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relations, but shows them in the most advantageous man
As gentility, (to resume my former illustration) appears in the minutest action, and improves the most inconsiderable gesture ; so grace is discovered in the placing even the single word, or the turn of a mere expletive. Neither is this inexpressible quality confined to one species of composition only, but extends to all the various kinds ;-to the humble pastoral, as well as to the lofty epic ;-from the slightest letter, to the most solemn discourse.
I know not whether Sir William Temple may not be considered as the first of our prose authors, who introduced a graceful manner into our language. At least that quality does not seem to have appeared early, or spread far among us.
But wheresoever we may look for its origin, it is certainly to be found in its highest perfection, in the essays of a gentlemen, whose writings will be distinguished so long as politeness and good sense have any admirers. That becoming air which Tully esteemed the criterion of fine composition, and which every reader, he says, imagines so easy to be imitated, yet will find so difficult to attain, is the prevailing characteristic of all that excellent author's most elegant performances. In a word, one may justly apply to him what Plato, in his allegorical language, says of Aristophanes, that the Graces, having searched all the world round for a temple, wherein they might for ever dwell, settled at last in the breast of Mr. Addison.
II.-On the Structure of Animals. THOSE who were skilful in anatomy among the ancients, concluded from the outward and inward make of a human body, that it was the work of a being transcendently wise and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of ad miring the conduct of Providence, in the formation of a human body, Galen was converted by his dissections, and could not but own a Supreme Being, upon a survey of his handy work. There were, indeed, many parts of which the old anatomists did not know the certain use ; but as they saw that most of those which they examined were adapted, with admirable art, to their several functions, they did not question but those, whose uses they could not determine, were contrived with the same wisdom, for respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been
found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern anatomists, we see new wonders in the human frame, and discern several important uses for those parts, which uses the ancients knew nothing of. In short, the body of man is such a subject, as stands the utmost test of examination. Though it appears formed with the nicest wisdom, upon the most superficial survey of it, it still mends npon the search, and produces our surprise and amazement, in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here said of a human body, may be applied to the body of every animal, which hus been the subject of anatomical observations. The body of an animal is an object adequate to our
It is a particular system of Providence, that lies in a narrow compass. The eye is able to command it; and, by successive inquiries, can search into all its parts. Could the body of the whole earth, or indeed the whole universe, be thus submitted to the examination of our senses, were it not too big and disproportioned for our inquiries, too unwieldly for the management of the eye and hand, there is no question but it would appear to us, as curious and well contrived a frame as that of a human body. We should see the same concatenation and subserviency, the same necessity and usefulness, the same beauty and harmony, in ali and every of its parts, as what we discover in the body of every single animal.
The more extended our reason is, and the more able to grapple with immense objects, the greater still are those discoveries which it makes, of wisdom and providence, in the works of creation. A Sir Isaac Newton, who stands up as the miracle of the present age, can look through a whole planetary system; consider it in its weight, number and measure ; and draw from it as many demonstrations of in finite power and wisdom, as a more confined understanding is able to deduce from the system of a human body.
But to return to our speculations on anatomy, I shall here consider the fabric and texture of the bodies of animals in one particular view, which, in my opinion, shows the hand of a thinking and all-wise Being in their formation, with the evidence of a thousand demonstrations. I think we may lay this down as an incontested principle, that chance never acts in a perpetual uniformity and consistence with itself. If one should always Aling the same number with ten thousand dice, or see every throw just five times Jess or five times more, in number, than the throw which
Let a man
immediately preceded it, who would not imagine there was some invisible power which directed the cast ? This is the proceeding which we find in the operations of nature. Every kind of animal is diversified by different magnitudes, each of which gives rise to a different species. trace the dog or lion kind, and he will observe how
of the works of nature are published, if I may use the expression, in a variety of editions If we look into the reptile world, or into those different kind of animals that fill the element of water, we meet with the same repetitions among several species, that differ very little from one another, but in size and bulk. You find the same creature that is drawn at large, copied out in several proportions, and ending in miniature. It would be tedious to produce instances of this regular conduct in Providence, as it would be superfluous to those who are versed in the natural history of animals. The magnificent harmony of the universe is such, that we may observe innumerable divisions running upon the same ground. I might also extend this speculation to the dead parts of nature, in which we may find matter disposed into many similar systems, as well in our survey of stars and planets, as of stones, vegetables, and other sublunary parts of the creation. In a word, Providence has shown the richness of its goodness and wisdom, not only in the production of many original species, but in the multipiicity of descants which it has made on every original species in particular.
