Page images
PDF
EPUB

A DISCOURSE

OF

NATURAL THEOLOGY.

ARRANGEMENT OF SUBJECTS AND EXPLANATION OF

TERMS.

INTRODUCTION.

ference to obligation; and then it relates to rights and duties, and is synonymous with ethical. It seems advisable to use it always in this sense, and to employ the words spiritual and mental in opposi

tion to natural and material ; and psychologicul, as The words Theology and Religion are often used applied to the science of mind, in opposition to phyas synonymous. Thus, Natural Theology and Na- sical. Again, a distinction is sometimes made betural Religion are by many confounded together. tween the intellectual and moral powers or faculties But the more accurate use of the words is that the former being directly those of the understandwhich makes Theology the science, and Religion its ing, the latter those of the will, or, as they are often subject; and in this manner are they distinguished called, the active powers,”-ihai is, the passions when we speak of a "professor of theology," and a and feelings. It seems better to use the word active "sense of religion."

for this purpose as opposed to intellectual. Thus, There is, however, as regards Natural Theology, we shall have these general terms, spiritual or mena more limited use of the word, which confines it tal, as applied to the immaterial part of the creato the knowledge and attributes of the Deity, and tion, and psychological, as applied to the science regards the speculation concerning his will, and which treats of it. We shall next have a subdiviour own hopes from and duties towards him, as an- sion of the mental faculties into intellectual and acother branch of the science, terined Natural Reli- tive; both form the subjects of psychological science. gion, in contradistinction to the former. Dr. Paley Moral science, in its restricted sense, and properly hardly touches on this latter branch in his book, so called, will then denote that branch which treats there being only about one-sixtieth part devoted to of duties, and of what is implied in those duties, it, and that incidentally in treating of the attributes. their correlative rights; it will, in short, be ethical Indeed, though in the dedication he uses the word science. Religion as synonymous with Theology, the title Thus, the science of mindsay Metaphysical sciand the arrangement of his discourse show that he ence-may be said to consist of two great branches, generally employed the term Natural Theology in the one of which treats of existences, the other of its restricted sense. Bishop Butler, on the other duties. The one accordingly has been termed, with hand, seems to have used Natural Religion in a great accuracy, Ontology, speaking of that which sense equally restricted, but certainly little warrant- is; the other, Deontology, speaking of that which ed by custom; for that portion of his work which ought to be. The former, however, comprehends treats of Natural Religion is confined to a future properly all physical, as well as mental science.state and the moral government of God, as if he The division which appears upon the whole most either held Natural Religion and Natural Theology convenient is this: That metaphysical science, as to be two branches of one subject, or Natural Reli- contradistinguished from physical, is either psychogion to be a branch of Natural Theology. The logical, which treats of the faculties both intellectolder writers, Clarke, Bentley, Derham, seem to ual and active, but treats of existences only; or have sometimes used the words indifferently, but moral, which treats of rights and duties, and is disnever to have regarded Natural Religion in the re- tinguishable from psychological, though plainly stricted acceptation. The ancients generally used connected with it nearly as corollaries are with the Religion in a qualified sense, either as connected propositions from whence they flow. Then physiwith an obligation, or as synonymous with supersti- cal truths, in one respect, come under the same tion.

head with the first branch of metaphysical truths. This Discourse is not a treatise of Natural The Physical as well as psychological science treats of ology: it has not for its design an exposition of the existences, while moral science alone treats of dudoctrines whereof Natural Theology consists. But ties, its object is, first, to explain the nature of the evi. According to a like arrangement, Natural Theodence upon which it rests—to show that it is a logy consists of two great branches, one resembling science, the truths of which are discovered by in- Ontology, the other analogous to Deontology. The duction, like the truths of Natural and Moral Phi- former comprehends the discovery of the existence losophy—that it is a branch of science partaking and attributes of a Creator, by investigating the eviof the nature of each of those great divisions of dences of design in the works of the creation, matehuman knowledge, and not merely closely allied to rial as well as spiritual. The latter relates to the thein both. Secondly, the object of the Discourse discovery of his will and probable intentions with is to explain the advantages attending this study. regard to his creatures, their conduct, and their duThe work, therefore, is a Logical ore.

