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But there are some particular instances which have been often dwelt upon as putting the question to a more distinct test, and which may be perhaps more peculiarly suggestive to those who have not been prepared to take the more enlarged view of the sub- ject on first principles.
To take only a single instance, rather by way of illustration, we may refer to the multitudes of infti- soriae and animalcule whose existence is restricted and peculiar to artificial products made by man, and must have been consequently introduced at dates not only subsequent to that of man, but continually recurring.
Now, the question of their origin involves equally remarkable consequences whichever way it is viewed. If they are f( developments " of existing allied species, only modified so as to suit the particular conditions under which they exist, a principle is conceded which ESSAY III. But when they are imagined subservient to websites to buy research papers a sacred cause, truth and fact, justice and candour, are too commonly looked upon as secondary considerations, or rather the disregard of them would websites to buy research papers seem to be considered as only the more praiseworthy evidence of religious zeal. One of the most striking instances of this kind of religious vituperation at the present day has been that of the incessant attacks made on the "Vestiges of Creation," on the alleged ground of the impious and atheistic tendency of its speculations. Now whatever may be thought of the theory or speculations, as such, nothing can be more utterly and palpably unjustifiable than the charge of an irreligious tendency against a work in which almost every page is replete with expressions of the most devout homage to the Divine power, wisdom, and goodness.
So far as the evidences of natural theology are concerned, it would follow, from all that has been here advanced, that those evidences, so websites to buy research papers far from being discredited, could but receive increasing con- firmation in proportion as any physical theory might be substantiated, which would give us a deeper insight into those secondary processes and laws by which the Divine will and plans were worked out, and which are to us the manifestations of such designs. Such often refuted cavils are, however, constantly Bigotry.
And we may observe, that if the supposition of The same objections original adjustment superseding continual interposi- must apply to all tion be objectionable in the instance of a succession physical theories.
Its use in parturition has been anathematised as an in- fraction of the penalty pronounced on Eve! Others have denounced all theories of physical evolution as leading to and implying Pantheism, an accusation, if possible, more strange and groundless. The theological question between development and successive " creations " is simply whether websites to buy research papers we suppose the Creator to construct a machine which, once adjusted, shall go on fulfilling its work, or one which ESSAY III. The Pantheistic theory (to carry on the same metaphor) would assert that the machine was self-animated, or was itself the artificer or regu- lator of its own parts and movements.
The first idea (at least rational and worthy) has manifestly nothing in common with the latter absurdity. But the main source of the difficulty and objec- objections to develop- tions which have been felt, on religious grounds, ment theory on doctri- against any theory of the evolution of organised nai and scriptural existence by the agency of natural causes, is their grounds, supposed repugnance to particular views of theologi- cal doctrines, and the declarations of Scripture on which those doctrines are founded.
Even where of all competently informed persons at the present day, admitted, other doubts after a long struggle for existence, the literal belief remain in the Judaical cosmogony, it may now be said, has died a natural death. Yet many are still haunted by its phantom, which perpetually disturbs their minds with apprehensions equally groundless on col- lateral points. And that the " immense period at the beginning," followed by a recent literal great catastrophe and final recon- struction in a week, is, if possible, more strangely at variance with science, Scripture, and common sense. Yet, while they thus view the labours of the Bible geologists as fruitless attempts, they often do not see that they are fruitless, not because they fail in detail, but because they proceed altogether on wrong grounds and in a wrong direction, and thus remain under the dominion of the same radically ESSAY III. Yet there are those who seem to view these last ideas with more peculiar ap- prehension. The discrepancy cannot really be greater whether we adopt any physical theory of the mode of origination of successive forms, or whether we reject all such speculation. In a word, those who accept geological truths at all, and admit the palpable contradiction to the Old Testament, without preju- dice to their faith, cannot with consistency make it a ground of objection to any hypotheses of the nature of the changes indicated, that they are contrary to Scripture. From metaphysical principles of this kind the author deduces the ESSAY III. But with reference to the opinions of those who lay so much stress on the letter of the Bible in such points I would merely observe that, whatever may be the value of other arguments in support of it, it is wholly destitute of any founda- tion in Scriptural authority. He ascribes the existence of the universe in the first instance to the Divine will : " God spake, and it was.
Organised Moreover, in the particular instances of the crea- beings not formed out tion of animals and plants, it is notorious that in the of nothing. The prevalent theology is too deeply immersed in Scriptural an indiscriminate and unthinking Bibliolatry. But tions adapted to even on the fullest admission of inspiration, the the state of knowledge. Thus, more precisely with respect to the subject Reference to creation of " Creation," the writers of the New Testament, in tbe New Testament. The prevalent belief in the very recent origin of man, geologically speaking, depends wholly on negative evidence.
And if such remains were to occur, it is equally accordant with all analogy to ex- pect that they might be those of an extinct and Lower species. The only real distinction in the history of creation which marks a supposed " human epoch " is not the first introduction of the animal man in how- ever high a state of organisation, but the endow- ment of that animal with the gift of a moral and spiritual nature.
It is a perfectly conceivable idea that a lower species of the human race might have existed destitute of this endowment.
The belief in the recent date of man is usually From the Hebrew adopted from the received Hebrew chronology, itself chronology, (as is well known) open to critical difficulties. But, indeed, to those who imagine the Old Testament authoritative in matters of philosophy or chronology, there is no limit to inferences of this kind.
There are some, even, who believe that the " permanence of species" is a Scriptural doctrine, because it is said that plants " after their kind " " have their seed in themselves!