All in All
Education, Natural Theology, Biblical Authority, Amusement, Gravity, Botany, Sex, Design, Horticulture, Degeneration, Geology
Carl Linnaeus , Augustin P de Candolle
Considers it singular that 'one of the simplest and most obvious principles both of nature and of revelation' should have been so much neglected until the present century. The system of instruction 'from the known to the unknown' is not new. It is 'God's own mode [...]. As long as the heavens have declared the glory of God, and the earth his goodness; as long as the eternal power and Godhead have been associated with the "things that are seen"; so long has that method of tuition been adopted which leads us from facts and observation to reasonings and analogies, from causes to effects, and from the minutest parts of creation to the infinity of Him, "who filleth all in all"'. The application of this principle by 'a modern school of education' may not be new, but its advocates are to be praised for attempting to overthrow the 'drudgery' so long practiced in the name of education. (123) What is known of God and human duty from the creation, apart from revelation, is limited. However, 'nature is the first form in the school which God himself has instituted for our instruction, and [...] it occupies a very important place in that system of nurture and admonition by which we are to be trained up to a proper exercise of those faculties with which God has blessed us'. Seeks to illustrate the 'wonder and enjoyment' which results from such education by describing an imaginary spring walk. (124) Criticizes those who will not give simple answers to the enquiries of children: 'Nature is simple and exact in all her laws, whilst art is crabbed and complex' (125). Uses the example of the hanging flowers of snowdrops to illustrate gravitational attraction. Explains the floral anatomy of snowdrops and primroses in terms of the need for self-fertilization. Reflects that he who was responsible for such design 'cannot have allowed the brigher volumes of his redeeming mercy to have failed in one jot or one tittle' (127). Remarks that domestic varieties of plants are sometimes infertile degenerate forms propagated by asexual means. Traces signs of the deluge in 'a pebbly bed around the very edge of a gravel-pit' (130). Observes regeneration in the mosses and lichens growing there. Concludes that, while the creation thus testifies to the wisdom, justice, and providence of God, it is silent on the subject of salvation, for knowledge of which the Bible is indispensable.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]