Page images

of the same fact, more general than either, and course of those fall exactly within it, who, having comprehending many others, all reducible within upon a certain class of phenomena, built a concluits compass—that the air-pump, the steam-engine, sion legitimately and by strict induction, employ the fly's foot, are all the same fact, and come within that conclusion to explain other phenomena, which a description still more general and compendious, they have not previously shown to fall within the that the rusiing of iron, the burning of inflammable same description ? Take the example of the Torair, and the partial consumption of the blood in ricellian vacuum. Having by that experiment the lungs, are likewise the same fact in different proved the weight of the atmosphere, we have a shapes, and resolvable into a fact much more com- right to conclude that a tube filled with water forty prehensive.

feet high, would have a vacuum in the uppermost If, then, the distinction of investigation and ex- seven teet-because we know the relative specific planation, or the analytical and synthetical process, gravities of water and mercury, and might predict is to be retained, it can only be nominal; and it is from thence that the lighter fluid would stand at productive of but little it any convenience. On the height of thirty-three feet; and this conclusion the contrary, it is calculated to introduce inaccu- we have a right to draw, without any experiments rate habits of philosophizing, and holds out a temp. to ascertain the existence of a vacuum in the upper tation to hypothetical reasoning. Having obtained part of the tube. But we should have no right a general law, or theory, we are prone to apply it whatever to draw this conclusion, without ascerwhere no induction shows that it is applicable; and taining the specific gravities of the iwo fluids : for perceiving that it would account for the observed if we did, it would be assuming that the two facts phenomena, if certain things existed, we are apt to belonged to the same class. So respecting the assume their existence, that we may apply our ex- power of the walrus or the Ay to walk up a vertical planation. Thus, we know that if the walrus's plane. We know the effects of exhausting the air foot, or the fly's, make a vacuum, the pressure of between any two bodies, and leaving the external the air will support the animal's weight, and hence atmosphere to press against them: they will cohere. we assume that the vacuum is made. Yet it is But if from thence we explain the support given to clear that we have no right whatever to do so'; and the walrus or the fly without examining their feet, that the strict rules of induction require us to prove and ascertaining that they do exhaust or press out the vacuum before we can arrange this fact in the the air—if, in short, we assume the existence of a same class with the other instances of atmospheric | vacuum under their feet, merely because, were pressure. But when we have proved it by observa- there a vacuum, the pressure of the air would prution, it will be said we have gained nothing by our duce the cohesion, and thus account for the phenogeneral doctrine. True; but all that the science mena-we really only propound an hypothesis.entitles us to do is, not to draw facts we are half We suppose certain circumstances to exist, in order acquainted with under the arbitrary sway of our to classify the fact with other facts actually obrule, but to examine each fact in all its parts, and served, and the existence of which circumstances bring it legitimately within the rule by means of is necessary, in order that the phenomena may be its ascertained resemblances--that is, classify it reducible under the same head. with those others to which it bears the common re- There is no reason whatever for asserting that lation. Induction gives us the right to expect that this view of the subject restricts the use of inducthe same result will always happen from the same tion by requiring too close and constant a reference action operating in like circumstances; but it is of lo actual observation. The inductive principle is the essence of this inference that the similarity be this—that from observing a number of particular first shown.

