Зображення сторінки
PDF

belief of the existenee of matter; and You cannot suppose an atom so fine our belief of the existence of matter is but you may conceive an eye capable little else but a sentiment of trust in of taking it in. Now there must be a that mind by which it is ordered and relation between the eye and the atom. arranged."

This relation is something adapted, " I do not mean to say, Philo," sorted, regulated, designed. Take the said Cleanthes, “ that in these opi- system of Epicurus : conceive innunions there is no truth ; but you do merable atoms rushing through infinot seem to have made them out quite nite space. No single atom can exist to your own satisfaction, and therefore without some adaptation of parts (if I think you may as well come down an atom has parts, if it has none it is to more level ground.”

nothing), an adaptation which suits it “My wish was to shew, with Berke- better than any other. Whence did ley," replied Philo,“ that, properly it get these? Is not intelligence apspeaking, there is no system of nature parent in the formation of an atom as which can afford the slightest pretext well as of a system? Then take diffor materialism. If he goes too far, ferent atoms in their corporate forin in saying mind is the whole, I think uniting together, and making someI am justified in saying, that it is thing, no matter what, something as owing only to the order produced by rude as you will: whatever it is, there mind that we have any steady belief must be a principle of order in it, a of the existence of such a thing as coherency of parts, harmony of some matter. I willingly, however, leave kind or other; and you will find, if this speculation, as I am ready to ac- you examine these ideas, design and knowledge to you that I have not intelligence lurking at the bottom of quite satisfied myself respecting its them. Poets speak of a chaos, but it solidity.

is evident that is a supposition merely " There is another speculation, poetical, or rather it is one which the however, which amounts pretty nearly human mind cannot make. It is a to the same thing, and which, I be- supposition of contradictions. Wherelieve, may be made more level to our ever there is matter at all, there must apprehension. Let our belief of the be order of some kind or other. It existence of matter come as it may; may seem to be order without any and if you will let it rest upon its own purpose, and so can scarcely be called foundation, and not upon any adventie design. Yet order implies the operatious support from the concomitant tion of mind. Thus you see, Pamperception of mind; still I say, that philus, that I find traces of intellimatter cannot be presented to us, gence not merely in the regular forms without bringing along with it the of crystallization, but in the most rude traces of design and intelligence.” and inartificial of material bodies.”

“ Do I rightly understand you?” “ I have been so often disgusted," said Cleanthes." I admit that an said I, “ with materialism, and have orderly world, such as we inhabit, seen so much of it among the Contibears the constant indications of de- nental philosophers, that I am really sign upon its countenance ; but you not at all disposed to engage in its des surely do not mean to say that this is fence. Your former scepticism on the the case with matter, considered ab- subject of religion I could endure : stractedly from the system into which there was modesty and hesitation in we see it thrown.”

it; but the abominable self-sufficiency " An orderly world,” said Philo, with which these people vent abroad “ is an evidence not merely of design, their cold blooded systems of atheism, but of exquisite wisdom ; but I wish is so hateful to any man who ever to pursue materialism to the fountain heard any thing better, that I always head, and to shew that matter cannot looked upon it with the most perfect exist in any form without bearing antipathy, and shall be very happy to some indications of intelligence. Can see you tear up materialism by, the matter exist without form? What is roots." form but an order of existence, a mode “I believe," said Philo,“ every of being suited to something, to the system of materialism is founded on a faculties, for instance, of a percipient mistaken application to matter of i. being ? Matter imperceptible to every deas which belong to mind only, and being can scarcely be said to exist. on supposing qualities in matter which it does not possess. They all rise fore, which was made in this country, from want of attention to that early to throw doubts upon the existence of and constant impression of the exist. God, by shewing that it is merely custom ence of order and design in nature, or experience which establishes the rewhich the mind of man receives in its lation of cause and effect, and nothing, first opening, and from applying to in the reason of things, must fall to matter itself those conceptions which the ground; because, whether God is it is merely the means of conveying to the cause of the universe or not, or the mind. Every thing in nature whether or no the universe has a cause, proceeds on a plan, and there is not a we still read his existence from the human being in existence to whom universe, in the same way as a book the great outlines of the plan are not proves the existence of the mind of apparent; but if we forget that the the author, even although you could idea of a plan necessarily implies mind possibly separate the notion of his beor intelligence, we must look in the plan ing the author from that of the intelitself for some unintelligent principle ligence which the book exhibits. by which it is carried on. It is then The error prevalent in systems of we begin to talk of the powers of na- materialism, again, is the reverse of ture, and the necessary concatenation this sceptical notion. The materialist of causes and effects, and similar ex- proceeds on the maxim that every efpressions of that kind, which, when fect must have a cause: he thinks he applied to the material system, are, in finds the cause of every effect in nareality, words without meaning." ture; and having found the cause, he

