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the Supreme Being, can we doubt that the perpetually renewed proofs of his power, wisdom, and goodness tend to fix and to transport the mind, by the constant nourishment thus afforded to feelings of pure and rational devotion? It is, in truth, an exercise at once intellectual and moral, in which the highest faculties of the understanding and the warmest feelings of the heart alike partake, and in which, not only without ceasing to be a philosopher, the student feels as a man, but in which, the more warmly his human feelings are excited, the more philosophically he handles the subject. What delight can be more elevating, more truly worthy of a rational creature's enjoyment, than to feel, wherever we tread the paths of scientific inquiry, new evidence springing up around our footsteps, new traces of Divine intelligence and power meeting our eye! We are never alone: at least, like the old Roman, we are never less alone than in our solitude. We walk with the Deity; we commune with the Great First Cause, who sustains at every instant what the word of his power made. The delight is renewed at each step of our progress, though, as far as evidence is concerned, we have long ago had proof enough. But that is no more a reason for ceasing to contemplate the subject in its perpetually renovated and varied forms, than it would be a reason for resting satisfied with once seeing a long lost friend, that his existence had been sufficiently proved by one interview. Thus, instead of restricting ourselves to the proofs alone required to refute atheism or remove scepticism, we should covet the indefinite multiplication of evidences of design and skill in the universe, as subservient in a threefold way to purposes of use and of gratification: first, as strengthening the foundation whereupon the system reposes; secondly, as conducive to the ordinary purposes of scientific gratification, each instance being a fresh renewal of that kind of enjoyment; and thirdly, as giving additional ground for devout, pleasing, and wholesome adoration of the Great First Cause, who made and who sustains all nature.' pp. 191-197.
This eloquent passage reminds us of some of the pages of Pascal. The noble Author subsequently remarks, that even the 'inspired penmen have constant recourse to the views which are derived from the contemplation of nature, when they would 'exalt the Deity by a description of his attributes, or inculcate 'sentiments of devotion towards him;' as in the eighth Psalm, and that singularly beautiful poem,' the cxxxixth; also in the Book of Job, from the xxxviiith to the xlist chapter. The civth Psalm may be adduced as a not less striking illustration; also, the xixth; and the writings of the Prophets abound with similar considerations and arguments drawn from Natural Theology. 'By direct interposition, through miraculous agency,' remarks Lord Brougham, in closing the Discourse, we become acquainted 'with the will of the Deity, and are made more certain of his 'existence; but his peculiar attributes are nearly the same in 'the volume of nature, and in that of his revealed word.' They are and must be absolutely the same to those who read both volumes aright; for nothing in the clearer and more certain re
velation can really be at variance with what natural reason teaches us to deduce from the characters inscribed upon the works and dispensations of the Almighty. Only, let it not be forgotten, that "the world by wisdom" never attained to that knowledge of God which even nature teaches*, till the True Light was manifested, and that all true natural theology is the reflection of that light, the product of Revelation. And further, let it be remembered, that there are awful problems presented to us by Nature, of which the discoveries of Revelation afford the only possible or conceivable solution.
The object and design of the present volume are such as reflect honour upon the learned and highly accomplished Author; and whatever pardonable exaggeration may be detected in his estimate of the moral efficiency of the studies which it is his object to recommend, it will be observed with satisfaction, that he recognizes most explicitly the necessity and the authority of Revelation. The Discourse is divided into two Parts. The First treats of the nature of the subject, and the kind of evidence upon which Natural Theology rests. The Second Part, which we have greatly forestalled, treats of the advantages derived from the study of the science: from this, the preceding extracts have been taken. We shall now lay before our readers a brief analysis of the First Part.
