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-So that though we should never have seen a watch made, and never seen a watch-maker employed in the formation of one, though we should never have had this particular experience, yet we have had experience enough to infer from the mechanism thereof the wisdom that presided over the fabrication.
27. In the case of God and the world we have only one term of the sequence before us. We see the world—but we have never seen God; and far less have we ever seen Him employed in the formation of a world. We never saw the whole consequent, a world actually emanated and brought forth by the whole antecedent a God. But both in the mechanism of the world, and in the innumerable products wherewith it teems, do we see the adaptation of means to desirable ends—and this we have seen emanated and brought forth in many hundreds of instances by a purposing inind as its strict and proper antecedent. It is thus that we hold ourselves to be abundantly schooled, and that too on the basis not of a partial but of a full experience, for the inference of a God. We carry the argument upward from the adaptations in nature to a contriving intellect; just because we have often witnessed similar adaptations,' and witnessed them too in conjunction with an antecedent wisdom that planned and that performed them. It is because we have had manifold observation, and observation inclusive of both terms of the sequence, that from the one term in the present instance even the adaptations which nature offers to our view, we infer the other term even a design
ing mind, at whose will and by whose power and wisdom they have been effectuated. We have never seen a whole nature ordered into being-and which therefore in its entireness and totality may be denominated to us a singular effect-just as on the first sight of a watch, the watch regarded as a whole is to us a singular effect. But neither with the one nor the other is there any singularity in the essential consequent. The singularity lies only in certain circumstantials which have properly no part in the reasoning, and which for the proof of an antecedent wisdom in either case may be dismissed from the sequences altogether. In that which the mind strictly bears regard to in this argument there is no singularity. We have seen a multitude of times over that which is in the watch, accommodation of parts to a desirable end —and whenever we had the opportunity of perceiving also the antecedent term, there was uniformly the mind of one who devised and purposed the end—and so, on the principle which gives truth to all our reasoning from experience, we infer the agency of such a mind in the formation of a watch, though it be a formation that we never witnessed. And the same of this world, though we never saw the formation of a world. Our present state gives us to see the posterior termeven all of creation that is visibly before us. Our past history hath not given us the opportunity of seeing the creation itself or of seeing the anterior term, even that agency by which it was effected. But in the course of our experience we have seen adaptations innumerable conjoined with a prior agency that in every instance was the agency of a scheming and a skilful intellect—and just as not from the watch but from the adaptations in it, so not from the world but from the adaptations in it, do we on the basis of an accumulated experience, reaching to both terms of many an actually observed sequence, infer the existence of a world-maker, who contemplated and devised the various ends for which we behold so manifest a subserviency of parts in the universe around us.
28. After all then the economy of atheism would be a very strange one. We are led by the constitution of our minds to count at all times on the uniformity of nature—and it is an expectation that never deceives us. We are led to anticipate the same consequents from the same antecedents, or to infer the same antecedents from the same consequents—and we find an invariable harmony between the external truth of things and this inward trust of our own bosoms. Within the limits of sensible observation we experience no disappointment--and from such an adaptation of the mental to the material, we should not only argue for the existence of an intelligent Designer, but should hold it to be at once an indication of His benevolence, and His truth that He so ordered the succession of all objects and events, as to make of it an universal fulfilment to the universal conviction which Himself had implanted in every human bosom. It were strange indeed if this lesson of nature's invariableness which is so oft repeated, and which within the compass of visible nature has never been found to deceive us, should only serve
to land us in one great deception when we come to reason from nature to nature's God—or that in making that upward step which connects the universe with its originating cause, there should for once and at this great transition be the disruption of that principle whereof the whole universe, as far as we can witness or observe, affords so glorious a verification. Throughout all the phenomena in creation we find no exception to the constancy or the uniformity of sequences—and it were truly marvellous if the great phenomenon of creation itself, offered the only exception to a law, which, throughout all her diversities and details, she so widely exemplifies—or if, while in every instance along the world's history of a produced adaptation we find that there have been contrivance and a contriver, the world itself with all the vast and varied adaptations which abound in it, instead of one great contrivance, is either the product of blind necessity, or some random evolution of unconscious elements that had no sovereign mind either to create or to control them.
29. And here we may observe that the very abstraction which we find to be necessary for the vindication of our cause from the sceptical argument of Mr. Hume, is that, too, on which we might found one of the proper refinements of a rational Theism. To preserve our argument, we had to detach all the accessaries from that which is common to the works of nature and of art, and so to generalize the consequent into adaptation for an end. In like manner should we detach all that is but accessary from the authors of nature and art
and so generalize the antecedent into that which is common to both, even an intelligent and a purposing mind. When we thus limit our view to the strict and proper consequent, we are led to limit it in like manner to the strict and proper antecedent. All we are warranted to conclude of the antecedent in a deduction thus generalized and purified is that it is purely a mental one. This is the alone likeness between God and man to which the argument carries us. The gross imaginations of anthropomorphitism'are done away by it—and the argument by which we thus establish the reality of a God, serves also to refine and rationalize our conceptions of Him.
30. It is thus then that we would meet the argument by Hume, of this world being a singular effect. We have already said that though unable to demonstrate a primitive creation of matter, we might have still abundant evidence of a God in the primitive collocation of its parts. And we now say that though unable to allege our own observation or presence at the original construction of any natural mechanism—though we never saw the hand of an artist employed in the placing and adaptation of parts for the end of any such mechanism -yet, beholding as we do every day from our infancy adaptations for an end, and that too in conjunction with an antecedent mind which devised them--we have really had experience enough on which to ground the inference of a living and intelligent God. On comparing a work of nature with a work of human art, we find a posterior term common to both_not adaptation for the end,