" This whole subject,” said Cle- finds all that is necessary, all that must anthes, “ lies under a very consider- be had, and accordingly he is satisfied able degree of embarrassment, and it without having recourse to the existwould be of much consequence for the ence of mind as the supreme cause of elucidation of our present inquiry, if all. I might in like manner say to the relation of cause and effect were the materialist, prove as you will, that placed upon a right footing.”—“ I will mind need not be resorted to as the let you know,” said Philo,” what are cause of natural appearances ; still my views on the subject; but I must these appearances prove to me the exfirst premise, that the proofs for the istence of mind as infallibly as your existence of God, which I have al- words and actions prove you to be an ready stated, are independent of all intelligent being. When I believe speculations on the nature of that re- you to be an intelligent being, I do lation. We read design upon the face not speculate upon the principle of inof the universe previously to all con- telligence being the cause of your actemplation of design as a cause, and tions; but I read in them, as in a the universe as an effect. The universe book, the fact that there is intelligence is rather, as it were, a mirror which involved in them, it may be, more reflects the face of divine intelligence; properly than causing them. Make and our belief that it is caused or pro. what you please of the universe then, duced by the divine mind seems to be make its cause what you will, still I an after-consideration. The plan of read intelligence in it, and this is suffithings exhibits the existence of mind cient to prove the existence of the before we reflect that mind was the Deity. principle which gave a real being to “The system of materialism, howthe things planned. Suppose, then, ever, it is evident, is a very low and the relation of cause and effect were earthly system, and argues a great found to be imaginary, or to be no tie want of philosophical penetration. The among events themselves, but merely slightest attention to natural succesa feeling produced by custom in the sions of events, must convince us, that mind, in consequence of its constantly although they are regular and conperceiving the same events in the same stant, they are still quite arbitrary, succession : suppose, I say, the notion and might be conceived to be in every of causation in the Deity were removed respect the reverse of what they are. by such a speculation, still the uni- We can discover no necessity whatverse would prove his existence in like ever, that heat should be the consemanner as a mirror proves the exist quence of fire, or cold of ice. Why ence of the object which it reflects should a round body in the heavens,

The kind of sceptical attempt, there called the sun, necessarily emit light and heat? No investigation of philo- that the sentence which I am now sophy, however profound, can possibly speaking should have followed that discover any necessary connexion be- which went before it." tween any two events in nature. Phi- " So far then," said Cleanthes, losophy, in the investigation of causes, “ you agree with the sceptical opinion does nothing more than trace out those about cause and effect, that there is no circumstances in nature which in- necessary connexion between them." variably precede others, and exhibits “ None," replied Philo, "between them, divested of accidental circum- those things which are called causes stances which may occur in particular and effects in the system of nature.” instances. When it has found out a “Where then do you find this relaleading general fact, it then farther tion ?” said Cleanthes." I cannot examines whether this fact, if suppos- well tell you," said he, “ where I ed to precede other facts, will account find necessary connexion, but I think for them by which is meant, -will be I can easily point out to you a conthe rule or measure of their appear- nexion sufficiently strong to build this ances. Thus it is discovered, that a relation upon. What say you to the body falling to the ground increases connexion between volition and its its velocity, according to a determinate consequences ? I know the effects of proportion, as it approaches the ground. will are said to be arbitrary as well as This is a fact; but we can discover no any thing else. I may will a thing sort of necessary connexion between this moment which may not take the body called a stone and this prin- place, although perhaps it would have ciple of gravity which regulates its taken place the moment before. My descent. For any thing we know to hand may be suddenly palsied, and the contrary, the stone might exist may not follow my volition when I without the gravity. If thrown into determine to move it. Yet whenthe air, it might proceed for ever up- ever I do move my hand in consewards, or it might vanish into smoke, quence of volition, I am conscious that or any thing might happen to it as the motion proceeded from the will, well as what does happen. There may and would not have been without the be some more general fact which may will. The volition here was more than account for this principle, something a precedent event; -was an event withthe previous supposition of which will out which the other would not have explain all the operation of gravity; been, and out of which, if I may so but, in the mean time, the discovery speak, it was. And this is all that is of this principle is a very important meant by the word cause. one, since the motions of the heavenly “I cannot think," said Cleanthes, bodies agree exactly with the supposi. “ that by this explanation you action of this being the law which regu- count sufficiently for the impression lates them. But is it not clear, that this on our minds, that every event must discovery is the discovery of nothing have a cause. You leave the conelse but a manner of operation in na- nexion too loose.” “ You will obture? of an order of things which serve,” said Philo, “ that you cannot seems quite arbitrary, and might be shew me any event which does not octhe reverse of what it is, without any cur in nature ; but there is a constant absurdity in the supposition? In in- impression on the mind of man that quiries into natural phenomena, there. nature is a scheme, therefore every fore, we never discover why they must event is part of the scheme; a scheme exhibit such or such appearances. At or plan supposes a mind; we cannot least we never make an ultimate dis- conceive a mind devoid of volition : covery of that kind. We may dis- every event then in nature is an effect cover, that admitting such and such of the volition of mind. If you could previous appearances, others will fole imagine a chaos, which I believe to low of course, but the first admissions be an impossible supposition, then are entirely gratuitous, and have no you might also imagine events, changes necessity in the nature of things. Phi- to take place without causes. losophy is nothing more than the “ It is the circumstance of design science of the order of nature, and of in nature which proves that there is a the methods observed in its operations. real bond of connexion between cause There is no more necessity in any and effect; that every change must thing which it discovers, than there is have a cause, that is, inust procecd from

