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greater the number of independent circumstances which must meet together for the production of a useful result—then, in the actual fact of their concurrence, is there less of probability for its being the effect of chance, and more of evidence for its being the effect of design. A beneficent combination of three independent elements is not so impressive or so strong an argument for a divinity, as a similar combination of six or ten such elements. And every mathematician, conversant in the doctrine of probabilities, knows how with every addition to the number of these elements, the argument grows in force and intensity, with a rapid and multiple augmentation—till at length, in some of the more intricate and manifold conjunctions, those more particularly having an organic character and structure, could we but trace them to an historical commencement, we should find, on the principles of computation alone, that the argument against their being fortuitous products, and for their being the products of a scheming and skilful artificer, was altogether over powering.
17. We might apply this consideration to various departments in nature. In astronomy, the independent elements seem but few and simple, which must meet together for the composition of a planetarium. One uniform law of gravitation, with a force of projection impressed by one impulse on each of the bodies, could suffice to account for the revolutions of the planets round the sun, and of the satellites around their primaries, along with the diurnal revolution of each, and the varying inclinations of the axes to the planes of their respective orbits. Out of such few contingencies, the actual orrery of the heavens has been framed. But in anatomy, to fetch the opposite illustration from another science, what a complex and crowded combination of individual elements. must first be effected, ere we obtain the composition of an eye, --for the completion of which mechanism, there must not only be a greater number of separate laws, as of refraction and muscular action and secretion; but a vastly greater number of separate and distinct parts, as the lenses, and the retina, and the optic nerve, and the eyelid and eyelashes, and the various muscles wherewith this delicate organ is so curiously beset, and each of which is indispensable to its perfection, or to the right. performance of its functions. It is passing marvellous that we should have more intense evidence for a God in the construction of an eye, than in , the construction of the mighty planetarium-or that, within less than the compass of a handbreadth, . we should find in this lower world a more pregnant and legible inscription of the Divinity, than can be gathered from a broad and magnificent survey of the skies, lighted up though they be, with the glories and the wonders of astronomy. . ,
"18. But while nothing can be more obvious than that the proof for design in any of the natural formations, is the stronger, in proportion to the number of separate and independent elements which have been brought together, and each of which contributes essentially to its usefulnesswe have long held it of prime importance to the
theistical argument, that clear exhibition should be made of the distinction not generally adverted to, and which we have now attempted to expound, between Dispositions and Laws in the material world. .
19. Our argument hitherto has been, that even though matter with all its properties had existed from eternity, there might still be room for the indication of a great master spirit being concerned in those existing arrangements of matter, by which it's properties have been made subservient to certain ends which were desirable. We have no doubt that this overruling spirit hath both created the matter and established the properties—although the cause of theism can afford to give this up, and can find enough in the order and adaptation of things to prove that the hand of a Divinity has been there. There is less, we admit, of this evidence in the movements of astronomy_because of the very few distinct and independent elements which are concerned in them. Yet we cannot, in spite of the atheistical evasion which has been made from it, refrain from adverting to the actual law of gravitation as being inversely proportional to the squares of the distances. Laplace and others affirm it to be an essential property of matter, that every virtue which is propagated from a centre should diminish in intensity in this very proportion--and so would rob us of the argument for a God that may be founded on the contingency of this law. Nevertheless, seeing that we have such abundant evidence for a Divinity from other quarters, we will appropriate the honours of this
law to the presiding intelligence who ordained it. It is the beautiful discovery of La Grange that this is the only law which is consistent with the permanency of the planetary system—that if the law of mutual attraction between its bodies had deviated by a thousandth part from that which actually obtains, the mutual disturbances which take place among the planets themselves would at length have deranged the whole economy of their movements that the errors would have accumulated in one direction so as at length either to have brought the planets to the sun, or sent them to irreclaimable distances away from it-but that now the errors alternate between one direction and another-reaching to a maximum upon one side, which it never can exceed, and then oscillating back again so as to keep a little way to the right or the left of a certain mean state, which forms the invariable and indestructible average of a system that, under other laws of gravitation, would have contained within itself the principles of its own dissolution. .
20. In virtue of the distinction between the laws of matter and its dispositions, we might perhaps release ourselves from a certain atheistical imagination which, without assuming the shape of a distinct principle, or coming forth in aught like a formal avowal, is apt to maintain its hold over the spirits and conceptions chiefly of physical inquirers. There is a mystery inscrutable in the creation of matter out of nothing—and, on the other hand, if it have existed from everlasting, why may it not, unchangeable in character as in being, have had the very properties from everlasting which are now exhibited before our eyes ? And all the phenomena of this our material universe are held to be the evolution of these properties. Now, the distinction is here overlooked between the phenomena of successive nature, and the phenomena of contemporaneous nature, on which distinction Professor Robison of Edinburgh founded his definitions of natural philosophy and natural history -making it the office of the one to classify the resemblances which take place among the events of the material Universe; and of the other to classify the resemblances which take place among the objects of the material Universe. Conceive the eye to be open for an indivisible moment of time, and that at that moment all the senses of a living and perfectly intelligent observer were alive, to all the properties of all the things in external nature which were fitted to impress them—then the registration and orderly arrangement of all the properties, thus taken cognizance of on the instant form the business of the one science-which therefore, if completed, would make known to us the colour and the form, and the weight and the taste, and the sonorous and tangible qualities, and lastly, the structure or collocation among the parts of every thing that exists. But if, instead of one moment, we introduce the element of time into our observations of Nature, then we shall not fail to perceive incessant changes going on in all that is around us—and it is the business of these other sciences to record and to classify these changes. Now what we affirm is, that the powers of our