannot study it without more or less thinking our own thoughts into
it. Thus we naturally begin to inquire as to origins and first causes,
and as to the source of the energy and order which we perceive; and to
these questions the human mind demands some answer, either actual or
speculative. But here we enter into the domain of religious thought,
or that which relates to a power or powers beyond and above nature.
Whatever forms our thoughts on such subjects may take, these depend,
not directly on the facts of science, but on the reaction of our minds
on these facts. They are truly anthropomorphic. It has been well said
that it is as idle to inquire as to the origin of such religious ideas
as to inquire as to the origin of hunger and thirst. Given the man,
they must necessarily exist. Now, whatever form these philosophical or
religious ideas may take--whether that of Agnosticism or Pantheism or
Theism--science, properly so called, has no right to be either praised
or blamed. Its material may be used, but the structure is the work of
the artificer himself.

It is well, however, to carry with us the truth that this border-land
between science and religion is one which men cannot be prevented from
entering; but what they may find therein depends very much on
themselves. Under wise guidance it may prove to us an Eden, the very
gate of heaven, and we may acquire in it larger and more harmonious
views of both the seen and the unseen, of science and of religion.
But, on the other hand, it may be found to be a battle-field or a
bedlam, a place of confused cries and incoherent ravings, and strewn
with the wrecks of human hopes and aspirations.

There can be no question that the more unpleasant aspect of the matter
is somewhat prevalent in our time, and that we should, if possible,
understand the causes of the conflict and the confusion that prevail,
and the way out of them. To do this it will be necessary first to
notice some of the incidental or extraneous causes of difficulty and
strife, and then to inquire more in detail as to the actual bearing
of the scientific knowledge of nature on Agnosticism.

One fruitful cause of difficulty in the relations of science and
religion is to be found in the narrowness and incapacity of
well-meaning Christians who unnecessarily bring the doctrines of
natural and revealed religion into conflict, by misunderstanding the
one or the other, or by attaching obsolete scientific ideas to Holy
Scripture, and identifying them with it in points where it is quite
non-committal. Much mischief is also done by a prevalent habit of
speaking of all, or nearly all, the votaries of science as if they
were irreligious.

A second cause is to be found in the extravagant speculations indulged
in by the adherents of certain philosophical systems. Such
speculations often far overpass the limits of actual scientific
knowledge, and are yet paraded before the ignorant as if they were
legitimate results of science, and so become irretrievably confounded
with it in the popular mind.

A third influence, more closely connected with science itself, arises
from the rapidity of the progress of discovery and of the practical
applications of scientific facts and principles. This has unsettled
the minds of men, and has given them the idea that nothing is beyond
their reach. There is thus a vague notion that science has overcome so
many difficulties, and explained so many mysteries, that it may
ultimately satisfy all the wants of man and leave no scope for
religious belief. Those who know the limitations of our knowledge of
material things may not share this delusion; but there is reason to
fear that many, even of scientific men, are carried away by it, and it
widely affects the minds of general readers.

Again, science has in the course of its growth become divided into a
great number of small specialties, each pursued ardently by its own
votaries. This is beneficial in one respect; for much more can be
gained by men digging downward, each on his own vein of valuable ore,
than by all merely scraping the surface. But the specialist, as he
descends fathom after fathom into his mine, however rich and rare the
gems and metals he may discover, becomes more and more removed from
the ordinary ways of men, and more and more regardless of the products
of other veins as valuable as his own. The specialist, however
profound he may become in the knowledge of his own limited subject, is
on that very account less fitted to guide his fellow-men in the
pursuit of general truth. When he ventures to the boundaries between
his own and other domains of truth, or when he conceives the idea that
his own little mine is the sole deposit of all that requires to be
known, he sometimes makes grave mistakes; and these pass current for a
time as the dicta of high scientific authority.

Lastly, the lowest influence of all is that which sometimes regulates
what may be termed the commercial side of science. Here the demand is
very apt to control the supply. New facts and legitimate conclusions
cannot be produced with sufficient rapidity to satisfy the popular
craving, or they are not sufficiently exciting to compete with other
attractions. Science has then to enter the domain of imagination, and
the last new generalization--showy and specious, but perhaps baseless
as the plot of the last new novel--brings grist to the mill of the
"scientist" and his publisher.

Only one permanent and final remedy is possible for these evils, and
that is a higher moral tone and more thorough scientific education on
the part of the general public. Until this can be secured, true
science is sure to be surrounded with a mental haze of vague
hypotheses clothed in ill-defined language, and which is mistaken by
the multitude for science itself. Yet true science should not be held
responsible for this, except in so far as its material is used to
constitute the substance of the pseudo-gnosis which surrounds it.
Science is in this relation the honest householder whose goods may be
taken by thieves and applied to bad uses, or the careful amasser of
wealth which may be dissipated by spendthrifts.

It may be said that if these statements are true, the ordinary reader
is helpless. How can he separate the true from the false? Must he
resign himself to the condition of one who either believes on mere
authority or refuses to believe anything? or must he adopt the
attitude of the Pyrrhonist who thinks that anything may be either true
or false? But it is true, nevertheless, that common sense may suffice
to deliver us from much of the pseudo-science of our time, and to
enable us to understand how little reason there is for the conflicts
promoted by mere speculation between science and other departments of
legitimate thought and inquiry.

In illustrating this, we may in the present lecture consider that form
of sceptical philosophy which in our time is the most prevalent, and
which has the most specious air of dependence on science. This is the
system of Agnosticism combined with evolution of which Mr. Herbert
Spencer is the most conspicuous advocate in the English-speaking
world. This philosophy deals with two subjects--the cause or origin of
the universe and of things therein, and the method of the progress of
all from the beginning until now. Spencer sees nothing in the first of
these but mere force or energy, nothing in the second but a
spontaneous evolution. All beyond these is not only unknown, but
unknowable. The theological and philosophical shortcomings of this
doctrine have been laid bare by a multitude of critics, and I do not
propose to consider it in these relations so much as in relation to
science, which has much to say with respect to both force and

An agnostic is literally one who does not know; and, were the word
used in its true and literal sense, Agnosticism would of necessity be
opposed to science, since science is knowledge and quite incompatible
with the want of it. But the modern agnostic does not pretend to be
ignorant of the facts and principles of science. What he professes not
to know is the existence of any power above and beyond material
nature. He goes a little farther, however, than mere absence of
knowledge. He holds that of God nothing can be known; or he may put it
a little more strongly, in the phrase of his peculiar philosophy, by
saying that the existence of a God or of creation by divine power is
"unthinkable." It is in this that he differs from the old-fashioned
and now extinct atheist, who bluntly denied the existence of a God.
The modern agnostic assumes an attitude of greater humility and
disclaims the actual denial of God. Yet he practically goes farther,
in asserting the impossibility of knowing the existence of a Divine
Being; and in taking this farther step Agnosticism does more to
degrade the human reason and to cut it off from all communion with
anything beyond mere matter and force, than does any other form of
philosophy, ancient or modern.

Yet in this Agnosticism there is in one point an approximation to
truth. If there is a God, he cannot be known directly and fully, and
his plans and procedure must always be more or less incomprehensible.
The writer of the book of Job puts this as plainly as any modern
agnostic in the passage beginning "Canst thou by searching find out
God?"--literally, "Canst thou sound the depths of God?"--and a still
higher authority informs us that "no man hath seen God"--that is,
known him as we know material things. In short, absolutely and
essentially God is incomprehensible; but this is no new discovery, and
the mistake of the agnostic lies in failing to perceive that the same
difficulty stands in the way of our perfectly knowing anything
whatever. We say that we know things when we mean that we know them in
their properties, relations, or effects. In this sense the knowledge
of God is perfectly possible. It is impossible only in that other
sense of the word "know"--if it can have such a sense--in which we are
required to know things in their absolute essence and thoroughly. Thus
the term "agnostic" contains an initial fallacy in itself; and this
philosophy, like many others, rests, in the first instance, on a mere
jugglery of words. The real question is, "Is there a God who manifests
himself to us mediately and practically?" and this is a question which
we cannot afford to set aside by a mere play on the meanings of the
verb "to know."

If, however, any man takes this position and professes to be incapable
of knowing whether or not there is any power above and behind
material things, it will be necessary to begin with the very elements
of knowledge, and to inquire if there is anything whatever that he
really knows and believes.

Let us ask him if he can subscribe to the simple creed expressed in
the words "I am, I feel, I think." Should he deny these propositions,
then there is no basis left on which to argue. Should he admit this
much of belief, he has abandoned somewhat of his agnostic position;
for it would be easy to show that in even uttering the pronoun "I" he
has committed himself to the belief in the unknowable. What is the
_ego_ which he admits? Is it the material organism or any one of its
organs or parts? or is it something distinct, of which the organism is
merely the garment, or outward manifestation? or is the organism
itself anything more than a bundle of appearances partially known and
scarcely understood by that which calls itself "I"? Who knows? And if
our own personality is thus inscrutable, if we can conceive of it
neither as identical with the whole or any part of the organism nor as
existing independently of the organism, we should begin our
Agnosticism here, and decline to utter the pronoun "I" as implying
what we cannot know. Still, as a matter of faith, we must hold fast to
the proposition "I exist" as the only standpoint for science,
philosophy, or common life. If we are asked for evidence of this
faith, we can appeal only to our consciousness of effects which imply
the existence of the _ego_, which we thus have to admit or suppose
before we can begin to prove even its existence.

This fact of the mystery of our own existence is full of material for
thought. It is in itself startling--even appalling. We feel that it is
a solemn, a dreadful, thing to exist, and to exist in that limitless
space and that eternal time which we can no more understand than we
can our own constitution, though our belief in their existence is
inevitable. Nor can we divest ourselves of anxious thoughts as to the
source, tendencies, and end of our own being. Here, in short, we
already reach the threshold of that dread unknown future and its
possibilities, the realization of which by hope, fear, and imagination
constitutes, perhaps, our first introduction to the unseen world as
distinguished from the present world of sense. The agnostic may smile
if he pleases at religion as a puerile fancy, but he knows, like other
men, that the mere consciousness of existence necessarily links
itself with a future--nay, unending--existence, and that any being
with this consciousness of futurity must have at least a religion of
hope and fear. In this we find an intelligible reason for the
universality of religious ideas in relation to a future life. Even
where this leads to beliefs that may be called superstitious, it is
more reasonable than Agnosticism; for it is surely natural that a
being inscrutable by himself should be led to believe in the existence
of other things equally inscrutable, but apparently related to

But the thinking "I" dwells in the midst of what we term external
objects. In a certain sense it treats the parts of its own bodily
organism as if they were things external to it, speaking of "my hand,"
"my head," as if they were its property. But there are things
practically infinite beyond the organism itself. We call them objects
or things, but they are only appearances; and we know only their
relations to ourselves and to each other. Their essence, if they have
any, is inscrutable. We say that the appearances indicate matter and
energy, but what these are essentially we know not. We reduce matter
to atoms, but it is impossible for us to have any conception of an
atom or of the supposed ether, whether itself in some sense atomic or
not, including such atoms. Our attempts to form rational conceptions
of atoms resolve themselves into complex conjectures as to vortices of
ethers and the like, of which no one pretends to have any distinct
mental picture; yet on this basis of the incomprehensible rests all
our physical science, the first truths in which are really matters of
pure faith in the existence of that which we cannot understand. Yet
all men would scoff at the agnostic who on this account should express
unbelief in physical science.

Let us observe here, further, that since the mysterious and
inscrutable "I" is surrounded with an equally mysterious and
inscrutable universe, and since the _ego_ and the external world are
linked together by indissoluble relations, we are introduced to
certain alternatives as to origins. Either the universe or "nature" is
a mere phantom conjured up by the _ego_, or the _ego_ is a product of
the universe, or both are the result of some equally mysterious power
beyond us and the material world. Neither of these suppositions is
absurd or unthinkable; and, whichever of them we adopt, we are again
introduced to what may be termed a religion as well as a philosophy.
On one view, man becomes a god to himself; on another, nature becomes
his god; on the third, a Supreme Being, the Creator of both. All three
religions exist in the world in a vast variety of forms, and it is
questionable if any human being does not more or less give credence to
one or the other.

Scientific men, even when they think proper to call themselves
idealists, must reject the first of the above alternatives, since they
cannot doubt the objective existence of external nature, and they know
that its existence dates from a time anterior to our possible
existence as human beings. They may hold to either of the others; and,
practically, the minds of students of science are divided between the
idea of a spontaneous evolution of all things from self-existent
matter and force, and that of the creation of all by a self-existent,
omnipotent, and all-wise Creator. From certain points of view, it may
be of no consequence whether a scientific man holds one or other of
these views. Self-existent force or power, capable of spontaneous
inception of change, and of orderly and infallible development
according to laws of its own imposition or enactment, which is
demanded on the one hypothesis, scarcely differs from the conception
of an intelligent Creator demanded on the other, while it is, to say
the least, equally incomprehensible. It is, besides, objectionable to
science, on the ground that it requires us to assume properties in
matter and energy quite at variance with the results of experience.
The remarkable alternative presented by Tyndall in his Belfast Address
well expresses this: "Either let us open our doors freely to the
conception of creative acts, or, abandoning them, let us radically
change our notions of matter." The expression "creative acts" here is
a loose and not very accurate one for the operation of creative power.
The radical change in "our notions of matter" involves an entire
reversal of all that science knows of its essential properties. This
being understood, the sentence is a fair expression of the dilemma in
which the agnostic and the materialist find themselves.

Between the two hypotheses above stated there is, however, one
material and vital difference, depending on the nature of man himself.
The universe does not consist merely of insensate matter and force and
automatic vitality; there happens to be in it the rational and
consciously responsible being man. To attribute to him an origin from
mere matter and force is not merely to attach to them a fictitious
power and significance: it is also to reject the rational probability
that the original cause must be at least equal to the effects
produced, and to deprive ourselves of all communion and sympathy with
nature. Further, wherever the "presence and potency" of human reason
resides, there seems no reason to prevent our searching for and
finding it in the only way in which we can know anything, in its
properties and effects. The dogma of Agnosticism, it is true, refuses
to permit this search after God, but it does so with as little reason
as any of those self-constituted authorities that demand belief
without questioning. Nay, it has the offensive peculiarity that in the
very terms in which it issues its prohibition it contradicts itself.
The same oracle which asserts that "the power which the universe
manifests to us is wholly inscrutable" affirms also that "we must
inevitably commit ourselves to the hypothesis of a first cause." Thus
we are told that a power which is "manifest" is also "inscrutable,"
and that we must "commit ourselves" to a belief in a "first cause"
which on the hypothesis cannot be known to exist. This may be
philosophy of a certain sort, but it certainly should not claim
kinship with science.

Perhaps it may be well here to place in comparison with each other the
doctrine of the agnostic philosophy as expounded by Herbert Spencer,
and that of Paul of Tarsus--an older, but certainly a not less acute,
thinker--and we may refer to their utterances respecting the origin of
the universe.

Spencer says: "The verbally intelligent suppositions respecting the
origin of the universe are three: (1) It is self-existent; (2) It is
self-created; (3) It is created by an external agency." On these it
may be remarked that the second is scarcely even "verbally
intelligent;" it seems to be a contradiction in terms. The third
admits of an important modification, which was manifest to Spinosa if
not to Spencer--namely, that the Creator may--nay, must--be not merely
"external," but within the universe as well. If there is a God, he
must be _in_ the universe as a pervading power, and in every part of
it, and must not be shut out from his own work. This mistaken
conception of God as building himself out of his own universe and
acting on it by external force is both irrational and unscientific,
being, for example, quite at variance with the analogy of force and
life. Rightly understood, therefore, Spencer's alternatives resolve
themselves into two--either the universe is self-existent, or it is
the work of a self-existent Creator pervading all things with his
power. Of these, Spencer prefers the first. Paul, on the other hand,
referring to the mental condition of the civilized heathens of his
time, affirms that rationally they could believe only in the
hypothesis of creation. He says of God: "His invisible things, even
his eternal power and divinity, can be perceived (by the reason),
being understood by the things that are made." Let us look at these
rival propositions. Is the universe self-existent, or does it show
evidence of creative power and divinity?

The doctrine that the universe is self-existent may be understood in
different ways. It may mean either an endless succession of such
changes as we now see in progress, or an eternity of successive cycles
proceeding through the course of geological ages and ever returning
into themselves. The first is directly contrary to known facts in the
geological history of the earth, and cannot be maintained by any one.
The second would imply that the known geological history is merely a
part of one great cycle of an endless series, and of which an infinite
number have already passed away. It is evident that this infinite
succession of cycles is quite as incomprehensible as any other
infinite succession of things or events. But, waiving this objection,
we have the alternative either that all the successive cycles are
exactly alike--which could not be, in accordance with evolution, nor
with the analogy of other natural cycles--or there must have been a
progression in the successive cycles. But this last supposition would
involve an uncaused beginning somewhere, and this of such a character
as to determine all the successive cycles and their progress; which
would again be contrary to the hypothesis of self-existence. It is
useless, however, to follow such questions farther, since it is
evident that this hypothesis accounts for nothing and would involve us
in absolute confusion.

Let us turn now to Paul's statement. This has the merit, in the first
place, of expressing a known fact--namely, that men do infer power and
divinity from nature. But is this a mere superstition, or have they
reason for it? If the universe be considered as a vast machine
exceeding all our powers of calculation in its magnitude and
complexity, it seems in the last degree absurd to deny that it
presents evidence of "power." Dr. Carpenter, in a recent lecture,
illustrates the position of the agnostic in this respect by supposing
him to examine the machinery of a great mill, and, having found that
this is all set in motion by a huge iron shaft proceeding from a brick
wall, to suppose that this shaft is self-acting, and that there is no
cause of motion beyond. But when we consider the variety and the
intricacy of nature, the unity and the harmony of its parts, and the
adaptation of these to an incalculable number of uses, we find
something more than power. There is a fitting together of things in a
manner not only above our imitation, but above our comprehension. To
refer this to mere chance or to innate tendencies or potencies of
things we feel to be but an empty form of words; consequently, we are
forced to admit superhuman contrivance in nature, or what Paul terms
"divinity." Further, since the history of the universe goes back
farther than we can calculate, and as we can know nothing beyond the
First Cause, we infer that the Power and Divinity which we have
ascertained in nature must be "eternal." Again, since the creative
power must at some point in past time have spontaneously begun to act,
we regard it as a "living" power, which is the term elsewhere used by
Paul in expressing the idea of "personality" as held by theologians.
Lastly, if everything that we know thus testifies to an eternal power
and divinity, to maintain that we can know nothing of this First Cause
must be simply nonsense, unless we are content to fall back on
absolute nihilism, and hold that we know nothing whatever, either
relatively or absolutely; but in this case not only is science
dethroned, but reason herself is driven from her seat, and there is
nothing left for us to discuss. Paul's idea is thus perfectly clear
and consistent, and it is not difficult to see that common sense must
accept this doctrine of an Eternal Living Power and Divinity in
preference to the hypothesis of Spencer.

So far we have considered the general bearing of agnostic and theistic
theories on our relations to nature; but if we are to test these
theories fully by scientific considerations, we must look a little
more into details. The existences experimentally or inductively known
to science may be grouped under three heads--matter, energy, and law;
and each of these has an independent testimony to give with reference
to its origin and its connection with a higher creative power.

Matter, it is true, occupies a somewhat equivocal place in the
agnostic philosophy. According to Spencer, it is "built up or
extracted from experiences of force," and it is only by force that it
"demonstrates itself to us as existing." This is true; but that which
"demonstrates itself to us as existing" must exist, in whatever way
the demonstration is made, and Spencer does not, in consequence of the
lack of direct evidence, extend his Agnosticism to matter, though he
might quite consistently do so. In any case, science postulates the
existence of matter. Further, science is obliged to conceive of matter
as composed of atoms, and of atoms of different kinds; for atoms
differ in weight and in chemical properties, and these differences are
to us ultimate, for they cannot be changed. Thus science and practical
life are tied down to certain predetermined properties of matter. We
may, it is true, in future be able to reduce the number of kinds of
matter, by finding that some bodies believed to be simple are really
compound; but this does not affect the question in hand. As to the
origin of the diverse properties of atoms, only two suppositions seem
possible: either in some past period they agreed to differ and to
divide themselves into different kinds suitable in quantity and
properties to make up the universe, or else matter in its various
kinds has been skilfully manufactured by a creative power.

But there is a scientific way in which matter may be resolved into
force. An iron knife passed through a powerful magnetic current is
felt to be resisted, as if passing through a solid substance, and this
resistance is produced merely by magnetic attraction. Why may it not
be so with resistance in general? To give effect to such a
supposition, and to reconcile it with the facts of chemistry and of
physics, it is necessary to suppose that the atoms of matter are
merely minute vortices or whirlwinds set up in an ethereal medium,
which in itself, and when at rest, does not possess any of the
properties of matter. That such an ethereal medium exists we have
reason to believe from the propagation of light and heat through
space, though we know little, except negatively, of its properties.
Admitting, however, its existence, the setting up in it of the various
kinds of vortices constituting the atoms of different kinds of matter
is just as much in need of a creative power to initiate it as the
creation of matter out of nothing would be. Besides this, we now have
to account for the existence of the ether itself; and here we have the
disadvantage that this substance possesses none of the properties of
ordinary matter except mere extension; that, in so far as we know, it
is continuous, and not molecular; and that, while of the most
inconceivable tenuity, it transmits vibrations in a manner similar to
that of a body of the extremest solidity. It would seem, also, to be
indefinite in extent and beyond the control of the ordinary natural
forces. In short, ether is as incomprehensible as Deity; and if we
suppose it to have instituted spontaneously the different kinds of
matter, we have really constituted it a god, which is what, in a loose
way, some ancient mythologies actually did. We may, however, truly say
that this modern scientific conception of the practically infinite and
all-pervading ether, the primary seat of force, brings us nearer than
ever before to some realization of the Spiritual Creator.

But to ether both science and Agnosticism must superadd energy--the
entirely immaterial something which moves ether itself. The rather
crude scientific notion that certain forces are "modes of motion"
perhaps blinds us somewhat to the mystery of energy. Even if we knew
no other form of force than heat, which moves masses of matter or
atoms, it would be in many respects an inscrutable thing. But as
traversing the subtle ether in such forms as radiant heat, light,
chemical force, and electricity, energy becomes still more mysterious.
Perhaps it is even more so in what seems to be one of its primitive
forms--that of gravitation, where it connects distant bodies
apparently without any intervening medium. Facts of this kind appear
to bring us still nearer to the conception of an all-pervading
immaterial creative power.

