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ism, and temperature, and light, and the forces of chemistry, and even those physiological tendencies, which, however abortive in a state of primitive rudeness, or before the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters, waited but a right distribution of the parts of matter, to develope into the full effect and establishment of animal and vegetable kingdoms. The thing wanted for the evolution of this chaos into an orderly and beneficial system is not the endowing of matter with right properties; but the forming of it into things of right shape and magnitude, and the marshalling of these into right places. This last alone would suffice for bringing harmony out of confusion; and, apart altogether from the first, or, without involving ourselves in the metaphysical obscurity of those questions which relate to the origination of matter and to the distinction between its arbitrary and essential properties, might we discern, in the mere arrangements of matter, the most obvious and decisive signatures of the artist hand which has been employed on it.
8. It is thus I imagine that we might clear away the obscurer from the distincter parts of the theistical argument. Laws without collocations would not exempt the universe from the anarchy of a chaos. All the existent laws of the actual universe would not do it—and, were the present collocations destroyed, we see nothing in the present laws which have even so much as a tendency to restore them. For example, let the human species be extinguished; and for aught we see, there is no force and no combination of forces in Nature which could replace the organic creature man, made up as he is of such curious and manifold collocations. Apart from the established line of derivation, we do not even see an abortive tendency towards the formation of any such distinct organic being whatever, whether animal or vegetable. So that if by any chance our race should be extinguished, then, unless by the fiat of a Creator, the surface of our globe would remain for ever desolated of all its rational generations. If we can demonstrate, then, whether from Nature or History, that there was a time when our human species was not-We should hold this to be a sure stepping-stone to the demonstration of a God.
9. The evidence for design in a workmanship of art is grounded exclusively on the shapes and collocations of things; and in no way presupposes either a creation of matter, or an infusion of its properties, on the part of the artificer. And the very same evidence we might have entire, in the workmanship of Nature—whatever the obscurities may be which rest on the eternity of matter, or on the essential and inseparable qualities which may be conceived to belong to it. We do not escape from this evidence by ascribing self-existence to body, and asking why its present properties might not have obtained from everlasting ? There is still enough of evidence for an over-ruling mind, if the present arrangements be not from everlasting. When these arrangements commenced, there was a turning of the properties of matter by the new adaptation of its parts to the fulfilment of certain ends and in this alone we have the same entire evidence for design, that we have in the fabrications
of human intelligence. Grant that there may have been light from all eternity, and that there might also have been fluids which had the power of bending the direction of its rays. Still if ever a time was when man was not—we ask, how came the fluids to be so disposed in the pupil of the eye, and the retina to be placed at such a distance behind—as to make the pencils meet on that visual tablet, and there spread out a picture of nature for the information of the living occupier within? What brought the manifold muscles around this delicate and complex organ, and set each in that very position, and gave to each that very limit and path by which it could best add to the perfection of this instrument for the purposes of sight ? It is not enough to say that the law by which the successions of the animal kingdom are upholden, is that in virtue of which each parent transmits its own likeness throughout all generations. We speak on the supposition of a first parent, a supposition that we shall endeavour to substantiate afterwards-and, in reference to him we would ask, not who established the laws of life and of nourishment and of sensation and of thought which make man what he is but who brought such an innumerable assemblage of circumstances together, and by the adaptation of each to all the rest, upholds the living creature in the exercise of all his functions and all his faculties? Who so curiously organized him—and set him all over with so many fitnesses both of one part to another, and of all to the constitution of external things ? Who gave him the lungs that could breathe in no other atmosphere--and the eyes that an intenser day-light than ours might have overborne into utter blindness—and the ears that either might have been insensible to the actual sounds of external nature, or on which these sounds would have inflicted the agony of a loudness that was intolerable—and the sensibility of touch that might under a random economy have been far too delicate for the rude exposures of this world's elements, or too obtuse for any intimation even from the rudest of their collisions ? And how came such a complex anatomy into being, made up of more than ten thousand parts, the want of any one of which would bring discomfort or utter destruction on the creature who has been provided with it? The laws of nature can explain the succession of its events ; but these laws do not inform us of the way, in which such an arrangement or such a collocation of many things has been brought about, as to make the working of these laws subserve an accomplishment, which, but for the adaptation of one part to another would have utterly been frustrated.
10. This difference between the Laws of Matter and the Dispositions of Matter, is one of great argumentative importance. In astronomy, for example, when attending to the mechanism of the planetary system, we should instance at most but two laws—the law of gravitation; and perhaps the law of perseverance, on the part of all bodies, whether in a state of rest or of motion, till interrupted by some external cause. But had we to state the dispositions of matter in the planetary system, we should instance a greater number of particulars. We should describe the arrangement of its various parts, whether in respect to situation, or magnitude, or figure—as the position of a large and luminous mass in the centre; and of the vastly smaller but opaque masses which circulated around it, but at such distances as not to interfere with each other; and of the still smaller secondary bodies which revolved about the planets : And we should include in this description the impulses in one direction, and nearly in one plane, given to the different moving bodies; and so regulated, as to secure the movement of each, in an orbit of smal! eccentricity. The dispositions of matter in the planetary system were fixed at the original setting up of the machine. The laws of matter were ordained for the working of the machine. The former, that is the dispositions, make up the framework, or what may be termed the apparatus of the system. The latter, that is the laws, uphold the performance of it.
11. Now the tendency of atheistical writers is to reason exclusively on the laws of matter, and to overlook its dispositions. Could all the beauties and benefits of the astronomical system be referred to the single law of gravitation, it would greatly reduce the strength of the argument for a designing cause. La Place, as if to fortify still more the atheism of such a speculation, endeavoured to demonstrate of this law—that, in respect of its being inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the centre, it is an essential property of matter. La Grange had previously established
that but for such a proportion, or by the deviation of a thousandth part from it, the planetary