Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/555

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LITERARY NOTICES.

of the Bible existing only in manuscript, and written in dead Hebrew and Greek?"

From Prof. Turner's chapter on "Miracle and Prayer" we quote the following passages, which illustrate his view of that subject:

We have a cow that is, in her way, a great philosopher, and somewhat of a divine. She has attained such adroitness that she can handle all the hasps and latches, and open all the gates and barn-doors. She is clearly of the opinion that whatever lies beyond her capacity in that line must be miraculous; and when we take a key out of our pocket, and put it in a padlock, and open a door that she has tried in vain to open, she cocks her ears forward, opens her eyes, and says as plainly as she can: "Well, now, that is clearly miraculous; a manifest interference with the laws of Nature." And this is very good cow-philosophy and cow-theology; but will it do for human beings?. . .

No one of the gospel narrators ever intimates that Jesus's works were either a violation or a suspension of, or even an interference with, any law of Nature. All this is our own "cow-philosophy" and "cow-divinity." It neither came from Christ nor his apostles. They spoke of them as "signs" and "wonders," "mighty works;" as acts that were "significant," "strange and unusual," and implying "power." In the only three ultimate forms of being or existence known to us, matter, force, and spirit, or voluntary being of some sort, the last is the only one from which any new force or cause can even seem to originate.

Prof. Turner writes with great vigor and force, though we think with some verbal redundancy, and is mainly intent upon making himself understood. He is inclined to consider that there is a good deal of credulity on the part of scientific men, and he is not very mealy-mouthed in his statement of this opinion. The following passage is evidently for the benefit of Prof. Tyndall:

Contrast, now, the ontology, or scheme of being and destiny, implied in all Christ's teachings and works, with that implied in the dogmatism of those scientists who find "all potency in matter," beginning with their universe of stardust and incandescent gas without known cause, solidifying itself into the solid worlds. generating protoplasms, bioplasms, and cells, and even correlated sexes, out of dead matter, with no supervising intelligence: the molten mass of earth cooling down so slowly as to admit of ages of tropical life at the poles; and anon for ages taken with such a congestive chill that eternal ice and glaciers shrouded it quite down to the tropics; then a fever set in again, and it warmed up to its present condition, full of literal hellfire within, eternally belching forth in all its volcanoes—all living things made out of the same original protoplasms, more handy to the modern scientist than was the dust of the earth, or Adam's extra rib, to the old Jews, but made without any maker. All things at last, in prophetic vision, to turn to ice again; all being, even the sun himself, is to freeze to death; a universe of being born without God, born at first of hell-fire, nursed on protoplasm without any nurse, and consigned at last to eternal death by frost, with still no God to breathe the breath of life into it forever more; or it may take a notion to explode again into as and star-dust, to run its perpetual rounds, with alternate creations by hell-fire and damnations by frost, through all eternity to come! What an origin! What a destiny! What logic! What shocking assumption at every step! and what infinite dogmatism in every conclusion! What aimless and senseless credulity! Jonah and his whale, Joshua and his sun, Noah and his ark, Moses with all his snakes, and frogs, and lice, and murrains, and deaths, are totally eclipsed by these modern dealers in scientific miracles.

The American Quarterly Microscopical Journal. Edited by Romyn Hitchcock. Devoted to the Interests of Microscopical Study in all Branches of Science; with which is also published the Transactions of the New York Microscopical Society. Vol. I., No. 1. Published by Hitchcock & Wall, 150 Nassau Street, New York. Price $3 a year, or 75 cents per copy.

This is a compact, neatly printed, and beautifully illustrated journal of 96 pages, intended as an aid to professional and amateur microscopists in the promotion and diffusion of the results of research. Of the microscope and the functions of a microscopical journal the editor says:

To the student of natural science the microscope is, and always will be, a mere tool. Microscopy, as a special science, has very little claim for existence. In so far as a certain familiarity with the instrument and training in the proper management of the light and accessories are necessary to enable one to use the instrument, it may be called a science. We would detract nothing from the merits of those who are expert in securing the most perfect performance of an objective. Still, as a matter of fact, and plain facts should not give offense to any one, we must admit that the great value of the microscope as a means of investigation lies in the aid it gives to almost every branch of science. This leads us to a statement of what, in our opinion, a microscopical journal should be. Recognizing the value of microscopical study in the various branches of natural science, such a journal should aim to publish the results of research carried on with the microscope in every department.

Accordingly, besides articles relating to the structure and improvement of the mi-