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, BL 181 .P34 

"' Paley, William, 1743-1805 
IV, Natural theology 





I M 














Tlie stone and the watch, page 9 ; eight cases, 10-13. 




Eye and telescope, 20 ; light— distance, 24 ; eyes of birds, 27 ; eyes of fishes, 28; 
minuteness of picture, 29 ; socket — eyebrow — eyelid — tears. 30 ; nictitating 
membrane — muscle, 31 ; expedients, 33 ; why means used, 33 ; ear, 35. 


No account hereby of contrivance, 41; plants, 41; oviparous animals, 42; 
viviparous — rational animals, 43 ; instance from the gardener, 44. 


Repetition from Chap. I., 45 ; imperfection, 45 ; superfluous parts, 46 ; athe- 
istic argument, 47 ; remains of possible forms, 49 ; use arising out of the 
parts, 51 ; a principle of order, 54 ; of our ignorance, 55, 




imperfection of knowledge no proof of want of contrivance, 59 ; on chemistry, 
62 ; secretion, 63. 


Of bones. 68; neck, 68; forearm, 69 ; spine, 71; chest, 76; kneepan, 77; 
shoulder-blade, 78; joints, 79; ball-and-socket, 80; ginglymus, 81; knee, 
81 ; ankle, 82 ; shoulder, 82 ; passage of bloodvessels, 83 ; gristle, 84 ; 
movable cartilages, 85 ; mucilage, 85 ; how well the joints wear, 86 ; bonea 
*f tJie skull, 86. 


Suitableness to the joints, 87; antagonist muscles, 88; not obstructing one 
another, 90; action wanted where their situation would be inconveaient, 


90 ; variety of figure, 91 ; how many things must be right for health, 95 , 
variety, quickness, and precision of muscular motion. 93 ; tongue, 93 ; 
mouth, 94 ; nose, 96 ; music — writing, 96 ; sphincters, 97 ; combination of 
muscles, 97 ; delicacy of small muscles, 98 ; mechanical disadvantages, 98 ; 
single muscles, 99 ; lower jaw, 99 ; slit tendons, 100 ; bandage at the ancles, 
lOf ; hypothesis from appetency repelled, 101 ; Keill's enumeration of mus- 
cles, 102 ; why mechanism is not more striking, 102 ; description inferisr 
to inspection, 102; quotation from Steno, 103. 



I. The circulation of the blood, 104 ; disposition of the bloodvessels, 104 ; 
arteries and veins, 105. II. Heart, as receiving and returning the blood, 
106; heart, as referable to the lungs, 108; valves of the heart, 110; vital 
motion involuntary, 113; pericardium, 113. III. Alimentary system, 114; 
passage of the food through the stomach to the intestines. 114 ; passage of 
the chyle through the lac teals and thoracic duct to the blood, 115; length 
of intestines, 116; peristaltic motion, 116; tenuity of the lacteals, 116; 
valves of the thoracic duct, 117 ; entrance in the neck, 117 ; digestion, 117. 
IV. Gall-bladder, 120; oblique insertion of the biliary duct into the intes- 
tines, 120. V. Parotid gland, 121. VI. Larynx, 122; trachea— gullet- 
epiglottis, 122, 123 ; rings of the trachea, 123 ; sensibility, 124 ; musical 
instrument, 124 ; lifting the hand to the head, 125. 



I. Correspondence of sides, 127; not belonging to the separate limbs, 128; 
nor the internal contents, 129 ; nor to the feeding vessels. 129. II. Pack- 
age, 130; heart, 131; lungs, 131; liver, 132; bladder, kidneys, pancreas, 
spleen, 132; omentum, 132; septa of the brain, 133; guts, 133. 111. 
Beauty, 134 ; in animals, 135 ; in flowers, 135 ; whether any natural sense 
of beauty, 136. IV. Concer^-ncr.t, 137. V. C. ending, 138. VI. Inter- 
rupted analogies, 140; periosteum at the teeth, 141; scarf-skin at the 
nails, 141 ; soft integuments at the skull, 141. 



I Covering of animals, 144 ; of man, 144 ; of birds, 145 ; structure of feathers, 
145 ; black down, 148. II. Mouths of animals, 149 ; bills of birds, 150 ; 
serrated bills, 150; affinity of mouths, 151. III. G-ullets of animals, 153. 
IV. Intestines of animals, 153; valves or plates, 153; length, 154. V. 
Bones of animals, 154; bones of birds, 154. VI. Lungs of animals, 155; 
lungs of birds, 155. VII. Birds oviparous, 155. VIII. Instruments of 
motion, 155 ; wings of birds, 156 ; fins of fish, 157 ; web-feet of water-fovr*, 
159 IX. Senses of animals, 160. 



Pax-wax of quadrupeds, 162; oil of birds, 163; air-bladder of fisli, 163; fang 
of viper, 165 ; bag of opossum, 165 ; claw of heron, 166 ; stomach of camel 
167; tongue of woodpecker, 167; babyroussa. 168. 



Teeth, 169; milk, 170; eye of the foetus, 171; lungs of the foetus, 172; fora- 
men ovale, etc., 173. 


A'.i Tientary system, 176 ; kidneys, ureters, and bladder, 179 ; eyes, hands, feet, 
179 ; sexes, 180 ; teats and mouths, 180 ; particular relations, _80 ; swan, 
180 ; mole, 181. 


Elephant's proboscis, 184 ; hook in the bat's wing, 185 ; crane's neck, 185 ; 
parrot's bill, 186 ; spider's web, 186 ; multiplying-eyes of insects, 186 ; eye- 
lid of the chameleon, 187 ; intestines of the alopecias, 188 ; snail — mussel- 
cockle— lobster, ISS ; sloth— sheep, 190 ; more general compensations, 190; 
want of fore-teeth— rumination, 190 ; in birds, want of teeth and gizzard, 
191 ; reptiles, 192. 


Wings of birds— fins of fish— air and water, 194 ; ear to the air, 194 ; organs 
of speech— voice and respiration to air, 194; eye to light. 195; size of ani- 
mals to external things, 195 ; of the inhabitants of the earth and sea to 
their elements, 196 ; sleep to night, 196. 


Intubation of eggs, 199 ; deposition of eggs of insects. 203; solution from sen- 
sations considered, 207. 


Elytra of the scarabeeus, 211 ; borer of flies, 212; sting, 213; proboscis, 214 , 
metamorphosis of insects, 215 ; care of eggs, 216 ; observations limited to 
particular species, 217; thread of silk-worm and spider, 217; wax and 
honey of bee, 218 ; sting of bee, 220 ; forceps of the panorpa tribe, 220 ; 
brushes of flies, 220 ; glowworm, 220 ; motion of the larva of the dragon- 
fly, 221 ; gossamer spider, 221 ; shell animals, 222 ; snail shells, 222 ; uni- 
valve sheU-fish, 22.3 ; bivalve, 223 ; lobster shell, 224 ; variety of insects, 


Prwervation, perfecting, and dispersing of seed, 227 ; germination, 234 ; ten- 
drils, 235; particular species, 237; vallisneria, 237; cuscuta Europaea, 
238; mistletoe, 238 ; colchicum autumnale, 238 ; dionsa muscipula. 240. 



Consolidation of uses, 242. I.- Air, 242 ; reflecting light, 242 ; evaporating 
fluids, 242; restoratives of purity, 243. II. Water, 243; purity, 244; 
insipidity, 244; circulation, 244. III. Fire, 245; dissolvent power, 245. 
IV. Light, 245 ; velocity, 245 ; tenuity, 246 ; color, 246. 


Fixing the source of light and heat in the centre, 249 ; permanent axis of rota- 
tion, 251 ; spherodicity of the earth, 252 ; of centripetal torces, 2-j ; attrac- 
tion indifferent to laws, 254 ; admissible laws, within narrow iin.its, 256 ; 
of admissible laws, the present the best, 257 ; united attraction of a sphere, 
the same as of the constituent particles, 257; the apsides fixed, 258; fig- 
ures of the planetary orbits, 260 ; Buffon's hypothesis, 261. 


Not the object of our senses, 265 ; contrivance proves personality, 267 ; misap- 
plication of laws. 269 ; mechanism, 270; second causes, 271 ; of generation 
as a principle, 274 ; atheistic suppositions, 275 ; Buffon's organic nodules, 
276 ; appetencies, 279 ; analogies by which they are supported, 281 ; cam- 
el's bunch, 281 ; crane's thighs, 281 ; pelican's pouch, 281 ; analogy strain- 
ed, 282; solutions contradicted, 283 ; by ligaments — valves, 283; by senses 
of animals, 284; by the parts without motion, 281; by plants, 284. 


Omnipotence, 287; omniscience, 287 ; omnipresence, 288 ; eternity, 289 ; self- 
existence, 289 ; necessary existence, 290 ; spirituality, 290. 


Prom the laws of attraction, and the presence of light among the heavenly 
bodies, 291 ; from the laws of nature upon our globe, 291 ; resemblance of 
animals, 292 ; fish, 292 ; insects and shell-fish, 293. 


From the parts and faculties of animals, 295; the actual happiness of young 
animals, 296 ; of winged insects and aphides, 296 ; of fish, 297. I. Proper- 
ties of old age, 298; of different animal habits, 299; prepollency of happi- 
ness, 299; causes of not observing it, 300; quotation, 301; apparent ex- 
ceptions, 303; venomous animals, 304; animals of prey, 306. II. Pieas- 
ures of sense, 311; adaptation of senses, 312; property, origin of, 317; 
physical evils of imperfection, 318; of finiteness, 319; of bodily pain, 320; 
of mortal diseases, 322; of death, 323; civil evils of population, 324; of 
distinctions, 326 ; of wealth, 327 ; of idleness, 329; objections from chance 
answered, 330 ; must be chance in the midst of design. 330 ; ignorance of 
observance, 331; disease, 333; seasons, 333; station, 334; acquirabil'ty, 
334; sensible interposition, 335; probation, 337. 


natural religion prepares the way for revelation, 344. 





In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a 
itone, and were asked how the stone came to be there, I 
might possibly answer, that for any thing I knew to the 
contrary it had lain there for ever ; nor would it, perhaps, 
be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But sup- 
pose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be 
inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I 
should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, 
that for any thing I knew the watch might have always 
been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the 
watch as well as for the stone ; why is it not as admissible 
in the second case as in the first ? For this reason, and for 
no other, namely, that when we come to inspect the watch> 
we perceive — what we could not discover in the stone — that 
its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, 
e. g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce mo- 
tion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour 
of the day ; that if the difierent parts had been differently 
shaped from what they are, or placed after any other man 
ner or m any other order than that in which they are placed, 
either no motion at all would have been carried on in the 
machine, or none which would have answered the use that 
is now served by it. To reckon up a few of the plainest of 
these parts and of their offices, all tending to one result : 
We see a cylindrical box containing a coiled elastic spring, 



which, by its endeavor to relax itself, turns round the box. 
"We next observe a flexible chain — artificially wrought for the 
sake of flexure — communicating the action of the spring from 
the box to the fusee. We then find a series of wheels, the 
teeth of which catch in and apply to each other, conducting 
the motion from the fusee to the balance and from the bal- 
ance to the pointer, and at the same time, by the size and 
shape of those wheels, so regulating that motion as to ter- 
minate in causing an index, by an equable and measured 
progression, to pass over a given space in a given time. We 
take notice that the wheels are made of brass, in order to 
keep them from rust ; the springs of steel, no other metal 
being so elastic ; that over the face of the watch there is 
placed a glass, a material employed in no other part of the 
work, but in the room of which, if there had been any other 
than a transparent substance, the hour could not be seen 
without opening the case. Tliis mechanism bemg observed — 
it requires indeed an examination of the - instrument, and 
perhaps some previous knowledge of the subject, to perceive 
and understand it ; but being once, as we have said, observed 
and understood, the inference we think is inevitable, that 
the watch must have had a maker — that there must have 
existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer 
or artificers who formed it for the purpose wliich we find it 
actually to answer, who comprehended its -construction and 
designed its use. 

I. Nor would it, I apprehend, weaken the conclusion, 
that we had never seen a watch made — that we had never 
.niown an artist capable of making one — that we were alto- 
gether incapable of executing such a piece of workmanship 
ourselves, or of understanding in what manner it was per- 
formed ; all this being no more than what is true of soma 
exquisite remains of ancient art, of some lost arts, and, to 
the generality of mankind, of the more curious productions 
of modern manufacture. Does one man in a million know 
how oval frames are turned ? Ignorance of this kind exalte 


our opinion of the unseen and unknown artist's skill, if he be 
unseen and unknown, but raises no doubt in our minds of 
the existence and agency of such an artist, at some former 
time and in some place or other. Nor can I perceive that 
it varies at all the inference, whether the question arise con- 
cerning a human agent or concerning an agent of a different 
species, or an agent possessing in some respects a different 

II. Neither, secondly, would it invalidate our conclusion, 
that the watch sometimes went wrong, or that it seldom 
went exactly right. The purpose of the machinery, the 
design, and the designer might be evident, and in the case 
supposed, would be evident, in whatever way we accounted 
for the irregularity of the movement, or whether we could 
account for it or not- It is not necessary that a machine be 
perfect, in order to show with what design it was made : still 
less necessary, where the only question is whether it were 
made with any design at all. 

III. Nor, thirdly, would it bring any uncertamty into the 
argument, if there were a few parts of the watch, concern- 
ipg which we could not discover or had not yet discovered 
in what manner they conduced to the general effect ; or even 
some parts, concerning which we could not ascertain whether 
they conduced to that effect in any manner whatever. For, 
as to the first branch of the case, if by the loss, or disorder, 
or decay of the parts in question, the movement of the watch 
were found in fact to be stopped, or disturbed, or retarded, 
no doubt would remain in our minds as to the utility or in- 
tention of these parts, although we should be unable to in- 
vestigate the manner according to which, or the connection 
by which, the ultimate effect depended upon their action or 
assistance ; and the more complex the machine, the more 
likely is this obscurity to arise. Then, as to the second thing 
supposed, namely, that there were parts which might be 
spared without prejudice to the movement of the watch, and 
that we had proved this by experiment, these superfluous 


parts, even if we were completely assured that they were 
such, would not vacate the reasoning which we had institut- 
ed concerning other parts. The mdication of contrivance 
remained, with respect to them, nearly as it was before. 

lY. Nor, fourthly, would any man in his senses tliink the 
existence of the watch with its various machinery account- 
ed for, by being told that it was one out of possible combi- 
nations of material forms ; that whatever he had found in 
the place where he found the watch, must have contained 
some internal configuration or other ; and that this configu- 
ration might be the structure now exhibited, namely, of the 
works of a watch, as well as a different structure. 

V. Nor, fifthly, would it yield his inquiry more satisfac- 
tion, to be answered that there existed in things a principle 
of order, which had disposed the parts of the watch into their 
present form and situation. He never knew a watch made 
by the principle of order ; nor can he even form to himself 
an idea of what is meant by a principle of order, distinct 
from the intelligence of the watchmaker. 

VI. Sixthly, he would be surprised to hear that the mech- 
anism of the watch was no proof of contrivance, only a mo- 
tive to induce the mind to think so : 

VII. And not less surprised to be informed, that thf 
watch in his hand was nothing more than the result of the 
laws of tnetallic nature. It is a perversion of language to 
assign any law as the efficient, operative cause of any thing. 
A law presupposes an agent ; for it is only the mode accord- 
ing to which an agent proceeds : it implies a power ; for it 
is the order according to which that power acts. Without 
this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from 
itself, the laiu does notliing, is nothing. The expression, 
" the law of metallic nature," may sound strange and harsh 
to a philosophic ear ; but it seems quite as justifiable as 
some others which are more familiar to him, such as " the 
law of vegetable nature," "the law of animal nature," or, 
indeed, as " the law of nature" in general, when assigned 


as the cause of phenomena, in exclusion of agency and power, 
or when it is substituted into the place of thes(?. 

VIII. Neither, lastly, would our observer be driven out 
of his conclusion or from his confidence in its truth, by being 
told that he knew nothing al all about the matter. He 
knows enough for his argument ; he knows the utility of the 
end ; he knows the subserviency and adaptation of the means 
to the end. These points being known, his ignorance of 
other points, his doubts concerning other points, affect not 
the certainty of his reasoning. The consciousness of know- 
ing little need not beget a distrust of that which he does 




Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found 
the watch should after some time disco,ver, that in addition 
to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it 
possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course 
of its movement another watch hke itself — the thing is con- 
ceivable ; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system 
of parts — a mould, for instance, or a complex adjustment of 
lathes, files, and other tools — evidently and separately cal- 
culated for this purpose ; let us inquire what effect ought 
such a discovery to have upon his former conclusion. 

I. The first effect would be to increase his admiration 
of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate 
skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of 
the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in 
many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried 
on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but 
an additional reason for doing what he had already done — 
for referring the construction of the watch to design and to 
supreme art. If that construction ivitliout this property, or 
which is the same thing, before this property had been no- 
ticed, proved intention and art to have been employed about 
it, still more strong would the proof appear when he came 
to the knowledge of this further property, the crown and 
perfection of all the rest. 

II. He would reflect, that though the w^atch before liim 
were iji some soise the maker of the watch which was fab- 
ricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very 
different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, 
is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the 
cause of the relation of its parts to their use. With respect 
to these, the first watch was no cause at all to the second : 
in no such sense as this was it the author of the constitution 


and order, either of the parts which the new watch contain- 
ed, or of the parts by the aid and instrumentality of which it 
was produced. We might possibly say, but with great lati- 
tude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn ; but 
ao latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch 
cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water 
built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who 
the builder was. What the stream of water does in the affair 
is neither more nor less than this : by the application of an 
unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, 
arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, 
an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the 
effect results from the arrangement. The force of the stream 
cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still 
less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the 
formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share 
which the water has in grinding the corn ; yet is this share 
the same as that which the watch would have contributed 
to the production of the new watch, upon the supposition 
assumed in the last section. Therefore, 

III. Though it be now no longer probable that the indi- 
vidual watch which our observer had found was made imme- 
diately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration 
in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been 
originally employed and concerned in the production. The 
argument from design remains as it was. Marks of design 
and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they 
were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause 
of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the 
color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat ; and these causes 
may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of 
that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which 
we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is 
given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch 
produced it. There cannot be design without a designer ; 
contrivance, without a contriver ; order, without choice ; ar- 


rangement, without any thing capable of arranging ; subser- 
viency and relation to a purpose, without that which could 
intend a purpose ; means suitable to an end, and executing 
their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever 
having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. 
Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to 
an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence 
of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally 
believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the 
watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechan- 
ism we so much admire m it — could be truly said to have 
constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned theu 
office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependen- 
cy, combined their several motions into one result, and that 
also a result connected with the utihties of other beings. All 
these properties, therefore, are as much unaccomited for aa 
they were before. 

IV. Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty 
farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to 
have been produced from another watch, that from a former, 
and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings 
us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the sub- 
ject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. "We still want 
a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this 
supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were dimin- 
ished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely 
v/e might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which 
this sort of reasoning applies. "Where there is a tendency, 
or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach 
towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to 
be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be 
attained ; but where there is no such tendency or approach, 
nothing is effected by lengthening the series. There is no 
difference as to the point in question, whatever there may 
be as to many points, between one series and another — be« 
Iween a series which is finite, and a series which is infinite. 


A. chain composed of an infinite number of links can no more 
support itself than a chain composed of a finite rmmber of 
links. And of this we are assured, though we never can 
have tried the experiment ; because, by increasing the num- 
ber of links, from ten, for instance, to a hundred, from a hun- 
dred to a thousand, etc., we make not the smallest approach, 
we observe not the smallest tendency towards self support. 
There is no difference in this respect — yet there may be a 
great difTerence in several respects — between a chain of a 
greater or less length, between one chain and another, be- 
tween one that is finite and one that is infinite. This very 
much resembles the case before us. The machine which we 
are inspecting demonstrates, by its construction, contrivance 
and design. Contrivance must have had a contriver, de- 
sign a designer, whether the m.achine immediately proceed- 
ed from another machine or not. That circumstance alters 
not the case. That other machine may, in like manner, have 
proceeded from a former machine : nor does that alter the 
case ; the contrivance must have had a contriver. That for- 
mer one from one preceding it : no alteration still ; a contriv- 
er is still necessary. No tendency is perceived, no approach 
towards a diminution of this necessity. It is the same with 
any and every succession of these machines — a succession of 
ten, of a hundred, of a thousand ; with one series, as with 
another — a series which is finite, as with a series which is 
infinite. In whatever other respects they may difier, in this 
they do not. In all equally, contrivance and design arc 
unaccounted for. 

The question is not simply. How came the first watch 
into existence ? which question, it may be pretended, is done 
away by supposing the series of watches thus produced from 
one another to have been infinite, and consequently to have 
had no such first, for which it was necessary to provide a 
cause. Tliis, perhaps, would have been nearly the state of 
the question, if nothing had been before us but an unorgan- 
ized, unmechanized substance, without mark or indication 


of contrivance. It might be difficult to show that such sub 
stance could not have existed from eternity, either in suc- 
cession — if it were possible, which I think it is not, for unor- 
ganized bodies to spring from one another — or by individual 
perpetuity. But that is not the question now. To suppose 
it to be so, is to suppose that it made no difference whether 
he had found a watch or a stone. As it is, the metaphysics 
of that question have no place ; for, in the watch which we 
are examining, are seen contrivance, design, an end, a pur- 
pose, means for the end, adaptation to the purpose. And 
the question which irresistibly presses upon our thoughts is. 
Whence this contrivance and design ? The thing required 
is the intending mind, the adapted hand, the intelligence by 
which that hand was directed. Tliis question, this demand, 
is not shaken off by increasing a number or succession of 
substances destitute of these properties ; nor the more, by 
increasing that number to infinity. If it be said, that upon 
the supposition of one watch being produced from another in 
the course of that other's movements, and by means of the 
mechanism within it, we have a cause for the watch in my 
hand, namely, the watch from which it proceeded — I deny, 
that for the design, the contrivance, the suitableness of means 
to an end, the adaptation of instruments to a use, all ol 
which we discover hi the watch, we have any cause what- 
ever. It is in vain, therefore, to assign a series of such causes, . 
or to allege that a series may be carried back to infinity ; foi 
I do not admit that we have yet any cause at all for the 
phenomena, still less any series of causes either finite or infi- 
i^ite. Here is contrivance, but no contriver ; proofs of design, 
but no designer. 

V. Our observer would farther also reflect, that the mak- 
er of the watch before him was, in- truth and reality, the 
maker of every watch produced from it : there being no dif- 
ference, except that the latter manifests a more exquisite 
skill, between the making of another watch with his own 
hands, by the mediation of files, lathes, chisels, etc., and ih.9 


ili&posing, fixing, and inserting of these instruments, or oi 
others equivalent to them, in the body of the watch already 
made, in such a manner as to form a new watch in the 
course of the movements which he had given to the old one. 
It IS only working by one set of tools instead of another. 

The conclusion which i\iQ first examination of the watch, 
of its works, construction, and movement, suggested, was, 
that it must have had, for cause and author of that construc- 
tion, an artificer who understood its mechanism and designed 
its use. This conclusion is invincible. A second examina* 
tiou presents us with a new discovery. The watch is found, 
in the course of its movement, to produce another watch 
similar to itself; and not only so, but we perceive in it a 
system or organization separately calculated for that pur- 
pose. What effect would this discovery have, or ought it to 
have, upon our former inference? What, as hath already 
been said, but to increase beyond measure our admiration 
of the skill which had been employed in the formation of 
such a machine ? Or shall it, instead of this, all at once 
turn us round to an opposite conclusion, namely, that no art 
or skill whatever has been concerned in the business, al- 
though all other evidences of art and skill remain as they 
were, and this last and supreme piece of art be now added 
to the rest ? Can this be maintained without absurdity 1 
Yet this is atheism. 




This is atheism ; for every indication of contrivance, 
every manifestation of design which existed in the watch, 
exists in the works of nature, with the difference on the 
side of nature of being greater and more, and that in a de 
gree which exceeds all computation. I mean, that the con 
trivances of nature surpass the contrivances of art, in the 
complexity, subtilty, and curiosity of the mechanism ; and 
still more, if possible, do they go beyond them in number 
and variety ; yet, in a multitude of cases, are not less evi- 
dently mechanical, not less evidently contrivances, not less 
evidently accommodated to their end or suited to their office, 
than are the most perfect productions of human ingenuity. 

I know no better method of introducing so large a sub- 
ject, than that of comparing a single thmg with a single 
tiling : an eye, for example, with a telescope. As far as the 
examination of the instrument goes, there is precisely the 
same proof that the eye was made for vision, as there is that 
the telescope was made for assisting it. They are made 
upon the same principles ; both being adjusted to the laws 
by which the transmission and refraction of rays of light are 
regulated. I speak not of the origin of the laws themselves ; 
but such laws being fixed, the construction in both cases is 
adapted to them. For instance, these laws require, in order 
to produce the same effect, that the rays of light, in passing 
from water into the eye, should be refracted by a more con- 
vex surface than when it passes out of air into the eye. Ac- 
cordingly we find that the eye of a fish, in that part of it 
called the crystalline lens, is much rounder than the eye of 
terrestrial animals. What plainer manifestation of design can 
there be than this difference ? What could a mathematical 
instrument maker have done more to show his knowledge of 
bis principle, his application of that knowledge, his suiting 


of his means to his end — I will not say to display the com- 
pass or excellence of his skill and art, for in these all com- 
parison is indecorous, hut to testify counsel, choice, consider- 
ation, purpose ? 

To some it may appear a diflference sufficient to destroy 
all similitude between the eye and the telescope, that the 
one is a perceiving organ, the other an unperceiving instru- 
ment. The fact is that they are both instruments. And as 
to the mechanism, at least as to mechanism being employed, 
and even as to the kind of it, this circumstance varies not 
the analogy at all. For observe what the constitution of the 
eye is. It is necessary, in order to produce distinct vision, 
that an image or picture of the object be formed at the bot- 
tom of the eye.* Whence this necessity arises, or how the 
picture is connected with the sensation or contributes to it, 
it may be difficult, nay, we will confess, if you please, im- 
possible for us to search out. But the present question is not 
concerned in the inquiry. It may be true, that in this and 
in other instances we trace mechanical contrivance a certain 
way, and that then we come to something wliich is not me- 
chanical, or which is inscrutable. But this aflects not the 
certainty of our investigation, as far as we have gone. The 
difference between an animal and an automatic statue con- 
sists in this, that in the animal we trace the mechanism to 
a certain point, and then we are stopped ; either the mech- 
anism being too subtile for our discernment, or something else 

* Plate I., Fig. 1. A section of the human eye. It is formed of 
various coats, or membranes, enclosing pelkicid humors of different 
degrees of density, and adapted for collecting the rays of light into a 
focus upon the nerve situated at the bottom of the eyeball : a, is the 
xqueous hvimor, a tliin fluid like water ; 6, the crystalline lens, of a 
dense texture ; c, the viti ;ous hmnor, a very delicate gelatinous sub- 
stance, named from its resemblance to melted glass. Thus the crys ■ 
rallhie is more dense than the vitreous, and the vitreous more dense 
than the aqueous humor. They are all perfectly transparent, and 
together make a compound lens which refracts the rays of light issuing 
from an object, d, and delineates its figure, e, in the focus 'zpon th? 
retina, inverted. 


besides the known laws of mechanism taking place ; where- 
as, in the automaton, for the comparatively few motions ol 
which it is capable, we trace the mechanism throughout. 
But, up to the limit, the reasoning is as clear and certain in 
the one case as in the other. In the example before us it 
is a matter of certainty, because it is a matter which expe 
rience and observation demonstrate, that the formation of ai; 
image at the bottom of the eye is necessary to perfect vision 
The image itself can be shown. Whatever affects the dis- 
tinctness of the image, affects the distinctness of the vision. 
The formation then of such an image being necessary — no 
matter how — to the sense of sight and to the exercise of 
that sense, the apparatus by which it is formed is construct- 
ed and put together not only with infinitely more art, but 
upon the selfsame principles of art, as in the telescope or 
the camera-obscura. The perception arising from the image 
may be laid out of the question ; for the production of the 
image, these are instruments of the same kind. The end 
is the same ; the means are the same. The purpose in both 
is alike ; the contrivance for accomplisliing that purpose is 
in both alike. The lenses of the telescopes and the humors 
of the eye bear a complete resemblance to one another, in 
their figure, their position, and in their power over the rays 
of light, namely, in bringing each pencil to a point at the 
right distance from the lens ; namely, in the eye, at the ex- 
act place where the membrane is spread to receive it. How 
is it possible, under circumstances of such close affinity, and 
under the operation of equal evidence, to exclude contriv- 
ance from the one, yet to acknowledge the proof of contriv- 
ance having been employed, as the plainest and clearest ni 
all propositions, in the other ? 

The resemblance between the two cases is still more ac- 
curate, and obtains in more points than we have yet repre- 
sented, or than we are, on the first view of the subject, aware 
of. In dioptric telescopes there is an imperfection of this 
nature. Pencils of light, in passing through glass lenses 


are separated into diilerent colors, thereby tinging the object, 
especially the edges of it, as if it were viewed through a 
prism. To correct this inconvenience had been long a desid- 
eratum in the art. At last it came into the mind of a saga- 
cious optician, to inquire how this matter was managed in 
the eye, in which there was exactly the same difficulty to 
contend with as in the telescope. His observation taught 
him that in the eye the evil was cured by combining lenses 
composed of difierent substances, that is, of substances which 
possessed difierent refracting powers. Our artist borrowed 
thence his hint, and produced a correction of the defect by 
imitating, in glasses made from different materials, the effects 
of the difierent humors through which the rays of light pass 
before they reach the bottom of the eye. Could this be in 
the eye without purpose, which suggested to the optician the 
only efiectual means of attaining that purpose ? 

