« VorigeDoorgaan »
as well to one another as to the elements of which their habitation is composed. Therefore one mind hath planned or at least hath prescribed, a general plan for all these pro. ductions. One Being has been concerned in all.
Under this stupendous Being we live. Our happiness, our existence, is in his hands. All we expect must come from him. Nor ought we to feel our situation insecure. In every nature, and in every portion of nature, which we can descry, we find attention bestowed upon even the minutest parts. The hinges in the wings of an earwig, and the joints of its antennæ, are as highly wrought, as if the Creator had nothing else to finish. We see no signs of diminution of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distraction of thought by variety.
We have no reason to fear, therefore, our being forgotten, or overlooked, or neglected.
The existence and character of the Deity, is, in every view, the most interesting of all human speculations. In none, however, is it more so, than as it facilitates the belief of the fundamental articles of Revelation.
It is a step to have it proved, that there must be something in the world more than what we see. It is a farther step to know, that amongst the invisible things of nature, there must be an intelligent mind, concerned in its production, order, and support. These points being assured to us by Natural Theology, we may well leave to Revelation the disclosure of many particulars, which our researches cannot reach, respecting either the nature of this Being as the original cause of all things, his character and designs as ernor; and not only so, but the more full confirmation of other particulars, of which, though they do not lie altogether beyond our reasonings and our probabilities, the certainty is by no means equal to the importance. The true theist will be the first to listen to any credible.communication of Divine knowledge. Nothing which he has learned from Natural Theology, will diminish his desire of farther instruction, or his disposition to receive it with humility and thankfulness. He wishes for light: he rejoices in light. His inward veneration of this great Being, will incline him to attend with the utmost seriousness, not only to all that can be discovered concerning him by researches into nature, but to all that is taught by a revelation, which gives reasonable proof of having proceeded from him.
But above every «ther article of revealed religion, does the anterior belief of a Deity bear w' h the strongest force
upon that grand point, which gives indeed interest and im portance to all the rest—the resurrection of the human dead. The thing might appear hopeless, did we not see a power at work adequate to the effect, a power under the guidance of an intelligent will, and a power penetrating the inmost recesses of all substance. I am far from justifying the opinion of those, who “thought it a thing incredible that God should raise the dead:” but I admit, that it is first necessary to be persuaded, that there is a God to do so. This being thoroughly settled in our minds, there seems to be nothing in this process concealed and mysterious as we confess it to be) which need to shock our belief. They who have taken up the opinion, that the acts of the human mind depend upon organization, that the mind itself indeed consists in organization, are supposed to find a greater difficulty than others do, in admitting a transition by death to a new state of sentient existence, because the old organization is apparently dissolved. But I do not see that any impracticability need be apprehended even by these; or that the change, even upon their hypothesis, is far removed from the analogy of some other operations, which we know with certainty that the Deity is carrying on. In the ordinary derivation of plants and animals from one another, a particle, in many cases, minuter than all assignable, all conceivable dimension; an aura, an effluvium, an infinitesimal; determines the organization of a future body; does no less than fix, whether that which is about to be produced shall be a vegetable, a merely sentient, or a rational being; an oak, a frog, or a philosopher; makes all these differences; gives to the future body its qualities, and nature, and species. And this particle, from which springs, and by which is determined a whole future nature, itself proceeds from, and owes its constitution to, a prior body; nevertheless, which is seen in plants most decisively, the incepted organization, though formed within, and through, and by a preceding organization, is not corrupted by its corruption, or destroyed by its dissolution; but, on the contrary, is sometimes extricated and developed by those very causes; survives and comes into action, when the purpose for which it was prepared requires its use
Now an economy
which nature has adopted, when the purpose was to transfer an organization from one individual to another, may have something analogous to it, when the purpose is to transmit an organization from one state of being to another state: and they who found thought in organization, may see something
in this analogy applicable to their difficulties; for, whatever can transmit a similari.y of organization will answer their purpose,
because, according even to their own theory, it may be the vehicle of consciousness; and because consciousness carries identity and individuality along with it through all changes of form or of visible qualities. In the most general case, that, as we have said, of the derivation of plants and animals from one another, the latent organization is either itself similar to the old organization, or has the power of communicating to new matter the old organic form. But it is not restricted to this rule. There are other cases, especially in the progress of insect life, in which the dormant organization does not much resemble that which encloses it, and still less suits with the situation in which the enclosing body is placed, but suits with a different situation to which it is destined. In the larva of the libellula, which lives constantly, and has still long to live, under water, are descried the wings of a fly, which two years afterwards is to mount into the air. Is there nothing in this analogy ?-It serves at least to show, that even in the observable course of nature, organizations are formed one beneath another; and, amongst a thousand other instances, it shows completely, that the Deity can mould and fashion the parts of material nature, so as to fulfil any purpose whatever which he is pléased to appoint.