ty. The former resembles the physical and psychoWe have commented upon the use of the terms logical sciences, and treats of the evidences of design, Theology and Religion. As it is highly desirable wisdom, and goodness exhibited both in the natural to keep scientific language precise, and always to and spiritual worlds. The latter resembles rather use the same terms in the same sense, we shall now the department of moral science, as distinguished further observe upon the word "moral" in relation from both physical and psychological. to science or faculties. It is sometimes used to de- thus consider the science of Natural Theology as note the whole of our mental faculties, and in oppo- consisting, like all inductive science, of three comsition to na:ural and physical, as when we speak of partments, Natural, Mental, and Moral; or, tak, "moral science," "moral truths;" "moral philosophy." | ing the Greek terms, Physical, Psychological, and But it is also used in contradistinction to "intellec- Ethical. tual" or "mental," and in connection with or in re- This classification is convenient, and its grounds 93*

786

We may

[ocr errors]

ANALYSIS OF THE WORK.

ENCES.

are very fit to be premised-at the same time that the mental constitution of living creatures, and in we must admit the question to be one only of classi- treating of the Soul's Immortality, it becomes nefication and technology. Having so stated the di- cessary to enter more at large into the subject, and visions of the subject and the meaning of the terms therefore, the third and the fisth sections are not, like used in relation to those divisions, I shall assume the others, mere logical discourses in which the this arrangement and adhere to this phraseology, as doctrines of Natural Theology are assumed rather convenient, though far from representing it to be than explained. The subjects of those two sections the best. In such discussions it is far more import- have not been sufficiently handled in professed ant to employ one uniform and previously explain treatises upon Natural Theology, which have been ed language or arrangement, than to be very curious almost wholly confined to the first branch of the in adopting the best. No classification, indeed, can, science, the proots of the Deity's existence and from the nature of things, be rigorously exact. Ali attributes--and to the physical portion of that the branches of science, even of natural philosophy, branch. This defect I have endeavored to supply. much more of metaphysical, run into each other, and are separated by gradations rather than by lines of demarcation. Nor could any scientific language The Second Part, which treats of the advantages we possess help breaking down under us in an at- of the study, consists of the sections. tempt to maintain a perfectly logical arrangement.*

The first shows that the precise kind of pleasure derived from the investigation of scientific iruths is derived from this study.

The second treats of the pleasures which are pe

culiar to this study. The order of this Discourse is thus set out:

The third treats of the connection of Natural with The First Part treats of the nature of the sub- Revealed Religion. ject, and the kind of evidence upon which Natural Theology rests.

The Second Part treats of the advantages derived from the study of the science.

PART THE FIRST. The former part is divided into seven sections.The first is iniroductory, and treats of the kind of NATURE OF THE SCIENCE, AND OF ITS evidence by which the truihs of Physical and Psy

EVIDENCES. chological science are investigated, and shows that there is as great an appearance of diversity between the manner in which we arrive at the knowledge

SECTION 1. of different truths in those inductive sciences, as there is between the nature of any such inductive INTRODUCTORY VIEW OF THE METHOD OF INVESTIGATION investigation, and the proofs of the ontological

PURSUED IN THE PHYSICAL AND PRYCHOLOGICAL SCIbranches of Natural Theology. But that diversity is proved to be only apparent; and hence The faculties, as well as the feelings of the human it is inferred, that the supposed difference of the mind, its intellectual, as well as its active powers, proofs of Naiural Theology inay also be only ap- are employed without any intermission, although parent.

with varying degrees of exertion, in cne of two The second section continues the application of ways; either in regard to some object immediately this argument to the Physical branch of Natural connected with the supply of our wants, or in reTheology, and shows further proofs thai the first gard to subjects of mere contemplation. The first branch of Natural Theology is as much an induc- class of exertions relates to all the objects or necestive science, as Physics or Natural Philosophy.-sity, of comfort, or of physical enjoyment: in the

