« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
ual and moral constitution in other respects. The dark chamber, without the use of a single material propensity might have been, like the perverted de- object. The instrument of Newton's most sublime sires of the miser, to retain what we know without speculations, the calculus which he invented, and communication, as it might have been made painful the astonishing systems reared by its means, which instead of pleasurable to acquire new ideas, by now have given immortality to the names of Euler, Lavelty being rendered repulsive, and not agreeable. grange, Laplace, all are the creatures of pure abThe stagnation of our faculties, the suspension of stract thought, and all might, by possibility, have mental exertion, the obscuration of the intellectual existed in their present magnificence and splendor, world, would have followed as certainly as univer- without owing to material agency any help whatsal darkness would veil the universe on the extinc-ever, except such as might be necessary for their tion of the sun.
recording and communication. These are, surely, Thus far we have been considering the uses to the greatest of all the wonders of nature, when justwhich the mental faculties and feelings are subser- ly considered, although they speak to the undervient, and their admirable adaptation to these ends. standing and not to the sense. Shall we, then, deny But view the intellectual world as a whole, and that the eye could be made without skill in optics, surely it is impossible to contemplate without amaze- and yet admit that the mind could be fashioned and ment the extraordinary spectacle which the mind endowed without the most exquisite of all skill, or of man displays, and the immense progress which it could proceed from any but an intellect of infinite has been able to make in consequence of its struc. power? ture, its capacity, and its propensities, such as we At first sight, it may be deemed that there is an have just been describing them. If the brightness of essential difference between the evidence from men. the hezvenly bodies, the prodigious velocity of their tal and from physical phenomena. It may be thought motions, their vast distances and mighly bulk, fill that mind is of a nature more removed beyond our the imagination with awe, there is the same wonder power than matier-ihat over the masses of matter excited by the brilliancy of the intellectual powers-man can himself exercise some control-that, to a the inconceivable swiftness of thought-the bound-certain degree, he has a plastic power-chai into less range which our fancy can take-the vast ob- some forms he can mould them, and can combine jects which our reason can embrace. That we should into a certain machinery—that he can begin and have been able to resolve the elements into their can continue motion, and can produce a mechanism mure simple constituents—to analyze the subtile light by which it may be begun, and maintained, and rewhich fills all space-to penetrate from that remote gulated—while mind, it may be supposed, is wholly particle in the universe, of which we occupy a speck, beyond his reach; over it he has no grasp; its exinto regions infinitely remote--ascertain the weighi istence alone is known to him, and the laws by which of bodies at the surface of the most distant worlds- it is regulated; and thus, it may be said, the great investigate the laws that govern their motions, or First Cause, which alone can call both matter and mould their forins-and calculate to second of mind into existence, has alone the power of modutime the periods of their re-appearance during the lating intellectual nature. But, when the subject is revolution of centuries,--all this is in the last de- well considered, this difference between the iwo gree amazing, and affords much more food for ad- branches of science disappears with all the rest. It miration than any of the phenomena of the material is admitted, of course, that we can no more create creation. Then what shall we say of that incredi- matter than we can mind; and we can influence ble power of generalization which has enabled some mind in a way altogether analogous to our power of even to anticipate by ages the discovery of truths modulating matter. By means of the properties of the farthest removed above ordinary apprehension, matter we can form instruments, machines, and and the most savoring of improbability and fiction figures. So, by availing ourselves of the properties not merely of a Clairaut conjecturing the existence of mind, we can affect the intellectual faculties-exof a seventh planet, and the position of its orbit, but ercising them, training them, improving them, proof a Newton learnedly and sagaciously in ferring, ducing, as it were, new forms of the understanding. from the refraction of light, the inflammable quality Nor is there a greater difference between the mass of the diamond, the composition of apparenily the of rude iron from which we make steel, and the simplest of the elements, and the opposite nature thousands of watch-springs into which that sieel is of the two ingredients, unknown for a century afier, cut, or the chronometer which we form of this and of which it is composed ?