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REVIEW., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1998, 16 November 1888
TSatnralLaw Id the Spiritual World. By Henry Drummqnd, F.R;S.E., P.G.B. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1888.' SECOND HOTIOB. Two of the most striking chapters m this work are those entitled " Biogenesis ' j and " Class fication," but It woud be impossible m the present brief notce to give a clear nummary of the arguments contained i» them, whereby the author, amongst other things, drives to prove that the same law which has necesfiiated tho application of a special quickening principle before organic forms could be evoked from inorganio matter require the spiritual life of man to be specially awakened "ere man can begin his spiritual career. Mr Drummond accepts tha theory of Evolution aa true, and contends that by extending the domain of natural law throughout the sp'ritual world it givei that theory a completeness and symmetry whioh it otherwise lacks. •• Mr Herbert Spencer, after investigating its possibilities fully, tells us ' Bvolu tion has an impassable limit It is tbe distinct claim of the Third Kingdom (a.c the Kingdom of God) that this limit is not final Christianity opens a way to a further development— a development apart from *hioh the magnificent past of Nature has been m vain, and without which organic evolution, m spite of the elaboratene»B Of its procoaees and the vastnesa of its achievements, is simply a stupendous cul de sac. Far as Nature carries on the t^k, vaist as is the distano between the atom and the man, she has to lay down her tools when the work is just begun. Man, her . most rich and fioiehea r* oduct > marvellous m his complexity, all but divine m eeneibilily, is to the 'Ihrd Kingdom not even a shepelees embryo. The old chain of processes must begin again on the higher plane if there is to be a f ntther evolution. The highest organism of ihe Btcond Kingdom— simple, immobile, dea3 as the inorganic crystal, towards the sphere abova— mußt be vitalized apart Then, from a mass of all but homogeneous ' protoplasm,' the organism must pass through all the stages of differentiation and integration, growing fe perfertnees and beauty nader the urafolding of the higher evolution, until it reaches the Ir finite Complexity, the Infinite Sensibility, God." Jn otter words, the spiritual life is cnbject to tbe same Uwb of vitalization, growth and development as the organic life. More familiar Illufiti-atlotß of Mr Drum* mend's style of reasoning may be found m the chapter on " Degeneration, " Mr Darwin, In his published vro-kr, proved conclusively that if domesticated animals and plants whose forms have been Improved by man's care and cultivation, are □eglected or permitted to run wild, they rap'dly revert to wild and worthless forms again. This is the principle of reversion to ty pel 1 •• Now " says Mr Drnmrxono, " The same thing exactly vrouid happen m the ease of yon or me, a Why should man be att exception to any* of the la wo of Hat art ? Hatnro knows him timely as an animal— sub-kingdom Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Bimana, And tbe law of Reversion to Type runs through all creation. If a • man neglect himself for a few years he will change into ■ worse m*n and a lower man.. If ft la bis body that he neglects, he wll deteriorate no a wild and bestial savage— like the de-hamaniead jnen who are discovered sometimes upon d«sert islands. If it is his mind, it will degenerate Into imbcollity and madness —solitary confinement has the power to unmake men's minds and leave them idiot*. If he neglect his conscience, It will ran off It to lawlessness and decay. Or, lastly, If U his soul, It mast inevitably toffer atrophy, .drop off Jn rain, and decay," The foroe of this argument must strike every observant person : indeed, analogies %o » similar effect have been drawn by previous writers. Mr Drummond however, maintains that it is not a question of analogy at all. Tt is the same cause producing like effeots upon man's physical and %plritual natnres. "Three possibilities of life, acoording to science, are open to all living organisms — balance, evolution and degeneration "—and most men adopt the latter. Why? "That degeneration is easy only half accounts for it. Wby is U eaiy ? Why bat that already la e*cb Bum's very nature this principle le enpreme? He feels within hi* soul • silent drifting motion impelling him downward with irresistible force. Instead of aeplrlog to conversion to a higher type he submit* by a law of his nature to Reversion to a lower. Thills degeneration that principle by whlcb the organism, failing to develop itself, falling even to keep what it Las got, deteriorate*, and beoomes more and more adapted to a degraded form of iife." The principle of degeneration is further Illustrated la tbe chapters on Parasitism. It is well known that animals of all kinds which have beoonte either partial or perfect parasltei-^-in ofcher words, which have grown accustomed to look to other aalmala for maintenance, shelter, or deforce — :uffer a irportionate loss m j their own bodily powers, the organ whloh j they haveceased to use gradually becoming j atrophied. Even the hermi -crab, from having simply acquired the habit of taking up Its abode m tbe cast-off shell of Borne other animal, frequently the whelk, has ceased to be a perf ect or ustscean. " i£ very normal crustacean has theabdomlnal regioo of the body oovered by a thick obitlnous ■hell. In the hermits this is reprtsented -only- by a thin and delicate membrane— of which the sorry fignre tbe creature cuts when drawn from its foreign hiding place 4fl sufficient evidence. Any one who now examines farther this half-naked and "woebegone object, will perceive also that the fourth and fifth pair of limbs are •either so f mall and wasted as to be quite useless or altogether rudimentary, and although certainly the additional development of the extremity of the t»il with an organ fur holding on to Its extemporised retreat may be regarded as a slight compensation, it Is clear from the whole structure of tbe animal that it has allowed Itself to undergo severe degenoratlon." The corresponding spiritual principle, according to Mr Drummond, is "any prlnolple which secures the safety of the indlvidaal without personal effort or the vital exercise of faculty Is disastrous to moial flbaMOtet." If man is indifferent to his own spiritual welfare ; if he neglects to nge and cultivate his spiritual faculties they gradually but anrely decay. " The thing affected by our Indifference or by our indulgence" is not tbe book of final judgment bat tbe present fabric of the ■oul. The punishment of degeneration Is simply degeneration— -tb 3 loss of functions, the decay of oreaof , tbe atrophy of the ■plrUnal nature," The foregoing extracts will givo an idea of the eloquenco with which Mr Drum mood expounds bis views. The be ok Is fait of vigorous writing, and the freshness of the author* ideas keeps th* reader's attention constantly alive. Tbe arguments are often Imperfect, but completeness of proof conld not be expeoted In a pioneer work; Mr Drummond is broking «p fresh ground, and we trust he will paMue bla meritorious labors, and develop his arguments to their fullest extent. That the book will exerolse a marked lnfloence opon religious model of thought jhere oan be little doubt. Ohas W. Pcbnell,
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REVIEW., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1998, 16 November 1888
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