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The Books of Nature and Revelation.

143 God as its continual Creator. We think there is some obscurity of terms, if not of ideas, though we admire the attempt, and heartily accept the conclusion which he has expressed by the metaphor :- Nature is the spontaneous word of God, being

spoken, and that according to rhythmical law like the speech ‘of poets.

Without feeling disrespectfully towards the Bridgewater Treatises, or despising the study of natural theology, we do believe that science has offerings in store richer far than any which she has yet presented in the temple of Divine Truth. The book of Nature and the volume of Revelation are inscribed by the same hand; they are different thoughts of the same Supreme Intelligence. The honest and reverential study of the one cannot be opposed to the honest and reverential study of the other. Yet a foolish antagonism has often sprung up between the cultivators of these two great departments of knowledge; the theologian, as though he secretly mistrusted the Bible, has often looked with suspicion on the advance of natural science; and many a philosopher, as some science began to shape itself from the chaos of early observations, has hurled it against the statements of divine Revelation, but those redoubtable buttresses have remained unshaken by the puerile attack, while not unfrequently the weapon has recoiled upon that infidelity which exultingly Alung it. Where, moreover, science has been recognised as a handmaid of religion, its only province has been generally thought to be that of lifting the soul from nature up to nature's God,' by demonstrating the power, wisdom, and beneficence of that Being who (as we believe on totally different grounds) spake by prophets and apostles and the incarnate Word; or, perhaps natural science has been valued as sometimes affording a beautiful illustration, or a striking simile, whereby to enforce some revealed truth. Now beyond this province, we believe there lies one as yet scarcely trodden by human footstep, but which when cultivated may yield rich harvests to the glory of God as well as the service of man. The two books of nature and of revelation are not merely written by the same hand, they are to a certain extent written in the same style ; both are marked by a wondrous variety yet with a certain unity pervading it, in both we observe the frequent repetition of typical ideas, in both we note the same absence of scientific arrangement. Any department of nature will illustrate our meaning. We select the group of the Mammalia. We find the earth covered with different species of animals resembling one another in their way of nourishing their young, but we do not find them classified in nature. One Continent is not inhabited by those that ruminate

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and another by those that gnaw. The tiger in an Indian jungle is allied to the cat on our hearthrug; the antelopes of South Africa to the Persian gazelle, or the Alpine chamois. The ox, the weasel, and the rabbit take up their abode in the same field. Or, to look at the subject in reference to time instead of space, the mammalian type first meets our eye at Swanage or Stonesfield among the débris of the oolitic period, then come mammoths and elephants, and megatheria of all sorts, now extinct, and the rich zoological treasures of Kirkdale or Montmartre, till among the luxuriance of a recent fauna, man himself, the noblest of the mammalia, appears on the stage of this world's history. Placed in the midst of all this apparent confusion of animals the zoologist has carefully to collect his facts, before he can hope to generalize, or to discern typical resemblances, and build up a system; and then he meets with the whale and the bat to show how untrue to nature are the sharp lines of his classification. Just so in God's word, we have here a promise, there a tender exhortation, a doctrine lies embedded in a narrative or an argument, a precept is conveyed in a burst of poetry or a group of proverbs. But in vain do we search the Bible for any body of divinity; for any theological system ; we do not find one part devoted to the office of God in the scheme of Redemption, another part to what is necessary on the side of man; we do not find a definition of original sin, or an exposition of the Trinity, The materials are all there, from which the student may frame his own classification, and draw his own lines of definition, which after all will be but a faulty mapping out of divine truth. The method of God in the two books of nature and revelation being the same, our methods of investigation must be similar. The canons of interpretation applied to the one must stand in close relationship to those suitable for the other. There must be the same careful collation of facts, the same distrust of our own hypotheses, the same humble tracing of the Divine plan, the same perception that a name is not an explanation, and that a good theory must embrace every known instance and be susceptible of modification so as to embrace any which further research may bring to light. The dangers to which the students of nature and of the Bible are exposed are almost identical, as any one may see to an extent that will probably surprise him, if he will write out, as we once did, the second chapter of Bacon's Novum Organum, that on Idols, changing every word that relates to natural philosophy to an analogous one belonging to divinity, and substituting some theological error in place of each scientific one adduced by way of illustration. It will be advantageous, therefore, for the student of natural science to know Physical Puritanism.

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the canons most fitted for interpreting Scripture, and for the student of the revealed Word to know the canons best fitted for interpreting nature. Indeed, as the deductions of physical science are for the most part less liable to be affected by the prejudices and feelings, the hopes and fears of their investigator, and are more susceptible of direct proof, it is to be anticipated that the true methods of discovery will be more accurately, or, at any rate, more generally recognised in that direction, and that through understanding the manifestation of God in external objects, a man will become doubly prepared to read aright the incomparably superior manifestation of bimself in his written word. But as yet this is an almost untried path.