In the first section, it is shewn, that Natural Theology is as strictly a branch of inductive philosophy, formed and supported by the same kind of reasoning as any of the physical or physiological sciences. Our knowledge of those physical facts which seem, at first view, to come more immediately under the cognizance of the senses, rests, in fact, upon the deductions of reasoning, not upon perception. For example, our senses teach us that colours differ; but the laws and nature of light are ascertained only by a process of reasoning from things which our senses perceive, and are not themselves within reach of the senses. In the second section, it is shewn, that not only is the fundamenta? branch of Natural Theology, or Physico-Theology, closely allied to Physics, but the two paths of investigation, for a great part of the way, 'completely coincide.' By observation and reasoning we detect the marks of infinite skill and wise design in the mechanism of the human frame; and by the same process of induction we reach the conclusion, that it has been contrived by a Maker of infinite skill and wisdom. The existence of extinct species of animals is believed on the strength of induction.
'When, from examining a few bones, or it may be a single fragment of a bone, we infer that, in the wilds where we found it, there lived
* 1 Cor. i. 21.
and ranged, some thousands of years ago, an animal wholly different from any we ever saw, and from any of which any account, any tradition, written or oral, has reached us, nay, from any that ever was seen by any person of whose existence we ever heard, we assuredly are led to this remote conclusion by a strict and rigorous process of reasoning; but, as certainly, we come through that process to the knowledge and belief things unseen both of us and of all men,things respecting which we have not, and cannot have, a single particle of evidence either by sense or by testimony. Yet we harbour no doubt of the fact. We go further, and not only implicitly believe the existence of this creature, for which we are forced to invent a name, but clothe it with attributes, till, reasoning step by step, we come at so accurate a notion of its form and habits, that we can represent the one and describe the other with unerring accuracy; picturing to ourselves how it looked, what it fed on, and how it continued its kind. . . What perceivable difference is there between the kind of investigations we have just been considering, and those of Natural Theology; except, indeed, that the latter are far more sublime in themselves, and incom parably more interesting to us.' pp. 49, 50.
A noble reproof is here given to the unreasonableness and perverseness of scientific infidelity. In the third section, Lord Brougham shews that the evidences of design presented by the intellectual system, are not less adapted to lead to the knowledge and belief of an all-wise Creator; yet, strange to say, Ray, Derham, and Paley have apparently overlooked this branch of evidence; passing over in unaccountable silence by far the most singular work of Divine wisdom and power,-the mind itself." The following remarks are deserving of deep attention.
There cannot be a doubt that this extraordinary omission had its origin in the doubts which men are prone to entertain of the mind's existence independent of matter. The eminent persons above named were not materialists; that is to say, if you had asked them the question, they would have answered in the negative; they would have gone further, and asserted their belief in the separate existence of the soul independent of the body. But they never felt this as strongly as they were persuaded of the natural world's existence. Their habits of thinking led them to consider matter as the only certain existence-as that which composed the universe-as alone forming the subject of our contemplations as furnishing the only materials for our inquirieswhether respecting structure or habits and operations. They had no firm, definite, abiding, precise idea of any other existence respecting which they could reason and speculate. They saw and they felt external objects; they could examine the lenses of the eye, the valves of the veins and arteries, the ligaments and the sockets of the joints, the bones and the drum of the ear; but, though they now and then made mention of the mind, and, when forced to the point, would acknowledge a belief in it, they never were fully and intimately persuaded of its separate existence. They thought of it and of matter very differently; they gave its structure, and its habits, and its
operations no place in their inquiries; their contemplations never rested upon it with any steadiness, and indeed scarcely ever even glanced upon it at all. That this is a very great omission, proceeding, if not upon mere carelessness, upon a grievous fallacy, there can be no doubt whatever.' pp. 54-56.
