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After specifying other instances of this adaptation of species to climate and other conditions, the conclusion is, that
The geographical distribution of organized beings displays more fully the direct intervention of a supreme intelligence in the plan of the creation than any other adaptation in the physical world. Generally the evidence of such an intervention is derived from the benefits, material, intellectual, and moral, which man derives from nature around him, and from the mental conviction which consciousness imparts to him that there could be no such wonderful order in the creation without an omnipotent Ordainer of the whole. This evidence, however plain to the Christian, will never satisfy the man of science in that form. In these studies evidence must rest upon direct observation and induction, just as fully as mathematics claims the right to settle all questions about measurable things. There will be no scientific evidence of God's working in nature until naturalists have shown that the whole creation is the expression of a thought, and not the product of physical agents.
Another evidence of thought, of a plan in nature continuously followed out, is exhibited in some of the principles of Embryology. Prof. Agassiz has almost created this branch of knowledge, and his investigations prove that animals become more perfect by each structural change which they undergo, whether it be embryonic or by later metamorphosis. It is also found that the several classes of animals as they have existed at different periods in the earth's history are developed in different degrees, those of a later creation being more perfect, and that the order in which these suecessive developments have been made in a succession of species, is the same that is now observed in the development of organs in the same individual, in the embryo or by metamorphosis. The order of changes by which a bird, for instance, acquires its perfect state, was an order established when birds were first created, and has been followed in the successive improvements of successive species to the present time. Mere physical laws, admitting the absurdity that they may effect changes, could not under every variety of condition have pursued an unchangeable plan; or if so, then we have no contest about words: these laws are a Being, possessing both intelligence and unchangeableness, high attributes of Deity.
The object of the work, however, is not Natural Theology, but physical Science, and this law of development is here employed, as the author insists that it may be universally, to perfect zoological classification. The main features of a system based upon animal organization were well drawn by Cuvier. To work out the system in detail, the relative importance of organs must be determined. The order of embryonic development furnishes us the means of determining, and renders the order of arrangement in allied families no longer a matter of caprice, and this rule has been applied in fixing the position of several new species of animals from the Lake region.
We notice a single point more in regard to the age of the American continent. It has for some years been the opinion of geologists that North America was a continent, with substantially its present outline and limits, long before Europe had emerged from the ocean. These investigations in the region of Lake Superior furnish an unexpected confirmation of this opinion. There has been a continuance here of the conditions favorable to the perpetuation of certain animal and vegetable forms, while in Europe they have been destroyed by the changes connected with its elevation above the level of the sea. They are therefore found in a fossil state there, while they belong to the existing fauna and flora of America. Naturalists of the old world visit us, and pronounce our new world “old-fashioned.”
The geological structure of the region of Lake Superior is ably discussed, the phenomena of northern drift explained on the author's well known glacial theory, and an entirely new view is given of the peculiar distribution of copper and its ores around the Lake. But we have not room to notice more in detail this interesting volume. Though designed to be a strictly. scientific work, yet the importance of the subjects discussed, the freedom from unnecessary technicalities, the .clearness of statement, and the admirable typography, must secure for it a wide circulation among all classes of readers.
History of the Polk Administration. By Lucien B. Chase, a Member of the
Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Congresses. New-York: G. P. Putnam. 8vo, pp. 512.
The Administration of Mr. Polk was one of the most important and remarkable in the history of the country, and, whatever may be the issue of the events which distinguished it, will in all future time figure largely in our annals. We are glad therefore to see that Administration illustrated in the work before us. We do not think indeed that the time has yet come for passing confident judgments;—that time may very likely be far in the future;—but the time has come for collecting the facts and opinions on which those judgments are to rest. The author of this work was a devoted partisan of Mr. Polk, and the work is very naturally laudatory of his ad. ministration. We have observed, however, gratifying indications of his desire to be accurate and just towards political opponents. The volume concludes with an appendix containing the famous letters of General Scott and Governor Marcy,--the memorials of a personal controversy in which the successful soldier found himself unequal to the accomplished civilian. The work before us is ample in details, and in every respect valuable for refer
El Dorado; or Adventures in the Path of Empire. By BAYARD TAYLOR,
author of " Views Afoot,” “Rhymes of Travel," etc. With illustrations by the author. 2 vols., 12mu. New-York: George P. Putnam, 155 Broadway.