To turn to another subject. In our course through life we occasionally encounter members of a certain band of mystic reformers. They are generally tall and slim, their hair usually dark, smooth, and long, they cultivate beards and moustachioes; but it is in their mental physiognomy that the great similarity consists. They all have great faith in progress, and much hope from physiological and physical sciences. Yet they are very eclectic in their studies ; it is not the well-illuminated fields of knowledge which they delight to explore, but those regions of mist that separate the known from the unknown ; phrenology, mesmerism, electro-biology, table-turning, the odylic force, these are their favourite subjects of investigation; they abstain from intoxicating liquors, and, perhaps, from animal food; they advocate peace and universal brotherhood, and, perhaps, a reform in our costumes, or our spelling; their medical theory is homæopathy; their political tendencies radical, if not republican ; their religion intuitive and mystic, with a greater appreciation of purification than of the atonement. To this band, for which in some points we have a great respect, Dr. Brown did not strictly belong; for, indeed, he was too original to be located precisely with any party. But he had a certain sympathy with them, enough to write con amore on several of these debated topics. He discusses many of their views in his paper on Physical Puritanism, and the Essays on the Theory of Small Doses, The Methodology of Mesmerism, Animal Magnetism, and Ghosts and Ghostseers, take up special matters at greater length: Dare we review these subjects ? - vegetarianism, teetotalism, homeopathy, mesmerism, ghostly visitations, each large enough for a whole article, and such subjects, too, to discuss ? An anecdote told of a worthy professor of chemistry at Aberdeen will illustrate our feeling. He had allowed some years to pass

over Davy's brilliant discovery of potassium and its congeneric 'metals without a word about them in his lectures. At length NO. LV.

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'the learned doctor was concussed by his colleagues on the 'subject, and he condescended to notice it:-' Both potash and soda are now said to be metallic oxides,' said he, 'the oxides, in fact, of two metals, called potassium and sodium by the discoverer of them, one Davy, in London-a verra troublesome person in chemistry.''

Just so vegetarianism, homeopathy, mesmerism, and their comrades, are 'verra troublesome' theories in social or physical science. There is vegetarianism, with its authorities from Daniel and the Pythagoreans to Mr. Brotherton and the Brahmins, insisting that bread and cresses are quite competent to make muscle and sinew, that nature never intended man for a carnivorous animal, and declaring that those who kill and eat beasts, must be gross both in body and mind; patronizing organic chemistry when it makes for the theory, but reminding it when it tells against the notion, that it is still a rudimentary science. Yet, while the vegetarians themselves eat eggs, most of us continue to eat chickens, and answer the outcry about cruelty with the statement that a larger amount of life is destroyed by the cutting of a cabbage than by the slaughter of a bullock. There is teetotalism, with its fêtes and speecbifications, with its fearful tales of drunkenness, alas! too true; and its more questionable denial of any nutritive or other beneficial quality in alcohol; quoting the examples of Samson, John the Baptist, and many other worthies, though the Great Example it cannot quote; and appealing both to our fears and to our better nature; to our fears thus:- No man becomes ' a drunkard intentionally. Certainly not. "Men as wise and

as good as you have become drunkards. It must be granted. ' How then can you ensure safety, unless by abstaining wholly ' from the treacherous draught? To our better nature it appeals thus:-'If a man is a drunkard, his only chance is to give up ' intoxicating drinks entirely. Granted at once. drunkards, or those who feel themselves liable to become such, give up intoxicating drinks entirely, total abstinence will be a mark of disgrace. It cannot be denied. 'In order, then, that * the only means of cure should not oppose a moral difficulty in * the way of the penitent drunkard, is it not necessary that many who are above suspicion should openly avow their total abstinence ?' And these questions make us suspicious of our tablebeer, and while we promise to think over the matter, we hesitate about clearing our brains with a glass of brandy-and-water. Then there is hydropathy, led on by the peasant doctor, the aquarius of Grafenburg, and by scores of more learned, if less fortunate men, who threaten to purify the world from disease by a universal deluge; putting forth its pleasant literature, and boasting

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Homeopathy, Mesmerism, Ghosts.

147 its innumerable cures, till we think the alchemists need not have searched far for their elixir vite ; though an uncertainty does cross our minds as to how far water may have usurped the credit due to pure air, country scenes, enforced temperance, and retirement from business, or household cares. Homeopathy, too, comes with a still more elaborate appeal to our faith, with systematic doctrines, and learned treatises, teaching that poisons should be eschewed, unless as medicines, which we readily assent to, and that many practices of other people are injurious, of which we have no doubt; insisting, too, that what will ordinarily give a disease will take it away, when it exists, if only the potent substance be given in sufficiently small doses; and that such innocent things as chalk and charcoal become powerful medicaments when in infinitesimal quantity, if adapted to the case treated. Then, too, the globules are easy to swallow, whatever the doctrines may be; and the system is backed by an immense array of successful cases, and the confident assertion that it is proved to be more successful in many diseases than the old practice, though this the old practitioners as confidently deny. There is mesmerism, too, with its indisputable marvels, and equally indisputable frauds, dealing in illusion, and dogged by imposture, with its pseudo-scientific talk about magnetism, its appeal to the odylic force, and its alliance with the well-ascertained, though mysterious facts of somnambulism, catalepsy, delirium, and hypnotism ; a science most unscientific, defying us to draw the line between the credible and incredible, giving accounts, for instance, of clairvoyance better attested than most of what we believe, yet open to insuperable objections-objections not merely because the statements oppose our preconceived ideas, which may be the fault of those ideas, but also because they involve consequences which never follow; for if an ignorant girl in Manchester can tell me the pattern of my drawing-room paper in London, why should she not read for my neighbour the stockbroker the quotations in the Paris Bourse ? Ghosts, too, are ‘verra troublesome ;' after having glided at will through every land for many an age, they were laid to rest by the Sadducees of the last century, the sensationalists proving to a demonstration that they never were, and never could be. Yet the ghost is unquiet, and abroad again. Innumerable tales of fetches and apparitions in general force men to believe in the night side of nature;' yet when the evidence is sifted there is little of scientific value; and, as an objective material ghost is something like an absurdity, believers are driven to frame hypotheses of how a disembodied spirit can make a subjective impression on the mind of a living mortal.

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