facts, we reason to others of the same kind-hat It may be worth while to illustrate this further, from observing a certain thing to happen in certain as it is an error very generally prevailing, and circumstances, we expect the same thing to happen leads to an exceedingly careless kind of inquiry. in the like circumstances. This is to generalize; The fundamental rule of inductive science is, that but then this assumes that we first show ihe identity no hypothesis shall be admitted—that nothing shall of the facts, by proving the similarity of the cir. be assumed merely because, is true, it would ex: cumstances. If not, we suppose or fancy, and do plain the facts. Thus, the magnetic theory of not reason or generalize. The tendency of the Æpinus is admitted by all to be admirably con- doctrine that a proposition being demonstrated by sisient with itself, and to explain all the pheno-one set of facts, may be used to explain another sei, mena—that is, totally exactly with the facts ob- has the effect of making us suppose or assume the served. But there is no proof at all of the accu- identity or resemblance which ought to be proved. mulation of electrical or magnetic fluid at the one The true principle is, that induction is the generalpole, and other fundamental positions; on the con- izing or classifying of facts by observed resemirary, the facts are rather against them: therefore, blances, and diversities. the theory is purely gratuitous; and although it Nothing here stated has any tendency to shackle would be difficult to find any other, on any subject, our experimental inquiries, by too rigidly narrowmore beautiful in itself, or more consistent with all ing the proof. Thus, although we are not allowed the phenomena, it is universally rejected as a mere to suppose any thing merely because, if it existed, hypothesis, of no use or value in scientific research. other things would be explained; yet, when no The inductive method consists in only admitting other supposition will account for the appearances, those things which the facts prove to be true, and the hypothesis is no longer gratuitous; and it eonexcludes the supposing things merely because they stantly happens, that an inference drawn from an square with the facts. Whoever makes such sup- imperfect induction, and which would be, on that positions upon observing a certain number of facis, state of the facts, unauthorized because equivocal, and then varies those suppositions when new facts and not the only supposition on which ihe facts come to his knowledge, so as to make the theory could be explained, becomes legitimate on a further tally with the observation-whoever thus goes on, induction, whereby we show that, though the facts touching and re-touching his theory each time a first observed might be explained by some other new fact is observed which does not fall within the supposit_on, yet those facts newly observed could to original proposition, is a mere framer of hypothe- no other supposition be reconciled. Thus, the anases, not an inductive inquirer-a fancier, and not a lytical experiment on the constitution of water, by philosopher.

passing steam over red hot iron, is not conelusive Now, this being the undoubted rule, does not the because, although it tallies well with the position

that water consists of oxygen and hydrogen, yet it through the same steps to the particular phenomena vould also tally with another supposition that ihose from ihe general fact. But it is a spurious syngases were produced in the process, and not merely thesis, unlike the mathematical, and not warranted separated from each other; so that neither oxygen by induction, to prove the proposition by one set of nor hydrogen existed in the water, any more than facts, and by that proposition to explain—that is, acid and water exist in coal and wood, but only classify-another set, without examining it by itself. their elements, and that, like the acid and water, If we do examine it by itself, and find that it is such the products of the destructive distillation of those as the proposition applies to, then also is it such as vegetable substances, the oxygen and hydrogen, might prove the proposition; and the synthesis is were compounded, and in fact produced by the pro- here, as in the case of the mathematical investigacess. But when, besides the analytical, we have tion, the analysis reversed. As far as any resemthe synthetical experiments of Mr. Cavendish and blance or analogy goes, there is even a greater affDr. Priestley*-when we find that by burning the nity between the inductive analysis and the geometwo gases in a close vessel, they disappear, and trical synthesis, than between those operations which leave a weight of water equal to their united go by the same name; and I hardly know any thing weights—we have a fact not reconcileable to any in experimental investigation resembling the matheother supposition, except that of the composition of matical analysis, unless it be when, from observing this fluid. It is as when, in solving a problem, we certain facts, we assume a position, and then infer, fix upon a point in one line, curved or straight, be that if this be true, some other facts must also exist, cause it answers one of the conditions-it may be which we find (from other proofs) really do exist. the right point, or it may not, for all the other This bears a resemblance rather to the analytical points of ihe line equally answer that condition; investigation than to the composition or synthetical but when we also show that the remaining condi- demonstration of theorems in the ancient geometry. tions require the point to be in another line, and It is not the course of reasoning frequently pursued that this other intersects the former in the very in experimental sciences; but a most beautiful expoint we had assumed, then no doubt can exist, and ample of it occurs in the Second Part of Dr. Black's the point is evidently the one required, none other Experiments on Magnesia Alba and Quick Lime, fulfilling all the conditions.

the foundation of the modern gaseous chemistry. We have used the words analytical and syntheti- Upon the whole, the use of these terms is apt to cal as applicable to the experiments of resolution mislead; and, for the reasons which have been asand composition; and in this sense these terms are signed, there seems no solidity in the division of instrictly correct in reference to inductive operations. ductive inquiry into the two classes.* But the use of the terms analysis and synthesis as applicable to the processes of induction-ihe former being the investigation of truths by experiment or observation, and the latter the explaining other facts

