90 Science and the Bible. [Jan.
ephemeral, fated, to the last one, or all but the last, to become "
phenomena " in the progress of learning; one charnel-house for the
whole, " cycles," " epicycles," " magnetisms," " gravities," "
elephants," " turtles," etc. A hopeless prospect ahead for those who
reason from or about nature ; and we wonder whenProfessorLewis was
propounding his laws with regard to nature, in the following pages of
his work, he did not fear lest they might, hereafter, be doomed to a
place by the side of the " elephants."
That we may not appear to misrepresent him, we cite further:
220: " Science may boast as she pleases, but according to her own most
vaunted law, she can only trace the footsteps of a present or
once-passing causation;" as if the laws of matter and of all existence
were as mutable as the changing seasons.
the same spirit, he speaks of the progress of science (p. 180),
rendering " childish and obsolete all the doctrines and all the
language in which she now so proudly boasts."
a very cutting rebuke for the " savans of the nineteenth century" (p.
107), he observes that "the language of science, when it fails or has
become obsolete, exhibits always the appearance of childish folly and
pretence;" and then, after a few sentences, goes off as follows :
Science has indeed enlarged our field of thought, and for this we will
be thankful to God, and to scientific men. But what is it after all,
that she has given us, or can give us, but a knowledge of phenomena,
appearances ? What are her boasted laws but generalizations of such
phenomena ever resolving themselves into some one great fact that seems to
be an original energy, whilst evermore the application of a stronger
lens to our analytical telescope resolves such seeming primal force
into an appearance, a manifestation of something still more
remote, which, in this way, and in this way alone, reveals its presence
to our senses. Thus the course of human science has ever been the
substitution of one set of conceptions for another. Firmaments have
given place to concentric spheres, spheres to empyreans, empyreans to
cycles and epicycles, epicycles to vortices, vortices to gravities and
fluids ever demanding for the theoretic imagination other.fluids as the
only conditions on which their action could be made conceivable."
error of our profound author is plain enough after the remarks which
have been made. The connection, in the same category, of ancient dreams
with discovered laws,