But perhaps what may be termed the determinations of force exhibit
this still more clearly, as a very familiar instance may show. Our
sun--one of a countless number of similar suns--is to us the great
centre of light and heat, sustaining all processes, whether merely
physical or vital, on our planet. It was a grand conception of certain
old religions to make the sun the emblem of God, though sun-worship
was a substitution of the creature for the Creator, and would have
been dispelled by modern discovery. But our sun is not merely one of
countless suns, some of them of greater magnitude, but it is only a
temporary depository of a limited quantity of energy, ever dissipating
itself into space, calculable as to its amount and duration, and known
to depend for its existence on gravitative force. We may imagine the
beginning of such a luminary in the collision of great masses of
matter rushing together under the influence of gravitation, and
causing by their impact a conflagration capable of enduring for
millions of years. Yet our imagining such a rude process for the
kindling of the sun will go a very little way in accounting for all
the mechanism of the solar system and things therein. Further, it
raises new questions as to the original condition of matter. If it was
originally in one mass, whence came the incalculable power by which it
was rent into innumerable suns and systems? If it was once universally
diffused in boundless space, when and how was the force of gravity
turned on, and what determined its action in such a way as to
construct the existing universe? This is only one of the simplest and
baldest possible views of the intricate determinations of force
displayed in the universe, yet it may suffice to indicate the
necessity of a living and determining First Cause.

The fact that all the manifestations of force are regulated by law by
no means favors the agnostic view. The laws of nature are merely
mental generalizations of our own, and, so far as they go, show a
remarkable harmony between our mental nature and that manifested in
the universe. They are not themselves powers capable of producing
effects, but merely express what we can ascertain of uniformity of
action in nature. The law of gravitation, for example, gives no clew
to the origin of that force, but merely expresses its constant mode of
action, in whatever way that may have been determined at first. Nor
are natural laws decrees of necessity. They might have been
otherwise--nay, many of them may be otherwise in parts of the universe
inaccessible to us, or they may change in process of time; for the
period over which our knowledge extends may be to the plans of the
Creator like the lifetime of some minute insect which might imagine
human arrangements of no great permanence to be of eternal duration.

Unless the laws of nature were constant, in so far as our experience
extends, we could have no certain basis either for science or for
practical life. All would be capricious and uncertain, and we could
calculate on nothing. Law thus adapts the universe to be the residence
of rational beings, and nothing else could. Viewed in this way, we see
that natural laws must be, in their relation to a Creator, voluntary
limitations of his power in certain directions for the benefit of his
creatures. To secure this end, nature must be a perfect machine, all
the parts of which are adjusted for permanent and harmonious action.
It may perhaps rather be compared to a vast series of machines, each
running independently like the trains on a railway, but all connected
and regulated by an invisible guidance which determines the time and
the distance of each, and the manner in which the less urgent and less
important shall give place to others. Even this does not express the
whole truth; for the harmony of nature must be connected with constant
change and progress toward higher perfection. Does this conception of
natural law give us any warrant for the idea that the universe is a
product of chance? Is it not the highest realization of all that we
can conceive of the plans of superhuman intelligence?

The stupid notion--still lingering in certain quarters--that when
anything has been referred to a natural law or to a secondary cause
under law, God may be dispensed with in relation to that thing, is
merely a survival of the superstition that divine action must be of
the nature of a capricious interference. The true theistic conception
of law is that already stated, of a voluntary limitation of divine
power in the interest of a material cosmos and its intelligent
inhabitants. Nor is the permanence of law dependent on necessity or on
mere mechanical routine, but on the unchanging will of the Legislator;
while the countless varieties and vicissitudes of nature depend, not
on caprice or on accidental interference, but on the interactions and
adjustments of laws of different grades, and so numerous and varied in
their scope and application and in the combinations of which they are
capable that it is often impossible for finite minds to calculate
their results.

If, now, in conclusion, we are asked to sum up the hypotheses as to
the origin of natural laws and of the properties and determinations of
matter and force, we may do this under the following heads:

1. Absolute creation by the will of a Supreme Intelligence,
self-existent and omnipotent. This may be the ultimate fact lying
behind all materials, forces, and laws known to science.

2. Mediate creation, or the making of new complex products with
material already created and under laws previously existing. This is
applicable not so much to the primary origin of things as to their
subsequent determinations and modifications.

3. Both of the above may be included under the expression "creation by
law," implying the institution from the first of fixed laws or modes
of action not to be subsequently deviated from.

4. Theistic evolution, or the gradual development of the divine plans
by the apparently spontaneous interaction of things made. This is
universally admitted to occur in the minor modifications of created
things, though of course it can have no place as a mode of explaining
actual origins, and it must be limited within the laws of nature
established by the Creator. Practically, it might be difficult to make
any sharp distinctions between such evolution and mediate creation.

5. Agnostic and monistic evolution, which hold the spontaneous
origination and differentiation of things out of primitive matter and
force, self-existent or fortuitous. The monistic form of this
hypothesis assumes one primary substance or existence potentially
embracing all subsequent developments.

These theories are, of course, not all antagonistic to one another.
They resolve themselves into two groups, a theistic and an atheistic.
The former includes the first four; the latter, the fifth. Any one who
believes in God may suppose a primary creation of matter and energy, a
subsequent moulding and fashioning of them mediately and under natural
law, and also a gradual evolution of many new things by the
interaction of things previously made. This complex idea of the origin
of things seems, indeed, to be the rational outcome of Theism. It is
also the idea which underlies the old record in the book of Genesis,
where we have first an absolute creation, and then a series of
"makings" and "placings," and of things "bringing forth" other things,
in the course of the creative periods.

On the other hand, Agnosticism postulates primary force or forces
self-existent and including potentially all that is subsequently
evolved from them. The only way in which it approximates to theism is
in its extreme monistic form, where the one force or power supposed
to underlie all existence is a sort of God shorn of personality, will,
and reason.

The actual relations of these opposing theories to science cannot be
better explained than by a reference to the words of a leading monist,
whose views we shall have to notice in the next lecture. "If," says
Haeckel, "anybody feels the necessity of representing the origin of
matter as the work of a supernatural creative force independent of
matter itself, I would remind him that the idea of an immaterial force
creating matter in the first instance is an article of faith which has
nothing to do with science. Where faith begins, science ends."

Precisely so, if only we invert the last sentence and say, "Where
science ends, faith begins." It is only by faith that we know of any
force, or even of the atoms of matter themselves, and in like manner
it is "by faith we know that the creative ages have been constituted
by the word of God."[1] The only difference is that the monist has
faith in the potency of nothing to produce something, or of something
material to exist for ever and to acquire at some point of time the
power spontaneously to enter on the process of development; while the
theist has faith in a primary intelligent Will as the Author of all
things. The latter has this to confirm his faith--that it accords with
what we know of the inertia of matter, of the constancy of forces, and
of the permanence of natural law, and is in harmony with the powers of
the one free energy we know--that of the human will.


[1] Epistle to Hebrews, xi. 3.



In the last lecture we have noticed the general relations of agnostic
speculations with natural science, and have exposed their failure to
account for natural facts and laws. We may now inquire into their mode
of dealing with the phenomena of life, with regard to the supposed
spontaneous evolution of which, and its development up to man himself,
so many confident generalizations have been put forth by the agnostic
and monistic philosophy.

In the earlier history of modern natural science, the tendency was to
take nature as we find it, without speculation as to the origin of
living things, which men were content to regard as direct products of
creative power. But at a very early period--and especially after the
revelations of geology had disclosed a succession of ascending
dynasties of life--such speculations, which, independently of science,
had commended themselves to the poetical and philosophical minds of
antiquity, were revived. In France more particularly, the theories of
Buffon, Lamarck, and Geoffroy St. Hilaire opened up these exciting
themes, and they might even then have attained to the importance they
have since acquired but for the great and judicial intellect of
Cuvier, which perceived their futility and guided the researches of
naturalists into other and more profitable fields. The next stimulus
to such hypotheses was given by the progress of physiology, and
especially by researches into the embryonic development of animals and
plants. Here it was seen that there are homologies and likenesses of
plan linking organisms with each other, and that in the course of
their development the more complex creatures pass through stages
corresponding to the adult condition of lower forms. The questions
raised by the geographical distribution of animals, as ascertained by
the numerous expeditions and scientific travellers of modern times,
tended in the same direction. The way was thus prepared for the broad
generalizations of Darwin, who, seizing on the idea of artificial
selection as practised by breeders of animals and plants, and
imagining that something similar takes place in the natural struggle
for existence, saw in this a plausible solution for the question of
the progress and the variety of organized beings.

The original Darwinian theory was soon found to be altogether
insufficient to account for the observed facts, because of the
tendency of the bare struggle for existence to produce degradation
rather than elevation; because of the testimony of geology to the fact
that introduction of new species takes place in times of expansion
rather than of struggle; because of the manifest tendency of the
breeds produced by artificial selection to become infertile and die
out in proportion to their deviation from the original types; and
because of the difficulty of preventing such breeds from reverting to
the original forms, which seem in all cases to be perfectly
equilibrated in their own parts and adapted to external nature, so
that varieties tend, as if by gravitative law, to fall back into the
original moulds. A great variety of other considerations--as those of
sexual selection, reproductive acceleration and retardation, periods
of more and less rapid evolution, innate tendency to vary at
particular times and in particular circumstances--have been imported
into the original doctrine. Thus the original Darwinism is a thing of
the past, even in the mind of its great author, though it has proved
the fruitful parent of a manifold progeny of allied ideas which
continue to bear its name. In this respect Darwinism is itself
amenable to the law of evolution, and has been continually changing
its form under the influence of the controversial struggles which have
risen around it.

Darwinism was not necessarily atheistic or agnostic. Its author was
content to assume a few living beings or independent forms to begin
with, and did not propose to obtain them by any spontaneous action of
dead matter, nor to account for the primary origin of life, still less
of all material things. In this he was sufficiently humble and honest;
but the logical weakness of his position was at once apparent. If
creation was needed to give a few initial types, it might have
produced others also. The followers of Darwin, therefore, more
especially in Germany, at once pushed the doctrine back into
Agnosticism and Monism, giving to it a greater logical consistency,
but bringing it into violent conflict with theism and with common

Darwin himself early perceived that his doctrine, if true, must apply
to man--in so far, at least, as his bodily frame is concerned. Man is
in this an animal, and closely related to other animals. To have
claimed for him a distinct origin would have altogether discredited
the theory, though it might be admitted that, man having appeared, his
free volition and his moral and social instincts would at once
profoundly modify the course of the evolution. On the other hand, the
gulf which separates the reason and the conscience of man from
instinct and the animal intelligence of lower creatures opposed an
almost impassable barrier to the union of man with lower animals; and
the attempt to bridge this gulf threatened to bring the theory into a
deadly struggle with the moral, social, and religious instincts of
mankind. In face of this difficulty, Darwin and most of his followers
adopted the more daring course of maintaining the evolution of the
whole man from lower forms, and thereby entered into a warfare, which
still rages, with psychology, ethics, philology, and theology.

It is easy for shallow evolutionists unaware of the tendencies of
their doctrine, or for latitudinarian churchmen careless as to the
maintenance of truth if only outward forms are preserved and
comprehension secured, to overlook or make light of these antagonisms,
but science and common sense alike demand a severe adherence to
truth. It becomes, therefore, very important to ascertain to what
extent we are justified in adopting the agnostic evolution in its
relation to life and man on scientific grounds. Perhaps this may best
be done by reviewing the argument of Haeckel in his work on the
evolution of man--one of the ablest, and at the same time most
thorough, expositions of monistic evolution as applied to lower
animals and to men.

Ernst Haeckel is an eminent comparative anatomist and physiologist,
who has earned a wide and deserved reputation by his able and
laborious studies of the calcareous sponges, the radiolarians, and
other low forms of life. In his work on _The Evolution of Man_ he
applies this knowledge to the solution of the problem of the origin of
humanity, and sets himself not only to illustrate, but to "prove," the
descent of our species from the simplest animal types, and even to
overwhelm with scorn every other explanation of the appearance of man
except that of spontaneous evolution. He is not merely an
evolutionist, but what he terms a "monist," and the monistic
philosophy, as defined by him, includes certain negations and certain
positive principles of a most comprehensive and important character.
It implies the denial of all spiritual or immaterial existence. Man is
to the monist merely a physiological machine, and nature is only a
greater self-existing and spontaneously-moving aggregate of forces.
Monism can thus altogether dispense with a Creative Will as
originating nature, and adopts the other alternative of self-existence
or causelessness for the universe and all its phenomena. Again, the
monistic doctrine necessarily implies that man, the animal, the plant,
and the mineral are only successive stages of the evolution of the
same primordial matter, constituting thus a connected chain of being,
all the parts of which sprang spontaneously from each other. Lastly,
as the admixture of primitive matter and force would itself be a sort
of dualism, Haeckel regards these as ultimately one, and apparently
resolves the origin of the universe into the operation of a
self-existing energy having in itself the potency of all things. After
all, this may be said to be an approximation to the idea of a Creator,
but not a living and willing Creator. Monism is thus not identical
with pantheism, but is rather a sort of atheistic monotheism, if such
a thing is imaginable; and vindicates the assertion attributed to a
late lamented physical philosopher--that he had found no atheistic
philosophy which had not a God somewhere.

Haeckel's own statement of this aspect of his philosophy is somewhat
interesting. He says: "The opponents of the doctrine of evolution are
very fond of branding the monistic philosophy grounded upon it as
'materialism' by comparing _philosophical_ materialism with the wholly
different and censurable _moral_ materialism. Strictly, however, our
'monism' might as accurately or as inaccurately be called spiritualism
as materialism. The real materialistic philosophy asserts that the
phenomena of vital motion, like all other phenomena of motion, are
effects or products of matter. The other opposite extreme,
spiritualistic philosophy, asserts, on the contrary, that matter is
the product of motive force, and that all material forms are produced
by free forces entirely independent of the matter itself. Thus,
according to the materialistic conception of the universe, matter
precedes motion or active force; according to the spiritualistic
conception of the universe, on the contrary, active force or motion
precedes matter. Both views are dualistic, and we hold them both to be
equally false. A contrast to both is presented in the _monistic_
philosophy, which can as little believe in force without matter as in
matter without force."

It is evident that if Haeckel limits himself and his opponents to
matter and force as the sole possible explanations of the universe, he
may truly say that matter is inconceivable without force and force
inconceivable without matter. But the question arises, What is the
monistic power beyond these--the "power behind nature"? and as to the
true nature of this the Jena philosopher gives us only vague
generalities, though it is quite plain that he cannot admit a
Spiritual Creator. Further, as to the absence of any spiritual element
from the nature of man, he does not leave us in doubt as to what he
means; for immediately after the above paragraph he informs us that
"the 'spirit' and the 'mind' of man are but forces which are
inseparably connected with the material substance of our bodies. Just
as the motive-power of our flesh is involved in the muscular
form-element, so is the thinking force of our spirit involved in the
form-element of the brain." In a note appended to the passage, he says
that monism "conceives nature as one whole, and nowhere recognizes any
but mechanical causes." These assumptions as to man and nature
pervade the whole book, and of course greatly simplify the task of the
writer, as he does not require to account for the primary origin of
nature, or for anything in man except his physical frame; and even
this he can regard as a thing altogether mechanical.

It is plain that we might here enter our dissent from Haeckel's
method, for he requires us, before we can proceed a single step in the
evolution of man, to assume many things which he cannot prove. What
evidence is there, for example, of the possibility of the development
of the rational and moral nature of man from the intelligence and the
instinct of the lower animals, or of the necessary dependence of the
phenomena of mind on the structure of brain-cells? The evidence, so
far as it goes, seems to tend the other way. What proof is there of
the spontaneous evolution of living forms from inorganic matter?
Experiment so far negatives the possibility of this. Even if we give
Haeckel, to begin with, a single living cell or granule of protoplasm,
we know that this protoplasm must have been produced by the agency of
a living vegetable cell previously existing; and we have no proof
that it can be produced in any other way. Again, what particle of
evidence have we that the atoms or the energy of an incandescent
fire-mist have in them anything of the power or potency of life? We
must grant the monist all these postulates as pure matters of faith,
before he can begin his demonstration; and, as none of them are
axiomatic truths, it is evident that so far he is simply a believer in
the dogmas of a philosophic creed, and in this respect weak as other
men whom he affects to despise.

We may here place over against his authority that of another eminent
physiologist, of more philosophic mind, Dr. Carpenter, who has
recently said: "As a physiologist I must fully recognize the fact that
the physical force exerted by the body of man is not generated _de
novo_ by his will, but is derived directly from the oxidation of the
constituents of his food. But, holding it as equally certain--because
the fact is capable of verification by every one as often as he
chooses to make the experiment--that in the performance of every
volitional movement physical force is put in action, directed, and
controlled by the individual personality or _ego_, I deem it as absurd
and illogical to affirm that there is no place for a God in nature,
originating, directing, and controlling its forces by his will, as it
would be to assert that there is no place in man's body for his
conscious mind."

Taking Haeckel on his own ground, as above defined, we may next
inquire as to the method which he employs in working out his argument.
This may be referred to three leading modes of treatment, which, as
they are somewhat diverse from those ordinarily familiar to logicians
and are extensively used by evolutionists, deserve some illustration,
more especially as Haeckel is a master in their use.

An eminent French professor of the art of sleight-of-hand has defined
the leading principle of jugglers to be that of "appearing and
disappearing things;" and this is the best definition that occurs to
me of one method of reasoning largely used by Haeckel, and of which we
need to be on our guard when we find him employing, as he does in
almost every page, such phrases as "it cannot be doubted," "we may
therefore assume," "we may readily suppose," "this afterward assumes
or becomes," "we may confidently assert," "this developed directly,"
and the like, which in his usage are equivalent to the "_Presto!_" of
the conjurer, and which, while we are looking at one structure or
animal, enable him to persuade us that it has been suddenly
transformed into something else.

In tracing the genealogy of man he constantly employs this kind of
sleight-of-hand in the most adroit manner. He is perhaps describing to
us the embryo of a fish or an amphibian, and, as we become interested
in the curious details, it is suddenly by some clever phrase
transformed into a reptile or a bird; and yet, without rubbing our
eyes and reflecting on the differences and difficulties which he
neglects to state, we can scarcely doubt that it is the same animal,
after all.

The little lancelet, or _Amphioxus_ (see Fig. 1), of the European
seas--a creature which was at one time thought to be a sea-snail, but
is really more akin to fishes--forms his link of connection between
our "fish-ancestors" and the invertebrate animals. So important is it
in this respect that our author Waxes eloquent in exhorting us to
regard it "with special veneration" as representing our "earliest
Silurian vertebrate ancestors," as being of "our own flesh and blood,"
and as better worthy of being an object of "devoutest reverence" than
the "worthless rabble of so-called 'saints.'" In describing this
animal he takes pains to inform us that it is more different from an
ordinary fish than a fish is from a man. Yet, as he illustrates its
curious and unique structure, before we are aware, the lancelet is
gone and a fish is in its place, and this fish with the potency to
become a man in due time. Thus a creature intermediate in some
respects between fishes and mollusks, or between fishes and worms, but
so far apart from either that it seems but to mark the width of the
gap between them, becomes an easy stepping-stone from one to the

    [Illustration: FIG. 1.

    The Lancelet (_Amphioxus_), the supposed earliest type of
    vertebrate animal, and, according to Haeckel, the ancestor of
    man. The figure is a section enlarged to twice the natural

    _a_, mouth;
    _b_, anus;
    _c_, gill-opening;
    _d_, gill;
    _e_, stomach;
    _f_, liver;
    _g_, intestine;
    _h_, gill-cavity;
    _i_, notochord, or rudimentary back-bone;
    _k_, _l_, _m_, _n_, _o_, arteries and veins.]

In like manner, the ascidians, or sea-squirts--mollusks of low grade,
or, as Haeckel prefers to regard them, allied to worms--are most
remote in almost every respect from the vertebrates. But in the young
state of some of these creatures, and in the adult condition of one
animal referred to this group (_Appendicularia_), they have a sort of
swimming tail, which is stiffened by a rod of cartilage to enable it
to perform its function, and which for a time gives them a certain
resemblance to the lancelet or to embryo fishes; and this usually
temporary contrivance--curious as an imitative adaptation, but of no
other significance--becomes, by the art of "appearing and
disappearing," a rudimentary backbone, and enables us at once to
recognize in the young ascidian an embryo man.

A second method characteristic of the book, and furnishing, indeed,
the main basis of its argument, is that of considering analogous
processes as identical, without regard to the difference of the
conditions under which they may be carried on. The great leading use
of this argument is in inducing us to regard the development of the
individual animal as the precise equivalent of the series of changes
by which the species was developed in the course of geological time.
These two kinds of development are distinguished by appropriate names.
_Ontogenesis_ is the embryonic development of the individual animal,
and is, of course, a short process, depending on the production of a
germ by a parent animal or parent pair, and the further growth of this
germ in connection more or less with the parent or with provision made
by it. This is, of course, a fact open to observation and study,
though some of its processes are mysterious and yet involved in doubt
and uncertainty. _Phylogenesis_ is the supposed development of a
species in the course of geological time and by the intervention of
long series of species, each in its time distinct and composed of
individuals each going regularly through a genetic circle of its own.

The latter is a process not open to observation within the time at our
command--purely hypothetical, therefore, and of which the possibility
remains to be proved; while the causes on which it must depend are
necessarily altogether different from those at work in ontogenesis,
and the conditions of a long series of different kinds of animals,
each perfect in its kind, are equally dissimilar from those of an
animal passing through the regular stages from infancy to maturity.
The similarity, in some important respects, of ontogenesis to
phylogenesis was inevitable, provided that animals were to be of
different grades of complexity, since the development of the
individual must necessarily be from a more simple to a more complex
condition. On any hypothesis, the parallelism between embryological
facts and the history of animals in geological time affords many
interesting and important coincidences. Yet it is perfectly obvious
that the causes and the conditions of these two successions cannot
have been the same. Further, when we consider that the embryo-cell
which develops into one animal must necessarily be originally
distinct in its properties from that which develops into another kind
of animal, even though no obvious difference appears to us, we have no
ground for supposing that the early stages of all animals are alike;
and when we rigorously compare the development of any animal whatever
with the successive appearance of animals of the same or similar
groups in geological time, we find many things which do not
correspond--not merely in the want of links which we might expect to
find, but in the more significant appearance, prematurely or
inopportunely, of forms which we would not anticipate. Yet the main
argument of Haeckel's book is the quiet assumption that anything found
to occur in ontogenetic development must also have occurred in
phylogenesis, while manifest difficulties are got rid of by assuming
atavisms and abnormalities.