* Yet there is something other masses equally inert—than there is between more marvellous still in the processes of thought, the untutored indocile faculties of a rustic, who by which such prodigies have been performed, and has grown up to manhood without education, and in the force of the mind itself, when it acts wholly the skill of the artist who invented that chronomewithout external aid, borrowing nothing whatever ter, and of the mathematician who uses it to trace from matter, and relying on its own powers alone. the motions of the heavenly bodies. The most abstruse investigations of the mathemati- Although writers on Natural Theology have al. cian are conducted without any regard to sensible together neglected, at least in modern times, that objects; and the helps he derives in his reasonings branch of the subject at large with which we have from material things at all, are absolutely insignifi- now been occupied, there is one portion of it which cant, compared with the portion of his work which has always attracted their attention the Instincts is aliogther of an abstract kind-the aid of figures of animals. These are unquestionably mental faand letters being only to facilitate and abridge his culties, which we discover by observation and conlabor, and not at all essential to his progress. Nay, sciousness, but which are themselves wholly unconstrictly speaking, there are no truths in the whole necied with any exercise of reason. They exhibit, range of the pure mathematics which might not, by however, the most striking proofs of design, for they possibility, have been discovered and systematized by all tend immediately to the preservation or to the one deprived of sight and touch, or immured in a comfort of the animals endowed with them. The
lower animals are provided with a far greater varie• Further induction may add to the list of these ty of instincts, and of a more singular kind than wonderful conjectures, the thin ether, of which he man, because they have only the most circumscribeven calculated the density and the effects upon ed range and feeblest powers of reason, while to planetary motion. Certainly the acceleration of reason man is in almost every thing indebted. Yet Encke's comet does seem to render this by no means it would be as erroneous to deny that we are en. improbable.
dowed with any instincts, because so much is ac. complished by reason, as it would be rash to con- and others, and marking the results. The facts clude that other animals are wholly destitute of rea- thus collected and compared together we are enasoning, because they owe so much to instinct. bled to generalize, and thus to show that certain Granting that infants learn almost all those animal effects are produced by an agency calculated 10 profunctions which are of' a voluntary nature, by an duce them. Aware that if we desired to produce early exercise of reason, it is plain that instinct them, and had the power to employ this agency, we alone guides them in others which are necessary to should resort to it for accomplishing our purpose, continue their life, as well as to begin their instruc- we inser both that some being exists capable of creattion; for example, they suck, and even swallow by ing this agency, and that he employs it for this end. instinct, and by instinct they grasp what is presented the process of reasoning is not like, but identical to their hands. So, allowing that the brutes exer- with, that by which we infer the existence of design cise but very rarely, and in a limited extent, the in others (than ourselves) with whom we have daily reasoning powers, it seems impossible to distinguish intercourse. The kind of evidence is not like, but from the operations of reason those instances of sa- identical with, that by which we conduct all the ingacity which some dogs exhibit in obeying the di- vestigations of intellectual and of natural science. rections of their master, and indeed generally the Such is the process of reasoning by which we indocility shown by them and other animals; not to fer the existence of design in the natural and moral mention the ingenuity of birds in breaking hard world. To this abstract argument an addition of substances by letting them drop from a height, and great importance remains to be made. The whole in bringing the water of a deep pitcher nearer their reasoning, proceeds necessarily upon the assumpbeaks by throwing in pebbles. These are different tion that there exists a being or thing separate from, from the operations of instinct, because they are and independent of, matter, and conscious of its own acts which vary with circumstances novel and un-existence, which we call mind. For the argument expectedly varying; they imply therefore the adap- is—"Had I to accomplish this parpose, I should tation of means to an end, and the power of varying have used some such means ;” or, “ Had I used those means when obstacles arise: we can have no these means, I should have thought I was accomevidence of design, that is of reason, in other men, plishing some such purpose.”. Perceiving the adapwhich is not similar to the proof of reason in ani- iation of the means to the end, the inference is, that mals afforded by such facts as these.
