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There is no refuge from the gripe of these questions save that which unites science to the first sentence of the Bible. The cosmos ori- ginated, not in physical necessity, but in Divine Will. One such consists in the manifest liability to deceptive extension of the principle of final causes. It is not astronomical science, but a vivacious imagin- ation — not a Newton, but a Fontenelle — that builds earth-resembling worlds in the air.
Than unnum- bered masses of dead matter, be it brilliant or opaque, life is intrinsically nobler. All the laws thesis help services of vital development that obtain on this planet must be, not modified, but reversed, if there be any life in the sun. Comets, compared by Kepler to u fishes in the sea" for multitude, may be peopled by the temerity of the human imagination, but not otherwise. But there is an enormous and perilous stride from life to intelligence.
If winged creatures cleave our co-planetary atmospheres, and fish replenish co- planetary deeps, does it follow that observatories crown the heights of Jupiter, or that navies sweep the seas of Mars? The distribution of animal life athwart the globe ap- pears to yield a law, which there is no reason for sup- posing peculiar to itself, of gradual deterioration and ultimate extinction as we recede from a medium tem- perature towards assignable extremes of either heat or cold. He might sus- tain life amidst the fires of Etna, or around the chillest pinnacle of the Alps.
Life, in like manner, may be unfolded in other regions of the solar system, under physical conditions which are always noxious or fatal to it on the surface of the earth.
But analogy, rightly construed, does not favour the surmise.
And he who ponders the incompatibility of all terrestrial life with certain terrestrial locations, will pause before, in idol- atry of mere material vastitude, he imposes on the Deity a speculative task, or disparages the noblest of His works that is known to us — the understanding and the soul of man a. The plurality of worlds is a subject on which it is a The argument of this paragraph coincides with that of the "Plurality of "Worlds. Similar considerations, I find, suggested themselves to Hugh Miller and to the Rev. That the uni- verse is a lifeless desert, would be a doctrine loaded with improbabilities of which no ingenuity could get rid. But it would be quite as extravagant to insist that all space is swarming with duplicates of the globe we inhabit. We have no right to ask, "Why, then, were they made? Who shall assure us that all suns, even double suns, have planets? Or that all planets are habitable, while it is certain that the only celestial body which can be closely scrutinized is " desolate and void? Civilization has no monument five thousand years old, the age of some still living trees. Darwin demands three hundred millions, which implies his belief that ten times the period is far too narrow a reckoning for the entire sedimentary series. But even the least fanciful geologist will concede that not fewer than one million centuries parts the age of granite thesis help services from the age of man c.
As if the earth, when she first re- ceived a rational inhabitant, did not thereby become a value in the universe which would neither have been impaired nor augmented had she shrunk that instant to the dimensions of Mercury, or expanded that in- stant to the girth of Sirius.
We owe allegiance to science, but none to ro- mance masquerading in scientific costume. Now if astronomy supplies a survey of space, geology yields an inquest thesis help services of time. And this latter, by opposing the twin immensity of past duration to the vastness of the starry universe, contributes a salutary and invin- cible check to gratuitous guess-work in the garb of philosophy. Who shall tell us that wherever matter is life must be, with the moon a naked desert?
Who shall tell us that where life is there must also be reason and moral responsibility, with the certainty confronting him that this earth has been ten thou- sand years the abode exclusively of brutes, for one that it has been the home of man? Geology, like astronomy, though with still more peremptory grasp, leads us back to a beginning.
Its bulging equator and flattened poles, its pavement of congealed lava, which we name granite, nay, the oldest water-woven carpeting of that pavement composed of the detritus of the igneous rocks, all attest the emerg- ence of our planet from a primitive temperature and a crisis of forces in which no life could subsist. At a low estimate, as we have seen, a million centuries intervene between that period and the present. Which interval, whatever its length, forms a chronicle of the genesis of life, the procession of the types of life, and the advent of man. Besting on the primitive crust of the globe, and stretching upwards through a thickness of tens of thousands of feet to the old red sandstone, are sedi- mentary strata, — Silurian, Cambrian, Laurentian,— which it may be convenient to group as the sub- Devonian series. To reach, save approximately, the absolute life-limit, science can scarcely hope : enough that a region has been reached where life is findable but not found f. Under the lower garb of fish, this takes possession of the waters throughout the old red, carboniferous, and permian systems, on to the end of the paleeozoic pe- riod : throughout the entire mesozoic period, it is do- minant under the higher though continuous garb of gigantic reptiles — as also of birds — both on land and sea.
Faintly and feebly represented during these " middle ages," the mammalia start into strength and supremacy with the dawn of tertiary or caBnozoic time. The emergence of all new species has ceased ere man, in the latest portion of this latest period, him- self appears.