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ment, that by some experiments in galvanism Mr. Andrew Crosse had succeeded in producing certain insects of the family Acarida—mites, and especially the form named after the author of the alleged discovery Acarus Crossiä. Mr. Crosse drew upon himself much odium, because it was generally believed, that he laid claim to the power of calling into existence at will by galvanism the insects referred to. It is now clear, however, that he simply recorded what he had seen, without pledging himself to anything more than the observations made. These experiments were repeated by others, and, in several instances, were followed by the same results. Here was a windfall for the writer of the “ Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation.” “If,” as he alleged, “the fundamental form of organic being is a globule containing another globule in the process of growth, and if electricity can produce the globule, what should hinder the natural action of this force to be constantly at work in creating? And if man, gathering up the forces of nature, guiding galvanic currents in his might, can realize a form so high in the comparative scale as the Acarus, why should nature not be equal to the same, yea even to more marvellous results if left to herself?” Granting the premises, one could not well allege anything against the conclusions. But this is just the difficulty. The author gave bearings to the observations which the observer had too much good sense to claim for them. Since that time the whole subject has been thoroughly set at rest. In the experiments sufficient pains were not taken to exclude elements which might contain the insect, at first believed to have been called into existence by them. This, indeed, has vitiated numberless experiments in the same direction. The attention of science is still directed to the question of equivocal generation, but even the most recent experiments have been shown faulty in this respect—those, for example, detailed by Professor Daubeny. But this whole question had much light shed on it by the experiments of Professor Schulze of Berlin, who succeeded in making an apparatus fitted to exclude the conditions necessary for the presence even of the lowest forms of animal life and of vegetation. The mere access of atmospheric air and light is sufficient to render the experiment faulty. Professor Schulze filled a flask full of water containing animal and vegetable organisms. “He then closed it,” says Owen, “ with a good cork, through which were passed two glass tubes, bent at right angles, the whole being air tight; it was next placed in a sand bath, and heated until the water boiled violently. While the watery vapour was escaping by the glass tubes, he fastened at each end an apparatus which chemists
employ for collecting carbonic acid; that at one end was filled with concentrated sulphuric acid, and the other with a solution of potash. By means of the boiling heat, it is presumed that every thing living, and all germs in the flask or in the tubes, were destroyed; whilst all access was cut off by the sulphuric acid on the one side, and by the potash on the other. The apparatus was then exposed to the influence of summer light and heat; at the same time there was placed near it an open vessel, with the same substances that had been introduced into the flask, and also after having subjected them to a boiling temperature. In order to renew constantly the air within the flask, the experimenter sucked with his mouth several times a day the open end of the apparatus, filled with the solution of potash, by which process the air entered his mouth from the flask through the caustic liquid, and the atmospheric air entered the flask through the sulphuric acid. The air was of course not at all altered in its composition by passing through the sulphuric acid in the flask; but all the portions of living matter, or of matter capable of becoming animated, were taken up by the sulphuric acid and destroyed. From the 28th of May until the beginning of August, Professor Schulze continued uninterruptedly the renewal of the air in the flask, without being able, by the aid of the microscope, to discover any living animal or vegetable substance; although, during the whole of the time, observations were made almost daily on the edge of the liquid; and when, at last, the professor separated the different parts of the apparatus, he could not find in the whole liquid the slightest trace of infusoria or conferva, or of mould; but all three presented themselves in great abundance a few days after he had left the flask open. The vessel which he placed near the apparatus contained on the following day vibriones and monads, to which were soon added larger polygastric infusoria, and afterwards rotifera.” I have given this prominence to the subject of equivocal generation, both because the hypothesis now looked at draws much of its strength from appeals to it, and especially because there are many indications, both in this country and on the continent, that fresh claims may soon be made in its behalf. The history of påst researches should teach us, that no reliance is to be placed on any of the experiments, which profess themselves equal to results which the Christian mind is assured are within the power of the Creator only.
The theory of development may not inaptly be described as the denial of a personal God in the universe, and the deification of natural law. Its credit is not saved by a general acknowledgment of a God,
with natural law to which all his power has been delegated, because it removes him from that control of things, without which even natural law becomes fatalism. Rising above the lowermost types of life, the author describes the upward process in creature-making; "they advance under favour of peculiar conditions, from the simplest forms of being to the next more complicated, and this through the medium of the ordinary process of generation; and finally, that the simplest and most primitive type, under a law to which that of like production is subordinate, gave birth to the type next above it; that this again produced the next higher, and so on to the very highest.” If any man were to tell us that he had recently given much attention to the Hazel family of trees (Corylacece), that he had discovered all the hornbeams, hazels, oaks, and chestnuts, were on their way to become beech-trees, and that he found, at one point and another, evidences that the beech had gone through all these stages by periodically casting “nuts,” which forgot to grow into beech-trees, but assumed one or other of these forms, the first demand of his audience would be for facts in proof. But if the only answer were assertions—“So I think," " It seems to me,” “I am sure it must be,” “I imagine nothing can be said against it,” “Things as unlikely have occurred”—the statements would soon find their true place among the dreams of those wanting in sobermindedness, the reckless allegations of those to whom the wounds truth bring pleasure, and the speculations of infidelity afford gratification. Yet the law of growth in animal life, and its transmutation from one distinct form into another, as expounded in one of the shallowest works in the whole popular literature of science, is based on considerations which cannot appeal to one fact in proof, and which are even more in the face of all science and of all common sense than those referred to in connection with the trees. In that grand march of life, the steps of which we trace in the fossiliferous strata, there is seen a development fraught with rich views of the Creator's power, wisdom, and goodness-a development in which the Christian will find much to exalt his thoughts to him by whom the worlds were made. But this only brings out the degrading character of a theory which thrusts all this out of sight. “ It is to be remembered," wrote Henry Mackenzie, nearly half a century ago, “ that no evil is so pernicious as that which grows in the soil from which good should have sprung," a remark which may be appropriately applied to the theory considered above, but which, perhaps, is even more true of the scheme of life to be noticed next.
