and worship of forms give rise to dreams of Utopia and all manner of illusions. We had little better than illusions to oppose to the sternly practical science of Germany. It is Utopian ideas that have produced, after a disastrous war, another crisis more serious still. Only solid, positive education can avert such disasters. England has opposed to fanciful dreams the serious study of political economy. Germany has profoundly studied the historical sciences, and has cultivated a searching criticism as well as the natural sciences. But France has followed an ideal, without regard to facts, and the result is, that every thing is in a state of disorder.
Present disaster may bring France to her senses, and induce her to start from different principles.
GEOLOGY is the science which explains to us the rind of the earth; of what it is made; how it has been made. It tells us nothing of the mass of the earth. That is, properly speaking, an astronomical question. If I may be allowed to liken this earth to a fruit, then astronomy will tell us—when it knows—how the fruit grew, and what is inside the fruit. Geology can only tell us at most how its rind, its outer covering, grew, and of what it is composed; a very small part, doubtless, of all that is to be known about this planet.
But, as it happens, the mere rind of this earth-fruit, which has, countless ages since, dropped, as it were, from the Bosom of God, the Eternal Fount of Life—the mere rind of this earth-fruit, I say, is so beautiful and so complex, that it is well worth our awful and reverent study. It has been well said, indeed, that the history of it, which we call geology, would be a magnificent epic poem, were there only any human interest in it; did it deal with creatures more like ourselves than stones, and bones, and the dead relics of plants and beasts. Whether there be no human interest in geology; whether man did not exist on the earth during ages which have seen enormous geological changes, is becoming more and more an open question.
But meanwhile all must agree that there is matter enough for interest—nay, room enough for the free use of the imagination, in a science which tells of the growth and decay of whole mountain-ranges, continents, oceans, whole tribes and worlds of plants and animals.
And yet it is not so much for the vastness and grandeur of those
- From advance sheets of Prof. Kingsley's excellent little book entitled "Town Geology."