the volition of the mind, Material- ing; and we think it more probable ism then is altogether built on a wrong that the planets, like this earth, have application of words. Power means inhabitants, than that they are vast nothing else but will accomplishing bodies totally useless in creation. To its end, and we cannot conceive causa- resolve these views of the mind into tion independently of volition. The mechanical influence of custom, seem, powers of nature, and the necessary as I say, very unsatisfactory. I do concatenation of causes and effects, not see how custom should be the are mere words without meaning." ground of any opinion. From the

“ I hope, Philo,” said Cleanthes, custom of seeing fire at all times burn, “ that you have now done with your and the sun rising every day, I can metaphysical niceties, as you called conceive that the idea of the fire should them, for, to tell you the truth, I am never occur to me without the idea of getting a little wearied of them.”- the burning, or of the sun without the “ Nay, Cleanthes,” said Philo, “ this idea of its rising. But I do not see is scarcely fair; you led me into the how the opinion should hence be genlast speculation on cause and effect erated, that, as a fact, fire will always yourself, and in pity to my audience, burn, and that the sun will continue I have been rather more hasty upon to rise. it, and have left more to be supplied If such an account of this process by their own reflections than was of mind be unsatisfactory, it seems to quite doing justice to my cause, and me an unphilosophical one to ascribe yet you are the first to complain of all these convictions of the underthe effect. I will, however, put an standing to particular instincts. There end to these discussions, if you will seems a kind of reasoning in the opermit me to say a few words on an. pinions, that the sun will rise to-morother point which seemed to confuse row, and that the planets are inhabour ideas a little on the outset of our ited,-a sort of reasoning which is inquiry. I mean on the ground of all stronger in the one case than in the argument from experience and an- other; and if any principle can be alogy