But further, there are other points, not so much perhaps 
of strict resemblance between the two, as of superiority of 
the eye over the telescope, yet of a superiority which, being 
founded in the laws that regulate both, may furnish topics 
of fair and just comparison. Two things were wanted to 
the eye, which were not wanted, at least in the same degree, 
to the telescope ; and these were the adaptation of the organ, 
first, to different degrees of light, and secondly, to the vast 
diversity of distance at which objects are viewed by the na- 
ked eye, namely, from a few inches to as many miles. These 
difficulties present not themselves to the maker of the tele- 
scope. He wants all the light he can get ; and he never 
directs his instrument to objects near at hand. In the eye. 
both these cases were to be provided for ; and for the purpose 
of providing for them, a subtile and appropriate mechanism 
IS introduced. 

I. In order to exclude excess of light when it is exces- 
eive, and to render objects visible under obscurer degrees of 
it when no more can be had, the hole or aperture m the eye 
through which the light enters is so formed as to contract 


or dilate itself for the purpose of admitting a greater or less 
number of rays at the same time. The chamber of the eye 
is a camera-obscura, which, when the light is too small, can 
enlarge its opening ; when too strong, can again contract it ; 
and that without any other assistance than that of its own 
exquisite machinery. It is farther also, in the human sub- 
ject, to be observed, that this hole in the eye wliich we call 
the pupil, under all its different dimensions, retains its exact 
circular shape. This is a structure extremely artificial. Let 
an artist only try to execute the same ; he will find that his 
threads and strings must be disposed with great considera- 
tion and contrivance, to make a circle which shall continu- 
ally change its diameter yet preserve its form. This is done 
in the eye by an application of fibres, that is, of strings sim- 
ilar, in their position and action, to what an artist would and 
must employ, if he had the same piece of workmanship to 

II. The second difficulty which has been stated was the 
suiting of the same organ to the perception of objects that 
lie near at hand, within a few inches, we will suppose, oi 
the eye, and of objects which are placed at a considerable 
distance from it, that, for example, of as many furlongs — 1 
speak in both cases of the distance at which disthict vision 
can be exercised. Now this, according to the principles ol 
optics, that is, according to the laws by which the transmis- 
sion of light is regulated — and these laws are fixed — could 
not be done without the organ itself undergoing an alteration, 
and receiving an adjustment that might correspond with 
the exigency of the case, that is to say, with the different 
inclination to one another under which the rays of light 
reached it. Kays issuing from points placed at a small dis- 
tance from the eye, and which consequently must enter the 
eye in a spreading or diverging order, cannot, by the same 
optical instrument in the same state, be brought to a point, 
that is, be made to form an image in the same place, with 
rays proceeding from objects situated at a much greater dis- 


tance, anJ which rays arrive at the eye in directions nearly, 
(and physically speaking) parallel. It requires a rounder 
lens to do it. The point of concourse behind the lens must 
fall critically upon the retina, or the vision is confused ; yet 
other things remaining the same, this point, by the immuta 
bio ] roperties of light, is carried further back when the ray? 
proceed from a near object than when they are sent from 
one that is remote. A person who was using an optical 
instrument would manage this matter by changing, as the 
occasion required, his lens or his telescope, or by adjusting 
the distance of his glasses with his hand or his screw ; but 
how is this to be managed in the eye ? What the alteration 
was, or in what part of the eye it took place, or by what 
means it was effected — for if the known laws which govern 
the refraction of light be maintained, some alteration in the 
state of the organ there must be — had long formed a subject 
of inquiry and coiijecture. The change, though sufficient for 
the purpose, is so minute as to elude ordinary observation. 
Some very late discoveries, deduced from a laborious and 
most accurate inspection of the structure and operation of the 
i>rgan, seem at length to have ascertained the mechanical 
ulteration which the parts of the eye undergo. It is found, 
that by the action of ccrtaui muscles called the straight mus- 
cles,^' and which action is the most advantageous that could 
hi) imagined for the purpose — it is found, I say, that when- 
ever the eye is directed to a near object, three changes are 
produced in it at the same time, all severally contributing to 
the adj ustment required. The cornea or outermost coat of the 
eye is rendered more round and prominent, the crystalline 
lens underneath is pushed forward, and the axis of vision, 
* Plate L, Fig. 2. There are four straight muscles, a, a, belong to 
ihe globe of the eye, each arising from the bottom of the orbit, where 
they surround c, the optic nerve. They are strong and fleshy, and 
are inserted by broad thin tendons at the fore part of the globe of the 
eye into the tunica sclerotica. Their use is to turn the eye in differ- 
ent directions ; hence they .are severally named levator oculi, depres- 
sor oculi, adductor oculi, and abductor oculi. 

Nat. Theol. 2 


as the depth of the eye is called, is elongated. These changes 
in the eye vary its power over the rays of light in sucli a 
manner and degree as to produce exactly the effect which 
is wanted, namely, the formation of an image U'pon the reti' 
na, whether the rays come to the eye in a state of divergen- 
cy, which is the case when the object is near to the eye, or 
some parallel to one another, which is the case when the 
object is placed at a distance. Can any thing be more deci- 
sive of contrivance than this is ? The most secret laws of 
optics must have been known to the author of a structure 
endowed with such a capacity of change. It is as though an 
optician, when he had a nearer object to view, should rectify 
his instrument by putting in another glass, at the same tim.e 
drawing out also his tube to a different length. 

Observe a new-born child first lifting up its eyelids. What 
does the opening of the curtain discover ? The anterior part of 
two pellucid globes, which, when they come to be examined, 
are found to be constructed upon strict optical principles — 
the selfsame principles upon which we ourselves construct 
optical instruments. We find them perfect for the purpose 
of forming an image by refraction ; composed of parts exe- 
cuting different offices ; one part having fulfilled its office 
upon the pencil of light, delivering it over to the action oi 
another part ; that to a third, and so onward : the progressive 
action depending for its success upon the nicest and minut- 
est adjustm^ent of the parts concerned ; yet these parts so in 
fact adjusted as to produce, not by a simple action or effect, 
but by a combination of actions and effects, the result which 
is ultimately wanted. And forasmuch as this organ would 
have to operate under different circumstances, with strong 
degrees of light and with weak degrees, upon near objects 
ind upon remote ones, and these differences demanded, ac- 
cording to the laws by which the transmission of light is 
regulated, a corresponding diversity of structure — that the 
aperture, for example, through which the light passes should 
be larger or less — the lenses rounder or flatter, or that theii 


distance from the tablet upon which the picture is delineated 
should be shortened or lengthened — this, I say, being the 
case, ajid the difficulty to which the eye was to be adapted, 
we £.nd its several parts capable of being occasionally chang- 
ed, and a most artificial apparatus provided to produce that 
chaijge. This is far beyond the common regulator of a 
watch, which requires the touch of a foreign hand to set it ; 
but it is not altogether unlike Harrison's contrivance for 
making a watch regulate itself, by inserting within it a ma- 
chinery which, by the artful use of the different expansion of 
metals, preserves the equability of the motion under all the 
various temperatures of heat and cold in which the instru- 
ment may happen to be placed. The ingenuity of this last 
contrivance has been justly praised. Shall, therefore, a struc- 
ture which differs from it chiefly by surpassing it, be account- 
ed no contrivance at all ; or, if it be a contrivance, that it is 
without a contriver ? 

But this, though much, is not the whole : by different 
species of animals, the faculty we are describing is possessed 
in degrees suited to the diflerent range of vision which their 
mode of life and of procuring their food requires. Birds, for 
instance, in general, procure their food by means of their 
beak ; and the distance between the eye and the point o\ 
the beak being small, it becomes necessary that they should 
have the power of seeing very near objects distinctly. On 
the other hand, from being often elevated much above the 
ground, living in the air, and moving through it with great 
velocity, they require for their safety, as well as for assisting 
them in descrying their prey, a power of seeing at a great 
distance — a power of which, in birds of rapine, surprising 
examples are given. The fact accordingly is, that two pe- 
culiarities are found in the eyes of birds, both tending to fa- 
nlitate the change upon which the adjustment of the eye to 
different distances depends. The one is a bony, yet, in most 
species, a flexible rim or hoop, surrounding the broadest part 
of the eye, which confining the action of the muscles to that 


part, increases the effect of their lateral pressure upon the 
orb, by which pressure its axis is elongated for the purpose 
of looking at very near objects. The other is an additional 
muscle called the marsupium, to draw, on occasion, the 
crystalline lens back, and to fit the same eye for the viewing 
of very distant objects. By these means, the eyes of birds 
can pass from one extreme to another of their scale of adjust- 
ment, with more ease and readiness than the eyes of other 

The eyes oi fishes also, compared with those of terrestrial 
animals, exhibit certain distinctions of structure adapted to 
their state and element. We have already observed upon 
the figure of the crystalhne compensating by its roundness 
the density of the medium through which their light passes. 
To which we have to add, that the eyes of fish, in their nat- 
ural and indolent state, appear to be adjusted to near ob- 
jects, in this respect differing from the human eye, as well 
is those of quadrupeds and birds. The ordinary shape of 
the fish's eye being in a much higher degree convex than 
that of land animals, a corresponding difference attends its 
muscular conformation, namely, that it is throughout calcu- 
lated iox flatteiiing the eye. 

The iris also in the eyes of fish does not admit of con- 
traction. This is a great difference, of which the probable 
reason is, that the diminished light m water is never too 
strong for the retina. 

In the eel, which has to work its head through sand and 
gravel, the roughest and harshest substances, there is placed 
before the eye, and at some distance from it, a transparent, 
horny, convex case or covering, which, without obstructing 
the sight, defends the organ. To such an animal could any 
thing be more wanted or more useful ? 

Thus, in comparing the eyes of different kinds of animals, 
we see in their resemblances and distinctions one general 
plan laid down, and that plan varied with the varying exi 
gencies to which it is to be applied. 


There is one property however, common, I believe, to ail 
eyes, at least to all wliich have been examined,*" namely, 
that the optic nerve enters the bottom of the eye not in the 
centre or middle, but a Uttle on one side — not in the point 
where the axis of the eye meets the retina, but between that 
point and the nose. The difference which this makes is, 
that no part of an object is unperceived by both eyes at the 
same time. 

In considermg vision as achieved by the means of an 
image formed at the bottom of the eye, we can never reflect 
without wonder upon the smallness yet correctness of the 
picture, the subtilty of the touch, the fineness of the Hnes. 
A landscape of five or six square leagues is brought into a 
space of half an inch diameter, yet the multitude of objects 
which it contains are all preserved, are all discriminated in 
their magnitudes, positions, figures, colors. The prospect 
from Hampstead-hill is compressed into the compass of a 
sixpence, yet circumstantially represented. A stage-coach, 
travelling at an ordinary speed for half an hour, passes in 
the eye only over one-twelfth of an inch, yet is this change 
of place in the image distinctly perceived throughout its 
whole progress ; for it is only by means of that perception 
that the motion of the coach itself is made sensible to the 
eye. If any thing can abate our admiration of the small- 
ness of the visual tablet compared with the extent of vision, 
it is a reflection which the view of nature leads us every 
hour to make, namely, that in the hands of the Creator, 
great and little are nothing. 

Sturmius held that the examination of the eye was a 
cure for atheism. Besides that conformity to optical prin- 
ciples which its internal constitution displays, and which 
alone amounts to a manifestation of intelligence having been 
exerted in the structure — besides this, which forms, no doubt, 
the leading character of the organ, there is to be seen, in 

* The eye of the seal or sea-calf, I understand, is an sxception 
Dffem. Acad. Pari«?, 1710, p 123. 


every thing belonging to it and about it, an extraordinary 
degree of care, an anxiety for its preservation, due, if we 
may so speak, to its value and its tenderness. It is lodged 
in a strong, deep, bony socket, composed by the junction of 
seven different bones,* hollowed out at their edges. In some 
few species, as that of the coatimondi,t the orbit is not bony 
throughout ; but whenever this is the case, the upper, which 
is the deficient part, is supplied by a cartilaginous hgament, 
a substitution which shows the same care. Within this 
socket it is embedded in fat, of all animal substances the 
best adapted both to its repose and motion. It is sheltered 
by the eyebrows — an arch of hair which, like a thatched 
penthouse, prevents the sweat and moisture of the forehead 
from running down into it. 

But it is still better protected by its lid. Of the super- 
ficial parts of the animal frame, I know none which, in its 
office and structure, is more deserving of attention than the 
eyelid. It defends the eye ; it wipes it ; it closes it in sleep 
Are there in any work of art whatever, purposes more evi- 
dent than those which this organ fulfils ; or an apparatus 
for executing those purposes more intelligible, more appro- 
priate, or more mechanical ? If it be overlooked by the ob- 
server of nature, it can only be because it is obvious and 
familiar. This is a tendency to be guarded against. We 
pass by the plainest instances, while we are exploring those 
which are rare and curious ; by which conduct of the under- 
standing we sometimes neglect the strongest observations, 
being taken up with others which, though more recondite 
and scientific, are, as solid arguments, entitled to much less 

In order to keep the eye moist and clean — which quali^ 
ties are necessary to its brightness and its use — a wash ifc 
constantly supplied by a secretion for the purpose ; and the 
superfluous brine is conveyed to the nose through a perfora- 

* Heister, sect. 89. 

t Memoirs of the E^oyal Academy, Paris, p. 117. 


tion in the bone as large as a goose-quill.* When once the 
fluid has entered the nose, it spreads itself upon the inside o^ 
the nostril, and is evaporated by the current of warm aii 
which in the course of respiration is continually passing ovei 
it. Can any pipe or outlet for carrying off the waste liquoi 
from a dye-house or a distillery, be more mechanical than 
tliis is ? It is easily perceived that the eye must want moist- 
ure ; but could the want of the eye generate the gland which 
produces the tear, or bore the hole by which it is discharg- 
ed — a hole through a bone ? 

It is observable that this provision is not found in fish— 
the element in which they live supplying a constant lotion 
to the eye. 

It were, hoAvever, injustice to dismiss the eye as a piece 
of mechanism, without noticing that most exquisite of all 
contrivances, the nictitatiiig mcinbrane,\ which is found in 
the eyes of birds and of many quadrupeds. Its use is to 
sweep the eye, which it does in an instant — to spread over 
it the lachrymal humor — to defend it also from sudden inju- 
ries ; yet not totally, when drawn upon the pupil, to shut 
out the light. The commodiousness with which it lies fold- 
ed up in the inner corner of the eye, ready for use and ac- 
tion, and the quickness with which it executes its purpose, 
are properties known and obvious to every observer ; but 

* Plate I., Fig. 3. a, is the l(X(L'f^mal gland^ which supplies this 
fluid ; it is situated at the outer and upper part of the orbit of the 
eye, and secretes or separates tears from the blood. There are five or 
six ducts or tubes, 6, which convey this fluid to the globe of the eye, 
for the purpose of keeping it moist and facilitating its movements : 
the motion of the eyelid difl"uses the tears, and c, c, the puncta lachry- 
malia^ take up the superfluous moisture, which passes through rf, th<= 
lachrirnal sac and duct, into the nostril at e. 

t Plate I., Fig. 4. The nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, is 
a ^iiin, semitransparent fold of the conjunctive, which in a state of 
rfest lies in the inner corner of the eye, with its loose edge nearly ver- 
tical, but can be drawn out so as to cover the whole front of the eye- 
ball. By means of this membrane, according to Cuvier, the eagle is 
enabled to look at the sun. 


what is equally admirable, though not quite so obvious, is 
the combination of two kmds of substance, muscular and 
elastic, and of two different kinds of action, by which the 
motion of this membrane is performed. It is not, as in ordi- 
nary cases, by the action of two antagonist muscles — the one 
pulling forward and the other backward — ^that a reciprocal 
change is effected, but it is thus : the membrane itself is an 
elastic substance, capable of being drawn out by force like a 
piece of elastic gum, and by its own elasticity returning, 
when the force is removed, to its former position. Such be- 
ing its nature, in order to fit it up for its office,' it is connect- 
ed, by a tendon or thread, with a muscle in the back part of 
the eye : this tendon or thread, though strong, is so fine a? 
not to obstruct the sight even when it passes across it ; and 
the muscle itself being placed in the hack part of the eye, 
derives from its situation the advantage not only of being 
secure, but of being out of the way, which it would hardly 
have been in any position that could be assigned to it in the 
anterior part of the orb, where its function lies. "When the 
muscle behind the eye contracts, the membrane by means 
of the communicating thread is instantly drawn over the 
fore part of it. "VYhen the m.uscular contraction — which is 
a positive and most probably a voluntary effort — ceases to 
be exerted, the elasticity alone of the membrane brings it 
back again to its position.^ Does not this, if any thing can 
do it, bespeak an artist, master of his work, acquainted with 
his materials ? " Of a thousand other things," say the French 
academicians, " we perceive not the contrivance, because wo 
understand them only by their effects, of which we know not 
the causes ; but we here treat of a machine, all the parts 
whereof are visible, and which need only be looked upon to 
discover the reasons of its motion and action."! 

* Philosophical Transactions, 1796. 

\ Memoirs for a Natural History of Animals, by the Royal Acad- 
emy cf Sciences at Paris, done into English by order of the E,oyaJ So 
aieiy, 1701, p. 249. 


In the configuration of the muscle which, though placed 
behind the eye, draws the nictitating membrane over the 
eye, there is what the authors just now quoted deservedly 
call a marvellous mechanism. I suppose this structure to 
be found in other animals ; but in the memoirs from which 
this account is taken, it is anatomically demonstrated only 
in the cassowary. The muscle is passed through a loop 
formed by another muscle, and is there inflected as if it 
were round a pulley. This is a peculiarity — and observe 
the advantage of it. A single muscle with a straight ten- 
don, which is the common, muscular form, would have bee.n 
sufficient, if it had had power to draw far enough. But the 
contraction necessary to draw the membrane over the whole 
eye, required a longer muscle than could lie straight at the 
bottom of the eye. Therefore, in order to have a greater 
length in a less compass, the chord of the main ra,uscla 
makes an angle. This so far answers the end ; but still fur- 
ther, it makes an angle, not round a fixed pivot, but round 
a loop formed by another muscle, which second muscle, 
whenever it contracts, of course twitches the first muscle at 
the point of inflection, and thereby assists the action designed 
by both. 

One question may possibly have dwelt in the rea-der's 
mind during the perusal of these observations, namely. Why 
should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty oi 
vision at once ? "Why this circuitous perception ; the minis- 
try of so many means ; an element provided for the purpose ; 
reflected from opaque substances, refracted through trans- 
parent ones, and both according to precise laws ; then a 
complex organ, an intricate and artificial apparatus, in or- 
der, by the operation of this element and in conformity with 
the restrictions of these laws, to produce an image upon a 
membrane communicating with the brain ? WLerefore all 
this ? Why make the difficulty in order to surmount it ? li 
to perceive objects by some other mode than that of touch, 
or objects which lay out of the reach of that sense, were the 



tiling proposed, could not a simple volition of the Creator 
have communicated the capacity ? Why resort to contriv- 
ance where power is omnipotent ? Contrivance, hy its very 
definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To 
have recourse to expedients implies difficulty, impediment, 
restraint, defect of power. This question belongs to the other 
genses as well as to sight ; to the general functions of ani- 
mal life, as nutrition, secretion, respiration ; to the economy 
of vegetables — and indeed to almost all the operations of 
nature. The question, therefore, is of very wide extent ; and 
among other answers which may be given to it, besides 
reasons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is 
this : It is only by the display of contrivance that the ex- 
istence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity could be testi- 
fied to his rational creatures. This is the scale by which we 
ascend to all the knowledge of our Creator which we possess, 
so far as it depends upon the phenomena or the works of 
nature. Take away this, and you take away from us every 
subject of observation and ground of reasoning ; I mean, as 
our rational faculties are formed at present. Whatever is 
done, God could have done without the intervention of in- 
struments or means ; but it is in the construction of instru- 
ments, in the choice and- adaptation of means, that a crea- 
tive intelligence is seen. It is this which constitutes the 
order and beauty of the universe. God, therefore, has been 
pleased to prescribe limits to his own power, and to work his 
ends within those limits. The general laws of matter have 
perhaps prescribed the nature of these limits ; its inertia ; its 
reaction ; the laws which govern the communication of mo- 
tion, the refraction and reflection of light, and the constitu- 
tion of fluids non-elastic and elastic, the transmission of 
srand through the latter ; the laws of magnetism, of electri- 
city, and probably others yet undiscovered. These are gen- 
eral laws ; and when a particular purpose is to be eflected. 
it is not by making a new law, nor by the suspension of the 
old ones, nor by making them wind and bend, and yield tc 


the occasion — for nature with great steaditiess adheres to 
and supports them — but it is, as we have seen in the eye, 
by the interposition of an apparatus corresponding with these 
laws, and suited to the exigency which results from them, 
that the purpose is at length attained. As we have said. 
Iherefore, God prescribes limits to his power, that he may 
!et in the exercise and thereby exhibit demonstrations of his 
wisdom. For then — that is, such laws and limitations being 
laid down — it is as though one Being should have fixed cer- 
tain rules, and, if Ave may so speak, provided certain mate- 
rials, and afterwards have committed to another Being, 
out of these materials, and in subordination to these rules, 
the task of drawing forth a creation : a supposition which 
evidently leaves room and induces indeed a necessity for con- 
trivance. Nay, there may be many such agents, and many 
ranks of these. We do not advance this as a doctrine either 
of philosophy or of religion ; but we say that the subject may 
safely be represented under this view, because the Deity, 
acting himself by general laws, will have the same conse- 
quences upon our reasoning as if he had prescribed these 
laws to another. It has been said, that the problem of crea- 
tion was, " attraction and matter being given, to make a 
world out of them ;" and, as above explamed, this statement 
perhaps does not convey a false idea. 

We have mad) choice of the eye as an instance upon 
which to rest the argument of this chapter. Some smgle 
example was to be proposed, and the eye offered itself un- 
'ler the advantage of admitting of a strict comparison with 
optical instruments. The ear, it is probable, is no less arti- 
ficially and mechanically adapted to its office than the eye. 
Bu t we know less about it ; we do not so well understand 
the action, the use, or the mutual dependency of its internal 
parts. Its general form however, both external and inter- 
nal, is sufficient to show that it is an instrument adapted 
to the reception of sound; that is to say, already knowing 
that soimd consists in pulses of the air, we perceive in the 


structure of the ear a suitableness to receive impressions from 
this species of action, and to propagate these impressions to 
the brain. For of what does this structure consist ? An ex- 
ternal ear, the concha,* calculated, like an ear-trumpet, to 
catch and collect the pulses of which we have spoken ; in 
large quadrupeds turning to the sound, and possessing a con 
figuration as well as motion evidently fitted for the office 
of a tube which leads into the head, lying at the root of this 
outward ear, the folds and sinuses thereof tending and con- 

* Plate I., Fig. 5. a, the tube leading from the external ear ; hav- 
ing little glands to secrete the wax, and hairs standing across it to 
exclude msects without impeding the vibrations of the atmosphere ; 
6, the membrane of the tympanum^ drawn into the form of a furmel by 
the attachment of the malleus ; c, the chain of four bones lying in the 
irregular cavity of the t}'mpanum, and comnaunicating the vibrations 
of the membrane b to the fluid in the labyrinth; d, the eustachian 
tube, which forms a communication between the throat and the tym- 
panum, so as to. preserve an equilibrium of the air in the cavity of the 
tympanmn and of the atmosphere : e, f, g, the labyrinth — consisting 
of a central cavity, the vestibule g-, the three semicircular canals f, and 
the cochlea J". 

Beginning from the left hand, (see also Fig. 6,) we have the mat 
lexis or hammer, the first of the chain of bones ; we see its long han 
die or process, which is attached to the membrane of the tympanum, 
and moves as that vibrates ; its other end is enlarged, and has a groove 
upon it which is articulated with the next bone. This second bone is 
the incus or anvil, to the grooved surface of which the malleus is at- 
tached. A long process extends from this bone, which has upon it 
the OS orbiculare; to this third bone there is attached a fourth, the 
stapes, which is in shape like a stirrup-iron. The base of this bone is 
of an oval shape, and rests upon a membrane which closes the hole 
leading into the labyrinth. Tliis hole is called the foramen ovale. 
The plan of the cochlea shows that one of its spiral passages, begin- 
ning in the vestibule e, winds round the pillar till it meets in a point 
with another tube. If the eye follows this second spiral tube, it will 
be found to lead, not into the vestibule, but into the irregular cavity 
of the tympanum. Sounds striking against the membrane of the 
tyxnpanimi, are propagated by means of the foiu small bones to the 
water contained in the cavities of the labyrinth ; and by means of this 
water the impression is conveyed to the extremities of the auditory 
nerve and finally to the brain. 


ducting the air towards it : of a thin membrane hke the 
pelt of a drum stretched across this passage upon a bony 
rim : of a chain of movable and infinitely curious bones, 
forming a communication, and the only communication that 
can be observed, between the membrane last mentioned and 
the interior channels and recesses of the skull : of cavities 
similar in shape and form to wind instruments of music, be 
ing spiral or portions of circles : of the eustachian tube, like 
the hole in a drum, to let the air pass freely into and out ol 
the barrel of the ear, as the covering membrane viio'ates, or 
as the temperature may be altered: the whole labyrinth 
hewn out of a rock ; that is, wrought into the substance of 
the hardest bone of the body. This assemblage of connected 
parts constitutes together an apparatus plainly enough rela- 
tive to the transmission of sound, or of the impulses received 
from sound, and only to be lamented in not being better 

The communication within, formed by the small bones 
of the ear, is, to look upon, more like what we are accus- 
tomed to call machinery, than any thing I am acquainted 
with in animal bodies. It seems evidently designed to con- 
tinue towards the sensorium the tremulous motions which 
are excited in the membrane of the tympanum, or what is 
better known by the name of the ** drum of the ear." The 
compages of bones consists of four, which are so disposed, 
and so hinge upon one another, as that if the membrane, the 
drum of the ear, vibrate, all the four are put in motion to- 
gether ; and, by the result of their action, work the base of 
that which is the last in the series upon an aperture which 
it closes, and upon which it plays, and which aperture opens 
into the tortuous canals that lead to the brain. This last 
bene of the four is called the stajoes. The office of the drum 
of the ear is to spread out an extended surface capable of 
receiving the unpressions of sound, and of being put by ther.i 
into a state of vibration. The office of the stapes is to re- 
peat these vibrations. It is a repeating frigate, stationed 


more within the line. From which account of its action 
may be understood how the sensation of sound will be excit- 
ed by any thing which communicates a vibratory motion to 
the stapes, though not, as in all ordinary cases, through the 
intervention of the membrana tympani. This is done by 
solid bodies applied to the bones of the skull, as by a metal 
bar holden at one end between the teeth, and touching at 
the other end a tremulous body. It likewise appears to be 
done, in a considerable degree, by the air itself, even when 
this membrane, the drum of the ear, is greatly damaged. 
Either in the natural or preternatural state of the organ, the 
use of the chain of bones is to propagate the impulse in a 
direction towards the brain, and to propagate it with the 
advantage of a lever ; which advantage consists in increas- 
ing the force and strength of the vibration, and at the same 
time diminishing the space through which it oscillates ; both 
of which changes may augment or facilitate the still deeper 
action of the auditory nerves. 

The benefit of the eustachian tube to the organ may be 
made out upon pneumatic principles. Behind the drum of 
the ear is a second cavity, or barrel, called the tympanum. 
The eustachian tube is a slender pipe, but sufficient for the 
passage of air, leading from this cavity into the back pa:t of 
the mouth. Now, it would not have done to have had a 
vacuum in this cavity ; for in that case the pressure of the 
atmosphere from without would have burst the membrane 
which covered it. Nor would it have done to have filled 
the cavity with lymph, or any other secretion, which would 
necessarily have obstructed both the vibration of the mem- 
brane and the play of the small bones. Nor, lastly, would 
it have done to have occupied the space with confined air, 
because the expansion of that air by heat, or its contraction 
by cold, would have distended or relaxed the covering mem- 
brane in a degree inconsistent with the purpose which it 
was designed to execute. The only remaining expedient, 
and that for which the eustachian tube serves, is to open 


to this cavity a communication with the external air. In 
one word, it exactly answers the purpose of the hole in a 

The membrana tympani itself, likewise, deserves all the 
examination which can be made of it. It is not found :ji 
the ears of fish ; which furnishes an additional proof of what 
indeed is indicated by every thing about it, that it is appio- 
priated to the action of air, or of an elastic medium. It 
bears an obvious resemblance to the pelt or head of a drum, 
from which it takes its name. It resembles also a drum- 
head in tliis principal property, that its use depends upon its 
tension Tension is the state essential to it. Now we know 
that, in a drum, the pelt is carried over a hoop, and braced 
as occasion requires, by the means of strings attached to its 
circumference. In the membrane of the ear the same pur- 
pose is provided for more simply, but not less mechanically 
nor less successfully, by a difierent expedient, namely, by 
the end of a bone — the handle of the malleus — pressing upon 
its centre. It is only in very large animals that the texture 
of this membrane can be discerned. In the Philosophical 
Transactions for the year 1800, vol. 1, Mr. Everard Home 
has given some curious observations upon the ear, and the 
drum of the ear of an eleiiliant. He discovered in it what 
he calls a radiated muscle — that is, straight muscular fibres 
passing along the membrane from the circumference to the 
centre — from the bony rim which surrounds it towards the 
handle of the malleus, to which the central part is attached. 
This muscle he supposes to be designed to bring the mem- 
brane into unison with difierent sounds ; but then he also dis- 
covered that this muscle itself cannot act, unless the mem- 
brane be drawn to a stretch, and kept in a due state of tight- 
ness by what may be called a foreign force, namely, the 
action of the muscles of the malleus. Supposing his expla- 
nation of the use of the parts to be just, our author is weL 
founded in the reflection which he makes upon it, "that 
this mode of adapting the ear to different sounds, is one of 


the most beautiful applications of muscles iii the body ; tJie 
mccha?tism is so si?7ijjle, and the variety of effects so greaty 

In another volume of the Transactions above referred to, 
and of the same year, two most curious cases are related of 
persons wYio retained the sense of hearing, not in a perfect 
but in a very considerable degree, notw^ithstanding the al- 
most total loss of the membrane we have been describing 
Tn one of these cases, the use here assigned to that raiem- 
brane, of modifying the impressions of sound by change ol 
tension, was attempted to be supplied by straining the mus- 
cles of the outward ear. " The external ear," we are told, 
"had acquired a distinct motion upward and backward, 
which was observable whenever the patient listened to any 
thing which he did not distinctly hear : when he was ad- 
dressed in a v/hisper, the ear was seen immediately to 
move ; when the tone of voice was louder, it then remained 
altogether motionless." 