some being has acted as we should ourselves act, But the operations of pure instinct, by far the and with the same views. But when we so speak, greater portion of the exertions of brutes, have never and so reason, we are all the while referring to an been supposed by any one to result from reasoning, intelligent principle or existence; we are referring and certainly they do afford the most striking proofs to our mind, and not to our bodily frame. The of an intelligent cause, as well as of a unity of design agency which we in fer from this reasoning is, therein the world. The work of bees is among the most fore, a spiritual and immaterial agency-ihe workremarkable of all facts in both these respects. The ing of something like our own mind-an intelligence form is in every country the same-the proportions like our own, though incomparably more powerful accurately alike—the size the very same to the frac- and more skilful. The being of whom we thus action of a line, go where you will; and the form is quire a knowledge, and whose operations as well as proved to be that which the most refined analysis existence we thus deduce from a process of induchas enabled mathematicians to discover as of all tive reasoning, must be a spirit, and wholly imma. others the best adapted for the purposes of saving terial. But his being such is only inferred because room, and work, and materials. This discovery we set out with assuming the separate existence of was only made about a century ago; nay, the in- our own mind, independently of matter. Without strument that enabled us to find it out—the fluxional that we never could conclude that superior intellicalculus-was unknown half a century before that gence existed or acted. The belief that mind exists application of its powers. And yet the bee had been is essential to the whole argument by which we infor thousands of years, in all countries, unerringly fer that the Deity exists. This belief we have shown working according to this fixed rule, choosing the to be perfectly well grounded, and further occasions same exact angle of 120 degrees for ihe inclination of confirming the truth of it will occur under another of the sides of its little room, which every one had head of discourse.* But at any rate it is the foundafor ages known to be the best possible angle, but tion of Natural Theology in all its branches; and also choosing the same exact angles of 110 and 70 upon the scheme of materialism no rational, indeed degrees, for ihe parallelograms of the roof, which no intelligible, account can be given of a first cause, no one had ever discovered till the 18th century, or of the creation or government of the universe.t when Maclaurin solved that most curious problem of maxima and minimo, the means of investigating * Sect. V., and Note IV. which had not existed till the century before, when + It is worthy of observation, that not the least al. Newton invented the calculvs whereby such pro-lusion is made in Dr. Paley's work to the argument blems can now be easily worked. It is impossible here stated, although it is the foundation of the to conceive any thing more striking as a proof of whole of Natural Theology. Not only does this refined skill than the creation of such instincts, and author leave entirely untouched the argumente it is a skill altogether applied to the formation of priori (as it is called,) and also all the inductive arintellectual existence.
guments derived from the phenomena of mind, but Now, all the inferences drawn from the examina- he does not even advert to the argument upon which tion which we have just gone through of psycholo- the inference of design must of necessity rest—that gical phenomena, are drawn according to the strict design which is the whole subject of his book. Norules of inductive science. The facts relating to thing can more evince his disiaste or incapacity for the velocity of mental operations—to the exercise of metaphysical researches. He assumes the very poattention-to its connection with memory-to the sition which alone skeptics dispute. In combating helps derived from curiosity and from habit—to the him they would assert that he begged the whole association of ideas-to the desires, feelings, and question ; for certainly they do not deny, at least in passions—and to the adjoining provinces of reason modern times, the fact of adaptation. As to the and instinct-are all discovered by consciousness or fundamental doctrine of causation, not the least al. by observation ; and we even can make experiments lusion is ever made to it in any of his writings, even upon the subject by varying the circumstances in in his Moral Philosophy. This doctrine is discusswhich the mental powers are exercised by ourselves ed in Note III.
OF THE ARGUMENT A PRIORI.
The preceding observations have been directed | brated work. The fundamental propositions in the to the inquiries respecting the design exhibiied in discourse itself are, That something must have exthe universe. But ihe other parts of the first great isted from all eternity, and that this something branch of natural theology come strictly within the must have been a being independent and self-exisiscope of the same reasoning. Thus, all the proofs ent. In the letters he condenses, perhaps explains, of the Deity's personality, that is, his individuality, certainly illustrates, these positions, (see Answers his unity; all the evidence which we have of his to Leiers 3, 4, and 5,) by arguing that the existence works, showing throughout not only that they pro- of space and time (or, as he terms it, duration) ceeded from design, but that the design is of one proves the existence of something whereof these distinctive kind-ihat they come from the hand not are qualities, for they are not themselves substances; only of an intelligent being, but of a being whose he cites the celebrated Scholium Generale of the intellect is specifically peculiar, and always of the Principia ; and he concludes that the Deity must same character; all these proofs are in the most be the infinite being of whom they are qualities. rigorous sense inductive.
