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properties to contrivance ab extra. The not having that in his nature which requires the exertion of another prior being, (which property is sometimes called self-sufficiency, and sometimes self-comprehension,) appertains to the Deity, as his essential distinction, and removes his nature from that of all things which we see. Which consideration contains the answer to a question that has sometimes been asked, namely, Why, since something or Other must have existed from eternity, may not the present universe be that something? The contrivance, perceived in it, proves that to be impossible. Nothing contrived, can, in a strict and proper sense, be eternal, forasmuch as the contriver must have existed before the contrivance.
Wherever we see marks of contrivance, we are led for its cause to an intelligent author. And this transition of the understanding is founded upon uniform experience. We see intelligenceconstantly contriving,that is, wesee intelligence constantly producing effects, marked and distinguished by certain properties; not certain particular properties, but by a kind and class of properties, such as relation to an end, relation of parts to one another, and to a common purpose. We see, wherever we are witnesses nesses to the actual formation of things, nothing except intelligence producing effects lo marked and distinguished. Furnished with this experience, we view the productions of nature. We observe them also marked and distinguished in the fame manner. We wish to account for their origin. Our experience suggests a cause persectly adequate to this account. No experience, no single instance or example, can be offered in favor of any other. In this cause, therefore we ought to rest: in this cause the common sense of mankind has in fact rested, because it agrees with that, which, in all cafes, is the foundation of knowledge, the undeviating course of their experience. The reasoning is the fame, as that, by which we conclude any ancient appearances to Have been the effects of volcanos or inundations, namely, because they resemble the effects which fire and water produce before our eyes; and because we have never known these effects to result from any other operation. And this resemblance may subsist in so many circumstances, as not to leave us under the smallest doubt in forming our opinion. Men are not deceived by this reasoning; for whenever it happens, as it sometimes does happen, that the
truth truth comes to be known by direct information, it turns out to be what was expected. In like manner, and upon the fame foundation, (which in truth is that of experience,) we conclude that the works of nature proceed from « intelligence and design, because, in the properties of relation to a purpose, subserviency to an use, they resemble what intelligence and design are constantly producing, and what nothing except intelligence and design ever produce at all. Of every argument, which would raise a question as to the safety of this reasoning, it may be observed, that, if such argument be listened to, it leads to the inference, not only that the present order of nature is insufficient to prove the existence of an intelligent Creator, but that no imaginable order would be sufficient to prove it; that no contrivance, were it ever so mechanical, ever so precise, ever so clear, ever so perfectly like those which we ourselves employ, would support this conclusion. A doctrine, to which, I conceive, no sound mind can assent.
The force however of the reasoning ia sometimes funk by our taking up with mere names. We have already noticed *, and we
* Ch. I, s. vii.
must here notice again, the mifapplication of the term " law," and the mistake concerning the idea which that term expresses in physics, whenever such idea is made to take the place of power, and still more of an intelligent power, and, as such, to be assigned for the cause of any thing, or of any property of any thing, that exists. This is what we are secretly apt to do when we speak of organized bodies (plants, for instance, or animals) owing their production, their form, their growth, their qualities, their beauty, their use, to any law or laws of nature: and when we are contented to fit down with that answer to our enquiries concerning them. I fay once more, that it is a perversion of language to assign any law, as the efficient, operative, cause of any thing. A law presupposes an agent, for it is only the mode according to which an agent proceeds: it implies a power, for it is the order according to which that power acts. Without this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from itself, the " law" does nothing; is nothing.
What has been faid concerning " law," holds true of mechanism. Mechanism is not itself power. Mechanism, without power, can
do do nothing. Let a watch be contrived and constructed ever so ingeniously; be its parts ever so many, ever so complicated, ever so finely wrought or artificially put together, it cannot go without a weight or spring, i. e. without a force independent of, and ulterior to, its mechanism. The spring acting at the centre, will produce different motions and difserent results, according to the variety of the intermediate mechanism. One and the selffame spring, acting in one and the fame manner, viz. by simply expanding itself, may be the cause of a hundred different, and all useful movements, if a hundred different and welldevised sets of wheels be placed between it and the final effect, c. g. may point out the hour of the day, the day of the month, the age of the moon, the position of the planets, the cycle of the years, and many other serviceable notices; and these movements may fulfill their purposes with more or less persection, according as the mechanism is better or worse contrived, or better or worse, executed, or in a better or worse state of repair : but, in all cases, it is necessary that the spring ail at the centre. The course of our reasoning upon such a subject would be this. By inspecting the watch,