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or quality, yet form or quality can only be explained as the modification of substance. It is in accordance with the varieties of form in which nature appears, that the general classification of nature into three kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, and animal, has been made. An examination of each of these three will show how far science can determine nature to be self-existent, or dependent on a Higher Power.
The mineral kingdom is the foundation of the earth. It is called inorganic to express its distinguishing characteristic of inertia. It may be divided into two kinds-fixed and variable. The fixed is that solid part in which chemical action has taken place, where force has been partially spent and the remainder is quiescent. The variable is that surface-matter which is exposed to the operation of nature's forces, and is continually undergoing change. It is in the former that the history of the earth's gradual transformation is to be found; in the latter, science reveals as far as possible the manner in which the changes are made, the forces which cause the changes, and the conditions under which the changes are effected. The most frequently changed parts of matter are the liquids and gases, which are convertible into one another. From the combination of oxygen and hydrogen by the chemical action of nature, a few drops of water in one instance are produced, and these find their level in the ocean; but by the operation of the sun's heat they are evaporated, and having risen in the air are wafted by a current of air over the Alps, where they become condensed and fall. Owing to the absence of heat they are congealed, and by the concurrent effect of attraction and repulsion they assume the form of crystals. Again subjected to force, they descend the slope of the mountain till they reach the valley, and resuming their previous form of water, penetrate the earth and contribute to the nourishment of vegetation. In all these operations there is present an external force which is essential. And what is true in an isolated instance is true of the whole. The earth in all its parts-the earth itself as a body-and the whole of the planetary system are the result of, and sustained by, external force. These forces, or modifications of force, are traceable into attractions and repulsions derived from the sun, and are reducible into the laws which govern the universe. Of the nature of these forces the scientist is ignorant: all that he can do is to note their effects, and attempt to gain a knowledge of their laws of operation. Beyond this he cannot go: the rest is shrouded in mystery.
In the vegetable kingdom we meet with the same phenomena under
different conditions. Chemical affinity and solar force are both requisite for the existence of vegetable life, but with the quality of growth superadded. This growth we call vitality. When force has separated the germ from the plant, and deposited it in the ground, if the necessary elements are there for its sustenance, there begins a development, during which the germ bursts, and attracting by affinity its nourishment from the earth, it proceeds through all its variations of form as it is influenced by the light and heat of the sun. The elements of its composition are identical with the elements of the mineral kingdom; the difference in natural form is attributable to the varied play of molecular force and solar influence. The same forces that operate on what is distinguished as dead matter are potent here; but after all the reduction to force, there remains the question of vitality. The vital growth of a plant is fixed by law, and beyond the limit fixed by law the external force of nature seems powerless to increase its growth. Another peculiarity of the germ is that it must either be developed into a plant, or else if the condition in which it is placed be unfavourable to its growth, it is resolved into its elementary particles and commingled with inorganic matter. What then is this power of growth? Science cannot answer. Although science may reduce its working to chemical action and natural force, yet these are but the means by which the growth is effected: the vitality remains unsolved.
The animal kingdom is organic nature in a higher form. The recent explorations of biological science have shown that it is impossible to draw a line of demarcation between the animal kingdom and the vegetable. The highest form of sensitive life in vegetable, and the lowest form of animal existence, approach so closely in similarity of action that it is a strong argument in favour of the evolutionary development of all life. Yet, although it may be a matter of growth, there can be no doubt that a difference exists between the two kingdoms; for while both as to their forms are subject to a law of growth, the distinction between the two is that the vegetable finds the material necessary for its growth and sustenance in the position in which the germ is first deposited-the animal has to seek its food wherever it can. To effect this the power of locomotion is given to the animal, attended by increased sentient capabilities giving the power of volition. Science can trace that the constituent parts of the bodies of animals are resolvable into the same elements that pervade the other forms of nature, but it cannot explain
either the vital law of growth which animals are subject to in common with vegetables, nor yet the source of volition and locomotion. The mechanical means by which locomotion is effected may be elucidated by patient and thoughtful observation, but the origin of the power is beyond the skill of science to discover.
And in regard to man, who is considered by many as so far above the rest of the animal kingdom as to merit a separate kingdom for himself, we find that science has attempted to make him an automaton, owing his increased intellectual and emotional activity to the play of chemical and mechanical force. The working of the brain, the circulation of the blood, the growth of the body, are attributed to the heat generated by the combination of the carbonic matter consumed as food and the oxygen we breathe. But this does not explain the progressive character of man's nature, which is the chief difference between reason and instinct, and distinguishes him from other animals. The embryo of the dog and the human embryo are very similar in their form, but the divergence is soon manifest, and becomes more conspicuous in every year of their existence. The reason of man avails itself of the accumulated experience of centuries, but the intelligence of the rest of the animal kingdom is limited by contemporary experience, and whatever cultivation it attains is due chiefly to association with man.