PART THE SECOND. by means of the truths so ascertained-is by no means so correct, and rests upon an extremely fal- OF THE ADVANTAGES OF THE STUDY lacious analogy, if there be, indeed, any analogy,

OF NATURAL THEOLOGY. for identity, or even resemblance, there is none. The terms are borrowed from mathematical science, where they denote the two kinds of investigation employed in solving problems and investigat- inquiries have been directed, now demand some

The uses of studying the science to which our ing theorems. When, in order to solve a problem, consideration. These consist of the pleasures which we suppose a thing done which we know not how to attend all scientific pursuits, the pleasures and the do, we reason upon the assumption that the pre- improvement peculiar to the study of Natural Thescribed conditions have been complied with, and ology, and the service rendered by this study to the proceed till we find something which we already doctrines of Revelation. possess the means of doing. This gives us the construction ; and the synthetical demonstration consists in merely retracing the steps of the analysis.

SECTION 1. And so of a theorem: we assume it to be true, and reasoning on that assumption, we are led to something which we know from other sources to be true, the synthesis being the same operation reversed. As we have established the position that Natural The iwo operations consist here, of manifest neces- Theology is a branch of Inductive Science, it folsity, of the very same steps the one being the steps lows that its truths are calculated to bestow the of the other taken in the reverse order. In Physics, same kind of gratification which the investigation to make the operations similar to these, the same and the contemplation of scientific truth generally facts should be the ground or component parts of is fitted to give. both. In analysis, we should ascend not only from That there is a positive pleasure in such reparticulars to generals, but from the same particu- searches and such views, wholly independent of lars, and then the synthesis would be a descent any regard to the advantages derived from their

* Dr. Priestley drew no conclusion of the least * When this section was written, I had not seen value from his experiments. But Mr. Watt, after Mr. Stewart's learned remarks upon analysis and thoroughly weighing them, by careful comparison synthesis in the second volume of his Elements, nor with other facts, arrived at the opinion that they was aware of the observations of Dr. Hook, quoted proved the composition of water. This may justly by him, and which show a remarkable coincidence be said to have been the discovery of that great with one of the observations in the text. Mr. Stewtruth in chemical science. I have examined the art's speculations do not come upon the same ground evidence, and am convinced that he was the first with mine; but Dr. Hook having reversed the use discoverer, in point of time, although it is very pos- of the terms analysis and synthesis in experimental sible that Mr. Cavendish may have arrived at the science, affords a strong confirmation of the remark same truth from his own experiments, without any which I have ventured to make upon the inaccuracy knowledge of Mr. Watt's earlier process of rea- of this application of mathematical language.-(See soning.

Elem. of Phil. of Human Mind, vol. ii. p. 354, 410.)