It appears probable, from both these cases, that a collat- 
eral if not principal use of the membrane is to cover and 
protect the barrel of the ear which lies behind it. Both the 
patients sufiered from cold : one, " a great increase of deaf- 
ness from catching cold ;" the other, " very considerable pain 
from exposure to a stream of cold air." Bad effects there- 
fore followed from this cavity being left open to the external 
air ; yet, had the Author of nature shut it up by any other 
cover than what was capable, by its texture, of receiving 
vibrations from sound, and by its connection with the inte- 
rior parts, of transmitting those vibrations to the brain, the 
use of the organ, so far as we can judge, must have been 
entirely obstructed 





The generation of the animal no more accounts for the 
contrivance of the eye or ear, than, upon the supposition 
stated in a preceding chapter, the production of a watch 
by the motion and mechanism of a former watch, would ac- 
count for the skill and attention evidenced in the watch so 
produced — than it would account for the disposition of the 
wheels, the catcliing of their teeth, the relation of the sev- 
eral parts of the works to one another, and to their common 
end — for the suitableness of their forms and places to theii 
offices, for their comiection, their operation, and the useful 
result of that operation. I do insist most strenuously upon 
the correctness of this comparison ; that it holds as to every 
mode of specific propagation ; and that whatever was true 
of the watch, under the hypothesis above-mentioned, is true 
of plants and aiiimals. 

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 nu- 
trition, or whatever else it be, it encloses 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 mechariical 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^ suit- 
ed to the production of another watch, was, in truth, the 
maker and contriver of that other watch. All the proper- 
ties 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 work 
mansliip. In producing it by the intervention of a formei 
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 hke without un- 
derstanding or design — both, that is, instruments ? 

11. From plants we may proceed to oviparous animals— 
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 no 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 
camiot 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 apprized 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 betv/een 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 animal function and the veg- 
etable 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 wliich a joiner does to the chair 


which he makes. Now a cause which bears this relatioii 
to the efiect, is what we want, in order to account for the 
suitableness of means to an end — the fitness and fitting ol 
one thing to another ; and this cause the parent plant cr 
animal does not supply. 

It is further observable concerning the propagation o.^ 
plants and animals, that the apparatus employed exhibits 
no resemblance to the thing produced ; in this respect, hold- 
ing an analogy with instruments and tools of art. The 
filaments, antherse, 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 a chair. "What then are the filaments, antherse, 
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 tharn 
the irrational animal ; a man than a quadruped, a quadru- 
ped 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 ob- 
serve ; if it be demanded, whence arose either the contriv- 
ance by which the young animal is produced, or the con- 
trivance 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 in 
which a gardener is the cause of the tulip which groA\-s upon 
liis parterre, and in no other. "We admire the ffower ; wo 
examine the plant ; we perceive the conduciveness of many 


of its parts to their end and office ; we observe a provision 
for its nourishment, grow^th, 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 struct- 
ure of the thing produced, we Want a contriver. The par- 
ent is not that contriver ; his consciousness decides that ques- 
tion. 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 con- 
formation of an acorn to the intelligence of the oak from 
which it dropped, or the structure of the watch to the intel- 
ligence of the watch which produced it ; there being no 
difference, as far as argument is concerned, between an ia- 
telligence which is not exerted, and an intelligence which 
does not exist. 




Every observation wliich 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, 

I. When we are inquiring simply after the existence of 
an intelligent Creator, imperfection, inaccuracy, liability to 
disorder, occasional irregularities, may subsist in a consider- 
able degree without inducing any doubt into the question ; 
just as a watch may frequently go Avrong, 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 pur- 
pose ascribed to it. When faults are pointed out, and when 
a question is started concerning the skill of the artist, or the 
dexterity with which the work is executed, then, indeed, in 
order to defend Ihese qualities from accusation, we must be 
able, either to expose some intractableness and imperfection 
in the materials, or point out some invincible difhculty in 
the execution, into which imperfection 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, m the case before him, of im- 
pediments 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 per- 
fection of it ; as we must also judge of his 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 diiTerent questions from the question of the artist's exiffi- 
ence ; 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 hkewise it is in the workn 
of nature Irregularities and imperfections are of little or 
no weight in the consideration, when that consideration re- 
lates simply to the existence of a Creator. When the argu- 
ment 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. 

11. 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 unknown. 
These form different cases ; for the operation may be un- 
known, yet the use be certain. Thus it is with the lungs 
of animals. It does not, I think, appear that we are ac- 
quainted with the action of the air upon the blood, or in 
what manner that action is communicated by the lungs ; 
yet we find that a very short suspension of their office de- 
stroys the life of the animal. In this case, therefore, we 
may be said to know the use, nay, we experience the neces- 
sity 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 possi- 
bly also be some few examples of the second class, in Avhich 
not only the operation is unknown, but in which experi- 


ments may seem to prove that the part is not necessary ; oi 
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 spleen, which has been extracted from dogs with- 
out any sensible injury to their vital functions. Instances 
of the former kind, namely, in which we cannot explain the 
operation, may be numerous ; for they will be so in propor- 
tion to our ignorance. They will be more or fewer to difier- 
ent persons, and in different stages of science. Every im- 
provement of knowledge diminishes their number. There 
is hardly, perhaps, a year passes that does not, in the works 
of nature, bring some operatic*!}, or some mode of operation, 
to light, which was before undiscovered — probably unsus- 
pected. Instances of the second kind, namely, where the 
part appears to be totally useless, I believe to be extremely 
rare ; compared with the number of those of which the use 
is evident, they are beneath any assignable proportion, and 
perhaps have been never submitted to a trial and examina- 
tion sufficiently accurate, long enough continued, or often 
enough repeated. No accounts which I have seen are sat- 
isfactory. The mutilated animal may live and grow fat — 
as was the case of the dog deprived of its spleen — yet may 
be defective in some other of its functions, which, whether 
they can all, or in what degree of vigor and perfection, be 
performed, or how long preserved without the extirpated, 
organ, does not seem to be ascertained by experiment. But 
to this case, even were it fully made out, may be applied 
the consideration which we suggested concerning the watch, 
namely, tlmt these superffuous parts do not negative the 
reasoning which we instituted concerning those parts which 
are useful, and of which we know the use ; the indication of 
contrivance, with respect to them, remains as it was before. 
III. One atheistic way of replying to our observations 
upon the works of nature, and to the proofs of a Deity whicli 
we think that we perceive in them, is to tell us that all 
whidi wc sec must necessarily have had some form, and 


that it might as well be its present form as any other. Let 
us now apply this answer to the eye, as we did before to the 
watch. Something or other must have occupied that place 
in the animal's head — must have filled up, as we say, that 
socket : we will say, also, that it must have been of that sort 
of substance which we call animal substance, as flesh, bone, 
membrane, or cartilage, etc. But that it should have been 
an eye, knowing as we do what an eye comprehends, name- 
ly, that it should have consisted, first, of a series of transpar- 
ent lenses — very difierent, by the by, even in their substance, 
from the opaque materials of which the rest of the body is, 
In general at least, composed, and with which the whole of 
its surface, this single portion of it excepted, is covered : 
secondly, of a black cloth or canvas — the only membrane 
in the body which is black — spread out behind these lenses, 
60 as to receive the image formed by pencils of light trans 
mitted through them ; and placed at the precise geometricaJ 
distance at which, and at which alone, a distinct image 
could be formed, namely, at the concourse of the refracted 
rays : thirdly, of a large nerve communicating between this 
membrane and the brain ; without which, the action of light 
upon the membrane, however modified by the organ, would 
be lost to the purposes of sensation : that this fortunate con- 
formation of parts should have been the lot, not of one 
individual out of many thousand individuals, hke the great 
prize in a lottery, or like some singularity in nature, but the 
happy chance of a whole species ; nor of one species out of 
many thousand species with which we are acquainted, but 
of by far the greatest number of all that exist, and that 
under varieties not casual or capricious, but bearing marks 
of being suited to their respective exigences : that all this 
should have taken place, merely because something must 
have occupied these points on every animal's forehead ; or, 
that all this should be thought to be accounted for by the 
short answer, that " whatever was there must have had 
gome form or other," is too absurd to be made more so by 


any argumentation. We are not contented with this an> 
swer ; we find no satisfaction in it, by way of accounting 
for appearances of organization far short of those of the eye, 
such as we observe in fossil shells, petrified bones, or other 
substances which bear the vestiges of animal or vegetable 
recrements, but which, either in respect to utility or of the 
/lituation in which they are discovered, may seem accidental 
enough. It is no way of accounting even for these things, 
to say that the stone, for instance, which is shown to us — 
supposing the question to be concerning a petrifaction — must 
have contained some internal conformation or other. Nor 
does it mend the answer to add, with respect to the singu- 
larity of the conformation, that after the event, it is no lon- 
ger to be computed what the chances were against it. This 
is' always to be computed when the question is, whether a 
useful or imitative conformation be the produce of chance or 
not : I desire no greater certainty in reasoning than that by 
which chance is excluded from the present disposition of the 
natural world. Universal experience is against it. What 
does chance ever do for us? In the human body, for in- 
stance, chance, that is, the operation of causes without de- 
sign, may produce a wen, a wart, a mole, a pimple, but 
never an eye. Among inanimate substances, a clod, a peb- 
ble, a liquid drop might be ; but never was a watch, a tele- 
scope, an organized body of any kind, answering a valuable 
purpose by a complicated mechanism, the effect of chance. 
In no assignable instance has such a thing existed without 
intention somewhere. 

IV. There is another answer which has the same effect 
as th,e resolving of things mto chance ; which answer would 
pvjrsuade us to believe that the eye, the animal to which it 
Lelongs, every other animal, every plant, indeed every or- 
ganized body which we see, are only so many out of th(5 
possible varieties and combinations of being which the lapse 
of infinite ages has brought into existence ; that the present 
world is the relic of that variety ; millions of other bodily 


forms and other species having perished, being, by the de* 
feet of their constitution, incapable of preservation, or of 
continuance by generation. 'Now there is no foundation 
whatever for this conjecture in any thing which we observe 
in the works of nature ; no such experiments are going on 
at present — no such energy operates as that which is hero 
supposed, and which should be constantly pushing into ex- 
istence new varieties of beings. Nor are there any appear- 
ances to support an opinion, that every possible combination 
of vegetable or animal structure has formerly been tried. 
Multitudes of conformations, both of vegetables and animals, 
may be conceived capable of existence and succession, which 
yet do not exist. Perhaps almost as many forms of plants 
might have been found in the fields as figures of plants can 
be dehneated upon paper. A countless variety of animals 
might have existed which do not exist. Upon the suppo- 
sition here stated, we should see unicorns and mermaids, 
sylphs and centaurs, the fancies of painters, and the fables 
of poets, realized by examples. Or, if it be alleged that 
these may transgress the bounds of possible life and propa- 
gation, we might at least have nations of human beings 
without nails upon their fingers, with more or fewer fingers 
and toes than ten, some with one eye, others with one ear. 
with one nostril, or without the sense of smelling at all. 
All these, and a thousand other imaginable varieties, might 
live and propagate. "VYe may modify any one species many 
different ways, all consistent with life, and with the actions 
necessary to preservation, although affording different de- 
grees of conveniency and enjoyment to the animal. And if 
we carry these modifications through the different species 
vvhicl". are known to subsist, their number would be incal- 
5ulabl '., No reason can be given why, if these deperdits 
ever existed, they have now disappeared. Yet, if all possi- 
ble existences have been tried, they m.ust have formed pari 
of the catalogue. 

But moreover, ^he division of organized substances into 


animals and vegetables, and the distribution and subdistri- 
bution of each into genera and species, which distribution is 
not an arbitrary act of the mind, but founded in the order 
which prevails in external nature, appear to me to contra- 
dict the supposition of the present world being the remains 
afar, indefinite variety of existences — of a variety which re- 
jects all plan. The hypothesis teaches, that every possible 
variety of being hath, at one time or other, found its way 
into existence — by what cause or in what manner is not 
said: — and that those which were badly formed perished ; but 
how or Avhy those which survived should be cast, as we see 
that plants and animals are cast, into regular classes, the 
hypothesis does not explain ; or rather the hypothesis is in- 
consistent with this phenomenon. 

The hypothesis, indeed, is hardly deserving of the con- 
sideration which we have given to it. What should we 
think of a man who, because we had never ourselves seen 
watches, telescopes, stocking-mills, steam-engines, etc., made, 
knew not how they were made, nor could prove by testimo- 
ny when they were made, or by whom, would have us be- 
lieve that these machines, instead of deriving their curious 
structures from the thought and design of their inventois 
and contrivers, in truth derive them from no other origin 
than this ; namely, that a mass of metals and other mate- 
rials having run, when melted, into all possible figures, and 
combined themselves in all possible forms and shapes and 
proportions, these things which we see are what were left 
from the incident, as best worth preserving, and as such are 
become the remaining stock of a magazine which, at one 
time or other, has by this means contained every mechan- 
ism, useful and useless, convenient and inconvenient, into 
which such like materials could be thrown ? I cannot dis 
tinguisli the hypothesis, as applied to the works of nature, 
from this solution, which no one would accept as applied to 
a collection of machines 

V. To the marks of contrivance discoverable in animal 


bodies, and to the argument deduced from them in proof of 
design and of a designing Creator, this turn is sometimes 
attempted to be given, namely, that the parts were not in- 
tended for the use, but that the use arose out of the parts. 
This distinction is intelhgible. A cabinet-maker rubs his 
mahogany with fish-skin ; yet it would be too much to assert 
that the skin of the dog-fish was made rough and granulat- 
ed on purpose for the polishing of wood, and the use of cab- 
inet-makers. Therefore the distinction is intelligible. But 
I think that there is very little place for it in the works of 
nature. When roundly and generally affirmed of them, as 
it hath sometimes been, it amounts to such another stretch 
of assertion as it would be to say, that all the implements 
of the cabinet-maker's workshop, as well as his fish-skin, 
were substances accidentally configurated, which he had 
picked up and converted to his use ; that his adzes, saws, 
planes, and gimlets, were not made, as we suppose, to hew, 
cut, smooth, shape out, or bore wood with, but that, these 
tilings being made, no matter with what design, or whether 
with any, the cabinet-maker perceived that they were appli- 
cable to his purpose, and turned them to account. 

But, again, so far as this solution is attempted to be 
ipplied to those parts of animals the action of which does 
-!ot depend upon the will of the animal, it is fraught with 
still more evident absurdity. Is it possible to believe that 
the eye was formed without any regard to vision ; that it 
was the animal itself which found out that, though formed 
with no such intention, it would serve to see with ; and that 
the use of the eye as an organ of sight resulted from this 
discovery, and the animal's application of it ? The same 
question may be asked of the ear ; the same of all the senses 
None of the senses fundamentally depend upon the election 
jf the animal ; consequently neither upon his sagacity nor 
his experience. It is the impression which objects make 
upon them that constitutes their use. Under that impres 
sion he is passive. He may bring objects to the sense, 07 


mthin its reach ; he may select these objects ; but over the 
impression itself he has no power, or very little ; and thai 
properly is the sense. — *^ 

Secondly, there are many parts of animal bodies which 
seem to depend upon the will of the animal in a greater 
degree than the senses do, and yet with respect to which 
this solution is equally unsatisfactory. If we apply the so- 
lution to the human body, for instance, it forms itself into 
questions upon which no reasonable mind can doubt : such 
as, whether the teeth were made expressly for the mastica 
tion of food, the feet for walking, the hands for holding ; oi 
whether, these things as they are being in fact in the ani- 
mal's possession, his own ingenuity taught him that they 
were convertible to these purposes, though no such purposes 
were contemplated in their formation. 

All that there is of the appearance of reason in this way 
of considering the subject is, that, in some cases, the organ- 
ization seems to determine the habits of the animal, and its 
choice to a particular mode of life ; which, in a certain 
sense, may be called " the use arising out of the part." Now, 
to all the instances in which there is any place for this sug- 
gestion, it may be replied, that the organization determines 
the animal to habits beneficial and salutary to itself; and 
that this effect would not be seen so regularly to follow, if 
the several organizations did not bear a concerted and con- 
trived relation to the substance by which the animal was 
surrounded. They would, otherwise, be capacities without 
objects — powers without employment. The web-foot deter- 
mines, you say, the duck to swim ; but what would that 
avail if there were no water to swim in ? The strong hook- 
ed bill and sharp talons of one species of bird determine it 
to prs'y upon animals ; the soft straight bill and weak claws 
of another species determine it to pick up seeds ; but neither 
determination could take effect in providing for the suste- 
nance of the birds, if animal bodies and vegetable seeds did 
not lie Avithin their reach. The peculiar conformation of 


the bil! and tongue and claws* of the woodpecker deter 
mines tliat bird to search for his food among the insects 
lodged behind the bark or in the wood of decayed trees ; but 
what would this profit him if there were no trees, no de- 
cayed trees, no insects lodged under their bark or in thei? 
trunk ? The proboscis with which the bee is furnished de- 
termines him to seek for honey ; but what would that sig- 
nify if flowers supplied none ? Faculties thrown down upon 
animals at random, and without reference to the objects 
amidst which they are placed, would not produce to them 
the services and benefits which we see ; and if there ""^ that 
reference, then there is intention. 

Lastly, the solution fails entirely when applied to plauts. 
The parts of plants answer their uses without any concur- 
rence from the will or choice of the plant. 

VI. Others have chosen to refer every thing to a j^^rz/Z 
ciple of order in nature. A principle of order is the word ; 
but what is meant by a principle of order as different from 
an intelligent Creator, has not been explained either by defi- 
nition or example ; and without such explanation, it should 
seem to be a mere substitution of words for reasons, names 
for causes. Order itself is only the adaptation of means to 
an end : a principle of order, therefore, can only signify the 
mind and intention which so adapts them. Or, wcio it 
capable of being explained in any other sense, is there any 
experience, any analogy, to sustain it ? "Was a watch ever 
produced by a principle of order ; and why might not a 
watch be so produced as well as an eye ? 

Furthermore, a principle of order, acting blindly and 
without choice, is negatived by the observation that order is 
not universal, which it would be if it issued from a constant 
and necessary principle ; nor indiscriminate, which it would 
be if it issued from an unintelligent principle. "VThere oidet 

* The claws are st'ong and hooked ; and, as in all clunbing birds, 
tave two toes placed forwards and two backwards, by which th'jy 
take a firm hold of the bark of trees. See Plate V., Fig. 3. 


is wanted, there we find it ; where order is not wanted, that 
is, where, if it prevailed, it would be useless, there we do 
not find it. In the structure of the eye — for we adhere to 
our example — in the figure and position of its several parts, 
the most exact order is maintained. In the forms of rocks 
and mountains, in the lines which bound the coasts of con 
tinents and islands, hi the shape of bays and promontories, 
n^ order whatever is perceived, because it would have been 
superfluous. No useful purpose would have arisen from 
moulding rocks and mountains into regular solids, bounding 
the channel of the ocean by geometrical curves ; or from the 
map of the world resembling a table of diagrams in Euclid's 
Elements or Simpson's Conic Sections. 

VIL Lastly, the confidence which we place in our ob- 
servations upon the works of nature, in the marks which we 
discover of contrivance, choice, and design, and in our rea- 
soning upon the proofs afforded us, ought not to be shaken, 
as it is sometimes attempted to be done, by bringing forward 
to our view our own ignorance, or rather the general imper- 
fection of our knowledge of nature. Nor, in many cases, 
ought this consideration to affect us, even when it respects 
some parts of the subject immediately under our notice. 
True fortitude of understanding consists in not suHering 
what we know to be disturbed by what we do not know. 
If we perceive a useful end, and means adapted to that end, 
we perceive enough for our conclusion. If these things be 
clear, no matter what is obscure. The argument is finished. 
For instance, if the utility of vision to the animal which 
enjoys it, and the adaptation of the eye to this office, be evi- 
dent and certain — and I can mention nothing which is more 
so — ought it to prejudice the inference which we draAv from 
these premises, that we cannot explain the use of the spleen. ? 
Nay, more, if there be parts of the eye, namely, the cornea, 
the crystalline, tiie retina, in tneir substance, figure and po- 
sition, manifestly suited to the formation of an image by 
tlie refraction of rays of light, at least as manifestly as the 

56 NATlrilAL THEOLOai. 

glasses and tubes of a dioptric telescope are suited to thaV 
purpose, it concerns not the proof which these afford of de- 
sign, and of a designer, that there may perhaps be ether 
parts, certain muscles, for instance, or nerves in the same 
eyC; of the agency or effect of which we can give no ac- 
count, any more than we should be inclined to doubt, oi 
ought to doubt, about the construction of a telescope, name- 
ly, for what purpose it was constructed, or whether it was 
constructed at all, because there belonged to it certain screws 
and pins, the use or action of which we did not comprehend. 
I take it to be a general way of infusing doubts and scruples 
into the mind, to recur to its own ignorance, its own imbe- 
cility — to tell us that upon these subjects we know little ; 
that little imperfectly ; or rather, that we knoAV nothing 
properly about the matter. These suggestions so fall in 
with our consciousness as sometimes to produce a general 
distrust of our faculties and our conclusions. But this is an 
unfounded jealousy. The uncertamty of one thmg does not 
necessarily aflect the certainty of another thing. Our igno 
ranee of many points need not suspend our assurance of a 
few. Before we yield, in any particular instance, to the 
scepticism which this sort of insinuation would induce, wo 
ought accurately to ascertain whether our ignorance oi 
doubt concern those precise points upon which our conclu- 
sion rests. Other points are nothing. Our ignorance ol 
other points may be of no consequence to these, though they 
be points, in various respects, of great importance. A just 
reasoner removes from his consideration not only what he 
knows, but what he does not know, touching matters not 
strictly connected with his argument, that is, not forming 
the very steps of his deduction : beyond these, his knoA\ ledge 
and his ignorance are alike relative. 




Were there no example in the world of contrivance 
except that of the eye, it would be alone sufficient to sup- 
port the conclusion which we draw from it, as to the neces* 
sity of an intelligent Creator. It could never be got rid of, 
because it could not be accounted for by any other supposi 
tion which did not contradict all the principles we possess 
of knowledge — the principles according to v/hich things do, 
as often as they can be brought to the test of experience, 
turn out to be true or false. Its coats and humors, con- 
structed as the lenses of a telescope are constructed, for the 
refraction of rays of light to a point, which forms the proper 
action of the organ ; the provision in its muscular tendons 
for turning its pupil to the object, similar to that which is 
given to the telescope by screws, and upon which power of 
direction in the eye the exercise of its office as an optical 
instrument depends ; the further provision for its defence, 
for its constant lubricity and moisture, which we see in its 
socket and its lids, in its glands for the secretion of the mat- 
ter of tears, its outlet or communication with the n©se for 
carrying off the liquid after the eye is washed with it ; these 
provisions compose altogether an apparatus, a system oi 
parts, a preparation of means, so manifest in their design, 
so exquisite in their contrivance, so successful in their issue, 
so precious, and so infinitely beneficial in their use, as, in 
my opinion, to bear down all doubt that can be raised upon 
the subject. And what I wish, under the title of the pres- 
ent chapter; to observe, is, that if other parts of nature were 
inaccessible to our inquiries, or even if other parts of nature 
presented nothing to our examination but disorder and con- 
fusion, the validity of this example would remain the same. 
If there M'ere but one watch in the world, it would not be 
less certain that it had a maker. If we had novor in our 


lives seen any but one single kind of hydraulic machine, yet 
if of that one kind we understood the mechanism and use, 
we should be as perfectly assured that it proceeded from the 
hand and thought and skill of a workman, as if we visited a 
museum of the arts, and saw collected there twenty different 
kinds of machines for drawing water, or a thousand different 
kinds for other purposes. Of this point each machine is a 
proof independently of all the rest. So it is with the eviden- 
ces of a divine agency. The proof is not a conclusion which 
lies at the end of a chain of reasoning, of which chain each 
instance of contrivance is only a link, and of which, if one 
link fail, the whole falls ; but it is an argument separately 
supplied by every separate example. An error in stating 
an example affects only that example. The argument is cu- 
mulative, in the fullest sense of that term The eye proves 
it without the ear ; the ear without the eye. The proof in 
each example is complete ; for when the design of the part, 
and the conduciveness of its structure to that design is shown, 
the mind may set itself at rest ; no future consideration can 
detract any thing from the force of the example. 




It i? not that every part of an animal or vegetable has 
not proceeded from a contriving mind ; or that every part is 
not constructed with a view to its proper end and purpose, 
according to the laws belonging to, and governing the sub- 
stance or the action made use of in that part ; or that each 
part is not so constructed as to effectuate its purpose while 
it operates according to these laws ; but it is because thfese 
laws themselves are not in all cases equally understood, or, 
what amounts to nearly the same thing, are not equally ex- 
emplified in more simple processes and more simple n^a- 
chines, that we lay down the distinction here proposed, be- 
tween the mechanical and imniechanical parts of animals. 

For instance, the principle of muscular motion, namely, 
upon what cause the swelling of the belly of the muscle, 
and consequent contraction of its tendons, either by an act 
of the will, or by involuntary irritation, depends, is wholly 
unknown to us. The substance employed, whether it be 
fluid, gaseous, elastic, electrical, or none of these, or nothing 
resembling these, is also unknown to us : of course, the laws 
belonging to that substance, and which regulate its action, 
are unknown to us. We see nothing similar to this contrac- 
tion in any machine which we can make, or any process 
which we can execute. So far, it is confessed, we are in 
ignorance, but no farther. This power and principle, from 
whatever cause it proceeds, being assumed, the collocation 
of the fibres to receive the principle, the disposition of the 
muscles for the use and application of the power, is mechan- 
ical, and is as intelhgible as the adjustment of the wires 
and strings by which a puppet is moved. "VYc see, there- 
fore, as far as respects the subject before us, Avhat is not me 


chamcal hi the animal frame, and what is. The nervoujs 
influence — for we are often obliged to give names to things 
which we know little about — I say, the nervous influence, 
by which the belly or middle of the muscle is swelled, is not 
mechanical. The utility of the effect we perceive — the 
means, or the preparation of means, by which it is produced, 
we do not. But obscurity as to the origin of muscular mo- 
tion brings no doubtfulness into our observations upon the 
sequel of the process ; w^hich observations relate, first, to the 
constitution of the muscle, in consequence of which consti- 
tution, the swelling of the belly or middle part is necessarily 
and mechanically followed by a contraction of the tendons , 
secondly, to the number and variety of the muscles, and the 
corresponding number and variety of useful powers which 
they supply to the animal, which is astonishingly great ; 
thirdly, to the judicious — if we may be permitted to use that 
term in speaking of the Author, or of the works of nature — 
to the wise and well-contrived disposition of each muscle for 
its specific purpose — for moving the joint this way, and that 
way, and the other way — for pulling and drav/ing the part 
to which it is attached in a determinate and particular di- 
rection, which is a mechanical operation, exemplified in s 
multitude of instances. To mention only one : the tendon 
of the trochlear muscle of the eye,^ to the end that it may 
draw in the line required, is passed through a cartilaginous 
ring, at which it is reverted exactly in the same manner as 
a rope in a ship is carried over a block, or round a stay, in 
order to make it pull in the direction which is wanted. All 
this, as we have said, is mechanical, and is as accessible to 

* Plate II., Fig. 1. The trochlear or superior oblique muscle 
arises with, the straight muscles from the bottom of the orbit. Its 
muscular portion, a, is extended over the upper part of the eyeball, 
and gradually assumes the form of a smooth round tendon, 6; this 
passes through the pulley, c, which is fixed to the inner edge of the 
orbit, cf, then returning backwards and downwards, c, is inserted into 
the sclerotic membrane, f. The use of this muscle is to bring the eye 
forwards, and turn the pupil downwards and outwards. 


inspection, as capable of being ascertained, as the mechanism 
of the automaton in the Strand. Supposing the automaton 
to be put in motion by a magnet, which is probable, it will 
supply us with a comparison very apt for our present pur- 
pose. Of the magnetic effluvium we know perhaps as Httle 
as we do of the nervous fluid. But, magnetic attraction 
being assumed — it signifies nothing from what cause it pro- 
eeeds — we can trace, or there can be pointed out to us, with 
perfect clearness and certainty, the mechanism, namely, tlie 
steel bars, the wheels, the joints, the wires, by which the 
motion so much admired is communicated to the fingers oi 
the image ; and to make any obscurity or difficulty, or con- 
troversy in the doctrine of magnetism, an objection to oui 
knowledge or our certainty concerning the contrivance, or 
the marks of contrivance, displayed in the automaton, would 
be exactly the same thing as it is to make our ignorance— 
which we acknowledge — of the cause of nervous agency, or 
even of the substance and structure of the nerves them- 
selves, a ground of question or suspicion as to the reasoning 
which we institute concerning the mechanical part of our 
frame. That an animal is a machine, is a proposition nei- 
ther correctly true nor wholly false. The distinction which 
we have been discussing will serve to show how far the 
comparison which this expression implies holds, and wliere- 
in it fails. And whether the distinction be thought of im 
portance or not, it is certainly of importance to remember 
tLat there is neither truth nor justice in endeavoring to bring 
a cloud over our understandings, or a distrust into our reason- 
ings upon this subject, by suggesting that we know nothing 
of voluntary motion, of irritability, of the principle of life, of 
sensation, of animal heat, upon all which the animal func- 
tions depend ; for our ignorance of these parts of the animal 
frame concerns not at all our knowledge of the mechanical 
parts of the same frame. I contend, therefore, that there is 
mechanism in animals ; that this mechanism is as properly 
Buch as it is in machines made bv art * that this mechanism 


is intelligible and certain ; that it is not the less so, because 
it often begins or terminates with something which is not 
mechanical ; that whenever it is intelligible and certain, it 
demonstrates intention and contrivance, as well in the works 
of nature as in those of art ; and that it is the best demon- 
stration which either can afford. 

