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not here; to look beyond secondary causes to the great First Cause of all—the Being who spoke these laws into existence, and impressed them on the material world. If
“The undevout astronomer is mad," how much more is that man mad who can contemplate the great order of universal nature, the unerring regularity and uniformity of her operations, and trace the evidences of design and intelligence through
“Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach," and still deny the existence and government of a supreme and allcreative God!
Another reason why science is charged with leading to infidelity is the apparent incongruity sometimes found to exist between its conclusions and certain passages in the Holy Scriptures, as generally explained and understood. Galileo was immured in the dungeons of the inquisition for asserting the truth of the Copernican system, because that system was supposed to be incompatible with revelation. Yet the earth moved on !* Hutton, Leslie, and Playfair were assailed with all the virulence of prejudice for declaring that the earth must have been created “in the beginning," and not six thousand years ago, when man was placed upon it. Yet now many eminent theologians in Europe and America are foremost in asserting the same. It does seem that the triumph of the Copernican astronomy over the bigotry of the Romish Church, and the more recent triumph of the modern geogony, might teach men the folly of arraying a preconceived construction of language in opposition to the established truths of science. To take alarm at every new discovery, lest it controvert some popular interpretation of the sacred record, shows for religion a “zeal not according to knowledge.” Truth is always consistent with itself. A truth in natural science can no more contradict the revelation of God than God can contradict himself. And still more, a truth in science, once demonstrated, as peremptorily challenges belief as the voice of the Almighty from the thunders and thick darkness of Sinai. Nature and revelation go hand in hand; and each rightly understood becomes an unerring commentary on the other. When the expounders of the Bible shall have learned how far its language is to be construed according to the exact letter, and how far it conformed to the state of human knowledge at the time it was delivered, no inconsistency will be found between the sacred volume and
“That elder scripture writ by God's own hand.” The last class of motives to the study of natural science which I shall notice, is drawn from the desire felt by every patriotic American to promote the reputation of his country. The firmest basis of a nation's honor must be laid in the minds of its people. We would see the land of our birth and our affections rising as rapidly in scientific fame as in wealth and political power. Yet we know that the genius of our institutions forbids us to expect from the general government any direct assistance in those pursuits which, being productive of no adequate emolument, most of all require liberal patronage. The monarchists of Europe have declared our institutions hostile to all such pursuits, and have confidently predicted our utter neglect of them. Now as lovers of our country and its system of government, does it not behoove us to show to the world that “ men constitute a state ;*and what kings, princes, and nobles can do in Europe, men can do here?
*“E pur si muove,” were the indignant words of Galileo after he had been compelled to pronounce the prescribed formula of abjuration : “ Corde sincero et fide non fietu abjuro, maledico et detestor supradictos errores et hereses."
We could, indeed, wish our government more disposed to counte. nance scientific men and scientific pursuits. We could wish to possess a national garden of plants and a national cabinet of natural history which should rival even those of Paris. But so long as government is the creature it will be also the instrument of the people's will. When the popular mind shall have been instructed, and the popular taste rightly directed, the public voice will demand what now it would reject. Thus to change the people's will must be the work of time and patient perseverance. At present, as heretofore, the advancement of natural history must depend on the efficiency of individual exertions. If the speedy dissolution of great estates among us, in consequence of the abrogation of the laws of primogeniture, will not permit single individuals to exercise princely munificence, it enables a much greater number to contribute with generous liberality. Combination, therefore, must accomplish in America what patronage has done in Europe. The numerous associations which are springing up in every part of our land for the cultivation of natural history are scattering their influence over the whole face of the community. And we need not despair of seeing in a few years multitudes of farmers, miners, seamen, and soldiers, and even the hunters of the Rocky Mountains, as well as the more liberally educated classes of engineers, travelers, and military and naval officers, so far interested and instructed in this pleasing science as to be induced to preserve the specimens which they have so many opportunities to procure.
The success of the cultivators of natural history in our country, for a few years past, affords most cheering encouragement for the future. Even so late as the close of the last war how few were the laborers in this broad and fertile field ! Yet they sat not down in hopeless inactivity. The magnitude of the work to be done nerved them with greater strength. They yielded to no difficulties, and shrank from no sacrifices. Would you see the results of their labors? Look abroad over the land, and they will meet you in every respectable college, in every populous city, even in many small towns and private houses. Many of the states have contributed much to science by directing geological surveys within their limits, and in some cases these surveys have extended to all departments of natural history. Even the general government has exhibited an occasional though hesitating disposition to promote, as far as its limited powers will allow, the same great objects.