application to the aid of man in his physical neces- 1 of the mathematician to the lightest efforts of the sities, is quite undeniable. The ascertaining by de- wit. To trace the same equality, or other relation monstration any of the great truths in the mathe- between figures apparently unlike, is the chief glory matics, or proving by experiment any of the import of the geometrician; to bring together ideas of the ant properties of matter, would give a real and solid most opposite description, and show them in unexpleasure, even were it certain that no practical use pected, yet when suddenly pointed out, undeniable could be made of either the one or the other. To connection, is the very definition of wit. Nay, the know that the square of the hypotenuse is always proposition which we have just enunciated, is a exactly equal to the sum of the squares of the sides striking instance of the same general truth; for we of a right-angled triangle, whatever be its size, and have been surveying the resemblance, or rather the whatever the magnitude of the acute angles, is pleas- identity, in one important particular of two puring; and to be able to trace the steps by which the suits, in all other respects the most widely remote absolute certainty of this proposition is establish- from each other-mathematics and wit. ed, is gratifying, even if we were wholly ignorant If the mere centemplation of scientific truth is the that the art of guiding a ship through the pathless source of real gratification, there is another pleasure ocean mainly depends upon it. Accordingly, we alike remote from all reference to practical use or derive pleasure from rising to the contemplation of benefit, and which is obtained by tracing the investthe much more general truth, of which the disco- igations and demonstration-the steps that lead very of Pythagoras (the forty-seventh proposition analytically to the discovery, and synthetically to of the First Book of Euclid) is but a particular the proof of those iruths. This is a source of pleacase, and which is also applicable to all similar tri- sure, both by giving the assurance that the proposiangles, and indeed to circles and ellipses also, de- tions of generalization-the statements of resemscribed on the right-angled triangle's sides; and yet blance and diversity are true in themselves, and that general proposition is of no use in navigation, also by the consciousness of power which it imparts nor indeed in any other practical art. In like man- and the feeling of difficulty overcome which it inner the pleasure derived from ascertaining that the volves. We feel gratified when we have closely pressure of the air and the creation of a vacuum followed the brilliant induction which led Newton alike cause the rise of the mercury in the barome- to the discovery that white is the union of all colors; ter, and give the power to tlies of walking on the and when we have accompanied him in the series ceiling of a room, is wholly independent of any of profound researches, from the invention of a new practical use obtained from the discovery, inasmuch calculus or instrument of investigation, through inas it is a pleasure superadded to that of contemplat- numerable original geometrical lemmas, to the final ing the doctrine proved by the Torricellian experi- demonstration ihat the force of gravitation deflects ment, which had conferred all its practical benefits the comet from the tangent of its elliptical orbit; long before the cause of the fly's power was found and we feel the gratification because the pursuit of out. Thus, again, it is one of the most sublime these investigations assures us that the marvellous truths in science, and the contemplation of which, propositions are indeed true-because there is a as mere contemplation, affords the greatest plea- consciousness of man's power in being able to pesure, that the power which makes a stone fall to netrate so far into the secrets of nature, and search the ground keeps the planets in their course, moulds so far into the structure of the universe--and bethe huge masses of those heavenly bodies into their cause there is a pleasure, which we enjoy individuappointed forms, and reduces to perfect order all ally, in having accomplished a task of considerable the apparent irregularities of the system: so that difficulty. In these gratifications, derived from the the bandful of sand which for an instant ruffles the contemplation and the investigation of general laws, surface of the lake, acts by the same law which go- consists the Pleasure of Science properly so called, verns, through myriads of ages, the mighty system and apart from all views of deriving particular adcomposed of myriads of worlds. There is a posi- vantages from its application to man's use. tive pleasure in generalizing facts and arguments; in This pleasure is increased as often as we find perceiving the wonderful production of most unlike that any scientific discovery is susceptible of pracresults from a few very simple principles ; in finding tical applications. The contemplation of this adaptthe same powers or agents reappearing in different ation is pleasing, independent of any regard to our situations, and producing the most diverse and un- own individual advantage, and even though we expected effects'; in tracing unexpected resemblan- may desire never to be in a condition 10 reap beneces and differences; in ascertaining that truths or fit from it. We sympathise, perbaps, with those facts apparently unlike are of the same nature, and who may be so unfortunate as to require the aid afobserving wherein those apparently similar are va- forded by such applications to relieve and assuage rious: and this pleasure is quite independent of all pain; but the mere knowledge that such a corollary considerations relating to practical application follows from the discovery of the scientific truth, is nay, the additional knowledge that those truths are pleasing. Of course the gratification is increased, susceptible of a beneficial application, gives a fur- if we know that individually we shall profit by it, ther gratification of the like kind to those who are and we may perhaps always more or less coniemcertain never to have the opportunity of sharing the plate this possibility; but this is a pleasure, properbenefits obtained, and who indeed' may earnestly ly speaking, of a different kind from that which desire never to be in the condition of being able to science, as such, bestows. share them. Thus, in addition to the pleasure re