We do not now stop to inquire how far these remarks apply with justice to the Writers in question; but we wish to point out their important bearing upon the causes of scepticism. Nothing is more certain, although the fact is too often overlooked, than that belief is governed by habitual consideration; that, as a principle of action, it consists less in knowledge than in a habit of thinking. Knowledge can exert no practical influence upon us, except as it changes or determines our habitual considerations. That only which we think of, exists to us. Hence, to the anatomist or physiologist, exclusively occupied with the mechanism of the human frame, that study which would seem peculiarly adapted to lead to religious belief, proves too often the means of stripping the mind of all belief in spiritual existence, and of extinguishing all religious feeling. Lord Brougham has, in this passage, given a truly philosophical explanation of the intellectual cause of irreligion. Men become infidels, as the Writers in question are represented as unconsciously adopting the theory of the materialist, by excluding religion and its evidence from their habits of thinking: their contemplations never rest with any steadiness upon the objects of their avowed belief, and hence they have no firm, definite, abiding, precise idea' of the unseen and the eternal world. And this suggests the explanation of the fact, that naturalists and scientific men are so apt to regard the study of natural religion as little connected with philosophical pur'suits,' and to stop short, in detecting the marks of infinite skill, of that seemingly inevitable inference which would lead their thoughts up to the Infinite Artificer.
To pursue our analysis: the learned Author proceeds to remark, that the evidence for the existence of mind is to the full as complete as that upon which we believe in the existence of ' matter. This subject is resumed in Section V., and followed up in a note, in which the Author exposes the flimsy and fallacious reasonings of the atheistic author of the 'Système de la Nature: The remainder of this section is occupied with giving a few brief but striking illustrations of the evidences of Creative Wisdom which are furnished by the constitution and functions of the human mind, and by the operations of instinct in the brute
In Section IV., Lord Brougham has gone a little out of his straight course, in attempting to shew the unsoundness and insufficiency of the argumentum à priori, or the demonstration of the Being and attributes of God from abstract reasoning, as conducted
by Dr. Clarke and other metaphysical writers. In one point of view, we agree with his Lordship, there can be no absolutely à priori reasoning upon the subject, since the argument cannot be conducted independently of experience and consciousness; and it is impossible to prove that the existence and attributes of the Deity would have been discoverable or demonstrable by meré reasoning, in the absence of all existence à posteriori, since no such condition could exist. But we cannot admit that the argument à priori, as generally understood, is so completely useless and unsatisfactory as Lord Brougham would represent. He objects, that it would follow as a consequence of such argument, that the existence of God is a necessary, not à contingent truth; ' and that it is not only as impossible for the Deity not to exist as for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts, but 'that it is equally impossible for his attributes to be other than 'the argument is supposed to prove they are. Now we maintain this consequence to be no objection. We contend that the existence of God is a necessary truth, inasmuch as the atheistic hypothesis is a pure absurdity; and that it is as impossible for the Deity not to exist, and for his essential attributes to be other than they are, as for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts. Lord Brougham observes, in exposing the sophistry of the materialists, that we cannot, in any instance, draw the inference of 'the existence of matter, without at the same time exhibiting a 'proof of the existence of mind.' The celebrated argument of Descartes, Cogito, ergo sum, had, in this sense, he remarks, a correct and profound meaning. In like manner, it may be said, we cannot prove the existence of mind, or frame to ourselves the idea of existence, without its involving the idea of a First Cause of existence, who must be of necessity Self-existent. The act of thought includes the idea of conscious existence; and from the idea of conscious existence, that of its Author is rationally inseparable. We might therefore parallel the argument of Descartes (which may be termed an abbreviated syllogism, in which the minor proposition is understood) with another of equal logical strength-Sum, ergo Deus est. The self-existence of the Creator of all things is as certain a truth, as impossible to be otherwise, as his existence it is included in the idea of God, and therefore forms part of the proposition, There is a God. It is moreover a truth that could not be proved à posteriori. We may infer the Divine wisdom, power, and goodness from the manifestation of those Attributes; and their contraries,' it may be admitted, are not things wholly inconceivable.' Perfect as the frame of things actually is,' remarks the learned Writer, a 'few apparent exceptions to the general beauty of the system have made many disbelieve the perfect power and perfect goodness of the Deity, and invent Manichean theories to account