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§ 4. Philological and Moral Evidence.
Besides the arguments above mentioned, which are all of a zoölogical character, there are others, not less conclusive, of a different kind. It is one of the infelicities which has attended this controversy, that it has been left too much in the hands of naturalists, of men trained to the consideration almost exclusively 89of what is material, or at most of what falls within the department of natural life. They thus become one-sided, and fail to take in all the aspects of the case, or to estimate duly all the data which enter into the solution of the problem. Thus Agassiz ignores all the facts connected with the languages, with the history, and with the mental, moral, and religious character and condition of man. He therefore comes to conclusions which a due consideration of those data would have rendered impossible.
The science of comparative philology, is founded on laws which are as certain ant, as authoritative as the laws of nature. Language is not a fortuitous production. It is essentially different from instinctive cries, or inarticulate sounds. It is a production of the mind, exceedingly complex and subtle. It is impossible that races, entirely distinct, should have the same language. It is absolutely certain from the character of the French, Spanish, and Italian languages, that those nations are, in large measure, the common descendants of the Latin race. When therefore it can be shown that the languages of different races or varieties of men are radically the same, or derived from a common stock, it is impossible rationally to doubt their descent from a common ancestry. Unity of language, therefore, proves unity of species because it proves unity of origin. Diversity of language, however, does not prove diversity either of species or of origin; because that diversity may be otherwise accounted for; as by the confusion of tongues at Babel, or by the early and long-continued separation of different tribes. The point, however, now to be urged, is this. Such naturalists as Agassiz, on merely zoölogical principles, have decided that it is more probable (not that it is necessary or certain, but simply that it is more probable), that the different varieties of men, even down to different nations, have had different origins, and as Agassiz in his later writings maintains, are of different species; when, in many cases at least, it is absolutely certain, from the character of the languages which they speak, that they must have been derived from a common stock. Agassiz and others represent the Asiatic and European races as distinct in origin and species. But Alexander von Humboldt says, “The comparative study of languages shows us that races now separated by vast tracts of land, are allied together, and have migrated from one common primitive seat. . . . The largest field for such investigations into the ancient condition of language, and consequently into the period when the whole family of mankind was, in the strict sense of the word, to be regarded as one living whole, presents itself to the long chain of 90Indo-Germanic languages, extending from the Ganges to the Iberian extremity of Europe, and from Sicily to the North Cape.”109109Cosmos, Ottè's Translation, edit. London, 1849, vol. ii. pp. 471, 472. Max Müller says, “The evidence of language is irrefragable, and it is the only evidence worth listening to, with regard to ante-historical periods There is not an English jury nowadays, which, after examining the hoary documents of language, would reject the claim of a common descent and a legitimate relationship between Hindu, Greek, and Teuton.”110110Quoted in Cabell's Unity of Mankind, pp. 228, 229. The Chevalier Bunsen says, “The Egyptian language attests an unity of blood with the great Aramaic tribes of Asia, whose languages have been comprised under the general expression of Semitic, of the languages of the family of Shem. It is equally connected by identity of origin with those still more numerous and illustrious tribes which occupy now the greatest part of Europe, and may, perhaps, alone or with other families, have a right to be called the family of Japhet.”111111Ibid. p. 232. This family, he says, includes the German nation, the Greeks and Romans, and the Indians and Persians. Two thirds of the human race are thus identified by these two classes of languages which have had a common origin. By the same infallible test Bunsen shows that the Asiatic origin of all the North American Indians, “is as fully proved as the unity of family among themselves.”112112The Philosophy of Universal History, edit. London, 1854, vol. ii. p. 112. Every day is adding some new language to this affiliated list, and furnishing additional evidence of the unity of mankind. The particular point to be now considered is, that the conclusions of the mere zoölogist as to the diversity of species and consequent diversity of origin of the different varieties of our race, are proved to be false by the certain testimony of the common origin of the languages which they speak.
The Spiritual Relationship of Men.
Besides the arguments already mentioned in favour of the unity of mankind, next to the direct assertion of the Bible, that which after all has the greatest force is the one derived from the present condition of our moral and spiritual nature. Wherever we meet a man, no matter of what name or nation, we not only find that he has the same nature with ourselves; that he has the same organs, the same senses, the same instincts, the same feelings, the same faculties, the same understanding, will, and conscience, and the same capacity for religious culture, but that he has the same guilty and polluted nature, and needs the same redemption. 91Christ died for all men, and we are commanded to prea0h the gospel to every creature under heaven. Accordingly nowhere on the face of the earth are men to he found who do not need the gospel or who are not capable of becoming partakers of the blessings which it offers. The spiritual relationship of men, their common apostasy, and their common interest in the redemption of Christ, demonstrate their common nature and their common origin beyond the possibility of reasonable or excusable doubt.
Our attention has thus far been directed specially to the unity of mankind in species. Little need he said in conclusion as to their unity of origin. (1.) Because in the opinion of the most distinguished naturalists, unity of species is itself decisive proof of the unity of origin. (2.) Because even if this he denied, it is nevertheless universally admitted that when the species is the same the origin may he the same. If mankind differ as to species they cannot be descended from a common parent, but if identical in species there is no difficulty in admitting their common descent. It is indeed principally for the sake of disproving the Scriptural statement that all men are the children of Adam, and to break up the common brotherhood of man, that diversity of species is insisted upon. If therefore the latter be admitted, the former may he easily conceded. (3.) The common origin of the languages of the vast majority of men, proves, as we have seen, their community of origin, and as an inference their unity as to species. And as this community of origin is proved as to races which the mere zoölogist is disposed with the greatest confidence to represent as distinct, the insufficiency of the grounds of their classification is thereby demonstrated. (4.) It is, however, the direct testimony of the Scriptures on this subject, with which all known facts are consistent; and the common apostasy of the race, and their common need of redemption, which render it certain to all who believe the Bible or the testimony of their own consciousness as to the universal sinfulness of humanity, that all man are the descendants of one fallen progenitor.92
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