Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/329

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315
GLIMPSES OF LIFE ALONG A CORAL REEF.

nay, certain, that man has inhabited the earth far longer than we had previously supposed we had warrant for believing. The fear of controversy on this question has indeed not yet entirely subsided. Some timid people still look askance at this wolf, but I think all intelligent people accept it and find it harmless.

Next, and last, it comes now in the form of evolution—of the origin of all things, even of organic forms, by derivation—of creation by law. We are even now in the midst of the terror created by this doctrine. But what is evolution but law throughout infinite time? The same law which now controls the development of an egg has presided over the creation of worlds. Infinite space and the universal law of gravitation; infinite time and the universal law of evolution. These two are the grandest ideas in the realm of thought. The one is universal sustentation, the other universal creation, by law. There is one law and one energy pervading all space and stretching through all time. Our religious philosophy has long ago accepted the one, but has not yet had time to readjust itself completely to the other. A few more years, and Christians will not only accept, but love and cherish this also for the noble conceptions it gives of Nature and of God.

But some will exclaim, "Noble conceptions of God, say you! Why, it utterly obliterates the idea of God from the mind. All other conflicts were for outworks—this strikes at the citadel. All others required only readjustment of claims, rectification of boundaries betwixt science and religion—this requires nothing less than unconditional surrender. Evolution is absolute materialism, and materialism is incompatible with belief in God, and therefore with religion of any kind whatsoever!" Before proceeding any further, it becomes necessary to remove this difficulty out of the way.

 

GLIMPSES OF LIFE ALONG A CORAL REEF.
By F. H. HERRICK.

LAST summer (1886) I spent the month of June, with a party of naturalists from Johns Hopkins University, on Green Turtle Key, a small coral island near Abaco, Bahama, where we were engaged in the study of marine invertebrate life. In order to learn more of the general flora and fauna of the reef, I visited many of its rocks and keys which stretch in a long, broken chain northeastward of Abaco and the submerged banks connected with it. My friend who accompanied me was especially interested in birds, and was anxious to obtain specimens of the eggs and skins of the sea-fowl which breed in great numbers on these remote islands.

Abaco Island is roughly crescent-shaped (as shown by the accompanying map), its two horns pointing about northwest and south.