Applied within the limits of the time registered by the known fraction of the crust of the earth, I believe that Uniformitarianism is unassailable. The evidence that, in the enormous lapse of time between the deposition of the lowest Laurentian strata and the present day, the forces which have modified the surface of the crust of the earth were different in kind, or greater in the intensity of their action, than those which are now occupied in the same work, has yet to be produced. Such evidence as we possess all tends in the contrary direction, and is in favor of the same slow and gradual changes occurring then as now.
But this conclusion in no wise conflicts with the deductions of the physicist from his no less clear and certain data. It may be certain that this globe has cooled down from a condition in which life could not have existed; it may be certain that, in so cooling, its contracting crust must have undergone sudden convulsions, which were to our earthquakes as an earthquake is to the vibration caused by the periodical eruption of a geyser; but in that case the earth must, like other respectable parents, have sowed her wild-oats, and got through her turbulent youth, before we, her children, have any knowledge of her.
So far as the evidence afforded by the superficial crust of the earth goes, the modern geologist can, ex animo, repeat the saying of Hutton, "We find no vestige of a beginning—no prospect of an end." However, he will add, with Hutton, "But in thus tracing back the natural operations which have succeeded each other, and mark to us the course of time past, we come to a period in which we cannot see any further." And if he seek to peer into the darkness of this period, he will welcome the light proffered by physics and mathematics.—Contemporary Review.
|EVOLUTION AND THE AFTER-LIFE.|
FEW persons are able to escape some form of belief in the existence of a soul. Whatever view we may take of its origin, gradations, or development, whether the infinite soul, the human, the animal, and the "soul of things," are each only manifestations in different degrees of the same great principle, or each enlargement and refinement in the ascending series is to be considered a development, or whether nothing is to be dignified as soul except that which is manifested through human forms—whatever views we may have regarding its limitations and destiny—we cannot escape the conviction that there is, in man at least, a distinct entity, a combination of faculties, a blending of sensation, will, and wisdom, which we call soul. Its powers, its modes of action, and its destiny, have been subjects of