תמונות בעמוד

Neither does the law which connects vision with the formation of a picture composed of these points, of itself, indicate a purpose—but this purpose is instantly recognised in the situation of a retina spread out in the very place where all this refracted light is collected, and so furnishing the canvass as it were on which the indispensable picture might be received. The law of varying refraction by which the distance of the picture behind the pupil varies either with the convexity of the pupil or with the distance of the objects it is not this which, of itself indicates the hand of Intelligence. But the decisive indication lies in the placing of those various muscles wherewith the organ is so curiously set-by some of which the pupil might he rounded or flattened, and by others of which the retina might be either placed nearer to the front of the eye or drawn back to a greater distance from it. The term convenience is equivalent to utility, and had its origin doubtless in this that utility results from the coming together of parts. And it is just the coming together of those parts which compose the mechanism of the eye that gives the impression of a fabricator's hand—and tells us how the eye was fashioned as it is and placed where it is for the purpose which it so distinctly serves.

6. In every work of human fabrication, they are the dispositions more especially the collocations, and the dispositions alone, which announce the design which appears to have been in the making of it. They form the sufficient, for they form in truth the sole indication, of the artist's mind that

devised and the artist's hand that executed. We do not accredit him with the original formation of the materialsneither do we accredit him with the laws and properties of matter. He did not establish the properties of matter-he only took advantage of these properties by a right disposition of the parts of matter. He did not institute the laws but he turns these laws to his purpose; and this purpose is indicated not by the laws, but by such a disposition of substantive and tangible things as places them in the way of the law's operation. The watch-maker did not give to the main-spring its elasticity—but he coiled it up, and so placed it in the barrel as to impress a rotatory direction thereupon. He did not give to matter its power of cohesion; but he availed himself of this power --when he connected the barrel by a chain with the fusee, and so communicated a circular movement to the latter. He did not give its property to the lever-but there must have been a maker who had this property in his eye, when by means of a train of wheel-work, he placed a succession of revolving levers between the moving force and the balance-wheel which communicates a certain regulated pace to the handles of the dial-plate. He did not give to glass its transparency—but he made use of this its property, when he employed it as a covering, which might protect the dial-plate without concealing it. The design is not indicated by any one of the laws—but by such a collocation of pieces as made these laws conspire to the accomplishment of some palpable end. All the parts of this beautiful machinery, if misshapen and disjointed from each other, might be huddled together into a little chaos_and on the examination of each there might be detected all the principles which give movement and efficacy to the mechanism of the time-piece—but the design is gathered purely from the arrangement of the materials. It is because of an elastic spring being there, and a fusee connected with it by a chain being here; and because the varying diameters of this cone are so accommodated to the variations in the elastic force of the spring, as to make it equalize the movement of the whole; and because, placed in the very order that favours the operation of so many different laws, there are the wheels with their teeth lapping into each other, and the regulator, and the vibrating balance, and the indices on the outer face, and the g.ass that protects and yet keeps it visible_in a word, it is not because of things being endowed with given properties, but because of things being so put together as that these properties are made to be useful, that we infer contrivance in the watch. The properties might all have been detected in the medley of its rude and unfashioned materials. But it is because of a shape and distribution that evolved the properties towards some useful accomplishment_it is because of this, that we recognise a designer's hand in the whole fabrication. In short, it is adaptation and that alone which gives the impression of a designing cause--and to make this a complete and warrantable impression, we do not need to conceive of the designer that he either originated a substance or endowed it with properties. It is enough that he turned the substance and its properties to account by collocation. And what is true of a watch is true of a world. We do not need to demonstrate the non-eternity of matter. We do not need to involve ourselves in any question about the essential and the arbitrary properties of matter. We make our single appeal to its dispositions. It is in these that we behold the finger of a God—and in these that there is most unequivocal impress of the mind which presided over the formation of all things.

7. In the performances of human art, the argument for design that is grounded on the useful dispositions of matter, stands completely disentangled from the argument that is grounded on the useful laws of matter—for in every implement or piece of mechanism constructed by the hands of man, it is in the latter apart from the former, that the indications of contrivance wholly and exclusively lie. We do not accredit man with the establishment of any laws for matter—yet he leaves enough by which to trace the operations of his intelligence in the collocations of matter. He does not give to matter any of its properties; but he arranges it into parts—and by such arrangement alone, does he impress upon his workmanship the incontestable marks of design; not in that he has communicated any powers to matter, but in that he has intelligently availed himself of these powers, and directed them to an obviously beneficial result. The watchmaker did not give its elasticity to the main-spring, nor its regularity to the balance-wheel, nor its transparency to the glass, nor the momentum of its varying forces to the levers of his mechanism,—yet is the whole replete with the marks of intelligence notwithstanding, announcing throughout the hand of a maker who had an eye on all these properties, and assigned the right place and adjustment to each of them, in fashioning and bringing together the parts of an instrument for the measurement and indication of time. Now, the same distinction can be observed in all the specimens of natural mechanism. It is true that we accredit the author of these with the creation and laws of matter, as well as its dispositions; but this does not hinder its being in the latter and not in the former, where the manifestations of skill are most apparent, or where the chief argument for a divinity lies. The truth is, that mere laws, without collocations, would have afforded no security against a turbid and disorderly chaos. One can imagine of all the substantive things which enter into the composition of a watch, that they may have been huddled together, without shape, and without collocation, into a little chaos, or confused medley ;—where, in full possession of all the properties which belong to the matter of the instrument, but without its dispositions, every evidence of skill would have been wholly obliterated. And it is even so with all the substantive things which enter into the composition of a world.

Take but their forms and collocations away from them, and this goodly universe would instantly lapse into a heaving and disorderly chaos —yet without stripping matter of any of its properties or powers.

There might still, though operating with random and undirected activity, be the laws of impulse, and gravitation, and magnet

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