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more than is required. The principles, however, have a bearing upon various theological questions of the day, and touch upon topics of profound interest to all. Moreover, the inquiry, are they right or are they wrong, seems to press for an answer. We have therefore undertaken, though with reluctance, the discussion. We aim to state the case between man and nature as it appears to us to stand in the light of science, that the subject may be fully considered, and the true lines of sympathy come forth to view.
The anticipations of sin in nature, according to Dr. Bushnell, include all her deformities, discords, violence, and destructions. They are found in geological catastrophes and earthquakes—in deserts and the simoom—in the “fogs and storms that blur the glory of the sky”—in the many abortive buds of a fruit tree, and abortions incident to all kinds of life—in the rarity of “a perfect leaf," and the absence of “a man or woman of faultless model”-in thorns and briars, or the “spiny ferocity” of nature-in “muddy rivers," and the “fenny shores tenanted by alligators ”-in loathsome plants and animals, as mushrooms, vermin, jackalls, the carnivorous beasts, and all the hideous or uncouth shapes among living things, as, for example, the halibut and flounder—in the strange jargon of sounds through nature—in a supposed increase of deformities and retrogradations as the era of man was approachedin death: all of which particulars are regarded as showing that nature is only unnature; that the true ideal system has never existed ; and that such abnormities could not have been generated by a Perfect Mind, except in anticipative view of the unnature to be developed in man by the fall.
In explanation of the term unnature, Dr. Bushnell observes, (p. 216,) “Nature is unnature when her causes are acting retributively : they are not in such cases discontinued, or thrown out of their law; but they act, in their law and under it, as perfectly and systematically as ever.” And, (p.
. 217,) "If God's Whole Plan respects the fact of sin before the fact, the scheme of nature was none the less real or perfect because of the unnature working anticipatively in it, any more than it follows that the unnature subsequent has discon
tinued nature, whose retaliatory action it really is, and nothing more. Unnature, then-this is our conclusion-a far-reaching, all-comprehensive state of unnature, is the consequence of sin. It mars the body, the soul, society, the world, all time before and after."
There have been various ways of accounting for evil in the world besides the old one of two contrary principles or powers. A brief statement of some of the possible modes may well precede the discussion before us.
These deformities, as death, catastrophe, brute ferocity, uncouth shapes, etc., may be either involved in the original fundamental idea or laws of nature; or be additions to the system of nature by special appointment or interposition.
I. If involved in the original fundamental idea or laws of nature, they may be either, first, its normal results, that is, in the regular course of law; or secondly, its abnormal results.
If normal results, they may be the special, regular, and fundamental characteristics of the best system of nature, and be anticipative of man's nature, but not anticipative distinctively of his sin, except so far as this, that any violated law is necessarily followed by a failure of that which the law requires—in this case nature is in no proper sense deformed in view of sin; secondly, they may be deformities in accordance with regular law, admitted in the original idea only by way of adaptation to, and in anticipation of, the moral obliquity of man-in which case nature is in a degree deformed in view of sin.
If abnormal results, then the so-called imperfections are growths or developments out of the regular or normal course, like warts or excrescences, abortions and blunders among men; so that we may say of nature, as has been done, that she sometimes blunders; and that man's deformities of character are part of the same system of incidental aberrations, in harmony with the above-mentioned physical deformities.
These different views may be held atheistically, pantheistically, deistically, or theistically.
II. If these deformities are additions to the system of nature
by special appointment or interposition, they may be thrown into the line of normal action, or be abnormal; and in either case have reference to man's fall and recovery. The creation, in special anticipation of man's sin, of a new element in the system of elements, or of certain species of plants and animals under the laws of the kingdoms of life, would be an interposition that would fall into accordance with the line of normal action. Either all the anticipations of man may be regarded as of this kind, or only a part of them. Any such interposition is in truth a miracle. Yet what is ordinarily understood by miracle, would come, in our view, rather under the head of abnormal interposition—that is, an isolated act of Creative Power for a special end, not falling into an established series or system, nor initiating a series.
The present age, the Age of Mind, is that towards which all the preceding ages were preparatory-a fact strongly urged by Dr. Bushnell. The arrangements of the perfecting earth had as truly a reference to the thinking human race, as the body of man to the thinking soul for which it exists. Every law in nature was prospective of man, since it must have been prospective of the final purpose of nature. Some of the results came forth in the simple line of these laws. But in order to give all events a direction towards the great enda world for man, and man for eternity-guidance from the Creative Hand was constantly required.