But to argue from the existence of space and time to the existence of any thing else, is assuming
that those two things have a real being independent SECTION IV.
of our conceptions of them: for the existence of certain ideas in our minds cannot be the foundation
on which to build a conclusion that any thing exHitherto we have confined our attention to the ternal to our minds exists. To infer that space and evidence of Natural Religion afforded by the phe- time are qualities of an infinite and eternal being nomena of the universe--what is commonly termed is surely assuming the very thing to be proved, if a the argument a posteriori. But some ingenious proposition can be said to have a distinct meaning men, conceiving that the existence and attributes of all which predicates space and time as qualities a Deity are discoverable by reasoning merely, and of any thing. What, for example, is time but the without reference to facts, have devised what they succession of ideas, and the consciousness and the term the argument a priori, of which it is necessary recollection which we have of that succession ? To now to speak
call it a quality is absurd, as well might we call moThe first thing that strikes us on this subject is tion a quality, or our ideas of absent things and the consequence which must inevitably follow from persons a quality. admitting the possibility of discerning the existence
Again, if space is to be deemed a quality, and if of the Deity and his attributes a priori, or wholly infinite space be the quality of an infinite being, independent of facts. It would follow that this is a finite space must also be a quality, and must, by panecessary, not a contingent truth, and that it is not rity of reason, be the quality of a finite being. Of only as impossible for the Deity not to exist, as for what being ? 'Here is a cube of one foot within an the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts, exhausted receiver, or a cylinder of half an inch but that it is equally impossible for his attributes to diameter and three inches high in the Torricellian be other than the argument is supposed to prove vacuum. What is the being of whom that square they are. Thus, the reasoners in question show by and that cylindrical space are to be deemed as quathe argument a priori, that he is a being of perfect lities? Is distance, that is, the supposed movement wisdom and perfect benevolence. Dr. Clarke is as of a point in a straight line ad infinitum, a quality ? clear of this as he is clear that his existence is prov- It must be so, if infinite space is. Then of what is ed by the same argument. Now, first, it is impossi- it a quality? If infinite space is the quality of an ble that any such truths can be necessary; for their infinite being, infinite distance must be the quality contraries are not things wholly inconceivable, inas- of an infinite being also. But can it be said to be much as there is nothing at all inconceivable in the the quality of the same infinite being? Observe Maker of the universe existing as a being of limit- that ihe mind can form just as correct an idea of ed power and of mixed goodness, nay, of malevo- infinite distance as of infinite space, or, rather, it lence. We never, before all experience, could pro- can form a somewhat more distinct idea. But the nounce it mathematically impossible that such a being to be inferred from this infinite distance canbeing should exist, and should have created the uni- not be exactly the same in kind with that to be inverse. But next, the facts, when we came to exa- ferred from space infinite in all directions. Again, mine them, might disprove the conclusions drawn if infinite distance shows an infinite being of whom a priori. The universe might by possibility be so it is the quality, finite distance must be the quality constructed that every contrivance might fail to pro- of a finite being. What being? Of what kind of duce the desired effect-the eye might be chromatic being is the distance between two trees or two points and give indistinct images—ihe joints might be so a quality? There can be no doubt that this arguunhinged as to impede motion-every smell, as Pa- ment rests either upon the use of words without ley has it, might be a stink, and every touch a sting. meaning, or it is a disguised form of the old docIndeed, we know that, perfect as the frame of things trine of the anima mundi, or of the hypothesis that actually is, a few apparent exceptions to the general the whole universe is a mere emanation of the beauty of the system have made many disbelieve Deity. the perfect power and perfect goodness of the Deity, But it deserves to be remarked that this arguand invent Manichean theories to account for the ment, which professes to be a priori, and wholly existence of evil. Nothing can more clearly show independent of all experience, is strictly speaking, the absurdity of those arguments by which it is at- inductive, and nothing more. We can have no idea tempted to demonstrate the truths of this science as whatever of space apart from experience. The exmathematical or necessary, and cognizable a priori. perience of space filled with matter enables us, by
But, secondly, let us see whether the argument in means of abstraction, to conceive space without the question be really one a priori, or only a very im- matter; and a farther abstraction and generalizaperfect process of induction-an induction from a tion enable us to conceive infinile space by imaginlimited number of facts.