The first section compares the ontological branches lorsuit of these, the powers of the understanding, of Natural Theology with all inductive science, or the passions, or both together, are with nearly the physical as well as psychological. The second com- whole to mankind employed during the greater porpares the physical branch of Natural Theology with tion of their existence, and with the bulk of manphysical science only.

kind, during almost the whole of their existence. The third section compares the psychological The other class of inenial exertions, which enbranch of Natural Theology with psychological grosses but a very few men for the greater part of science, and shows that both rest alike upon induc- Their lives, and occupies the majority only occasiontion.

ally and at considerable intervals, comprehends The fourth section shows that the argumentum a within its scope all the subjects of meditation and priori is unsound in a great degree-that it is in- reflection, of merely speculative reasoning and dissufficient for the purpose to which it is applied cussion: it is composed of all the efforts which our that it serves only to a limited extent—and that to understanding can make, and all the desires which this extent it is in reality not distinguishable we can feel upon subjects of mere science or taste, from induction, or ine argumentum a posteriori. matters which begin and end in intellectual or mo

The fifth section treats of the second or Moral, ral gratification. the deontological branch of Natural Theology, and It is unquestionably true that these two grand shows that it rests upon the same kind of evidence branches of exertion have an intimate connection with moral science, and is, strictly speaking, as with each other. The pursuits of science lend conmuch a branch of inductive knowledge.

stant assistance to those of active life; and the pracThe sixth section examines the doctrines of Lord tical exercise of the mental powers constantly furBacon respecting Final Causes, and shows that he thers the progress of science merely speculative. was pot adverse to the speculation when kept with. But the two provinces are nevertheless perfectly in due bounds.

distinguishable, and ought not to be confounded. The seventh section examines the true nature The corollary from a scientific discovery may be of inductive analysis and synthesis, and shows the improvement of a very ordinary machine or a some important errors prevailing on this subject. common working tool; yei the establishment of the In treating of the proofs of design displayed by speculative truth may have been the primary ob

ject of the philosopher who discovered it; and to Noto I.

learn that truth is the immediate purpose of him who studies the philosopher's system. So, the bet- certainly think he had seized on a sound principle ter regulation of the affections or the more entire of classification, if he should divide the objects with control of the passions, may be the result of an ac- which philosophy, Natural and Mental, is converquaintance of our mental constitution; but the ob- sant, into two classes—those objects of which we ject of him who studies the laws of mind is merely know the existence by our senses or our conto become acquainted with the spiritual part of our sciousness; that is, external objects which we see, pature. In like manner, it is very possible that the touch, laste, and smell, internal ideas which we knowledge of a scientific truth may force itself up- conceive or remember, or emotions which we feel on one whose faculties or feelings are primarily en- --and those objects of which we only know the exgaged in some active exertion. Some physical law, istence by a process of reasoning, founded upon or some psychological truth, may be discovered by something originally presented by the senses or by one only intent upon supplying a physical want, or consciousness. This superficial reasoner would obtaining a mental enjoymeni. But here, as in the range under the first of these heads the members of former case, the scientific or speculative object is in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms; the cidental to the main pursuit; ihe matter of contem- heavenly bodies; the mind--for we are supposing plation is the corollary, the matter of action the pro- him to be so far capable of reflection, as to know position.

