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THE MEMORY OF THREE SWEET NAMES, j/UZZZ, STEZZA, AND AZZY,
ONCE BLENDED WITH THE LABORS OF THE STUDY AND THE LABORATORY-THE INSPIRATION OF HIGH AMBITION
AND SUSTAINING HOPE,
THESE CHAPTERS ARE
A FFAECTIONA TE Z, P. DAC/D/CA. TAE 7).
P. R. E. F. A. C. E.
To work here offered to the public will be found suited, it is hoped, to two classes of readers. There is a numerous class of intelligent persons who do not find it convenient to possess themselves of all the more important conclusions of the physical sciences by a resort either to original memoirs or to formal scientific treatises, but who nevertheless recognize the great interest of the developments of recent science, and would be glad to be put in a position to take a panoramic survey of its grand generalizations. Such an opportunity the author has aimed to present. The work will also be found useful as an aid in review. The student may plod ever so diligently and ever so intelligently through the details of a science; he is apt to gain only vague impressions and floating ideas, unless enabled to take a comprehensive survey of the field, with the details all left in the background, and the great outlines and prominent landmarks all brought saliently into proper relations to each other. As the engineer, who may have completed the most elaborate survey of a region, requires at last to contemplate it from some elevated hill-top to gain a vivid conception of the landscape as a whole, so the student needs to be lifted up to a position where he may enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the entire field at a glance, in order to give vividness, sharpness, locality, and permanence to the thoughts and images floating in his mind. . There also other considerations which have been prominently before the mind of the author in drawing up some of the following chapters for publication. He can not resist the conviction that Nature is intended as a revelation of God to all intelligences. If it be so intended, Nature must be capable of fulfilling the offices of a revelation, and a knowledge of her phenomena and laws must afford the data of a theology. Despite the skepticism of a certain school of recent writers, the phenomena of the universe continue to inspire in the soul of man emotions of religious reverence and worship. To the mass of mind, as to the intelligence of Socrates, and Plato, and Kepler, and Newton, and Galen, and Paley, and Buckland, the order of the Cosmos proclaims an Infinite Intelligence. The author has no fear that the ultimate analysis of the grounds of this belief will result in showing them unreal or unsatisfactory to a critical philosophy. Imbued with such convictions, the author has made no effort to disguise them. He has not, however, entered into any formal attempt to set forth the relations of science to the system of Christian faith, though the way has been frequently opened. He hopes at no distant day to resume the consideration of these subjects. Besides the arguments made familiar by Paley, Whewell, and other writers on Natural Theology—to which, indeed, fourfold strength is added by the later developments of the physical sciences—there are new topics thrust before the world by the current of modern thought, upon which a flood of light is thrown by late discoveries, if, in fact, their discussion does not lie exclusively within the domain of Natural Science. Such are the Antiquity of the Human Race, the Unity of the Race, the Primeval Condition of Man, Harmony of the Mosaic and Geologic Cosmogonies, the Mosaic Deluge, Natural Evil, Development, the Foreshadowing of Man's Birthplace, the Unity of Creation, Teleological and Homological Design in Nature. In the mean time, the suggestions thrown out in this work may be of service to some of those who may be seeking for the grounds of a rational religious belief. The elucidation of the great problems of philosophic or speculative theology is, indeed, the highest function of science. All our learning would, in reality, be but the “vanity” which it is sometimes reproached with being if it could reflect no light upon the Origin, the nature, the duty, and the destiny of man. It is not for its facts, but for the significance of the facts, that science is valuable. To accumulate the data of science is good; to interpret them is the noblest prerogative of a thinking being. Science interpreted is theology. Science prosecuted to its conclusions leads to God. To all, then, who love to hold communion with the thoughts embodied in the “visible forms” of Nature; who delight to contemplate the sublime, persistent, allcomprehending, and beneficent plans of Deity unfolding through geological cycles toward definite and intelligible ends; in short, to all who love to - “Look through Nature up to Nature's God,” these pages are respectfully submitted. - THE AUTHOR.