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has done, and each share in the learning of all; for as iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpens the face of his friend. I have nothing to say against debating societies: perhaps it was my own fault that whenever I belonged to one as a young man, I found them inclined to make me conceited, dictatorial, hasty in my judgments, trying to state a case before I had investigated it, to teach others before I had taught myself, to make a fine speech, not to find out the truth; till in, I think, a wise moment for me, I vowed at twenty never to set foot in one again, and kept 'my vow. Be that as it may, I wish that side by side with the debating society, I could see young men joining in natural history societies; going out in company on pleasant evenings to search together after the hidden treasures of God's world, and read the great green book which lies open alike to peasant and to peer; and then meeting, say once a week, to debate, not of opinions but of facts; to show each what they had found, to classify and explain, to learn and to wonder together. In such a class many appliances would be possible. A microscope, for instance, or chemical apparatus, might belong to the society, which each individual by himself would not be able to afford; while as for books-books on these subjects are now published at a marvellous cheapness, which puts them within the reach of every one, and of an excellence which twenty years ago was impossible. Any working man in this town might now, especially in a class, consult scientific books, for which I, as a lad, twenty years ago, was sighing in vain; nay, many of which, twenty years ago, the richest nobleman could not have purchased; for the simple reason, that, dear or cheap, they did not exist. Such classes, too, would be the easiest, cheapest, and pleasantest way of establishing what ought to exist, I think, in connection with every institution like this, namely, a museum. If the young men were really ready and willing to collect objects of interest, I doubt not that public-spirited men would be found, who would undertake the expense of mounting them in a museum. And you cannot imagine, I assure you, how large and how interesting a museum might be formed of the natural curiosities of a neighbourhood like this, I may say, indeed, of any neighbourhood or of any parish : but your museum need not be confined to the neighbourhood. Societies now exist in every part of England, who will be happy to exchange their duplicates for yours.
As your collection increased in importance, old members abroad would gladly contribute foreign curiosities to your stock. Neighbouring gentlemen would send you valuable objects which had been lumbering their houses, uncared for, because they stood alone, and formed no part of a collection; and I, for one, would be happy to add something from the fauna and flora of those moorlands, where I have so long enjoyed the wonders of nature; never, I can honestly say, alone; because when man was not with me, I had companions in every bee, and flower, and pebble; and never idle, because I could not pass a swamp, or a tuft of heather, without finding in it a fairy tale of which I could but decipher here and there a line or two, and yet found them more interesting than all the books, save one, which were ever written THE NATURAL THEOLOGY OF THE
THE NATURAL THEOLOGY OF THE
Read at Sion College, January 10th, 1871.
WHEN I accepted the unexpected and undeserved honour of being allowed to lecture here, the first subject which suggested itself to me was Natural Theology.
It is one which has taken up much of my thought for some years past,* which seems to me more and more
* Novalis, I think, says that one's own thought gains quite infinitely in value as soon as one finds it shared by even one other human being. The saying has proved true, at least, to me. The morning after this paper was read, I received a book, “The Genesis of Species, by St. George Mivart, F.R.S.” The name of the author demanded all attention and respect; and as I read on, I found him, to my exceeding pleasure, advocating views which I had long held, with a learning and ability to which I have no pretensions. The book will, doubtless, excite much useful criticism and discussion in the scientific world. I hope that it may do the same in the clerical world; and I earnestly beg those clergymen who heard me with so much patience and courtesy at Sion College, to ponder well Mr. Mivart's last chapter, on “ Theology and Evolution.”