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elasticity than what is now so exquisitely suited to." our present susceptibilities of sound and vision.* These instances are enough to prove that the term collocation does not of itself suffice for expressing the distinction at which we now aim. A different centrifugal influence on each planet of our system might have given to each an elongated instead of a nearly circular orbit, and the benefits of such an orbit cannot therefore be referred to collocation alone. The term collocation, no doubt, might express by a single word that which in this argument is contrasted to “ Law.” But a better perhaps might be found. It certainly does not com- . prehend all which we wish to include in it as marking design at its first setting up. It is not the mere placing of the parts of matter which affords decisive indication of this, but of parts shaped and sized in the most beneficial way, beside being endowed with the very forces or motions that were the most suitable in the given circumstances. Beside the original placing of Jupiter and his satellites, we must advert in the argument for intelligence to the original direction and intensity of the motions which were communicated to them. Beside the situation of the parts in an anatomical mechanism, reference must be had both to the form and magnitude of the parts. Perhaps then, instead of the collocations, it were better, as more expressive of whatever in matter might be comprehended under the head of its
* Whewell, in the second chapter of the Introduction to his truly admirable Bridgewater Treatise, distinguishes both between the force of a law and its intensity or rate, which latter is an arbitrary magnitude.
arbitrary arrangements, that we contrasted the dispositions of matter with its laws.
5. For the purpose, then, of viewing aright what that is, in which, nakedly and singly, the chief strength of the natural argument for a God lies—we should not only distinguish between the existence of matter and its dispositions, but also between the laws of matter and its dispositions. We have already said, that we detach an ingredient of weakness from the cause, when we give up that part of the argument which is founded on the bare existence of matter; and we at least bring out more prominently, because more separately, the main strength of the argument when we discriminate between the evidence for a divine wisdom in the laws of matter, and the evidence for a divine wisdom in the disposition of its parts. If matter have existed from eternity, it must have had properties of some kind; and why not, it is asked, as well the actual properties which characterize it as any others ? La Place, indeed, goes so far as to found an atheistical insinuation on the doctrines which he professes to demonstrate—that every virtue which radiates from a central point diminishes in intensity with the squares of the distances; and hence, if gravitation be a property at all, the actual law of gravitation is an essential property of matter. Now, it is not sufficiently adverted to, that we can even afford to give up the evidence as indicated singly by the laws, because of the overpassing evidence which is indicated by the collocations of matter. Laws of themselves would announce nought whatever of the hand or mind of an
artificer. The truth is, that with laws and without collocations or dispositions, we should still have but a heaving, turbid, disorderly chaos.whereas it is by the collocations as adapted to the laws that the only decisive indications of counsel or contrivance are given. We can imagine, all the present and existing laws of matter to be in full operation; and yet, just for the want of a right local disposition of parts, the universe might be that wild undigested medley of things, in which no one trace or character of a designing architect was at all discernible. Bodies may have gravitated from all eternity through the wide expanse of nature, as they do now. Light may have diffused itself by emanation from various sources with its present velocity. Fluids may have commixed with solids; and each class of substances have had the very properties which they possess at this moment. All the forces whether of mechanics or of chemistry, or even of physiology, might have been inherent in the various substances of nature; and yet in the random play of all these physical energies, nothing still but a chaos might have emerged, that gave no indication whatever of a presiding Mind, which directed the principles and the processes of this immense universe, to any one end or object that mind can be conceived as set upon. A headlong gravitation might have amalgamated all the matter of the universe into one mass. And what of this matter was in a liquid or aerial form, might have buoyed all the lighter substances to the exterior of this rude mundane system. And motion might have been excited by
those inequalities of temperature which the ceaseless operations of chemistry give rise to. And this motion, whether communicated by impulse or withstood by resistance, might have ever and anon been renewed by the partial action of the evolved heat on the susceptible fluids of that turbid and ever heaving mass which constituted the whole Universe—and thus a perpetual vortex of movements might have been kept up, all under the guidance of those very laws which it is the object of our existing Philosophy to ascertain. There might have been the rotation of a vast unweildy sphere; and the coherence of its parts by attraction; and the play of various activities among the particles of the mass; and even such vegetative or animate tendencies as, with a right assortment of the substances in which they reside, might have given birth to the two great families of the great Physiological kingdom, but, without such assortment, ever and anon fell short and were frustrated in the formation of a complete organic being. All this is conceivable with the present laws, just if without the present collocations. In truth, there is not one law of matter which now falls under the observation of inquirers that, if unaccompanied with such a collocation as shall suit the parts of matter to each other, might not have had place in the random and undirected turbulence of a chaos. The laws of matter uphold its movements but they are its dispositions which guide the movements. They are the laws which carry forward the processes or evolutions of a framework. But it is collocation which made the framework. In
other words design is not indicated by the mere properties of matter-but by a right placing of the parts of matter. One can imagine all the properties of matter to have existed before that the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters, and summoned the parts of matter into that order and harmony which are now before our eyes. Even then, in the void and formless abyss, it is conceivable that there might have been a harmoniousness in one set of bodies, and transparency in another, and opaque solidity in a third, and the tendency to crystallize or to run even into organic harmonies in a fourth-and light might have radiated from any quarter where it resided, and been reflected and refracted according to the very laws which characterize the optics of our present world; and yet, altogether instead of a world with the regularities which are exhibited by ours, there might have been nought but a wild and indescribable medley of things, with all the activities which abound in our present system, but without one indication of purpose or aim in any of its arrangements. And, confining ourselves to one example, the refraction of light in its passage from a rarer to a denser medium might have obtained in a chaos as well as in a world. The wisdom therefore that appears in the formation of an eye is not properly indicated by the law but by the adaptation of the parts of this organ to the law_not by the law or property of refraction, but by the situation of the refracting fluids, which so bend the rays that emanate from the points which be without, as that they should meet in points which are within.