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not spring up, a drop of rain cannot fall, a ray of Åght cannot be emitted from the sun, nor a particle of salt be united, with a never-failing sympathy to its fellow, without him; every secondary cause we discover, is but a new proof of the necessity we are under of ultimately recurring to him, as the one primary cause of everything.” Illustrations of the position for which we are dow contending will be found in such works as the following:—Ray's “Wisdom of God in the Creation,”—Boyle's “Philosophical and Theo| fical works,”—Derham's Astro and PhysicoTheology,”*—Nieuwentyt's Religious Philosopher,”—Le Pluche's “Nature Displayed,”— Baxter's “Matho,” or the principles of natural religion deduced from the phenomena of the material world,—Lesser's Insecto-Theology, or a demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, from the structure and economy of insects, with notes by Lyonet-Bonnet's “Contempla. tion of Nature,”—Euler’s “Letters to a German Princess,” translated by Hunter-Pierre's “Studies of Nature,”—“Paley's Natural Theology,”—Adam’s “Lectures on Natural Philosophy,”—Parkes’ “Chemical Catechism,” and several others. The chief onject of Ray is to illustrate the wisdom of the Deity in the figure and construction of the earth, in the structure and symmetry of the human frame, and in the economy of the animal and vegetable tribes. The object of Derham, in his Astro-Theology, is to display the wisdom and omnipotence of Deity, as they appear in the structure, arrangement, and motions of the heavenly bodies; and his PhysicoTheology, a work of much greater extent, demonstrates the being and attributes of God from the constitution of the earth and atmosphere, the senses—the structure, motions, respiration, food, and habitations of animals—the body of man— the economy of insects, reptiles, and fishes, and the structure of vegetables. Though this excellent work is now considered as somewhat antiquated, yet we have no modern work that can fully supply its place. Paley's Natural Theology, however excellent in its kind, does not embrace the same extensive range of objects. Nieuwentyt enters into a minute anatomical investigation of the structure of the human body, which occupies the greater part of his first volume; and in the two remaining volumes, illustrates the Divine perfections from a survey of the atmosphere, meteors, water, earth, fire, birds, beasts, fishes, plants, the physical and chemical laws of nature, the inconceivable smallness of the particles of matter, and the structure of the starry heavens.
• An edition of perham's physico. Theology, in two vols. Svo. (which is not very generally known) was published in London in 1798, which contains additional notes illustrative of modern discoveries, a translation of the Greek and Latin quotations of the original work, a life of the author, and sixteen copperplate engravings, illustrative of many curious subjects in the animal and vegetable kingdoms.
The voluminous work of Le Pluche comprohelids interesting descriptions of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, insects, plants, flowers, gardens, olive-yards, cornfields, woods, pasture-grounds, rivers, mountains, seas, fossils, minerals, the atmosphere, light, colours, vision, the heavenly bodies, globes, telescopes, microscopes, the history of navigation, systematic physics, &c.—interspersed with a variety of beautiful reflections on the Wisdom and Beneficence of the Deity in the arrangements of nature. Euler's Letters comprehend popular descriptions of the most interesting subjects connected with natural philosophy and ethics, interspersed with moral reflec. tions, and frequent references to the truths of revelation. Condorcet, in his French translation of this work, carefully omitted almost all the pious and moral reflections of this profound and amiable Philosopher, as inconsistent with the infidel and aheistical philosophy which then prevailed. “The retrenchments,” says he “ affect reflections which relate less to the sciences and philosophy, than to theology, and frequently even to the peculiar doctrines of that ecclesiastical communion in which Euler lived. It is unnecessary to assign a reason for omissions of this description.” These omissions were supplied, and the passages alluded to restored, by Dr. Hunter, in his English translation, but they have been again suppressed in the late edition, published in Edinburgh, in two volumes, 12mo.* It is much to be regretted, that we have no modern Rays, Derhams, Boyles, or Nieuwentyts, to make the light of our recent discoveries in science bear upon the illustration of the perfections of the Deity, and the arrangements of his providence. Since the period when those Christian philosophers left our world, many of the sciences which they were instrumental in promoting, have advanced to a high degree of perfection, and have thrown additional light on the wisdom and intelligence of the Divine mind,
* As a specimen of the omissions to which we al
lude, the following passage may suffice —” But the eye which the Creator has formed, is subject to no one of all the imperfections under which he imagi
nary construction of the freethinker labours. in this we discover the true re son why infinite wisdom has employed several transparent substances in the formation of the eye. It is thereby secured against all the defects which characterize every work of man. What a noblesubject of contemplation! How perti. nent that question of the Psalmist: He who formed the eye, shall he not see " and He rho planted the ear, shall he not hear 2 The eye alone being a master. piece that far transcends the human understanding, what an exalted Idea must we form of Him who has bestowed to is wonderful gift, and that in the highest perfection, not on man only, but on the brute crea. tion, may on the vilest of insects " The French philosopher and statesman seems to feel ashamed of the least alliance between philosophy and religion, when he is in tuced to discard such reflections." He seems apprehensive, as Dr. Hunter remarks, that a single drop of water from Scripture would contami. mate the whole mass of philosophy, we would hope our British philosophers are not yet so deeply tinotured with the spirit of infidelity.
and the ceonomy of the universe. Natural history has widely enlarged its boundaries; our views of the range of the planetary system have •been extended; the distant regions of the starry firmament have been more minutely explored, and new objects of magnificence brought within the reach of our observation. The nature of light has been more accurately investigated, the composition of the atmosphere discovered, the properties of the different gases ascertained, the powers of electricity and galvanism detected, and chemistry—a science completely new modelled —has opened up the secret springs of nature's operations, and thrown a new light on the economy of Divine wisdom in the various processes which are going on in the material system. Is it not unaccountable, then, that no modern system of Physico-Theology, embracing the whole range of in-dern discoveries, should have proceeded from the pens of some one or other of our most distinguished philosophers? Does this circumstance seem to indicate, that, since the early part of the last century, the piety of philosophers has been declining, ind the infidel principles of the continental school gaining the ascendency 3 Insidelity and fatalism very generally go hand in hand. When the truths of Revelation are once discarded, a species of universal scepticism, differing little or nothing from atheism, takes possession of the mind; and hence we find, that in the writings of such men as Buffon, Diderot, and La Place, there is not the slightest reference to Final Causes, or to the agency of an All-pervading Mind that governs the universe. That the connexion between science and theology, we have been recommending, is not a vague or enthusiastic idea, appears from the sentiments which have been expressed on this subject by the most eminent, philosophers. Throughout the whole of the works of the immortal Newton, we perceive a constant attention to Final causes, or to the great purposes of the Deity. It was the firm opinion of this philosopher, “that, as we are everywhere encountered in our researches by powers and effects, which are unaccountable upon any principles of mere mechanism, or the combinations of matter and motion, we must for ever resort to a Supreme power, whose influence extends over all Nature, and who accomplishes the wisest and most benevolent ends by the best possible means.” Maclaurin, the friend of Newton, and the commentator on his Principia, expresses the following sentiments on this subject, in his “Account of Sir I. Newton's Discoveries.” “There is nothing we meet with more frequently and constantly in Nature, than the traces of an allgoverning Deity. And the philosopher who overlooks these, contenting himself with the appearances of the material universe only, and the mechanical laws of motion, neglects what is most excellent; and prefers what is imperfect to
what is supremely persect, finitude to Infinity, what is narrow and weak to what is unlimited and almighty, and what is perishing to what eldures for ever. Such who attend not to so manisest indications of supreme wisdom and goodness, perpetually appearing before them wherever they turn their views or inquiries, too much resemble those ancient philosophers who made Night, Matter, and Chaos, the original of all things.” Similar sentiments were expressed by the late Professor Robison, one of the most profound mathematicians and philosophers of his age. “So far from banishing the consideration of final causes from our discussions, it would look more like philosophy, more like the love of true wisdom, and it would taste less of an idle curiosity, were we to multiply our researches in those departments of nature where final causes are the chief objects of our attention—the structure and economy of organized bodies in the animal and vegetable kingdoms.”—“It is not easy to account for it, and perhaps the explanation would not be very agreeable, why many naturalists so fastidiously avoid such views of nature as tend to lead the mind to the thoughts of its Author. We see them even anxious to weaken every argument for the appearance of design in the construction and operations of nature. One would think, that, on the contrary, such appearances would be most welcome, and that nothing would be more dreary and comfortless than the belief that chance or fate rules all the events of nature."—Elements of JMechanical Philosophy, vol. i. pp. 681-2. We know not whether such sentiments were inculcated from the chair of Natural Philosophy, which Dr. Robison so long occopied, by the distinguished philosopher who has lately deceased. II. Besides the deductions of natural religion, to which we have now adverted—in our scientific instructions there ought to be a reference, ou every proper occasion, to the leading truths of revelation. There are many scientific inquirers who would have no objections occasionally to advert to final causes, and the wisdom of the Deity, who consider it altogether irrelevant, in the discussions of science, to make the slightest reserence to the facts and doctrines detailed in the Sacred Oracles. The expediency, or the impropriety of such a practice, must depend on the views we take of the sature of the communications which the Scriptures contain. If the Bible is acknowledged as a revelation from God, its truths must harmonize with the system of nature, —they must throw a mutual lighton each otherand the attributes of the Divinity they respectively unfold must be in perfect accordance; and therefore it can never be irrelevant, when engaged in the study of the one, to refer for illustrations to the other. On the contrary, to omit doing so, from a fastidious compliance with what has too long been the established practice, would be a piece of glaring inconsistency, either in the theologian on the one hand, or the philosopher on the other. We have too much reason to suspect, that the squeamishness of certain scientific characters, in omitting all references to the Christian system, arises either from a secret disbelief of its authority, or from a disrelish of the truths and moral principles it inculcates. Taking for granted, then, what has never yet been disproved, that Christianity is a revelation from heaven, and recollecting, that we live in a country where this religion is professed, it follows, as a matter of consistency as well as of duty, that all our systems of instruction, whether literary or scientific, whether in colleges, academies, mechanics' institutions, or initiatory schools, ought to be founded on the basis of the Christian revelation—that, in the instructions delivered in such seminaries, its leading doctrines should be recognised, and that no dispositions or conduct be encouraged which are inconsistent with its moral principles. More particularly, in describing the processes or phenomena of nature, an opportunity should frequently be taken of quoting the sublime and energetic sentiments of the inspired writers, and of referring to the facts they record, when they are appropriate, and illustrative of the subject in hand. This would tend to connect the operations of nature with the agency of the God of nature; and would show to the young, that their instructers felt a veneration for that Book which has God for its Author, and our present and future happiness as the great object of its revelations. Why should the Bible be almost the only book from which certain modern philosophers never condescend to borrow a quotation ? They feel no hesitation—nay, they sometimes appear to pride themselves in being able to quote from Plato, Aristotle, and Zeno, or from Ovid, Virgil, and Lucretius. They would feel ashamed to be considered as unacquainted with the works of Bacon, Galileo, Newton, Halley, Huygens, Boscovich, Black, Robison, Buffon, or La Place, and unable to quote an illustrative sentiment from their writings; but they seem to feel, as if it would lessen the dignity of science to borrow an illustration of a scientific position from Moses or Isaiah, and to consider it as in nowise disrespectful to appear ignorant of the contents of the Sacred Volume. Such were not the sentiments and feelings of the philosophers to whose works I lately referred, which abound with many beautisul and appropriate sentiments from the inspired writings. Such were not the feelings of the celebrated Euler, whose accomplishments in science were admired by all the philosophers of Europe; nor were such the feelings of the late Dr. Robison, who was scarcely his inferior. When describing the numerous nebulae in the distant regions of the heavens, he closes his emarks with the following reflection :-"The
human mind is almost overpowered with such a thought. When the soul is filled with such conceptions of the extent of created nature, we can scarcely avoid exclaiming, ‘Lord, what then is man, that thou art mindful of him " Under such impressions, David shrunk into nothing, and feared that he should be forgotten among so many great objects of the Divine attention. His comfort and ground of relief from this dejecting thought are remarkable. “But,' says he, “ thou hast made man but a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” David corrected himsels, by calling to mind how high he stood in the scale of God's works. He recognised his own divine original, and his alliance to the Author of all. Now, cheered and delighted, he crics out, ‘Lord, how glorious is thy name !’”—Elements of Mechanical Philosophy, vol. i. p. 565. Again, every proper opportunity should be taken of illustrating the harmony which subsists between the system of revelation and the system of nature—between the declarations of the inspired writers and the facts which are found to exist in the material universe. This subject presents an extensive field of investigation which has never yet been thoroughly explored, and which admits of the most extensive and diversified illustrations. The facts of geology—some of which were formerly set in array against the records of revelation—are now seen to be corroborative of the facts stated in the Mosaic history;" and in proportion as the system of nature is minutely explored, and the physical sciences in general approximate to perfection, the more striking appears the coincidence between the revelations of the Bible and the revelations of Nature. And one principal reason why this coincidence at present does not appear complete, is, that the Scriptures have never yet been thoroughly studied in all their reserences, nor the system of the material world thoroughly explored. The facts of modern science, of which many our commentators were ignorant, have seldom been brought to bear upon the elucidation of the inspired writings, and the sentiments of the sacred writers have seldom been illustrated by an appeal to the discoveries of science.—The views which the system of nature exhibits of the plan and principles of the divine government, the reasons of the operation of those destructive agents which frequently exert their energy within the bounds of our sublunary system, and the connexion which subsists between physical and moral evil, might also form occasional subjects of investigation; as they are all deeply interesting to man considered as a moral agent, and as the subject of the moral administration of the Governor of the Universe.
f For illustrations of this position, see Dr. Ure's Geology, Parkinson's Organic Remains, &c.
In the next place, we hold it as a matter of particular importance, that the instructions of science be conducted in such a manner as to make a moral impression upon the heart. An objection has frequently been raised by religious people against the study of science, from its tendency to produce a spirit of intellectual pride; and it can scarcely be denied that there is some ground for the objection, when the pursuits of general knowledge are entirely separated from religion. But the objects of science, when properly erhibited, and accompanied with appropriate reflections have a very different tendency. When we consider the numberless multitudes of beings which exist in the universe, and the immense variety of processes incessantly going forward in every department of nature; when we consider the infinite wisdom and intelligence, far surpassing human comprehension, which they display; when we consider the immense magnitude and extent of the universal system of created beings, and the probability that man stands near the lower part of the scale of rational existence, and is only like an atom in the immensity of creation,--we perceive the most powerful motives for humility and self-abasement. When we consider the benevolent arrangements in the elements around us, and in the structure and functions of animated beings, and the provision made for their subsistence, it has a natural tendency to inspire the heart with gratitude and af. section towards Him from whom all our comforts flow. And when we reflect on the grandeur of the Deity as displayed in the magnificence of his empire, and in his incessant agency throughout all its provinces, should it not inspire us with reverence and adoration, and with a lively hope, that a period will arrive when we shall behold the wonders and glories of his creation more clearly unfolded ? Such sentiments and emotions, the works of God, when rightly contemplated, are fitted to produce; and to overlook them in our instruction to the young, is to deprive them of some of the purest enjoyments, and some of the greatest advantages, which flow from scientific knowledge. When their minds are deeply impressed with such emotions, they are in some measure prepared for listening with reverence to the declarations of the inspired volume, and for perceiving the force and subli
tribute of adoration, are dictates of natural as well as of revealed religion, and that a deist, were he to act in consistency with his avowed principles, would engage in daily prayer to the Great Author of his existence. It is expressly enjoined in the Scriptures, “In all thy ways acknowledge God, and he shall direct thy steps;” and it is declared to be one of the characteristics of the wicked man, “that God is not in all his thoughts,” and that, “through the pride of his countenance he will not call upon God.” If we firmly believe there is a God, we must also believe that he is present in all places, and privy to all our thoughts, that all our circumstances and wants are open to his Omniscient eye, and that “he is able to do for us above all that we can ask or think.” Although we are ignorant of the precise physical connexion between prayer and the bestowment of a favour by God, yet we ought to engage in this duty, because it is accordant with the idea of a Supreme Being on whom we are every moment dependent, and has therefore been acknowledged by the unsaught barbarian, as well as by the enlightened Christian ; because it is positively enjoined; because there is a connexion established by the Creator between asking and receiving : because it tends to fix our thoughts on the Omnipresence of the Divine Mind, to impress our hearts with a sense of the blessings of which we stand in need, and to excite earnest desires after them; and, because it is one way in which we may hold a direct intercourse with our Creator. I would not envy the Christian feelings of that man who can habitually engage in literary compositions or scientific discussions, without acknowledging his Maker, and imploring his direction and assistance. Religion degenerates into something approaching to a mere inanity, when its spirit and principles are not carried into every department of human life and society, nor its requisitions attended to in every secular business in which we engage. Till the principles of Christianity be made to bear in all their force on every department of human actions, and especially on the business of education, we can scarcely expect, that its benign tendency will be generally appreciated, or that society will reap all the benefits which it is calculated to impart. There are, however, certain descriptions of literary characters, who, although they consider it expedient to pay an occasional compliment to Christianity, would consider such remarks as bordering on superstition or fanaticism. When we talk to them about the Christian revelation in general terms, they do not choose to say any thing directly against its excellence or divine authority; but if we descend into particulars, and expatiate on any of its fundamental doctrines, or attempt to reduce to practice its holy requisitions, we are frequently met with a contemptuous sneer, or a cry of enthusiasm, and sometimes with an harangue against the follies of Methodism, or of Bible and Missionary Societies. We are thus led to inter, with some degree of reason, that such characters have no impressive belief of the Divine origin of the Christian system ; and it would be much more honourable and consistent, at once to avow their infidelity, than to put on the mask of dissimulation and hypocrisy. No individual ought to be subjected to any civil penalties on account of the opinions he holds, as for these he is accountable only to his Maker; nor should any opinions be attempted to be extirpated by any other weapons than the strength of reason and the sorce of arguments. But, at the same time, it is requisite, that society should know the leading principles of any one who proposes himself as a public instructer of his fellow-men, in order that they may judge whether it would be proper to place their relatives under the instructions of one, who might either overlook Christianity altogether, or occasionally throw out insinuations against it. To act the hypocrite, to profess a decent respect for the Christian religion, while the principles of infidelity are fixed in the mind, accompanied with a secret wish to undermine its soundations, is mean and contemptible, unworthy of the man who wishes to be designated by the title of philosopher. Yet such hypocrisy is not at all uncommon ; it was particularly displayed by the sceptical philosophers on the continent, prior to the French revolution, and avowed to their most intimate associates. Buffon, the natural historian, who appears to have been an atheist, was also, according to his own confession, a consummate hypocrite. In a conversation with J.M. Herault Sechelles, in 1785, about four years before his death, and when he was in the seventy-eighth year of his age, he declared, “In my writings I have always spoken of the creator; but it is easy to efface that word, and substitute in its place, the powers of nature, which consist in the two grand laws of attraction and repulsion. When the Sorbonne" become troublesome to me, I never scruple to give them every satisfaction they require. It is but a sound, and men are foolish enough to be contented with it. Upon this account, if I were ill, and sound my end approaching, I should not hesitate to receive the sacramen. Helvetius was my intimate friend, and has frequently visited me at Montbart. I have repeatedly advised him to use similar discretion; and, had he followed my advice, he would have been much happier.” “My first work (continued he) appeared at the same time with L’Esprit des Lois. Montesquieu and myself were tormented by the Sorbonne. The president was violent. “What have you to answer for yourself?" says he to me, in an angry tone. “Nothing at all,” was my answer, and he was silenced and perfectly thunderstruck at my indifference.” In perfect accordance with such
* The faculty of Theology at Paris.
a system of hypocrisy, Buffon kept a father confessor almost constantly with him, to whom he was in the habit of confessing, in the same apartment where he had developed the Principles of Materialism, which, according to his system, was an abnegation of immortality. He also regularly attended mass on Sundays, unless prevented by indisposition, and communicated in the Chapel of the Glory, every Whitsunlide. Though he heartily despised his priestly consessor, he flat
tered and cajoled him with pompous promises,
and condescending attentions. “I have seen this priest (says Sechelles,) in the absence of the domestics, hand over a towel to the count, set the dining table before him, and perform such-like menial services. Buffon rewards these attentions with, I thank you my dear child.” Such was the habitual hypocrisy of this philosopher; and, said he, “it has been observed by me in all my writings: I have published the one after the other in such a manner, that men of vulgar capacities should not be able to trace the chain of my thoughts.” His intolerable vanity and pomposity, his breach of promises, the grossness of his conversation, and his numerous amours and intrigues, were in perfect correspondence with such principles, and the natural result of them. “His pleasantries (says Sechelles) were so void of delicacy, that the females were obliged to quit the room.”* What a scene of moral anarchy would be introduced, were such principles to be universally inculcated and acted upon in society! All confidence between man and man would be shaken, and the foundations of the socinl system undermined and destroyed. Yet such was the morality which almost universally prevailed among the continental philosophers, in consequence of the sceptical and atheistical principles they had imbibed. Truth, sincerity, modesty, humility, and moral obligation, formed no part of the code of their morality; and such, in all probability, would soon be the result in our own country, were the pursuits of science and philosophy to be completely dissevered from relilon. g In the last place, there are several topics connected with religion, which might occasionally be made the subjects of discussion in scientific associations: such, for example, are the evidences and importance of the Christian Revelation— the physical and moral facts to which it occasionally adverts—the attributes of the Divinity—the general principles of moral action—the laws which the Creator has promulgated for preserving the order of the intelligent system, and the foundation on which they rest—the evidences for the immortality of the soul, and the eternal destiny of man. These, and similar topics might, on
- See an account of some particulars in the private life of Buffon, by M. Sechelles, one of his admirers, in the Monthly Magazine fol July 1797, supplementary No. vol. 3, pp. 493–501.