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choice, and these powers,” says the author, “manifestly depend upon the development of the cerebral system.”* In other words, although the author does not say so, those highest manifestations of man's delegated power, the intellectual faculties, are continually acting upon as well as through the brain, the instrument of their activity, and modifying that organ so as to fit it for the operation of still higher phases of mental power.
But we have no concern at present with the metaphysical views expressed by any of the authors whom we have quoted. We have only to weigh and consider the facts referred to in the preceding outline of what might be called the most advanced System of Nature. This embraces the nebular theory of the heavens; the slow and continuous changes (resembling those now in operation) which have taken place in the physical and climatic conditions of our earth ; changes of which the object, according to all classes of scientific observers and thinkers, has been to prepare it for habitation, first by the lower, then the higher types of existence. The evolutional theory of living plants and animals, or the modified descent of all forms of life from
preexisting ones, brought about by the secondary operations of nature, and finally the brute origin and gradual development of Man himself; all these facts and phenomena may safely be accepted by us to sustain another, and a most important step in our argument.
They teach us that the invisible and omnipresent Power which scientific experience has shown to be operating upon
* Descent of Man,' vol. ii., p. 402.
inert matter, and which is variously known as physical Force, in its phases of motion, heat, light, chemical activity, &c.; or as “ Vitality” or “Vital energy” in its operations the realm of organised nature; that this Power which is One and Indivisible, has been in all past times, and is still operating upon a definite “Plan,” under the guidance or control of what are called “laws,” or more correctly speaking, after an invariable method.
This is what we may learn from the study of the valuable scientific works which have been so senselessly attacked and condemned by those who should have been the very first to study them for the truths which they contain. We shall have to consult them again, and make them, perhaps, in one or two cases, unwilling witnesses in our cause; meanwhile we will avail ourselves of the few passages which we have already italicised in the preceding pages, and will conclude with the further affirmation that the Forces of Nature have been at work in such a manner was to indicate throughout a perfect harmony of design, and unity of purpose”;* that their operation has had the effect not only of extinguishing “less-improved” forms,f but also that it has led “to the improvement of each creature in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of existence ";and where the result has been varied loveliness, as in the ornaments and decorations of the most beautiful living creatures, we do not hesitate to echo the utilitarian sentiment of the evolutionist, that “it is incredible that all this display should be purposeless."
* Lyell, see ante.
4 Darwin, see ante.
THE DESIGNS OF GOD IN NATURE.
“Now, that which can contrive, which can design, must be a person. These capacities constitute personality, for they imply consciousness and thought. They require that which can perceive an end or purpose, as well as the power of providing means, and of directing them to their end."-PRIESTLEY and PALEY.
“His counsels never change the scheme
Which his first thoughts designed.”—WATTS.
A CAREFUL perusal and consideration of Paley's argument in favour of the existence of the Deity, based upon the axiom that where there are evidences of design there must also be a Designer, enables us to comprehend at once why certain thinkers known as “ materialists” or believers in the omnipotence of matter to perform its own work, have declared the argument from design to have failed ; as well as to account for the very existence of materialism itself.
Paley attempted to enforce his argument by analogy, but as it has been frequently said, analogy is a most dangerous weapon to wield in controversy, and so it has proved in his case. He compared the universe to the mechanism of a watch of which the spring is the motive power, and assuming that one who is engaged on the examination of its various parts understands their uses, he argued that inasmuch as the observer sees in the watch evidences of design, therefore no counter-arguments could
possibly be urged sufficient to convince him that an intelligent mind had not been concerned in the construction of the watch.
But suppose that instead of an intelligent man ever so little acquainted with mechanical science, the observer had been a savage or even a very young child who had never before seen a watch, would he, from the observation of its movements, come to the conclusion that it has had a maker ? Certainly not; it would have to be explained to him that it was made by a living person, or he would in all probability assume that the watch itself was endowed with life. In other words, if he were told of the existence of the maker, and if the uses of the watch were fully explained to him, it is probable that he would believe the one and understand the other, but that, too, would depend upon the turn of his mind.
Now, we are practically savages and little children in our knowledge of the phenomena of the universe (if not in a great many other matters besides), and amongst the observers of nature there are some whose minds become so warped with close investigation and constant flexion, that when they seek to resume their natural attitude and direct their thoughts into new channels, all appears distorted and confused. The image of the material universe, or of some of its phenomena, has become fixed upon the retina of the mind's eye, and obscures its vision, instead of having simply left there an impression which would serve as part of the general picture which is present in its healthy condition. This is not mere assertion. There are living in our day rigid calculating mathematicians of a high order of intellect who believe they have seen ghosts. There are
living naturalists who go the full length of the doctrine of evolution, believing that no living type was ever produced excepting by the agency of secondary forces, strictly according to “law," and who would stoutly maintain that it is quite beneath the dignity of the Almighty that he should interfere with the established order of events, even for the purpose of bringing about some great moral or religious reform, and yet these very persons will tell you that they have been seated with a few others professing to be of the same faith with themselves, at a table in a dark room hermetically sealed against the introduction from without of any material object, and that yet “spiritual” powers have dropped upon that table a bouquet of flowers, fresh-plucked, with the dew of heaven still upon them!
There are others, again, whose minds never do return to their natural attitude. They are always looking at “phenomena." Those see in nature one continued sequence of cause and effect; nothing more. They see perpetual motion, they perceive the "spring,” but it only differs from the wheels in being elastic and made of steel, instead of rigid and of brass ; it has properties, and the wheels have properties; it performs a function, so do the wheels, so does the watch ; it is a beautiful mechanism; a useful one. The watch may have an owner, but they have found it, and as nobody claims it, they put it into their pockets, frequently examine, adjust, and admire it. They may use it wisely, and even kindly lend it to a neighbour; perhaps they explain its uses and mechanism to their children ; leave it in their will as though it belonged to them, and—"après cela le déluge.” So they regard