But while I contend for these propositions, I do not ex- 
clude myself from asserting that there may be, and that there 
are, other cases in which, although we cannot exhibit mech- 
anism, or prove indeed that mechanism is employed, we 
want not sufficient evidence to conduct us to the same con- 

There is what may be called the chemical part of our 
frame ; of which, by reason of the imperfection of our chem- 
istry, we can attain to no distinct knowledge : I mean, not 
to a knowledge, either in degree or kind, similar to that 
which we possess of the mechanical part of our frame. Tl: 
does not, therefore, afford the same species of argument Oi' 
that which mechanism affords ; and yet it may afford an 
argument in a high degree satisfactory. The gastric juice, 
or the liquor which digests the food in the stomachs of ani- 
mals, is of this class. Of all the m.enstrua it is the most 
active, the most universal. In the human stomach, for in- 
stance, consider what a variety of strange substances, and 
how widely different from one another, it in a few hours 
reduces to a uniform pulp, milk, or mucilage. It seizes upon 
every thing; it dissolves the texture of almost every thing 
that comes in its way. The flesh of perhaps all animals ; 
the seeds and fruits of the greatest number of p'ij,nts ; the 
roots and stalks, and leaves of many, hard and tough as they 
are, yield to its powerful pervasion. The change wrought 
by it is different from any chemical solution which w^e can 
produce, or with which we are acquainted, in tliis respect as 
well as many others, that in our chemistry particular men- 
strua act only upon particular substances. Consider, more- 
over, that this fluid, stronger in its operation than a caustic 


alkali or mineral acid, than red precipitate or aquafortis 
itself, is nevertheless as mild and bland and inoffensive to 
the touch or taste as saliva or gum-w^ater, which it much 
resembles. Consider, I say, these several properties of the 
digestive organ, and of the juice with which it is supplied, 
or rather with which it is made to supply itself, and you will 
confess it to be entitled to a name which it has sometimes 
received; that of " the chemical wonder of animal nature." 
Still, we are ignorant of the composition of this fluid, and 
of the mode of its action ; by which is meant, that we are 
not capable, as we are in the mechanical part of our frame, 
of collating it with the operations of art. And this- I call 
the imperfection of our chemistry ; for, should the time ever 
arrive, which is not, perhaps, to be despaired of, when we 
can compound ingredients so as to form a solvent which will 
act in the manner in which the gastric juice acts, we may 
be able to ascertain the chemical principles upon which its 
efficacy depends, as well as from what part, and by what 
concoction in the human body these principles are generated 
and derived. 

In the mean time, ought that which is in truth the defect 
of our chemistry, to hinder us from acquiescing in the infer- 
ence which a production of nature, by its place, its proper- 
ties, its action, its surprising efficacy, its invaluable use, au- 
thorizes us to draw in respect of a creative design ? 

Another most subtle and curious function of animal bod- 
ies is secretion. This function is semichemical and semi- 
mechanical ; exceedingly important and diversified in its 
effects, but obscure in its process and in its apparatus. The 
importance of the secretory organs is but too well attested 
by the diseases which an excessive, a deficient, or a vitiated 
secretion is almost sure of producing. A single secretion 
being wrong is enough to make life miserable, or sometimes 
to destroy it. Nor is the variety less than the importance. 
From one and the same blood — I speak of the human body — 
about twenty different fluids are separated ; in their sensi- 


ble properties, in taste, sijiell.. color, and consistency, the 
most unlike one another tliat is possible — thick, thin, salt, 
bitter, sweet : and if from mr own we pass to other species 
of animals, we find among their secretions not only the most 
various but the most opposite properties ; the most nutri- 
tious aliment, the deadliest poison ; the sweetest perfumes, 
the most fetid odors. Of these the greater part, as the gas- 
tric juice, the saliva, the bile, the slippery mucilage which 
lubricates the joints, the tears which moisten the eye, the 
"svax which defends the ear, are, after they are secreted, 
made use of in the animal economy, are evidently subservi- 
ent, and are actually contributing to the utilities of the ani- 
mal itself. Other fluids seem to be separated only to be 
rejected. That tliis also is necessary — though why it was 
originally necessary we cannot tell — is shown by the conse- 
quence of the separation being long suspended, which con- 
sequence is disease and death. Akin to secretion, if not the 
same thing, is assimilation, by which one and the same blood 
is converted into bone, muscular flesh, nerves, membranes, 
tendons ; things as diiierent as the wood and iron, canvas 
and cordage, of which a ship with its furniture is composed. 
We have no operation of art wherewith exactly to compare 
all this, for no other reason, perhaps, than that all opera- 
tions of art are exceeded by it. No chemical election, no 
chemical analysis or resolution of a substance into its con- 
stituent parts, no mechanical sifting or division that we are 
acquainted with, in perfection or variety, come up to animal 
secretion. Nevertheless, the apparatus and process are ob- 
scure, not to say absolutely concealed from our inquiries. 
In a few, and only a few instances, we can discern a lit- 
tle of the constitution of a gland. In the kidneys of laro-e 
animals, we can trace the emulgent artery dividing itself 
into an infinite number of branches ; their extremities every- 
where communicating with little round bodies, in the sub- 
stance of which bodies the secret of the machinery seems to 
reside, for there the change is made We can disoern pipes 


hdid from these round bodies towards the pelvis, which is a 
basiii within the soHd of the kidney. We can discern these 
pipes joining and collecting together into larger pipes ; and, 
when so collected, ending in innumerable papillee, through 
which the secreted fluid is continually oozing into its recep- 
tacle. This is all we know of the mechanism of a gland, 
i'ven in the case in w^hich it seems most capable of being 
investigated. Yet to pronounce that we know nothing of 
animal secretion, or nothing satisfactorily, and with that 
concise remark to dismiss the article from our argument, 
w^ould be to dispose of the subject very hastily and very 
irrationally. For the purpose which we want, that of evinc- 
ing intention, we know a great deal. And what we know 
is this. We see the blood carried by a pipe, conduit, or 
duct, to the gland. We see an organized apparatus, be its 
construction or action what it will, which we call that 
gland. We see the blood, or part of the blood, after it has 
passed through and undergone the action of the gland, com- 
ing from it by an emulgent vein or artery, that is, by an- 
other pipe or conduit. And we see also at the same time a 
new and specific fluid issuing from the same gland by its 
excretory duct, that is, by a third pipe or conduit ; which 
new fluid is in some cases discharged out of the body, in 
more cases retauied within it, and there executing some im- 
portant and intelligent office. Now supposing, or admit- 
ting, that we know nothing of the proper internal constitu- 
tion of a gland, or of the mode of its acting upon the blood, 
then our situation is precisely like that of an unmechanical 
looker-on, who stands by a stocking-loom, a corn-mill, a 
carding-machine, or a thrashing-machine at work, the fab' 
rie and mechanism of which, as well as all that passes with- 
in is hidden from his sight by the outside case ; or, if seen, 
would be too complicated for liis uninformed, uninstructed 
understanding to comprehend. And wdiat is that situation ? 
This spectator, ignorant as he is, sees at one end a material 
ent(^r the machine, as unground grain the mill, raw cot.tfj» 


the cardiiig-macliine, sheaves of uiithreshed corn th(i thresh- 
ing-machine ; and when he casts his eye to the other end 
of the apparatus, he sees the material issuing from it in a 
new state, and what is more, in a state manifestly adapted 
to future uses — the grain in meal fit for the making of bread, 
the wool in rovings ready for spinning into threads, the sheaf 
in corn dressed for the mill. Is it necessary that this man, 
in order to be convinced that design, that intention, that con- 
trivance has been employed about the machine, should be 
allowed to pull it to pieces — should be enabled to examine 
the parts separately, explore their action upon one another, 
or their operation, whether simultaneous or successive, upon 
the material which is presented to them ? He may long to 
do this to gratify his curiosity ; he may desire to do it to im- 
prove his theoretic knowledge ; or he may have a more sub- 
stantial reason for requesting it, if he happen, instead of a 
common visitor, to be a millwright by profession, or a per- 
son sometimes called in to repair such-like machines when 
out of order ; but for the purpose of ascertaining the exist- 
ence of counsel and design in the formation of the machine, 
he wants no such intromission or privity. What he sees is 
sufficient. The effect upon the material, the change pro- 
duced in it, the utility of that change for future applications, 
abundantly testify, be the concealed part of the machine or 
of its construction what it will, the hand and agency of a 

If any confirmation were wanting to the evidence which 
the animal secretions afford of design, it may be derived, as 
has been already hinted, from their variety, and from their 
appropriation to their place and use. They all come from 
the same blood ; they are all drawn off by glands ; yet the 
produce is very different, and the difference exactly adapted 
to the work which is to be done, or the end to be answered. 
No account can be given of this, without resorting to ap- 
pointment. Why, for instance, is the saliva, which is dif- 
fused over the seat of taste, insipid^ wliile so many otliers of 


the secretions, the urine, the tears, and the swxat, are salt ? 
Why does the gland within the ear separate a viscid sub- 
stance, which defends that passage ; the gland in the outer 
angle of the eye a thin brine, which washes the ball? Why 
is the synovia of the joints mucilaginous ; the bile bitter, 
stimulating, ani soapy? Why does the juice which flow:? 
into the stomach contain powers which make that organ 
the great laboratory, as it is by its situation the recipient of 
the materials of future nutrition ? These are all fair ques- 
tions ; and no answer can be given to them but what calls 
in intelligence and intention. 

My object in the present chapter has been to teach three 
things : first, that it is a mistake to suppose that, in reason- 
ing from the appearances of nature, the imperfection of our 
knowledge proportion ably affects the certainty of our conclu- 
sion, for in many cases it does not affect it at all ; secondly, 
that the difierent parts of the animal frame may be classed 
and distributed according to the degree of exactness with 
which we compare them with works of art ; thirdly, that the 
mechanical parts of our frame, or those in which this com- 
parison is most complete, although constituting probably 
the coarsest portions of nature's workmanship, are the most 
propp.r to be alleged as proofs and specimens of design. 




V/e proceed, therefore, to propose certain examples talcen 
out of this class ; making choice of such as, among thosa 
which have come to our knowledge, appear to be the most 
striking and the best understood ; but obliged, perhaps, to 
postpone both these recommendations to a third, that of the 
example bemg capable of explanation without plates, or fig- 
ures, or technical language. 


I. I challenge any man to produce in the joints and piv" 
ots of the most compHcated or the most flexible machine 
that was ever contrived, a construction more artificial, oi 
more evidently artificial, than that which is seen in the ver- 
tebra3 of the human neck. Tv/o things were to be done : 
the head was to have the power of bending forward and 
backward, as in the act of nodding, stooping, looking upward 
or downward ; and, at the same time, of turning itself round 
upon the body to a certain extent — the quadrant, w^e wdll 
say, or rather, perhaps, a hundred and twenty degrees of a 
circle. For these two purposes two distinct contrivances 
are employed : first, the head rests immediately upon the 
uppermost part of the vertebrae, and is united to it by a 
/^^?^g■e -joint, upon which joint the head plays freely forward 
and backward, as far either w^ay as is necessary, or as the 
ligaments allow ; wliich w^as the first thing required. But 
then the rotary motion is unprovided for ; therefore, se,?ond- 
ly, to make the head capable of this, a further mechanism 
is introduced — not between the head and the uppermost 
bone of the neck, where the hinge is, but between that bone 
and the bone next underneath it. It is a mechanism re- 
sembling a tenon and mortise. This second, or uppermost 


6one but one, has what anatomists call a process, namely, 
a projection somewhat similar in size and shape to a tooth ; 
which too'th entering a corresponding hole or socket in the 
bone above it, forms a pivot or axle, upon which that upper 
bone, together with the head which it supports, turns freely 
in a circle, and as far in the circle as the attached muscles 
permit the head to turn. Thus are both motions perfect 
without interfering with each other. When we nod the 
head, we use the hinge-joint, which lies between the head 
and the first bone of the neck. When we turn the head 
round, we use the tenon and mortise, which runs between 
the first bone of the neck and the second. 

We see the same contrivance and the same principle 
employed in the frame or mounting of a telescope. It is 
occasionally requisite that the object-end of the instrument 
be moved up and down, as well as horizontally or equato- 
rially. For the vertical motion, there is a hinge, upon which 
the telescope plays ; for the horizontal or equatorial motion, 
an axis upon which the telescope and the hinge turn to- 
gether. And this is exactly the mechanism which is appli- 
ed to the motion of the head ; nor will any one here doubt 
of the existence of counsel and design, except it be by that 
debility of mind which can trust to its own reasonings m 

We may add, that it was, on another account, also expe- 
dient that the motion of the head backward and forward 
should be performed upon the upper surface of the first ver- 
tebra ; for, if the first vertebra itself had bent forward, it 
would have brought the spinal marrow, at the very begin- 
ning of its course, upon the point of the tooth. 

II. Another mechanical contrivance, not unlike the last 
in its object, but diflerent and original in its means, is seen 
in what anatomists call the fore-arm — that is, in the arm 
between the elbow and the wrist.* Here, for the perfect 

* Plate II., Fig. 2. a, the humerus ; the head, ^, is a portion 
of a sphere, au-l exhibits an instance /^f the Hll and socket, or univfr- 


use of the limb, two motions are wanted : a motion at the 
elbow, backward and forward, which is called a reciprocal 
motion ; and a rotary motion, by which the palm of the 
hand, as occasion requires, may be turned upward. How is 
this managed ? The fore-arm, it is well known, consists ol 
two bones, lying alongside each other; but touching only to- 
wards the ends. One, and only one of these bones is joined 
to the humerus, or upper part of the arm, at the elbow ; the 
other alone to the hand, at the wrist. The first, by means. 
at the elbow, of a hinge-joint — which allows only of motion 
in the same plane — swings backward and forward, carrying 
along with it the other bone and the whole fore-arm. In 
the mean time, as often as there is occasion to turn the palm 
upward, that other bone to which the hand is attached rolls 
upon the first by the help' of a groove or hollow near each 
end of one bone, to which is fitted a corresponding promi- 
nence in the other. If both bones had been joined to the 
humerus (upper arm) at the elbow, or both to the hand, at 
the wrist, the thing could not have been done. The first 
was to be at liberty at one end, and the second at the other, 
by which means the tAvo actions may be performed togeth- 
er.* The great bone, which carries the fore-arm, may be 
swinging upon its hinge at the elbow at the very time that 
the lesser bone, which carries the hand, may be turning 
round it in the gi'ooves. The management, also, of these 
grooves, or rather of the tubercles and grooves, is very ob- 
servable. The two bones are called the radius, and the 
ulna. Above, that is, towards the elbow, a tubercle of the 

scZ joint; c, the elbow, exemplifying the hinge-joint ; d, the radius, 
and e, the ulna. The radius belong^s more peculiarly to the wrist, be- 
ing the bone which supports the hand, and turns with it in all its 
revohing motions. The ulna belongs chiefly to the elbow-joint, and 
by it we perform all the actions of bending the arrn and extending the 

* Plate IL, Fig. 3, shows the connection of the radius, d, with 
tbe ulna, e, at the elbow; a, being the humerus. The mode of aniicn 
lation at the wrist i.s seen in Fig. 2. 


radius plays into a socket, of the ulna ; while below, that is, 
towards the wrist the radius finds the socket, and the ulna 
the tubercle, A single bone in the fore-arm, with a ball- 
and-socket joint at the elbow, which admits of motion in all 
directions, might, in some degree, have answered the pur- 
pose of both moving the arm and turning the hand. But 
how much better it is accomplished by the present mechan- 
ism any person may convince himself who puts the ease and 
quickness with which he can shake his hand at the wrist 
circularly — moving likewise, if he pleases, his arm at the 
elbow at the same time — in competition with the compara- 
tively slow and laborious motion with which liis arm can be 
made to turn round at the shoulder by the aid of a ball-and- 
socket joint. 

III. The S2nne, or backbone, is a chain of joints of very 
wonderful construction. Various, difficult, and almost in- 
consistent offices were to be executed by the same instru- 
ment. It was to be firm, yet flexible — now I know no chain 
made by art which is both these — for, by firmness, I mean 
ixot only strength but stability : finn, to support the erect 
position of the body ; Jlexible, to allow of the bending of the 
trunk in all degrees of curvature. It was further also — 
which is another and quite a distinct purpose from the rest — 
to become a pipe or conduit for the safe conveyance from 
the brain of the most important fluid of the animal frame, 
that, namely, upon which all voluntary motion depends, the 
spinal marrow ; a substance not only of the first necessity 
to action, if not to life, but of a nature so delicate and ten- 
der, so susceptible and so impatient of injury, as that any 
unusual pressure upon it, or any considerable obstruction of 
its course, is folloM^ed by paralysis or death. 

Now the spine was not only to furnish the main trunk 
fo2 the passage of the medullary substance from the brain, 
but to give out, in the course of its progress, small pipe? 
therefrom, which, being afterwards indefinitely subdivided 
laight, under the name of nerves, distribute this exquisitt 


supply to every part of the body. The same spine was also 
to serve another use not less wanted than the precedmg, 
namely, to afford a fulcrum, stay, or basis — or, more proper- 
ly speaking, a series of these — for the insertion of the mus- 
cles which are spread over the trunk of the body ; in which 
trunk there are not, as in the limbs, cylindrical bones to 
which they can be fastened : and likewise, which is a similar 
use, to furnish a support for the ends of the ribs to rest upon. 
Bespeak of a workman a piece of mechanism which shall 
comprise all these purposes, and let him set about to con- 
trive it ; let him try his skill upon it ; let him feel the diffi- 
culty of accomplishing the task, before he be told how the 
same thing is effected in the animal frame. Nothing will 
enable him to judge so well of the wisdom which has been 
employed — ^nothing will dispose him to think of it so truly 
First, for the firmness, yet flexibihty of the spine : it is com- 
posed of a great number of bones — in the human subject, ol 
twenty-four — joined to one another, and compacted by broad 
bases. The breadth of the bases upon which the parts sev- 
erally rest, and the closeness of the junction, give to the 
chain its firmness and stability ; the number of parts, and 
consequent frequency of joints, its flexibility. Which flexi- 
bility, we may also observe, varies in different parts of the 
chain : is least in the back, where strength more than flex- 
ure is wanted ; greater in the loins, which it was necessary 
should be more supple than the back ; and greatest of all in 
the neck, for the free motion of the head. Then, secondly, 
in order to afford a passage for the descent of the medullary 
substance, each of these bones is bored through in the mid- 
dle, in such a manner as that, when put together, the hole 
in one bone falls into a line and corresponds with the holes 
in the two bones contiguous to it. By which means the per- 
forated pieces, when jomed, form an entire, close, unint^.'r- 
mpted channel, at least while the spine is upright and at 
rest. But as a settled posture is inconsistent with its use, 
a great difficulty still remained, Avhich was to prevent the 


vertebrsu shifting upon one another, so as to break the line 
of the canal as often as the body moves or twists, or the 
joints gaping externally whenever the body is bent forward 
and the spine thereupon made to take the form of a bow. 
These dangers, which are mechanical, are mechanically j ro- 
V'ided against. The vertebrsB, by means of their procssses 
Kzid projections, and of the articulations which some of these 
form with one another at their extremities, are so locked in 
and confined as to maintain, in what are called the bodies 
or broad surfaces of the bones, the relative position nearly 
unaltered, and to throw the change and the pressure pro- 
duced by flexion almost entirely upon the intervening carti- 
lages, the springiness and yielding nature of whose substance 
admits of all the motion which is necessary to be performed 
upon them, without any chasm being produced by a separa- 
tion of the parts. I say, of all the motion which is neces- 
sary ; for although we bend our backs to every degree al- 
most of inclination, the motion of each vertebra is very 
small : such is the advantage we receive from the chain 
being composed of so many links, the spine of so many 
bones. Had it consisted of three or four bones only, in bend- 
ing the body the spinal marrow must have been bruised at 
every angle. The reader need not be told that these inter- 
vening cartilages are gristles, and he may see them in per- 
fection in a loin of veal. Their form also favors the same 
intention. They are thicker before than behind ; so that 
when we stoop forward, the compressible substance of the 
cartilage, yielding in its thicker and anterior part to the force 
which squeezes it, brings the surface of the adjoining verte- 
brae nearer to the being parallel with one another than they 
were before, mstead of increasing the inclination of their 
I'lanes, w^hich must have occasioned a fissure or opening 
b<:lween them. Thirdly, for the medullary canal, givnig out 
in its course, and in a convenient order, a supply of nerves 
to diflerent parts of the body, notches are made in the upper 
and lower edge of every vertebra, two on each '^dge, equi- 

Nal. T ...,1. 4 


distant on eacli side from the middle line of the back. When 
the vertebrae are put together, these notches, exactly fitting, 
form small holes, through which the nerves at each articu- 
lation issue out in pairs, in order to send their branches to 
ever) part of the body, and with an equal bounty to both 
sides of the body. The fourth purpose assigned to the same 
instrument is the insertion of the bases of the muscles, and 
the support of the ends of the ribs ; and for this fourth pur- 
pose, especially the former part of it, a figure specifically 
suited to the design, and unnecessary for the other purposes, 
is given to the constituent bones. While they are plain 
and round and smooth towards the front, where any rough- 
ness or projection might have wounded the adjacent viscera, 
they run out behind, and on each side into long processes ; 
to which processes the muscles necessary to the motions of 
the trunk are fixed, and fixed with such art, that while the 
vertebras supply a basis for the muscles,^ the muscles help to 
keep these bones in their position, or by their tendons to tie 
them together. 

That most important, however, and general property, 
namely, the strength of the compages, and the security 
against luxation, was to be still more specially consulted ; 
for where so many joints were concerned, and where in 
every one, derangement would have been fatal, it became 
a subject of studious precaution. For tliis purpose the ver- 
tebrae are articulated, that is, the movable joints between 
them are formed by means of those projections of their sub- 
stance which we have mentioned under the name of process- 
es, and these so lock in with and overwrap one another as 
to secure the body of the vertebra not only from accidentally 
slipping, but even from being pushed out of its place by any 
violence short of that w^hich would break the bone. I have 
often remarked and admired this structure in the chine of a 
hare. In this, as in many instances, a plain observer of the 
animal economy may spare himself the disgust of being pres- 
ent at human dissections, and yet learn enough for his infer 


mation and satisfaction, by even examining the bones of the 
animals which come upon his table. Let him take, for exam- 
ple, into his hands a piece of the clean-picked bone of a hare's 
back, consisting, we will suppose, of three vertebrae. He will 
find the middle bone of the three so implicated, by means of its 
projections or processes, with the bone on each side of it, that 
no pressure which he can use will force it out of its place 
between them. It will give way neither forward nor back- 
ward, nor on either side. In whichever direction he pushes, 
he perceives, in the form, or junction, or overlapping of the 
bones, an impediment opposed to his attempt, a check and 
guard against dislocation. In one part of the spine he will 
find a still further fortifying expedient, in the mode accord- 
ing to which the ribs are articulated to the spine. Each 
rib rests upon two vertebrae. That is the thing to be re- 
marked, and any one may remark it in carving a neck of 
mutton. The manner of it is this : the end of the rib is di- 
vided by a middle ridge into two surfaces, which surfaces 
are joined to the bodies of two contiguous vertebrae, the 
ridge applying itself to the intervening cartilage. Now this 
is the very contrivance which is employed in the famous iron 
bridge at my door at Bishop-Wearmouth, and for the same 
purpose of stability, namely, the cheeks of the bars which 
pass between the arches ride across the joints by which the 
pieces composing each arch are united. Each cross-bar rests 
upon two of these pieces at their place of junction, and by 
that position resists, at least in one direction, any tendency 
in either piece to slip out of its place. Thus perfectly, by 
one means or the other, is the danger of slipping laterally, or 
of being drawn aside out of the line of the back, provided 
against ; and to withstand the bones being pulled asunder 
longitudinally, or in the direction of that line, a strong mem- 
brane runs from one end of the chain to the other, sufficient 
to resist any force which is likely to act in the direction of 
the back or parallel to it, and consequently to secure the 
whole combination in their places. The general result is. 


that not anly the motions of the human body necessary foi 
the ordinary offices of Ufe are performed with safety, but 
that it is an incident hardly ever heard of that even the ges- 
ticulations of a harlequin distort his spine. 

Upon the whole, and as a guide to those who may be 
inclined to carry the consideration of this subject further, 
there are three views under which the spine ought to be re- 
garded, and in all which it cannot fail to excite our admira 
tion. These views relate to its articulations, its hgaments, 
and its perforations ; and to the corresponding advantages 
which the body derives from it for action, for strength, and 
Tor that which is essential to every part, a secure communi- 
cation with the brain. 

The structure of the spine is not in general different in 
different animals. In the serpent tribe, however, it is con- 
siderably varied ; but with a strict reference to the conven- 
lency of the animal. For whereas in quadrupeds the num- 
ber of vertebrae is from thirty to forty, in the serpent it is 
nearly one hundred and fifty : whereas in men and quadru- 
peds the surfaces of the bones are flat, and these flat surfaces 
laid one against the other, and bound tight by sinews ; in 
the serpent, the bones play one within another, like a ball 
and socket,^ so that they have a free motion upon one an- 
other m every direction : that is to say, in men and quadru- 
peds, firmness is more consulted ; in serpents, pliancy. Yet 
even pliancy is not obtained at the expense of safety. The 
backbone of a serpent, for coherence and flexibility, is one 
of the most curious pieces of animal mechanism with which 
we are acquainted. The chain of a watch — I mean the 
chain which passes between the spring-barrel and the fu- 
see — which aims at the same properties, is but a bungling 
piece cf workmanship in comparison with that of which we 
speak . 

lY. The reciprocal enlargement and contraction of the 
chest, to allow for tlie play of the lungs, depends upon a sim 
* Der. Phys. Thcol., p. 396. 


pie yet beautiful mechanical contrivance, referable to the 
structure of the bones which enclose it. The ribs are artio 
ulated to the backbone, or rather to its side projections, ob- 
liquely : that is, in their natural position they bend or slope 
from the place of articulation downwards. But the basis 
upon which they rest at this end being fixed, the conscquenco 
of the obliquity, or the inclination downwards is. that when 
they come to move, whatever pulls the ribs upwards, neces« 
sarily at the same time draws them out ; and that, while 
the ribs are brought to a right angle with the spine behind, 
the sternum, or part of the chest to which they are attached 
in front, is thrust forward. The simple action, therefore, of 
the elevating muscles does the business ; whereas, if the ribs 
had been articulated with the bodies of the vertebree at right 
angles, the cavity of the thorax could never have been fur- 
ther enlarged by a change of their position. If each rib had 
been a rigid bone, articulated at both ends to fixed bases, 
the whole chest had been immovable. Keill has observed 
that the breastbone, in an easy inspiration, is thrust out 
one-tenth of an inch ; and he calculates that this, added to 
what is gained to the space within the chest by the flatten- 
ing or descent of the diaphragm, leaves room for forty-two 
cubic inches of air to enter at every drawing-in of the breath. 
AYhen there is a necessity for a deeper and more laborious 
inspiration, the enlargement of the capacity of the chest may 
be so increased by effort, as that the lungs may be distended 
with seventy or a hundred such cubic inches.* The thorax, 
says Schelhammer, forms a kind of bellows, such as never 
have been, nor probably will be, made by any artificer. 