A third characteristic of the method of the book is the use of certain
terms in peculiar senses, and as implying certain causes which are
taken for granted, though their efficacy and their mode of operation
are unknown. The chief of the terms so employed are "heredity" and
"adaptation." "Heredity" is usually understood as expressing the
power of permanent transmission of characters from parents to
offspring, and in this aspect it expresses the constancy of specific
forms; but, as used by Haeckel, it means the transmission by a parent
of any exceptional characters which the individual may have
accidentally assumed. "Adaptation" has usually been supposed to mean
the fitting of animals for their place in nature, however that came
about; as used by Haeckel, it imports the power of the individual
animal to adapt itself to changed conditions and to transmit these
changes to its offspring. Thus in this philosophy the rule is made the
exception and the exception the rule by a skilful use of familiar
terms in new senses; and heredity and adaptation are constantly
paraded as if they were two potent divinities employed in constantly
changing and improving the face of nature.

It is scarcely too much to say that the conclusions of the book are
reached almost solely by the application of the above-mentioned
peculiar modes of reasoning to the vast store of facts at command of
the author, and that the reader who would test these conclusions by
the ordinary methods of judgment must be constantly on his guard.
Still, it is not necessary to believe that Haeckel is an intentional
deceiver. Such fallacies are those which are especially fitted to
mislead enthusiastic specialists, to be identified by them with proved
results of science, and to be held in an intolerant and dogmatic

Having thus noticed Haeckel's assumptions and his methods, we may next
shortly consider the manner in which he proceeds to work out the
phylogeny of man. Here he pursues a purely physiological method, only
occasionally and slightly referring to geological facts. He takes as a
first principle the law long ago formulated by Hunter, _Omne vivum ex
ovo_--a law which modern research has amply confirmed, showing that
every animal, however complex, can be traced back to an egg, which in
its simplest state is no more than a single cell, though this cell
requires to be fertilized by the addition of the contents of another
dissimilar cell, produced either in another organ of the same
individual or in a distinct individual. This process of fertilization
Haeckel seems to regard as unnecessary in the lowest forms of life;
but, though there are some simple animals in which it has not been
recognized, analogy would lead us to believe that in some form it is
necessary in all. Haekel's monistic view, however, requires that in
the lowest forms it should be absent and should have originated
spontaneously, though how does not seem to be very clear, as the
explanation given of it by him amounts to little more than the
statement that it must have occurred. Still, as a "dualistic" process
it is very significant with reference to the monistic theory.

Much space is, of course, devoted to the tracing of the special
development or ontogenesis of man, and to the illustration of the fact
that in the earlier stages of this development the human embryo is
scarcely distinguishable from that of lower animals. We may, indeed,
affirm that all animals start from cells which, in so far as we can
see, are similar to each other, yet which must include potentially the
various properties of the animals which spring from them. As we trace
them onward in their development, we see these differences manifesting
themselves. At first all pass, according to Haeckel, through a stage
which he calls the "gastrula," in which the whole body is represented
by a sort of sac, the cavity of which is the stomach and the walls of
which consist of two layers of cells. It should be stated, however,
that many eminent naturalists dissent from this view, and maintain
that even in the earliest stages material differences can be observed.
In this they are probably right, as even Haeckel has to admit some
degree of divergence from this all-embracing "gastræa" theory.
Admitting, however, that such early similarity exists within certain
limits, we find that, as the embryo advances, it speedily begins to
indicate whether it is to be a coral-animal, a snail, a worm, or a
fish. Consequently, the physiologist who wishes to trace the
resemblances leading to mammals and to man has to lop off one by one
the several branches which lead in other directions, and to follow
that which conducts by the most direct course to the type which he has
in view. In this way Haeckel can show that the embryo _Homo sapiens_
is in successive stages so like to the young of the fish, the reptile,
the bird, and the ordinary quadruped that he can produce for
comparison figures in which the cursory observer can detect scarcely
any difference.

All this has long been known, and has been regarded as a wonderful
evidence of the homology or unity of plan which pervades nature, and
as constituting man the archetype of the animal kingdom--the highest
realization of a plan previously sketched by the Creator in many ruder
and humbler forms. It also teaches that it is not so much in the mere
bodily organism that we are to look for the distinguishing characters
of humanity as in the higher rational and moral nature.

But Haeckel, like other evolutionists of the monistic and agnostic
schools, goes far beyond this. The ontogeny, on the evidence of
analogy, as already explained, is nothing less than a miniature
representation of the phylogeny. Man must in the long ages of
geological time have arisen from a monad, just as the individual man
has in his life-history arisen from an embryo-cell, and the several
stages through which the individual passes must be parallel to those
in the history of the race. True, the supposed monad must have been
wanting in all the conditions of origin, sexual fertilization,
parental influence, and surroundings. There is no perceptible relation
of cause and effect, any more than between the rotation of a
carriage-wheel and that of the earth on its axis. The analogy might
prompt to inquiries as to common laws and similarities of operation,
but it proves nothing as to causation.

In default of such proof, Haeckel favors us with another analogy,
derived from the science of language. All the Indo-European languages
are believed to be descended from a common ancestral tongue, and this
is analogous to the descent of all animals from one primitive species.
But unfortunately the languages in question are the expressions of the
voice and the thought of one and the same species. The individuals
using them are known historically to have descended by ordinary
generation from a common source, and the connecting-links of the
various dialects are unbroken. The analogy fails altogether in the
case of species succeeding each other in geological time, unless the
very thing to be proved is taken for granted in the outset.

The actual proof that a basis exists in nature for the doctrine of
evolution founded on these analogies, might be threefold. _First._
There might be changes of the nature of phylogenesis going on under
our own observation, and even a very few of these would be sufficient
to give some show of probability. Elaborate attempts have been made to
show that variations, as existing in the more variable of our
domesticated species, lead in the direction of such changes; but the
results have been unsatisfactory, and our author scarcely condescends
to notice this line of proof. He evidently regards the time over which
human history has extended as too short to admit of this kind of
demonstration. _Secondly._ There might be in the existing system of
nature such a close connection or continuous chain of species as might
at least strengthen the argument from analogy; and undoubtedly there
are many groups of closely allied species, or of races confounded with
true specific types, which it might not be unreasonable to suppose of
common origin. These are, however, scattered widely apart; and the
contrary fact of extensive gaps in the series is so frequent, that
Haeckel is constantly under the necessity of supposing that multitudes
of species, and even of larger groups, have perished just where it is
most important to his conclusion that they should have remained. This
is, of course, unfortunate for the theory; but then, as Haeckel often
remarks, "we must suppose" that the missing links once existed. But,
_thirdly_, these gaps which now unhappily exist may be filled up by
fossil animals; and if in the successive geological periods we could
trace the actual phylogeny of even a few groups of living creatures,
we might have the demonstration desired. But here again the gaps are
so frequent and so serious that Haeckel scarcely attempts to use this
argument further than by giving a short and somewhat imperfect summary
of the geological succession in the beginning of his second volume. In
this he attempts to give a continuous series of the ancestors of man
as developed in geological time; but, of twenty-one groups which he
arranges in order from the beginning of the Laurentian to the modern
period, at least ten are not known at all as fossils, and others do
not belong, so far as known, to the ages to which he assigns them.
This necessity of manufacturing facts does not speak well for the
testimony of geology to the supposed phylogeny of man.

In point of fact, it cannot be disguised that, though it is possible
to pick out some series of animal forms, like the horses and camels
referred to by some palæontologists, which simulate a genetic order,
the general testimony of palæontology is, on the whole, adverse to the
ordinary theories of evolution, whether applied to the vegetable or to
the animal kingdom. This the writer has elsewhere endeavored to show;
but he may refer here to the labors of Barrande, perhaps unrivalled in
extent and accuracy, which show that in the leading forms of life in
the older geological formations the succession is not such as to
correspond with any of the received theories of derivation.[2] Even
evolutionists, when sufficiently candid, admit their case not proven
by geological evidence. Gaudry, one of the best authorities on the
Tertiary mammalia, admits the impossibility of suggesting any possible
derivation for some of the leading groups, and Saporta, Mivart, and Le
Conte fall back on periods of rapid or paroxysmal evolution scarcely
differing from the idea of creation by law, or mediate creation, as it
has been termed.

Thus the utmost value which can be attached to Haeckel's argument from
analogy would be that it suggests a possibility that the processes
which we see carried on in the evolution of the individual may, in the
laws which regulate them, be connected in some way more or less close
with those creative processes which on the wider field of geological
time have been concerned in the production of the multitudinous forms
of animal life. That Haeckel's philosophy goes but a very little way
toward any understanding of such relations, and that our present
information, even within the more limited scope of biological science,
is too meagre to permit of safe generalization, will appear from the
consideration of a few facts taken here and there from the multitude
employed by him to illustrate the monistic theory.

When we are told that a moner or an embryo-cell is the early stage of
all animals alike, we naturally ask, Is it meant that all these cells
are really similar, or is it only that they appear similar to us, and
may actually be as profoundly unlike as the animals which they are
destined to produce? To make this question more plain, let us take the
case as formally stated: "From the weighty fact that the egg of the
human being, like the egg of all other animals, is a simple cell, it
may be quite certainly inferred that a one-celled parent-form once
existed, from which all the many-celled animals, man included,

Now, let us suppose that we have under our microscope a one-celled
animalcule quite as simple in structure as our supposed ancestor.
Along with this we may have on the same slide another cell, which is
the embryo of a worm, and a third, which is the embryo of a man. All
these, according to the hypothesis, are similar in appearance; so that
we can by no means guess which is destined to continue always an
animalcule, or which will become a worm or may develop into a poet or
a philosopher. Is it meant that the things are actually alike or only
apparently so? If they are really alike, then their destinies must
depend on external circumstances. Put either of them into a pond, and
it will remain a monad. Put either of them into the ovary of a complex
animal, and it will develop into the likeness of that animal. But such
similarity is altogether improbable, and it would destroy the argument
of the evolutionist. In this case he would be hopelessly shut up to
the conclusion that "hens were before eggs;" and Haeckel elsewhere
informs us that the exactly opposite view is necessarily that of the
monistic evolutionist. Thus, though it may often be convenient to
speak of these three kinds of cells as if they were perfectly similar,
the method of "disappearance" has immediately to be resorted to, and
they are shown to be, in fact, quite dissimilar. There is, indeed,
the best ground to suppose that the one-celled animals and the
embryo-cells referred to, have little in common except their general
form. We know that the most minute cell must include a sufficient
number of molecules of protoplasm to admit of great varieties of
possible arrangement, and that these may be connected with most varied
possibilities as to the action of forces. Further, the embryo-cell
which is produced by a particular kind of animal, and whose
development results in the reproduction of a similar animal, must
contain potentially the parts and structures which are evolved from
it; and fact shows that this may be affirmed of both the embryo and
the sperm-cells where there are two sexes. Therefore it is in the
highest degree probable that the eggs of a worm and those of man,
though possibly alike to our coarse methods of investigation, are as
dissimilar as the animals that result from them. If so, the "egg may
be before the hen;" but it is as difficult to imagine the spontaneous
production of the egg which is potentially the hen as of the hen
itself. Thus the similarity of the eggs and early embryos of animals
of different grades is apparent only; and this fact, which embodies a
great, and perhaps insoluble, mystery, invalidates the whole of
Haeckel's reasoning on the alleged resemblances of different kinds of
animals in their early stages.

A second difficulty arises from the fact that the simple embryo-cell
of any of the higher animals rapidly produces various kinds of
specialized cells different in structure and appearance and capable of
performing different functions, whereas in the lower forms of life
such cells may remain simple or may merely produce several similar
cells little or not at all differentiated. This objection, whenever it
occurs, Haeckel endeavors to turn by the assertion that a complex
animal is merely an aggregate of independent cells, each of which is a
sort of individual. He thus tries to break up the integrity of the
complex organism and to reduce it to a mere swarm of monads. He
compares the cells of an organism to the "individuals of a savage
community," who, at first separate and all alike in their habits and
occupations, at length organize themselves into a community and assume
different avocations. Single cells, he says, at first were alike, and
each performed the same simple offices of all the others. "At a later
period isolated cells gathered into communities; groups of simple
cells which had arisen from the continued division of a single cell
remained together, and now began gradually to perform different
offices of life."

But this is a mere vague analogy. It does not represent anything
actually occurring in nature, except in the case of an embryo produced
by some animal which already shows all the tissues which its embryo is
destined to reproduce. Thus it establishes no probability of the
evolution of complex tissues from simple cells, and leaves altogether
unexplained that wonderful process by which the embryo-cell not only
divides into many cells, but becomes developed into all the variety of
dissimilar tissues evolved from the homogeneous egg; but evolved from
it, as we naturally suppose, because of the fact that the egg
represents potentially all these tissues as existing previously in the
parent organism.

But if we are content to waive these objections or to accept the
solutions given of them by the "appearance-and-disappearance"
argument, we still find that the phylogeny, unlike the ontogenesis, is
full of wide gaps only to be passed _per saltum_ or to be accounted
for by the disappearance of a vast number of connecting-links. Of
course, it is easy to suppose that these intermediate forms have been
lost through time and accident, but why this has happened to some
rather than to others cannot be explained. In the phylogeny of man,
for example, what a vast hiatus yawns between the ascidian and the
lancelet, and another between the lancelet and the lamprey! It is true
that the missing links may have consisted of animals little likely to
be preserved as fossils; but why, if they ever existed, do not some of
them remain in the modern seas? Again, when we have so many species of
apes and so many races of men, why can we find no trace, recent or
fossil, of that "missing link" which we are told must have existed,
the "ape-like men," known to Haeckel as the "Alali," or speechless

A further question which should receive consideration from the monist
school is that very serious one, Why, if all is "mechanical" in the
development and actions of living beings, should there be any progress
whatever? Ordinary people fail to understand why a world of mere dead
matter should not go on to all eternity obeying physical and chemical
laws without developing life; or why, if some low form of life were
introduced capable of reproducing simple one-celled organisms, it
should not go on doing so.

Further, even if some chance deviations should occur, we fail to
perceive why these should go on in a definite manner producing not
only the most complex machines, but many kinds of such machines--on
different plans, but each perfect in its way. Haeckel is never weary
of telling us that to monists organisms are mere machines. Even his
own mental work is merely the grinding of a cerebral machine. But he
seems not to perceive that to such a philosophy the homely argument
which Paley derived from the structure of a watch would be fatal: "The
question is whether machines (which monists consider all animals to
be, including themselves) infinitely more complicated than watches
could come into existence without design somewhere"[3]--that is, by
mere chance. Common sense is not likely to admit that this is

    [Illustration: FIG. 2.

    Impression of five fingers and five toes of an Amphibian of
    the Lower Carboniferous Age, from the lowest Carboniferous
    beds in Nova Scotia--an evidence of the fact that the number
    five was already selected for the hands and feet of the
    earliest known land vertebrates, and that the decimal system
    of notation, with all that it involves to man, was determined
    in the Palæozoic Age. The upper figure natural size, the lower

The difficulties above referred to relate to the introduction of life
and of new species on the monistic view. Others might be referred to
in connection with the production of new organs. An illustration is
afforded, among others, by the discussion of the introduction of the
five fingers and toes of man, which appear to descend to us
unchanged from the amphibians or batrachians of the Carboniferous
period. In this ancient age of the earth's geological history, feet
with five toes appear in numerous species of reptilians of various
grades (Fig. 2). They are preceded by no other vertebrates than
fishes, and these have numerous fin-rays instead of toes. There are no
properly transitional forms either fossil or recent. How were the
five-fingered limbs acquired in this abrupt way? Why were they five
rather than any other number? Why, when once introduced, have they
continued unchanged up to the present day? Haeckel's answer is a
curious example of his method: "The great significance of the five
digits depends on the fact that this number has been transmitted from
the Amphibia to all higher vertebrates. It would be impossible to
discover any reason why in the lowest Amphibia, as well as in reptiles
and in higher vertebrates up to man, there should always originally be
five digits on each of the anterior and posterior limbs, if we denied
that heredity from a common five-fingered parent-form is the efficient
cause of this phenomenon; heredity can alone account for it. In many
Amphibia certainly, as well as in many higher vertebrates, we find
less than five digits. But in all these cases it can be shown that
separate digits have retrograded, and have finally been completely
lost. The causes which affected the development of the five-fingered
foot of the higher vertebrates in this amphibian form from the
many-fingered foot (or properly fin), must certainly be found in the
adaptation to the totally altered functions which the limbs had to
discharge during the transition from an exclusively aquatic life to
one which was partially terrestrial. While the many-fingered fins of
the fish had previously served almost exclusively to propel the body
through the water, they had now also to afford support to the animal
when creeping on the land. This effected a modification both of the
skeleton and of the muscles of the limbs. The number of fin-rays was
gradually lessened, and was finally reduced to five. These five
remaining rays were, however, developed more vigorously. The soft
cartilaginous rays became hard bones. The rest of the skeleton also
became considerably more firm. The movements of the body became not
only more vigorous, but also more varied;" and the paragraph proceeds
to state other ameliorations of muscular and nervous system supposed
to be related to or caused by the improvement of the limbs.

It will be observed that in the above extract, under the formula "the
causes which affected the development of the five-fingered foot ...
must certainly be found," all that other men would regard as demanding
proof is quietly assumed, and the animal grows before our eyes from a
fish to a reptile as under the wand of a conjurer. Further, the
transmission of the five toes is attributed to heredity or unchanged
reproduction, but this, of course, gives no explanation of the
original formation of the structure, nor of the causes which prevented
heredity from applying to the fishes which became amphibians and
acquired five toes, or to the amphibians which faithfully transmitted
their five toes, but not their other characteristics.

It is perhaps scarcely profitable to follow further the criticism of
this extraordinary book. It may be necessary, however, to repeat that
it contains clear, and in the main accurate, sketches of the
embryology of a number of animals, only slightly colored by the
tendency to minimize differences. It may also be necessary to say that
in criticising Haeckel we take him on his own ground--that of a
monist--and have no special reference to those many phases which the
philosophy of evolution assumes in the minds of other naturalists,
many of whom accept it only partially or as a form of mediate creation
more or less reconcilable with theism. To these more moderate views no
reference has been made, though there can be no doubt that many of
them are quite as assailable as the position of Haeckel in point of
argument. It may also be observed that Haeckel's argument is almost
exclusively biological and confined to the animal kingdom, and to the
special line of descent attributed to man. The monistic hypothesis
becomes, as already stated, still less tenable when tested by the
facts of palæontology. Hence most of the palæontologists who favor
evolution appear to shrink from the extreme position of Haeckel.
Gaudry, one of the ablest of this school, in his recent work on the
development of the Mammalia, candidly admits the multitude of facts
for which derivation will not account, and perceives in the grand
succession of animals in time the evidence of a wise and far-reaching
creative plan, concluding with the words: "We may still leave out of
the question the processes by which the Author of the world has
produced the changes of which palæontology presents the picture." In
like manner, the Count de Saporta in his _World of Plants_ closes his
summary of the periods of vegetation with the words: "But if we ascend
from one phenomenon to another, beyond the sphere of contingent and
changeable appearance, we find ourselves arrested by a Being
unchangeable and supreme, the first expression and absolute cause of
all existence, in whom diversity unites with unity, an eternal
problem, insoluble to science, but ever present to the human
consciousness. Here we reach the true source of the idea of religion,
and there presents itself distinctly to the mind that conception to
which we apply instinctively the name of God."

Thus these evolutionists, like many others in this country and in
England, find a _modus vivendi_ between evolution and theism. They
have committed themselves to an interpretation of nature which may
prove fanciful and evanescent, and which certainly up to this time
remains an hypothesis, ingenious and captivating, but not fortified by
the evidence of facts. But in doing so they are not prepared to
accept the purely mechanical creed of the monist, or to separate
themselves from those ideas of morality, of religion, and of sonship
to God which have hitherto been the brightest gems in the crown of man
as the lord of this lower world. Whether they can maintain this
position against the monists, and whether they will be able in the end
to retain any practical form of religion along with the doctrine of
the derivation of man from the lower animals, remains to be seen.
Possibly before these questions come to a final issue the philosophy
of evolution may itself have been "modified" or have given place to
some new phase of thought.

One curious point in this connection, to which little attention has
been given by evolutionists, is that to which Herbert Spencer has
given the name of "direct equilibration," though he is sufficiently
wise not to invite too much attention to it. This is the balance of
parts and forces within the organism itself. The organism is a complex
machine; and if its parts have been put together by chance and are
drifting onward in the path of evolution, there must of necessity be a
continual struggle going on between the different organs and
functions, each tending to swallow up the others and each struggling
for its own existence. This resolution of the body of each animal into
a house divided against itself is at first sight so revolting to
common sense and right feeling that few like to contemplate it. Roux
and other recent writers, however, especially in Germany, have brought
it into prominence, and it is no doubt a necessary consequence of the
evolutionary idea, though altogether at variance with the theory of
intelligent design, which supposes the animal machine put together
with care and for a purpose, and properly adjusted in all its parts.
On the hypothesis of evolution, the animal thus ceases to be, in the
proper sense of the term, even a machine, and becomes a mere mass of
conflicting parts depending for any constancy they may have on a
chance balancing of hostile forces, without any compelling power to
bring them together at first, or any means to bind them to joint
action in the system. The more such a doctrine is considered, the more
difficult does it seem to believe in the possibility of its truth.
Evolution has already reduced the cosmos into chaos, the harmony of
the universe into discord; but it seems past belief to introduce this
into the microcosm itself, and to see nothing in its exquisite
adjustments except the momentary equilibrium of a well-balanced fight.
Geological history also adds to the absurdity of such a view by
showing the marvellous permanence of many forms of life which have
continued to perpetuate themselves through almost immeasurable ages
without material changes, thus proving unanswerably the perfect
adjustment of their parts.

Viewed rightly, this direct equilibration of the parts of the animal
seems to throw the greatest possible doubt on the capacity of any form
of evolution to produce new species. It is certain, from the facts
collected by Mr. Darwin himself in his work on animals under
domestication, that when man disturbs the balance of any organism by
changing in any way the relations of its parts, he introduces elements
of instability and weakness, which, despite the efforts of nature to
correct the evils resulting, speedily lead to degeneracy, infertility,
and extinction. Mr. T. Warren O'Neil of Philadelphia has recently
argued this point with much ability,[4] and has shown, on the
testimony of Darwin's facts, that unless "natural selection" is a
much more skilful breeder than man, and possesses some secrets not yet
discovered by us, the effects of this imaginary power would lead, not
to the production of new species, but merely to the extinction of
those already existing. In short, all the evidence goes to show
that--so beautifully balanced are the parts of the organism--any
excess or deficiency in any of them, when artificially or accidentally
introduced, brings in elements not only of instability, but of decay
and destruction. This subject is deserving of a more full treatment
than it can receive here, but enough has been said to show that in
this evolutionists have unwittingly furnished us with a new
confirmation of the theory of intelligent design.

In some places there are in Haeckel's book touches of a grim humor
which are not without interest, as showing the subjective side of the
monistic theory and illustrating the attitude of its professors to
things held sacred by other men. For example, the following is the
introduction to the chapter headed "From the Primitive Worm to the
Skulled Animal," and which has for its motto the lines of Goethe

     "Not like the gods am I! full well I know;
     But like the worms which in the dust must go."