that the proof of the mind's separate existence is, at The merely contemplative pursuits, which thus the least, as short, plain, and direct as that of the form one of the great branches of mental exertion, body, or of external objects. Under the second seem again to be divisible into two classes, by a line head he would range generally whatever objects of that, to a careless observer, appears sufficiently de- examination are not directly perceived by the senfined. The objects of our inquiry and meditation ses, or felt by consciousness. appear to be either those in the physical and spi- But a moment's reflection will show both how ritual worlds, with which we are conversant through very short a way this classification would carry our our senses, or by means of our internal conscious- inaccurate logician, and how entirely his principle ness; or those things with which we are made ac- fails to support him even during that little part of quainted only by reasoning-by the evidence of the journey. Thus, the examination of certain vithings unseen and unfelt. We either discuss the sible objects and appearances enables us to ascertain properties and relations of actually perceived and the laws of light and of vision. Our senses teach us conceived beings, physical and mental—that is, the that colors differ, and that their mixture forms other objects of sense and of consciousness; or we carry hues; that their absence is black, their combination our inquiries beyond those things which we see and in certain proportions, white. We are in the same feel; we investigate the origin of them and of our way enabled io understand that the organ of vision selves; we rise from the contemplation of nature performs its functions by a natural apparatus resemand of the spirit within us, to the first cause of all, bling, though far surpassing, certain instruments of both of body and of mind. To the one class of specu- our own constructing, and that therefore it works lation belong the inquiries how matter and mind are on the same principles, But that light, which can framed, and how they act; to the other class be- be perceived directly by none of our senses, exists, long the inquiries whence they proceed, and whi- as a separate body, we only infer by a process of ther they tend. In a word, the structure and relations reasoning from things which our senses do perof the universe form the subject of the one branch of ceive. So we are acquainted with the effects of philosophy, and may be termed Human Science ; the heat; we know that it extends the dimensions of origin and destiny of the universe form the subject whatever matter it penetrates; we feel its effects of its other branch, and is termed Divine Science, or upon our own nerves when subjected to its operaTheology.

tion; and we see its effects in augmenting, liquefyIt is not to be denied that this classification may ing, and decomposing other bodies; but i's existence be convenient; indeed, it rests upon some real foun- as a separate substance we do not know, except hy dation, for the speculations which compose these reasoning and by analogy. Again, to which of the two branches have certain common differences and two classes musi we refer the air?' Its existence is common resemblances. Yet it is equally certain, not made known by the sight, the smell, the taste; that nothing but an imperfect knowledge of the sub- but is it by the touch ? Assuredly a stream of it, jeci, or a superficial attention to it, can permit us to blown upon the nerves of touch, produces a certain think that there is any well-defined boundary which effect; but to infer from thence the existence of a separates the two kinds of philosophy; that the me- rare, light, invisible, and impalpable fluid, is clearly thods of investigation are different in each; and an operation of reasoning, as much as that which that the kind of evidence varies by which the iruths enables us to infer the existence of light or heat from

} of the one and of the other class are demonstrated. their perceptible effects. But furthermore, we are The error is far more extensive in its consequences accusiomed to speak of seeing motion; and the reathan a mere inaccuracy of classification, for it ma- soner whom we are supposing would certainly class terially impairs the force of the proofs upon which the phenomena of mechanics, and possibly of dynaNatural Theology rests. The proposition which we mics generally, including astronomy, under bis first would place in its stead is, that this science is strict- head, of things known immediately by the senses. ly a branch of inductive philosophy, formed and Yet assuredly nothing can be more certain than that supported by the same kind of reasoning upon which the knowledge of motion is a deduction of reasoning, the Physical and Psychological sciences are found not a perception of sense; it is derived from the ed. This important point will be established by a comparison of two positions; the idea of a change fuller explanation; and we shall best set about this of place is the result of that comparison attained by task by showing, in the first place, that the same a short process of reasoning; and the estimate oi apparent diversity of evidence exists in the different velocity is the result of another process of reasoning subjects or departments of the branch which we have land of recollection. Thus, then, there is at once extermed Human science. It seems to exist there on , cluded from the first class almost the whole range a superficial examination : if a closer scrutiny puts of natural philosophy: But are we quite sure that that appearance to flight, the inference is legiti- any thing remains which, when severely examined mate, hat ihere may be no better ground for admit- will stand the test ? Let us attend a little more ting an essential difference between the foundations closely to the things which we have passed over of Human science and Divine.

hastily, as if admitting that they belonged to the The careless inquirer into physical truth would first class.