A crystal forms according to the laws and under the force of attraction : an animal develops through the laws of life: and in each of these cases, the individual is plainly a simple unit; for we trace a unity of nature and structure throughout. So also a sphere in space, when once in existence, may take on, under law, its spheroidal form-have its dry lands and seas—its systems of currents for the air and oceans—its mountains and plains over the land—its strata forming through the action of the waters or fire; for such a sphere is in one sense an individuality developing by its own laws, like a crystal. But beyond these movements, carried on under the general forces of matter, the sphere has no inherent power of self-development that science has begun to discover. It is but an aggregate of different kinds of objects, without organic connection; and all unity of movement in these unlike objects, mineral, vegetable, animal, geographical, etc., towards a given end, and this, moreover, spiritual in character, must obviously be owing to the power of a Being who is a Spirit, and who controls all things according to his pleasure.
The appointment of the elements each for its place or separate function in the grand system, and all in harmonious action—the institution of the vegetable and animal kingdoms upon this inorganic basis and in exact accordance with its laws—the right balancing of the waters and the land in the geological past, so that the seas should be able to do their work in making strata, be not too full so as to bury all coal beds beneath rocks at undiscoverable depths, or too shallow so that no coal beds or limestone strata would have formed at all—the locating and modeling of the continents amid the oceans, in those zones, and with that relative position and those mutual differences, that should best serve for the developing nations—the creation of each living being among the successive tribes of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, according to a comprehensive plan, perfect in itself, and thoroughly woven together with the system of physical progress at the same time going forward-all, no less than the creation and history of man himself, announce, not developing laws, but a creating God.
Science is moving further and further away from any proof of the creation of species through nature's forces, either from rocks or other species; and only the speculative mind holds to the idea—an idea it adopts simply because there is system in the progress of life, and system in a living being is seen to be a natural development. The living being, as we have said, is an intelligible unit in its development and nature, as much so as a crystal, or the molecule of an element. But science detects no scientific method whatever of explaining the unity in the interwoven diverse systems, and the disconnected but harmoniously arranged events, in a world rising in progress to man, and must keep silent, or say—In God all things subsist and are one. It thus tells, not of a God afar off, an inactive witness
of a growing universe, but of one near by, sustaining, guiding, creating. The idea of creative energy in nature has not been found in nature's teaching: it is a part of the contra-natural proud-flesh growth of the human mind, which is most exuberant where there is little restraint from a knowledge of precise science.*
References to man will be found in the whole constitution of nature. Moreover, a parallelism of some kind between the aberrations of man and imperfections in nature must exist. The main question before us is, then, Which of the references to man in nature are anticipative of man as man, and which of man in his present or fallen condition ? And again, Are the alleged imperfections such as are incident to a perfect system, so that nature in its fundamental laws is as exactly adapted to the perfect man as to the imperfect, and is in no proper sense degraded, except in man's degradation ? Or shall we go further, and recognize in all lack of external beauty, in all unlovely animal passion, in all abortive developments and barrenness, in the fires and catastrophes of the progressing earth, in death, ordinances specially designed to be anticipative of man's degradation and recovery, and as therefore the mar of sin on the face of nature—so decidedly so, that if man had continued perfect, nature's grandest purpose would have been unfulfilled ? In a discourse preached some years since at Saratoga, we heard even the mountains set down as among the effects of the curse on the sympathizing earth.
We shall take up but a few of the points suggested by Dr. Bushnell, and consider first what in nature is the significance of
* Off-hand world-making is mostly done by closet speculators, who believe in their own minds more than in nature. Some of the recent publications of men in the ranks of literature and metaphysical science in this country, claiming intuitive powers next akin to omniscience, sustain this statement. The study of nature is undoubtedly naturalizing in its effects on the world. But a naturalistic tendency in the human mind has existed from Adam down, and it only finds fuel in the half-understood system of laws in nature. The unfolding of nature's system, which has been going on for the past century, is, in this way, with all its good, producing temporary evil. Yet the progress of the world shows that the evil has been more than balanced in the same period; and in the right wayby the development of the spiritual in man through God's word.