The branch of science which we are here par. ceived from contemplating a truth in animal physi- ticularly considering differs in no respect from the ology, we have another gratification from finding other departments of philosophy in the kind of gratithat one of its corollaries is the construction of an fication which it affords to those who cultivate it. instrument useful in some painful surgical opera- Natural Theology, like the other sciences, whether tion. Yet, assuredly, we have no desire ever to re- physical or mental, bestows upon the student the ceive advantage from this corollary; and our sci- pleasures of contemplation-of generalization; and entific gratification was wholly without regard to it bestows this pleasure in an eminent degree. To any such view. in truth, generalizing--the disco- trace design in the productions and in tbe operations very of remote analogies of resemblances among of nature, or in those of the human understanding, unlike objects-forms one of the most pleasing em- is, in the strictest sense of the word, generalization, ployments of our faculties in every department of and consequently produces the same pleasure with mental exertion, from the most severe investigation the generalizations of physical and of psychological


science. Every part of the foregoing reasoning, I through the veins whose valves did not oppose its therefore, applies closely and rigorously to the study course that way."* Even the arts have borrowed of Natural Theology. Thus, if it is pleasing to find from the observation of the animal economy. Those that the properties of two curves so exceedingly un- valves-the hollow bones of birds--the sockets of the like as the ellipse and the hyperbola closely resem- joints- have all furnished suggestions upon which ble each other, or that appearances so dissimilar as some of our most useful machinery is constructed. the motion of the moon and the fall of an apple from Nor can any abuse arise from this employment of the tree are different forms of the same fact, it affords the argument, so long as we take care only to let it a pleasure of the same kind to discover that the light occupy the subordinate place of a suggestor-an of the glow-worm and the song of the nightingale originator of inquiry-and never suffer il lo usurp are both provisions of nature for the same end of the station of a sole guide, or a substitute for that attracting the animal's mate, and continuing its induction which alone can be relied on in forming kind-that the peculiar law of attraction pervading our conclusions. The ancients were ignorant of all matter, the magnitude of the heavenly bodies, this caution, and would probably have rested satisthe planes they move in, and the directions of their fied with the consideration which only set Harvey courses, are all so contrived as to make their mutual upon making experiments, instead of proving in actions, and the countless disturbances thence aris- this way what the argument from Final Causes ing all secure a perpetual stability to the system only rendered probable. Hence, much of what, as which no other arrangement could attain. It is a we have already explained, Lord Bacon has said highly pleasing contemplation of the self-same kind upon the subject of this speculation, abused as it with those of the other sciences to perceive every certainly has been in all ages, but especially in anwhere design and adaptation to discover uses even cient times. in things apparently the most accidental-to trace this so constantly, that where peradventure we can

SECTION II. not find the purpose of nature, we never for a mo. ment suppose there was none, but only that we have

OF THE PLEASURE AND IMPROVEMENT PECULIAR TO hitherto failed in finding it out-and to arrive at the intimale persuasion that all seeming disorder is HITHERTO we have only shown that the gratificaharmony-all chance, design--and that nothing is tion which the contemplation of scientific truth is made in vain ; nay, things which in our ignorance calculated to bestow belongs to Natural Theology, we had overlooked as unimportant, or even com- in common with the other branches of Philosophy. plained of as evils, fill us afterwards with content. But there are several considerations which make it ment and delight, when we find that they are sub- plain that the pleasure must be greater which flows servient to the most important and beneficial uses. from the speculations of this than any which the Thus, inflammation and the generation of matter other sciences confer. in a wound we find to be the effort which Nature

In the first place, the nature of the truths with makes to produce new flesh, and effect the cure; which Natural Theology is conversant is to be conthe opposite hinges of the valves in the veins and sidered. They relate to the evidences of design, of arteries are the means of enabling the blood to cir- contrivance, of power, of wisdom, of goodness but culate; and so of innumerable other arrangements let us only say, of design or contrivance. Nothing of the animal economy. So, too, there is the high- can be more gratifying to the mind than such conest gratification derived from observing that there templations: they afford great scope to the reasonis a perfect unity, or, as it has been called, a person- ing powers; they exercise the resources of our inality, in the kind of the contrivances in which the genuity; they give a new aspect to the most ordiuniverse abounds; and truly this peculiarity of nary appearances; they impart life as it were to character, or of manner, as other writers have term- dead matter; they are continually surprising us ed it, affords the same species of pleasure which we with novel and unexpected proofs of intentions derive from contemplating general resemblances in plainly directed to a manifest object. If some scoffthe other sciences.