ing the limits indefinitely removed of a particular Dr. Clarke is the chief patron of this kind of de- portion of space. But the foundation of the whole monstration, as he terms it; and though his book reasoning is the experience of certain finite portions contains it more at large, the statement of his fun of space first observed in connection with matter. damental argument is, perhaps, to be found most Therefore our ideas of space are the result of our distinctly given in the letters subjoined to that cele experience as to external objects. Even if we could
fancy fignre (which is possible) without having | ashamed to confess niy own doubts and difficulties seen or touched any objects external to ourselves, on the same subject."* still it would be the experience of our own ideas That the argument a priori has been most expliThat had given us this idea. So of time; it is the citly handled by Dr. Clarke, and that its acceptation succession of our ideas, and we have the notion of resis principally upon his high authority, cannot be it from consciousness and memory. From hence denied. Nevertheless, other great men preceded we form an idea of indefinite time or eternal dura- him in this field; and besides Sir Isaac Newton, lion. But the basis of the whole is the observation whose Scholium Generale is thought to have sugwhich we have made upon the actual succession of gested it the same reasoning is to be found in the our ideas; and this is inductive, though the process writings of others of Dr. Clarke's predecessors. of reasoning be very short. It is as much a process The tenth chapter of Mr. Locke's fourth book v inductive reasoning as that by which we arrive does not materially differ, in its fundamental posiat the knowledge of the mind's existence. Theretion, from the “Demonstration of the Being and is, therefore, great inaccuracy in denominating the Attributes.” The argument is all drawn from the argument in question, were it ever so sound, an ar- truth, assumed as self-evident, "Nothing can no gument a priori, for it is a reasoning founded on ex- more produce any real being than it can be equal perience, and it is to be classed with the arguments to two right angles.” From this, and the knowderived from the observation of external objects, ledge we have of our own existence, it is shown to the ground of our reasoning a posteriori as to mat- follow, that "from eternity there has been someter, or, at the utmost, with the information given by thing:" and again, "that ihis eternal being must consciousness, the whole ground of our reasoning have been most powerful and most knowing," and a posteriori as to mind.
“therefore God." The only difference between this When, however, Dr. Clarke has once fixed the argument and Dr. Clarke's is, that Mr. Locke propositions to which we have been adverting, he stales, as one of his propositions, our knowledge of deduces from them the whole qualities of the Deity our own existence. But this difference is only in -those which we learn from experience--and thinks appearance; tor Dr. Clarke really has assumed he can derive them all from the simple propositions what Mr. Locke has more logically made a distinct that lie at the foundation of his arguinent. It is proposition. Dr. Clarke's first proposition, that truly astonishing to find so profound a thinker, and, something must have existed from all eternity, is generally speaking, so accurate a reasoner, actually demonstrated by showing the absurdity of the supsupposing that he can deduce froin the proposition, position that “the things which now are were prothat a self-existent being must have existed from all duced out of nothing." He therefore assumes the time, this other proposition that, therefore, this be- existence of those things, while Mr. Locke more ing must be infinitely wise, (Prop. XI.) and that he strictly assumes the existence of ourselves only,
must of necessity be a being of infinite goodness, and indeed states it as a proposition. The other justice, and truth, and all other moral perfections, arguments of Mr. Locke are more ingenious than such as become the supreme governor and judge of Dr. Clarke's, and the whole reasoning is more the world." (Prop. XII.). With the general tex- rigorous, although he does not give it the name of ture of this argument we have at present nothing to a demonstration, and scarcely can be said to treat do, further than to show how little it can by possibi- it as proving the Deity's existence to be a necessary lity deserve the name either of an argument a pri- truth. Were it to be so considered, the objections ori, or le regarded as the demonstration of a neces- formerly siated wou!d apply to it. Indeed, if Dr. sary truth. For surely, prior to all experience, no Clarke had stated the different steps of his reasodone could ever know that there were such things as ing as distinctly as Mr. Locke, he would have per, either judges or governors; and without the pre-ceived it to be inconclusive beyond a very limited vious idea of a finiie or worldly ruler and judge, extent, and to that extent inductive. we could never gain any idea of