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belongs to any brute ; and by the deprivation of any one of them, we should feel our personality impaired. Each of these powers must enter into every rational conception of God, as a personal agent, in distinction from nature, or some blind principle, possessing an efficacy, but without personality in distinction from some voluble spirit, like the air, unconscious and necessitated, which mere naturalists love to contemplate as working in and rolling through all things.
All valid argument for the existence of God, must proceed on the ground of the necessary connection between every effect, or to speak more accurately, between every event, and some adequate cause.
The relation between an event and its cause, is a fundamental law of human belief. We can no more conceive of an event without a cause, than we can conceive of body without space. How the ideas of space and of causation come into the mind, it is not our present business to inquire. That they are necessarily there is certain ; and if any man denies their existence, he gives the lie to his own consciousness, and has no ground for the assertion of any thing.
In arguing from the effect to the cause, we are not bound to admit in the cause any thing different in kind from that which we find in the effect. By this it is not meant that there must be in the cause every thing that is found in the effect, for then the creation of matter, and the existence of sin, except as eternal, would have been impossible ; but that we are bound to infer in the cause no higher powers
than are requisite to produce the effect. To do more, would be contrary to a fundamental maxim of the Newtonian logic. It was said by bishop Berkley, that we have the same evidence for the existence of God, that we have for that of our fellow-man. When we look at his body, the material envelope, it is not the man which we see ; but from the indications of intelligence manifested through the medium of his body, we infer that that which is truly the man exists, though it escapes the cognizance of the senses.
With equal, and precisely the same reason, when we discover marks of design in nature, do we conclude, though it works unseen,” that there is a designing agent. But two orders of intelligence fall under our observation, that of brutes, and of men. To each of these belongs the power of contrivance and design; but to man, something distinctive and superior is added. If, therefore, we see in the works of nature
nothing different in kind from the manifestations of design exhibited by the brutes, then we have no reason to suppose in the power, whatever it may be, which regulates those works, any thing superior to that which exists in them; but if, on the other hand, we see evidence of the higher kind of intelligence which belongs to man, then have we the same evidence for the existence of that intelligence, in such a manner as to constitute the rational idea of God, as we have to suppose that man himself exists.
In order to determine this point, it is necessary to compare the operations of nature with those of animals, and of man respectively, and to observe in what respects they agree and in what they differ,
In doing this, we remark, first, as was noticed above, that there is in brutes, as well as in nature, the power of contrivance and design, and that this power, though limited in its sphere, yet seems, within that sphere, to be equally perfect and unerring with that possessed by nature. Nothing can be more artificial, more precisely adapted to its purpose, or, the end being given, show a more perfect capacity of attaining it, than the comb of the bee. There is not only contrivance, but in this case, as in many others, there is also prospective contrivance, which is justly mentioned by writers on natural theology, as making a strong case. The preparation by the bee, without instruction or experience, of honey and wax, against a time of need, is analogous to that by nature of the lungs, before birth. Instances of this kind it is needless to particularize. From the single fact that brutes contrive, we must infer, either that they are persons, or that contrivance does not prove personality. But it will be said that this is instinct, and that writers on natural theology refer the constitution of instincts to some higher power. Be it so; but as it is only instinct that is produced, since like produces like, it may have been only a more extended and powerful instinct that produced it. A name is nothing. We call the principle by which animals are actuated instinct ; but call it what we may, we see a being having a sensorium, having individuality and distinct organization, producing effects similar to those produced by nature, and yet not furnishing the least evidence of personality. If, therefore, there may be an individual power, entirely dissevered from reason and conscience, and yet produce such results, who shall limit the extent to which it may reach, or the effect, that is within its own proper sphere, which it may produce ?
