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the procreated body, than we can refer the internal conformation of an acorn to the intelligence of the oak from which it dropped, or the structure of the watch to the intelligence of the watch which produced it; there being no difference, as far as argument is concerned between an intelligence which is not exerted, and an intelligence which does not exist.
APPLICATION OF THE ARGUMENT CONTINUED.
Every observation which was made, in our first chapter, concerning the watch, may be repeated with strict propriety concerning the eye; concerning animals; concerning plants; concerning, indeed, all the organized parts of the works of nature. As,
I. When we are enquiring fimply after the existence of an intelligent Creator, impersection, inaccuracy, liability to disorder, occasional irregularities, may subsist, in a considerable degree, without inducing any doubt into the question: just as a watch may frequently go wrong, seldom perhaps exactly right, may be faulty in some parts, defective in some, without the smallest ground of suspicion from thence arising, that it was not a watch; not made; or not made for the purpose ascribed to it. When faults are pointed out, and when a question is started concerning the skill of the artist, or the dexterity with which the work is » . executed,
executed, then indeed, in order to defend these qualities from accufation, we must be able, either to expose some intractableness and impersection in the materials, or point out some invincible difficulty in the execution, into which impersection and difficulty the matter of complaint may be resolved; or, if we cannot do this, we must adduce such specimens of consummate art and contrivance proceeding from the fame hand, as may convince the enquirer, of the existence, in the case before him, of impediments like those which we have mentioned, although, what from the nature of the case is very likely to happen, they be unknown and unperceived by him. This we must do in order to vindicate the artist's skill, or, at least, the persection of it: as we must also judge of his intention, and of the provisions employed in fulfilling that intention; not from an instance in which they fail, but from the great plurality of instances in which they succeed. But, after all,. these are different questions from the question of the artist's existence; or, which is the fame, whether the thing before us be a work of art or not: and the questions ought always to be kept separate in the mind. So likewise it is in the works of
nature. nature. Irregularities and impersections are of little or no weight in the consideration, when that consideration relates simply to the existence of a Creator. When the argument respects his attributes, they are of weight; but are then to be taken in conjunction (the attention is not to rest upon them, but they are to be taken in conjunction) with the unexceptionable evidences which we possess, of skill, power, and benevolence, displayed in other instances; which evidences may, in strength, number, and variety be such, and may so overpower apparent blemishes, as to induce us, upon the most reasonable ground, to believe, that these last ought to be referred to some cause, though we be ignorant of it, other than desect of knowledge or of benevolence in the author.
II. There may be also parts of plants and animals, as there were supposed to be of the watch, of which, in some instances, the operation, in others, the use is unknown. These form different cases; for the operation may be unknown, yet the use be certain. Thus it is with the lungs of animals. It does not, I think, appear, that we are acquainted with the action of the air upon the blood, or in what manner that action is communicated by the
lungs; lungs; yet we find that a very short suspension of their office destroys the life of the animal. In this case, therefore, we may be faid to know the use, nay we experience the necessity, of the organ, though we be ignorant of its operation. Nearly the fame thing may be observed of what is called the lymphatic system. We suffer grievous inconveniences from its disorder, without being informed of the office which it sustains in the œconomy of our bodies. There may possibly also be some few examples of the second class, in which not only the operation is unknown, but in which experiments may seem to prove that the part is not necessary; or may leave a doubt, how far it is even useful to the plant or animal in which it is found. This is faid to be the case with the spleen; which has been extracted from dogs, without any sensible injury to their vital functions. Instances of the former kind, namely, in which we cannot explain the operation, may be numerous; for they will be so in proportion to our ignorance. They will be more or fewer to different persons, and in different stages of science. Every improvement of knowledge diminishes their number.