found which will form a basis for all "I repeat, then, that the foundation these reasonings from experience and of this argument can never be custom, analogy, it seems much more philosoor a mere association of ideas. In- phical to rest them upon it, than to supdeed I believe every thing which bears pose different shades of instinct answerthe character of reason has its founda- ing toevery variety of opinion and belief. tion in some original perception of the Now to me it appears, that the early understanding ; and it is never a sa- impression of order and design in natisfactory account of any natural pro- ture, which the mind, I believe, is oricess used in the discovery of truth, to ginally prepared to receive, and which say we are carried to it by a mere ar- it cannot continue long in existence bitrary association, by the relations of without receiving, is that very princiresemblance or contiguity in place or ple of which we are in search, and time, or by the force of custom, in from which all the different reasonrivetting any particular chain of ideas ings of experience and analogy flow upon the mind. Imagination is the with the most natural precision. How field in which associations prevail, not soon do we perceive that the regular reason; and although habit may make rising of the sun is a part of the plan imaginations appear reasonable, yet I of nature ? And with what firm debelieve every thing which nature gives pendence and assurance do we look for that character to, must rest upon a fir- the daily appearance of that glorious mer basis. Let us then examine facts. luminary? In like manner, whatever What we have commonly experienced we see constantly happen, and of which, to take place, we expect will take place too, we see the uses, the purposes, the again, and those events which are intention, that, we expect, will happen similar to others formerly experienced, again. It is like looking at a cloak. or bearing upon other appearances in As it has shown the hours to-day, we nature, we think much more probable reason that the artist intended it should than those which are entirely insulat- shew the hours to-morrow. When we ed and unlike any thing else. We have not an opportunity of knowing constantly expect that fire will burn, facts, we then form probable conjecand that the sun will rise every morn- tures. In different parts of the same

plan, probably, the designer carries and apprehensions; and while I can ihrough something of the same mind. have no doubt of its existence, I am This is reasoning from analogy, which lost in admiration and astonishment may be more or less strong, according when I contemplate it. This kind of to circumstances. Reasoning from feeling perhaps sometimes re-acts upknown facts, again, we call reasoning on our perception of the evidence, and from experience.

produces a species of confusion and " But as I have tired you, Cleanthes, uncertainty. Let us then, Pamphilus, with these speculations, I will only contract the dimensions of this prodiremark farther, that the proof of the gious object. Let us suppose the existence of God must rest on a much world to be a magnificent house, and firmer basis than on any analogical ar- that we have from the first moments gument from a similarity in the works of our recollection been the inmates of of nature to the works of man, if all a splendid palace. Let us suppose arguments from analogy rest on the that we have found the rooms sumpprevious supposition of a plan or de- tuously adorned, clothes provided for sign in nature, which is in fact pre- us, beds in our apartments, and every supposing the existence of God. It useful and elegant article of furniture. would be more philosophical to sup- At a certain hour of the day a table is pose, that our belief of the existence introduced by invisible hands, supof reason and intelligence in other plied with every costly kind of food. men is derived from an analogical ar. Lamps suspended from the ceilings gument, because ourselves and others burn with perpetual fire. Every thing are parts and similar parts of one plan is conducted with the same order as if of nature, and therefore there in fact the master of the house were to apdoes lie an analogy here-although, I pear, and the servants were visibly doubt not, our perception or know- employed. Is it possible, on this supledge of the existence of intelligence position, that we should doubt there in each other is an original perception was a master of the house, some one of the human understanding."

who had prepared it for us, and who, “ I am much gratified, Philo," said unknown to us, superintended it? 0, 1, “ with the lights which you have Pamphilus, is not the world such a thrown upon this argument, yet I house, and can it be without a masthink there is some degree of certainty ter ? still wanting, and your manner of reading design, as you call it, does not seem quite infallible. I wish there were some force in the argu- CAUTIONARY HINTS TO SPECULATORS ment a priori, or that it were more ON THE INCREASE OF CRIMES. level to my understanding." " There is in fact no great need for it,” replied One strong feature of the times is the Philo, “ slight indications of design prevalence of atrocious crime. This is may not produce perfect assurance; the common remark of every day. but where they are accumulated with. And every one asks, what is the cause? out all bounds or measure, I see not what is the remedy? We can scarce that there can be room for a doubt reasonably doubt the fact of a depraI have said that even the atoms of vity universally allowed. But to exEpicurus would suggest to the mind plain its cause may not be easy. Can some notion of intention ; how then we expect it should be so ? That decan we hesitate in the conclusion, pravity, whatever it may be, is part of where the object of our contemplation the general temper and condition of a is a world ?"

large portion of our society. That “ The fact is, Pamphilus, that the present temper and condition is not immensity of the object somewhat the result of present causes merely, embarrasses us. I cannot hesitate a simple and prominent; it is the commoment in the belief that you are pos- plex result of a multitude of causes sessed of intelligence, because there is acting often with very obscure operahere a rapid sympathy between our tion, and through long successive peminds, and I form a quick conception riods of time. It is a question then, of the similarity between you and not of direct practical inquiry, but of myself. But the mind which I read that general philosophy which invesin nature surpasses all my thoughts tigates the laws, the powers, and the

« НазадПродовжити »