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certain that it has no existence in the corresponding workmanship in the kingdom of Grace.
In every department of Creation, as yet known, one universal law is found in constant operation. There is no exception anywhere. In animal and vegetable physiology--in the formation of “the Great Globe itself” -in the starry canopy above our heads-in short, in all things, on earth, in the sea, in the firmament, among all the tribes of birds, beasts, fishes, and creeping things, even in the immortal mind of man, and in the abstract processes of thought, the eternal principle which meets us everywhere is—Unity of Plan in Variety of Form. There is no such thing as Unity in Uniformity, except in the blind and selfish heart of man.
THE CONFLICT OF OPINION IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS OF
KNOWLEDGE BESIDES RELIGION.
“With great variety of sound was there made sweet melody."
Son of Sirach, ch. 1. 18.
The argument in the preceding chapters acquires force, when we notice the variety of opinion that exists in other departments of knowledge, as well as in Religion. When, for example, we consider the present advanced state of Medical Science, and how largely, both Medicine and Physiology are indebted to the principle of the progress of truth by antagonism, we may reasonably infer, that liberty of opinion, is far more conducive to the ultimate triumph of truth, than the imposition of mechanical restraints, in order to suppress, or, to suspend the exercise of free thought.
It well amuse us in these days to read the preamble to a certain Act of Parliament, passed in the reign
of Queen Elizabeth. By that Act it was declared, that “whereas it was expedient that all men should think alike on the subject of Religion,” &c., &c., certain penalties should be imposed in the event of contumacy. As well might our legislators introduce a Bill into Parliament, to compel every man to have the same shade of hair, the same colour of the e;e, and the same number of pulsations in a minute ! To diter men from giving expression to their opinions in matters of religion, by coercive measures, is quite within the range of human despotism. But, the Divine privilege of every man to be the master of his own thoughts, is, happily, placed beyond the reach of all agencies, but one. God, alone, can regulate, or, control the inner world of our ideas.
So long as the human mind is constituted as at present, no two men will think alike on every subject. From motives of policy, or, of prudence, men may consider it judicious, to observe a silent neutrality, but, the under currents of the mind, will not be influenced by such considerations.
Now, let us examine the principles of the science of Medicine, with its collateral adjuncts of Surgery and Physiology. Take, for instance, the treatment of disease, and let us try, whether the theology of matter, so to speak, possesses any advantages over the theology of mind, in the way of uniformity of opinion,
There are hardly any two physicians who are altogether agreed in their mode of dealing with disease. Variety of opinion has, in this department, passed into a proverb. Each fancies that his own remedy is a specific. The important point, however, is, that regardless of the variety of remedial agents, the sick man ordinarily recovers. And the reason is just this, that there is a well-known principle relative to disease, which, for the most part, presents a Unity of plan, upon which are based all the varieties of treatment. Disease, if left alone, has a tendency to wear itself out, unless indeed it should first of all wear out the man.* This is the general principle, and all the various remedies, whether alkaline or acid, bleeding or blistering, stimulating or depleting, are merely so many efforts to assist nature in throwing off the poison in the blood. Whatever variety there may exist in the form of treatment, the law of disease is one and invariable.
The same variety of opinion may be observed in the science of physiology. Both at home and abroad the greatest divergence of theory exists between men who may be regarded as experts in their profession. When we see such men as Rokitansky, and Wedl, and Vogel, and Köllicher, and Virchow on the Continent—and Darwin, and Owen, and Kirkes, and Huxley in England, differing in opinion, on matters of even prime importance, in physiology, it should teach us how absurd it is to suppose that the human mind can be mechanically moulded into unvarying uniformity.
* See Note-Appondix,
Religion, then, is not the only department of knowledge in which variety of opinion exists. If it were necessary, it could be shewn that with regard to several of the most obvious facts in physiology, the accumulative research of ages, has been completely baffled. What can it tell us, for instance, of the functions of the spleen, or, of the pineal gland in the brain, or, of the superrenal capsules, or, the choroid plexus, or, the appendix vermiformis, and other portions of the human body, which necessarily exercise an important influence on the physical economy, and well being of man? On some of these subjects the wisest of men are profoundly ignorant. Who has ever been able to explain the use of the appendix vermiformis ? It really would appear, at first sight, as if it were only intended to do mischief! We say nothing of the unsettled controversies about the hippocampus minor, or, of the homology of the several parts of the temporal bone concerning the latter of which no two anatomists perhaps entertain the same idea. The unsolved problems, therefore, in the world of Nature, ought to have the effect of teaching mar. to know his proper place, and to keep it. For they tell us, that there are