Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/371

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ity was presented—the beginning of the transit was observed before sunset, and the end after sunrise. There were also stations at Kola, Yakutsk in Siberia, Peking, Manila, Batavia, Hudson's Bay, St. Petersburg, St. Joseph in California, and many other places. In all there were no less than 74 observing-stations, whereof 50 were in Europe.

The reader need hardly be reminded that the determination of the sun's distance which was until lately in use in our text-books of astronomy was based on the observations made during the transit of Venus in 1769. Nevertheless it has been shown that those observations, rightly interpreted, give a determination of the sun's distance according well with those which have been obtained by the best modern methods, whether these have depended on observations of the sun himself, or the moon, or Mars—or, lastly, of the swift flight of light.


By C. B. RADCLIFFE, M. D., F. R. C. P.

WITH Mr. Herbert Spencer I have much sympathy, and yet I can not be content to stay at the end at which he arrives and stays. I thoroughly sympathize in his belief that all true philosophical reasoning has its end in unity––that there are abundant proofs of this unity in matter and spirit, in things visible and things invisible—that the truths of science and religion find reconciliation in this unity. I reject, as he does, a purely spiritualistic view of things no less than a purely materialistic view. But I cannot agree with him in believing in indefinite evolution. Nor can I agree with him in believing that life and mind are to be interpreted in terms of matter, motion, and force, even though this interpretation be taken as only symbolizing provisionally arbitrary aspects of an Unknown Reality; and least of all can I agree with him in believing that the principle of unity, underlying matter and spirit alike, is merely an Unknown Cause, the Unknowable, a Power without limits of either time or space, of which the nature ever remains inconceivable. Much, no doubt, is of necessity unknowable, but I would not place the limits of thought where Mr. Spencer would place them. On the contrary, I would hold that there is nothing unreasonable in widening these limits so as to bring within them an actual God, even the God of the Scriptures, and that by so doing a much more reasonable realization of unity is to be found than that which can be found in an Unknown Reality. I would hold, indeed, that the nature of the Unknowable is to be encroached upon in this way, and to this extent, by the power of the reason, and also that

  1. Part of lecture delivered before the Royal College of Physicians, March, 1873.