V. The patella, or kneepan,t is a curious little bone ; 
in its form and office unlike any other bone in the body. It 
is circular, the size of a crown-piece, pretty thick, a liltlo 
convex on both sides, and covered with a smooth cartilage. 
It Ues upon the front of the knee ; and the powerful tendons 
by which the leg is brought forward, pass through it — oj 
* Anat. p. 229. t See Fig. 4. 


rather, it makes a part of their continuation — from their ori- 
nrin in the thigh to their insertion in the tibia. It protects 
both the tendon and the joint from any injury which either 
might suffer by the rubbing of one against the other, or by 
the pressure of unequal surfaces. It also gives to the ten- 
dons a very considerable mechanical advantage, by altering 
the line of their direction, and by advancing it further out 
from the centre of motion ; and this upon the principles of 
the resolution of force, upon vi^hich principles all machinery 
is founded. These are its uses. But what is most observ- 
able in it is, that it appears to be supplemental, as it were, 
to the frame ; added, as it should almost seem, afterward ; 
not quite necessary, but very convenient. It is separate 
from the other bones ; that is, it is not connected with any 
other bones by the common mode of union. It is soft, or 
hardly formed, m infancy ; and produced by an ossification 
of the inception or progress of which no account can be given 
from the structure or exercise of the part. 

VI. The shoulder -blade is, in some material respects, a 
very singular bone, appearing to be made so expressly for 
its own purpose, and so independently of every other reason. 
In such quadrupeds as have no collar-bvones, which are by 
far the greater number, the shoulder-blade has no bony com- 
munication with the trunk, either by a joint, or procc^., or 
in any other way. It does not grow" to, or out of, any 
other bone of the trunk. It does not apply to any other 
bone of the trunk — I know not whether this be true of any 
second bone in the body, except perhaps the os hyoides — in 
strictness, it forms no part of the skeleton. It is bedded in 
the flesh, attached only to the muscles It is no other Ihati 
a foundation bone for the arm, laid in separate as it were, and 
distinct from the general ossification. The lower limbs con* 
uect themselves at tho hip with bones v/hich form pa it of 
the skeleton ; but this connection in the upper limbs being 
wanting, a basis, whereupon the arm might be articulated, 
was to be supplied by a detached ossification for the purpose 


I. The above are a few examples of bones made remark 
able by their configuration ; but to almost all the bones he- 
long joints; and in these, still more clearly than in the form 
or shape of the bones themselves, are seen both contrivance 
and contriving wisdom. Every joint is a curiosity, and isi 
also strictly mechanical. There is the hinge-joint, and the 
mortise-and-tenon joint ; each as manifestly such, and as 
accurately defined, as any which can be produced out of a 
cabinet-maker's shop ; and one or the other prevails, as 
either is adapted to the motion which is w^anted : for exam- 
ple, a mortise-and-tei^on, or ball-and-socket joint, is not re- 
quired at the knee, the leg standing in need only of a motion 
backward and forward in the same plane, for which a hinge- 
joint is sufficient ; a mortise-and-tenon, or ball-and-socket 
joint is wanted at the liip, not only that the progressive step 
may be provided for, but that the interval between the limbs 
may be enlarged or contracted at pleasure. Now observe 
Mdiat would have been the inconveniency — that is, both the 
superfluity and the defect of articulation, if the case had 
been inverted — if the ball-and-socket joint had been at the 
knee, and the liinge-joint at the hip. The thighs must have 
been kept constantly together, and the legs had been loose 
and straddling. There would have been no use, that we 
know of, in being able to turn the calves of the legs before ; 
and there would have been great confinement by restraining 
the motion of the thighs to one plane. The disadvantage 
would not have been less if the joints at the hip and the 
knee had been both of the same sort — both balls and sock- 
ets, or both hinges ; yet why, independently of utihty, and 
of a Creator who consulted that utility, should the same 
bone — the thigh-bone — be rounded at one end, and chan- 
nelled at the other? 

The hinge-Joint is not formed by a bolt passing through 
the two parts of the hinge, and thus keeping them in their 
places, but by a difierent expedient. A strong, tough, parch- 


meiil like membrane, rising from, the receiving bones, and 
inserted all round the received bones a little below their 
heads, encloses the jomt on every side. This membrane ties, 
confines, and holds the ends of the bones together, keeping 
the corresponding parts of the joints — that is, the relative 
convexities and concavities — in close application to each 

For the ball-and-socket jomt, besides the membrane 
already described, there is in some important joints, as an ad- 
ditional secm-ity, a short, strong, yet flexible ligament, insert- 
ed by one end into the head of the ball, by the other, into 
the bottom of the cup ; which ligament keeps the two parts 
of the joint so firmly in their place, that none of the motions 
which the limb naturally performs, none of the jerks and 
twists to which it is ordinarily liable, nothing less indeed 
than the utmost and the most unnatural violence, can pull 
them asmider. It is hardly imaginable how great a force is 
necessary even to stretch, still more to break, this ligament : 
yet so flexible is it, as to oppose no impediment to the sup- 
pleness of the joint. By its situation also, it is inaccessible 
to mjury from sharp edges. As it cannot be ruptured, such 
is its strength, so it cannot be cut, except by an accident 
which would sever the limb. If I had been permitted to 
frame a proof of contrivance such as might satisfy the most 
distrustful inquirer, I know not whether I could have chosen 
an example of mechanism more unequivocal or more free 
from objection, than this Hgament. Nothing can be more 
mechanical ; nothing, however subservient to the safety, les9 
capable of being generated by the action of the joint. 1 
would particularly solicit the reader's attention to this pro- 
vision, as it is found in the head of the thigh-hone — to its 
strength, its structure, and its use. It is an instance upon 
which Hay my hand. One single fact, weighed by a mind 
in earnest, leaves oftentimes the deepest impression. Foi 
the purpose of addressing difTerent understandings and dif 
ferent apprehensions — for the purpose of sentiment — for the 


purpose of exciting admiration of the Creator's works, wo 
diversify our views, and multiply our examples : but for the 
purpose of strict argument, one clear instance is sufficient ; 
and not only sufficient, but capable perhaps of generating a 
firmer assurance than what can arise from a divided atten- 

The ginglymus, or hinge-joint, does not, it is manifest, 
admit of a ligament of the same kind with that of the ball- 
and-socket joint ; but it is always fortified by the species of 
ligament of which it does admit. The strong, firm, invest- 
ing membrane above described accompanies it in every part ; 
and in particular joints, this membrane, v/hich is prop- 
erly a ligament, is considerably stronger on the sides than 
either before or behind, in order that the convexities may 
play true in their concavities, and not be subject to slip side- 
ways, which is the chief danger ; for the muscular tendons 
generally restrain the parts from going further than they 
ought to go in the plane of their motion. In the hice, 
which is a joint of this form, and of great importance, there 
are superadded to the common provisions for the stability of 
the joint, two strong ligaments, which cross each other — 
and cross each other in such a manner as to secure the joint 
from being displaced in any assignable direction.^ "1 
think," says Cheselden, " that the knee cannot be complete- 
ly dislocated without breaking the cross ligaments. "f We 
can hardly help comparing this with the binding up of a 
fracture, where the fillet is almost wholly strapped across, 
for the sake of giving firmness and strength to the bandage. 

* Plate II., Fig. 5. The crucial or internal ligaments of the 
knee-jomts arise from each side of the depression between the con- 
dyhs of the thigh-bone : the anterior is fixed into the centre, the poste- 
rior into the back of the articulation of the tibia. This structure prop- 
erly limits the motions of the joints, and gives the firmness requisite 
for violent exertions. Viewing the form of the bones, we should con- 
sider it one of the weakest and most superficial joints ; but the strength 
of its ligaments and of the tendons passing over it, renders it the most 
secure and the least liable to dislocation of any in the body. 

t Cheselden's Anat., ed. 7th, p. 45. 


Another no less important joint, and that also of the gin- 
giymu3 sort, is the ankle ; yet though important — in order, 
perhaps, to preserve the symmetry and lightness of the 
limb — small, and on that account more liable to injury. 
Now this joint is strengthened, that is, is defended from dis- 
location by two remarkable processes or prolongations of the 
bones of the leg, which processes form the protuberances 
that wc call the inner and outer ankle. It is part of each 
bone going down lower than the other part, and thereby 
overlapping the joint : so that if the joint be in danger of 
slipping outward, it is curbed by the inner projection, that is. 
that of the tibia ; if inward, by the outer projection, that is, 
that of the fibula. Between both, it is locked in its position. 
I know no account that can be given of this structure, ex- 
cept its utility. "Why should the tibia terminate at its lower 
extremity with a double end, and the fibula the same, but 
to barricade the joint on both sides by a continuation of part 
of the thickest of the bone over it ? The joint at the slioul- 
dei', compared with the joint at the hij'), though both ball- 
and-socket joints, discovers a difierence in their form and 
proportions, well suited to the different offices which the 
limbs have to execute. The cup or socket at the shoulder 
is much shallower and flatter than it is at the hip, and is also 
in part formed of cartilage set round the rim of the cup. The 
socket into which the head of the thigh-bone is inserted, is 
deeper, and made of more solid materials. This agrees with 
the duties assigned to each part. The arm is an instrument 
of motion principally, if not solely. Accordingly, the shal- 
lowness of the socket at the shoulder, and the yieldingness 
of the cartilaginous substance v/ith which its edge is set 
round, and which in fact composes a considerable part of its 
concavity, are excellently adapted for the allowance of a 
free motion and a wide range, both which the arm M'ants. 
Wheieas the lower limb forming a part of the columu of 
the body — having to support the body, as well as to be the 
means of its locomotion- — firmness was to be consulted as 


well as action . With a capacity for motion in all directions 
indeed, as at the shoulder, but not in any direction to the 
same extent as in the arm, was to be united stability, or re- 
sistance to dislocation. Hence the deeper excavation of the 
socket, and the presence of a less proportion of cartilage upon 
the edge. 

The suppleness and pliability of the joints we every mo- 
ment experience ; and the firmness of animal articulation, 
the property we have hitherto been considering, may be 
judged of from this single observation, that, at any given 
moment of time, there are millions of animal joints in com- 
plete repair and use, for one that is dislocated ; and this, 
notwithstanding the contortions and wrenches to which the 
limbs of animals are continually subject. 

11. The joints, or rather the ends of the bones which 
form them, display also, in their configuration, another use. 
The nerves, bloodvessels, and tendons, which are necessary 
to the life, or for the motion of the limbs, must, it is evident, 
in their way from the trunk of the body to the place of their 
destination, travel over the movable joints ; and it is no less 
evident that, in this part of their course, they will have, 
fi'om sudden motions, and from abrupt changes of curvature, 
to encounter the danger of compression, attrition, or lacera- 
tion. To guard fibres so tender against consequences so in- 
jurious, their path is in those parts protected with peculiar 
care, and that by a provision in the figure of the bones them- 
selves. The nerves which supply the fore-arm, especially 
the inferior cubital nerves, are at the elbow conducted, by 
a kind of covered way, between the condyles, or rather under 
the inner extuberances of the bone which composes the up- 
per part of the arm.* At the knee, the extremity of the 
thigh-bone is divided by a sinus, or cUff^ into fwo heads or 
protuberances ; and these heads on the back part stand out 
beyond the cylinder of the bone. Through the hollow which 
lies betw^een the hind parts of these two heads — that is to 
* Chcselden's Anat., p. 255, ed. 7. 


say, under the ham, between the hamstrings, and within 
the concave recess of the bone formed by the extuberances 
on each s.Vle — m a word, along a defile, between rocks, pass 
the great vessels and nerves which go to the leg.* Who led 
these vessels by a road so defended and secured ? In the 
joint at the sliouldcr, in the edge of the cup which receives 
tlie head of the bone, is a Qiotch, which is joined or covered 
at the top with a ligament. Through this hole, thus guard- 
ed, the bloodvessels steal to their destination m the arm, in- 
stead of mounting over the edge of the concavity. f 

III. In all joints, the ends of the bones which work 
against each other, are tipped with gristle. In the ball-and 
socket joint, the cup is hned and the ball capped Avith it 
The smooth surface, the elastic and unfriable nature of car 
tilage, render it of all substances the most proper for the 
place and purpose. I should, therefore, have pointed this 
out among the foremost of the provisions which have been 
made in the joints for the facilitating of their action, had it 
not been alleged that cartilage in truth is only nascent or 
imperfect bone ; and that the bone in these places is kept 
soft and imperfect, in consequence of a more complete and 
rigid ossification "being prevented from taking place by the 
continual motion and rubbing of the surfaces ; which being 
so, what we represent as a designed advantage is an una- 
voidable eilect. I am far from being convinced that this is 
a true account of the fact ; or that, if it were so, it answers the 
argument. To me the surmountmg of the bones with gristle 
looks more like a plating with a different metal, than like the 
same metal kept in a different state by the action to which 
it is exposed. At all events, we have a great particular ben- 
efit though arising from a general constitution ; but this last, 
not being quite what my argument requires, lest I should 
seem by applying the instance to overrate its value, I have 
thought it fair to state the question which attends it. 

IV. In some joints, very particularly in the knees, th?re 

* Ches. Anat., p. 35. f Ibid. p. 39. 


are loose cartilages or gristles between the bones and with- 
in the joint, so that the ends of the hones, instead of work- 
ing upon one another, work upon the intermediate cartilages. 
Oheselden has observed,=^ that the contrivance of a loose ring 
is practised by mechanics where the friction of the joints oi 
any of their machines is great, as between the parts :f ciook- 
hinges of large gates, or under the head of the male screw 
of large vices. The cartilages of which we speak have very 
much of the form of these rings. The comparison, moreover, 
shows the reason why we find them in the knees rather than 
in other joints. It is an expedient, we have seen, which 
a mechanic resorts to only when some strong and heavy 
work is to be done. So here the thigh-bone has to achieve 
its motion at the knee, with the whole weight of the body 
pressing upon it, and often, as in rising from our seat, with 
the whole weight of the body to lift. It should seem also, 
from Cheselden's account, that the slipping and sliding ol 
the loose cartilages, though it be probably a small and ob- 
scure change, humored the motion at the end of the thigh- 
bone, under the particular configuration which was neces- 
sary to be given to it for the commodious action of the ten- 
dons, and which configuration requires what he calls a vari- 
able socket, that is, a concavity, the lines of which assume 
a difierent curvature m different inclinations of the bones. 

y. We have now done with the configuration ; but there 
IS also in the joints, and that common to them all, another 
exquisite provision manifestly adapted t ■. their use, and con- 
cerning which there can, I think, be no dispute, namely, the 
regular supply of a mucilage, more emollient and slippery 
than oil itself, which is constantly softening and lubricating 
the parts that rub upon each other, and thereby diminishing 
the effect of attrition in the highest possible degree. Foi 
the contmual secretion of this important liniment, and foi 
the feeding of the cavities of the joint with it, glands are 
fixed near each joint, the excretory ducts of which glands 
* dies. Anat., p. 13, ed. 7. 


dripping with their balsamic contents, hang loose like fringes 
v/ithin the cavity of the joints. A late improvement in 
what are called friction v/heels, which consists of a mechan 
ism so ordered as to be regularly dropping oil into a box 
which encloses the axis, the nave, and certain balls upon 
which the nave revolves, may be said, in some sort, to rep- 
resent the contrivance in the animal joint, with this superi- 
ority, however, on the part of the joint, namely, that here 
the oil is not only dropped, but made. 

In considering the joints, there is nothing, perhaps, which 
ought to move our gratitude more than the reflection, how 
icell theij ivear. A limb shall swing upon its hinge, or play 
in its socket, many hundred times in an hour, for sixty years 
together, without diminution of its agility, which is a long 
time for any thing to last — for any thing so much worked and 
exercised as the joints are. This durability I should attribute 
m part to the provision which is made for the preventing of 
wear and tear, first by the polish of the cartilaginous surfac- 
es ; secondly, by the healing lubrication of the mucilage, and 
in part, to that astonishing property of animal constitutions, 
assimilation, by which, in every portion of the body, let it con- 
sist of what it will, substance is restored and waste repaired. 

Movable joints, I think, compose the curiosity of bones ; 
but their union, even where no motion is intended or want- 
ed, carries marks of mechanism and of mechanical wisdom. 
The teeth, especially the front teeth, are one bone fixed in 
another, like a peg driven into a board. The sutures of the 
Bkull=^ are like the edges of two saw^s clapped together in such 
a manner as that the teeth of one enter the intervals of the 
oth?r. We have sometimes one bone lapping over another, 
and planed down at the edges ; sometimes also the thin lamel- 
la of one bone received into a narrow furrow of another. In 
all which varieties we seem to discover the same design, 
namely, firmness of juncture without clumsiness in the seam. 

* Plate XL, Fig. 6. a, a, the coronal suture ; b, the sagittal ; 
c. c, tJie lamlidoidal ; d, an irregularity ; and e, e, the squamous sutures- 




Muscl::s, with tlieir tendons, are the instruments by 
which animal motion is performed. It will be our business 
to point out instances in wliich, and properties with respect 
to which, the disposition of these muscles is as strictly me- 
chanical as that of the wires and strings of a puppet. 

I. We may observe, what I believe is universal, an exact 
relation between the joint and the muscles which move it. 
Whatever motion the joint by its mechanical construction 
is capable of performing, that motion the annexed muscles 
by their position are capable of producing. For example, 
if there be, as at the knee and elbow, a hinge-joint, capable 
of motion only in the same plane, the leaders, as they are 
called, that is, the muscular tendons, are placed in direc 
tions parallel to the bone, so as, by the contraction or relax- 
ation of the muscles to which they belong, to produce that 
motion and no other. If these joints were capable of a freer 
motion, there are no muscles to produce it. Whereas, at the 
shoulder and the hip, where the ball-and-socket joint nllo\x& 
by its construction of a rotary or sweeping motion, tendons 
are placed in such a position, and pull in such a direction, 
as to produce the motion of which the joint admits. For 
instance, the sartorius or tailor's muscle,* rising from the 
spine, running diagonally across the thigh, and taking hold 
of the inside of the main b&ne of the leg a little below the 
knee, enables us, by its contraction, to throw one leg and 
thigh over the other, giving effect at the same time to the 
ball-and-socket joint at the hip, and the hinge-joint at the 
knee. There is, as we have seen, a specific mechanism in 

■* Plate III., Fig. 1. The sartorius^ a, is the longest muscle of 
the human system. It is extended obliquely across the thig}^ from the 
fore part of the hip to the inner side of the tibia. Its office is to bend 
the knee and bring the leg inwards. 


the bones for the rotary motions of the head and hands : 
there is, also, in the oblique direction of the muscles belong- 
ing to them, a specific provision for the putting of tliis mech- 
anism of the bones into action. And mark the consent of 
uses : the oblique muscles would have been inefficient with- 
out that particular articulation ; that particular articulation 
would have been lost v/ithout the oblique miuscles. It may 
be proper, however, to observe, with respect to the head, 
although I think it does not vary the case, that its oblique 
motions and inclinations are often motions in a diagonal. 
produced by the joint action of muscles lying in straight di- 
rections. But whether the pull be single or combined, the 
articulation is always such as to be capable of obeying the 
action of the muscles. The oblique muscles attached to the 
head are likewise so disposed as to be capable of steadying 
the globe, as well as of moving it. The head of a new-born 
infant is often obliged to be filleted up. After death, the 
head drops and rolls in every direction. So that it is by the 
equihbre of the muscles, by the aid of a considerable and 
equipollent mu3cular force in constant exertion, that the 
head maintains its erect posture. The muscles here supply 
what would otherwise be a great defect in the articulation ; 
for the joint in the neck, although admirably adapted to the 
motion of the head, is insufficient for its support. It is liot 
only by the means of a most curious structure of the bones 
that a man turns his head, but by virtue of an adjusted mus- 
cular power that he even holds it up. 

As another exanrple of what we are illustrating, namely, 
conformity of use between the bones and the muscles, it has 
been observed of the different vertebra3, that their processes 
are exactly proportioned to the quantity of motion which the 
other bones allow of, and which the respective muscles are 
capable of producing. 

II. A muscle acts only by contraction. Its force is exert- 
ed in no other way. When the exertion ceases, it relaxes 
itself: that is, it returns by relaxation to its former state. 


but witlKAit energy. This is the nature of the masculai 
fibre ; and being so, it is evident that the reciprocal eyicr- 
gctic motion of" the limbs, by which we mean motion vith 
force in opposite directions, can only be produced by the in- 
strumentality of opposite or antagonist muscles — of flexors 
and extensors answering to each other. For instance, the 
biceps and brachialis internum muscles,^ placed in the lionl 
part of the upper arm, by their contraction, bend the elbow, 
and with such degree of force as the case requires or the 
strength admits of. The relaxation of these muscles after 
the eflbrt would merely let the fore-arm drop down. For 
the hack stroke, therefore, and that the arm may not only 
bend at the elbow, but also extend and straighten itself with 
force, other muscles, the longus et brevis brachialis exter- 
niis,'\ and the anconscus, placed on the hinder part of the 
arms, by their contractile twitch, fetch back the fore-arm 
into a straight line with the cubit, with no less force than 
that with which it was bent out of it. The same thing ob- 
tains in all the limbs, and in every movable part of the body. 
A finger is not bent and straightened without the coiitrac- 
tion of two muscles taking place. It is evident, therefore, 
that the animal functions require that particular disposition 
of the muscles which we describe by the name of antagonist 
muscles. And they are accordingly so disposed. Every 
muscle is provided with an adversary. They act hke tv/o 
sawy^ers in a pit, by an opposite pull ; and nothing, surely, 

* Plate IIL, Fig. 2. The biceps, ce, arises by two portions from 
the scapula ; these form a thick mass of flesh in the middle of tlie 
arm, which is finally indented into the upper end of the radius.. The 
brachicEus internus, 6, arises from the middle of the himaerus, and is 
mscrted mto the ulna. Both these muscles bend the fore-arm. 

t Plate IIL, !FiG. 2. The long and the short brachiceus intcrnus 
:r the triceps extensor cubiti^ c, is attached to the inferior edge of the 
scapula and to the humerus by three distinct heads, which unite and 
invest the whole back part of the bone ; it then becomes a strong ten- 
don, and is implanted into the elbow. It is a powerful extensor of the 
fore-arm. The anconcEus, d, is a small, triangular muscle, situ ited at 
the outer side of the elbow ; it assists the muscle c. 


can more strongly indicate design and attention to an end, 
than their being thus stationed, than this collocation The 
nature of the muscular fibre being what it is, the purposes 
of the animal could be answered by no other And not only 
the capacity for motion, but the aspect and symmetry of the 
body is preserved by the muscles being marshalled accord- 
ing to this order ; for example, the mouth is holder, in the 
middle of the face, and its angles kept in a state of exact 
correspondency, by two muscles draw';/g against and balan- 
cing each ether. In a hemiplegia, when the muscle on one 
side is weakened, the muscle on the other side draws the 
mouth awry. 

III. Another property of the muscles, which could only 
be the result of care, is their being almost universally so dis- 
posed as not to obstruct or interfere w^ith one another's ac- 
tion. I know but one instance in which this impediment is 
perceived. We cannot easily swallow while we gape. Tliis, 
I understand, is owing to the muscles employed in the act 
of deglutition being so implicated with the muscles of the 
lower jaw, that while these last are contracted, the former 
cannot act wdth freedom. The obstruction is, in this in- 
stance, attended with little inconvenience ; but it shows what 
the effect is where it does exist, and wdiat loss of faculty 
there would be if it were more frequent. Now, when we 
reflect upon the number of muscles, not fewer than four hun- 
dred and forty-six in the human body, known and named, =^ 
how contiguous they lie to each other, in layers as it werC; 
over one another, crossing one another, sometimes embedded 
in one another, sometimes perforating one another — an ar- 
rangement which leaves to each its liberty and its full play, 
must necessarily require meditation and counsel. 

IV. The following is oftentimes the case with the muscles. 
Their action is wanted where their situation would be incon- 
venient. In which case the body of the muscle is placed in 
f^ome commodious pos.tion at a distance, and made to com- 

^ Keill's Anatomy, p. 205, ed. 3. 


niLinicate with the point of action by slender strings or wires. 
If the muscles which move the fingers had been placed in 
the palm or back of the hand, they would have swelled that 
part to an awkward and clumsy thickness. The beauty, 
the proportions of the part would have been destroyed. 
They are therefore disposed in the arm, and even up to the 
elbow, and act by long tendons strapped down at the wrist, 
and passing under the ligaments to the fingers,* and to the 
joints of the fingers which they are severally to move. In 
like manner, the muscles which move the toes and many of 
the joints of the foot, how gracefully are they disposed in the 
calf of the leg, instead of forming an unv/ieldy tumefaction 
in the foot itself. The observation may be repeated of the 
muscle which draws the nictitating membrane over the eye. 
Its office is in the front of the eye ; but its body is lodged in 
the back part of the globe, v/here it hes safe, and where it 
encumbers nothing. 

V. The great mechanical variety in the figure of the 
muscles may be thus stated. It appears to be a fixed law 
that the contraction of a muscle shall be towards its centre. 
Therefore the subject for mechanism on each occasion is, so 
to modify the figure and adjust the position of the muscle as 
to produce the motion required agreeably Avith this law. 
This can only be done by giving to different muscles a diver- 
sity of configuration suited to their several offices, and to 
their situation with respect to the work which they have to 
perform. On which account we find them under a multi- 
plicity of forms and attitudes : sometimes with double, some- 
times with treble tendons, sometimes with none ; sometimes 
one tendon to several muscles, at other times one muscle to 
several tendons. f The shape of the organ is susceptible oi 

* See Fig. 2, where e is the annular ligament of the wrist, u.ndejf 
which pass the tendons of the muscles of the fingers. 

t Plate III., Fig. 3, represents the biceps muscle of the arm ; a, 
a, tne tendons ; h, b, the muscular fibres. The force which a muscle 
poi^-esses is as the number of the muscular fibres ; but a limited nusa- 


an incalculable variety, while the original property of the 
muscle, the law and line of its contraction, remains the 
same, and is simple. Herein the muscular system may be 
said to bear a perfect resemblance to our works of art. A^n 
artist does not alter the native quality of his materials, or 
their laws of action. He takes these as he finds them. 
His skill and ingenuity are employed in turning them, such 
as they are, to his account, by giving to the parts of liis 
machine a form and relation in which these unalterable 
properties may operate to the production of the effects in- 

YI. The ejaculations can never too often be repeated, 
How many things must go right for us to be an hour at 
ease ; how many more for us to be vigorous and active ' 
Yet vigor and activity are, in a vast plurality of instances, 
preserved in human bodies, not\^dthstanding that they de- 
pend upon so great a number of instruments of motion, and 
notwithstanding that the defect or disorder sometimes of a 
very small instrument, of a single pair, for instance, out of 
the four hundred and forty-six muscles which are employed, 
may be attended with grievous inconveniency. . There is 
piety and good sense in the following observation taken out 
of the " Religious Philosopher :" " With much compassion," 
says the writer, " as well as astonishment at the goodness of 
our loving Creator, have I considered the sad state of a cer- 
tain gentleman, who, as to the rest, was in pretty good 
health, but only wanted the use of these tivo little muscles 
that serve to lift the eyehds, and so had almost lost the 
use of his sight, being forced, as long as this defect last- 
ed, to shove up his eyelids every moment with his own 

ber only of fibres can be affixed to any point of a bone which it is 
designed to move ; it is therefore contrived to attach them to a cord, 
called a sinew or tendon, which can conveniently be conducted ana 
fixed to the bone. If we wish to move a heavy weight, we attach a 
rope to it, that a greater number of men may apply their strength. 
So, the muscular fibres are the moving powers, and the tendon is Uke 
the rope attached to the point to be moved. 


hands I"* In general we may remark in how small a de- 
gree those who enjoy the perfect use of their organs know 
the comprehensiveness of the blessing, the variety of their 
obligation. They perceive a result, but they think little 
of the multitude of concurrences and rectitudes which go to 
form it. 

Besides these observations, which belong to the muscular 
organ as such, we may notice some advantages of structure 
which are more conspicuous in muscles of a certain class or 
description than in others. Thus, 

I. The variety, quickness, and precision of which muscu- 
lar motion is capable are seen, I thinlt, in no part so remark- 
ably as in the tongue. It is worth any man's while to 
watch the agility of his tongue, the wonderful promptitude 
with which it executes changes of position, and the perfect 
exactness. Each syllable of articulated sound requires for 
its utterance a specific action of the tongue, and of the parts 
adjacent to it. The disposition and configuration of the 
mouth appertaining to every letter and word is not only 
peculiar, but, if nicely and accurately attended to, percepti- 
ble to the sight ; insomuch that curious persons have availed 
themselves of tins circumstance to teach the deaf to speak, 
and to understand what is said by others. In the same per- 
son, and after his habit of speaking is formed, one, and only 
one position of the parts will produce a given articulate sound 
correctly. How instantaneously are these positions assumed 
and dismissed ; how numerous are the permutations — how 
various, yet how infallible I Arbitrary and antic variety is 
not the thing we admire ; but variety obeying a rule, con- 
ducing to an effect, and commensurate with exigencies infi- 
nitely diversified. I believe also that the anatomy of the 
tongue corresponds with these observations upon its activity. 
The muscles of the tongue are so numerous, and so inipli- 

* Plate III., Fig. 4. A profile of this muscle in its natural posi 
tion. It arises within the orbit, and is inserted by abroad tendon intc 
the upper eyelid, which it elevates. 


eated with one another, that they cannot be traced by the 
nicest dissection ; nevertheless — which is a great perfection 
of the organ — neither the number nor the complexity, nor 
what might seem to be the entanglement of its fibres, in any- 
wise impede its motion, or render the determination or suc« 
cess of its efibrts uncertain, 

1 here entreat the reader's permission to step a little out 
of my way, to consider the 'parU of the mouth in some of 
their other properties. It has been said, and that by an 
eminent physiologist, that whenever nature attempts to 
work two or more purposes by one instrument, she does both 
or all • imperfectly. Is this true of the tongue, regarded as 
an instrument of speech and of taste, or regarded as an 
instrument of speech, of taste, and of deglutition ? So much 
otherwise, that many persons, that is to say, nine hundred 
and ninety-nine persons out of a thousand, by the instrumen- 
tality of this one organ, talk and taste and swallow very 
weU. In fact, the constant warmth and moisture of the 
tongue, the thinness of the skin, the papilla) upon its surface, 
qualify this organ for its office of tasting, as much as its 
inextricable multiplicity of fibres do for 1 he rapid movements 
Mdiich are necessary to speech. Animals which feed upon 
grass have their tongues covered with a perforated skin, so 
as to admit the dissolved food to the papillae underneath, 
which in the mean time remain defended from the rough 
action of the unbruised spiculse. 