"Both in prose and poetry man is very often compared to a worm; 'a
miserable worm,' 'a poor worm,' are common and almost compassionate
phrases. If we cannot detect any deep phylogenetic reference in this
zoological metaphor, we might at least safely assert that it contains
an unconscious comparison with a low condition of animal development
which is interesting in its bearing on the pedigree of the human

If Haeckel were well read in Scripture, he might have quoted here the
melancholy confession of the man of Uz: "I have said to the worm, Thou
art my mother and my sister." But, though Job, like the German
professor, could humbly say to the worm, "Thou art my mother," he
could still hold fast his integrity and believe in the fatherhood of

The moral bearing of monism is further illustrated by the following
extract, which refers to a more advanced step of the evolution--that
from the ape to man--and which shows the honest pride of the worthy
professor in his humble parentage: "Just as most people prefer to
trace their pedigree from a decayed baron, or if possible from a
celebrated prince, rather than from an unknown humble peasant, so they
prefer seeing the progenitor of the human race in an Adam degraded by
the fall, rather than in an ape capable of higher development and
progress. It is a matter of taste, and such genealogical preferences
do not, therefore, admit of discussion. It is more to my individual
taste to be the more highly-developed descendant of an ape, who in the
struggle for existence had developed progressively from lower mammals
as they from still lower vertebrates, than the degraded descendant of
an Adam, Godlike but debased by the fall, who was formed from a clod
of earth, and of an Eve created from a rib of Adam. As regards the
celebrated 'rib,' I must here expressly add, as a supplement to the
history of the development of the skeleton, that the number of ribs is
the same in man and in woman.[5] In the latter as well as in the
former the ribs originate from the skin-fibrous layer, and are to be
regarded phylogenetically as lower or ventral vertebræ."[6]

There is no accounting for tastes, yet we may be pardoned for
retaining some preference for the first link of the old Jewish
genealogical table: "Which was the son of Adam, which was the son of
God." As to the "debasement" of the fall, it is to be feared that the
aboriginal ape would object to bearing the blame of existing human
iniquities as having arisen from any improvement in his nature and
habits; and it is scarcely fair to speak of Adam as "formed from a
_clod_ of earth," which is not precisely in accordance with the
record. As to the "rib," which seems so offensive to Haeckel, one
would have thought that he would, as an evolutionist, have had some
fellow-feeling in this with the writer of Genesis. The origin of sexes
is one of the acknowledged difficulties of the hypothesis, and, using
his method, we might surely "assume," or even "confidently assert,"
the possibility that, in some early stage of the development, the
unfinished vertebral arches of the "skin-fibrous layer" might have
produced a new individual by a process of budding or gemmation. Quite
as remarkable suppositions are contained in some parts of his own
volumes, without any special divine power for rendering them
practicable. Further, if only an individual man originated in the
first instance, and if he were not provided with a suitable spouse, he
might have intermarried with the unimproved anthropoids, and the
results of the evolution would have been lost. Such considerations
should have weighed with Haeckel in inducing him to speak more
respectfully of Adam's rib, especially in view of the fact that in
dealing with the hard question of human origin the author of Genesis
had not the benefit of the researches of Baer and Haeckel. He had, no
doubt, the advantage of a firm faith in the reality of that Creative
Will which the monistic prophets of the nineteenth century have
banished from their calculations. Were Haeckel not a monist, he might
also be reminded of that grand doctrine of the lordship and
superiority of man based on the fact that there was no "help meet for
him;" and the foundation of the most sacred bond of human society on
the saying of the first man: "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh." But monists probably attach little value to such ideas.

It may be proper to add here that in his references to Adam, Haeckel
betrays a weakness not unusual with his school, in putting a false
gloss on the old record of Genesis. The statement that man was formed
from the dust of the ground implies no more than the production of his
body from the common materials employed in the construction of other
animals; this also in contradistinction from the higher nature derived
from the inbreathing or inspiration of God. The precise nature of the
method by which man was made or created is not stated by the author of
Genesis. Further, it would have been as easy for Divine Power to
create a pair as an individual. If this was not done, and if after the
lesson of superiority taught by the inspection of lower animals, and
the lesson of language taught by naming them, the first man in his
"deep sleep" is conscious of the removal of a portion of his own
flesh, and then on awaking has the woman "brought" to him, all this is
to teach a lesson not to be otherwise learned. The Mosaic record is
thus perfectly consistent with itself and with its own doctrine of
creation by Almighty Power.

I have quoted the above passages as examples of the more jocose vein
of the Jena physiologist; but they constitute also a serious
revelation of the influence of his philosophy on his own mind and
heart, in lowering both to a cold, mechanical, and unsympathetic view
of man and nature. This is especially serious when we remember how
earnestly in a recent address he advocated the teaching of the methods
and results of this book, as those which, in the present state of
knowledge, should supersede the Bible in our schools. We may well say,
with his great opponent on that occasion, that if such doctrines
should be proved to be true, the teaching of them might become a
necessity, but one that would bring us face to face with the darkest
and most dangerous moral problem that has ever beset humanity; and
that so long as they remain unproved it is both unwise and criminal to
propagate them among the mass of men as conclusions which have been
demonstrated by science.

In conclusion, we may notice shortly a few of the consequences of the
monistic evolution as held by Haeckel and others. Doctrines are
perhaps not to be judged by the consequences--at least, by the
immediate consequences--of their acceptance. Yet if their logical
consequences are such as to introduce confusion into our higher ideas
and sentiments, we have reason to hesitate as to their adoption--if on
no other ground, because we ourselves are a part of nature and should
be in harmony with any true explanation of it.

We may affirm in this connection that agnostic evolution reduces all
our science to mere evanescent anthropomorphic fancies; so that, like
a parasite, it first supports itself on the strength and substance of
science, and then strangles it to death. Physical science is a product
of our thinking as to external things. If, therefore, the thinking
brain and the external nature which it studies are both of them the
fortuitous products of blind tendencies in a process of continuous
flux and vicissitude, our science can embody no elements of eternal
truth nor any conceptions as to the plans of a higher creative reason.
In that case it is absolutely worthless, and a pure waste of time and
energy, except in so far as it may yield any temporary material

Further, the agnostic evolution thus leaves us as orphans in the midst
of a cold and insensate nature. We are no longer dwellers in our
Father's house, beautiful and fitted for us, but are thrown into the
midst of a hideous conflict of dead forces, in which we must finally
perish and be annihilated. In a struggle so hopeless it is a mere
mockery to tell us that in millions of years something better may
come out of it, for we know that this will be of no avail to us, and
we feel that it is impossible. Thus the agnostic philosophy, if it be
once accepted as true, seriously raises the question whether life is
worth living.

But if worth living, then it must be for the immediate and selfish
gratification of our desires and passions; and since we are deprived
of God and conscience, and right and wrong, and future reward or
punishment, and all men are alike in this position, there can be
nothing left for us but to rend and fight with our fellows for such
share of good as may fall to us in the deadly struggle, that we may
reach such happiness as may be possible for us in such an existence,
ere we drift into nonentity. Here, again, we are told that the
struggle will some time lead to the survival of the fittest, and that
the fittest may inaugurate a new and better reign of peace. But the
world has already lasted countless ages without arriving at this
result. It cannot concern me individually, any more than what happens
to-day concerns the extinct ichthyosaur or the megatherium. All that
is left for me is to "eat and drink, for to-morrow I die."

If any one thinks that this is an exaggerated picture of the effects
of agnostic evolution as applied to man, I may refer him to the study
of Herbert Spencer's recent work _The Data of Ethics_, which has
contributed very much to open the eyes of thoughtful men to the depth
of spiritual, moral, and even social and political, ruin into which we
shall drift under the guidance of this philosophy. In this work the
data of ethics are reduced to the one consideration of what is
"pleasurable" to ourselves and others, and it is admitted that our
ideas of conscience, duty, and even of social obligation, are merely
fictions of temporary use until the time shall come when what is
pleasurable to ourselves shall coincide with what is pleasurable to
others; and this is to come, not out of the love of God and the
influence of his Spirit, but out of the blind struggle of opposing
interests. It has been well said that this system of morals--if it can
be dignified with such a name--is inferior, logically and practically,
not only to the "supernatural ethics" which it boastfully professes to
replace, but to the ethics of Aristotle and Cicero, and that "it will
not supersede revelation, nor is it likely to displace the old data of
ethics, whether Greek, Roman, or English." Independently of its
antagonism to theism and Christianity, it is foredoomed by the common
sense and the right feeling of even imperfect human nature.


[2] Those who wish to understand the real bearings of palæontology on
evolution should study Barrande's _Memoirs on the Silurian Trilobites,
Cephalopods, and Brachiopods_.

[3] Beckett, _Origin of the Laws of Nature_.

[4] _Refutation of Darwinism_, Philadelphia, 1880.

[5] It was scarcely necessary to refer to this childish objection
unless the individual skeleton of Adam had been in question.

[6] Rather, "vertebral arches."



Having discussed those vague analogies and fanciful pedigrees by which
it has been attempted to drag the science of Biology into the service
of Agnostic Evolution, we may now turn to another science--that of the
earth--and inquire how far it justifies us in affirming the
spontaneous evolution of plants and animals in the progress of
geological time. This subject is one which would require a lengthy
treatise for its full development, and it cannot be pursued in the
most satisfactory way without much previous knowledge of geological
facts and principles, and of the classification of animals and plants.
On the present occasion it must therefore be treated in the most
general possible manner, and with reference merely to the results
which have been reached. There is the more excuse for this mode of
treatment that, in works already published and widely circulated,[7]
I have endeavored to present its details in a popular form to general

Geological investigation has disclosed a great series of stratified
rocks composing the crust of the earth, and formed at successive
times, chiefly by the agency of water. These can be arranged in
chronological order; and, so arranged, they constitute the physical
monuments of the earth's history. We must here take for granted, on
the testimony of geology, that the accumulation of this series of
deposits has extended over a vast lapse of time, and that the
successive formations contain remains of animals and plants from which
we can learn much as to the succession of life on the earth. Without
entering into geological details, it may be sufficient to present in
tabular form (see p. 107) the grand series of formations, with the
general history of life as ascertained from them.


  |                                       |    ANIMAL     |  VEGETABLE   |
  |       GEOLOGICAL PERIODS.             |     LIFE.     |    LIFE.     |
  |                                       |               |              |
  | CAINOZOIC or NEOZOIC.                 |               |              |
  |                                       | Age of _Man_  |              |
  | { _Post-       { Recent.              | and _Modern   |              |
  | {  Tertiary_   { Post-Glacial.        |  Mammals_.    |              |
  | {  or _Modern_                        |               |   Age of     |
  | {                                     |Age of _Extinct|_Angiosperms_ |
  | {              { Pleistocene, or      |   Mammals_.   | and _Palms_. |
  | { _Tertiary_   { Pliocene.            |  (Earliest    |              |
  | {              { Miocene.             |  Placental    |              |
  | {              { Eocene.              |  Mammals.)    |              |
  |                                       |               |              |
  |                                       |               |              |
  | MESOZOIC.                             |               |              |
  | {              { Upper,               |               |  (Earliest   |
  | { _Cretaceous_ { Lower, or Neocomian. |               |   Modern     |
  | {                                     |    Age of     |   Trees.)    |
  | {                                     |  _Reptiles_   |              |
  | {              { Oolite.              | and _Birds_.  |              |
  | { _Jurassic_   { Lias.                |               |    Age of    |
  | {                                     |               | _Cycads_ and |
  | {              { Upper,               |  (Earliest    |   _Pines_.   |
  | { _Triassic_   { Middle, or           |   Marsupial   |              |
  | {              {  Muschelkalk.        |   Mammals.)   |              |
  | {              { Lower.               |               |              |
  |                                       |               |              |
  |                                       |               |              |
  | PALÆOZOIC.                            |               |              |
  | {              { Upper,               |               |              |
  | {              { Middle, or Magnesian |               |              |
  | { _Permian_    {  Limestone.          |(Earliest True |              |
  | {              { Lower.               |  Reptiles.)   |              |
  | {                                     |               |              |
  | {              { Upper Coal-Formation.|               |              |
  | { _Carboni-    { Coal-Formation.      |               |              |
  | {  ferous_     { Carboniferous        |               |              |
  | {              {  Limestone.          |               |              |
  | {              { Lower Coal-Formation.|    Age of     |    Age of    |
  | {                                     | _Amphibians_  |_Acrogens_ and|
  | { _Erian_      { Upper.               | and _Fishes_. |_Gymnosperms_.|
  | {   or         { Middle.              |               |              |
  | { _Devonian_   { Lower.               |               |              |
  | {                                     |               |              |
  | {              { Upper,               |               |              |
  | { _Silurian_   { Lower, or            |    Age of     |              |
  | {              {  Siluro-Cambrian.    |  _Mollusks_,  |  (Earliest   |
  | {                                     | _Corals_ and  |Land Plants.) |
  | {              { Upper.               |_Crustaceans_. |Age of _Algæ_.|
  | { _Cambrian_   { Middle.              |               |              |
  | {              { Lower.               |               |              |
  |                                       |               |              |
  |                                       |               |              |
  | EOZOIC.                               |               |              |
  | { _Huronian_   { Upper.               |               |              |
  | {              { Lower.               |    Age of     | Indications  |
  | {                                     |  _Protozoa_.  | of Plants    |
  | {              { Upper, or Norian.    | (First Animal |    not       |
  | { _Laurentian_ { Middle,              |   Remains.)   | determinable.|
  | {              { Lower, or Bojian.    |               |              |
  |                                       |               |              |

In the oldest rocks known to geologists--those of the Eozoic
time--some indications of the presence of life are found. Great beds
of limestone are contained in these formations, vast quantities of
carbon in the form of graphite, and thick beds of iron-ore. All these
are known, from their mode of occurrence in later deposits, to be
results, direct or indirect, of the agency of life; and if they
afforded no traces of organic forms, still their chemical character
would convey a presumption of their organic origin. But additional
evidence has been obtained in the presence of certain remarkable
laminated forms penetrated by microscopic tubes and canals, and which
are supposed to be the remains of the calcareous skeletons of
humbly-organized animals akin to the simplest of those now living in
the sea. Such animals--little more than masses of living animal
jelly--now abound in the waters, and protect themselves by secreting
calcareous skeletons, often complex and beautiful, and penetrated by
pores, through which the soft animal within can send forth minute
thread-like extensions of its body, which serve instead of limbs. The
Laurentian fossil known as _Eozoon Canadense_ (see Fig. 3) may have
been the skeleton of such a lowly-organized animal; and if so, it is
the oldest living thing that we know. But if really the skeleton or
covering of such an animal, _Eozoon_ is larger than any of its
successors, and quite as complex as any of them. There is nothing to
show that it could have originated from dead matter by any
spontaneous action, any more than its modern representatives could do
so. There is no evidence of its progress by evolution into any higher
form, and the group of animals to which it belongs has continued to
inhabit the ocean throughout geological time without any perceptible
advance in rank or complexity of structure. If, then, we admit the
animal nature of this earliest fossil, we can derive from it no
evidence of monistic evolution; and if we deny its animal nature, we
are confronted with a still graver difficulty in the next succeeding

    [Illustration: FIG. 3.

    1. Small specimen of _Eozoon Canadense_, weathered out from
    the containing rock, and showing its laminated structure.

    2. Casts of irregular or acervaline chambers of upper part

    3. Surface of a cast of a flat chamber, showing its
    constituent chamberlets (magnified).

    4. Section of casts of flat chambers (magnified). From the
    Laurentian of Canada.]

Between the rocks which contain _Eozoon_ and the next in which we find
any abundant remains of life, there is a gap in geological history,
either destitute of evidence of life or showing nothing materially in
advance of _Eozoon_. In the Cambrian Age, however, we obtain a vast
and varied accession of life. Here we find evidence that the sea
swarmed with living creatures near akin to those which still inhabit
it, and nearly as varied. Referring merely to leading groups, we have
here the soft shellfishes and the worms, the ordinary shellfishes, the
sea-stars, and the corals, with the sponges. In short, had we been
able to drop our dredge into the Cambrian or Lower Silurian ocean, we
should have brought up representatives of all the leading types of
invertebrate life that exist in the modern seas--different, it is
true, in details of structure from those now existing, but constructed
on the same principles and filling the same places in nature.

If we inquire as to the history of this swarming marine life of the
early Palæozoic, we find that its several species, after enduring for
a longer or a shorter time, one by one became extinct and were
replaced by others belonging to the same groups. Thus there is in each
great group a succession of new forms, distinct as species, but not
perceptibly elevated in the scale of being. In many cases, indeed, the
reverse seems to be the case; for it is not unusual to find the
successive dynasties of life in any one family manifesting degradation
rather than elevation. New, and sometimes higher, forms, it is true,
appear in the progress of time, but it is impossible, except by
violent suppositions, to connect them genetically with any
predecessors. The succession throughout the Palæozoic presents the
appearance rather of the unchanged persistence of each group under a
succession of specific forms, and the introduction from time to time
of new groups, as if to replace others which were in process of decay
and disappearance.

In the later half of the Palæozoic we find a number of higher forms
breaking upon us with the same apparent suddenness as in the case of
the early Cambrian animals. Fishes appear, and soon abound in a great
variety of species, representing types of no mean rank, but,
singularly enough, belonging, in many cases, to groups now very rare;
while the commoner tribes of modern fish do not appear. On the land,
batrachian reptiles now abound, some of them very high in the
sub-class to which they belong. Scorpions, spiders, insects, and
millipedes appear, as well as land-snails, and this not in one
locality only, but over the whole northern hemisphere. At the same
time, the land appears clothed with an exuberant vegetation--not of
the lowest types nor of the highest, but of intermediate forms, such
as those of the pines, the club-mosses, and the ferns, all of which
attained in those days to magnitudes and numbers of species
unsurpassed, and in some cases unequalled, in the modern world. Nor do
they show any signs of an unformed or imperfect state. Their seeds
and spores, their fruits and spore-cases, are as elaborately
constructed, the tissues and forms of their stems and leaves as
delicate and beautiful, as in any modern plants. So with the compound
eyes and filmy wings of insects, the teeth, bones, and scales of
batrachians and fishes; all are as perfectly finished, and many quite
as complex and elegant, as in the animals of the present day (Figure

    [Illustration: FIG. 4.

    Restoration (by _G. F. Matthew_) of a Trilobite
    (_Paradoxides_) from the Lower Cambrian, as an evidence of the
    existence of crustacean animals of high type and great
    complexity in this early age. If such animals were evolved
    from Protozoa by slow and gradual changes, the time required
    would be greater than that which intervened between the
    Cambrian period and the present time.]

This wonderful Palæozoic Age was, however, but a temporary state of
the earth. It passed away, and was replaced by the Mesozoic,
emphatically the reign of reptiles, when animals of that type attained
to colossal magnitude, to variety of function and structure, to
diversity of habitat in sea and on land, altogether unexampled in
their degraded descendants of modern times. Sea-lizards of gigantic
size swarmed everywhere in the waters. On land, huge quadrupeds, like
Atlantosaurus and Iguanodon and Megalosaurus, greatly exceeded the
elephants of later times; while winged reptiles--some of them of small
size, others with wings twenty feet in expanse--flitted in the air.
Strangely enough, with these reptilian lords appeared a few small and
lowly mammals, forerunners of the coming age. Birds also make their
appearance, and at the close of the period forests of broad-leaved
trees altogether different from those of the Palæozoic Age, and
resembling those of our modern woods, appear for the first time over
great portions of the northern hemisphere.

The Cainozoic, or Tertiary, is the age of mammals and of man. In it
the great reptilian tyrants of the Mesozoic disappear, and are
replaced on land and sea by mammals or beasts of the same orders with
those now living, though differing as to genera and species (see Fig.
5). So greatly, indeed, did mammalian life abound in this period that
in the middle part of the Tertiary most of the leading groups were
represented by more numerous species than at present; while many
groups then existing have now no representatives. At the close of this
great and wonderful procession of living beings comes man himself--the
last and crowning triumph of creation; the head, thus far, of life on
the earth.

I have merely glanced at the leading events of this wonderful history,
because its details may be found in so many manuals and popular works
on geology. But if we imagine this great chain of life extending over
periods of enormous duration in comparison with the short span of
human history, presenting to the naturalist hosts of strange forms
which he could scarcely have imagined in his dreams, we may understand
how exciting have been these discoveries crowded within the lives of
two generations of geologists. Further, when we consider that the
general course of this great development of life, beginning with
Protozoa and ending with man, is from below upward--from the more
simple to the more complex--and that there is of necessity, in this
grand growth of life through the ages, a likeness or parallelism to
the growth of the individual animal from its more simple to its more
complex state, we can understand how naturalists should fancy that
here they have been introduced to the workshop of Nature, and that
they can discover how one creature may have been developed from
another by spontaneous evolution.

    [Illustration: FIG. 5.

    Skeleton of the American Mastodon, illustrating the number and
    wide distribution of elephantine animals of the three genera
    _Dinotherium_, _Mastodon_, and _Elephas_ in the later Tertiary
    Age. Gaudry, the most eminent modern authority on these
    animals, remarks that the facts at present known do not
    "permit us to indicate any relation of descent between the
    elephantine animals and those of other orders known to us at

Many naturalists like Darwin and Haeckel, as well as philosophers like
Herbert Spencer, are quite carried away by this analogy, and appear
unable to perceive that it is merely a general resemblance between
processes altogether different in their nature, and therefore in
their causes. The greater part, however, of the more experienced
palæontologists, or students of fossils, have long ago seen that in
the larger field of the earth's history there is very much that cannot
be found in the narrower field of the development of the individual
animal; and they have endeavored to reduce the succession of life to
such general expressions as shall render it more comprehensible and
may at length enable us to arrive at explanations of its complex
phenomena. Of these general expressions or conclusions I may state a
few here, as apposite to our present subject, and as showing how
little of real support the facts of the earth's history give to the
pseudo-gnosis of monistic evolution.

1. The chain of life in geological time presents a wonderful testimony
to the reality of a beginning. Just as we know that any individual
animal must have had its birth, its infancy, its maturity, and will
reach an end of life, so we trace species and groups of species to
their beginning, watch their culmination, and perhaps follow them to
their extinction. It is true that there is a sense in which geology
shows "no sign of a beginning, no prospect of an end;" but this is
manifestly because it has reached only a little way back toward the
beginning of the earth as a whole, and can see in its present state no
indication of the time or manner of the end. But its revelation of the
fact that nearly all the animals and plants of the present day had a
very recent beginning in geological time, and its disclosure of the
disappearance of one form of life after another as we go back in time,
till we reach the comparatively few forms of life of the Lower
Cambrian, and finally have to rest over the solitary grandeur of
_Eozoon_, oblige it to say that nothing known to it is self-existent
and eternal.

