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l 5 6 FRAGMEN TS OF SCIENCE.

by self-compression, the magnitude and density of our sun.
The earth itself offers evidence of a fiery origin ; and in our
day the hypothesis of Kant and Laplace receives the inde-
pendent countenance of spectrum analysis, which proves
the same substances to be common to the earth and sun.

Accepting some such view of the construction of our
system as probable, a desire immediately arises to connect
the present life of our planet with the past. We wish to
know something of our remotest ancestry. On its first de-
tachment from the central mass, life, as we understand it,
could hardly have been present on the earth. How, then,
did it come there ? The thing to be encouraged here is
a reverent freedom-—-a freedom preceded by the hard disci-
pline which checks licentiousness in speculation—while the
thing to be repressed, both in science and out of it, is dog--
matism. And here I am in the hands Of the meeting—-
willing to end, but ready to go on. I have no right to in-
trude upon you, unasked, the unformed notions which are
floating like clouds, or gathering to more solid consistency
in the modern speculative scientific mind. But if you wish
me to speak plainly, honestly, and undisputatiously, I am
willing to do so. On the present occasion——

“You are ordained to call, and I to come.”

Two views, then, offer themselves to us. Life was pres-
ent potentially in matter when in the nebulous form, and
was unfolded from it by the way of natural development,
or it is a principle inserted into matter at alater date. With-
regard to the question of time, the views of men have
changed remarkably in our day and generation; and I
must say as regards courage also, and a manful willingness
to engage in open contest, with fair weapons, a great
change has also occurred. The clergy of Englanduat all
events the clergy of London—have nerve enough to listen
to the strongest views which any one among us would care

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