II. The Darwinian Theory of the Origin of Species.—. This has recently been discussed very fully. Several things have invested it with great importance. It has for its author one who had earned for himself a well-deserved name as an able zoologist; it is brought out in a style well fitted to interest readers ; facts are alleged in its support which beget the hope that a well-defined conclusion might be reached regarding it; difficulties in the determination of species, which every naturalist has often felt, are to be discussed, explained, or removed out of the way; and above all, it promises to make us much better acquainted with the laws which regulate organic beings than we now are. This last pretension, or promise, is enough to gather all lovers of truth around the theory—more and fuller light on this subject being constantly sought. It promises us bread; does it only give us a stone? Its author and his followers claim that it must be dealt with on the ground of science alone. They wish to ignore its theological bearings altogether. This desire would be quite legitimate, if it could be shown that the question has not, naturally, direct theological relations. The truth, however, is, that these not only characterize it remotely, but it rushes into the very midst of them, and assumes a position directly antagonistic to the whole faith of Christendom. It is thus impossible to discuss it from the point of view of science alone ; and it is asking too much to demand, in this country at least, that it should be. Nevertheless, it is satisfactory to know that the scientific objections to it are as strong as those of a purely theological kind.
Its author, and those who hold with him, disclaim all connection with the development theory, which they do not scruple to speak of in terms far stronger than any used above. Few have been able to sympathize with this disclaimer. To a certain extent, however, it is made on good grounds. In Mr. Darwin's theory no attempt is made to make out the wholesale development, by natural generation, of organic beings, from others immediately below them. This difference does not tell in favour of the new hypothesis, but rather against it. In the views of creation enunciated in the “ Vestiges” there was, at least, a distinct recognition of certain laws, under the action of which the changes were produced; but in Mr. Darwin's theory even this is ignored, as we shall see, and the whole doctrine of final causes—the fitness of means to ends—is summarily turned out of court as if no witness in the matter. In its bearings then on Scriptural truth, and even in its value as a page in the philosophy of science, it seems to me worse in its tendencies than even the shallow theory of natural development. It is, moreover, in very many respects much more attractive, and has points of strength about it of which the old view was destitute. This makes it more dangerous.
Looking abroad on nature, we find among plants and animals individuals which differ very widely from each other, as for example, a horse and a cow, a dog and a sheep, a blackbird and a redbreast, a lizard and an adder, a fresh-water trout and a flounder, a limpet and an oyster. These we characterize as specific forms of animal life. They have a distinct individuality, which would keep even the most ignorant from mistaking any one of them for the other. As individuals they have an independent existence. One is not the other; it never was so; it cannot become so. Thus we have the individual organism to which we give the name of species. Most men have hitherto held that the organism was constituted a specific form by a creative act, and this belief has drawn its strength from two quarters. First, Science has testified to its truth. It has never been found that individuals born from the same parents have left the relations which at birth they bore to each other. Two children have never been known to strike off so far from one another, that it could be said of either he has ceased to be human. Two lions born at a birth have continued lions until their death, and two eagles developed from eggs produced by common parents have throughout the duration of their lives retained their common individuality—their common structure and instincts. Within a certain sphere they may have varied from each other in colour, in size, and even in some modifications of structure, and thus have given rise to varieties. But they continue eagles still, and even their variations cease to be permanent beyond a certain point. In some cases permanent varieties may, no doubt, be attained, but these do not deserve the name of distinct species. All science bears testimony to the truth of these statements. Second, The Bible speaks to the same point. In the first chapter of Genesis we are told that the various forms of animal life and of vegetation were created after their kind. There is no mention made of development by natural law; there is nothing, in all the narrative of the six days' work, akin to the transmutation of species by natural selection. Thus on this subject the testimony of Science and of the Bible is one.
With the view of giving definitiveness to scientific studies, naturalists, while holding that specific forms have an unalterable individuality, bring as many of these as seem to admit of being classed together into one great division, under the name of a genus. A generic group thus