We remark, secondly, that in their conformity to fixed laws, and in their variation from them, according to circumstances, there is a striking analogy between the works of nature and those of animals. A perfect instinct we conceive of as acting blindly and uniformly, without any variation whatever. But no animal, so far as we know, has an instinct of this kind. They all possess a power of accommodating themselves more or less to peculiar emergencies, and in some instances, this adaptive power extends so far, as apparently to border on the province of reason. Thus, it was observed by Huber, that “those ants who lay the foundation of a wall, or chamber, or gallery, from working separately, occasion now and then a want of coincidence in the parts of the same, or different objects. Such examples are of no unfrequent occurrence, but they by no means einbarrass them. What follows proves that the workman, on discovering his error, knew how to rectify it. A wall had been erected, with the view of sustaining a vaulted ceiling, still incomplete, that had been projected from the wall of the opposite chamber. The workman who began constructing it had given it too little elevation to meet the opposite partition on which it was to rest. Had it been continued on the original plan, it must infallibly have met the wall at about one half of its height. This state of things very forcibly arrested my attention, when one of the ants, arriving at the place, and visiting the works, appeared to be struck by the difficulty that presented itself; but this it as soon obviated, by taking down the ceiling, and raising the wall upon which it reposed. It then, in my presence, constructed a new ceiling with the fragments of the former one.” Bees, when transported to warm climates, soon cease their accumulations of honey. Some birds that build their nests upon the branches in regions where they are secure, suspend them by a cord, when exposed to the attacks of serpents or monkeys. Cases of this kind among larger animals are so common, that they need not be specified. An example or two of the same kind will illustrate à multitude of others, that occur in the works of nature. If the large vessel, that supplies a portion of the body with blood, be cut or tied, nature will set herself at work, and will enlarge in a surprising manner the small and circuitous vessels leading to the same part, and thus,
notwithstanding the interruption of her original plan, will effect her purpose, viz. the nourishment of that part. Or, if it should be said that it is the increased pressure of the blood that enlarges the vessels mechanically, though every physiologist knows that this is not the fact, then we may take the instance of the head of a bone displaced from its socket. In this case, there will be deposited around it, after a time, a substance much resembling cartilage, and something like a new socket will be formed, giving it all the ease of position, and facility of motion, of which its situation is susceptible. In general, however, the laws of operation, both of nature and of animals, are uniform. Let them alone, thwart them in nothing, and nothing can be more perfect than the result, or more admirable than the means taken to accomplish it. But whatever power of varying from these laws, to meet particular emergencies, nature possesses, this power, call it what we may, animals possess in a still more striking degree.
We remark, thirdly, that if brutes or nature be thwarted in their operations, in a particular manner, or to a certain extent, they will still pursue those operations, in a manner which seems equally abortive and absurd. A bee will fly against a window glass a hundred times, and still be no wiser for it. The blue fly will deposit its eggs upon the ictodes fætidus. The hen will continue to lay her eggs, though they are constantly removed ; and she will, as men
1 tioned by Paley, sit upon those which have not been fecundated, though it is certain they never can hatch. In nature, instances of this kind are innumerable. Girdle a tree, with the exception of a small space, and, though it is evident that nature can never accomplish her original purpose of nourishing the tree, and producing fruit, yet will she pursue, year after year, her languid and inefficient attempts. If the seed of an annual plant be sown in the fall
, it will sprout and grow so long as it can, though it is certain that the ensuing winter will destroy it; whereas, if the operations of nature were analogous to those of man, she would cause it to lie over the winter before it sprouted, and it would then become a perfect plant. If the duct leading from the parotid gland to the mouth be cut off, nature still secretes the fluid in that gland, not only to no good purpose, but to the entire prevention of the curative process which she would otherwise carry on. But the instance most in point, and we mention it because it
In these cases,
is so, is in the formation of monsters. from some accident, the powers of nature are thwarted ; but instead of giving up her work, as it seems to us an intelligent agent would do, she will still go on, and form the most fantastic and useless combinations, still, however, struggling after her original plan. She will produce an eye in the chest, she will cause an arm to grow from the back, she will constitute animal structures entirely incapable of sustaining life--machines that will not go, she will even make them so misshapen and unwieldy, that they must necessarily destroy her own works in the person of the mother herself.
Thus far, then, the analogy between the works of nature, and those of animals, is very striking. They may both be compared in their operations to a blind man passing along a narrow track, whose course is guided by a string stretched in the same direction, along which he passes bis fingers. So long as he holds to the string, he steps with perfect security, but the moment he loses that, he gropes and stumbles; he continues his exertions indeed, but they are quite in the dark, and can hardly fail to be either nugatory or pernicious.
It will be seen that in this parallel, which might be extended, we have contrasted, and perhaps sufficiently for our present purpose, the active powers in nature with those in
Nature is apparently necessitated and uniform; man is free and diverse in his actions.
The existence of general and inexorable laws certainly does not preclude that of a personal being. There are many and good reasons, why, if such a being exists, it would be proper for him to carry on his administration by such laws. It may be, it probably is, the best way ; but still, so long as they move on in their unvarying consistency, we cannot infer from them alone, the existence of a being who is above law, who is not necessitated, who has in himself any thing other and higher than the laws themselves manifest.
Could this uniformity be once broken up, could this rigid order be once infringed for a good and manifest reason, it would change the whole face of the argument. Could we once see gravitation suspended when the good man is thrown by his persecutors from the top of the rock; could we see a chariot and horses of fire descend and deliver the righteous from the universal law of death; could we see the sun stand still in heaven that the wicked might be overthrown, then should we be assured of a personal power with a dis