There are brought together w^ithin the cavity of the 
mouth more distinct uses, and parts executing more distinct 
offices, than I think can be found lying so near to one another, 
or within the same compass, in any other portion of the 
body : namely, teeth of different shape, first for cutting, sec 
ondly for grinding ; muscles, most artificially disposed foi 
carrying on the compound motion of the lower jaw, half lat- 
eral and half vertical, by which the mill is worked ; foun- 
tains of saliva, springing up in difTerent parts of the cavit\ 


for the moistening of the food while the mastication is going 
on ; glands, to feed the fountains ; a muscular constriction 
of a very peculiar kind in the back part of the cavity, for 
the guiding of the prepared aliment into its passage towards 
the stomach, and in many cases for carrying it along that 
passage ; for, although we may imagine this to be done 
simply by the weight of the food itself, it in truth is not so, 
even in the upright posture of the human neck ; and most 
evidently is not the case with quadrupeds — with a horse for 
instance, in which, when pasturing, the food is thrust up- 
wards by muscular strength, instead of descending of its own 

In the mean time, and within the same cavity, is going 
on another business, altogether different from what is here 
described — that of respiration and speech. In addition there- 
fore to all that has been mentioned, we have a passage 
opened from this cavity to the lungs for the admission of air 
exclusively of every other substance ; we have muscles, some 
in the larynx, and without number in the tongue, for the 
purpose of modulating that air in its passage, with a variety, 
a compass, and precision, of which no other musical instru- 
ment is capable. And lastly, which, in my opinion, crowns 
the whole as a piece of machinery, we have a specific con- 
frivance for dividing the pneumatic part from the mechan- 
ical, and for preventing one set of actions interfering with the 
other. Where various functions are united, the difficulty is 
to guard against the inconveniences of a too great complex- 
ity. In no apparatus put together by art and for the pur- 
])oses of art, do I know such multifarious uses so aptly com- 
bined, as in the natural organization of the human mouth ; 
or where the structure, compared with the uses, is so simple. 
The mouth, with all these intentions to serve, is a singk 
cavity, is one machine, with its parts neither crowded nor 
confused, and each unembarrassed by the rest — each at least 
at liberty in a degree sufficient for the end to be attained. 
If we cannot eat and sins: at -the same moment avc can cat 


one moment and sing the next ; the respiration proceedmg 
freely all the while. 

There is one case, however, of this double office, and 
that of the earliest necessity, which the mouth alone could 
not perform ; and that is, carrying on together the two 
actions of sucking and breathing. Another route, therefore, 
is opened for the air — namely, through the nose — which lets 
the breath pass backward and forward, while the lips, in the 
act of sucking, are necessarily shut close upon the body from 
which the nutriment is drawn. This is a circumstance 
which always appeared to me worthy of notice. The nose 
would have been necessary, although it had not been the 
organ of smelling. The making it the seat of a sense was 
superadding a new use to a part already wanted — was 
taking a wise advantage of an antecedent and a constitu- 
tional necessity. 

But to return to that which is the proper subject of the 
present section, the celerity and precision of muscular mo- 
tion. These qualities may be particularly observed in the 
execution of many species of instrumental music, in which 
the changes produced by the hand of the musician are ex- 
ceedingly rapid ; are exactly measured, even when most 
minute ; and display, on the part of the muscles, an obedi- 
'ince of action alike wonderful for its quickness and its cor- 

Or let a person only observe his own hand while he is 
writiJig ; the number of muscles which are brought to bear 
upon the pen ; how the joint and adjusted operation of sev- 
eral tendons is concerned in every stroke, yet that five hun- 
dred such strokes are drawn in a minute. Not a letter can 
be turned without more than one, or two, or three tendinous 
contractions, definite both as to the choice of the tendon and 
as to the space through which the contraction moves ; yet 
how currently does the work proceed ; and when we look at 
it, how faithful have the muscles been to their duty — how 
true to the order which endeavor or habit has inculcated ! 


for let it be remembered, that while a man's handwriting 
is the same, an exactitude of order is preserved, whether he 
write well or ill. These two instances of music and writing 
show not only the quickness and precision of muscular action, 
but thj docility.^ 

II. Regarding the particular configuration of muscles, 
^pJiincter or circular muscles appear to be admirable pieces 
of mechanism. t It is the muscular power most happily 
applied — the same quality of the muscular substance, but 
under a new modification. The circular disposition of the 
fibres is strictly mechanical ; but, though the most mechan- 
ical, is not the only thing in sphincters which deserves our 
notice. The regulated degree of contractile force with which 
they are endowed, sufficient for retention, yet vincible when 
requisite, together with their ordinary state of actual con- 
traction, by means of which their dependence upon the will 
is not constant but oc.casional, gives to them a constitution 
of which the conveniency is inestimable. This their semi- 
voluntary character is exactly such as suits with the wants 
and functions of the animal. 

III. We may also, upon the subject of muscles, observe, 
that many of our most important actions are achieved by 
the combined help of different muscles. Frequently a diag- 
onal motion is produced by the contraction of tendons pulling 
in the direction of the sides of the parallelogram. This is 
the case, as has been already noticed, with some of the 
oblique nutations of the head. Sometimes the number of 
cooperating muscles is very great. Dr. Nieuentyt, in the 
Leipsic Transactions, reckons up a hundred muscles that are 
employed every time we breathe ; yet we take in or let out 

* Fig. 5 exhibits the principal muscles ol the palm of the hand : 
fl, a, a, a, are small muscles indispensably necessary in rapid move- 
ments of the fingers ; c, c/, c, are muscles of the thumb ; f, g-, of tha 
little finger. 

t Fig. 6 exliibits examples oi sphincter muscles : a, that encircling 
the eyelid, closing and compressing the eye ; 6, is the muscle surround- 
ing the mouth, and contracting the lips. 

Nat. Theol. 5 


our breath without reflecting what a work is thereby pei 
formed, what an apparatus is laid in of instruments for the 
service, and how many such contribute their assistance to 
the effect. Breathhig with ease is a blessing of every mo- 
ment, yet of all others it is that which w^e possess with the 
least consciousness. A man in an asthma is the only man 
who knows how to estimate it. 

IV. Mr. Home has observed,* that the most important 
and the most delicate actions are performed in the body by 
the smallest muscles ; and he mentions, as his examples, 
the muscles which have been discovered in the iris of the 
eye and the drum of the ear. The tenuity of these muscles 
is astonisliing : they are microscopic hairs ; must be magni- 
fied to be visible ; yet are they real, effective muscles, and 
not only such, but the grandest and most precious of our 
faculties, sight and hearing, depend upon their health and 

V. The muscles act in the limbs with what is called a 
mechanical disadvantage. The muscle at the shoulder, by 
which the arm is raised, is fixed nearly in the same manner 
as the load is fixed upon a steelyard, within a few decimals, 
we will say, of an inch from the centre upon which the steel- 
yard turns. In this situation, we find that a very heavy 
draught is no more than sufficient to countervail the force of 
a small lead plummet placed upon the long arm of the 
stee^^yard, at the distance of perhaps fifteen or twenty inches 
from the centre and on the other side of it. And this is the 
disadvantage which is meant ; and an absolute disadvantage 
no doubt it would be, if the object were to spare the force oi 
muscular contraction. But observe how conducive is this 
constitution to animal conveniency. Mechanism has always 
in view one or other of these two purposes — either to mo\c 
a great weight slowly, and through a small space, or to move 
a li"ht weight rapidly through a considerable sweep. Fof 
the former of these purposes a different species of lever, and 

* Philosophical Transactions, part I., 1800, p. 8. 


a difierent collocation of the muscles, might be bettei than 
the present ; but for the second, the present structure is the 
true one. Now it so happens that the second, arid not the 
first, is that which the occasions of animal life principally 
call foi. In what concerns the human body, it is of much 
more consequence to any man to be able to carry his hand 
to his head with due expedition, than it would be to have 
the power of raising from the ground a heavier load — of two 
or three more hundred weight, we will suppose — than he 
can lift at present. 

This last is a faculty which, on some extraordinary occa- 
sions, he may desire to possess ; but the other is what he 
wants and uses every hour or minute. In like manner, a 
husbandman or a gardener will do more execution by being 
able to carry his scythe, his rake, or his flail with a sufficient 
dispatch through a sufficient space, than if, with greater 
strength, his motions were proportionably more confined and 
slow. It is the same with a mechanic in the use of his tools. 
It is the same also with other animals in the use of their 
limbs. In general, the vivacity of their motions would be 
ill exchanged for greater force under a clumsier structure. 

"We have offered our observations upon the structure of 
muscles in general ; we have also noticed certain species of 
muscles ; but there are also single muscles which bear 
marks of mechanical contrivance appropriate as well as 
particular. Out of many instances of this kind we select 
the following : 

I. Of muscular actions, even of those which are well 
understood, some of the most curious are incapable of pop- 
ular explanation ; at least, without the aid of plates and 
fvgures. This is in a great measure the case with a very 
familiar, but at the same time a very complicated motion, 
that of the loiver jaiu ; and with the muscular structure by 
which it is produced. One of the muscles concerned may, 
however, be described in such a manner as to be, I think, 
snfHciently comprehended for our present purpose. The 


problem is to pull the lower jaw cloivn. The obvious method 
should seem to be, to place a straight muscle — namely, to 
fix a string from the chin to the breast, the contraction ol 
which would open the mouth, and produce the motion re- 
quired at once. But it is evident that the form and liberty 
of the neck forbid a muscle being laid in such a position ; 
and that, consistently with the preservation of this form, the 
motion which we w^ant must be effectuated by some mus- 
cular mechanism disposed further back in the jaw. The 
mechanism adopted is as follows : A certain muscle called 
the digastric, rises on the side of the face considerably above 
the insertion of the lower jaw, and comes down, being con- 
verted in its progress into a round tendon. Now it is man- 
ifest that the tendon, while it pursues a direction descending 
towards the jaw, must, by its contraction, pull the jaw up 
instead of down. What then was to be done ? This, we 
find, is done : the descending tendon, when it is got low 
enough, is passed through a loop, or ring, or pully,* in the 
OS hyoides, and then made to ascend ; and having thus 
changed its line of direction, is inserted into the inner part 
of the chin : by which device, namely, the turn at the loop, 
the action of the muscle — which in all muscles is contrac- 
tion — that before would have pulled the jaw up, now as 
necessarily draws it down. " The mouth," says Heister, 
"is opened by means of this trochlea in a most wonderful 
and elegant manner." 

II. What contrivance can be more mechanical than the 
following, namely, a slit in one tendon to let another tendon 
pass through it ? This structure is found in the tendons 
which move the toes and fingers. i The long tendon, as it 
is called, in the foot, which bends the first joint of the toe, 
passes through the short tendon which bends the second 

* See a similar contrivance in Plate II., Fig. 1. 

t Plate IV., Fig. 1. a, is the tendon of the long flem f th 
iocs, which divides about the middle of the foot into fou" por'.ions, 
which pass through the slits in 6, the short flexor tendons. 


joint, which course allows to the sinew more liberty, and a 
more commodious action than it would otherwise have been 
i-apable of exerting.^ There is nothing, I believe, in a silk 
or cotton mill, in the belts, or straps, or ropes, by which 
motion is communicated from one part of the machine to 
another, that is more artificial, or more evidently so, than 
this 'perforation. 

111. The next circumstance which I shall mention un- 
der this head of muscular arrangement is so decisive a mark 
of intention, that it always appeared to me to supersede, in 
some measure, the necessity of seeking for any other obser- 
vation upon the subject ; and that circumstance is, the ten- 
dons which pass from the leg to the foot, being bound down 
by a ligament to the ankle. The foot is placed at a consid- 
erable angle with the leg. It is manifest, therefore, that 
flexible strings passing along the interior of the angle, if left 
to themselves, would, when stretched, start from it. The 
obvious preventive is to tie them down. And this is done 
in fact. Across the instep, or rather just above it, the anat- 
omist finds a strong ligament, under wliich the tendons pass 
to the foot. The tOect of the ligament as a bandage can be 
made evident to the tenses ; for if it be cut, the tendons start 
up. The simplicity, yet the clearness of this contrivance, 
its exact resemblance to establishet^ resources of art, place 
it among the most indubitable manifestations of design with 
which we are acquainted. 

There is also a further use to be made of the present ex- 
ample, and that is, as it precisely contradicts the opinion 
that the parts of animals may have been all formed by wdiat 
is called apioetency, that is, endeavor perpetuated and im- 
perceptibly working its eflect through an incalculable sericfi 
of generations. We have here no endeavor, but the reverse 
of it — a constant renitency and reluctance. The endeavor 
is all the other uay. The pressure of the ligament con- 
Btraiiis the tendons ; the tendons react upon the pressure of 
* Ches. Anat., p. 119. 


the ligament. It is impossible that the ligament should ever 
have been generated by the exercise of the tendon or in the 
course of that exercise, forasmuch as the force of the tendon 
perpendicularly resists the fibre which confines it, and is con- 
stantly endeavoring, not to form, but to rupture and displace 
the threads of which the hgament is composed. 

Keill has reckoned up in the human body four hundred 
and forty-six muscles, dissectible and describable ; and hath 
assigned a use to every one of the number. This cannot be 
all imagination. 

Bishop Wilkins has observed from Galen, that there are 
at least ten several qualifications to be attended to m each 
partitular muscle : namely, its proper figure ; its just magni- 
tude ; its fulcrum ; its pomt of action, supposing the figuie 
to be fixed ; its collocation with respect to its two ends, the 
upper and the lower ; the place ; the position of the whole 
muscle ; the introduction into it of nerves, arteries, veins. 
How are things including so many adjustments to be made; 
or, when made, how are they to be put together without 
mtelligence ? 

I have sometimes wondered why we are not struck with 
mechanism in animal bodies as readily and as strongly as 
we are struck with it, at first sight, in a watch or a mill. 
One reason of the difierence may be, that animal bodies are, 
in a great measure, made up of soft flabby substances, such 
AS muscles and membranes ; whereas we have been accus- 
tomed to trace mechanism in sharp Imes, in the configura- 
tion of hard materials, in the moulding, chiselling, and filing 
into shapes of such articles as metals or wood. There is 
something, therefore, of habit in the case ; but it is sufficient- 
ly evident that there can be no proper reason for any disthic* 
tion of the sort. Mechanism may be displayed in the one 
kind of substance as well as in the other. 

Although the few instances we have selectea, even as 
they stand in our description, are notlmig short perhaps oi 


Ioj,acal proofs of design, yet it must not be forgotten, tliat in 
every part of anatomy, description is a poor substitute for 
inspection. It is well said by an able anatomist,* and said 
in reference to the very part of the subject which we have 
been treating of, " Imperfecta hsec musculorum descriptio 
non minus arida est legentibus quam inspectantibus fuerit 
jucunda eorundem prseparatio. Elegantissima enim mechan- 
ices artificia, creberrime in illis obvia, verbis nonnisi ob- 
scure exprimuntur : carnium autem ductu, tendinum colore, 
insertionum proportione, et trochlearium distributione, oculis 
exposita, omnem superant admirationem."t 

* Steno, in Bias. Anat. Animal, p. 2, c. 4. 

t " This imperfect description of the muscles is no less dry to our 
readers, than the preparation of the same has been delightful to us as 
students. Because these exquisite mechanical contrivances we so 
often meet with in the muscles, car only obscurely be described in 
words ; whereas, when displayed to the eye — with the conformation 
of the fleshy parts, the color of the tendons, the proportionate distan- 
ces of the mserti'oas, and the distribution of the pulleys — they surpasfc 
all adi^iiratioii." 




The circulation of the blood tlirougli the bodies of men 
and quadrupeds, and the apparatus by which it is carried on, 
compose a system, and testify a contrivance, perhaps the 
best understood of any part of the animal frame. The lym- 
phatic system, or the nervous system, may be more subtle 
and intricate — nay, it is possible that in their structure they 
may be even more artificial than the sanguiferous — but we 
do not know so much about them. 

The utility of the circulation of the blood I assume as an 
acknowledged point. One grand purpose is plainly answer- 
ed by it — the distributing to every part, every extremity, 
every nook and corner of the body, the nourishment v/hich 
is received into it by one aperture. What enters at the 
mouth finds its way to the fingers' ends. A more difficult 
mechanical problem could hardly, I think, be proposed, than 
to discover a method of constantly repairing the waste, and 
of supplying an accession of substance to every part of a 
complicated machine at the same time. 

This system presents itself under two views : first, the 
disposition of the bloodvessels, that is, the laying of the pi^es ; 
and secondly, the construction of the engine at the centre, 
namely, the heart, for driving the blood through them. 

I. The disposition of the bloodvessels, as far as regards 
the supply of the body, is like that of the water-pipes in a 
city, namely, large and main trunks blanching ofi^by small- 
er pipes, and these again by still narrower tubes, in every 
direction and towards every part in which the fluid which 
they convey can be wanted. So far the water-pipes which 
serve a town may represent the vessels which carry the 
blood from the heart. But there is another thing necessary 
to the blood, which is not wanted for the water ; and that 
is, the carrying of it back again to its source. For this office 


a reversed system of vessels is prepared, which, umtiiig ai 
their extremities with the extremities of the first system, 
collect the divided and subdivided streamlets, first, by capil- 
lary ramifications into larger branches, secondly, by these 
branches into trunks ; and thus return the blood — almost 
exactly inverting the order in which it went out — to the 
fountain whence its motion proceeded. All which is evident 

The body, therefore, contains two systems of bloodves- 
sels, arteries and veins. Between the constitution of the 
systems there are also two differences, suited to the func- 
tions which the systems have to execute. The blood, in 
going out, passing always from wider into narrower tubes, 
and in coming back, from narrower into wider, it is evident 
that the impulse and pressure upon the sides of the blood- 
vessels will fee much greater in one case than, the other. 
Accordingly the arteries, which carry out the blood, are form- 
ed of much tougher and stronger coats than the veins, which 
bring it back. That is one difference ; the other is still more 
artificial, or, if I may so speak, indicates still more clearly 
the care and anxiety of the Artificer. Forasmuch as, in the 
arteries, by reason of the greater force with which the blood 
is urged along them, a wound or rupture would be more 
dangerous than in the veins, these vessels are defended from 
injury, riot only by their texture, but by their situation, and 
by every advantage of situation which can be given to them. 
They are buried in sinuses, or they creep along grooves made 
for them in the bones ; for instance, the under edge of the 
ribs is sloped and furrowed solely for the passage of these 
vessels. Sometimes they proceed in channels, protected by 
stout parapets on each side ; which last description is remark- 
able in the bones of the fingers, these being hollowed out 
on the under side like a scoop, and with such a concavity 
that the finger may be cut across to the bone without hurt- 
ing the artery, which runs along it. At other times the ar- 
teries pass in canals wrought in the substance, and in tha 


vevy middle of the substance of the bone. This takes place 
in the lower jaw, and is found where there would other- 
wise be danger of compression by sudden curvature. All 
this care is wonderful, yet not more than what the impor- 
tance of the case required. To those who venture their 
lives in a ship, it has been often said, that thers is only an 
inch-board between them and death ; but in the body itself, 
especially in the arterial system, there is, in many parts, only 
a membrane, a skin, a thread. For which reason, this sys 
tern lies deep under the integuments ; whereas the veins, in 
which the mischief that ensues from injuring the coats is 
much less, he in general above the arteries, come nearer to 
the surface, and are more exposed. 

It may be further observed concerning the two systems 
taken together, that though the arterial, with its trunk and 
branches and small twigs, may be imagined to issue or pro- 
ceed, in other words, to gwiv from the heart, like a plant 
from its root, or the fibres of a leaf from its footstalk — 
which, however, were it so, would be only to resolve one 
mechanism into another — yet the venal, the returning system, 
can never be formed in this manner. The arteries might go 
on shooting out from their extremities, that is, lengthening 
and subdividing indefinitely ; but an inverted system, con- 
tinually uniting its streams instead of dividing, and thus 
carrying back what the other system carried out, could not 
be referred to the same process. 

II. The next thing to be considered is the engine which 
works this machinery, namely, the heart. For our purpose 
it is unnecessary to ascertain the principle upon which the 
heart acts. Whether it be irritation excited by the contact 
of the blood, by the influx of the nervous fluid, or whatever 
else be the cause of its motion, it is something which is capa- 
ble of producing, in a living muscular fibre, reciprocal con- 
traction and relaxation. This is the power we have to Avork 
with ; and the inquiry is, how this power is jipplied in the 
instance before us. There is provided, in the central part o^ 


the body, a holloAV muscle, invested with spiral fibres run- 
ning in both directions, the layers intersecting one another ; 
in some animals, however, appearing to be semicircular 
rather than spiral. By the contraction of these fibres, the 
sides of the muscular cavities are necessarily squeezed to- 
gether, so as to force out from them any fluid which they 
may at that time contain : by the relaxation of the same 
fibres, the cavities are in their turn dilated, and of course 
prepared to admit every fluid which may be poured into 
them. Into these cavities are inserted the great trunks, 
both of the arteries which carry out the blood, and of the 
veins which bring it back. This is a general account of the 
apparatus ; and the simplest idea of its action is, that by 
each contraction a portion of blood is forced by a syringe 
mto the arteries, and at each dilatation an equal portion is 
received from the veins. This produces at each pulse a mo- 
tion, and change in the mass of blood, to the amount of what 
the cavity contains, which, in a full-grown human heart, 
I understand is about an ounce, or two table-spoonfuls. 
How quickly these changes succeed one another, and by this 
succession how sufficient they are to support a stream or 
circulation throughout the system, may be understood by the 
following computation, abridged from Keill's Anatomy, p. 
117, ed. 3 : " Each ventricle will at least contain one ounce 
of blood. The heart contracts four thousand times in one 
hour ; from which it follows, that there pass through the 
heart, every hour, four thousand ounces, or three hundred 
and fifty pounds of blood. Now the whole mass of blood is 
said to be about twenty-five pounds ; so that a quantity of 
blood equal to the whole mass of blood passes through the 
heart fourteen times in one hour, which is about once in 
every four minutes." 

Consider what an afiair this is, when we come to very 
large aniiials. The aorta of a whale is larger in the bore 
than the main pipe of the water- works at London bridge ; 
and the water roaring in its passage through that pipe is 


inferior, in impetus and velocity, to the blood gushing from 
the whale's heart. Hear Dr. Hunter's account of the dissec- 
tion of a whale : " The aorta measured a foot in diameter. 
Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the heart at 
a stroke with an immense velocity, through a tube of a foot 
diameter. The whole idea fills the mind with wonder."* 

The account which we have here stated of the injection 
of blood into the arteries by the contraction, and of the cor- 
responding reception of it from the veins by the dilatation 
of the cavities of the heart, and of the circulation being 
thereby maintained through the bloodvessels of the body, ib 
true, but imperfect. The heart performs this office, but it 
is in conjunction with another of equal curiosity and impor- 
tance. It was necessary that the blood should be succes- 
sively brought into contact, or contiguity, or proximity with 
the air. I do not know that the chemical reason upon 
which this necessity is founded, has been yet sufficiently ex- 
plored. It seems to be made apparent, that the atmosphere 
which we breathe is a mixture of two kinds of air — one pure 
and vital, the other, for the purposes of life, effete, foul, and 
noxious ; that when we have drawer in our breath, the blood 
in the lungs imbibes from the air thus brought into contigu- 
ity with it a portion of its pure ingredient, and at the same 
time gives out the effete or corrupt air Avhich it contained, 
and which is carried away, along with tie halitus, every 
time we expire. At least, by comparing the air which is 
breathed from the lungs with the air which enters the lungs, 
it is found to have lost some of its pure part, and to have 
brought away with it an addition of its impure part. 
Whether these experiments satisfy the question as to the 
need which the blood stands in of being visited by continual 
accesses of air, is not for us to inquire into, nor material to 
our argument; it is sufficient to know, that in the constitu- 
tion of most animals such a necessity exists, and that the air, 
by some means or other, must be introduced into a near com- 
* Hunter's Account of the Dissection of a Whale. Phil. Trans. 


iiiunication with the blood. The lungs of animals are con- 
structed for this purpose. They consist of bloodvessels and 
air-vessels, lying close to each other ; and whenever there is 
a branch of the trachea or windpipe, there is a branch acconi^ 
panying it of the vein and artery, and the air-vessel is always 
in the middle between the bloodvessels.'* The internal sur- 
face of these vessels, upon which the application of the air to 
the blood depends, would, if collected and expanded, be, in a 
man, equal to a superficies of fifteen feet square. Now, in 
order to give the blood in its course the benefit of this organ 
ization — and this is the part of the subject with which wc 
are chiefly concerned — the following operation takes place. 
As soon as the blood is received by the heart from the veins 
of the body, and before that is sent out again into its arteries, 
it is carried, by the force of the contraction of the heart, and 
by means of a separate and supplementary artery, to the 
lungs, and made to enter the vessels of the lungs; from 
which, after it has undergone the action, whatever it be, of 
that viscus, it is brought back by a large vein once more to 
the heart, in order, when thus concocted and prepared, to be 
thence distributed anew into the system. This assigns to 
the heart a double office. The pulmonary circulation is a 
system within a system ; and one action of the heart is the 
origin of both. 

For this complicated function four cavities become neces- 
sary, and four are accordingly provided : two called ventri- 
cles, which send out the blood — namely, one into the lungs, 
in the first instance ; the other into the mass, after it ha? 
returned from the lungs : two others also, called auricles, 
\vh\:h. receive the blood from the veins — namely, one, as it 
comes immediately from the body ; the other, as the same 
blood comes a second time, after its circulation through the 
hmgs. So that there are two receiving cavities, and two 
forcing cavities. The structure of the heart has reference to 
the lung-, • for without the lungs, one of each would have 
* Keill's Anatomy, p. 121. 


been sufficient. The translation of the blood in the heart 
itself is after this manner. The receiving cavities respec- 
tively communicate with the forcing cavities, and, by their 
contraction, unload the received blood into them. The 
forcing cavities, Avhen it is their turn to contract, compel the 
same blood into the mouths of the arteries. 

The account here given will not convey to a reader igno- 
rant of anatomy any thing like an accurate notion of the 
form, action, or use of the parts — nor can any short and pop- 
ular account do this — but it is abundantly sufficient to testify 
contrivance ; and although imperfect, being true as far as it 
goes, may be relied upon for the only purpose for which we 
offer it — the purpose of this conclusion. 

" The wisdom of the Creator," says Hamburgher, " is 
in nothing seen more gloriously than in the heart." And 
how well does it execute its office. An anatomist, who 
understood the structure of the heart, might say beforehand 
that it would play ; but he would expect, I think, from the 
complexity of its mechanism, and the delicacy of many of its 
parts, that it should always be liable to derangement, or 
that it would soon work itself out. Yet shall this wonderful 
machine go, night and day, for eighty years together, at the 
rate of a hundred thousand strokes every twenty-four hours, 
having, at every stroke, a great resistance to overcome ; and 
shall continue this action for this length of time without dis- 
order and without wearmess I 

But further, from the account which has been given ol 
the mechanism nf the heart, it is evident that it must require 
the interposition oi^ valves — that the success indeed of its ac- 
tion must depend upon these ; for when any one of its cavi- 
ties contracts, the necessary tendency of the force will be to 
dri\'e the enclosed blood not only into the mouth of the ar 
ter^' where it ought to go, but also back again into the mouth 
of the vein from which it flowed. In like manner, when by 
the relaxation of the fibres the same cavity is dilated, the 
blood would not only Fin into it from the vein, which was 


the course intended, but back from the artery, through which 
it ought to be moving forward. The way of preventing a 
reflux of the fluid in both these cases, is to fix valves, which, 
like floodgates, may open a way to the stream in one direc- 
tion, and shut up the passage against it in another. The 
heart, constituted as it is, can no more work without valves 
ihan a pump can. When the piston descends in a pump, 
if it were not for the stoppage by the valve beneath, the mo- 
tion would only thrust down the water which it had before 
drawn up. A similar consequence would frustrate the ac- 
tion of the heart. Valves therefore, properly disposed, that 
is, properly with respect to the course of the blood w^hich it 
is necessary to promote, are essential to the contrivance ; 
and 'calves so disjyosed are accordingly provided. A valve 
is placed in the communication between each auricle and its 
ventricle, lest, when the ventricle contracts, part of the blood 
should get back again into the auricle, instead of the whole 
entering, as it ought to do, the mouth of the artery. A valve 
is also fixed at the mouth of each of the great arteries which 
take the blood from the heart — leaving the passage free so 
long as the blood holds its proper course forward ; closing it 
whenever the blood, m consequence of the relaxation of the 
ventricle, would attempt to flow back. There is some vari- 
ety in the construction of these valves, though all the valves 
of the body act nearly upon the same principle, and are des- 
tined to the same use. In general they consist of a thin 
membrane, lying close to the side of the vessel, and conse- 
quently allowing an open passage while the stream runs one 
way, but thrust out from the side by the fluid getting behind 
it, and opposing the passage of the blood when it would flow 
the other way. Where more than one membrane is em- 
ployed, the different membranes only compose one valve. 
Their joint action fulfils the office of a valve : for instance, 
over the entrance of the right auricle of the heart into the 
right ventricle, three of these skins or membranes are fixed, 
of a triangular figure, the bases of the triangles fastened to 


the flesh, the sides and summits loose ; hut, though loose, 
connected by threads of a determinate length, with certain 
small fleshy prominences adjoining. The effect of this con- 
struction is, that when the ventricle contracts, the blood en- 
deavoring to escape in all directions, and among other direc- 
tions pressing upwards, gets between these membranes and 
the sides of the passage, and thereby forces them up into 
such a position, as that together they constitute, when raised, 
a hollow cone — the strings before spoken of hindering them 
from proceeding or separating further ; which cone entirely 
occupying the passage, prevents the return of the blood into 
the auricle. A shorter account of the matter may be this : 
so long as the blood proceeds in its proper -course, the mem- 
branes which compose the valve are pressed close to the side 
of the vessel, and occasion no impediment to the circulation : 
Vvhen the blood would regurgitate, they are raised from the 
side of the vessel, and meeting in the middle of its cavity, 
shut up the channel. Can any one doubt of contrivance 
here, or is it possible to shut our eyes against the proof of it ? 
This valve, also, is not more curious in its structure, than 
it is important in its office. Upon the play of the valve, 
even upon the proportional length of the strings or fibres 
which check the ascent of the membranes, depends, as it 
should seem, nothing less than the life itself of the animal. 
We may here likev/ise repeat, what we before observed con- 
cerning some of the ligaments of the body, that they could 
not be formed by any action of the parts themselves. There 
are cases in which, although good uses appear to arise from 
the shape or configuration of a part, yet that shape or con- 
figuration itself may seem to be produced by the action ol 
the part, or by the action or pressure of adjoining parts. 
Thus the bend and the internal smooth concavity of the ribs 
may be attributed to the equal pressure of the soft bowels ; 
the particular shape of some bones and joints, to the traction 
of the annexed muscles, or to the position of contiguous mus- 
cles. But valves could not be so formed. Action and press- 


lire art' all against them. The blood, in its proper course, 
has no tendency to produce such things ; and in its improper 
or reflected current, has a tendenc)'^ .to prevent their produc- 
tion. While we see, therefore, the use and necessity of this 
machinery, we can look to no other account of its origin or 
formation than the intending mind of a Creator. Nor can 
we without admiration reflect, that such thin membranes, 
such weak and tender instruments as these valves are, should 
be able to hold out for seventy or eighty years. 