They who refer the operations of mind to a substance totally and essentially different from matter, (as most certainly these operations, though affected by material caus
very little affinity to any properties of matter with which we are acquainted) adopt perhaps a juster reasoning and a better philosophy; and by these the considerations above suggested are not wanted, at least in the same degree. But to such as find, which some persons do find, an insuperable difficulty in shaking off an adherence to those analogies which the corporeal world is continually suggesting to their thoughts; to such, I say, every consideration will be a relief, which manifests the extent of that intelligent power which is acting in nature, the fruitfulness of its resources, the variety, and aptness, and success of its means; inost especially every consideration which tends to show, that, in the translation of a conscious existence, there is not even in their own way of regarding it, anything greatıy beyond, or totally unlike, what takes place
in such parts (probably small parts) of the order of nature, as are accessible to our observation.
Again; if there be those who think, that the contractedness and debility of the human faculties in our present state, seem ill to accord with the high destinies which the expectations of religion point out to us, I would only ask them, whether any one, who saw a child two hours after its birth, could suppose that it would ever come to understand fluxions;* or who then shall say, what farther amplification of intellectual powers, what accession of knowledge, what advance and improvement, the rational faculty, be its constitution what it will, may not admit of, when placed amidst new objects, and endowed with a sensorium adapted, as it undoubtedly will be, and as our present senses are, to the perception of those substances, and of those properties of things, with which our concern may lie.
Upon the whole; in everything which respects this awful, but, as we trust, glorious change, we have a wise and powerful Being (the author, in nature, of infinitely various expedients, for infinitely various ends) upon whorn to rely for the choice and appointment of means, adequate to the execution of any plan which his goodness or his justice may have formed, for the moral and accountable part of his terrestrial creation. That great office rests with him: be it ours to hope and to prepare, under a firm and settled persuasion, that, living and dying, we are his; that life is passed in his constant presence, that death resigns us to his merciful disposal.
Abdomen, the cavity of the belly.
erty of combining with and neutralizing the properties of acids. Anconæus, the name of one of the muscles which extend the ebow
joint. Anal, a term applied to one of the fins of fish, situated near the anus or
vent. Anhelation, breathing hard or panting. Annular, in the form of a ring. Annuli, rings—applied to the muscular fibres which surroun* the bodies
of some animals like rings. Antennae, organs of touch, situated near the mouths of insects having
many joints. Antherae, small bodies which contain the pollen or fertilizing dust of
flowers ; the antherae are fixed generally on the ends of slender fila
ments, and surround the germ or seed vessel. Aorta, the main artery of the body, which receives the blood directly
from the heart and distributes it to the body. Auricle, a cavity of the heart. Its external shape gives it the appear
ance of an appendage to the organ, and its name is derived from its
supposed resemblance to an ear, (auricula.) Automaton, a machine having a power of motion within itself, but destitute of life.
B. Buccinator, the principal muscle of the cheek. Biceps, one of the muscles which bend the elbow-joint. Bivalve, consisting of two valves or shells, as in shell-fish--.g. the
oyster. Brachiæus, the name of two muscles moving the arm. Bredis, short.
Calyx, the flower cup ; the external or outermost part of the flower,
generally resembling the leaves in color, and containing the otheparts of the flower within it. It is often wanting. Camera obscura, or dark chamber. An optical instrument in which
the rays of light from external objects are made to pass through a convex lens into a dark box where they are received upon a screen, and
produce a representation of external objects. Capsule, the seed vessel of plants. Carnivorous, feeding or living on flesh.