Sidor som bilder

times, and especially that of Greece and Rome—the dark or middle ages-the revival of literature.

The third series, in 15 lectures, is devoted to “the nature of mind; its general faculties and furniture." The subordinate divisions relate to-materialism and immaterialism—the nature and duration of the soul, as explained by popular tradition, by various schools of philosophy, and by revelation - the human understanding-ancient and modern sceptics—the “commonsense” hypothesis--human happiness—the general faculties and free agency of the mind—the origin, connexion, and character of the passions—the leading characters and passions of savage and of civilized lifetemperaments and constitutional propensities-pathognomy, or the expression of the passions-physiognomy and craniognomy-the language of the passions-on taste, genius, and imagination.

In this wide range of subjects, philosophical, zoological, metaphysical, literary, and moral, it would be unreasonable to expect that there should be no mistakes in reasoning, no defects in principle, no infringements upon good taste. But deductions from the value of the whole, on either of these accounts, are much more seldom requisite than might have been expected, considering the great diversity of topics, and the difficulties essentially involved in some of them. The chief violation of good taste which I have noticed, consists in the employment of scriptural phrases* to illustrate other than theological subjects. They are never employed irreverently, or in badinage ; but in application to some intellectual inquiry. They were introduced, I

Such “the fulness of time,” « regeneration,” “ rejoicing as a giant to run his race,” “the day-spring from on high,” &c.


conjecture, in the author's original composition of the Lectures, and escaped his notice at the time of final revision for publication; a time when he had learnt most scrupulously to abstain from every thing calculated to diminish the reverence due to Scripture.

What, however, is principally remarkable in these volumes, is the judicious selection and grouping under their proper beads, of a great variety of striking, curious, and illustrative facts; so brought together and exhibited as to confirm most cogently the theory, or doctrine, or verity, with a view to which they have been thus collected. While the author skilfully adduces facts and reasonings in favour of some theories, he proceeds similarly with regard to the refutation of others,-especially of those, whether deduced from supposed physiological or metaphysical verities and principles, which militate against the statement of revealed truth.

Were it not for my persuasion that the “Book of Nature” will be extensively read, so soon as its real character is known, I should be tempted to quote largely from its pages. But, with that conviction, I shall simply present a part of our author's inquiry into the varieties of the human race. This is a wellknown subject of sceptical triumph, because of its assumed incompatibility with the Mosaic account of the creation of the world. Blumenbach, Dr. Smyth of America, and others, have most decidedly refuted the infidel objection, drawn from the imagined inconsistency of existing facts with the primeval relation. But there was still room for a popular and spirited exhibition of the physiological arguments on this side of the question, incorporated with those which flow from a correct interpretation of the scripture narrative.

Dr. Good delineates the principal varieties under the denominations of the European race, the Asiatic race, the American, the African, and the Australian; agreeing nearly with the classifications of Blumenbach and Gmelin. Then he places the objections above adverted to, in their full force; and after alluding to the hypothesis of those who would refer the human and the monkey tribes to one common stock, proceeds thus:-

“ In order, however, to settle this question completely, let me mention a few of the anatomical points in which the orang-otang differs from the human form, and which cannot possibly be the effect of a mere variety, but must necessarily flow from an original and inherent distinction. More might be added, but what I shall offer will be sufficient; and if I do not touch upon a comparison of the interior faculties, it is merely because I will not insult your understandings, nor degrade my own, by bringing them into


kind of contact. “Both the orang and pongo, which of all the monkey tribes make the nearest approach to the structure of the human skeleton, have three vertebræ fewer than man. They have a peculiar membranous pouch connected with the larynx or organ of the voice, which belongs to no division of man whatever, white or black. The larynx itself, is, in consequence of this, so peculiarly constructed as to render it less capable even of inarticulate sounds, than that of almost every other kind of quadruped : and, lastly, they have no proper feet; for what are so called, are, in reality, as directly hands as the terminal organs of the arms: the great toe in man, and that which chiefly enables him to walk in an erect position, being a perfect thumb in the orangotang. Whence this animal is naturally formed for climbing: and its natural position in walking, and the position which it always assumes, excepting when under discipline, is that of all-fours; the body being supported on four hands, instead of on four feet

as in quadrupeds. And it is owing to this wide and essential difference, as, indeed, we had occasion to observe in our last study, that M. Cuvier, and other zoologists of the present day, have thought it expedient to invent a new name by which the monkey and maucaco tribes may be distinguished from all the rest; and, instead of QUADRUPEDS, have called them QUADRUMANA, or QUADRUMANUALS; by which they are at the same time equally distinguished from every tribe of the human race, which are uniformly, and alone, BIMANUAL.

“But throwing the monkey kind out of the question, as in no respect related to the race of man, it must at least be admitted, contend the second class of philosophers before us, that the wide differences in form, and colour, and degree of intellect, which the several divisions of mankind exhibit, as you have now arranged them, must necessarily have originated from different sources; and that even the Mosaic account itself will afford countenance to such a hypothesis.

“This opinion was first stated, in modern times, by the celebrated Isaac Peyrere, librarian to the Prince of Condé; who, about the middle of the last century, contended, in a book which was not long afterwards condemned to the flames, though for other errors in conjunction with the present, that the narration of Moses speaks expressly of the creation of two distinct species of man--an elder species which occupied a part of the sixth day's creation, and is related in the first chapter of Genesis; and a junior, confined to Adam and Eve, the immediate progenitors of the Hebrews, to whom this account was addressed; and which is not referred to till the seventh verse of the second chapter, and even then without any notice of the exact period in which they were formed. After which transaction, observe this writer and those who think with him, the historian confines himself entirely to the annals of his own nation, or of those which were occasionally connected with it. Neither is it easy, they adjoin, to conceive, upon any other explanation, how Cain, in so early a period of the world as is usually laid down, could

have been possessed of the implements of husbandry which belonged to him; or, what is meant by the fear he expressed, upon leaving his father's family, after the murder of Abel, that every one who found him would slay him; or, again, his going forth into another country, marrying a wife there, and building a city soon after the birth of his eldest son.

“Now, a cautious perusal of the Mosaic narrative, will, I think, incontestably prove that the two accounts of the creation of man refer to one and the same fact, to which the historian merely returns, in the seventh verse of the second chapter, for the purpose of giving it a more detailed consideration; for it is expressly asserted in the fifth, or preceding verse but one, as the immediate reason for the creation of Adam and Eve, that at that time there was not a man to till the ground ;' while, as to the existence of artificers competent to the formation of the first rude instruments employed in husbandry, and a few patches of mankind scattered over the regions adjoining that in which Cain resided at the period of his fratricide, it should be recollected that this first fall of man by the hand of man, did not take place till a hundred aud twenty-nine years after the creation of Adam; for it was in his one hundred and thirtieth


that Seth was given to him in the place of Abel : an interval of time amply sufficient, especially if we take into consideration the peculiar fecundity of both animals and vegetables in their primæval state, for a multiplication of the race of man to ar extent of many thousand souls.

On such a view of the subject, therefore, it should seem that the only fair and explicit interpretation that can be given to the Mosaic history is, that the whole human race has proceeded from one single pair, or, in the words of another part of the Sacred Writings, that God hath made of ONE

BLOOD all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” The book of Nature, is in this, as in every other respect, in union

* Acts xviii, 26.


« FöregåendeFortsätt »