COMPARISON OF THE PHYSICAL BRANCH OF NATURAL

THEOLOGY WITH PHYSICS.

à cause.

It is said that we do not sce light, and we cer- tween the method of investigation, the nature of the tainly can know its existence directly by no other evidence, in the two departments of speculation? sense but that of sight, but that we see objects va- Although this Preliminary Discourse, and indeed riously illuminated, and therefore that the existence the work itself which it introduces, and all the illusof light is an inference of reason, and the diversity irations of it, are calculated throughout to furnish of color an object of sense. But the very idea of di- the answer to the question, we shall yet add a few versity implies reasoning, for it is the result of a particulars in this place, in order to show how precomparison, and when we affirm that white light is cisely the same fallacy which we have been exposcomposed of the seven primary colors in certain ing, in regard to the classification of objects in ordiproportions, we state a proposition which is the re- nary scientific research, gives rise to the more gesuli of much reasoning-reasoning, it is true, found- neral classification or separation of all science into ed upon sensations or impressions upon the senses; two distinct branches, Human and Divine, and how but not less founded upon such sensations is the rea- erroneous it is to suppose that these two branches soning which makes us believe in the existence of a rest upon different foundations. body called light. The same may be said of heat, and the phenomena of heated bodies. The exislence of heat is an inference from certain phenome

SECTION II, na, that is, certain effects produced on our external senses by certain bodies or certain changes which those senses undergo in the neighborhood of those bodies; but it is not more an inference of reason The two inquiries-that into the nature and conthan the proposition that heat extends or liquefies stiintion of the universe, and that into the evidence bodies; for that is merely a conclusion drawn from of design which it displays; in a word, physics and comparing our sensations occasioned by the exter- psychology, philosophy, whether natural or mental, nal objects placed in varying circumstances. and the fundamental branch of Natural Theology,

But can we say that there is no process of reason- are not only closely allied one to the other, but are to a ing even in the simplest case which we have sup- very considerable extent identical. Theiwo paths of posed our reasoncr io put; the existence of the three investigation for a great part of the way completely kingdoms of nature, of the heavenly bodies, of the coincide. The same induction of facts which leads mind? It is certain that there is in every one of us to a knowledge of the structure of the eye, and these cases a process of reasoning. A certain sen- its functions in the animal economy, leads us to the sation is excited in the mind through the sense of knowledge of its adaptation to the properties of light, vision; it is an inference of reason that this must It is a truth of physics, in the strictest sense of the have been excited by something, or must have had word, that vision is performed by the eye refracting

That the cause must have been external, light, and making it converge io a focus upon the may possibly be allowed to be another inference retina; and that the peculiar combination of its which reason could make unaided by the evidence lenses, and the different materials they are comof any other sense. But to discover that the cause posed of, correct the indistinctness which would was at any the least distance from the organ of vi-l otherwise arise from the different refrangibility of sion, clearly required a new process of reasoning, light; in other words, make the eye an achromatic considerable experience, and the indications of other instrument. But if this is not also a truth in Natusenses; for the young inan whom Mr. Cheselden ral Theology, it is a position from which, by the couched for a calaract, at first believed that every shortest possible process of reasoning, we arrive at thing he saw touched his eye. Experience and rea- theological truth; namely, that the instrument so soning, therefore, are required to teach us the ex- successfully performing a given service by means istence of external objects; and all that relates lo of this curious structure, must have been formed their relations of size, color, motion, habits, in a with a knowledge of the properties of light. The word, the whole philosophy of them, must of course position from which so easy a step brings us to this be the result of still longer and more complicated doctrine of Natural Theology was gained by strict processes of reasoning: So of the existence of the induction. Upon the same evidence which all namind: although undoubtedly the process of reason- tural science rests on, reposes the knowledge that ing is here the shortest of all, and the least liable to the eye is an optical instrument: this is a truth deception, yet so connected are all its phenomena common to both physics and theology. Before the with those of the body, that it requires a process of days of Sir Isaac Newton, men knew that they saw abstraction alien from the ordinary habits of most by means of the eye, and that the eye was conmen, to be persuaded that we have a more undeni- siructed upon optical principles; but the reason of able evidence of its separate existence than we even its peculiar conformation they knew not, because have of the separate existence of the body.