2. The geological record informs us that the general laws of nature
have continued unchanged from the earliest periods to which it relates
until the present day. This is the true "uniformitarianism" of geology
which holds to the dominion of existing causes from the first. But it
does not refuse to admit variations in the intensity of these causes
from time to time, and cycles of activity and repose, like those that
we see on a small scale in the seasons, the occurrence of storms, or
the paroxysms of volcanoes. When we find that the eyes of the old
trilobites have had lenses and tubes similar to those in the eyes of
modern crustaceans, we have evidence of the persistence of the laws of
light. When we see the structures of Palæozoic leaves identical with
those of our modern forests, we know that the arrangements of the
soil, the atmosphere, and the rain were the same at that ancient time
as at present. Yet, with all this, we also find evidence that
long-continued periods of physical quiescence were followed by great
crumplings and foldings of the earth's crust, and we know that this
also is consistent with the operation of law; for it often happens
that causes long and quietly operating prepare for changes which may
be regarded as sudden and cataclysmic.

3. Throughout the geological history there is progress toward greater
complexity and higher grade, along with degradation and extinction.
Though experience shows that it may be quite possible that new
discoveries may enable us to trace some of the higher forms of life
farther back than we now find them, yet there can be no question that
in the progress of geological time lower types have given place to
higher, less specialized to more specialized. Curiously enough, no
evidence proves this more clearly than that which relates to the
degradation of old forms. When, for example, the reptiles of the
Mesozoic Age were the lords of creation, there was apparently no place
for the larger Mammalia which appear at the close of the reptile
dynasty. So in the Palæozoic, when trees of the cryptogamous type
predominated, there seems to have been no room in nature for the
forests of modern type which succeeded them. Thus the earth at every
period was fully peopled with living beings--at first with low and
generalized structures which attained their maxima at early stages and
then declined, and afterward with higher forms which took the places
of those that were passing away. These latter, again, though their
dominion was taken from them, were continued in lower positions under
the new dynasties. Thus none of the lower types of life introduced was
finally abandoned, but, after culminating in the highest forms of
which it was capable, each was still continued, though with fewer
species and a lower place. Examples of this abound in the history of
all the leading groups of animals and plants.

4. There is thus a continued plan and order in the history of life
which cannot be fortuitous. The chance interaction of organisms and
their environment, even if we assume the organisms and environment as
given to us, could never produce an orderly continuous progress of the
utmost complexity in its detail, and extending through an enormous
lapse of time. It has been well said that if a pair of dice were to
turn up aces a hundred times in succession, any reasonable spectator
would conclude that they were loaded dice; so if countless millions of
atoms and thousands of species, each including within itself most
complex arrangement of parts, turn up in geological time in perfectly
regular order and a continued gradation of progress, something more
than chance must be implied. It is to be observed here that every
species of animal or plant, of however low grade, consists of many
co-ordinated parts in a condition of the nicest equilibrium. Any
change occurring which produces unequal or disproportionate
development, as the experience of breeders of abnormal varieties of
animals and plants abundantly proves, imperils the continued existence
of the species. Changes must, therefore, in order to be profitable,
affect the parts of the organism simultaneously and symmetrically. The
chances of this may well be compared to the casting of aces a
hundred times in succession, and are so infinitely small as to be
incredible under any other supposition than that of intelligent

    [Illustration: FIG. 6.

    Group of Plants (restored) from the Devonian period,
    illustrating the complexity and beauty of the earliest known
    land vegetation, though many of the leading forms of modern
    plants are unknown in this very ancient period.]

5. The progress of life in geological time. Just as the growth of
trees is promoted or arrested by the vicissitudes of summer and
winter, so in the course of the geological history there have been
periods of pause and acceleration in the work of advancement. This is
in accordance with the general analogy of the operations of nature,
and is in no way at variance with the doctrine of uniformity already
referred to. Nor has it anything in common with the unfounded idea, at
one time entertained, of successive periods of entire destruction and
restoration of life. Prolific periods of this kind appear in the
marine invertebrates of the early Cambrian, the plants (Figure 6) and
fishes of the Devonian, the batrachians of the Carboniferous, the
reptiles of the Trias, the broad-leaved trees of the Cretaceous, and
the mammals of the early Tertiary. A remarkable contrast is afforded
by the later Tertiary and modern time, in which, with the exception of
man himself, and perhaps a very few other species, no new forms of
life have been introduced, while many old forms have perished. This
is somewhat unfortunate, since, in such a period of stagnation as that
in which we live, we can scarcely hope to witness either the creation
or the evolution of a new species. Evolutionists themselves--those, at
least, who are willing to allow their theory to be at all modified by
facts--now perceive this; and hence we have the doctrine, advanced by
Mivart, Le Conte, and others, of "critical periods," or periods of
rapid evolution alternating with others of greater quiescence. It is
further to be observed here that in a limited way and with reference
to certain forms of life we can see a reason for these intermittent
creations. The greater part of the marine fossils known to us are from
rocks now raised up in our continents, and they lived at periods when
the continents were submerged. Now, in geological time these periods
of submergence alternated with others of elevation; and it is manifest
that each period of continental submergence gave scope for the
introduction of numbers of new marine species, while each continental
elevation, on the other hand, gave opportunity for the increase of
land-life. Further, periods when a warm climate prevailed in the
arctic regions--periods when plants such as now live in temperate
regions could enjoy six months of continuous sunshine--were eminently
favorable to the development of such plants, and were utilized for the
introduction of new floras, which subsequently spread to the
southward. Thus we see physical changes occurring in an orderly
succession and made subservient to the progress of life.

6. There is no direct evidence that in the course of geological time
one species has been gradually or suddenly changed into another. Of
the latter we could scarcely expect to find any evidence in fossils;
but of the former, if it had occurred, we might expect to find
indications in the history of some of the numerous species which have
been traced through successive geological formations. Species which
thus continue for a great length of time usually present numerous
varietal forms which have sometimes been described as new species; but
when carefully scrutinized they are found to be merely local and
temporary, and to pass into each other. On the other hand, we
constantly find species replaced by others entirely new, and this
without any transition. The two classes of facts are essentially
different; and though it is possible to point out in the newer
geological formations some genera and species allied to others which
have preceded them, and to suppose that the later forms proceeded from
the earlier, still, when the connecting-links cannot be found, this is
mere supposition, not scientific certainty. Further, it proceeds on
the principle of arbitrary choice of certain forms out of many without
any evidence of genetic connection. The worthlessness of such
derivation is well shown in a case which has often been paraded as an
illustration of evolution--the supposed genealogy of the horse. In
America a series of horse-like animals has been selected, beginning
with the _Orohippus_ of the Eocene, and these have been marshalled as
the ancestors of the fossil horses of America; for there are no native
horses in America in the modern period. Yet this is purely arbitrary,
and dependent merely on a succession of genera more and more closely
resembling the modern horse being procurable from successive Tertiary
deposits, often widely separated in time and place. In Europe, on the
other hand, the ancestry of the horse has been traced back to
_Palæotherium_--an entirely different form--by just as likely
indications. Both genealogies can scarcely be true, and there is no
actual proof of either. The existing American horses, which are of
European parentage, are, according to the theory, descendants of
_Palæotherium_, not of _Orohippus_; but if we had not known this on
historical evidence, there would have been nothing to prevent us from
tracing them to the latter animal. This simple consideration alone is
sufficient to show that such genealogies are not of the nature of
scientific evidence.

It is further to be observed that some of the ablest palæontologists,
and those who have enjoyed the largest opportunities of observation
and comparison, attach no value whatever to theories of evolution as
accounting for the origin of species. One of these is Joachim
Barrande, the palæontologist of Bohemia, and the first authority in
Europe on the fossils of the older formations. Barrande, like some
other eminent palæontologists, has the misfortune to be an unbeliever
in the modern gospel of evolution, but he has certainly labored to
overcome his doubts with greater assiduity than even many of the
apostles of the new doctrine; and if he is not convinced, the
stubbornness of the facts he has had to deal with must bear the
blame. In connection with his great and classical work on the Silurian
fossils of Bohemia, it has been necessary for him to study the similar
remains of every other country; and he has used this immense mass of
material in preparing statistics of the population of the Palæozoic
world more perfect than any other naturalist has been able to produce.
In successive memoirs he has applied these statistical results to the
elucidation of the history of the oldest group of crustaceans--the
trilobites--and the highest group of the mollusks--the cephalopods. In
his latest memoir of this kind he takes up the brachiopods, or
lamp-shells, a group of bivalve shellfishes very ancient and very
abundantly represented in all the older formations of every part of
the world, and which thus affords the most ample material for tracing
its evolution, with the least possible difficulty in the nature of
"imperfection of the record."

Barrande, in the publication before us, discusses the brachiopods with
reference, first, to the variations observed within the limits of the
species, eliminating in this way mere synonyms and varieties mistaken
for species. He also arrives at various important conclusions with
reference to the origin of species and varietal forms, which apply to
the cephalopods and trilobites as well as to the brachiopods, and some
of which, as the writer has elsewhere shown, apply very generally to
fossil animals and plants. One of these is that different
contemporaneous species, living under the same conditions, exhibit
very different degrees of vitality and variability. Another is the
sudden appearance at certain horizons of a great number of species,
each manifesting its complete specific characters. With very rare
exceptions, also, varietal forms are contemporaneous with the normal
form of their specific type, and occur in the same localities. Only in
a very few cases do they survive it. This and the previous results, as
well as the fact that parallel changes go on in groups having no
direct reaction on each other, prove that variation is not a
progressive influence, and that specific distinctions are not
dependent on it, but on the "sovereign action of one and the same
creative cause," as Barrande expresses it. These conclusions, it may
be observed, are not arrived at by that "slap-dash" method of mere
assertion so often followed on the other side of these questions, but
by the most severe and painstaking induction, and with careful
elaboration of a few apparent exceptions and doubtful cases.

His second heading relates to the distribution in time of the genera
and species of brachiopods. This he illustrates with a series of
elaborate tables, accompanied by explanation. He then proceeds to
consider the animal population of each formation, in so far as
brachiopods, cephalopods, and trilobites are concerned, with reference
to the following questions: (1) How many species are continued from
the previous formation unchanged? (2) How many may be regarded as
modifications of previous species? (3) How many are migrants from
other regions where they have been known to exist previously? (4) How
many are absolutely new species? These questions are applied to each
of fourteen successive formations included in the Silurian of Bohemia.
The total number of species of brachiopods in these formations is six
hundred and forty, giving an average of 45.71 to each, and the results
of accurate study of each species in its characters, its varieties,
its geographical and geological range, are expressed in the following
short statement, which should somewhat astonish those gentlemen who
are so fond of asserting that derivation is "demonstrated" by
geological facts:

     1. Species continued unchanged            28 per cent.
     2. Species migrated from abroad            7    "
     3. Species continued with modification     0    "
     4. New species without known ancestors    65    "
                                              100 per cent.

He shows that the same or very similar proportions hold with respect
to the cephalopods and trilobites, and, in fact, that the proportion
of species in the successive Silurian faunæ which can be attributed to
descent with modification is absolutely _nil_. He may well remark that
in the face of such facts the origin of species is not explained by
what he terms _les élans poétiques de l'imagination_.

The third part of Barrande's memoir, relating to the comparison of the
Silurian brachiopods of Bohemia with those of other countries, though
of great scientific interest, and important in extending the
conclusions of his previous chapters, does not so nearly concern our
present subject.

I have thought it well to direct attention to these memoirs of
Barrande, because they form a specimen of conscientious work with the
view of ascertaining if there is any basis in nature for the doctrine
of spontaneous evolution of species, and, I am sorry to say, a
striking contrast to the mixture of fact and fancy on this subject
which too often passes current for science in England, America, and
Germany. Barrande's studies are also well deserving the attention of
our younger men of science, as they have before them, more especially
in the widely-spread Palæozoic formations of America, an admirable
field for similar work. In an appendix to his first chapter Barrande
mentions that the three men who in their respective countries are the
highest authorities on Palæozoic brachiopods, Hall, Davidson, and De
Koninck, agree with him in the main in his conclusions, and he refers
to an able memoir by D'Archiac in the same sense, on the cretaceous

It should be especially satisfactory to those naturalists who, like
the writer, had failed to see in the palæontological record any good
evidence for the production of species by those simple and ready
methods in vogue with most evolutionists, to note the extension of
actual facts with respect to the geological dates and precise
conditions of the introduction of new forms, and to find that these
are more and more tending to prove the existence of highly complex
creative laws in connection with the great plan of the Creator as
carried out in geological time. These new facts should also warn the
ordinary reader of the danger of receiving without due caution those
general and often boastful assertions respecting these great and
intricate questions made by persons not acquainted with their actual
difficulty, or by enthusiastic speculators disposed to overlook
everything not in accordance with their preconceived ideas.

It may be asked, Is there, then, no place in the geological record
even for theistic evolution? This it would be rash to affirm. We can
only say that up to this time there is no proof of it. If nature has
followed this method, she seems carefully to have concealed the
process. If such changes have occurred as to evolve from a species,
say of mollusk or coral, belonging to one geological period some form
found in another period, and recognized as a distinct species, we have
to suppose that the capacity for such change was in some way implanted
in the species on its creation, and ready to be developed under
favorable conditions or in the lapse of time. For example, we may
suppose that a plant originating in the long arctic summers of a warm
period might, on migrating southward into the alternations of day and
night, undergo material changes. A marine animal long confined to a
limited sea-basin might, on being permitted to expand over a wide
submerged continent, be greatly modified in its structure and habits.
Up to a certain point we know that such changes have occurred, and
Barrande himself has largely illustrated them. As an example which I
have myself studied, I may refer to the common shells known on our
coasts as sand-clams (_Mya truncata and Mya arenaria_). The former
species, in the cold waters of the Glacial Age, assumed a short form
which it still retains in the arctic regions, and occasionally in the
colder waters of the more temperate regions, though there a more
elongated form prevails. Evidently the two forms are interchangeable
according to the temperature of the water. Still, if we could imagine
a permanent refrigeration over all the area occupied by the animal,
the short form only might survive, and might be supposed to be a
distinct species. This did not occur, however, even in the Glacial
Age, and is not likely to occur. Further, the allied, though quite
distinct, species _Mya arenaria_ has lived with the other through all
the long duration of the Post-Pliocene and modern periods, and, though
having its own range of varietal forms, has preserved its
distinctness. Cases of this kind are obviously of the nature of
varietal, not specific, change.

In conclusion, the whole of the facts and laws above detailed point to
a predetermined plan and to an intelligent Creator, of whose laws and
modes of procedure we may learn much by patient and careful study.
This surely gives a great additional interest to that marvellous story
of the earth which in these last days has been revealed to us by the
study of the rocks. We may also infer that not one method only but
many have been employed in replenishing the earth at first with living
beings, and in adding to these from time to time. To what extent we
may be able to understand these, time and future discoveries will
show. In the mean time, we can only suggest such general theories as
those referred to in the first of these lectures, but can affirm that
Agnostic Evolution is altogether abortive in its attempts to solve the
problem of the chain of life in geological time.


[7] _Story of the Earth_, _Origin of the World_, _Chain of Life in
Geological Time_.



Man, when regarded merely as an organism, is closely related to the
lower animals. His body is constructed on the same general plan with
theirs. More especially, he is near akin to the other members of the
class Mammalia. But we must not forget that even as an animal man is
somewhat widely separated from his humbler relations (see Fig. 7). It
is easy to say that every bone, every muscle, every convolution of his
brain, has its counterpart in the corresponding parts of an orang or a
gorilla. But, admitting this, it is also true that every one of these
parts is different, and that the aggregate of all the differences
mounts up to an enormous sum-total, more especially in relation to
habits and to capacities for action. Those remarkable homologies or
likenesses of plan which obtain in the animal kingdom are very
wonderful, and the study of them greatly enlarges our conceptions of
the unity of nature; but we must never forget that such general
agreements in plan cover the most profound differences in detail and
in adaptation to use, and that, while they indicate a common type,
this may rather point to a unity of design than to a mere accidental
unity of descent.

    [Illustration: FIG. 7.

    Man and his "poor relation," the gorilla. (_After Huxley._)
    The head of the gorilla, with immense jaws and small
    brain-case, its huge spines on the neck, its long arms, its
    elongated pelvis, and its hand-like feet, with its incapacity
    to assume the erect position, indicate its ordinal difference
    from man, and the necessity of many intermediate forms, still
    unknown, to connect the two species.]

There is a method, well known to natural science, for measuring and
indicating the divergence of man from his nearest allies. This is the
application of those principles of classification which, though of
essential importance in science, are by some modern students of nature
strangely overlooked or misunderstood. Perhaps in nothing has the
progress of ideas of evolution made a more injurious impress on the
advance of knowledge than in the manner in which it has caused many
eminent and able naturalists to diverge from all logical propriety in
their ideas of classification. Still, in so far as man is concerned,
there are some facts of this kind which are indisputable. He certainly
constitutes a distinct species, including many races, which all,
however, have common specific characters. On the other hand, no one
pretends that he is _conspecific_ with any lower animal. All
naturalists would now deride the stories, at one time current, that
gorillas and chimpanzees are degraded races of men. On the other
hand, even Haeckel admits that there is a wide gap, unfilled by any
recent or any fossil creature, between man and the highest apes.
Again, no _generic_ relationship can be claimed as between man and the
lower animals. He presents such structural differences as entitle him
to rank by himself in the genus _Homo_. Still further, the ablest
naturalists, before the rise of Darwinism, held that man was entitled
to be placed in a separate family or order from the apes. Modern
evolutionists prefer to fall back on the old arrangement of Linnæus,
and to place man and apes together in the group of Primates, which,
however, Linnæus would not have regarded as precisely of the same
value with an order as now held. In this those of them who have
sufficient ability to comprehend the facts of the case are undoubtedly
warped in judgment by the tendency of their philosophy to magnify
resemblances and to minimize differences; while the herd of feebler
men have their ideas of classification thoroughly confused by the
doctrine which they have received as a creed dictated by authority,
and to which they adhere under the influence of fear. In point of
fact, the differences between man and any other animal are so wide
that they warrant a distinction, not merely specific and generic, but
of a family and an ordinal character.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate this will be to suppose that man
has become extinct, and that in some future geological period his
fossil remains are studied by some new race of intelligent beings, and
compared with those of the lower animals his contemporaries. Let us
suppose that they have disinterred a human skull or the bones of a
human foot. From the foot they would learn that man is not an arboreal
animal, but intended to walk erect on the ground. They could infer
from this certain structures and uses of the vertebral column and of
the anterior limbs different from those found in apes, and which would
certainly induce them to conclude that they had obtained remains
indicating a new order of mammals. If they had found the foot alone,
they might doubt whether the possessor of this strange and
highly-specialized organ had been carnivorous or herbivorous, more
nearly allied to the bears or to the monkeys. Should they now find the
skull, these doubts would be solved, and they would know that the new
animal was somewhat nearer to the apes than to the bears, but still
at a very remote distance from them, and this indicated by
peculiarities of brain-case, jaws, and teeth, proving divergences in
function still wider than those apparent in the structures. They would
also plainly perceive that to link man with his nearest mammalian
allies would require the discovery of several missing links.

When we consider the psychological endowments of man, his divergence
from lower animals becomes immensely greater. In his external senses
and in the perceptions derived through them it is true he resembles
the brutes. There is also much in common with them in his appetites
and emotions, and in some of the lower manifestations of intelligence.
But he adds to this a higher reason, which causes his actions to be
differently determined from theirs; and this higher reason, or
spiritual nature, leads him to abstract ideas, to consciousness, to
notions of right and of wrong, to ideas of higher spiritual beings and
of futurity altogether unknown to lower animals. This divine reason,
in connection with special vocal contrivances, also bestows on him the
gift of speech. Nor can speech be reduced to a mere imitation of
natural sounds; for, granting that these sounds may be the raw
material of speech, yet man is enabled to apply this to the expression
of ideas in a manner altogether peculiar to himself. Scientific
precision obliges us to recognize these differences, and to admit that
they place man on an entirely different plane from the lower animals.

Perhaps the expression "a different plane" is scarcely correct, for
man can exist on many different planes--a fact which has produced some
confusion in the minds of naturalists not versed in psychological
questions, though, when rightly considered, it marks very strongly the
distinction between the man and the mere animal.

The lower animals are tied up by invariable instincts to certain lines
of action which keep all the individuals of any species on nearly the
same level, except where some little disturbance may be caused by man
in his processes of domestication. But with man it is quite different.
He is emancipated from the bond of instinct, and left free to follow
the guidance of his own will, determined by his own reason. It follows
that the habits and the actions of a man depend on what he knows and
believes, and on the deductions of his reason from these premises.
Without knowledge, culture, and training, man is more helpless than
any brute. With the noblest and highest capacities, he may devise and
follow habits of life more base than those of any mere animal. Thus
there is an almost immeasurable difference between the Godlike height
to which man can attain by the right use of his powers and the depth
to which ignorance and depravity may degrade him. It follows that the
degradation of the lower races of men is as strong a proof of the
difference between man and the lower animals as is the elevation of
the higher races. Both are characteristic of a being emancipated from
the control of instinct, knowing good and evil, free to choose, and
differing in these respects from every other creature on earth. Such
is man as we find him; and we may well ask by what process animal
instinct could ever spontaneously develop human freedom and human

But we might have evidence of such a process, however strange and
improbable it might at first sight appear. We might be able to trace
man back in history or by prehistoric remains to greater and greater
approximation to the lower animals, and might thus bridge over the
great chasm now existing between man and beast. It may be instructive,
therefore, to glance at what geology discloses as to the origin of man
and his first appearance on the earth.

In the older geological formations no remains of man or of his works
have been found. Nor do we expect to find them, for none of the
animals more nearly related to man then existed, and the condition of
the earth was probably not suited to them. Nor do we find human
remains even in the earlier Tertiary. Here also we do not expect them,
for the Mammalia of those times were all specifically distinct from
those of the modern world. It is only in the Pliocene period that we
begin to find modern species of mammals. Here, therefore, we may look
for human remains; but we do not find them as yet, and it is only at
the close of the Pliocene, or even after the succeeding Glacial
period, that we find undoubted traces of man. Let us glance at the
significance of this.

Mammalian life probably culminated or attained to its maximum in the
Miocene and the early Pliocene periods. Then there were more numerous,
larger, and better-developed quadrupeds on our continents than we now
find. For example, the elephants, the noblest of the mammals, are at
present represented by two species confined to India and parts of
Africa.[8] In the Middle Tertiary there were, in addition to the
ordinary elephants, two other genera, Mastodon and Dinotherium, and
there were many species which were distributed over the whole northern
hemisphere. The sub-Himalayan deposits of India alone have, I believe,
afforded seven species, some of them of grander dimensions than either
of those now existing. We have no trustworthy evidence as yet that man
lived at this period. If he had, he either would have required the
protection of a special Eden, or would have needed superhuman strength
and sagacity.