ers and superficial persons despise the enthusiasm We may close this branch of the subject with the with which these investigations have at times been observation that those other sciences have often in pursued, and hold the exercise given by them to the their turn derived aid from Natural Theology, at ingenuity of inquirers to be rather a play of imagileast from the speculation of Final Causes, for which nation than of reasoning, it is equally undeniable they, generally speaking, lay the foundation. Many that in some of the most importani and most practidiscoveries in the physiology both of animals and cally useful of the sciences, design, so far from beplants owe their origin to some arrangement or ing a matter of fanciful conjecture, is always asstructure being, remarked, the peculiar object of sumed as incontestable, and the inquiry, often with which was not known, and the ascertaining of which a merely practical view, is confined to discovering led to the knowledge of an important truth. The what the object of the design is. Thus, when the well-known anecdote of Harvey, related by Mr. physiologist has discovered some part of the animal Boyle, is the best example of this which can be body before unknown, or observed some new operagiven. In his tract on Final Causes he thus writes: tion of the known organs, he never doubts that de_“I remember that when I asked our famous Har- sign exists, and that some end is to be answered.vey, in the only discourse I had with him, (which This he takes for granted without any reasoning; was but a while before he died,) what were the and he only endeavors to find out whai the purpose things that induced him to think of a circulation of is—what use the part can have—what end the opethe blood, he answered me, that when he took no- ration is intended to accomplish; never supposing tice that the valves in the veins of so many parts of it possible that either the part could be created, or the body were so placed that they gave free passage the function appointed, without an object. The to the blood towards the heart, but opposed the pas- investigation conducted upon the assumption of this sage of the veinal blood the contrary way, he was postulate has frequently led to the most brilliant disincited to imagine that so provident a cause as Na-coveries--among others, as we have just seen, to by ture had not so placed so many valves without de- far the most important ever made in physiological sign, and no design seemed more probable than that science. For the mere exercise of the intellectual since the blood could not well, because of the interposing valves, be sent by the veins to the limbs, it * Disquisition about the Final Causcs of Natural should be sent through the arteries, and return / Things.--Works, v. 427. 1to.

faculties, or gratification of scientific curiosity, we power of him who made and sustains and moves may refer to almost all the singular phenomena ihose prodigious bodies, and all that inhabit them. which form the bases of the reasonings as to design Now, all the gratification of which we have been -the structure of the ear, and still more of the eye treating, is purely scientific, and wholly independent -the circulation of the blood--the physiology of of any views of practical benefit resulting from the the fætus in the uterus, as contrasted with the econo- science of Natural Theology. The pleasure in my of the born animal, and the prospective contri- question is merely that double gratification which vances of a system which until the birth is to be every science bestows-namely, the contemplation wholly useless the structure of the eye and the of truth, in tracing resemblances and differences, nictitating membrane in different birds, and the and the perception of the evidence by which that haw in certain quadrupeds the powers of the eye truth is established. Natural Theology gives this in birds of prey-perhaps more than any thing else, double pleasure, like all other branches of science the construction of their cells by bees, according to like the mathematics-like physics and would the most certain principles discovered by men only give it if we were beings of an order different from with the help of the most refined analytical caleulus. man, and whose destinies never could be affected The atheist can only deny the wonderful nature of by the truth or the false hood of the doctrines in such operations of instinct by the violent assump- question. Nay, we may put a still stronger case, tion that the bee works as the heavenly bodies roll, one analogous to the instance given above of the and that its mathematically correct operations are pleasure derived from contemplating some fine inno more to be wondered at than the equally mathe- vention of a surgical instrument. Persons of such matically adjusted movements of the planets--a: lives as should make it extremely desirable to them truly violent assumption, and especially of those that there was no God and no Future State, mighs who angrily deny that men have a soul differing very well, as philosophers, derive gratification from in kind from the sentient principle in the lower contemplating the truths of Natural Theology, and animals.