Mr. Taylor is 'an accomplished tourist, a most agreeable writer, whose former books of travel have made him a favorite with the American public. In the present handsomely printed volumes he has given us the most graphic and spirited sketches we have yet seen of the strange scenes which the year 1849 witnessed on the shores of the Pacific. They are scenes surpassing fable in the interest which they inspire and in the transcendent results to which they are rapidly leading; and in all future ages they will be inseparably associated in history with the foundations of a mighty State, and the commencement of a new era in the civilization of the continent of - America. We are glad to find them sketched with so much spirit and effect by one who gazed upon them with the practised eye of an experienced traveller, and at the same time with an earnest and philosophic spirit, which could appreciate their novelty and their importance. Mr. Taylor went to California by the route across the Isthmus of Panama, and returned through Mexico. He visited the gold regions and several of the principal cities of the country, and was present at the sessions of the Convention which framed the Constitution of the new State. The book is illustrated by well executed views of several of the most striking scenes and adventures which he met with along the crowded pathway he travelled; and it contains in an appendix the report on California submitted to the Government of the United States by Mr. T. Butler King. It is, we think, without question, the most interesting and valuable work which has thus far been published relating to the new-found El Dorado of the Pacific.
The Gospel ils own Advocate. By GEORGE GRIFFIN, LL. D. 12mo. New
York: D. Appleton & Co.
This work is from the pen of a distinguished member of the bar in the city of New York, and is entitled to great weight, as containing the views entertained by a sagacious and well trained legal mind of the internal evidences of Christianity. Its design is to show that in the precepts which the gospel inculcates, in the theology which it teaches, in the moral spirit which it breathes, and in the conceptions of character which it delineates, is to be found a triumphant argument in favor of the divinity of its origin. In all these attributes the New Testament far transcends every other book which can be found in the literature of the world. Through the power of these attributes it has wrought the mightiest changes in the condition of mankind. The argument thus derived is clearly and forcibly stated by Mr. Griffin, and the unsatisfactory nature of the infidel objections of writers like Gibbon, Vol. taire, and Hume is also thoroughly exposed. The book is thus rendered not only a valuable aid to Christian faith, but also a means of useful instruction respecting the conflicts through which Christianity has won its triumphant way to its present dominion in every part of the world.
Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic Nations ;
with a Sketch of their Popular Poetry. By Talvi. With a Preface by EDWARD ROBINSON, D. D., LL. D., author of Biblical Researches in Palestine, etc. New-York: George P. Putnam. This work is understood to be from the
pen of the learned and accomplished lady of the Rev. Dr. Robinson. This lady's varied acquirements have been known to scholars for some years, but few who have not made her personal acquaintance are prepared to see a work on such a subject from ‘any lady. While we confess our incapacity to judge from personal knowledge of the correctness of the author's views on Slavic language and literature, no one can fail to see that it bears the clear impress of thoroughness and ability on every page. Were this not so obvious, the “ imprimatur” of the eminent scholar by whom the preface is written would be sufficient to commend its views to the confidence of all. We welcome the book as a clear addition to the sum of knowledge accessible to English readers.
The gigantic strides of Russia, the fate of Poland, the cry of Panslavism that has recently resounded through Europe, have excited a fearful interest in the Slavonian race throughout the civilized world. Thoughtful men often ask themselves the question, whether the Slavic nations are yet to overflow the Germans of Western Europe as they did the Celts—to form a new stratum of population fresh and vigorous, with a new political and intellectual life? If this shall ever be, the question arises, what will be the nature of the moral and intellectual impulses, tendencies and spirit which these new men will bring? This book helps to answer the question. This alone is enough to secure for it the attention of the best minds. We need only say that the paper and printing are similar to that of all the books that come from Putnam's.
The Unity of the Human Races proved to be the Doctrine of Scripture, Rea
son, and Science; with a Review of the Theory of Professor Agassiz. By the Rev. THOMAS SMYTH, D. D. New-York: G. P. Putnam." 12mo, pp. 404.
The author of this volume is a well-known Presbyterian clergyman, a learned man, and a somewhat voluminous writer. The work here undertaken is an early contribution to a discussion which is inevitable, and of which we have no fear. Dr. Smyth, in opposition to Prof. Agassiz, whose theory is that the same species may have been created in different provinces, contends for the established doctrine of the descent of the human family from one pair, arguing this view on grounds of Scripture, reason, and science. The work is one of real ability, and deserves the attention of those who desire to examine the subject of which it treats. We have not room for an analy. sis of its contents.
The Scriptural and Historical Arguments for Infant Baptism Examined.
By J. TORREY SMITH, A. M. Philadelphia : American Baptist Publication Society. 24mo, pp. 201.