But the grand mammalian life of the Middle Tertiary was destined to
die out. At the close of the Pliocene came an age of refrigeration,
when arctic cold crept down over our continents far to the south, and
when most of the animals suited to temperate climates were either
frozen out or driven southward. During, or closing, this period was
also a great submergence of the continents, which must have been
equally destructive to mammalian life, and which extended over both
Eurasia and America till the summits of some of the highest hills were
under water. Attempts have been made to show that man existed before
or during the Glacial Age, but this is very unlikely, and, as I have
elsewhere argued, the evidence adduced to prove so great antiquity of
man, whether in America or Europe, has altogether broken down.[9]

At the close of the Glacial period the continents re-emerged and
became more extensive than at present. Survivors of the Pliocene
species, as well as other species not previously known, spread
themselves over this new land. It would appear that it was in this
"Post-Glacial" period that man made his appearance, and that he was
then contemporary with many large animals now extinct, and was the
possessor of wider continental areas than his descendants now enjoy.
To this age belong those human bones and implements found in the older
cave and gravel deposits of Europe, and which are referred to those
palæolithic or palæocosmic ages which preceded the dawn of history in
Europe and the arrival therein of the present European races. The
occupation of Europe, and probably of Western Asia, by these oldest
tribes of men was closed by a subsidence or submergence at the end of
that "second continental period," as it has been called by Lyell,[10]
in which they lived. When the land was restored to its present
condition, they were replaced by the ancestors of the present European

It may be well here to tabulate that later portion of the earth's
geological history in which man appeared, more especially as it is
sometimes arranged in a manner not suited to convey a correct
impression of the actual succession. It will be seen by the general
table given in the last lecture that the latest of the Tertiary ages
is that known as the Pleistocene or Post-Pliocene, and this, with the
succeeding modern period, may be best arranged as follows:

     I. PLEISTOCENE, including--

     (_a_) _Early Pleistocene_, or First Continental Period. Land
     very extensive, moderate climate.

     (_b_) _Later Pleistocene_, or Glacial (including Dawkins'
     "Mid-Pleistocene"). In this there was a great prevalence of
     cold and glacial conditions, and a great submergence of the
     northern land.

     II. MODERN, or Period of Man and Modern Mammals, including--

     (_a_) _Post-Glacial_, or Second Continental Period, in which
     the land was again very extensive, and palæocosmic man was
     contemporary with some great mammals--as the mammoth, now
     extinct--and the area of land in the northern hemisphere was
     greater than at present. (This represents the Late
     Pleistocene of Dawkins.) It was terminated by a great and
     very general subsidence, accompanied by the disappearance of
     palæocosmic man and some large Mammalia, and which may be
     identical with the historical deluge.[11]

     (_b_) _Recent_, when the continents attained their present
     levels, existing races of men colonized Europe, and living
     species of mammals. This includes both the Prehistoric and
     the Historic Period.

The palæocosmic men of the above table are the oldest certainly known
to us, and it has been truly said of them that they are so closely
related to modern races that, on any hypothesis of gradual evolution,
we must look for the transition from apes to men not merely in the
Eocene Tertiary, but even in the Mesozoic--that is, in formations
vastly older than any containing any remains so far as known either of
man or of apes. That these most ancient men were in truth most truly
human, and that they presented no transition to lower animals, will
appear from the following notices, which I condense from a work of my
own in which these subjects are more fully treated:

The beautiful work of Lartet and Christy has vividly portrayed to us
the antiquities of the limestone plateau of the Dordogne--the ancient
Aquitania--remains which recall to us a population of Horites, or
cave-dwellers, of a time anterior to the dawn of history in France,
living much like the modern hunter-tribes of America, and, as already
stated, possibly contemporary--in their early history, at least--with
the mammoth and its extinct companions of the later Post-Pliocene
forests. We have already noticed the arts and implements of these
people, but what manner of people were they in themselves? The answer
is given to us by the skeletons found in the cave of Cro-magnon. This
cavern is a shelter or hollow under an overhanging ledge of limestone,
and excavated originally by the action of the weather on a softer bed.
It fronts the south-west and the little river Vezère; and, having
originally been about eight feet high and nearly twenty deep, must
have formed a cosey shelter from rain or cold or summer sun, and with
a pleasant outlook from its front. All rude races have much sagacity
in making selections of this sort. Being nearly fifty feet wide, it
was capacious enough to accommodate several families, and when in use
it no doubt had trees or shrubs in front, and may have been further
completed by stones, poles, or bark placed across the opening. It
seems, however, in the first instance to have been used only at
intervals, and to have been left vacant for considerable portions of
time. Perhaps it was visited only by hunting-or war-parties. But
subsequently it was permanently occupied, and this for so long a time
that in some places ashes and carbonaceous matter a foot and a half
deep, with bones, implements, etc., were accumulated. By this time the
height of the cavern had been much diminished, and, instead of
clearing it out for future use, it was made a place of burial, in
which four or five individuals were interred. Of these, two were men,
one of great age, the other probably in the prime of life. A third was
a woman of about thirty or forty years of age. The other remains were
too fragmentary to give very certain results.

These bones, with others to be mentioned in connection with them,
unquestionably belong to the oldest human inhabitants known in Western
Europe. They have been most carefully examined by several competent
anatomists and archæologists, and the results have been published
with excellent figures in the _Reliquiæ Aquitanicæ_. They are,
therefore, of the utmost interest for our present purpose, and I shall
try so to divest the descriptions of anatomical details as to give a
clear notion of their character. The 'Old Man of Cro-magnon' was of
great stature, being nearly six feet high. More than this, his bones
show that he was of the strongest and most athletic muscular
development--a Samson in strength; and the bones of the limbs have the
peculiar form which is characteristic of athletic men habituated to
rough walking, climbing, and running, for this is, I believe, the real
meaning of the enormous strength of the thigh-bone and the flattened
condition of the leg in this and other old skeletons. It occurs to
some extent, though much less than in this old man, in American
skeletons. His skull presents all the characters of advanced age,
though the teeth had been worn down to the sockets without being lost;
which, again, is the character of some, though not of all, aged Indian
skulls. The skull proper, or brain-case, is very long--more so than in
ordinary modern skulls--and this length is accompanied with a great
breadth; so that the brain was of greater size than in average modern
men, and the frontal region was largely and well developed. In this
respect this most ancient skull fails utterly to vindicate the
expectations of those who would regard prehistoric men as approaching
to the apes. It is at the opposite extreme. The face, however,
presented very peculiar characters. It was extremely broad, with
projecting cheek-bones and heavy jaw, in this resembling the coarse
types of the American face, and the eye-orbits were square and
elongated laterally. The nose was large and prominent, and the jaws
projected somewhat forward. This man, therefore, had, as to his
features, some resemblance to the harsher type of American
physiognomy, with overhanging brows, small and transverse eyes, high
cheek-bones, and coarse mouth. He had not lived to so great an age
without some rubs, for his thigh-bone showed a depression which must
have resulted from a severe wound--perhaps from the horn of some wild
animal or the spear of an enemy.

The woman presented similar characters of stature and cranial form
modified by her sex, and must in form and visage have been a veritable
squaw, who, if her hair and complexion were suitable, would have
passed at once for an American Indian woman, of unusual size and
development. Her head bears sad testimony to the violence of her age
and people. She died from the effects of a blow from a stone-headed
pogamogan or spear, which has penetrated the right side of the
forehead with so clean a fracture as to indicate the extreme rapidity
and force of its blow. It is inferred from the condition of the edges
of this wound that she may have survived its infliction for two weeks
or more. If, as is most likely, the wound was received in some sudden
attack by a hostile tribe, they must have been driven off or have
retired, leaving the wounded woman in the hands of her friends to be
tended for a time, and then buried, either with other members of her
family or with others who had perished in the same skirmish. Unless
the wound was inflicted in sleep, during a night-attack, she must have
fallen, not in flight, but with her face to the foe, perhaps aiding
the resistance of her friends or shielding her little ones from
destruction. With the people of Cro-magnon, as with the American
Indians, the care of the wounded was probably a sacred duty, not to be
neglected without incurring the greatest disgrace and the vengeance of
the guardian spirits of the sufferers.

The skulls of these people have been compared to those of the modern
Esthonians or Lithuanians; but on the authority of M. Quatrefages it
is stated that, while this applies to the probably later race of small
men found in some of the Belgian caves, it does not apply so well to
the people of Cro-magnon. Are, then, these people the types of any
ancient, or of the most ancient, European race? One answer is given by
the remarkable skeleton of Mentone, in the South of France, found
under circumstances equally suggestive of great antiquity (Figure 8).
Dr. Rivière, in a memoir on this skeleton illustrated by two beautiful
photographs, shows that the characters of the skull and of the bones
of the limbs are precisely similar to those of the Cro-magnon
skeleton, indicating a perfect identity of race, while the objects
found with the skeleton are similar in character.

The ornaments of Cro-magnon were perforated shells from the Atlantic
and pieces of ivory. Those at Mentone were perforated Neritinæ from
the Mediterranean and canine-teeth of the deer. In both cases there
was evidence that these ancient people painted themselves with red
oxide of iron; and, as if to complete the similarity, the Mentone man
had an old healed-up fracture of the radius of the left arm, the
effect of a violent blow or of a fall. Skulls found at Clichy and
Grenelle in 1868 and 1869 are described by Professor Broca and Mr.
Fleurens as of the same general type, and the remains found at
Gibraltar and in the cave of Paviland, in England, seem also to have
belonged to the same race. The celebrated Engis skull, believed to
have belonged to a contemporary of the mammoth, is also precisely of
the same type, though less massive than that of Cro-magnon; and,
lastly, even the somewhat degraded Neanderthal skull, found in a cave
near Dusseldorf, though, like that of Clichy, inferior in frontal
development, is referable to the same peculiar long-headed style of
man, in so far as can be judged from the portion that remains.

    [Illustration: FIG. 8.

    Portion of the skeleton of the fossil man of Mentone. This
    skeleton was discovered by Dr. Rivière under about twenty feet
    of accumulated débris. It belongs to the palæocosmic age, and
    illustrates the high type, physically, of the man of that
    period. The skeleton, like others of that age, indicates a man
    of great stature and muscular vigor, and with brain above the
    average size. (_After Rivière._)]

Let it be observed, then, that these skulls are probably the oldest
known in the world, and they are all referable to one race of men; and
let us ask what they tell as to the position and character of
palæolithic man. The testimony is here fortunately wellnigh unanimous.
Huxley, who well compares some of the peculiar features of these
ancient skulls and skeletons to those of Australians and other rude
tribes, and of the ancient Danes of Borroby--a people not improbably
allied to the Esthonians and Fins--remarks that the manner in which
the individual heads of the most homogeneous rude races differ from
each other "in the same characters, though perhaps not to the same
extent with the Engis and Neanderthal skulls, seems to prohibit any
cautious reasoner from affirming the latter to have necessarily been
of distinct races." My own experience in American skulls, and the
still larger experience of Dr. Wilson, fully confirm the wisdom of
this caution.... He adds: "Finally, the comparatively large cranial
capacity of the Neanderthal skull, overlaid though it may be by
pithecoid, bony walls, and the completely human proportions of the
accompanying limb-bones, together with the very fair development of
the Engis skull, clearly indicate that the first traces of the
primordial stock whence man has been derived need no longer be sought
by those who entertain any form of the doctrine of progressive
development in the newest Tertiaries, but that they may be looked for
in an epoch more distant from that of the _Elephas primigenius_ than
that is from us." If he had possessed the Cro-magnon and Mentone
skulls at the time when this was written, he might well have said
immeasurably distant from the time of the _Elephas primigenius_.
Professor Broca, who seems by no means disinclined to favor a simian
origin for men, has the following general conclusions, which refer to
the Cro-magnon skulls: "The great volume of the brain, the development
of the frontal region, the fine elliptical profile of the anterior
portion of the skull, and the orthognathous form of the upper facial
region, are incontestably evidence of superiority which are met with
usually only in the civilized races. On the other hand, the great
breadth of face, the alveolar prognathism, the enormous development of
the ascending ramus of the lower jaw, the extent and roughness of the
muscular insertions, especially of the masticatory muscles, give rise
to the idea of a violent and brutal race."

    [Illustration: FIG. 9.

    Three bone harpoons. The upper is from Kent's Cavern, Torquay,
    and perhaps the oldest known, being of the mammoth age. The
    second is from Denmark, and is neocosmic, though prehistoric.
    The third is modern, from Tierra del Fuego. They show the
    similarity of bone implements in all ages of the world. The
    earliest had already attained as much perfection as the
    material permitted with reference to the use intended.]

He adds that this apparent antithesis, seen also in the limbs as well
as in the skull, accords with the evidence furnished by the associated
weapons and implements of a rude hunter-life, and at the same time of
no mean degree of taste and skill in carving and other arts (see Fig.
9). He might have added that this is precisely the antithesis seen in
the American tribes, among whom art and taste of various kinds, and
much that is high and spiritual even in thought, coexisted with
barbarous modes of life and intense ferocity and cruelty. The god and
the devil were combined in these races, but there was nothing of the
mere brute.

Rivière remarks, with expressions of surprise, the same contradictory
points in the Mentone skeleton. Its grand development of brain-case
and high facial angle--even higher, apparently, than in most of these
ancient skulls--combined with other characters which indicate a low
type and barbarous modes of life.

Another point which strikes us in reading the descriptions, and which
deserves the attention of those who have access to the skeletons, is
the indication which they seem to present of an extreme longevity. The
massive proportions of the body, the great development of the muscular
processes, the extreme wearing of the teeth among a people who
predominantly lived on flesh and not on grain, the obliteration of the
sutures of the skull, along with indications of slow ossification of
the ends of the long bones, point in this direction, and seem to
indicate a slow maturity and great length of life in this most
primitive race.

The picture would be incomplete did we not add that in France and
Belgium, in the immediately succeeding or reindeer age, these gigantic
and magnificent men seem to have been superseded by a feebler race of
smaller stature and with shorter heads; so that we have, even in these
oldest days, the same contrasts so plainly perceptible in the races of
the North of Europe and the North of America in historical times
(Figure 10).

    [Illustration: FIG. 10.

    Section of the cave of Frontal, in Belgium. (_After Dupont._)
    _a_, limestone; _b_, deposit of mud of the mammoth age, on
    which rests a bed of gravel, _c_, and above this there was, in
    modern times, a mass of fallen débris, _d_, up to the dotted
    line. On removing this, a hearth was found at _e_, on which
    were numerous bones of modern animals, the remains of funeral
    feasts. The cave was closed with a flat stone, and within were
    skeletons, stone implements, ornaments, and pottery of the
    "neolithic" age. Under these was undisturbed earth of the
    palæolithic, or mammoth age. The facts show the succession, in
    Belgium, of palæocosmic or antediluvian men and of neocosmic
    men allied to the Basques or to the Laps, and all this
    previous to the advent of the modern races.]

It is further significant that there are some indications to show that
the larger and nobler race was that which inhabited Europe at the time
of its greatest elevation above the sea and greatest horizontal
extent, and when its fauna included many large quadrupeds now extinct.
This race of giants was thus in the possession of a greater
continental area than that now existing, and had to contend with
gigantic brute rivals for the possession of the world. It is also not
improbable that this early race became extinct in Europe in
consequence of the physical changes which occurred in connection with
the subsidence which reduced the land to its present limits, and
that the dwarfish race which succeeded came in as the appropriate
accompaniment of a diminished land-surface and a less genial climate
in the early modern period. Both of these races are properly
palæolithic, and are supposed to antedate the period of polished
stone; but this may, to a great extent, be a prejudice of collectors,
who have arrived at a foregone conclusion as to the distinctness of
these periods (Figure 11). Judging from the great cranial capacity of
the older race and the small number of their skeletons found, it would
be fair to suppose that they represent rude outlying tribes belonging
to races which elsewhere had attained to greater culture.

    [Illustration: FIG. 11.

    Flint arrow-heads found together in a modern Indian deposit in
    Canada, and showing the coincidence in time of rude and
    finished flint weapons, or that among all savages using
    chipped flint, the palæolithic and neolithic ages are

Lastly, both of these old European races were Turanian, Mongolian, or
American in their head-forms and features, as well as in their habits,
implements, and arts. To illustrate this, in so far as the older of
the two races is concerned, I have carefully compared collections of
American Indian skulls with casts and figures representing the form
and dimensions of some of the oldest European crania above referred
to. Some of the American skulls may fairly be compared in their
characters with the Mentone skull, and others with those of
Cro-magnon, Engis, and Neanderthal; and so like are some of the Huron,
Iroquois, and other northern American skulls to these ancient European
relics and others of their type, that it would be difficult to affirm
that they might not have belonged to near relatives. On the other
hand, the smaller and shorter heads of the race of the reindeer age in
Europe may be compared with the Laps, and with some of the more
delicately formed Algonquin and Chippewayan skulls in America. If,
therefore, the reader desires to realize the probable aspect of the
men of Cro-magnon, of Mentone, or of Engis, I may refer him to modern
American heads. So permanent is this great Turanian race, out of which
all the other races now extant seem to have been developed, in the
milder and more hospitable regions of the Old World, while in northern
Asia and in America it has retained to this day its primitive

The reader, reflecting on what he has learned from history, may be
disposed here to ask, Must we suppose Adam to have been one of these
Turanian men, like old men of Cro-magnon? In answer, I would say that
there is no good reason to regard the first man as having resembled a
Greek Apollo or an Adonis. He was probably of sterner and more
muscular mould. But the gigantic palæolithic men of the European caves
are more probably representatives of that fearful and powerful race
who filled the antediluvian world with violence, and who reappear in
postdiluvian times as the Anakim and traditional giants, who
constitute a feature in the early history of so many countries.
Perhaps nothing is more curious in the revelations as to the most
ancient cave-men than that they confirm the old belief that there were
'giants in those days.'

And now let us pause for a moment to picture these so-called
palæolithic men. What could the old man of Cro-magnon have told us had
we been able to sit by his hearth and listen understandingly to his
speech?--which, if we may judge from the form of his palate-bones,
must have resembled more that of the Americans or Mongolians than of
any modern European people. He had, no doubt, travelled far, for to
his stalwart limbs a long journey through forests and over plains and
mountains would be a mere pastime. He may have bestridden the wild
horse, which seems to have abounded at the time in France, and he may
have launched his canoe on the waters of the Atlantic. His experience
and memory might extend back a century or more, and his traditional
lore might go back to the times of the first mother of our race. Did
he live in that wide Post-Pliocene continent which extended westward
through Ireland? Did he know and had he visited the nations that lived
in the valley of the great Gihon, that ran down the Mediterranean
Valley, or on that nameless river which flowed through the Dover
Straits? Had he visited or seen from afar the great island Atlantis,
whose inhabitants could almost see in the sunset sky the islands of
the blest? Or did he live at a later time, after the Post-Pliocene
subsidence, and when the land had assumed its present form? In that
case he could have told us of the great deluge, of the huge animals of
the antediluvian World--known to him only by tradition--and of the
diminished strength and longevity of men in his comparatively modern
days. We can but conjecture all this. But, mute though they may be as
to the details of their lives, the man of Cro-magnon and his
contemporaries are eloquent of one great truth, in which they coincide
with the Americans and with the primitive men of all the early ages.
They tell us that primitive man had the same high cerebral
organization which he possesses now, and, we may infer, the same high
intellectual and moral nature, fitting him for communion with God and
headship over the lower world. They indicate, also, like the
Mound-builders, who preceded the North American Indian, that man's
earlier state was the best--that he had been a high and noble creature
before he became a savage. It is not conceivable that their high
development of brain and mind could have spontaneously engrafted
itself on a mere brutal and savage life. These gifts must be remnants
of a noble organization degraded by moral evil. They thus justify the
tradition of a Golden and Edenic Age, and mutely protest against the
philosophy of progressive development as applied to man, while they
bear witness to the identity in all important characters of the oldest
prehistoric men with that variety of our species which is at the
present day at once the most widely extended and the most primitive in
its manners and usages.

Thus it would appear that these earliest known men are not
specifically distinct from ourselves, but are a distinct race, most
nearly allied to that great Turanian stock which is at the present
day, and has apparently from the earliest historic times been, the
most widely spread of all. Though rude and uncultured, they were not
either physically or mentally inferior to the average men of to-day,
and were indeed in several respects men of high type, whose great
cranial capacity might lead us to suppose that their ancestors had
recently been in a higher state of civilization than themselves. It
is, however, possible that this characteristic was rather connected
with great energy and physical development than with high mental

To the hypothesis of evolution, as applied to man, these facts
evidently oppose great difficulties. They show that such modern
degraded races as the Fuegians or the Tasmanians cannot present to us
the types of our earlier ancestors, since the latter were men of a
different and higher style. Nor do these oldest known men present any
approximation in physical characters to the lower animals. Further, we
may infer from their works, and from what we know of their beliefs
and habits, that they were not creatures of instinct, but of thought
like ourselves, and that materialistic doctrines of automatism and
brain-force without mind would be quite as absurd in their application
to them as to their modern representatives.

It is not too much to say that, in presence of these facts, the
spontaneous origin of man from inferior animals cannot be held as a
scientific conclusion. It may be an article of faith in authority, or
a superstition or an hypothesis, but is in no respect a result of
scientific investigation into the fossil remains of man. But if man is
not such a product of spontaneous evolution, he must have been created
by a Being having a higher reason and a greater power than his own;
and the ancestry of the agnostic, and the rational powers which he
exercises, constitute the best refutation of his own doctrine.


[8] The Ceylon elephant is by some believed to be distinct, but is
probably a variety of the Indian species.

[9] _Fossil Men_ (London, 1880), Appendix.

[10] The first continental period was that of the earlier Pliocene.

[11] The precise date in years assignable to this event geology cannot
determine; but I have elsewhere shown that the actual antiquity of the
palæocosmic or antediluvian man has been greatly exaggerated.



The subjects already discussed should have prepared us to regard
nature as not a merely fortuitous congeries of matter and forces, but
as embodying plan, design, and contrivance; and we may now inquire as
to the character of these, considered as possible manifestations of
mind in nature. The idea that nature is a manifestation of mind, is
ancient, and probably universal. It proceeds naturally from the
analogy between the operations of nature and those which originate in
our own will and contrivance. When men begin to think more accurately,
this idea acquires a deeper foundation in the conclusion that nature,
in all its varied manifestations, is one vast machine too great and
complex for us to comprehend, and implying a primary energy infinitely
beyond that of man; and thus the unity of nature points to one
Creative Mind.

