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world in time
geologists draw from their reading of the Book of Nature.
Thus, as respects the age of the earth and her relations in time, we approach the doctrine of Orientals, Sun who long ago ascertained that the scales of time respects the and of space correspond to each other. More World fortunate than we, they had but one point of resistance to encounter, but that resistance they met with dissimulation, and not in an open way. They attempted to conceal the tendency of their doctrine by allying or affiliating it with detected errors. According to their national superstition, the earth is supported on the back of an elephant, and this on a succession of animals, the last of which is a tortoise. It is not to be supposed that the Brahmans, who wrote commentaries on the Surya Siddhanta, should for a moment have accepted these preposterous delusions—that was impossible for such great geometers; yet led, perhaps, by a wish to do nothing that might disturb public feeling, they engaged in the hopeless task of showing that their profound philosophical discoveries were not inconsistent with the ancient traditions ; that a globular and revolving earth might be sustained on a descending succession of supporting beasts. But they had the signal advantage over us that those popular traditions conceded to them that limitless time for which we have had to struggle.
The progression of life on the surface of our planet is under the guidance of pre-ordained and resistless The life of the law-it is affiliated with material and corre- universe. spondingly changing conditions. It suggests that the succession of organic forms which, in a due series, the earth's surface in the long lapse of time has presented, is the counterpart of a like progress which other planets in the solar system exhibit in myriads of years, and leads us to the conception of the rise, development, and extinction of a multiplicity of such living forms in other systemsa march of life through the universe, and its passing away.
Magnitudes and times, therefore, go parallel with one another. With the abandonment of the geocentric theory, and of the doctrine of the human destiny of the universe, have vanished the unworthy hypotheses of the recent date
of creation and the approaching end of all things. In
their stead are substituted more noble ideas. Multiplicity of worlds im.
6. The multiplicity of worlds in infinite space leads
To plies success to the conception of a succession of worlds in sion of worlds.
infinite time. This existing universe, with all its splendours, had a beginning, and will have an end ; it had its predecessors, and will have its successors; but its march through all its transformations is under the control of laws as unchangeable as destiny. As a cloud, which is composed of myriads of separate and isolated spherules of water, so minute as to be individually invisible, on a summer's afternoon changes its aspect and form, disappearing from the sky, and being replaced in succeeding hours by other clouds of a different aspect and shape, so the universe, which is a cloud of suns and worlds, changes in the immensity of time its form and fashion, and that which is contemporary with us is only an example of countless combinations of a like kind, which in ancient times have one after another vanished away. In periods yet to come the endless succession of metamorphoses will still go on, a series of universes to which there is no end.
THE EUROPEAN AGE OF REASON-(Continued).
THE NATURE AND RELATIONS OF MAN. Position of Man according to the Heliocentric and Geocentric Theories. OF ANIMAL LIFE.—The transitory Nature of living Forms.-Relations
of Plants and Animals.-Animals are Aggregates of Matter expending
Force originally derived from the Sun. THE ORGANIC SERIES.—Man a Member of it.-His Position determined by Anatomical and Physiological Investigation of his Nervous System.
Its triple Forms : Automatic, Instinctive, Intellectual. The same progressive Development is seen in individual Man, in the entire animal Series, and in the Life of the Globe.—They are all under
the Control of an eternal, universal, irresistible Law. The Aim of Nature is intellectual Development, and human Institutions
must conform thereto. Summary of the Investigation of the Position of Man.-- Production of
Inorganic and Organic Forms by the Sun.-Nature of Animals and their Series.-Analogies and Differences between them and Man.- The Soul.-The World.
When the ancient doctrine of the plurality of worlds was restored by Bruno, Galileo, and other modern The apparent astronomers, the resistance it encountered was position of
man on the mainly owing to its anticipated bearing on the heliocentric nature and relations of man. It was said, if theory. round our sun, as a centre, there revolve so many planetary bodies, experiencing the changes of summer and winter, day and night-bodies illuminated by satellites, and perhaps enjoying twilight and other benefits such as have been conferred on the earth-shall we not consider them the abodes of accountable, perhaps of sinful, beings like ourselves ? Nay, more ; if each of the innumerable fixed stars is, as our sun, a central focus of light, attended by dark and revolving globes, is it not necessary to admit that they also have their inhabitants ? But among so many families of intelligent beings, how is it that we, the denizens of an insignificant speck, have alone been found worthy of God's regard ?
It was this reasoning that sustained the geocentric theory, and made the earth the centre of the universe, the most noble of created things; the sun, the moon, the stars, being only ministers for the service of man. But, like many other objections urged in that memorable
conflict, this was founded on a misconception, The fallacy of objections or, rather, on imperfect knowledge. There may to that the be an infinity of worlds placed under the meory.
chanical relations alluded to, but there may not be one among them that can be the abode of life. The physical conditions under which organization is possible are so numerous and so strictly limited that the chances are millions to one against their conjoint occurrence. In a religious point of view, we are greatly indebted to
a Geology for the light it has cast on this objecEvidence furnished by tion. It has taught us that during inconceivable Geology. lapses of time our earth itself contained no living thing. These were those preorganic ages to which reference was made in the last chapter. Then by slow degrees, as a possibility for existence occurred, there gradually emerged one type after another. It is but as yesterday that the life of man could be maintained.
Only in the presence of special physical conditions can The transitory an animal exist. Even then it is essentially nature of ephemeral. The life of it, as a whole, depends living forms.
se on the death of its integrant parts. In a waterfall, which maintains its place and appearance unchanged for many years, the constituent portions that have been precipitated headlong glide finally and for ever away. For the transitory matter to exhibit a permanent form, it is necessary that there should be a perpetual supply and also a perpetual removal. So long as the jutting ledge over which the waters rush, and the broken gulf below that receives them, remain unchanged, the cataract presents the same appearance. But variations in them mould it into a new shape; its colour changes with a clear or cloudy
sky; the rainbow seen in its spray disappears when the beams of the sun are withdrawn.
So in that collection of substance which constitutes an animal; whatever may be its position, high or low, in the realm of life, there is a perpetual introduction of new material and a perpetual departure of the old. It is a form, rather than an individual, that we see. Its permanence altogether depends on the permanence of the external conditions. If they change, it also changes, and a new form is the result.
An animal is therefore a form through which material substance is visibly passing and suffering trans- Char mutation into new products. In that act of tics of animal transmutation force is disengaged. That which life. we call its life is the display of the manner in which the force thus disengaged is expended.
A scientific examination of animal life must include two primary facts. It must consider whence and Matter and in what manner the stream of material substance force. has been derived, in what manner and whither it passes away. And, since force can not be created from nothing, and is in its very nature indestructible, it must determine from what source that which is displayed by animals has been obtained, in what manner it is employed, and what disposal is made of it eventually.
The force thus expended is originally derived from the sun. Plants are the intermedium for its conveyance. The inorganic material of a saline na- rived from ture entering into their constitution is obtained the sun. from the soil in which they grow, as is also, for the most part, the water they require; but their organic substance is derived from the surrounding atmosphere, and hence it is strictly true that they are condensations from the air.
These statements may be sufficiently illustrated, and the relation between plants and animals shown, by
Mode in which tracing the course of any one of the ingredients plants obtain entering into the vegetable composition, and de- material
substance. rived, as has been said, from the air. For this purpose, if we select their chief solid element, carbon, the remarks applicable to the course it follows will hold good for other accompanying elements. It is scarcely necessary