Among the early pioneers of natural science in this country a neighboring venerable institution in your own state can boast one of the most persevering and most successful. The American Journal of Science and Arts, undertaken with dubious auspices, and prosecuted with disheartening sacrifices, has done more for the cause of science in our country than can be well estimated. This rica depository of valuable intelligence, this table-companion for every scientific American, is an imperishable monument of the industry and rare ability of its learned editor. I should do injustice to the feelings of gratitude which flow spontaneously from a pupil to an accomplished and revered instructor, should I not also mention in this connection the name of Professor Cleaveland, who published the first edition of his Mineralogy in 1816. This, with the subsequent enlarged and improved edition, gave a new impulse to that science in this country; and the estimation in which the work is held is best shown by the clamorous importunity of the public for a third edition. In other departments of natural history brilliant lights soon arose. Though cut off in the midst of his unfinished labors, Dr. Godman has left, in his History of North American Quadrupeds, a noble specimen of what might have been expected from his maturer researches and later studies. And more recently Mr. Audubon, by his admirable Biography of Birds, has placed himself in the first rank of ornithologists. The labors of these men, and of many others whom the limits of this address will not permit me to name, have rapidly diffused a spirit of inquiry and a correct taste on these subjects. They have allured many ardent disciples into the same paths. They have laid the foundation of an enduring reputation, both for themselves and their country. Americans are learning from them what they have to do, what they can do, and how to do it. And while we are ever ready to award merited praise to scientific foreigners who labor among us, we are resolved to be no longer dependent upon them to explore our mineral wealth, and to describe and classify our plants and animals. ecstasy at sight of the golden bloom of the furze of Putney heath. “ Dr. Godman,” observes his biographer, “ has been heard to say, that in investigating the habits of the shrew mole he walked many hundred miles.” The same writer also says, “His eagerness in the pursuit of knowledge seemed like the impulse of gnawing hunger and unquenchable thirst. Neither adversity nor disease could allay it.” Mr. Audubon, in preparing his splendid work upon ornithology, has evinced the same zealous enthusiasm and the same indomitable perseverance, whether we follow him under the broiling sun of Louisiana, or over the vast prairies of the western wilderness, or amid the rocks, and ice, and desolation of the Labrador coast. Speaking of Wilson's great work on the same subject, Dr. De Kay remarks,* " The peculiar disadvantages under which Wilson labored would have dampened and discouraged any spirit but his own. His ardent enthusiasm for his favorite pursuits, and his noble disdain of the most appalling obstacles, are finely exhibited in his reply to a friend who endeavored to dissuade him from the publication of his work, 'I shall at least leave a beacon to show where I perished.'”
I have thus, gentlemen, very imperfectly, I am aware, presented for your consideration three classes of motives to exertion in the study of natural science, and more particularly of natural history: 1. The motives drawn from considerations of utility ; 2. From the intellectual and moral influence of these studies; 3. From their bearing on the reputation of our country.
It now only remains to show the spirit by which the philosopher of nature should be impelled in the prosecution of his objects. Let no one who enters this delightful path hope to be released from the conditions on which all knowledge is gained. It was a remark of the wise Socrates, “ The gods have given nothing valuable to men without great labor." On this subject the wisdom of antiquity has not yielded to modern innovation and improvement. In no department of learning has a railroad yet been constructed. No power of locomotion can whirl us to the desired goal. If we trace the history of those lights of science which have shone most conspicuously in the fields of original discovery, we shall find they owed their success to an ardent love of their pursuits, to a noble disregard of self, and to firm purpose and resolute exertion. I would say, therefore, that the spirit of the naturalist should be a spirit of perseverance, self-devotedness, and enthusiasm. He must see no other object of ambition; he must be allured by no other enchanter. To the end in view he must not only cheerfully but exultingly devote his time and his talents, and, next after the preparation for an immortal state, must make it the business of his life. The great Linnæus, in pursuit of botanical knowledge, traversed on foot the frozen mountains of Lapland ; and in England fell on his knees in
VOL. IX.--Octis 1838. 56
Such, gentlemen, are the models for the imitation of the naturalist who would strive for eminence or hope for success. Such is the enthusiasm he must feel; such the devotedness with which he must render himself to the work; such the spirit that must dwell and reign within him.