Such are the premises laid down by science. What are the conclusions to be deduced from them?
The first fact that demands attention is that the changes in the forms of nature are the effects of external forces. The agency of these forces is mechanical, and they are found to be mutually dependent and interchangeable. But if so, they must have a common source. What is that source? They have been traced to the rays of the sun, and hence to the sun is attributed their origin. The sun itself, however, is considered to be fed by the absorption of nebulous masses, which cause heat by collision. We are therefore driven back to mechanical force as the apparent cause of existence, and to ask the question, What controls force? Mechanical force is involuntary, and if undirected and uncontrolled, would result in chaotic confusion. The revelations of geologic science show that force has operated in definite and regular progression. This order can only be the result of intellect to devise, of will to determine, and of power to carry out the design. It is illustrated by the steam-engine. The agency of heat is not more powerful now than it has ever been, but the human intellect
has devised a means of using that heat as a motive force, and has carried out the idea. And not only is this true of the commencement of natural law, it is necessary to its continuance; for while the order exists, it must be the effect of voluntary power. The steam-engine when in motion seems to work with self-contained power, yet no one doubts that intellect has designed the fitness of its parts, and that care and supervision are necessary to the continuance and application of its force. In like manner the potency of matter may be traced to this source of voluntary power, as its latent capabilities may be traced to the same natural origin. What then is the result? Is it not that matter is but the recipient of external force, and that this force itself derives its agency from a Voluntary Power which must be Omniscient and Omnipotent, as all natural agency is under its control?
The second fact is the law of growth in organic nature. Whence came it? There is no longer mere aggregation as in the mineral kindgom, although the elements of organic composition are of similar nature. The cause of the change is the power of assimilation by which the organism attracts its sustenance from the surrounding elements and converts it into structure. And there is the limit of type, in accordance with which all organic beings have a structural resemblance to others of the same species. Besides these there is that power of sensation which gives cognizance of surrounding influences and causes sensitive activity. How are these to be accounted for except by the addition of power unknown to the lower kingdom? This power we call Life. The source of this life has never yet been detected, and its origin can only be attributed to supernatural agency. Once endowed with life, organic nature is capable of propagation by eggs, self-division, or budding; and this capability is apt to lead us to imagine that life is inherent. But no experimental effort has yet educed life from inorganic matter. Protoplasm is beyond the skill of man. If the germ be present, though unseen, life may be evoked, but the presence of the germ nullifies the experiment. It matters little whether we accept the gradual development of life by inherent effort, such as natural selection and the struggle for existence, or the older theory of separate creation of distinct types, for in each case the question will still meet us, Whence comes the higher power of development? Judging by analogy, we refer it to the action of a more intelligent existence. In the seventeenth century Sheffield was a seat of the cutlery trade, as it is now. Then its productions were rude and incapable of being used for delicate service, and finished articles were
imported; now its productions are fitted for every applicable use, and have acquired a world-wide celebrity. No one would attribute this change to the inherent qualities of iron, for those qualities were the same then as now. The changes would be attributed to the intelligence and skill of the manufacturers which had enabled them to improve the temper of the steel and to perfect the workmanship. So with organic nature. The existence of life presupposes the existence of a Being capable of imparting life, and the development of life shows this Being to be Infinite Intelligence, as the ascending perfection is infinite.
The third fact is the increased capabilities of the animal kingdom. The power of locomotion enables the animal to move in search of its food, or perform the functions necessary to maintain its vigour; the power of sensation enables it to instinctively avail itself of surrounding influences, and to supply the demands of its nature; the power of volition enables it to adapt itself to its circumstances, and enjoy that freedom which is the measure of its happiness. Can these powers be resolved into chemical affinity or mechanical force? Chemistry cannot even build up the simplest animal tissue, although it can reduce that tissue to chemical elements abounding in nature. The four known forces of gravitation, cohesion, chemical affinity, and electricity, would not be able to impart the powers of sensation and volition, nor would the potent influence of heat. The Creator of these powers must be a living Omnipotent Being, whose power permeates the universe, giving to the albuminous germ the potency of such marvellous development. That the exertion of these powers is productive of natural decay, and consequently of the loss of texture which has to be replaced, is not sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion that the exertion of these powers is merely a mechanical or chemical operation; for a material operation can only be performed by material means, yet the motive power may be quite distinct, although the action of the material means involves a correlative change of force. The scientist who experimentalizes and theorizes on nature, and records the results of his study, does so at the expense of nervous tissue; but the record on the printed page cannot be measured by mechanical force or chemical affinity. The record and its agency may remain while the nervous tissue is again formed, with no loss to universal matter. Neither is the gradual increase of these powers in the ascending scale of the animal kingdom any proof that the increase is material, for the question still presents itself, Whence this power of improvement? The