Here also we cannot consider but with gratitude, how 
happy it is that our vital motions are involuntary. We 
should have enough to do, if we had to keep our hearts beat- 
ing and our stomachs at work. Did these things depend, 
we will not say upon our efiort, but upon our bidding, our 
care, or our attention, they would leave us leisure for noth- 
ing else. We must have been continually upon the watch, 
and continually in fear ; nor would this constitution have 
allowed of sleep. 

It might perhaps be expected that an organ so precious, 
yi such central and primary importance as the heart is, 
should be defended by a ca?,e. The fact is, that a membra 
nous purse or bag, made of strong, tough materials, is pro- 
vided for it ; holding the heart within its cavity ; sitting 
loosely and easily about it ; guarding its substance, without 
confining its motion ; and containing likewise a spoonful or 
two of water, just sufficient to keep the surface of the heart 
in a state of suppleness and moisture. How should such a 
loose covering be generated by the action of the heart ? Does 
not the enclosing of it in a sack, answering no other pur- 
pose but that enclosure, shov/ the care that has been taken 
of its preservation ? 

One use of the circulation of the blood probably, among 
other uses, is, to distribute nourishment to the difierent 
parts of the body. How minute and multiplied the ramifi- 
cations of the bloodvessels for that purpose are, and how 
thickly spread over at least the superficies of the body, is 


proved by the single observation, that we cannot prick the 
point of a pin into the flesh vs^ithout drawing blood, that iS; 
without findmg a bloodvessel. Nor, internally, is their diffu- 
sion less universal. Bloodvessels run along the surface of 
membranes, pervade the substance of muscles, penetrate the 
bones. Even into every tooth, we trace> through a small 
hole in the root, an artery to feed the bone, as well as a vein 
to bring back the spare blood from it ; both which, with the 
addition of an accompanying nerve, form a thread only a 
little thicker than a horsehair. 

Wherefore, when the nourishment taken in at the mouth 
has once reached and mixed itself with the blood, every part 
of the body is in the way of being supphed with it. And 
this introduces another grand topic, namely, the manner in 
which the aliment gets into the blood ; which is a subject 
distinct from the preceding, and brings us to the considera- 
tion of another entire system of vessels. 

III. For this necessary part of the animal economy, an 
apparatus is provided in a great measure capable of being 
what anatomists call demonstrated, that is, shown in the 
dead body ; and a line or course of conveyance, which wo 
can pursue by our examinations. 

First, the food descends by a wide passage into the intes- 
tines, undergoing two great preparations on its way : one in 
the mouth, by mastication and moisture — can it be doubted 
with what design the teeth were placed in the road to the 
stomach, or that there was choice in fixing them in this sit- 
uation ? — the other by digestion in the stomach itself Of 
this last surprising dissolution I say nothing, because it is 
chemistry, and I am endeavoring to display mechanism. 
The figure and position of the stomach — I speak all along 
with a reference to the human organ — are calculated for 
detaining the food long enough for the action of its digestive 
juice. It has the shape of the pouch of a bagpipe ; lies 
across the body ; and the pylorus, or passage by which the 
food leaves it, is somewhat higher in the body than the car- 


dia o»* orifice by which it enters ; so that it is by the con- 
traction of the muscular coat of the stomach that the con- 
tents, after having undergone the application of the gastric 
menstruum, are gradually pressed out. In dogs and cats, 
this action of the coats of the stomach has been displayed 
to the eye. It is a slow and gentle undulation, propagated 
from one orifice of the stomach to the other. For the same 
reason that I omitted, for the present, offering any observa- 
tion upon the digestive fluid, I shall say nothing concerning 
the bile or the pancreatic juice, further than to observe upon 
the mechanism, namely, that from the glands in which these 
secretions are elaborated, pipes are laid into the first of the 
intestines, through which pipes the product of each gland 
flows into that bowel, and is there mixed with the aliment 
as soon almost as it passes the stomach ; adding also, as a 
remark, how grievously this same bile offends the stomach 
itself, yet cherishes the vessel that lies next to it. 

Secondly, we have now the aliment in the intestines 
converted into pulp ; and though lately consisting of ten dif- 
ferent viands, reduced to nearly a uniform substance, and to 
a state fitted for yielding its essence, which is called chyle, 
but which is milk, or more nearly resembling milk than any 
other liquor with which it can be compared For the strain- 
ing off' this fluid from the digested aliment in the course of 
its long progress through the body, myriads of capillary 
tubes, that is, pipes as small as hairs, open their orifices into 
the cavity of eveiy part of the intestines. These tubes, 
which are so fine and slender as not to be visible unless 
when distended with chyle, soon unite into larger branches. 
The pipes formed by this union terminate in glands, from 
which other pipes, of a still larger diameter, arising, carry 
the chyle from all parts into a common reservoir or recep- 
tacle. This receptacle is a bag of size enough to hold about 
two table-spoonfuls ; and from this vessel a duct or main 
pipe proceeds, climbing up the back part of the chest, and 
afterwards creeping along the gullet tiU it reach the neck. 


Here it meets the river — here it discharges itself into a large 
vein, which soon conveys the chyle, now flowing along with 
the old blood, to the heart. This whole route can be exhib- 
ited to the eye ; nothing is left to be supplied by imagination 
or conjecture. Now, besides the subserviency of this strdc- 
ture, collectively considered, to a manifest and necessary pur- 
pose, we may remark two or three separate particulars in it, 
which show, not only the contrivance, but the perfection oi 
it. We may remark, first, the length of the intestines, 
which, in the human subject, is six times that of the body. 
Simply for a passage, these voluminous bowels, this prolixity 
of gat, seems in nowise necessary ; but in order to allow 
time and space for the successive extraction of the chyle 
from the digested aliment, namely, that the chyle which 
escapes the lacteals of one part of the guts may be taken up 
by those of some other part, the length of the canal is of 
evident use and conduciveness. Secondly, we must also 
remark their peristaltic motion, which is made up of contrac- 
tions following one another like waves upon the surface of a 
fluid, and not unlike what we observe in the body of an 
earthworm crawling along the ground, and wdiich is effect- 
ed by the joint action of longitudinal and of spiral, or rathe? 
perhaps of a great number of separate semicircular fibres 
This curious action pushes forward the grosser part of the 
aliment, at the same time that the more subtle parts, which 
we call chyle, are by a series of gentle compressions squeezed 
into the narrow orifices of the lacteal veins. Thirdly, it 
was necessary that these tubes, which we denominate lac- 
teals, or their mouths at least, should be made as narrow as 
possible, in order to deny admission into the blood to any 
particle which is of size enough to make a lodgment after- 
wards in the small arteries, and thereby to obstruct the cir- 
culation ; and it was also necessary that this extreme tenu- 
ity should be compensated by multitude ; for a large quan- 
tity of chyle — in ordinary constitutions not less, it has been 
computed, than two or three quarts in a day — is, by some 


means or other, to be passed tlirough them. Accordmgly, 
we find the number of the lacteals exceeding all powers of 
computation, and their pipes so fine and slender as not to be 
visible, unless filled, to the naked eye, and their orifices, 
which open into the intestines, so small as not to be d:scern» 
ible even by the best microscope. Fourthly, the main pipe, 
which carries the chyle from the reservoir to the blood, 
namely, the thoracic duct, being fixed in an almost upright 
position, and wanting that advantage of propulsion which 
the arteries possess, is furnished with a succession of valves 
to check the ascending fluid, when once it has passed them, 
from falling back. The valves look upwards, so as to leave 
the ascent free, but to prevent the return of the chyle, if, for 
want of sufficient force to push it on, its weight should at 
any time cause it to descend. Fifthly, the chyle enters the 
blood in an odd place, but perhaps the most commodious 
place possible, namely, at a large vein in the neck, so situ- 
ated with respect to the circulation as speedily to bring the 
mixture to the heart. And this seems to be a circumstance 
of great moment ; for had the chyle entered the blood at an 
artery, or at a distant vein, the fluid composed of the old 
and the new materials must have performed a considerable 
part of the circulation before it received that churning in 
the lungs which is probably necessary for the intimate and 
perfect union of the old blood with the recent chyle. V^ ho 
could have dreamed of a communication between the cavity 
of the intestines and the left great vein of the 7icck ? Who 
could have suspected that this communication should be llie 
medium through which all nourishment is derived to the 
body, or this the place where, by a side inlet, the important 
junction is formed between the blood and the material which 
feeds it ? 

We postponed the consideration oi digestio?!, lest it should 
interrupt us in tracing the course of the food to the blood ; 
but in treating of the alimentary system, so principal a part 
of the process cannot be omitted. 


Of the gastric juice, the immediate agent by which that 
change which food undergoes in our stomachs is effected, we 
shall take our account from the numerous careful and varied 
experiments of the Abbe Spallanzani. 

1. It is not a simple diluent, but a real solvent. A 
quarter of an ounce of beef had scarcely touched the stomach 
of a crow, when the solution began. 

2. It has not the nature of saliva ; it has not the nature 
of bile ; but is distinct from both. By experiments out of 
the body, it appears that neither of these secretions acts upon 
alimentary substances in the same manner as the gastric 
juice acts. 

3. Digestion is not 2yi^iref action, for the digesting fluid 
resists putrefaction most pertinaciously ; nay, not only checks 
its further progress, but restores putrid substances. 

4. It is not ^ ferjnentative process, for the solution begins 
at the surface, and proceeds towards the centre, contrary to 
the order in which fermentation acts and spreads. 

5. It is not the digestion of heat, for the cold maw of 
a cod or sturgeon will dissolve the shells of crabs or lobsters, 
harder than the sides of the stomach which contains them. 

In a word, animal digestion carries about it the marks of 
being a power and a process completely sui generis, distinct 
ii'om every other, at least from every chemical process with 
which we are acquainted. And the most wonderful thing 
about it is its appropriation — its subserviency to the partic- 
ular economy of each animal. The gastric juice of an owl, 
falcon, or kite will not touch grain ; no, not even to finish 
the macerated and half-digested pulse which is left in the 
crops of the sparrows that the bird devours. In poultry, the 
trituration of the gizzard, and the gastric juice, conspire in 
the work of digestion. The gastric juice will not dissolve 
the grain while it is whole. Entire grains of barley, en- 
closed in tubes or spherules, are not affected by it. But ii 
the same grain be by any means broken cr ground, the gas- 
tric juice immediately lays hold of it. Here then is wanted. 


and here we find, a combination of mechanism aiu' chem- 
istry. For the preparatory grinding, the gizzard lends its 
mill ; and as all mill- work should be strong, its btructure is 
so beyond that of any other muscle belonging to the animal. 
The internal coat also, or lining of the gizzard, is, for the 
same purpose, hard and cartilaginous. But, forasmuch as 
this is not the soi't of animal substance suited for the reccp* 
tion of glands, or for secretion, the gastric juice, in this fam- 
ily, is not supplied, as in membranous stomachs, by the 
stomach itself, but by the gullet, in which the feeding- 
glands are placed, and from which it trickles down into the 

In sheep, the gastric fluid has no eflect in digesting 
plants, unless they have been previously masticated. It 
only produces a slight maceration, nearly such as common 
water would produce, in a degree of heat somewhat exceed- 
ing the medium temperature of the atmosphere. But, pro- 
vided that the plant has been reduced to pieces by chewing, 
the gastric juice then proceeds with it, first, by softening its 
substance ; next, by destroying its natural consistency ; and, 
lastly, by dissolving it so completely as not even to spare the 
toughest and most stringy parts, such as the nerves of the 

So far our accurate and indefatigable abbe. Dr. Stevens 
of Edinburgh, in 1777, found, by experiments tried with 
perforated balls, that the gastric juice of the sheep and the 
ox speedily dissolved vegetables, but made no impression 
upon beef, mutton, and other animal bodies. Mr. Hunter 
discovered a property of this fluid of a most curious kind 
namely, that in the stomach of animals which feed upon 
flesh, irresistibly as this fluid acts upon animal substancefc'. 
it is only upon the dead substance that it operates at all. 
The livi7ig fibre suffers no injury from lying in contact with 
i\. Worms and insects are found alive in the stomachs of 
such animals. The coats of the human stomach, in a healthy 
slate, are insensible to its presence ; yet in cases of sudden 


death — wherein the gastric jui^e, not having been weakened 
by disease, retains its activity — it has been known to eat a 
hole through the bowel which contains it.^ How nice is 
this discrimination of action, yet how necessary. 

But to return to our hydraulics. 

IV. The gall-bladder is a very remarkable contrivance. 
It is the reservoir of a canal. It does not form the channel 
itself, that iS; the direct communication between the liver 
and the intestine, which is by another passage, namely, the 
ductus hepaticus. continued under the name of the ductus 
communis ; but it lies adjacent to this channel, joining it hy 
a duct of its own, the ductus cysticus : by which structure 
it is enabled, as occasion may require, to add its contents to 
and increase the flow of bile into the duodenum. And the 
position of the gall-bladder is such as to apply this structure 
to the best advantage. In its natural situation, it touches 
the exterior surface of the stomach, and consequently is com- 
pressed by the distention of that vessel ; the effect of which 
compression is to force out from the bag, and send into the 
duodenum, an extraordinary quantity of bile, to meet the 
extraordinary demand which the repletion of the stomach 
by food is about to occasion.! Cheselden describes^ the 
gall-bladder as seated against the duodenum, and thereby 
liable to have its fluid pressed out by the passage of the 
aliment through that cavity, which likewise will have the 
effect of causing it to be received into the intestine at a right 
time and in a due proportion. 

There may be other purposes answered by this contriv- 
ance, and it is probable that there are. The contents of 
the gall-bladder are not exactly of the same kind as what 
passes from the liver through the direct passage. § It is 
possible that the gall may be changed, and for some pur- 
poses meliorated, by keeping. 

The entrance of the gall-duct into the duodenum fur 

* Phil. Trans., vol. 62, p. 447. t Keill's Anat., p. C4. 

t Anat., p. 164. ^ KelU, (from Malpighius,) p. 63. 


aislies another observation. Whenever either smaller tubes 
are inserted into larger tubes, or tubes into vessels and cavi- 
ties, such receiving tubes, vessels, or cavities being subjecl 
to muscular constriction, we always find a contrivance to 
prevent regurgitation. In some cases valves are used ; in 
Dther cases, among which is that now before us, a differenl 
gxpedient is resorted to, which may be thus described : the 
gall- duct enters the duodenum obliquely ; after it has pierced 
the first coat, it runs near two finger's breadth betivee7i the 
coats before it opens into the cavity of the intestine* The 
same contrivance is used in another part, where there is 
exactly the same occasion for it, namely, in the insertion ot 
the ureters in the bladder. These enter the bladder near 
its neck, running for the space of an inch between its coats. f 
It is, in both cases, sufficiently evident that this structure 
has a necessary mechanical tendency to resist regurgitation ; 
for whatever force acts in such a direction as to urge the 
fl.uid back into the orifices of the tubes, must, at the same, 
time, stretch the coats of the vessels, and thereby compress 
that part of the tube which is included between them. 

Y. Among the vessels of the human body, the pipe which 
conveys the saliva from the place where it is made to the 
place where it is wanted, deserves to be reckoned among 
che most intelligible pieces of mechanism with which we 
are acquainted. The saliva, we all know, is used in the 
mouth ; but much of it i? produced on the outside of the 
cheek by the parotid gland, which lies between the ear and 
the angle of the lower jaw. In order to carry the secreted 
juice to its destination, there is laid from the gland on the 
outside a pipe about the thickness of a wheat straw, and 
about three finger's breadth in length, which, after riding 
over the masseter muscle, bores for itself a hole through the 
very middle of the cheek, enters by that hole, which is a 
complete perforation of the buccinator muscle, into the 
mouth, and there discharges its fluid very copiously. 
* Keill's Anat., p. 62. t Ches. Anat, p. 2C0. 

Nat. Thpol. 6 


VI. Another exquisite structure, differing, indeed, from 
the four preceding instances, in that it does not relate to the 
conveyance of fluids, but still belonging, like these, to the 
class of pipes or conduits of the body, is seen in the larynx. 
We all know that there go down the throat two pipes, one 
leading to the stomach, the other to the lungs — the one be- 
mg tlie passage for the food, the other for the breath and 
voice : we know also, that both these passages open into the 
bottom of the mouth — the gullet, necessarily, for the con- 
veyance of food, and the windpipe, for speech and the mod- 
ulation of sound, not much less so : therefore the difficulty 
was, the passages being so contiguous, to prevent the food, 
especially the liquids, which we swallow into the stomach, 
fi'om entering the windpipe, that is, the road to the lungs — 
the consequence of which error, when it does happen, is 
perceived by the convulsive throes that are instantly pro 
duced. This business, which is very nice, is managed in 
this manner. The gullet, the passage for food, opens into 
the mouth like the cone or upper part of a funnel, the capac- 
ity of which forms indeed the bottom of the mouth. Into 
the side of this funnel, at the part which hes the lowest, 
enters the windpipe by a chink or slit, with a lid or flap like 
a little tongue, accurately fitted to the orifice. The solids 
or liquids which we swallow pass over this lid or flap as 
they descend by the funnel into the gullet. Both the weight 
of the food and the action of the muscles concerned in swal- 
lowing contribute to keep the lid close down upon the aper- 
ture while any thing is passing ; whereas, by means of its 
natural cartilaginous spring, it raises itself a little as soon as 
the food is passed, thereby allowing a free inlet and outlet 
for the respiration of air by the lungs. Such is its struc- 
luie ; and we may here remark the almost complete success 
of the expedient, namely, how seldom it fails of its purpose 
compared with the number of instances in which it fulfils 
it. Reflect how frequently we swallow, how constantly wp 
breathe. In a city feast, for example, what deglutition, what 


anhelatioii I yet does this little cartilage, the epiglottis, so 
efTectually interpose its office, so securely guard the entrance 
of the windpipe, that while morsel after morsel, draught 
after draught, are coursing one another over it, an accident 
of a crumb or a drop slipping into this passage — which nev- 
ertheless must be opened for the breath every second oi 
time — excites in the whole company not only alarm by ita 
danger, but surprise by its novelty. Not two guests are 
choked in a century. 

There is no room for pretending that the action of the 
parts may have gradually formed the epiglottis : } do not 
mean in the same individual, but in a succession of genera- 
tions. Not only the action of the parts has no such tenden- 
cy, but the animal could not live, nor consequently the parts 
act, either without it or with it in a half-formed state. The 
species was not to wait for the gradual formation or expaxi- 
sion of a part which was from the first necessary to the lite 
of the individual. 

Not only is the larynx curious, but the whole windpipe 
possesses a structure adapted to its peculiar office. It is 
made up — as any one may perceive by putting his fingers 
to his throat — of stout cartilaginous ringlets, placed at small 
and equal distances from one another. Now this is not the 
case with any other of the numerous conduits of the body. 
The use of these cartilages is to keep the passage for the aii 
constantly open, which they do mechanically. A pipe with 
soft mem.branous coats, liable to collapse and close when 
empty, would not have answered here ; although this be the 
general vascular structure, and a structure which serves 
very well for those tubes which are kept in a state of por- 
^^etual distention by the fluid they enclose, or which aObrd 
a passage to solid and protruding substances. 

Nevertheless — which is another particularity well v^\ 
thy of notice — these rings are not complete, that is, are not 
cartilaginous and stiff all round ; but their hir ler part, 
which is contiguous to the gullet, is membranous md soft. 


easily yielding to the distentions of that organ occasioned by 
the descent of solid food. The same rings are also bevelled 
off at the upper and lower edges, the better to close upon 
one another when the trachea is compressed or shortened. 

The constitution of the trachea may suggest likewise 
another reflection. The membrane v/hich lines its inside is 
perhaps the most sensible, irritable membrane of the body. 
It rejects the touch of a crumb of bread, or a drop of water, 
with a spasm which convulses the whole frame ; yet, left to 
itself and its proper office, the intromission of air alone, 
nothing can be so quiet. It does not even make itself felt ; 
a man does not know that he has a trachea. This capacity 
of perceiving with such acuteness, this impatience of offence, 
yet perfect rest and ease when let alone, are properties, one 
would have thought, not likely to reside in the same sub- 
ject. It is to the junction, however, of these almost incon 
sistent qualities, in this, as well as in some other delicate 
parts of the body, that we owe our safety and our comfort — 
our safety to their sensibility, our comfort to their repose. 

The larynx, or rather the whole windpipe taken togeth- 
er — for the larynx is only the upper part of the windpipe — 
besides its other uses, is also a musical instrument, that is 
to say, it is mechmiism expressly adapted to the modulation 
of sound ; for it has been found upon trial, that by relaxing 
or tightening the tendinous bands at the extremity of the 
windpipe, and blowing in at the other end, all the cries 
and notes might be produced of which the living animal 
was capable. It can be sounded just as a pipe or flute is 

Birds, says Bonnet, have at the lower end of the wind- 
pipe a conformation like the reed of a hautboy, for the mod- 
ulation of their notes. A tuneful bird is a ventriloquist 
The seat of the song is in the breast. 

The use of the lungs in the system has been said to be 
obscure ; one use, however, is plain, though in some sense 
external to the system, and that is, the formation, in con 


junction with the larynx, of voice and speech. They are, 
to animal utterance, what the bellows are to the organ. 

For the sake of method, we have considered animal 
bodies under three divisions — their bones, their muscles, and 
their vessels ; and we have stated our observations upon 
these parts separately. But this is to diminish the strength 
of the argument. The wisdom of the Creator is seen, not 
in their separate but their collective action — in their mutual 
subserviency and dependence — in their contributing together 
to one eflect and one use. It has been said, that a man can- 
not lift his hand to his head without finding enough to con- 
vince him of the existence of a God. And it is well said ; 
for he has only to reflect, familiar as this action is, and 
simple as it seems to be, how many things are requisite for 
the performing of it — how many things which Ave under- 
stand, to say nothing of many more, probably, which we do 
not : namely, first, a long, hard, strong cylinder, in order to 
give to the arm its firmness and tension ; but which, being 
rigid, and in its substance inflexible, can only turn upon 
joints : secondly, therefore, joints for this purpose, one at 
the shoulder to raise the arm, another at the elbow to bend 
it ; these joints continually fed with a soft mucilage to make 
the parts slip easily upon one another, and holden together 
by strong braces to keep them in their position : then, third- 
ly, strings and wires, that is, muscles and tendons, artifi- 
cially inserted, for the purpose of drawing the bones in the 
directions in which the joints allow them to move. Hith- 
erto we seem to understand the mechanism pretty well ; 
and understanding this, we possess enough for our conclu- 
sion. Nevertheless, we have hitherto only a machine stand- 
ing still — a dead organization — an apparatus. To put the 
system in a state of activity, to set it at work, a further pro- 
vision is necessary, namely, a communication with the brain 
by means of nerves. We know the existence of this com- 
munication, because we can see the communicating threads, 


and can trace them to the brain ; its necessity we also know 
because if the thread be cut, if the communication bo inter- 
cepted, the muscle becomes paralytic ; but beyond this we 
know little, the organization being too minute and subtile 
for our inspection. 

To what has been enumerated, as officiating in the single 
act of a man's raising his hand to his head, must be added 
likewise all that is necessary and all that contributes to the 
growth, nourishment, and sustentation of the limb, the repair 
of its waste, the preservation of its health : such as the cir- 
culation of the blood through every part of it ; its lymphatics, 
exhalents, absorbents ; its excretions and integuments. All 
these share in the result — -jom in the effect ; and hoAV all 
these, or any of them, come together without a designing, 
disposing intelligence, it is impossible to conceive. 





Contemplating an aiiimal body in its collective cd^ 
pacity, we cannot forget to notice what a number of instru- 
ments are brought together, and often within how small a 
compass. It is a cluster of contrivances. In a canary-bird, 
for instance, and in the single ounce of matter which com- 
poses his body — but which seems to be all employed — we 
have instruments for eating, for digesting, for nourishment, 
for breathing, for generation, for running, for flying, for see- 
ing, for hearing, for smelling : each appropriate — each en- 
tirely different from all the rest. 

The human or indeed the animal frame, considered as a 
mass or assemblage, exhibits in its composition three prop- 
erties, which have long struck my mind as indubitable evi- 
dences not only of design, but of a great deal of attention 
and accuracy in prosecuting the design. 

I. The first is, the exact correspondency of the two sides 
of the same animal : the right hand answering to the left, 
leg to leg, eye to eye, one side of the countenance to the 
other ; and with a precision, to imitate which in any toler- 
able degree, forms one of the difficulties of statuary, and 
requires, on the part of the artist, a constant attention to 
this property of his work distinct from every other. 

It is the most difficult thing that can be to get a wdg 
made even ; yet how seldom is the face awry. And what 
care is taken that it should not be so, the anatomy of its 
bones demonstrates. The upper part of the face is composed 
of thirteen bones, six on each side, answering each to eacli, 
and the thirteenth, without a fellow, in the middle. The 
lower part of the face is in like manner composed of six 
bones, three on each side, respectively corresponding, and 
the lower jaw in the centre. In building an arch, could 


more be done iii order to make the curve truj, that is, the 
parts equidistant from the middle, ahke in figure and po- 
sition ? 

The exact resemblance of the eyes, considering hoAV com- 
pounded this organ is in its structure, how various and how 
delicate are the shades of color with which its iris is tinged ; 
liow differently, as to effect upon appearance, the eye may 
be mounted in its socket, and how differently in different 
heads eyes actually are set — is a property of animal bodies 
much to be admired. Of ten thousand eyes, I do not know 
that it would be possible to match one, except with its own 
fellow ; or to distribute them into suitable pairs by any othei 
selection than that which obtains. 

This regularity of the animal structure is rendered more 
remarkable by the three following considerations : 

1 . The limbs, separately taken, have not this correlation 
of parts, but the contrary of it. A knife drawn do^\ii the 
chine cuts the human body into two parts, externally equal 
and alike ; you cannot draw a straight line which will divide 
a hand, a foot, the leg, the thigh, the cheek, the eye, the ear, 
mto two parts equal and ahke. Those parts which are 
placed upon the middle or partition line of the body, or 
which traverse that line — as the nose, the tongue, and the 
lips — may be so divided, or more properly speaking, are 
double organs ; but other parts cannot. This shows that 
the correspondency w^hich we have been describing does not 
arise by any necessity in the nature of the subject ; for, if 
necessary, it would be universal ; whereas it is observed 
only in the system or assemblage. It is not true of the sep- 
arate parts : that is to say, it is found where it conduces to 
beauty or utility ; it is not found where it would subsist at 
the expense of both. The two wings of a bird always cor- 
respond ; the two sides of a feather frequently do not. In 
centipedes, millepedes, and the whole tribe of insects, no 
two legs on the same side are alike : yet there is the most 
exact parity between the legs opposite to one another. 


