1856.] Science and the Bible. 641
progress. But light is so far let in upon science, and observers have
so multiplied all over the civilized world, that the baneful influence
is now comparatively short-lived, if not confined to its author. The
reverence for truth, which the study of nature inspires, makes
scientific men critics upon one another; and it is now well
apprehended that there is a common court of appeal as to truth,— even
nature herself. The written law is not more decisive in its judgments,
than the law of God in his works; and it cannot be more faithfully
regarded than the latter, by true students of nature. They know whereon
they stand; and they rejoice in the light that is daily coming to their
minds from the eternal source of all light.
was long in the world in ignorance of the world. It lay dreaming of the
deep unknown, taking only dim and lazy views into the darkness around.
Latterly, it has broken loose from the case in which it was revolving
upon itself. It has found that God's hand is outstretched to touch our
blind eyes, and help us onward; that the way is strown with flowers,
gushes with fountains of wisdom, and leads directly towards the
eternal throne. By making use of the proffered means, mind has greatly
enlarged its range, and that range is still extending.
But there are remains of the old obscurity, profound depths, indeed, in
which sight fails of distinct images ; and the complete dissipation of
this obscurity cannot be hoped for, although circle after circle may be
gradually penetrated by science. This is a dream-land, into which mind
may take its excursions; yet the true philosopher will think deeply,
and speak cautiously.
this dream-land, moreover, there is a limit, beyond which mind cannot
go, even in its fancies ; for, in making the attempt, it only turns
back upon itself. The leadings of nature offer no aid to those who
would pass the boundary. On the hither or finite side of that limit are
the laws of matter, which mind is exploring; on the farther or infinite
side, the essence of matter, out of the range of knowledge. On the
finite side are the laws of mind; on the infinite,