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LXIV.—THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
1. Is the anti-geologist, I would fain ask, prepared to give up the great argument founded on design, as asserted and illustrated by all the master-minds who have written on the evidences? Is he resolved, in the vain hope of bearing down the geologist, to make a full surrender to the infidel ? Let us mark how Paley's well-known illustration of the watch found out on the moor would apply in this controversy. From the design exhibited in the construction of the watch, the existence of a designer is inferred, whereas, from a stone found on the same moor, in which no marks of design are apparent, the archdeacon urges that no such inference regarding the existence of a designer could be drawn.
2. But what would be thought of the man who could assert that the watch, with all its seeming design, was not a watch but a stone; and that, notwithstanding its spring, its wheels, and its index, it had never been intended to measure time? What could be said of a sturdily avowed belief in a design not designed, and not the work of a designer—in a watch furnished with all the parts of a watch, that is, notwithstanding, a mere stone, and occupies just its proper place when lying among the other stones of the moor? What could be said of such a belief, paraded not simply as a belief, but actually as of the nature of reasoning and fitted to bear weight in controversy? And yet such is the position of the anti-geologist, who sees in the earth, with all its fossils, no evidence that it might not have been created yesterday.
3. For, obvious it is that, in whatever has been designed, fitness of parts bears reference to the proposed object, which the design subserves; and that if there be no proposed object, there can exist no fitness of parts in relation to it, and, in reality, no design. The analogy drawn in the case from the miracle of creation is no analogy at all.
4. It is not contrary to the laws which control human belief that the first races of every succeeding generation should have been called into existence in a state of full development; nay, it is in palpable and harmonious accordance with these laws. It is necessary that the animal which had no parents to care and provide for it should come into existence in a state of maturity sufficient to enable it to care and provide for itself; it is equally necessary that the contemporary vegetable, its food, should be created in a condition that fitted it for being food.
5. Had the first man and the first woman been created mere infants, they would, humanly speaking, have shared the fate of the "babes in the wood.” Had the productions of the vegetable kingdom been created in an analogous state of immaturity, “the horse,” to borrow from an old proverb, “ would have died while the grass was growing." But it is contrary to the laws which control human belief, that the all-wise Creator should be a maker of church-yards full of the broken debris of carcasses,- of skeletons never proposed to compose the framework of animals,- of watches never intended to do aught than perform the part of stones.
LXV.- BACHELOR'S HALL.
ANONYMOUS.; 1. Bachelor's hall! What a quare lookin' place it is !
Save me from such all the days o' my life! Sure, but I think what a burnin' disgrace it is,
Niver at all to be gettin' a wife! .
X 2. Pots, dishes, an' pans, an' such grasy commodities,
Ashes and praty-skins, kiver the floor;
Things that had niver been neighbors before.
3. Say the ould bachelor, gloomy an' sad enough,
Placin' his tay-kettle over the fire;
If he were prisent, to fight with the squire !
Sure, at a baste like that, swearin's no sin !
Thunder and turf! what a pickle he's in!
Niver a bit is the bed made at all ;
Bad luck to the picture of Bachelor's Hall !
LXVI.—ENDS TO BE ATTAINED BY EDUCATION.
1. Education is to inspire the love of truth, as the supremest good, and to clarify the vision of the intellect to discern it. We want a generation of men above deciding great and eternal principles upon narrow and selfish grounds. Our advanced state of civilization has evolved many complicated questions respecting social duties. We want a generation of men capable of taking up these complex questions, and of turning all sides of them towards the sun, and of examining them by the white light of reason, and not under the false colors which sophistry may throw upon them.
2. We want no men who will change, like the vanes of our steeples, with the course of the popular wind; but we want men who, like mountains, will change the course of the wind. We want no more of those patriots who exhaust their patriotism in lauding the past; but we want patriots who will do for the future what the past has done for us. We want men capable of deciding, not merely what is right in principle — that is often the smallest part of the case ; but we want men capable of deciding what is right in means, to accomplish what is right in principle. We want men who will speak to this great people in counsel and not in flattery. We want godlike men who can tame the madness of the times, and, speaking divine words in a divine spirit, can say to the raging of human passions, “Peace, be still," and usher in the calm of enlightened reason and conscience.
3. Look at our community, divided into so many parties and factions, and these again subdivided, on all questions of social, national, and international duty ;-while, over all, stands, almost unheeded, the sublime form of truth, eternally and indissolubly one. Nay, further, those do not agree in thought who agree in words. Their unanimity is a delusion. It arises from the imperfection of language. Could men, who subscribe to the same form of words, but look into each other's minds, and see there what features their own idolized doctrines wear, friends would often start back from the friends they have loved, with as much abhorrence as from the enemies they have persecuted. Now, what can save us from endless contention, but the love of truth? What can save us, and our children after us, from eternal, implacable, universal war, but the greatest of all human powers— the power of impartial thought?
4. Many—may I not say most-of those great questions which make the present age boil and seethe like a caldron, will never be settled until we have a generation of men who were educated from childhood to seek for truth and to revere justice. In the middle of the last century, a great dispute arose among astronomers, respecting one of the planets.
Some, in their folly, commenced a war of words, and wrote hot books against each other; others, in their wisdom, improved their telescopes, and soon settled the question forever.
5. Education should imitate the latter. If there are momentous questions which, with present lights, we cannot demonstrate and determine, let us rear up stronger and purer and more impartial minds for the solemn arbitrament. Let it be for ever and ever inculcated that no bodily wounds or maim, no deformity of person, nor disease of brain or lungs or heart, can be so disabling or painful, as error; and that he who heals us of our prejudices is a thousand fold more our benefactor than he who heals us of mortal maladies. Teach children, if you will, to beware of the bite of a mad dog; but teach them still more faithfully, that no horror of water is so fatal as a horror of truth because it does not come from our leader or our party.
6. Then shall we have more men who will think, as it were, under oath,—not thousandth and ten-thousandth transmitters of falsity,- not copyists of copyists, and blind followers of blind followers; but men who can track the Deity in his ways of wisdom. A love of truth,-a love of truth; this is the pool of a moral Bethesda, whose waters have miraculous healing. And though we lament that we cannot bequeath to posterity this precious boon, in its perfectness, as the greatest of all patrimonies, yet let us rejoice that we can inspire a love of it, a reverence for it, a devotion to it; and thus circumscribe and weaken whatever is wrong, and enlarge and strengthen whatever is right, in that mixed inheritance of good and evil, which, in the order of Providence, one generation transmits to another.
7. If we contemplate the subject with the eye of a statesman, what resources are there, in the whole domain of nature,