A recent youthful but ingenious writer has compared science to an immense horizontal column, wlich successive generations of philosophers are raising to a perpendicular position. The first rear it as high as they can reach, and leave it so. Their successors, to lift it higher, must be taller and stronger men than themselves; and every succeeding generation must surpass the last, or the column can never go up. Were this a true simile, the prospect of the successors of Davy and Berzelius, Laplace and Lagrange, Herschel and Cuvier, to heave the column any higher must be alarmingly dubious! The comparison, however, will not hold. The truth is, every succeeding generation of philosophers stand on the shoulders of those who went before them. Though they be only equal in stature, they still overtop their predecessors, and push up the column a little higher. We begin where our fathers ended. We have the henefit of their labors and discoveries. They are the pillars which support the stage we stand on. They place in our hands the instruments to work with; and we go on toward the accomplishment of the labors they commenced. · Let no man, therefore, sit down disheartened, and persuade himself that all has been done which can be done. It is not so. There are yet crowns reserved for him who is willing to practice the limb and strain the muscle. The boundless fields of nature have not yet been all explored. Many a wide tract still invites. When the gigantic mind of Newton compared what he had done with what he had left undone, he declared he had only 6 picked up a few pebbles on the shore of the great ocean of truth." Have we then the presumption to think its remotest limits have been explored? The earth, how little has she yet revealed of her deeply hidden and exhaustless treasures ! But we penetrate a few hundred feet beneath her outer
*See Dr. De Kay's Address before the New York Lyceum of Natural History, most crust, and dream we have displayed the secrets of her capacious bosom. The sea, what wonders hitherto unseen are stored in her profound abysses! Yet we glide over her surface, and vaunt ourselves her lords. The atmosphere, how little do we know of its tornadoes and its meteors, its changes of pressure, temperature, and moisture, and the other processes of its etherial.laboratory! Yet we ascend a few miles in a balloon, and arrogate to ourselves the fabled dominion of Jupiter! How imperfectly do we understand the nature and connection of those powerful and mysterious agents, heat, electricity, and magnetism! Yet we construct an electro-magnetic engine, and proclaim nature the handmaid of our will! How many links are yet undiscovered in the great chain of being! But we flatter ourselves that the Flora, the Sylva, and the Fauna of the world are almost complete. The abstruse problem of reason and instinct is yet unsolved. The great question, " What is life?" is yet unanswered. But I forbear. It is at least a sufficient cause of humility to perceive how much less extended is the catalogue of our knowledge than the catalogue of our ignorance. The former can easily be told; the latter we have not even knowledge to make out.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review. * ART. VII.-TREASURES OF KNOWLEDGE LAID OPEN BY AN ' ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE ANCIENT CLASSICS.
BY CHARLES H. LYON, Associate Principal of the Irving Institute, Tarrytown, N. Y. The history of literature and science is but the record of the progress of the human mind in the attainment of knowledge. In ancient times, while the mental powers were not yet developed, and the state of knowledge was rude, the minds of men were exercised in a different way in literary and scientific pursuits from that in which they now are, and in a manner more favorable to the development of genius. Few discoveries, comparatively, had then been made, and but little aid could be derived in the pursuit of one branch of knowledge from the advances made in another. Those principles of science that are now applied in the trades and arts, and in the ordinary business of life, had not yet been developed. There was, therefore, a greater demand for investigation and research, as the progress of the arts depended on the advancement of science. Men had to proceed step by step to arrive at one result before they could employ it in obtaining others, and to make one discovery the stepping stone to more. They were required to bring their powers more to a focus, and direct them more to single objects, and this is. in fact, the secret of success in all mental operations. Hence there is more originality and inventive genius in the productions of antiquity than in those of our own time; and the writers of real merit among the ancients bore a far higher ratio to the whole number than they do at the present day.
Yet valuable and important as those productions are, they are comparatively inaccessible to a vast majority of the reading community of the present age. The poetry, the philosophy, the history, and the eloquence of the ancient world are treasured up in the lan