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society of good beings like themselves, the evil being dismissed to the realms of darkness and despair. And, as human experience teaches us that a final allotment can only be made by some superior power, we expect that He who was our Creator shall also be our Judge; that there is an appointed time and a bar at which the final destination of all who have lived shall be ascertained, and eternal justice measure out its punishments and rewards.
From these considerations there arises an inducement Inducements for us to lead a virtuous life, abstaining from to morality. wickedness and wrong; to set apart a body of men who may mediate for us, and teach us by precept and example the course it is best for us to pursue; to consecrate places, such as groves or temples, as the more immediate habitations of the Deity to which we may resort.
Such are the leading doctrines of Natural Theology of primitive man both in the old and new continent. They arise from the operations of the human mind considering the fitness of things.
Just as we have in Comparative Anatomy the structure of different animals examined, and their identities and differences set forth, thereby establishing their true relations; just as we have in Comparative Physiology the functions of one organic being compared with those of another, to the end that we may therefrom deduce their Conrge of proper connexions, so, from the mythologies of Comparative various races of men, a Comparative Theology
y. may be constructed. Through such a science alone can correct conclusions be arrived at respecting this, the most important of the intellectual operations of manthe definite process of his religious opinions. But it mus“ be borne in mind that Comparative Theology illustrates the result or effect of we phase of life, and is not its cause. As man advances in knowledge he discovers that of his
of primitive conclusions some are doubtless erroanthropocen. neous, and many require better evidence to tric ideas. establish their truth incontestably. A more prolonged and attentive examination gives him reason, in some of the most important particulars, to change his mind. He finds that the earth on which he lives is not a
floor covered over with a starry dome, as he once supposed, but a globe self-balanced in space. The crystalline vault, or sky, is recognized to be an optical deception. It rests upon the earth nowhere, and is no boundary at all; there is no kingdom of happiness above it, but a limitless space, adorned with planets and suns. Instead of a realm of darkness and woe in the depths on the other side of the earth, men like ourselves are found there, pursuing, in Australia and New Zealand, the innocent pleasures and encountering the ordinary labours of life. By the aid of such lights as knowledge gradually supplies, he comes at last to discover that this, our terrestrial habitation, instead of being a chosen, a sacred spot, is only one of similar myriads, more numerous than the sands of the sea, and prodigally scattered through space.
Never, perhaps, was a more important truth discovered. All the visible evidence was in direct opposition
t Consequence to it. The earth, which had hitherto seemed to be the very emblem of immobility, was demon- the form of strated to be carried with a double motion, with prodigious velocity, through the heavens; the rising and setting of the stars were proved to be an illusion; Detection of and, as respects the size of the globe, it was its insig. shown to be altogether insignificant when com- pared with multitudes of other neighbouring ones-insignificant doubly by reason of its actual dimensions, and by the countless numbers of others like it in form, and doubtless, like it, the abodes of many orders of life.
And so it turns out that our earth is a globe of about twenty-five thousand miles in circumference. The voyager who circumnavigates it spends no inconsiderable portion of his life in accomplishing his task. It moves round the sun in a year, but at so great a distance from that luminary that, if seen from him, it would look like a little spark traversing the sky. It is thus recognized as one of the members of the solar system. Other similar Other Polar bodies, some of which are of larger, some of bodies. smaller dimensions, perform similar revolutions round the sun in appropriate periods of time.
If the magnitude of the earth be too great for us to attach to it any definite conception, what shall we say of
the compass of the solar system? There is a defect in Magnitude of the human intellect which incapacitates us for the universe. comprehending distances and periods that are either too colossal or too minute. We gain no clearer insight into the matter when we are told that a comet which does not pass beyond the bounds of the system may perhaps be absent on its journey for more than a thousand years. Distances and periods such as these are beyond our grasp. They prove to us how far human reason excels imagination, the one measuring and comparing things of which the other can form no conception, but in the attempt is utterly bewildered and lost.
But as there are other globes like our earth, so too there The infinity are other worlds like our solar system. There of worlds. are self-luminous suns exceeding in number all computation. The dimensions of this earth pass into nothingness in comparison with the dimensions of the solar system, and that system, in its turn, is only an invisible point if placed in relation with the countless hosts of other systems which form, with it, clusters of stars. Our solar system, far from being alone in the universe, is only one of an extensive brotherhood, bound by common laws and subject to like influences. Even on the very verge of creation, where imagination might lay the beginning of the realms of chaos, we see unbounded proofs of order, a regularity in the arrangement of inaniniate things, suggesting to us that there are other intellectual creatures like us, the tenants of those islands in the abysses of space.
Though it may take a beam of light a million of years to bring to our view those distant worlds, the end is not yet. Far away in the depths of space we catch the faint gleams of other groups of stars like our own. The finger of a man can hide them in their remoteness. Their vast distances from one another have dwindled into nothing. They and their movements have lost all individuality; the innumer. able suns of which they are composed blend all their collected light into one pale milky glow.
Thus extending our view from the earth to the solar Insignificance system, from the solar system to the expanse of of man. the group of stars to which we belong, we behold
a series of gigantic nebular creations rising up one after another, and forming greater and greater colonies of worlds. No numbers can express them, for they make the firmament a haze of stars. Uniformity, even though it be the uniformity of magnificence, tires at last, and we abandon the survey, for our eyes can only behold a boundless prospect, and conscience tells us our own unspeakable insignificance.
But what has become of the time-honoured doctrine of the human destiny of the universe ? that doctrine , for the sake of which the controversy I have scientific described in this chapter was raised. It has truth. disappeared. In vain was Bruno burnt and Galileo imprisoned ; the truth forced its way, in spite of all opposition, at last. The end of the conflict was a total rejection of authority and tradition, and the adoption of scientifio truth.
CHAPTER IX. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF REASON—Continued). HISTORY OF THE EARTH. - HER SUCCESSIVE CHANGES IN THE COURSE OF
Oriental and Occidental Doctrines respecting the Earth in Time.
Gradual Weakening of the latter by astronomical Facts, and the Rise
of Scientific Geology. Impersonal Manner in which the Problem was eventually solved, chiefly
through Facts connected with Meat. Proofs of limitless Duration from inorganic Facts.—Igneous and Aqueous
of limacts connect which the
Proofs of the same from organic Facts.-Successive Creations and Ex
tinctions of living Forms, and their contemporaneous Distribution. Evirlences of a slowly declining Temperature, and, therefore, of a long
Time.—The Process of Events by Catastrophe and by Law.--Analogy of Individual and 'Race Development.--Both are determined by
unchangeable Law. Conclusion that the Plan of the Unirerse indicates a Multiplicity of
Worlds of infinite Space, and a Succession of Worlds in infinite Time. A VICTORY could not be more complete nor a triumph more Age of the brilliant than that which had been gained by earth. science in the contest concerning the position of the earth. Though there followed closely thereupon an investigation of scarcely inferior moment-that respecting the age of the earth-so thoroughly was the ancient authority intellectually crushed that it found itself incapable of asserting by force the Patristic idea that our planet is less than six thousand years old. Not but that a resistance was made. It was, however,
son of an indirect kind. The contest might be is impersonal- likened rather to a partisan warfare than to the ly solved. .
deliberate movement of regular armies under recognized commanders. In its history there is no central