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difficulties, as far above reason, as reason is, above instinct !
It is, unquestionably, the duty of all men who love truth, to pursue it to every possible limit, but, if, in this pursuit they come to the brink of an unfathomable abyss, it is their wisdom to pause-feeling assured that the things
they know not now, they shall know hereafter." For want of this modest deference to the will of our Great Creator, men have rushed desperately to conclusions, as unworthy of true science, as they certainly are
are at variance with common sense.
In the study of Natural Science, how often should the eloquent words of Hooker be suggested to
Dangerous,” he says, “it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High, whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of His name, yet our soundest knowledge is to know, that we know Him not as indeed He is, neither can know Him; and our safest eloquence concerning Him, is our silence, when we confess without confession, that His Glory is inexplicable, His Greatness above our capacity and reach. He is above, and we upon earth ; therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few."
True genius, like that of Michael Faraday, can afford
* Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. Book I. 200.
to admit failure. Science and Revealed Truth are never in a single instance opposed to each other. Every idea which we have derived from Science as to the form, the magnitude, the geology, or, the productions of our globe are all of them in full accord with the Bible. It is only science, falsely so called, which is in any way opposed to Scripture, and whose disciples, “puffed up
puffed up” with intellectual superiority, attempt to dogmatise upon what they do not understand.
Until we know the whole of the case, it is worse than folly, as Bishop Butler observes, to draw - any reliable conclusion from imperfect, or, insufficient data. One cannot help revering the honesty of purpose of the old Greek Philosopher, who, when interrogated by his pupils upon points which human ignorance can so readily suggest, but which human wisdom cannot so readily answer, was in the habit of using the simple and unaffected formula“ I do not know.” Æschines, like all other true philosophers, could well afford to avoid what Lord Bacon calls
seeming wise.” It is only the superficial meddler in science, who thinks it necessary to give a reason for everything. Hence, we so often see exhibitions of human weakness put forward in order to cover the want of power.
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
“ The charities that soothe, and heal and bless,
Wordsworth (Excursion, Book IX.)
The argument of unity amid endless variety finds an appropriate and interesting illustration in the manifold departments of the vegetable kingdom. On the connection between plan and form, Botany, not less than Physiology, is replete with coincidences, both designed and undesigned.
From the Lichen, on the Alpine summits, to the despised weed of the same order, on the Coral reef—from the parasitic fungus, visible only by means of high microscopic power, to the enormous parasite* in the Indian Archipelago—from the sweet-scented vernal dewy paths of meadows,” to the tree-like branching Bamboo of Tropical climes, there are many varieties in form but only one plan. No man, at first sight, could
grass " in the believe it possible, that the common meadow-grass and the sugar cane are members of the same family. And yet the fact is so.
The varieties in the order of grasses [Graminea], however apparently dissimilar in form, are all alike in their general features.
Of the three hundred and twenty genera, including three thousand cight hundred and fifty species, whatever variety may exist as to the number and form of the different sets of bracts, and the nature of the fruit, there is only one arrangement throughout the entire family which gives to it that unity of plan, whereby they are recognised as belonging to the same order. Wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice, maize, Guinea-corn, millet, &c., &c., which supply "green herb for the service of man,” and the rye-grass, meadow-grass, sweet vernal-grass, cock's foot-grass, Timothy-grass, and countless grasses besides, which "give food for the cattle,” are all members of one widespread family. They present the same peculiarities of organisation and structure, however separated by continents and centuries. And, that which holds true with regard to the variety of the family of grasses, is equally true in the case of all other orders. There is the same variety of form, the same unity of plan.
It would be hardly possible to conceive anything more monotonous, or, less attractive than unvarying uniformity in the world of flowers. There is something always
refreshing, always new, however intimately we may be
One reason, perhaps, why the soul is so elevated on these occasions, is, the utter absence on every side of anything like human contrivance. We perceive at a glance the essential difference between Nature and Art.