they were ignorant of the different refrangibility of It thus clearly appears that we have been justified light. When his discoveries taught this truth, it was in calling the classifier whose case we have been found to have been acted upon, and consequently supposing, a careless inquirer, a superficial reason- known by the Being who created the eye. Still our er, an imperfect logician; that there is no real foun- knowledge was imperfect; and it was reserved for dation for the distinction which we have supposed Mr. Dollond to discover another law of nature-the him to take between the different objects of scien- different dispersive powers of different substances, tific investigation; that the evidence upon which which enabled him to compound an object-glass that our assent to both classes of truths reposes is of the more effectually corrected the various refrangibility same kind, namely, the inferences drawn by reason of the rays. It was now observed that this truth also ing from sensations or ideas, originally presented must have been known to the maker of the eye; for by the external senses or by our inward conscious- upon its basis is that instrument, far more perfect

than the achromatic glass of Dollond, framed.If, then, the distinction which at first appeared These things are truths in both physics and theolosolid, is fonnd to be without any warrant in the dif- gy; they are truths taught us by the self-same proferent kinds of Humane Science, has it any better cess cf investigation, and resting upon the self-same grounds when we apply it to draw the line between kind of evidence. that branch of philosophy itself, and the other which When we extend our inquiries, and observe the has been termed Divine, or Theology? In other varieties of this perfect instrument, we mark the words, is there any real,' any specific difference be adaptation of changes to the diversity of circuve

Dess.

stances; and the truths thus learnt are in like man- | uppermost, roll the egg how you will; consequently, ner common lo Physical and Theological science; the chick is always kept nearest to the breast or that is, to Natural History, or Comparative Anato- belly of the mother while she is sitting. Suppose, my, and Natural Theology.

then, that any one acquainted with the laws of mo That beautiful instrument, so artistly contrived tion had to contrive things so as to secure this pothat the most ingenious workman could not ima- sition for the little speck or sac in question, in order gine an improvement of it, becomes still more in- to its receiving the necessary heai from the henteresting and more wonderful, when we find that its could he proceed otherwise than by placing it in the conformation is varied with the different necessities lighter liquid, and suspending that liquid in the of each animal. If the animal prowls by night, we heavier, so that its centre of gravity should be above see the opening of the pupil, and the power of con- the line or plane of suspension ?' Assuredly not; centration in the eye increased. If an amphibious for in no other way could this purpose be accomanimal has occasionally to dive into the water, with plished. This position is attained by a strict inducthe change of the medium through which the rays tion; it is supported by the same kind of evidence pass, there is an accommodation in the condition of on which all physical iruths rest. But it leads, by the humors, and the eye partakes of the eye both of a single step, to another truth in Natural Theology; the quadruped and the fish.

that the egg must have been formed by some hand So, having contemplated the apparatus for pro- skilful in mechanism, and acting under the knowtection in the human eye, we find that in the lower ledge of dynamics. The forms of the bones and animals, who want both the accessory means of joints, and the tendons or cords which play over cleaning the eye and the ingenuity to accomplish it them, afford a variety of instances of the most perby other modes than the eyelids, an additional eye- fect mechanical adjustment. Sometimes the power líd, a new apparatus, is provided for this purpose. is sacrificed for rapidity of motion, and sometimes