an elernal and in- Dr. Cudworth, in the fifth chapter of his great finitely just ruler or judge; and equally certain it is work, t has, in answering the Democrilick arguthat this demonstration, if it proves ihe existence menis, so plainly anticipated Dr. Clarke, that it is of an infinite and eternal ruler or judge to be a ne- bardly possible to conceive how the latter should cessary and not a contingent irnth (which is Dr. have avoided referring to it. Clarke's whole argument,) would just as strictly a nature distinct from body, and a thing really inprove the existence of finite rulers and judges to be corporeal, then will it undeniably follow, from this à necessary and not a contingent truth; or, in other very principle of theirs (the Democritists.) that words, it would follow, that the existence of govern- there must be incorporeal space; and (this space ors and judges in the world is a necessary truth, being supposed by them also to be infiniie) an infilike the equality of the three angles in a triangle to nite incorporeal Deily. Because if space be not iwo right angles, and that it would be a contradic- the extension of body, nor an affection thereof
, tion in termis, and so an impossibility, to conceive then must it of necessity be, either an accident es: the world existing without governors and judges. isting alone by itself, without a substance, which is
impossible; or else ihe extension or affection of have ever formed a distinct apprehension of the He then supposes a reply (founded on the doctrines
some other incorporeal substance that is infinite." nature of Dr. Clarke's celebrated argument, and that hardly any person has ever been at all satisfied of Gassendi,) that space is of a middle nature and with it. The opinion of Dr. Reid is well known upon this subject, and it has received the full ac
* Philosophy of the Active Powers, i. 334. quiescence of no less an authority than that of Mr. position. (Hum. Understanding, IV. X. sec; 2.)
+ See particularly Mr. Locke's proofs of his first Stewart. “These," says Dr.
Reid, “are the speculations of The profound learning of this unfinished work, and men of superior genius; but whether they be as its satisfactory exposition of the ancient philosowanderings of imagination in a region beyond the scripts of the author stili buried in the British Mulimits of human understanding, I am unable to determine." To this Mr. Stewart adds—“After this candid « Demonstration” was delivered in 1704-5 at the
$ Cudworth's book was published in 1678. The acknowledgment from Dr. Reid, I need not be Boyle Lecture.
"If space be indeed
are the manu
essence, and proceeds to observe upon it:-"What- In concluding these observations upon the argusoever is, or hath any kind of eniity, doth either ment a priori, I may remark, that although it carsubsist by itself, or else is an attribute, affection, or ries us but a very little way, and would be unsafe 10 mode of something that doth subsist by itself. For build upon alone, it is yet of eminent use in two it is certain that there can be no mode, accident, or particulars. First, it illustrates, if it does not inaffection of nothing; and, consequently, that no- deed prove, the possibility of an Infinite Being ex thing cannot be extended nor mensurable. But if isung beyond and independent of us, and of all visi space be neither the extension of body, nor yet of ble things; and, secondly, the fact of those ideas of substance incorporeal, then must it of necessity be immensity and eternity, forcing themselves, as Mr. the extension of nothing, and the affection of no- Stewart expresses it, upon our belief, seeins to furthing, and nothing must be measurable by yards and nish an additional argument for the existence of an poles. We conclude, therefore, that from this very Immense and Eternal Being. At least we must adhypothesis of the Democritick and Epicurean aihe mit that excellent person's remark to be well-foundists, that space is a nature distinct from body, and ed, that after we have, by the argumenta posteriori, positively infinite; it follows undeniably that there (I should rather say the other parts of the argument must be some incorporeal sustance whose affection à posteriori,) satisfied ourselves of the existence of its extension is; and because there can be nothing an intelligent cause, we naturally connect with this infinite but only the Deity, that it is the infinite ex- cause those impressions which we have derived from tension of our incorporeal Deity.” The statement of the contemplation of infinite space and endless duraDr. Clarke's argument, given in his correspondence, tion, and hence we clothe with the attributes of imis manifestly, if not taken from this, at least coin- mensity and eternity the awful Being whose existcident with it in every important respect. Dr. Cud- ence has been proved by a more rigorous process of worth, indeed, confines his reasoning to the consi- investigation.** deration of space and immensity, and Dr. Clarke extends his to time and eternity also. But of the
SECTION V. two portions of the argument this has been shown to be lhe most fallacious.