Even to savage peoples, in whose minds the idea of unity has not
germinated, or from whose traditions it has been lost, a spiritual
essence appears to underlie all natural phenomena, though they may
regard this as consisting of a separate spirit or manitou for every
material thing. In all the more cultivated races the ideas of natural
religion have taken more definite forms in their theology and
philosophy. Dugald Stewart has well expressed the more scientific form
of this idea in two short statements:

"1. Every effect implies a cause.

"2. Every combination of means to an end implies intelligence."

The theistic aspect of the doctrine had, as we have seen in a previous
lecture, been already admirably expressed by Paul in his Epistle to
the Romans. Writing of what every heathen must know of mind in nature,
he says: "The invisible things of him since the creation of the world
are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made,
even his eternal power and divinity." The two things which, according
to him, every intelligent man must perceive in nature are, first,
power above and beyond that of man, and, secondly, superhuman
intelligence. Even Agnostic Evolution cannot wholly divest itself of
the idea of mind in nature. Its advocates continually use terms
implying contrivance and plan when speaking of nature; and Spencer
appears explicitly to admit that we cannot divest ourselves of the
notion of a First Cause. Even those writers who seek to shelter
themselves under such vague and unmeaning statements as that human
intelligence must be potentially present in atoms or in the solar
energy, are merely attributing superhuman power and divinity to atoms
and forces.

Nor can they escape by the magisterial denunciation of such ideas as
"anthropomorphic" fancies. All science must in this sense be
anthropomorphic, for it consists of what nature appears to us to be
when viewed through the medium of our senses, and of what we think of
nature as so presented to us. The only difference is this--that if
Agnostic Evolution is true, Science itself only represents a certain
stage of the development, and can have no actual or permanent truth;
while, if the theistic view is correct, then the fact that man himself
belongs to the unity of nature and is in harmony with its other parts
gives us some guarantee for the absolute truth of scientific facts and

We may now consider more in detail some of the aspects under which
mind presents itself in nature.

1. It may be maintained that nature is an exhibition of regulated and
determined power. The first impression of nature presented to a mind
uninitiated in its mysteries is that it is a mere conflict of opposing
forces; but so soon as we study any natural phenomena in detail, we
see that this is an error, and that everything is balanced in the
nicest way by the most subtle interactions of matter and force. We
find also that, while forces are mutually convertible and atoms
susceptible of vast varieties of arrangement, all this is determined
by fixed law and carried out with invariable regularity and constancy.

The vapor of water, for example, diffused in the atmosphere, is
condensed by extreme cold and falls to the ground in snowflakes. In
these, particles of water previously kept asunder by heat are united
by cohesive force; and the heat has gone on other missions. But these
particles do not merely unite: they geometrize. Like well-drilled
soldiers arranging themselves in ranks, they form themselves,
according to regular axes of attraction, in lines diverging at an
angle of sixty degrees; and thus the snowflakes are hexagonal plates
and six-rayed stars, the latter often growing into very complex
shapes, but all based on the law of attraction under angles of sixty
degrees (see Fig. 12). The frost on the window-panes observes the same
law, and so does every crystallization of water where it has scope to
arrange itself in accordance with its own geometry. But this law of
crystallization gives to snow and ice their mechanical properties, and
is connected with a multitude of adjustments of water in the solid
state to its place in nature. The same law, varied in a vast number of
ways in every distinct substance, builds up crystals of all kinds and
crystalline rocks, and is connected with countless adaptations of
different kinds of matter to mechanical and chemical uses in the arts.
It is easy to see that all this might have been otherwise--nay, that
it must have been otherwise--but for the institution of many and
complex laws.

    [Illustration: FIG. 12.

    Snowflakes copied from nature under the microscope, and
    serving to illustrate the geometrical arrangement of molecules
    of water in crystallizing. _a_, _b_, simple stars; _c_, _d_,
    hexagonal plates; _e_, _f_, rays of large and complex
    star-shaped flakes. The law of arrangement of the molecules is
    that of attraction in the lines of three axes at angles of
    sixty degrees, and the varieties are produced by differences
    in temperature and rate of supply of material.]

A lump of coal at first suggests little to excite interest or
imagination; but the student of its composition and microscopic
structure finds that it is an accumulation of vegetable matter
representing the action of the solar light on the leaves of trees of
the Palæozoic Age. It thus calls up images of these perished forests
and of the causes concerned in their production and growth, and in the
accumulation and preservation of their buried remains. It further
suggests the many ways in which this solar energy, so long sealed up,
can be recalled to activity in heat, gaslight, steam, and electric
light, and how remarkably these things have been related to the wealth
and the civilization of modern nations. An able writer of the agnostic
school, in a popular lecture on coal, has his imagination so
stimulated by these thoughts that he apostrophizes "Nature" as the
cunning contriver who stored up this buried sunlight by her strange
and mysterious alchemy, kept it quietly to herself through all the
long geological periods when reptiles and brute mammals were lords of
creation, and through those centuries of barbarism when savage men
roamed over the productive coal-districts in ignorance of their
treasures, and then revealed her long-hidden stores of wealth and
comfort to the admiring study of science and civilization, and for the
benefit of the millions belonging to densely-peopled and progressive
nations; It is plain that "Nature" in such a connection represents
either a poetical fiction, a superstitious fancy, or an intelligent
Creative Mind. It is further evident that such Creative Mind must be
in harmony with that of man, though vastly greater in its scope and
grasp in time and space.

Even the numerical relations observed in nature teach the same lesson.
The leaves of plants are not arranged at random, but in a series of
curiously-related spirals, differing in different plants, but always
the same in the same species and regulated by definite laws. Similar
definiteness regulates the ramification of plants, which depends
primarily on the arrangement of the leaves. The angle of ramification
of the veins of the leaf is settled for each species of plant; so are
the numbers of parts in the flower and the angular arrangement of
these parts. It is the same in the animal kingdom, such numbers as 5,
6, 8, 10 being selected to determine the parts in particular animals
and portions of animals. Once settled, these numbers are wonderfully
permanent in geological time. The first known land reptiles appear in
the Carboniferous period, and they have normally five toes; these
appear in the earliest known species in the lowest beds of the
Carboniferous. Their predecessors, the fishes, had numerous fin-rays;
but when limbs for locomotion on land were contrived, the number five
was adopted as the typical one. It still persists in the five toes and
fingers of man himself. From these, as is well known, our decimal
notation is derived. It did not originate in any special fitness of
the number ten, but in the fact that men began to reckon by counting
their ten fingers. Thus the decimal system of arithmetic, with all
that follows from it, was settled millions of years ago, in the
Carboniferous period, either by certain low-browed and unintelligent
batrachians or by their Maker.

2. Nature presents to us very remarkable revelations of dissimilar and
widely-separated matters and forces. I have referred to the numerical
arrangement of the leaves of plants; but the leaf itself, in its
structure and functions, is one of the most remarkable things in
nature. Composed of layers of loosely-placed living cells with
air-spaces between them; enclosed above and below with a transparent
epidermis, the spaces between the cells communicating with the
atmosphere without by means of microscopic pores guarded by
cunningly-contrived valves opening or closing according to the
hygrometric state of the air; connected with the stem of the plant by
a system of tubes strengthened with spiral fibres within,--the
structure of the leaf is, mechanically considered, of extreme beauty
and complexity. But its living functions are still more wonderful.
Receiving the water from the soil with such materials as it brings
thence in solution, and absorbing carbonic dioxide and ammonia from
the air, the living protoplasm of the leaf-cells has the power of
chemically changing all these substances, and of producing from them
those complicated and otherwise inimitable organic compounds of which
the tissues of the plant are built up. The force by which this is done
is that of the solar heat and light, both admitted freely into the
interior of the leaf through the transparent epidermis, and therein
imprisoned, so as to constitute a powerful storehouse of evaporation
and chemical energy. In this way all the materials available for the
maintenance of life, whether vegetable or animal, are produced, and no
other structure than the living vegetable cell, as it exists in the
leaf, has the power to effect these miracles of transmutation. Here,
let it be observed, we have the vegetable cell placed in relation with
the system of the plant, with the soil, with the atmosphere and its
waters, with the distant sun itself and the properties of its emitted
energies. Let it further be observed that, on the one hand, the
chemistry involved in this is of a character altogether different from
that which applies to inorganic matter, and, on the other, the
products derived from a very few elements embrace all that vast
variety of compounds which we observe in plants and animals, and which
constitute the material of one of the most complex of sciences--that
of organic chemistry. Finally, these complicated structures were
produced and all their relations set up at a very early geological
period. In so far as we can judge from their remains and the results
effected, the leaves of the Palæozoic period were functionally as
perfect as their modern successors (see Figs. 13, 14). Of course, the
agnostic evolutionist may, if he pleases, attribute all this to
fortuitous interactions of the sun, the atmosphere, and the earth, and
may provide for what these fail to explain by the assumption of
potentialities equivalent to the things produced. But the
probability of such an hypothesis becomes infinitely small when we
consider the variety and the diversity of things and forces which must
have conspired to produce the results observed, and to maintain them
so constantly, and yet with so much difference in circumstances and
details. It is a relief to turn from such bewildering and gratuitous
suppositions to the theory which supposes a designing Creative Mind.

    [Illustration: FIG. 13.

    Section of the leaf of a Cycad, being one of the most ancient
    styles of leaf of which the structure is known. _a_, upper
    epidermis; _b_, upper layer of cells, with grains of
    chlorophyll; _c_, lower layer of cells, with chlorophyll; _d_,
    lower epidermis; _e_, stomata, or breathing-pores, with
    contractile cells for opening and closing.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 14.

    Foliage from the coal-formation, showing some of the forms of
    leaves instrumental in accumulating the carbon of our
    coal-beds, by their action on the atmosphere under the
    influence of sunlight.]

From the boundless variety of illustrations which the animal kingdom
presents I may select one--the contrivances by means of which marine
animals are enabled to float or balance themselves in the waters. The
_Pearly Nautilus_ (see Fig. 15) is one of the most familiar, and also
one of the most curious. Its coiled shell is divided by partitions
into air-chambers so proportioned that the buoyancy of the air is
sufficient to counterpoise in sea-water the weight of the animal.
There are also contrivances by which the density of the contained air
and of the body of the animal can be so modified as slightly to
disturb this equilibrium, and to enable the creature to rise or sink
in the waters. It would be tedious to describe, without adequate
illustrations, all the machinery connected with these adjustments.
It is sufficient for our purpose to know that they are provided in
such a manner that the animal is practically exempted from the
operation of the force of gravity. In the modern seas these provisions
are enjoyed by only a few species of the genera _Nautilus_ and
_Spirula_; but in former geological ages, more numerous, as well as
larger and more complex, forms existed. Further, this contrivance is
very old. We find in the _Orthoceratites_ and their allies of the
earliest Silurian formations these arrangements in their full
perfection, and in some forms[12] even more complex than in later

    [Illustration: FIG. 15.

    Section of the Pearly Nautilus and its shell, showing that the
    animal occupies only the outer chamber, the others being
    filled with air and acting as a float whose buoyancy can be
    modified by the action of the tube, or siphuncle, passing
    through the chambers.]

The peculiar contrivances observed in the nautilus and its allies are
possessed by no other mollusks, but there is another group of somewhat
lower grade, that of the _Ianthinæ_, or violet snails, in which
flotation is provided for in another way (see Fig. 16). In these
animals the shell is perfectly simple, though light, and the floating
apparatus consists in a series of horny air-vesicles attached to what
is termed the "foot" of the animal, and which are increased in number
to suit its increasing weight as it grows in size. There are some
reasons to believe that this entirely different contrivance is as
old in geological time as the chambered shell of the nautiloid
animals. It was, indeed, in all probability, more common and adapted
to larger animals in the Silurian period than at present.

    [Illustration: FIG. 16.

    _Ianthina_, or Violet Snail, attached to a float composed of
    horny hollow vesicles, to the under side of which its eggs are
    attached. When hatched, each young animal develops a small
    float similar to that of the parent.]

Another curious instance--not, so far as yet known, existing at all in
the modern world--is that of the remarkable stalked star-fish
described by Professor Hall under the name _Camerocrinus_, and whose
remains are found in the Upper Silurian rocks. The Crinoids, or
feather-stars, are well-known inhabitants of the seas, in both ancient
and modern times; but previous to Professor Hall's discovery they were
known only as animals attached by flexible stems to the sea-bottom or
creeping slowly by means of their radiating arms. It was not suspected
that any of them had committed themselves to the mercy of the
currents, suspended from floats. It appears, however, that this was
actually realized in the Upper Silurian period, when certain animals
of this group developed a hollow calcareous vesicle forming a
balloon-shaped float, from which they could hang suspended in the
water and float freely (see Fig. 17). So far as known, this
remarkable contrivance was temporary, and probably adapted to some
peculiarities of the habits and food of these animals occurring only
in the geological period in which they existed.

    [Illustration: FIG. 17.

    _Camerocrinus_, reduced in size (as restored by Hall). This is
    a crinoid, or feather-star, of the Upper Silurian period,
    floating by means of a hollow balloon-shaped structure divided
    into chambers and formed of calcareous plates.]

Examples of this sort of adjustment are found in other types of animal
life. In the beautiful Portuguese man-of-war (_Physalia_) and its
allies flotation is provided for by membranous or cartilaginous sacs
or vesicles filled with air, and which are the common support of
numerous individuals which hang from them (see Fig. 18). In some
allied creatures the buoyancy required is secured by little vesicles
filled with oil secreted by the animals themselves.

In each of these cases we have a skilful adaptation of means to ends.
The float is so constructed as to avail itself of the properties of
gases and liquids, and the apparatus is framed on the most scientific
principles and in the most artistic manner. That this apparatus grows
and is not mechanically put together, and that in each case the
instincts and the habits of the animal have been correlated with it,
can scarcely be held by the most obtuse intellect to invalidate the
evidence of intelligent design.

    [Illustration: FIG. 18.

    The _Physalia_, or "Portuguese man-of-war" of the Atlantic,
    being a colony of animals provided with long tentacles used as
    fishing-lines, and hanging from a membranous float with a
    crest, or "sail," on the top, and a pointed end which, being
    turned from side to side, serves as a rudder.]

3. Structures apparently the most simple, and often heedlessly spoken
of as if they involved no complexity, prove, on examination, to be
intricate and complex almost beyond conception. In nothing, perhaps,
is this better seen than in that much-abused protoplasm which has been
made to do duty for God in the origination of life, but which is
itself a most laboriously manufactured material. Albumen, or white of
egg--which is otherwise named "protoplasm"--is a very complicated
substance both chemically and in its molecular arrangements, and when
endowed with life it presents properties altogether inscrutable. It is
easy to say that the protoplasm of an egg or of some humble animalcule
or microscopic embryo is little more than a mass of structureless
jelly; yet, in the case of the embryo, a microscopic dot of this
apparently structureless jelly must contain all the parts of the
future animal, however complex; but how we may never know, and
certainly cannot yet comprehend.

There are minute animalcules belonging to the group of flagellate
Infusoria, some of which, under ordinary microscopic powers, appear
merely as moving specks, and show their actual structures only under
powers of two thousand diameters, or more; yet these animals can be
seen to have an outer skin and an inner mass, to have pulsating sacs
and reproductive organs, and threadlike flagella wherewith to swim.
Their eggs are, of course, much smaller than themselves--so much so
that some of them are probably invisible under the highest powers yet
employed. Each of them, however, is potentially an animal, with all
its parts represented structurally in some way. Nor need we wonder at
this. It has been calculated that a speck scarcely visible under the
most powerful microscope may contain two million four hundred thousand
molecules of protoplasm.[13] If each of these molecules were a brick,
there would be enough of them to build a terrace of twenty-five good
dwelling-houses. But this is supposing them to be all alike; whereas
we know that the molecules of albumen are capable of being of very
various kinds. Each of these molecules really contains eight hundred
and eighty-two ultimate atoms--namely, four hundred of carbon, three
hundred and ten of hydrogen, one hundred and twenty of oxygen, fifty
of nitrogen, and two of sulphur and phosphorus. Now, we know that
these atoms may be differently arranged in different molecules,
producing considerable difference of properties. Let us try, then, to
calculate of how many differences of arrangement the atoms of one
molecule of protoplasm are susceptible, and then to calculate of how
many changes these different assemblages are capable in a microscopic
dot composed of two million four hundred thousand of them. It is
scarcely necessary to say that such a calculation, in the multitudes
of possibilities involved, transcends human powers of imagination; yet
it answers questions of mechanical and chemical grouping merely,
without any reference to the additional mystery of life. Let it be
observed that this vastly complex material is assumed as if there were
nothing remarkable in it, by many of those theorists who plausibly
explain to us the spontaneous origin of living things. But nature, in
arranging all the parts of a complicated animal beforehand in an
apparently structureless microscopic ovum, has all these vast numbers
to deal with in working out the exact result; and this not in one case
merely, but in multitudes of cases involving the most varied
combinations. We can scarcely suppose the atoms themselves to have the
power of thus unerringly marshalling themselves to work out the
structures of organisms infinitely varied, yet all alike after their
kinds. If not, then "Nature" must be a goddess gifted with superhuman
powers of calculation and marvellous deftness in arranging invisible

4. The beauty of form, proportion, and coloring that abounds in nature
affords evidence of mind. Herculean efforts have been made by modern
evolutionists to eliminate altogether the idea of beauty from nature,
by theories of sexual selection and the like, and to persuade us that
beauty is merely utility in disguise, and even then only an accidental
coincidence between our perceptions and certain external things. But
in no part of their argument have they more signally failed in
accounting for the observed facts, and in no part have they more
seriously outraged the common sense and natural taste of men. In point
of fact, we have here one of those great correlations belonging to the
unity of nature--that indissoluble connection which has been
established between the senses and the æsthetic sentiments of man and
certain things in the external world. But there is more in beauty than
this merely anthropological relation. Certain forms, for example,
adopted in the skeletons of the lower animals are necessarily
beautiful because of their geometrical proportions. Certain styles of
coloring are necessarily beautiful because of harmonies and contrasts
which depend on the essential properties of the waves of light. Beauty
is thus in a great measure independent of the taste of the spectator.
It is also independent of mere utility, since, even if we admit that
all these combinations of forms, motions, and colors which we call
beautiful are also useful, it is easy to perceive that the end could
often be attained without the beauty.

It is a curious fact that some of the simplest animals--as, for
example, sponges and Foraminifera,--are furnished with the most
beautiful skeletons. Nothing can exceed the beauty of form and
proportions in the shells of some Foraminifera and Polycistina, or in
the skeletons of some silicious sponges (see Fig. 19), while it is
obvious that these humble creatures, without brains and external
senses, can neither contrive nor appreciate the beauty with which they
are clothed. Further, some of these structures are very old
geologically. The sponge whose skeleton his known as "Venus's
flower-basket" produces a structure of interwoven silicious threads
exquisite in its beauty and perfect in its mechanical arrangements
for strength (Figure 20). Even in the old Cambrian rocks there are
remains of sponges which seem already to have practically solved the
geometrical problems involved in the production of these wonderful
skeletons; and with a Chinese-like persistency, having attained to
perfection, they have adhered to it throughout geological time. Nor is
there anything of mere inorganic crystallization in this. The silica
of which the skeletons are made is colloidal, not crystalline, and the
forms themselves have no relations to the crystalline axes of silica.
Such illustrations might be multiplied to any extent, and apply to all
the beauties of form, structure, and coloring which abound around us
and far excel our artificial imitations of them.

    [Illustration: FIG. 19.

    Magnified portion of a silicious sponge, showing the principle
    of construction of the hexactinellid sponges, with six-rayed
    spicules joined together and strengthened with diagonal
    braces. (_After Zittel._)]

    [Illustration: FIG. 20.

    _Euplectella_, or "Venus's flower-basket," a silicious sponge,
    showing its general form. (Reduced, from _Am. Naturalist_,
    vol. iv.)]

5. The instincts of the lower animals imply a Higher Intelligence.
Instinct, in the theistic view of nature, can be nothing less than a
divine inspiration placing the animal in relation with other things
and processes, often of the most complex character, and which it could
by no means have devised for itself. Further, instinct is in its very
essence a thing unimprovable. Like the laws of nature, it operates
invariably; and if diminished or changed, it would prove useless for
its purpose. It is not, like human inventions, slowly perfected under
the influence of thought and imagination, and laboriously taught by
each generation to its successors: it is inherited by each generation
in all its perfection, and from the first goes directly to its end as
if it were a merely physical cause.

The favorite explanation of instinct from the side of Agnostic
Evolution is that it originated in the struggle for existence of some
previous generation, and was then perpetuated as an inheritance. But,
like most of the other explanations of this school, this quietly takes
for granted what should be proved. That instinct is hereditary is
evident; but the question is, How did it begin? and to say simply that
it did begin at some former period is to tell us nothing. From a
scientific point of view, the invariable operation of any natural law
affords no evidence of any gradual or sudden origination of it at any
point of past time; and when such law is connected with a complicated
organism and various other laws and processes of the external world,
the supposition of its slowly arising from nothing through many
generations of animals becomes too intricate to be credible. Instinct
must have originated in a perfect condition, and with the organism and
its environment already established. I may borrow here an apposite
illustration from recent papers on the unity of nature by the Duke of
Argyll, which deserve careful study by any one who values common-sense
views of this subject. The example which I select is that of the
action of a young merganser in its effort to elude pursuit:

"On a secluded lake in one of the Hebrides, I observed a dun-diver, or
female of the red-breasted merganser (_Mergus serrator_), with her
brood of young ducklings. On giving chase in the boat we soon found
that the young, although not above a fortnight old, had such
extraordinary powers of swimming and diving that it was almost
impossible to capture them. The distance they went under water, and
the unexpected places in which they emerged, baffled all our efforts
for a considerable time. At last one of the brood made for the shore,
with the object of hiding among the grass and heather which fringed
the margin of the lake. We pursued it as closely as we could; but when
the little bird gained the shore, our boat was still about twenty
yards off. Long drought had left a broad margin of small flat stones
and mud between the water and the usual bank. I saw the little bird
run up about a couple of yards from the water, and then suddenly
disappear. Knowing what was likely to be enacted, I kept my eye fixed
on the spot; and when the boat was run upon the beach, I proceeded to
find and pick up the chick. But, on reaching the place of
disappearance, no sign of the young merganser was to be seen. The
closest scrutiny, with the certain knowledge that it was there, failed
to enable me to detect it. Proceeding cautiously forward, I soon
became convinced that I had already overshot the mark; and, on turning
round, it was only to see the bird rise like an apparition from the
stones and, dashing past the stranded boat, regain the lake, where,
having now recovered its wind, it instantly dived and disappeared. The
tactical skill of the whole of this manoeuvre, and the success with
which it was executed, were greeted with loud cheers from the whole
party; and our admiration was not diminished when we remembered that,
some two weeks before that time, the little performer had been coiled
up inside the shell of an egg, and that about a month before it was
apparently nothing but a mass of albumen and of fatty oils."