This small work is divided into two parts, one refuting the argument for Infant Baptism derived from the Covenant of Circumcision, the other that derived from History. It is an able manual, which has already commanded very general approbation, and deserves a wide circulation.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. By EDWARD
GIBBON, Esq. With Notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman, Prebendary of St. Peter's and Rector of St. Margaret's, Westminster. In six vols. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co.
This edition of Gibbon combines the notes of both Guizot and Milman. It is printed on good type and paper, and is furnished at the marvellously low price of 40 cents per volume, bound in muslin. Gibbon has had, per. haps can have, no superior in his department, and it is a happy consideration that the historical learning of the authors of the Notes has rendered him harmless in that portion of his great work where he has ministered to infidelity by failing to do justice to Christianity.
Heroines of the Missionary Enterprise; or, Sketches of Prominent Female
Missionaries. By DANIEL C. EDDY. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields. 12mo, pp. 359.
Harriet Newell, Ann H. Judson, Esther Butler, Elizabeth Hervey, Harriet B. Stewart, Sarah L. Smith, Eleanor Macomber, Sarah D. Comstock, Henrietta Shuck, Sarah B. Judson, Annie P. James, Mary E. Van Lennep, Emily C. Judson,
"names that must not wither." This handsome volume contains sketches of the lives, characters and services of the estimable Christian women above named,-grouped without distinction of sect, as all but one of them are now grouped in heaven, and presented to all Christian people as an illustration of the beneficence of that gospel to whose spread and triumphs their lives were devoted. We are glad to see such an offering; that it will be acceptable to Christians of all de nominations, we have no doubt,—and we hope it may minister abundantly to the multiplication of such characters in our churches of every name.
Choix de Poésies pour les Jeunes Personnes. Par MADAME A. COUTAN.
12mo. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.
The pieces contained in this volume of selections are taken from a great variety of the chief masters of French poetry in the present and in past ages. It contains several of the most delightful of the minor poems of Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Chateaubriand, Beranger, Florian, and others of the distin. guished poets and litterateurs of France, and seems to be admirably fitted to the general design which is expressed in the modest preface of the editor-to make the young who may study the French language familiar with some of the purest gems of its poetry. In preparing it, we think that Mme. Coutan has made a valuable contribution to the means of teaching French, and we commend it to the attention of all who are engaged either as instructors or as pupils in the acquisition of this essential part of an accomplished education.
Morton Montagu, or a Young Christian's Choice: a Narrative founded on
Facts in the Early History of a deceased Moravian Missionary Clergyman. By C. B. MORTIMER. 12mo. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.
This little volume, under assumed names, presents the leading events in the life of an excellent and well known Moravian minister. The narrative portrays a very amiable and striking character, formed amidst peculiar trials, and in circumstances which awaken a strong interest in the mind of the reader. It illustrates the mild and submissive spirit which is so often associated with the Moravian faith, and teaches many valuable lessons of Christian duty and zeal. It deserves a place in any library of religious books.
A Pædobaptist Church no Home for a Baptist. By ROBERT J. MIDDLE
DITCH, Pastor of the Baptist church at Lyon's Farms, N. J. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society. 18mo, pp. 47. A brief, but exceedingly candid and judicious discussion of a subject which, from the growing disregard of infant baptism, is becoming of inereasing importance every year. It is a tract suitable for general distribution, and we trust will accomplish a wide and successful ministry.
Montaigne ; The Endless Study, and other Miscellanies. By ALEXANDER
VINET. Translated, with an Introduction and Notes. By ROBERT TURNBULL. New-York: M. W. Dodd. 12mo, pp. 430.
This volume reproduces portions of the “Vital Christianity,” translated a few years ago by Mr. Turnbull, with other selections from Vinet, and essays and notes by the translator. These latter add materially to the interest of the book ; indeed they have an independent value, and we regret that we are unable in our present number to acquaint our readers with them more fully. A comparison of Montaigne and Emerson is an ingenious and striking performance, and deserves an extended allusion, which we hope to give in our next
Discourses on the Rectitude of Human Nature. By GEORGE W. BURNAP,
D. D. Boston: William Crosby & H. P. Nichols. 12mo, pp. 409. The title of these diseourses is significant of their theologieal character. The subjeet of which they treat, as the author justly remarks, “ underlies all theology and enters into all preaching.” “ It determines the type of all piety; it colors all our views of life.” Though we dissent entirely from the theory which the volume develops, and regard its theologieal' views as poorly suited to the wants of depraved human nature, we approve the directness and boldness with which the author takes his position, and the consistency with which he traces his prineiples into their results. Compelled to crowd a large number of book notices into the narrowest limits, we are unable to give an analysis of its views. It covers the entire range of theological topics indicated by its title.