MORAL OR ETHICAL BRANCH OF NATURAL THEOLOGY. The arguments of the ancient theists were in great
If we now direct our attention to the other great part drawn from metaphysical speculations, some branch of Natural Theology, that which we have of which resembled the argument a priori.* But termed the moral or ethical portion, which treats of they were pressed by the difficulty of conceiving the the probable designs of the Deity with respect to the possibility of creation, whether of matter or spirit; future destiny of his creatures, we shall find that the and their inaccurate views of physical science made same argument applies to the nature of its truths, them consider this difficulty as peculiar to the crea- which we have been illustrating in its application to tive act. They were thus driven to the hypothesis the first or ontological branch of the science, or that that matter and mind are eternal, and that the crea- relating to the existence and attributes of the Creative power of the Deity is only plastic. They sup, tor, whether proved by physical or by psychological posed it easy 10 comprehend how the divine mind reasoning. The second branch, like ihe first, rests should be eternal and self-existing, and matter also upon the same foundation with all the other induceternal and self-existing. They found no difficulty tive sciences, the only difference being that the one in comprehending how that mind could, by a wish belongs to the inductive science of Natural and Menor a word, reduce chaos to order, and mould all the tal, and the other !o the inductive science of Moral elements of things into the present form; but how Philosophy. every thing could be made out of nothing ihey could
The means which we have of investigating the not understand. When rightly considered, howe- probable designs of the Deity are derived from two ver, there is no more difficulty in comprehending sources the nature of the human mind, and the aithe one than the other operation—the existence of tributes of the Creator. the plastic, than of the creative power; or rather, To the consideration of these we now proceed; the one is as incomprehensible as the other. How but in discussing them, and especially the first, there the Supreme Being made matier out of the void is is this difference to be marked as distinguishing not easily comprehended. This must be admitted; them from the former branch of Natural Theology. but is it more easy to conceive how the same Being, They are far less abundant in doctrine; they have by his mere will, moved and fashioned the primor- been much less cultivated by scientific inquirers, dial atoms of an eternally existing chaos into the and the truths ascertained in relation to them are beauty of the natural world, or the regularity of the fewer in number: in a word, oor knowledge of the solar system? In truth, these difficulties meet us Creator's designs in the order of nature is much at every step of the argument of Natural Theology, more limited than our acquaintance with his existwhen we would penetra'e beyond those things, those ence and attributes, But, on the other hand, the facts which our faculties can easily comprehend ; identity of the evidence with that on which the other but they meet us just as frequently, and are just as inductive sciences rest is far more conspicuous in hard to surmount, in our steps over the field of Na- what may be termed the psychological part of the tural Philosophy. How matter acts on matter- second branch of Natural Theology than in any how motion is begun, or, when begun, ceases-how portion of the first branch, it being much less apparimpact takes place—what are the conditions and li- ent that the inferences drawn from facts in favor mitations of contact--whether or not matter consists of the Deity's existence and attributes are of the of ultimate particles, endowed with opposite powers same nature with the ordinary deductions of physiof attraction and repulsion, and how these aci-how cal science-in other words, ihat this part of Naone planet acts upon another at the distance of a tural Theology is a branch of Natural Philosohundred million of miles—or how one piece of iron phy-than it is that the deductions from the naattracts and repels another at a distance less than liure of the mind in favor of its separate and fuany visible space-all these, and a thousand others , ture existence are a branch of Metaphysical science. of the like sort, are questions just as easily put, and as hard to answer, as how the universe could be * Lord Spencer, who has deeply studied these ad. made out of nothing, or how, out of chaos, order struse subjects, communicated to me, before he was could be made to spring.
aware of my opinion, that he had arrived at nearly
the same conclusion upon the merits of the argu• Notes VI. and VII.
ment a priori.