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mensity of the Divine Nature, i, e. of a Being, infinite, as well in essence as in power ; yet nevertheless a person.
« No man hath seen God at any time." And this, I believe, makes the great difficulty. Now it is a diffi. culty which chiefly arises from our not duly estimating the state of our faculties. The Deity, it is true, is the object of none of our senses : but reflect what limited capacities animal senses are. Many animals seem to have but one sense, or perhaps two at the most; touch and taste. Ought such an animal to conclude against the existence of odours, sounds, and colours ? To another species is given the sense of smelling. This is an advance in the knowledge of the powers and properties of nature: but, if this favoured animal should infer from its superiority over the class last described, that it perceived every thing which was perceptible in nature, it is known to us, though perhaps not suspected by the animal itself, that it proceeded upon a false and presumptuous estimate of its faculties. To another is added the sense of hearing ; which lets in a class of sensations entirely unconceived by the animal before spoken of; not only distinct, but remote from any which it had ever experienced, and greatly superior to them. Yet this last animal has no more ground for believing, that its senses comprehend all things, and all properties of things, which exist, than might have been claimed by the tribes of animals beneath it; for we know, that it is still possible to possess another sense, that of sight, which shall disclose to the percipient a new world.
This fifth sense makes the animal what the human animal is; but to infer, that possibility stops here; that either this fifth sense is the last sense, or that the five coinprehend all existence; is just as una warrantable a conclusion, as that which might have
been made by any of the different species which possessed fewer, or even by that, if such there be, which possessed only one.
The conclusion of the one-sense animal, and the conclusion of the five-sense animal, stand upon the same authority. There may be more and other senses than those which we have. There may be senses suited to the perception of the powers, properties, and substance, of spirits. These may belong to higher orders of rational agents; for there is not the smallest reason for supposing that we are the highest, or that the scale of creation stops- with us.
The great energies of nature are known to us only by their effects. The substances which produce them, are as much concealed from our senses as the Divine essence itself. Gravitation, though constantly present, though constantly exerting its influence, though every where around us, near us, and within us; though difa fused throughout all space, and penetrating the texture of all bodies with which we are acquainted, depends, if upon a fluid, upon a fluid which, though both powerful and universal in its operation, is no object of sense
upon any other kind of substance or action, upon a substance and action, from which we receive no distinguishable impressions. Is it then to be wondered at, that it should, in some measure, be the same with the Divine nature?
Of this however we are certain, that whatever the Deity be, neither the universe, nor any part of it which we see, can be He. The universe itself is merely a col. lective name: 'its parts are all' which are real; or whichi are things. Now inert matter is out of the question : and organised substances include marks of contrivance. But whatever includes marks of contrivance, whatever; in its constitution, testifies design, necessarily carries us to something beyond itself, to some other being, ta
to us ;
à designer prior to, and out of, itself. No animal, for instance, can have contrived its own limbs and senses: can have been the author to itself of the design with which they were constructed. That supposition involves all the absurdity of self-creation, i. e. of acting without existing. Nothing can be God, which is ordered by a wisdom and a will, which itself is void of; which is indebted for any of its 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 intelligence constantly contriving; that is, we see 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 to the actual formation of things, nothing except intelligence producing effects so marked and distinguished. Furnished with this experience, we view the productions of nature. We obo
serve them also marked and distinguished in the same
We wish to account for their origin. Our experience suggests a cause perfectly adequate to this account. No experience, no single instance or example, can be offered in favour 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 cases, is the foundation of knowledge,--the undeviating course of their experi. ence. The reasoning is the same as that, by which we conclude any ancient appearances to have been the effects of volcanoes 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
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 comes to be known by direct information, it turns out to be what was expected. In like manner, and upon the same 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 a 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 is sometimes sunk by our taking up with mere names. We have already noticed*, and we must here notice again, the misapplication 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 organised 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 sit down with that answer to our inquiries concerning them. I say 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 said concerning “ law," holds true of mechanism. Mechanism is not itself power. Mechanism, without power, can 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
• Ch. 1. sect. vik