But to pursue this thought still farther.—Every living creature, considered in itself, has many very complicated parts, that are exact copies of some other parts which it possesses, which are complicated in the same manner. One eye would have been sufficient for the subsistence and preservation of an animal ; but in order to better his condition, we see another placed, with a mathematical exactness, in the same most advantageous situation, and in every particular, of the same size and texture. It is impossible for chance to be thus delicate and uniform in her operations. Should a million of dice turn up twice together in the same number, the wonder would be nothing in comparison with this. But when we see this similitude and resemblance in the
arm, the hand, the fingers; when we see one half of the body entirely correspond with the other, in all those minute strokes, without which a man might have very well subsist ed; nay, when we often see a single part repeated a hun
dred times in the same body, notwithstanding it consists of the most intricate weaving of numberless fibres, and these parts differing still in magnitude, as the convenience of their particular situation requires; sure a man must have a strange cast of understanding, who does not discover the finger of God, in so wonderful a work. These duplicates, in those parts of the body, without which a man might have very well subsisted, though not so well as with them, are a plain demonstration of an all-wise Contriver; as those more numerous copyings, which are found among the vessels of the same body, are evident demonstrations that they could not be the work of chance. This argument receives additional strength, if we apply it to every animal and insect within our knowledge, as well as those numberless living creatures, that are objects too minute for a human eye : And if we consider how the several species in this whole world of life resemble one another, in very many particulars, so far as is convenient for their respective states of existence, it is much more probable that a hundred million of dice should be casually thrown a hundred million of times in the same number, than that the body of any single ani. mal should be produced by the fortuitous concourse of matter. And that the like chance should arise in innumerable instances, requires a degree of credulity that is not under the direction of coinmon sense.
III.-On Natural and Fantastical Pleasures. IT is of great use to consider the Pleasures which con stitute human happiness, as they are distinguished into Natural and Fantastical. Natural Pleasures I call those, which not depending on the fashion and caprice of any particular age or nation, are suited to human nature in general, and were intended, by Providence, as rewards for using our faculties agreeably to the ends for which they are given us. Fantastical Pleasures are those which, having no natural fitness to delight our minds, presuppose some particular whim or taste, accidently prevailing in a set of people, to which it is owing that they please.
Now I take it, that the tranquillity and cheerfulness, with which I have passed my life, are the effects of having, ever since I came to years of discretion, continued my inclinations to the former sort of pleasures. But as my experience can be a rule only to my own actions, it may probably be a stronger motive to induce others to the same scheme of life, if they would consider that we are prompted to natural pleasures, by an instinct impressed on our minds by the Author of our nature, who best understands our frames, and consequently best knows what those pleasures are, which will give us the least uneasiness in the pursuit, and the greatest satisfaction in the enjoyment of them. Hence it follows, that the object of our natural desires are cheap, and easy to be obtained; it being a maxim that holds throughout the whule system of created beings, “that nothing is made in vain,” much less the instincts and appetites of animals, which the benevolence, as well as the wisdom of the Deity is concerned to provide for. Nor is the fruition of those objects less pleasing, than the acquisition is easy; and the pleasure is heightened by the sense of having answered some natural end, and the consciousness of acting in concert with the Supreme Governor of the universe.
Under natural pleasures I-comprehend those which are universally suited, as well to the rational as the sensual part of our nature. And of the pleasures which affect our senses. those only are to be esteemed natural, that are contained within the rules of reason, which is allowed to be as necessary an ingredient of human nature, as sense. And indeed, excesses of any kind are hardly to be esteemed pleasures, much less natural pleasures.
It is evident that a desire terminated in money is fantastical; so is the desire of outward distinctions, which bring no delight of sense, nor recommend us as useful to mankind ; and the desire of things, merely because they are new or foreign. Men who are indisposed to a due exertion of their higher parts, are driven to such pursuits as these, from the restlessness of the mind, and the sensitive appe tites being easily satisfied. It is, in some sort, owing to the bounty of Providence, that, disdaining a cheap and vulgar happiness, they frame to themselves imaginary goods, in which there is nothing can raise desire, but the difficulty of obtaining them. Thus men become the contrivers of their own misery, as a punishment to themselves, for departing from the measures of nature. Having, by an habitual reflection on these truths, made them familiar, the effect is, that I, among a number of persons who have debauched their natural taste, see things in a peculiar light, which I have arrived at, not by any uncommon force of genius, or acquired knowledge, but only by unlearning the false notions instilled by custom and education.