from following the chain of evidence by which Secondly. The universal recurrence of the facts these are established, and might in such sublime on which Natural Theology rests deserves to be re- meditation, find some solace to the pain which regarded as increasing the interest of this science.-- flection upon the past, and fears of the future are

The other sciences, those of Physics at least, are calculated to inflict upon them. studied only when we withdraw from all ordinary But it is equally certain that the science derives pursuits, and give up our meditations to them.-- an interest incomparably greater from the consiThose which can only be prosecuted by means of deration that we ourselves who cultivate it, are experiment can never be studied at all without some most of all concerned in its truth that our own aci of our own 10 alter the existing state of things, highest destinies are involved in the results of the and place nature in circumstances which force her, investigation. This, indeed, makes it, beyond all by a kind of question, as Lord Bacon phrases it, tó doubt, the most interesting of the sciences, and reveal her secrets. Even the sciences which depend sheds on the other branches of philosophy an inon observation have their fields spread only here and terest beyond that which otherwise belongs to them, there, hardly ever lying in our way, and not always rendering them more attractive in proportion as accessible when we would go out of our way to walk they connect themselves with this grand branch of in them. But there is no place where the evidences human knowledge, and are capable of being made of Natural Religion are not distributed in ample subservient to its uses. See only in what contemmeasure. It is equally true that those evidences plations the wisest of men end their most sublime continually meet us in all the other branches of inquiries! Mark where it is that a Newton finally science. A discovery made in these almost cer- reposes after piercing the thickest veil that envetainly involves some new proofs of design in the for- lops nature-grasping and arresting in their course mation and government of the universe.

the most subtile of her elements and the swiftest Thirdly, and chiefly: Natural Theology stands traversing the regions of boundless space-explorfar above all other sciences from the sublime and ing worlds beyond the solar way-giving out the elevating nature of its objects. It tells of the crea- law which binds the universe in eternal order! He tion of all things--of the mighty power that fashion-rests, as by an inevitable necessity, upon the coned and that sustains the universe-of the exquisite templation of the great First Cause, and holds is skill that contrived the wings and beak, and feet of his highest glory to bave made the evidence of his insects invisible to the naked eye--and that lighied existence, and the dispensations of his power and the lamp of day, and launched into space comets a of his wisdom, better understood by men. thousand times larger than the earth, whirling a If such are the peculiar pleasures which appermillion of times swifter than a cannon ball, and tain to this science, it seems to follow that ihose burning with a heat which a thousand centuries philosophers are mistaken who would restrict us to could not quench. It exceeds the bounds of mate- a very few demonstrations, to one or two instances rial existence, and raises us from the creation to the of design, as sufficient proofs of the Deity's power Author of Nature. Its office is, not only to mark and skill in the creation of the world. That one what things are, but for what purpose ihey were sufficient proof of this kind is in a certain sense made by the infinite wisdom of an all-powerful be- enough cannot be denied; a single such proof overing, with whose existence and attributes its high throws the dogmas of the atheist and dispels the prerogative is to bring us acquainted. If we prize, doubts of the skeptic; but is it enough to the gratiand justly, the delightful contemplations of the other fication of the contemplative mind? The great sciences; if we hold it a marvellous gratification to multiplication of proots undeniably strengthens our have ascertained exactly the swiftness of the re- positions; nor can we ever affirm respecting the motest planets—he number of grains that a piece iheorems in a science, not of necessary but of conof lead would weigh at their surfaces-and the de- tingent truth, that the evidence is sufficiently cogent gree in which each has become flattened in shape without variety and repetition. But, independently by revolving on its axis: it is surely a yet more no- altogether of this consideration, the gratification is ble employment of our faculties, and a still higher renewed by each instance of design wbich we are privilege of our nature, humbly, but confidently, to led to contemplate. Each is different from the other. ascend from the universe to its Great First Cause, Each step renews our delight. The finding that at and investigate the unity, the personality, the inten- every step we make in one science, and with one sons, as well as the matchless skill and mighty / object in view, a new proof is added to those before

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »