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And yet a strictly denominational or parish system of edu. cation can never supply all localities, and cannot be carried out universally in this country. The Old School Presbyterians undertook to introduce such a system twenty-five years ago, but it failed, because it was contrary to popular convictions in regard to the common school system.
The results of our investigations may be summed up in three points :
1. The college system in New England, but more especially in Massachusetts and Connecticut, has relatively declined during the last forty years, and even during the last twenty years. The popular demand for the regular collegiate training has decreased, and the real wants of the public have consequently increased. What shall be done in this emergency? Shall the number of technical schools and scientific departments in our colleges be increased? Or shall a larger number of studies in our colleges be made elective? Or shall our educators retain the old course substantially as it has been, as essential to the broadest general culture, and wait for the present tendency to re-act in its favor? Or shall new institutions be established in unoccupied centers, and with new attractions and advantages? These questions are being pondered, and must be decided.
2. The number of young men fitting for the Christian ministry in our theological seminaries has been steadily declining. Why is it? Is it owing to more worldly conceptions of life, or to inadequate salaries, or to the absence of strong convictions, as an element of the piety of the present time, or a diminished faith in special theological training, or to what cause ? What can be done to inzrease the number?
3. Our Conference seminaries must be cherished and patronized more extensively by our people, and at the same time we must foster the common schools. Neither should be allowed to suffer, for they mutually supplement each other.
Art. IV.–CONSERVATION, CORRELATION, AND ORIGIN OF THE
Additional Introduction expressly written for the English Edition. By Dr. LOUIS
COLLINGWOOD, F.R.L.S., F.R.S., etc. Pp. 271. London: Trübner & Co. 1870.
la Faculté de Médecine de Paris. Pp. 424. Paris : Victor Masson et fils. 1869. Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews. By THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY, LL.D., F.R.S.
Pp. 378. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1871.
GROVE, Prof. HELMHOLTZ, Dr. MAYER, Dr. FARADAY, Prof. LIEBIG, and Dr. CAR-
Appleton & Co. 1865.
Appleton & Co. 1863.
& Co. 1871.
College. New Haven: Chatfield & Co. 1870.
Edinburgh. Pp. 69. New Haven: Chatfield & Co. 1870.
By JOHN J. MURPHY. London: Macmillan & Co. 1869.
& Co. 1867.
& Co. 1871.
We have already surveyed our problem from one chemical stand-point. We now survey it from another. It is set forth in the following passage from Professor Barker's lecture: “In the early days of chemistry ... it was supposed that the complicated molecules of life were beyond the reach of simple chemical law. But as more and more complex molecules have one after another been produced, chemistry has become re-assured, and now doubts not her ability to produce them all.” Page 15. There is a very general conviction in the minds of physicists that something like what this passage expresses is about to be accomplished. It behooves us to examine and see
what it is chemistry really expects to do, and what are the
Professor Barker may make all the merely organic matter he pleases; but unless he shall favor us with at least one small portion of living organic matter, but little real advancement will have been made.
Dr. Maudsley says, (Body and Mind, Introduction,) “ Exact experiment can alone put an end to this dispute; the one conclusive experiment, indeed, in proof of the origin of living from dead matter, will be to make life.” Has this ever been performed by any one?
Professor Huxley, in bis address at Liverpool in 1870, as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, says: “I think it would be the height of presumption for any man to say that the conditions under which matter assumes the properties we call 'vital,' may not some day be artificially brought together. All I feel justified in affirming is, that I see no reason for believing that the feat has yet been done."--Lay Sermons, p. 366. But“Chemistry doubts not her ability to make them all.” For many, this extreme expectation is as good as the reality. It amounts to pretty much the same thing to have some confident professor predict it “will be so some day," as to be able to say “it is so." We protest, however, against this extravagant use of future possible resources. In this paragraph we are dealing not so much with the elements, as with the forces at the disposal of the chemist. They are physical, chemical, and mechanical. At this point let us hear from the calm and tolerant Büchner. He says the naturalist "proves that there are no other forces in nature besides the physical, chemical, and mechanical, and infers irresistibly that the organisms must also have been produced by these forces.”—Force and Matter, Pref. to third
ed., xxvii. Grant Büchner his premises, and we must grant
Says Büchner, (Pref. to fourth ed., liv,)“ Presupposing the existence of a first organic element, there is not much difficulty in believing that the whole organic world was developed out of itself, without the existence of a peculiar organic force." In this kind of statement he is joined by others, as Dr. Maudsley, for example, who says: “Admitting that the vital transforming matter is at first derived from vital structure, it is evident that the external force and matter transformed does in turn becoine transforming force, that is, vital. And if that takes place after the vital process has once commenced, is it, it may be asked, extravagant to suppose that a similar transformation might at some period have commenced the process, and may even now be doing so ?”--Body and Mind, p. 140.
Come, now, be magnanimous. It surely cannot be considered extravagant” to demand, much less to “suppose,” these trifies. It matters not that in so doing, according to Maudsley, you concede the "one conclusive case," or that, according to Büchner, if you surrender this it is nothing less than the
qnestion of the first origin of organic beings on the earth, which contains, in fact, the gist of the whole matter in dispute in regard to vital force.”—Preface to fourth ed., liii. This being true, can it be considered extravagant to yield it up ? But even should this be conceded, it seems there is really, even in Büchner's judgment, some “difficulty” in “ believing” this modern genesis true. If this is so, what shall be said of the difficulty of scientifically proving it?
That no case of spontaneous generation has ever been made ont, or with present means is likely to be, we suppose has been settled in the negative by the experiments of Pasteur;* but with an “ educated, unprejudiced” man of Büchner's stamp, “it makes not the slightest difference that it is certainly unknown in what way the spontaneous generation of the first organic form was established.”—Preface to fourth ed., liv. For, notwithstanding this, he says: “It seems clear to us that this generation was natural, and arose under peculiar circumstances ! ” Donbts may possibly arise in the minds of some as to whether the process alluded to was really “natural," and indeed as to what the word "natural" means, not to speak of“ peculiar circumstances.” For the benefit of such Büchner says, “that geological investigations have established the fact of a beginning of organic life upon the earth, which leaves no doubt that it can only have arisen naturally, and from inorganic forces, and it is perfectly indifferent whether or not we observe such a process now.'
This is conclusive. But here he fortifies his case behind the ponderous authority of Virchow, who says opportunely, “ Chemistry has not yet succeeded in forming a blastema, nor physics in forming a cell. What does it matter!” Certainly, nothing whatever to an "educated man!”
It is hardly conceivable, after all that has been said, that it should be so; but it is possible that some one might be found who would insist on further “proofs.” Here is one, from Virchow, as Büchner says, “easy to be understood :” “This first organic eleinent,” then, gentlemen, “ this momentary manifestation of latent law,happened under unusual conditions,” (Büchner, lv ;) or, to be more explicit if possible,“ we can only imagine
* Since writing the above, Dr. Bastian's book on the "Origin of the Lowest Organisms" has come to hand. A consideration of its statements might require a modification in some respects of the passage in the text.