Again, in fishes, whose eye is washed by the ele- rapidity is sacrificed for power. Our knee-pan, or ment in which they move, all the exterior apparatus paiella, throws off the tendon which is attached to it is unnecessary, and is dismissed; but in the crab, from the centre of motion, and therefore adds to the and especially in that species which lies in mud, power of the muscles of the thigh, which enable us the very peculiar and horny prominent eye, which io rise or to leap. We have a mechanism of preevery body must have observed, would be quite ob- cisely the same kind in the lesser joints, where the scured were it not for a particular provision. There bones, answering the purposes of the patella, are is a little brush of hair above the eye, against which formed of a diminutive size.* In the toes of the os. the eye is occasionally raised to wipe off what may trich, the material is different, but the mechanism adhere to it. The form of the eye, the particular is the same. An elastic cushion is placed between mode in which it is moved, and, we may say, the the tendon and the joint, which, whilst it throws off coarseness of the instrument compared with the the tendon from the centre of motion, and therefore parts of the same organ in the higher class of ani- adds to the power of the flexor muscle, gives elastimals, make the mechanism of eyelids and of lach- city to the bottom of the foot. And we recognise rymal glands unsuitable. The mechanism used for the intention of this when we remember that this this purpose is discovered by observation and rea- bird does not tly, but runs with great swiftness, and soning; that it is contrived for this purpose is equal that the whole weight rests upon the foot, which has ly a discovery of observation and reasoning. Both but little relative breadth; these elastic cushions serypropositions are strictly propositions of physical ing, in some degree, the same office as the elastic science.

frog of the horse's hoof, or the cushion in the bottom The same reinarks apply to every part of the ani- of the camel's foot. mal body. The use to which each member is sub- The web-foot of the water-fowl is an inimitable servient, and the manner in which it is enabled so paddle; and all the ingenuity of the present day exto perform its functions as to serve that appointed erted to improve our steam-boats makes nothing to use, is learnt by an induction of the strictest kind. approach it. The flexor tendon of the toes of the But it is impossible to deny, that what induction duck is so directed over the heads of the bones of thus teaches_forms the great bulk of all Natural the thigh and leg, that it is made tight when the Theology. The question which the theologian al- creature bends its leg, and is relaxed when the leg ways puts upon each discovery of a purpose mani- is stretched out. When the bird draws its foot up, festly accomplished, is this: Suppose I had this lhe toes are drawn together, in consequence of the operation to perform by mechanical means, and bent position of the bones of the leg pressing on the were acquainied with the laws regulating the ac- tendon. When, on the contrary, it pushes the leg tion of matter, should I attempt it in any other way out straight, in making the stroke, the tendons are than I here see practised ?" If the answer is in the relieved from the pressure of the heel-bone, and the negative, the consequence is irresistible that some toes are permitted to be fully extended, and at the power, capable of acting with design, and possess- same time expanded, so that the web between them ing the supposed knowledge, employed the means meets the resistance of a large volume of water. which we see used. But this negative answer is In another class of birds, those which roost upon the result of reasoning founded upon induction, and the branch of a tree, the same mechanism answers rests upon the same evidence whereon the doctrines another purpose. The great length of the toes of of all physical science are discovered and believed. these birds enables them to grasp the branch; yet And the inference to which that negative answer so were they supported by voluntary effort alone, and inevitably leads is a truth in Natural Theology; were there no other provision made, their grasp for it is only another way of asserting that design would relax in sleep. But, on the contrary, we and knowledge are evinced in the works and func- know that they roost on one foot, and maintain a tions of nature. It may further illustrate the argu- firm attitude. Borelli has taken pains to explain ment to take one or two other examples. When a how this is. The muscle which bends the toes lies bird's egg is examined, it is found to consist of three on the fore part of the thigh, and runs over the joint parts; the chick, the yelk in which the chick is plac- which corresponds with our knee-joint: from the ed, and the white in which the yelk swims. The fore part its tendon passes to the back part of the leg, yelk is lighter than the white; and it is attached to and over the joint 'equivalent to our heel-bone: it it at two points, joined by a line or rather plane, below the centre of gravity of the yelk. From this Henoo called Sesamoid from Sesamum, a ki of arrangement, it must follow that the chick is always grain.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »