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of specific propagation; and that whatever was true of the watch, under the hypothesis above mentioned, is true of plants and animals.
I. To begin with the fructification of plants. Can it be doubted but that the seed contains a particular organization? Whether a latent plantule with the means of temporary nutrition, or whatever else it be, it eneloses an organization suited to the germination of a new plant. Has the plant which produced the seed any thing more to do with that organization, than the watch would have had to do with the structure of the watch which was produced in the course of its mechanical movement ? I mean, Has it any thing at all to do with the contrivance? The maker and contriver of one watch, when he inserted within it a mechanism suited to the production of another watch, was, in truth, the maker and contriver of that other watch. All the properties of the new watch were to be referred to his agency: the design manifested in it, to his intention: the art, to him as the artist: the collocation of each part to his placing: the action, effect, and use, to his counsel, intelligence, and workmanship. In producing it by the intervention of a former watch, he was only working by one set of tools instead of another. So it is with the plant, and the seed produced by it. Can any distinction be assigned between the two cases; between the producing watch, and the producing plant; both passive, unconscious substances; both, by the organization which was given to them, producing their like, without understanding or design; both, that is, instruments?
II. From plants we may proceed to oviparous ani. mads; from seeds to eggs. Now I say, that the bird has the same concern in the formation of the egg which she lays, as the plant has in that of the seed which it drops; and po other, nor greater. The internal constitution of the egg is as much a secret to the hen, as if the hen were inanimate, Her will cannot alter it, or change a single feather of the chick. She can neither foresee nor determine of which sex her brood shall be, or how many of either: yet the thing produced shall be, from the first, very different in its make, according to the sex which it bears. So far, therefore, from adapting the means,
she is not beforehand apprised of the effect. If there be concealed within that smooth shell a provision and a preparation for the production and nourishment of a new animal, they are not of her providing or preparing: if there be contrivance, it is none of hers. Although, therefore, there be the difference of life and perceptivity between the animal and the plant, it is a difference which enters not into the account: it is a foreign circumstance: it is a difference of properties not employed. The ani. mal function and the vegetable function are alike destitute of any design which can operate upon the form of the thing produced. The plant has no design in producing the seed, no comprehension of the nature or use of what it produces; the bird, with respect to its egg, is not above the plant with respect to its seed. Neither the one nor the other bears that sort of relation to what proceeds from them, which a joiner does to the chair which he makes. Now a cause, which bears this relation to the effect, is what we want, in order to account for the suitableness of means to an end, the fitness and fitting of one thing to another; and this cause the parent plant or animal does not supply.
It is farther observable concerning the propagation of plants and animals, that the apparatus employed exhibits no resemblance to the thing produced ; in this respect holding an analogy with instruments and tools of art. The filament
and stigmata, of flowers, bear no more resemblance to the young plant, or even to the seed, which is formed by their intervention, than a chisel or a plane does to a table or chair. What then are the filaments, antheræ, and stigmata, of plants, but instruments strictly so called ?
III. We may advance from animals which bring forth eggs, to animals which bring forth their young alive; and of this latter class, from the lowest to the highest ; from irrational to rational life, from brutes to the human species ; without perceiving, as we proceed, any alteration whatever in the terms of the comparison. The rational animal does not produce its offspring with more certainty or success than the irrational animal; a man than a quadruped, a quadruped than a bird ; nor (for we may follow the gradation through its whole
scale) a bird than a plant; nor a plant than a watch, a piece of dead mechanism, would do, upon the supposition which has already so often been repeated. Rationality therefore has nothing to do in the business. If an account must be given of the contrivance which we observe: if it be demanded, whence arose either the contrivance by which the young animal is produced, or the contrivance manifested in the young animal itself, it is not from the reason of the parent that any such account can be drawn. He is the cause of his offspring in the same sense as that which a gardener is the cause of the tulip which grows upon his parterre, and in no other. We admire the flower ; we examine the plant; we perceive the conduciveness of many of its parts to their end and office; we observe a provision for its nourishment, growth, protection, and fecundity ; but we never think of the gardener in all this. We attribute nothing of this to his agency; yet it may still be true, that without the gardener, we should not have had the tulip: just so it is with the succession of animals even of the highest order. For the contrivance discovered in the structure of the thing produced, we want a contriver. The parent is not that contriver, His consciousness decides that question. He is in total ignorance why that which is produced took its present form rather than any other. It is for him only to be astonished by the effect. We can no more look therefore to the intelligence of the parent animal for what we are in search of, a cause of relation, and of subserviency of parts to their use, which relation and subserviency we see in the procreated body, than we can refer the internal conformation of an acorn to the intelligence of the oak from which it dropped, or the structure of the watch to the intelligence of the watch which produced it; there being no difference, as far as argument is concerned, between an intelligence which is not exerted, and an intelligence which does not exist.
CHAP. V. Application of the argument continued. EVERY observation which was made in our first chapter, concerning the watch, may be repeated with strict propriety concerning the eye; concerning animals; concerning plants; concerning, indeed, all the organized parts of the works of nature. As,
1. When we are inquiring simply after the existence of an intelligent Creator, imperfection, inaccuracy, liability to disorder, occasional irregularities, may subsist in a considerable degree, without inducing any doubt into the question : just as a watch may frequently go wrong, seldom perhaps exactly right, may be faulty in some parts, defective in some, without the smallest ground of suspicion from thence arising that it was not a watch; not made; or not made for the purpose ascribed to it. When faults are pointed out, and when a question is started concerning the skill of the artist, or dexterity with which the work is executed, then, indeed, in order to defend these qualities from accusation, we must be able, either to expose some intractableness and imperfection in the materials, or point out some invincible difficulty in the execution, into which imper. fection and difficulty the matter of complaint may be resolved; or if we cannot do this, we must adduce such specimens of consummate art and contrivance, proceeding from the same hand, as may convince the inquirer of the existence, in the case before him, of impediments like those which we have mentioned, although, what from the nature of the case is very likely to happen, they be unknown and unperceived by him. This we must do in order to vindicate the artist's skill, or, at least, the perfection of it: as we must also judge of bis intention, and of the provisions employed in fulfilling that intention, not from an instance in which they fail, but from the great plurality of instances in which they succeed. But, after all, these are different questions from the question of the artist's existence; or, which is the same, whether the thing before us be a work of art or not: and the questions ought always
to be kept separate in the mind. So likewise it is in the works of nature. Irregularities and imperfections are of little or no weight in the consideration, when that consideration relates simply to the existence of a Creator . When the argument respects his attributes, they are of weight; but are then to be taken in conjunction (the attention is not to rest upon them, but they are to be taken in conjunction)with the unexceptionable evidences which we possess, of skill, power, and benevolence, displayed in other instances : which evidences may, in strength, number, and variety, be such, and may so overpower apparent blemishes, as to induce us, upon the most reasonable ground, to believe, that these last ought to be referred to some cause, though we be ignorant of it, other than defect of knowledge or of benevolence in the author.
II. There may be also parts of plants and animals, as there were supposed to be of the watch, of which, in • some instances, the operation, in others, the use, is un
known. These form different cases : for the operation may be unknown, yet the use be certain. Thus it is with the lungs of animals. It does not, I think, appear, that we are acquainted with the action of the air upon the blood, or in what manner that action is communicated by the lungs; yet we fiad that a very short suspension of their office destroys the life of the animal. In this case, therefore, we may be said to know the use, nay we experience the necessity, of the organ, though we be ignorant of its operation. Nearly the same thing may be observed of what is called the lymphatic system. We suffer grievous inconveniences from its disorder, without being informed of the office which it sustains in the economy of our bodies. There may possibly also be some few examples of the second class in which not only the operation is unknown, but in which experiments may seem to prove that the part is not necessary; or may leave a doubt, how far it is even useful to the plant or animal in which it is found. This is said to be the case with the spleea ; which has been extracted from dogs, without any sensible injury to their vital functions. Instances of the former kind, namely, in which we cannot explain the