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and nourishment of a new animal, they are not of her providing or preparing: if there be contrivance, it is none of hers. Although, therefore, there be the difference of life and perceptivity between the animal and the plant, it is a difference which enters not into the account. It is a foreign circumstance. It is a difference of properties not employed. The animal function and the vegetable function are alike destitute of
any design which can operate upon the form of the thing produced. The plant has no design in producing the seed, no comprehension of the nature or use of what it produces: the bird with respect to its egg, is not above the plant with respect to its seed. Neither the one nor the other bears that sort of relation to what proceeds from them, which a joiner does to the chair which he makes. Now a cause, which bears this relation to the effect, is what we want, in order to account for the suitableness of means to an end, the fitness and fitting of one thing to another; and this cause the parent plant or animal does not supply.
It is farther observable concerning the propagation of plants and animals, that the apparatus employed exhibits no resemblance to the thing produced ; in this respect holding an analogy with instruments and tools of art. The filaments, antheræ, and stigmata of flowers, bear no more resemblance to the young plant, or even to the seed, which is formed by their intervention, than a chisel or a plane does to a table or chair. What then are the filaments, antheræ, and stigmata of plants, but instruments strictly so called ?
III. We may advance from animals which bring forth eggs, to animals which bring forth their young alive; and of this latter class, from the lowest to the highest ; from irrational to rational life, from brutes to the human species; without perceiving, as we proceed,
any alteration whatever in the terms of the comparison. The rational animal does not produce its of. spring with more certainty or success than the irrational animal : a man than a quadruped, a quadruped than a bird ; nor (for we may follow the gradation through its whole scale) a bird than a plant; nor a plant than a watch, a piece of dead mechanism, would do, upon the supposition which has already so often been repeated. Rationality, therefore, has nothing to do in the business. If an account must be given of the contrivance which we observe; if it be demanded, whence arose either the contrivance by which the young animal is produced, or the contrivance manifested in the young animal itself, it is not from the reason of the parent that any such account can be drawn. He is the cause of his offspring, in the same sense as that in which a gardener is the cause of the tulip which grows upon his parterre, and in no other. We admire the flower; we examine the plant; we perceive the conduciveness of many of its parts to their end and office: we observe a provision for its nourishment, growth, protection, and fecundity; but we never think of the gardener in all this. We attri. bute nothing of this to his agency; yet it may still be true, that without the gardener, we should not have had the tulip: just so it is with the succession of animals even of the highest order. For the contrivance discovered in the structure of the thing produced, we want a contriver. The parent is not that contriver. His consciousness decides that question. He is in total ignorance why that which is produced took its present form rather than any other. It is for him only to be astonished by the effect. We can no more look therefore to the intelligence of the parent animal for what we are in search of, a cause of relation, and of
subserviency of parts to their use, which relation and subserviency we see in 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 organised parts of the works of nature. As,
1. When we are inquiring simply after the existence of an intelligent Creator, imperfection, 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 dexterity with which the work is executed, then indeed, in order to defend these qualities from accusation, we must be able, either to expose some intractableness and imperfection in the materials, or point out some invincible difficulty in the execution, into which imperfection 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 same hand, as may convince the inquirer, 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 unper. ceived by him. This we must do in order to vindicate the artist's skill, or, at least, the perfection of it; as we must also judge of his intention, and of the provi. sions 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 same, 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. Irregularities and imperfections 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 conjune- tion) 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 defect 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: yet we find that a very short suspension of their office destroys the life of the animal. ·. In this case, therefore, we may be said to know the use, nay we experience the necessity, of the organ, though we be ignorant of its operation. Nearly the same 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 economy 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 said 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. There is hardly, perhaps, a year passes, that does not, in the works of nature, bring some operation, or some mode of operation, to light, which was before undiscovered,--probably unsuspected. Instances of the second kind, namely, where the part appears to be totally useless, I believe to be extremely rare; compared with the number of