On this the duke very properly remarks that any idea of training and
experience is absolutely excluded, because it "assumes the
pre-existence of the very powers for which it professes to account."
He then turns to the idea that animals are merely automata or
"machines." Here it is to be observed that the essential idea of a
machine is twofold. First, it is a merely mechanical structure put
together to do certain things; secondly, it must be related to a
contriver and constructor. If we think proper to call the young
merganser a machine, we must admit both of these characters, more
especially as the bird is in every way a more marvellous machine than
any of human construction. He concludes his notice of this case with
the following suggestive words:

"This is a method of escape which cannot be resorted to successfully
except by birds whose coloring is adapted to the purpose by a close
assimilation with the coloring of surrounding objects. The old bird
would not have been concealed on the same ground, and would never
itself resort to the same method of escape. The young, therefore,
cannot have been instructed in it by the method of example. But
the small size of the chick, together with its obscure and
curiously-mottled coloring, are specially adapted to this mode of
concealment. The young of all birds which breed upon the ground are
provided with a garment in such perfect harmony with surrounding
effects of light as to render this manoeuvre easy. It depends, however,
wholly for its success upon absolute stillness. The slightest motion at
once attracts the eye of any enemy which is searching for the young.
And this absolute stillness must be preserved amidst all the emotions
of fear and terror which the close approach of the object of alarm
must, and obviously does, inspire. Whence comes this splendid, even if
it be unconscious, faith in the sufficiency of a defence which it must
require such nerve and strength of will to practise? No movement, not
even the slightest, though the enemy should seem about to trample on
it,--such is the terrible requirement of nature, and by the child of
nature implicitly obeyed. Here, again, beyond all question, we have an
instinct as much born with the creature as the harmonious tinting of
its plumage, the external furnishing being inseparably united with the
internal furnishing of mind which enables the little creature in very
truth to 'walk by faith, and not by sight.' Is this automatism? Is this
machinery? Yes, undoubtedly, in the sense explained before--that the
instinct has been given to the bird in precisely the same sense in
which its structure has been given to it; so that anterior to all
experience, and without the aid of instruction or of example, it is
inspired to act in this manner on the appropriate occasion arising."

Lastly, the reason of man himself is an actual illustration of mind in
nature. Here we raise a question which should perhaps have been
considered earlier: Is man himself actually a part of what we call
nature? We are so accustomed to the distinction between things natural
and things artificial that we are liable to overlook this essential
question. Is nature the universe outside of us, containing the things
that we study and which constitute our environment? Are we elevated on
a pedestal, so to speak, above nature? or, on the other hand, does
nature include man himself? In that haze or fog of ideas which
environs modern evolutionism, it is not wonderful that this question
escapes notice, and that the most contradictory utterances are given
forth. Tyndall--by no means the most foggy of the agnostics--may
afford an instance. He remarks respecting the philosophers of
antiquity:[14] "The experiences which formed the weft and woof of
their theories were drawn, not from the study of nature, but from that
which lay much closer to them-the observation of man.... Their
theories accordingly took an anthropomorphic form." Here we see that
in the view of the writer man is distinct from and outside of nature,
and so much out of harmony with it that the observation of him leads
to false conclusions, stigmatized, accordingly, as "anthropomorphic."
In this case man must be supernatural, and preternatural as well. But
it is Tyndall's precise object to show us that there is nothing
supernatural either in man or elsewhere. The contradiction is an
instructive example of the delusions which sometimes pass for science.

If, with Tyndall, we are to place man outside of nature, then the
human mind at once becomes to us a supernatural intelligence. But
truth forbids such a conclusion. The reason of man, however beyond the
intelligence of lower animals, so harmonizes with natural laws that
it is evidently a part of the great unity of nature, and we can no
more dissociate the mind of man from nature than from his own animal
body. If we could do so, we might have ground to distrust the validity
of all our conclusions as to nature, and thus to cut away the
foundations of science; and what remained of philosophy and religion
would be preternatural, in the bad sense of destroying the unity of
nature and imperilling our confidence in the unity of the Creator

In connection with this we have cause to consider the true meaning and
use of two terms often hurled at theists as weapons of attack.

The word "anthropomorphic" is a term of reproach for our interpreting
nature in harmony with our own thoughts or our own constitution. But
if man is a part of nature, he must be a competent interpreter of it.
If he is not a part of nature, then, whether we make him godlike or a
demon, we have, in him, to deal with something supernatural. It is
true that in a certain sense he is above nature, but not in any sense
which so dissociates him from it as to prevent him from rationally
thinking of it in his own thoughts and speaking of it in his own form
of words. So true is this that no writers are more anthropomorphic in
their modes of speaking of nature than those who most strongly
denounce anthropomorphism. Even the celebrated definition of life by
Herbert Spencer cannot escape this tincture. "Life," he says, "is the
continuous adjustment of internal to external conditions." Now, the
essence of this definition lies in the word "adjustment." But to
adjust is to arrange, adapt, or fit--all purely human and intelligent
actions. Nothing, therefore, could be more anthropomorphic than such a
statement. As theists we need not complain of this, but surely as
agnostics we should decidedly object to it.

The other word whose meaning it is necessary to consider is
"supernatural," which it might be well, perhaps, to follow the example
of the New Testament in avoiding altogether as a misleading term. If
by supernatural we mean something outside of and above nature and
natural law, there is really no such thing in the universe. There may
be that which is "spiritual," as distinguished from that which is
natural in the material sense; but the spiritual has its own laws,
which are not in conflict with those of the natural. Even God cannot
in this sense be said to be supernatural, since his will is
necessarily in conformity with natural law. Yet this absurd sense of
the term "supernatural" is constantly forced upon us by so-called
advanced thinkers, and employed as an argument against theism. The
only true sense in which any being or any thing can be said to be
supernatural is that in which we use it with reference to the original
creation of matter and force and the institution of natural law. The
power which can do these things is above nature, but not outside of
it; for matter, energy, and law must be included in, and in harmony
with, the Creative Will.

To return from this digression. If man is a part of nature, we can see
how it is that he conforms to natural law, not merely in his bodily
organization and capabilities, but in his mind and habits of thought,
so that he can comprehend nature and employ it for his purposes. Even
his moral and his religious ideas must in this case be conformed to
his conditions of existence as a part of nature. We have here also the
surest guarantee of the correctness of our conclusions respecting the
laws of nature. In like manner, there is here a sense in which man is
above nature, because he is placed at the head of it. In another
sense he is inferior to the aggregate of nature, because, as Agassiz
well puts it, there is in the universe a "wealth of endowment of the
most comprehensive mental manifestations which man can never fully

Still further, if the universe has been created, then, just as its
laws must be in harmony with the will of the Creator, so must our
mental constitution; and man, as a reasoning and conscious being, must
be made in the image of his Maker. If we discard the idea of an
intelligent Creator, then mind and all its powers must be potentially
in the atoms of matter or in the forces which move them; but this is a
mere form of words signifying nothing, or, if it has any significance,
this is contrary to science, since it bestows on matter properties
which experiment does not show it to possess. Thus the existence of
man is not only a positive proof of the presence of mind in nature,
but affords the strongest possible proof of a higher Creative Mind,
from which that of man emanates. The power which originated and
sustains the universe must be at least as much greater and more
intelligent than man as the universe is greater than man in the power
and the contrivance which it indicates. Thus we return to the Pauline
idea--that the power and the divinity of the Creator are shown by the
things he has made. Legitimate science can say nothing more, and can
say nothing less.


[12] As _Piloceras_, for example.

[13] I am indebted for these figures to my friend Dr. S. P. Robins of

[14] Belfast Address.



Thus far we have proceeded solely on scientific grounds, and have seen
that Monism and Agnosticism fail to account for nature. We may
therefore feel ourselves justified in assuming, as the only promising
solution of the enigma of existence, the being of a Divine Creator.
But this does not wholly exhaust the relations of science to religion.
When Science has led us into the presence of the Creator, she has
brought us to the threshold of religion, and there she suggests the
possibility that the spirit of man may have other relations with God
beyond those established by merely physical law. Science may venture
to say: "If all nature expresses the will of the Creator as carried
out in his laws, if the instinct of lower animals is an inspiration of
God, should we not expect that there will be laws of a higher order
regulating the free moral nature of man, and that there will be
possibilities of the reason of man communicating with, or receiving
aid from, the Supreme Intelligence?" Science undoubtedly suggests this
much to our reason, and the suggestion has commended itself to most of
the greater and clearer minds that have studied nature, whatever their
religious beliefs or their want of them.

It may thus be allowable for us, without encroaching on the domain of
theology, to inquire to what extent scientific principles and
scientific habits of thought agree with or diverge from the religious
beliefs of men. I do not propose to enter here into the inquiry as to
the accordance of the Bible with the earth's geological history, or
that of its representations of nature with the facts as held by
science. These subjects I have fully discussed in other works, which
are sufficiently accessible.[15] I shall merely refer to certain
general relations of science to the probability of a divine
revelation, and to the character of such revelation.

As to what is termed natural religion, enough has already been said.
If nature testifies to the being of God, and if the reason and the
conscience implanted in man, "accusing and excusing" one another,
constitute a law of God within him, regulating in some degree his
relations to God and to his fellow-men, we have a sufficient basis for
the natural religion which more or less actuates the conduct of every
human being. The case is different with revealed religion. Here we
have an apparent interference on the part of the Creator with his own
work, an additional intervention in one department to effect results
which elsewhere are worked out by the ordinary operation of natural
law. In revelation, therefore, we may have something, quite out of the
ordinary course of nature. On the other hand, it is possible that even
here we may have something more in harmony with natural laws than at
first sight appears.

It cannot truly be said that a revelation from God to man is
improbable from the point of view of science. Physical laws and brute
instincts are in their nature unvarying, and neither require nor admit
of intervention. But the reason and the will of free agents are in
this respect different. Though necessarily under law, they can judge
and decide between one law and another, and can even evade or
counteract one law by employing another, or can resolve to be
disobedient. Rational free agents may thus enter into courses not in
harmony with their own interests or their relations to their
surroundings. Hence, so soon as it pleased God to introduce in any
part of the universe a free rational will gifted with certain powers
over lower nature, only two courses were possible: either God must
leave such free agent wholly to his own devices, making him a god on a
small scale, and so far practically abdicating in his favor, or he
must place him under some law, and this not of the nature of mere
physical compulsion--which, on the hypothesis, would be
inadmissible--but in the nature of requirements addressed to his
reason and his conscience. Hence we might infer _a priori_ the
probability of some sort of communication between God and man.
Further, did we find such rational creature beginning, on his
introduction into the world, to mar the face of nature, to inflict
unnecessary suffering or injury on lower creatures or on members of
his own species, to disregard the moral instincts implanted in him, or
to disown the God who had created him, we should still more distinctly
perceive the need of revelation. This would in such case be no more
at variance with science or with natural law than the education given
by wise parents to their children, or the laws promulgated by a wise
government for the guidance of its subjects, both of which are, and
are intended to be, interventions affecting the ordinary course of

Of necessity, all this proceeds on the supposition that there is a
God. But in certain discussions now prevalent as to the "origin of
religion," it is customary quietly to assume that there is no God to
be known, and consequently that religion must be a mere gratuitous
invention of man. It is not too much to say, however, that any
scientific conception of the unity of nature and of man's place in it
must forbid our making atheistic assumptions. If man were a mere
product of blind, unintelligent chance, the idea of a God was not
likely ever to have occurred to him, still less to have become the
common property of all races of men. In like manner, there is no
scientific basis for the assumption that man originated in a low and
bestial type, and that his religion developed itself by degrees from
the instincts of lower animals, from which man is supposed to have
originated. Such suppositions are unscientific (1) because no ancient
remains of such low forms of man are known; (2) because the lowest
types of man now extant can be proved to be degraded descendants of
higher types; (3) because, if man had originated in a low condition,
this would not have diminished the probability of a divine revelation
being given to promote his elevation.

On the other hand, it is a sad reality that man tends to sink from
high ideal morality and reason into debasing vices and gross
superstitions that are not natural, but which, on the contrary, place
him at variance with natural as well as with moral law. Thus the
actual and the possible debasement of man, instead of proving his
bestial origin, only increases the need of a divine revelation for his

But, supposing the need of a revelation to be admitted, other
questions might arise as to its mode. Here the anticipations of
science would be guided by the analogy of nature. We should suppose
that the revelation would be made through the medium of the beings it
was intended to affect. It would be a revelation impressed on human
minds and expressed in human language. It might be in the form of
laws with penalties attached, or in that of persuasions addressed to
the reason and the sentiments. It would probably be gradual and
progressive--at first simple, and later more complex and complete. It
would thus become historical, and would be related to the stages of
that progress which it was intended to promote. It would necessarily
be incomplete, more especially in its earlier portions, and it would
always be under the necessity of more or less rudely representing
divine and heavenly things by earthly figures. Being human in its
medium, it would have the characteristics and the idiosyncrasies of
man to a certain extent, except in so far as it might please God to
communicate it directly through a perfect humanity identified with
divinity, or through higher and more perfect intelligences than man.

We should further expect that such revelation would not conflict with
what is good in natural religion or in the natural emotions and
sentiments of man; that it would not contradict natural facts or laws;
and that it would take advantage of the familiar knowledge of mankind
in order to illustrate such higher spiritual truths as cannot be
expressed in human language. Such a revelation would of necessity
require that we should receive it in faith, but faith resting on
evidence derived from things known, and from the analogy of the
revelation itself with what God reveals in nature. It would be no valid
objection to such a revelation to say that it is anthropomorphic,
since, in the nature of the case, it must come through man and be
suited to man; nor would it be any valid objection that it is
figurative, for truth as to spiritual realities must always be
expressed in terms of known phenomena of the natural world.

It has been objected, though not on behalf of science, that such a
revelation, if it related to things discoverable by man, would be
useless, while, if it related to things not discoverable, it could not
be understood. This is, however, a mere play upon words, and reminds
one of the doctrine attributed to the Arabian caliph with reference to
the Alexandrian Library: If its books contain what is written in the
Koran, they are useless; if anything different, they are injurious;
therefore let them be destroyed. It would indeed be subversive of all
education, human as well as divine; for the essence of this is to take
advantage of what the pupil knows, and to build on it acquirements
which, unaided, he could not have attained.

But, though all may agree as to the possibility, or even the
probability, of a revelation, many may dissent from particular dogmas
contained in or implied by the particular form of revelation in which
Christians believe. It is true that this dissent is based, not so much
on science as on alleged opposition to human sentiments; but it is
more or less supposed to be reinforced by scientific facts and laws.
Of doctrines supposed to be objectionable from these points of view, I
may name the reality of miracles and of prophecy; the efficacy of
prayer and of atonement or sacrifice; and the permanence of the
consequences of sin. Admitting that these doctrines are not original
discoveries of man, but revealed to him, and that they are not founded
on science, it may nevertheless be easily shown that they are in
harmony with the analogy of nature in a greater degree than either
their friends or their opponents usually suppose.

Miracles--or "signs," as they are more properly called in the New
Testament--are sometimes stated to imply suspension of natural law. If
they were such, and were alleged to be produced by any power short of
that of the Lawmaker himself, they would be incredible; and if
asserted to be by his power, they would be so far incredible as
implying changeableness, and therefore imperfection. It may be
affirmed, however, of the miracles recorded in Scripture, that they do
not require suspension of natural laws, but merely modifications of
the operation and peculiar interactions of these. Many of them,
indeed, profess to be merely unusual natural effects arranged for
special purposes, and depending for their miraculous character on
their appositeness in time to certain circumstances. This is the case,
for instance, with the plagues of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea,
and the supply of quails to the Israelites. Miracles, whether
performed as attestations of revelation or as works of mercy or of
judgment, belong to the domain of natural law, but to those operations
of it which are beyond human control or foresight. Their nature in
this respect we can understand by considering the many operations
possible to civilized men which may appear miraculous to a savage, and
which, from his point of view, may be amply sufficient as evidence of
the superior knowledge and power of him who performs them. That one
man should be able instantaneously to transmit his thoughts to another
situated a thousand miles away was, until the invention of the
electric telegraph, impossible. The actual performance of such an
operation would have been as much a miracle as the communication of
thought from one planet to another would be now. But if man can thus
work miracles, why should not the Almighty do so, when higher moral
ends are to be served by apparent interference with the ordinary
course of matter and force? Admitting the existence of God, physical
science can have nothing to say against miracles. On the contrary, it
can assure us of the probability that if God reveals himself to us at
all by natural means, such revelation will probably be miraculous.

If the possibility of God communicating with his rational creatures be
conceded, then the objections taken to prophecy lose all value. If
anything known to God and unknown to man can be revealed, things past
and future may be revealed as well as things present. Science abounds
in prophecy. All through the geological history there have been
prophetic types, mute witnesses to coming facts. Minute disturbances
of heavenly bodies, altogether inappreciable by the ordinary
observer, enable the astronomer to predict the discovery of new
planets. A line in a spectrum, without significance to the
uninitiated, foretells a new element. The merest fragment, sufficient
only for microscopic examination, enables the palæontologist to
describe to incredulous auditors some organism altogether unknown in
its entire structures. What possible reason can there be for excluding
such indications of the past and the future from a revelation made by
him who knows perfectly the end from the beginning, and to whom the
future results of human actions to the end of time must be as evident
as the simplest train of causes and effects is to us? It is Huxley, I
think, who says that if the laws affecting human conduct were fully
known to us, it would have been possible to calculate a thousand years
ago the exact state of affairs in Britain at this moment. Probably
such a calculation might be too complicated for us, even if the data
were given; but it cannot be too complicated for the Divine Mind, and
possibly might even be mastered by some intelligences in the universe
subject to God, but higher than man.

That there should be suffering at all in the universe is, no doubt, a
mysterious thing; but the fact is evident, and certain benefits which
flow from it are also evident. Indeed, we fail to see how a world of
sentient beings could continue to exist, unless the penalty of
suffering were attached to natural law. Further, all such penalties
are, in consequence of the permanence of matter and the conservation
of force, necessarily permanent, unless in cases where some reaction
sets in under the influence of some other law or force than that which
brings the penalty. Even in this case, the effect of any violation of
any natural law is eternal and infinite. No sane man doubts this in
the case of what may be called sins against natural laws; but many,
with strange inconsistency, doubt and disbelieve it in the higher
domain of morals. If we were for a moment to admit the materialist's
doctrine that appetites, passions, and sentiments are merely effects
of physical changes in nerve-cells, then we should be shut up to the
conclusion that the effects of any derangement of these must be
perpetual and coextensive with the universe. Why should it be
otherwise in things belonging to the domains of reason and conscience?
Further, if natural laws are the expression of the will of the
Creator, and if these unfailingly assert themselves, and must do so,
in order to the permanence of the material universe, would not analogy
teach that, unless the Supreme Being is wholly bound up in material
processes, and is altogether indifferent to moral considerations, the
same regularity and constancy must prevail in the spiritual world?

This question is closely connected with the ideas of sacrifice and
atonement. Nothing is more certain in physics than that action and
reaction are equal, and that no effect can be produced without an
adequate cause. It results from this that every action must involve a
corresponding expenditure of matter and force. Anything else would be
pure magic; which, we know, is nonsense. Thus every intervention on
behalf of others must imply a corresponding sacrifice. We cannot raise
a fallen child or aid the poor or the hungry without a sacrifice of
power or means proportioned to the result. So, in the moral world,
degradation cannot be remedied nor punishment averted without
corresponding sacrifice; and this, it may be, on the part of those who
are in no degree blameworthy. If men have fallen into moral evil and
God proposes to elevate them from this condition, this must be done
by some corresponding expenditure of force, else we have one of those
miracles which would imply a subversion of law of the most portentous
kind. The moral stimulus given by the sacrifice itself is a secondary
consideration to this great law of equivalency of cause and effect.
There is, therefore, a perfect conformity to natural analogy in the
Christian idea of the substitution of the pure and perfect Man for the
sinner, as well as in that of the putting forth of the divine power
manifested in him to raise and restore the fallen.

The efficacy of prayer is one of the last things that a scientific
naturalist should question, if he is at the same time a theist. Prayer
is itself one of the laws of nature, and one of those that show in the
finest way how higher laws override and modify those that are lower.
The young ravens, we are told, cry to God; and so they literally do;
and their cry is answered, for the parent-ravens, cruel and voracious,
under the impulse of a God-given instinct range over land and water
and exhaust every energy that they may satisfy that cry. The bleat of
the lamb will not only meet with response from the mother-ewe, but
will even exercise a physiological effect in promoting the secretion
of milk in her udder. The mother who hears the cry of her child,
crushed under some weighty thing which has fallen on it, will never
pause to consider that it is the law of gravitation which has caused
the accident; she will defy the law of gravitation, and if necessary
will pray any one who is near to help her. Prayer, in short, is a
natural power so important that without it the young of most of the
higher animals would have little chance of life; and it triumphs over
almost every other natural law which may stand in its way. If, then,
irrational animals can overcome the forces of dead nature in answer to
prayer; if man himself, in answer to the cry of distress, can do
things in ordinary circumstances almost impossible,--how foolish is it
to suppose that this link of connection cannot subsist between God and
his rational offspring! One wonders that any man of science should for
a moment entertain such an idea, if, indeed, he has any belief
whatever in the existence of a God.

There is another aspect of prayer insisted on in revelation on which
the observation of nature throws some light. In the case of animals,
there must be a certain relation between the one that prays and the
one that answers--a filial relation, perhaps--and in any case there
must be a correspondence between the language of prayer and the
emotions of the creature appealed to. Except in a few cases where
human training has modified instinct, the cry of one species of animal
awakes no response in another of a different kind. So prayer to God
must be in the Spirit of God. It must also be the cry of real need,
and with reference to needs which have his sympathy. There is a prayer
which never reaches God, or which is even an abomination to him; and
there is prayer prompted by the indwelling Spirit of God, which cannot
be uttered in human words, yet will surely be answered. All this is so
perfectly in accordance with natural analogies, that it strikes one
acquainted with nature as almost a matter of course.

In tracing these analogies, I do not desire to imply that natural
science can itself teach us religion, or that it is to afford the test
of what is true in spiritual things. I have merely wished to direct
attention to obvious analogies between things natural and things
spiritual, which show that there is no such antagonism between
science and revelation as many suppose, and that, in grand essential
laws and principles, it may be true that earth is

     "But the shadow of heaven, and things therein
     Each to the other like more than on earth is thought."


[15] More especially in _The Origin of the World_ (London and New
York, 1877).


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious typographical errors were repaired. Hyphenation variants used
equally were retained (back-bone and backbone, thread-like and

Original had chapter title pages before the start of each chapter,
resulting in duplication of chapter titles. Those duplications have
been removed.

Original contents erroneously indicated Lecture VI began on page 217.
This has been corrected to page 219.

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