2 The next circumstance to be remarked is, that while 
the cavities of the body are so configurated as externally to 
exhibit the most exact correspondency of the opposite sides, 
the contents of these cavities have no such correspondency. 
A line drawn down the middle of the breast divides the 
thorax into two sides exactly similar ; yet these two sides 
enclose very different contents. The heart lies on the left 
side, a lobe of the lungs on the right ; balancing each other 
neither in size nor shape. The same thing holds of the 
abdomen. The hver lies on the right side, without any 
similar viscus opposed to it on the left. The spleen indeed 
is situated over against the liver; but agreeing with the 
liver neither in bulk nor form. There is no equipollency 
between these. The stomach is a vessel both irregular in 
its shape and oblique in its position. The foldings and 
doublings of the intestines do not present a parity of sides. 
Yet that symmetry which depends upon the correlation of 
the sides is externally preserved througliout the Avhole trunk, 
and is the more remarkable in the lower parts of it, as the 
integuments are soft, and the shape, consequently, is not, as 
the thorax is, by its ribs, reduced by natural stays. It is 
evident, therefore, that the external proportion does not arise 
from any equality in the shape or pressure of the internal 
contents. What is it, indeed, but a correction of inequalities ; 
an adjustment, by mutual compensation, of anomalous forms 
into a regular congeries ; the effect, in a word, of artful, 
and if we might be permitted so to speak, of studied collo- 
cation ? 

3. {:5imilar also to this is the third observation : that an 
mternal inequality in the feeding vessel is so managed as to 
produce no inequahty of parts which were intended to cor- 
respond. The right arm answers accurately to the left, both 
in size and shape ; but the arterial branches which supply 
the two arms do not go off from their trunk in a pair, in the 
same manner, at the same place, or at the same angle. 
Under which want of similitude, it is very difficult to con 


ceive how the same quantity of blood should be pushed 
through each artery ; yet the result is right : the two limbs 
which are nourished by them perceive no difference of sup- 
ply — no effects of excess or deficiency. 

Concerning the difference of manner in which the sub- 
clavian and carotid arteries, upon the different sides of the 
body, separate themselves from the aorta, Cheselden seems 
to have thought, that the advantage wliich the left gain by 
going off at an angle much more acute than the right, is 
made up to the right by their going off together in one 
branch.* It is very possible that this may be the compen- 
sating contrivance ; and if it be so, how curious — how hy- 
drostatical I 

II. Another perfection of the animal mass is the 'pack- 
age. I know nothing which is so surprising. Examine the 
contents of the trunk of any large animal. Take notice 
how soft, how tender, how intricate they are ; how constant- 
ly in action, how necessary to life ! Keflect upon the dan- 
ger of any injury to their substance, any derangement to 
their position, any obstruction to their office. Observe the 
heart pumping at the centre, at the rate of eighty strokes in 
a minute ; one set of pipes carrying the stream away from 
it, another set bringing, in its course, the fluid back to it 
again ; the lungs performing their elaborate office, namely, 
distending and contracting their many thousand vesicles by 
a reciprocation which cannot cease for a minute ; the stom- 
ach exercising its powerful chemistry; the bowels silently 
propelling the changed aliment — collecting from it, as it 
proceeds, and transmitting to the blood an incessant supply 
of prepared and assimilated nourishment ; that blood pur- 
suing its course ; the liver, the kidneys, the pancreas, the 
parotid, with many other known and distinguishable glands, 
drawing off from it, all the while, their proper secretions. 
These several operations, together with others more subtile 
but less capable of being investigated, are going on witliin 
* Ches. Anat., p. 184, ed. 7. 


US at one and the same time. Think of this ; and tlien ob- 
serve how the body itself, the case which holds this machine- 
ry, is rolled, and jolted, and tossed about, the mechanism 
remaining unhurt, and with very little molestation even of 
its nicest motions. Observe a rope-dancer, a tumbler, or a 
monkey — the sudden inversions and contortions which the 
internal parts sustain by the postures into which their bodies 
are thrown ; or rather observe the shocks which these parts, 
even in ordinary subjects, sometimes receive from falls and 
bruises, or by abrupt jerks and twists, without sensible or 
with soon recovered damage. Observe this, and then reflect 
how firmly every part must be secured, how carefully sur- 
rounded, how well tied down and packed together. 

This property of animal bodies has never, I think, been 
considered under a distinct head, or so fully as it deserves. 
I may be allowed therefore, in order to verify my observa- 
tion concerning it, to set forth a short anatomical detail, 
though it oblige me to use more technical language than I 
should wish to introduce into a work of this kind. 

1 . The heart — such care is taken of the centre of life — 
is placed between two soft lobes of the lungs ; is tied to 
the mediastmum and to the pericardium ; which pericardi- 
um is not only itself an exceedingly strong membrane, but 
adheres firmly to the duplicature of the mediastinum, and 
by its point, to the middle tendon of the diaphragm. The 
heart is also sustained in its place by the great bloodvessels 
which issue from it.^ 

2. The lungs are tied to the sternum by the mediasti- 
num before ; to the vertebrae, by the pleura behind. It seems 
indeed to be the very use of the mediastinum — which is a 
membrane that goes straight through the middle of the tho- 
rax, from the breast to the back — to keep the contents ol 
the thorax in their places ; in particular to hinder one lobe 
of the lungs from incommoding another, or the parts of the 
lungs from pressing upon each other when we lie on one side.t 

* Keill's Anat., p. 107, ed. 3. t lb., p. 119, ed. 3. 


3. The liver is fastened in the body by two hgamenis : 
the first, which is large and strong, comes from the covering 
of the diaphragm, and penetrates the substance of the hver , 
the second is the umbilical vein, which, after birth, degene- 
rates into a ligament. The first, which is the principal, 
fixes the liver in its situation while the body holds an erect 
posture ; the second prevents it from pressing upon the dia- 
phragm when we lie down ; and both together sling or sus- 
pend the liver when we lie upon our backs, so that it may 
not compress or obstruct the ascending vena cava,^ to which 
belongs the important office of returning the blood from the 
body to the heart. 

4. The bladder is tied to the navel by the urachus, 
transformed mto a ligament : thus, what was a passage for 
urine to the fostus, becomes, after birth, a support or stay to 
the bladder. The peritoneum also keeps the viscera from 
confounding themselves with, or pressing irregularly upon 
the bladder ; for the kidneys and bladder are contained in a 
distinct duplicature of that membrane, being thereby parti- 
tioned off from the other contents of the abdomen, 

5. The kidneys are lodged in a bed of fat. 

6. The pancreas, or sweetbread, is strongly tied to the 
peritoneum, v/hich is the great wrapping-sheet that encloses 
all the bowels contained m the lower belly. f 

7. The spleen also is confined to its place by an adhesion 
to the peritoneum and diaphragm, and by a connection with 
the omentum. I It is possible, in my opinion, that the spleen 
may be merely a stuffing, a soft cushion to fill up a vacancy 
or hollow, which, unless occupied, would leave the package 
loose and unsteady ; for, supposing that it answers no othei 
purpose than this, it must be vascular, and admit o^ a cir- 
culation through it, in order to be kept alive, or be a part of 
a .iving body. 

8. The omentum, epiploon, or caul, is an apron tucked 

* Ches. Anat., p. 162. t Keill's Anat., p. ^1. 

% Cbes. Anat, p. 167. 


U{), or doubling upon itself, at its lowest part. The upper 
edge is tied to the bottom of the stomach, to the spleen, as 
has already been observed, and to part of the duodenum 
The reflected edge also, after forming the doubling,, comes 
up behind the front flap, and is tied to the colon and ad- 
joining viscera. =* 

9. The septa of the brain probably prevent one part of 
the organ from pressing w^ith too great a weight upon an- 
other part. The processes of the dura mater divide the 
cavity of the skull, like so many inner partition walls, and 
thereby confine each hemisphere and lobe of the brain to the 
chamber which is assigned to it, without its being liable to 
rest upon or intermix with the neighboring parts. The 
great art and caution of packing is to prevent one thing 
hurting another. This, in the head, the chest, and the ab- 
domen of an animal body is, among other methods, provided 
for by membranous partitions and wrappings, which keep 
the parts separate. 

The above may serve as a short account of the manner 
in which the principal viscera are sustained in their places. 
"But of the provisions for this purpose, by far, in my opinion, 
the most curious, and where also such a provision was mos^ 
wanted, is in the guts. It is pretty evident that a long 
narrow tube — in man, about five times the length of the 
body — laid from side to side in folds upon one' another, wind- 
ing in oblique and circuitous directions, composed also of a 
soft and yielding substance, must, without some extraordi- 
nary precaution for its safety, be continually displaced by 
the various, sudden, and abrupt motions of the body which 
contains it. I should expect that, if not bruised or wound- 
ed by every fall, or leap, or twist, it would be entangled, or 
t>3 involved with itself; or, at the least, shpped and shaken 
out of the order in which it is disposed, and which order is 
necessary to be preserved for the carrying on of the ira]>or- 
tant functions which it has to execute in the animal econo- 
* Ches. Anat., p. 1G7. 


my. Let us see, therefore, how a danger so serious, and yet 
80 natural to the length, narrowness, and tubular form of the 
part, is provided against. The expedient is admirable, and 
it is this. The intestinal canal, throughout its whole pro- 
cess, is knit to the edge of a broad fat membrane called the 
mesentery. It forms the margin of this mesentery, being 
stitched and fastened to it like the edging of a ruffle ; being 
four times as long as the mesentery itself, it is what a seam- 
stress would call "puckered or gathered on" to it. This is 
the nature of the connection of the gut with the mesentery : 
and being thus joined to, or rather made a part of the mes- 
entery, it is folded and wrapped up together with it. Now 
the mesentery having a considerable dimension in breadth, 
being in its substance withal both thick and suety, is capa- 
ble of a close and safe folding, in comparison of what the 
intestinal tube would admit of, if it had remained loose. The 
mesentery likewise not only keeps the intestinal canal in its 
proper place and position under all the turns and windings 
of its course, but sustains the numberless small vessels, the 
arteries, the veins, the lympheducts, and above all, the lac- 
teals, which lead from or to almost every point of its coats 
and cavity. This membrane, which appears to be the great 
support and security of the alimentary apparatus, is itself 
strongly tied to the first three vertebrse of the loins. ^ 

III. A third general property of animal forms is btatt- 
ty, I do not mean relative beauty, or that of one indi- 
vidual above another of the same species, or of one species 
compared with another species ; but I mean, generally, 
the provision which is made in the body of almost every 
animal to adapt its appearance to the perception of the ani- 
mals with which it converses. In our own species, for ex- 
ample, only consider what the parts and materials are of 
which the fairest body is composed ; and no further observa- 
tion will be necessary to show how well these things are 
wTapped up, so as to form a mass which shall be capable of 
* Keill's Anatomy, p. 45. 


symmetry in its proportion, and of beauty in its aspect ; 
how the bones are covered, the bowels concealed, the rough- 
nesses of the muscle smoothed and softened ; and how over 
the whole is drawn an integument which converts the dis- 
gusting materials of a dissecting-room into an object of at- 
traction to the sight, or one upon which it rests at least 
with ease and satisfaction. Much of this effect is to be 
attributed to the intervention of the cellular or adipose 
membrane, which lies immediately under the skin; is a 
kind of lining to it ; is moist, soft, shppery, and compressi- 
ble ; everywhere filling up the interstices of the muscles, 
and forming thereby their roundness and flowing line, as 
WftQ as the evenness and polish of the whole surface. 

All Mdiich seems to be a strong indication of design, and 
of a design studiously directed to this purpose. And it be- 
ing once allowed that such a purpose existed with respect 
to any of the productions of nature, we may refer, with a 
considerable degree of probability, other particulars to the 
same intention ; such as the tints of flowers, the plumage of 
birds, the furs of beasts, the bright scales of fishes, the paint- 
ed wings of butterflies and beetles, the rich colors and spot- 
ted lustre of many tribes of insects. 

There are parts also of animals ornamental, and the 
properties by which they are so, not subservient, that we 
know of, to any other purpose. The irides of most animals 
are very beautiful, without conducing at all, by their beau- 
ty, to the perfection of vision ; and nature could in no part 
have employed her pencil to so much advantage, because 
no part presents itself so conspicuously to the observer, or 
communicates so great an effect to the whole aspect. 

In plants, especially in the flowers of plants, the princi- 
ple of beauty holds a still more considerable place in their 
corrposition — is still more confessed than in animals. Why, 
for one instance out of a thousand, does the corolla of the 
tulip, when advanced to its size and maturity, change its 
color '^ The purposes, so far as we can see, of vegetable 


nutrition might have been carried on as Avell by its coiUinu* 
ing green. Or, if this could not be, consistently with the 
progress of vegetable life, why break into such a vailety oi 
colors ? This is no proper effect of age, or of declension in 
the ascent of the sap ; for that, like the autumnal tints, 
would have produced one color on one leaf, with marks ol 
fading and withering. It seems a lame account to call it, 
as it has been called, a disease of the plant. Is it not more 
probable that this property, which is independent, as it 
should seem, of the wants and utilities of the plant, was 
calculated for beauty, intended for display ? 

A ground, I know, of objection has been taken against 
the whole topic of argument, namely, that there is no such 
thing as beauty at all : in other words, that whatever is 
useful and familiar comes of course to be thought beautiful ; 
and that things appear to be so, only by their alliance with 
these qualities. Our idea of beauty is capable of being in 
so great a degree modified by habit, by fashion, by the expe- 
rience of advantage or pleasure, and by associations arising 
out of that experience, that a question has been made wheth- 
er it be not altogether generated by these causes, or would 
have any proper existence without them. It seems, how 
ever, a carrying of the conclusion too far, to deny the exist 
ence of the principle, namely, a native capacity of perceiving 
beauty, on account of an influence, or of varieties proceed 
ing from that influence, to which it is subject, seeing that 
principles the most acknowledged are liable to be affected in 
the same manner. I should rather argue thus : The ques- 
tion respects objects of sight. Now every other sense has 
its distinction of agreeable and disagreeable. Some tastes 
offend the palate, others gratify it. In brutes and insects, 
this distinction is stronger and more regular than in man. 
Every horse, ox, sheep, swine, when at liberty to choose, 
and when in a natural state, that is, when not vitiated by 
habits forced upon it, eats and rejects the same plants. 
Many insects which feed upon particular plants, will rather 


die than change their appropriate leaf. All this looks like 
a determhiatioii in the sense itself to particular taste* In 
hke manner, smells affect the nose with sensations pleasur- 
able or disgusting. Some sounds, or compositions of sound, 
delight the ear ; others torture it. Habit can do much in 
all these cases — and it is well for us that it can, for it is th s 
power which reconciles us to many necessities ; but has the 
distinction, in the mean time, of agreeable and disagreeable 
no foundation in the sense itself? What is true of the other 
senses is most probably true of the eye — the analogy is irre- 
sistible — namely, that there belongs to it an original consti- 
tution, fitted to receive pleasure from some impressions, and 
pain from others. 

I do not, however, know that the argument which alleges 
beauty as a final cause rests ujDon this concession. We pos- 
sess a sense of beauty, however we come by it. It in fact 
exists. Things are not indifierent to this sense ; all objects 
do not suit it : many, which we see, are agreeable to it ; 
many others disagreeable. It is certainly not the effect ol 
habit upon the particular object, because the most agreeable 
objects are often the most rare ; many which are very com- 
mon, continue to be offensive. If they be niade supportable 
by habit, it is all which habit can do ; they never become 
agreeable. If this sense, therefore, be acquired, it is a result — 
the produce of numerous and complicated actions of external 
objects upon the senses, and of the mind upon its sensations. 
With this result there must be a certain congruity, to enable 
any particular object to please : and that congruity, w^e con- 
tend, is consulted in the aspect which is given to animal 
and vegetable bodies. 

IV. The skin and covering of animals is that upon which 
their appearance chiefly depends ; and it is that part which, 
perhaps, in all animals, is most decorated, and most free 
from impurities. But were beauty or agreeableness oi 
aspect entirely out of the question, there is another purpose 
answered by this integument, and by the collocation of the 


parts of the body beneath it, which is of still greater im- 
portance ; and that purpose is concealment. Were it pos- 
sible to view through the skin the mechanism of our bodies, 
the sight would frighten us out of our wits. " D.irst we 
make a single movement," asks a lively French writer, " or 
stir a step from the place we were in, if we &aw our blood 
circulating, the tendons pulling, the -lungs blowing, the 
humors filtrating, and all the incomprehensible assemblage 
of fibres, tubes, pumps, valves, currents, pivots, which sus- 
tain an existence at once so frail and so presumptuous ?" 

V. Of animal bodies, considered as masses, there is an- 
other property more curious than it is generally thought to 
be, which is the faculty of standing ; and it is more re- 
markable in two-legged animals than in quadrupeds, and 
most of all, as being the tallest and resting upon the smallest 
base, in man. There is more, I think, in the matter than 
we are aware of. The statue of a man placed loosely upon 
a pedestal, would not be secure of standing half an hour. 
You are obliged to fix its feet to th^ block by bolts and sol- 
der, or the first shake, the first gust of wind, is sure to 
throw it down. Yet this statue shall express all the mechan- 
ical proportions of a living model. It is not therefore the 
mere figure, or merely placing the centre of gravity within 
the base, that is sufficient. Either the law of gravitation is 
suspended in favor of living substances, or something more 
is done for them, in order to enable them to uphold their 
posture. There is no reason whatever to doubt, but that 
their parts descend by gravitation in the same manner as 
those of dead matter. The gift therefore appears to me to 
consist in a faculty of perpetually shifting the centre of grav- 
ity, by a set of obscure, indeed, but of quick-balancing ac- 
tions, so as to keep the line of direction, which is a line 
Jra\\Ti from that centre to the ground, within its prescribed 

Of these actions it may be observed, first, that they in 
part constitute what we call strength. The dead body drop? 


down The mere adjustment therefore of weight and press- 
urC; which may be the same the moment after death as the 
moment before, does not support the cohmm. In cases also 
of extreme w^eakness, the patient cannot stand upright. 
Secondly, that these actions are only in a small degree vol- 
untary. A man is seldom conscious of his voluntary powers 
in keeping himself upon his legs. A child learniug to walk 
is the greatest posture-master in the world ; but art, if it 
may be so called, sinks into habit, and he is soon able to 
poise himself in a great variety of attitudes, without being 
sensible either of caution or efibrt. But still there must be 
an aptitude of parts, upon which habit can thus attach — a 
previous capacity of motions which the animal is thus taught 
to exercise ; and the facility with which this exercise is 
acquired, forms one object of our admiration. What parts 
are principally employed, or in what manner each contributes 
to its office, is, as has already been confessed, difficult to 
explain. Perhaps the obscure motion of the bones of the feet 
may have their share in this eflect. They are put in action 
by every slip or vacillation of the body, and seem to assist in 
restoring its balance. Certain it is, that this circumstance 
in the structure of the foot, namely, its being composed of 
many small bones, apphed to and articulating with one an- 
other by diversely shaped surfaces, instead of being made of 
one piece, like the last of a shoe, is very remarkable. 

I suppose also, that it would be difficult to stand firmly 
upon stilts or wooden legs, though their base exactly imita- 
ted the figure and dimensions of the sole of the foot. The 
alternation of the joints, the knee-joint bending backward, 
the hip-joint forward ; the flexibility, in every direction, of 
the spine, especially in the loins and neck, appear to be of 
great moment in preserving the equilibrium of the body. 
With respect to this last circumstance, it is observable that 
the vertebra? are so confined by ligaments as to allow no 
more slipping upon their bases than what is just sufficient to 
break the shock which any violent motion may occasion to 


the body. A certain degree also of tension of the sinews 
appears to be essential to an erect posture ; for it is by 
the loss of this that the dead or paralytic body drops 

The whole is a wonderful result of combined powers and 
of very complicated operations. Indeed, that standiiig is 
not so simple a business as we imagine it to be, is evident 
from the strange gesticulations of a drunken man, who has 
lost the government of the centre of gravity. 

We have said that this property is the most worthy ol 
observation in the human body ; but a Urd resting upon 
its perch, or hopping upon a spray, affords no mean speci- 
men of the same faculty. A chicken runs off as soon as it is 
hatched from the egg ; yet a chicken, considered geometri- 
cally, and with relation to its centre of gravity, its line ol 
direction, and its equilibrium, is a very irregular solid. Is 
this gift, therefore, or instruction ? May it not be said to bo 
with great attention that nature has balanced the body upon 
its pivots ? 

I observe also in the same bird a piece of useful mechan- 
ism of this kind. In the trussing of a fowl, upon bending 
the legs and thighs up towards the body, the cook finds that 
the claws close of their own accord. Now let it be remem- 
bered, that this is the position of the limbs in which the bird 
rests upon its perch. And in tliis position it sleeps in safety ; 
for the claws do their office in keeping hold of the support, 
not by any exertion of voluntary power which sleep might 
suspend, but by the traction of the tendons in consequence 
of the attitude which the legs and thighs take by the bird 
sitting down, and to which the mere weight of the body 
gives the force that is necessary. 

VI. Regarding the human body as a mass , regarding 
the general conformations w^iich obtain in it ; regarding also 
particular parts in respect to those conformations, we shall 
be led to observe what I call " interrupted analogies." The 
following are examples of what I mean by these terms ; and 


I do not know how such critical deviations can, by anj- })os- 
sible hypothesis, be accounted for without design. 

1. All the bones of the body are covered with a. jjerios- 
teum except the teeth, where it ceases ; and an enamel of 
ivory, wdiich saws and files vsdll hardly touch, comes into its 
pbxje. No one can doubt of the use and propriety of this 
difTerence — of the "analogy" being thus "interrupted" — of 
the rule which belongs to the conformation of the bones 
stopping where it does stop ; for, had so exquisitely sensible 
a membrane as the periosteum invested the teeth as it invests 
every other bone of the body, their action, necessary expos- 
ure, and irritation, would have subjected the animal to con- 
tinual pain. General as it is, it was not the sort of integu- 
ment which suited the teeth : what they stood in need of 
was a strong, hard, insensible, defensive coat ; and exactly 
such a covering is given to them in the ivory enamel which 
adheres to iheir surface. 

2. The scarfsldn, which clothes all the rest of the body, 
gives way, at the extremities of the toes and fingers, to 7iaih. 
A man has only to look at his hand, to observe with wdiat 
nicety and precision that covering, which extends over every 
other part, is here superseded by a different substance and a 
different texture. Now, if either the rule had been neces- 
sary, or the deviation from it accidental, this effect would 
not be seen. When I speak of the rule being necessary, 1 
mean the formation of the skin upon the surface being pro- 
duced by a set of causes constituted without design, and act- 
ing, as all ignorant causes must act, by a general operation. 
Were this the case, no account could be given of the opera- 
tion being suspended at the fingers' ends, or on the back part 
of the fingers, and not on the fore part. On the other hand, 
if the deviation were accidental, an error, an anomalism — 
were it any thing else than settled by intention — we should 
meet with nails upon other parts of the body ; they would 
be scattered over the surface, like warts or pimples. 

3. All the great cavities of the body are enclosed by men 


branes, except the skull. Why should not the brain be con- 
tent with the same covering as that which serves for the 
other principal organs of the body ? The heart, the lungs, 
the liver, the stomach, the bowels, have all soft integuments, 
and nothing else. The muscular coats are all soft and rL>cm- 
branous. I can see a reason for this distinction in the final 
cause, but in no other. The importance of the brain to 
life — which experience proves to be immediate — and the 
extreme tenderness of its substance, make a solid case more 
necessary for it than for any other part; and such a case 
the hardness of the skull supplies. When the smallest por- 
tion of this natural casket is lost, how carefully, yet how 
imperfectly, is it replaced by a plate of metal. If an anato- 
mist should say that this bony protection is not confined to 
the brain, but is extended along the course of the spine, I 
answer that he adds strength to the argument. If he re- 
mark that the chest also is fortified by bones, I reply that I 
should have alleged this instance myself, if the ribs had not 
appeared subservient to the purpose of motion as well as of 
defence. What distinguishes the skull from every other cav- 
ity is, that the bony covering completely surrounds its con- 
tents, and is calculated, not for motion, but solely for defence. 
Those hollows, likewise, and inequalities which we observe 
in the inside of the skull, and wliich exactly fit the folds ol 
the brain, answer the important design of keeping the sub- 
stance of the brain steady, and of guarding it, against con- 




WHENE\nER we find a general plan pursued, yet with 
such variations in it as are, in each ease, required by the 
particular exigency of the subject to which it is applied, we 
possess, in such a plan and such adaptation, the strongest 
evidence that can be afforded of intelligence and design — an 
evidence Avhich the most completely excludes every other 
hypothesis. If the general plan proceeded from any fixed 
necessity in the nature of things, how could it accommodate 
itself to the various wants and uses which it had to serve 
imder different circumstances and on different occasions ? 
Ark Wright's mill was invented for the spinning of cotton. 
We see it employed for the spinning of wool, flax, and hemp, 
with such modifications of the original principle, such variety 
in the same plan, as the texture of those difierent materials 
rendered necessary. Of the machine's being put together 
with design, if it were possible to doubt while we saw it 
only under one mode, and in one form, when we came to 
observe it in its difierent applications, with such changes of 
structure, such additions and supplements, as the special and 
particular use in each case demanded, we could not refuse 
any longer our assent to the proposition, "that intelligence, 
properly and strictly so called — including, under that name, 
foresight, consideration, reference to utility — had been em- 
ployed, as well in the primitive plan as in the several changes 
and accommodations which it is made to undergo." 

"Very much of this reasoning is applicable to what has 
been called comparative anatomy. In their general econ- 
omy, in the outlines of the plan, in the construction as well 
as offices of their principal parts, there exists between all 
large terrestrial animals a close resemblance. In all, life is 
sustained, and the body nourished, by nearly the same appa- 


ratus. The heart, the lungs, the stomach, the Hver, tho 
kidneys, are much ahke in all. The same fluid — for no dis- 
tinction of blood has been observed — circulates through their 
vessels, and nearly in the same order. The same cause, 
therefore, whatever that cause was, has been concerned in 
the origin, has governed the production of these diflerent 
animal forms. 

When we pass on to smaller animals, or to the inhabi- 
tants of a different element, the resemblance becomes more 
distant and more obscure ; but still the plan accompanies us 

And, what we can never enough commend, and which 
it is our business at present to exemplify, the plan is attend- 
ed, through all its varieties and deflections, by subserviences 
to special occasions and utilities. 

1. The covering of different animals — though whether 
I am correct in classing this under their anatomy, I do not 
know — is the first thing which presents itself to our obser- 
vation ; and is, in truth, both for its variety and its suitable- 
ness to their several natures, as much to be admired as any 
part of their structure. "We have bristles, hair, wool, furs, 
feathers, quills, prickles, scales ; yet in this diversity both ol 
material and form, we cannot change one animal's coat for 
another without evidently changing it for the worse ; taking 
care, however, to remark, that these coverings are, in many 
cases, armor as well as clothing ; intended for protection 
as well as warmth. 

The human animal is the only one which is naked, and 
the only one which can clothe itself This is one of the 
properties which renders him an animal of all climates, and 
of all seasons. He can adapt the warmth or lightness ol 
his covering to the temperature of his habitation. Had he 
been born with a fleece upon his back, although he might 
have been comforted by its warmth in high latitudes, it 
would have oppressed him by its weight and heat, as the 
species spread towards the equator. 

What art, however, does for men. nature has, in man) 


instances, done for those animals which are incaj^ able of art. 
Their clothing, of its own accord, changes with their neces- 
sities. This is particularly the case with that large tribe of 
quadrupeds which are covered with furs,. Every dealer in 
hare-skins and rabbit-skins knows how much the fur is thick- 
i^ned by the approach of winter. It seems to be a part of 
[lie same constitution and the same design, that wool, in hot 
rountries, degenerates, as it is called, but in truth — most 
happily for the animal's ease — passes into hair ; while, on 
the contrary, that hair, in the dogs of the polar regions, is 
turned into wool, or something very like it. To which may 
be referred, what naturalists have remarked, that bears, 
wolves, foxes, hares, which do not take the water, have the 
fur much thicker on the back than the belly ; whereas in 
the beaver it is the thickest upon the belly, as are the feath- 
ers in water-fowl. We know the final cause of all this, and 
we know no other. 

The covering of birds cannot escape the most vulgar 
observation ; its lightness, its smoothness, its warmth — ^the 
disposition of the feathers all inclined backward, the down 
about their stem, the overlapping of their tips, their different 
configuration in different parts, not to mention the variety 
of their colors, constitute a vestment for the body so beau- 
tiful, and so appropriate to the life which the animal is to 
lead, as that, I think, we should have had no conception of 
any thing equally perfect, if we had never seen it, or can 
now imagine any thing more so. Let us suppose — what is 
possible only in supposition — a person who had never seen 
a bird, to be presented with a plucked pheasant, and bid to 
set his wits to work how to contrive for it a covering which 
shall finite the qualities of warmth, levity, and least resist- 
ance to the air, and the highest degree of each ; giving it 
ilso as much of beauty and ornament as he could afford. 
He is the person to behold the work of the Deity, in this part 
of his creation, with the sentiments which are due to it. 

The commendation which the general aspect of the feath- 

Vnt. Theol. 7 


ered world seldom fails of exciting, will be increased by fur* 
ther examination. It is one of those cases in which the 
philosopher has more to admire than the common observer, 
'Every feather is a mechanical wonder. If we look at tho 
quill, we find properties not easily brought together — strength 
and lightness. I know few things more remarkable than 
the strength and lightness of the very pen with which I am 
writing. If we cast our eye to the upper part of the stem, 
we sec a material made for the purpose, used in no othei 
class of animals, and in no other part of birds ; tough, light, 
pliant, elastic. The pith also, which feeds the feathers, is, 
among animal substances, sui generis — neither bone, flesh, 
membrane, nor tendon.^ 

But the artificial part of a feather is the beard, or, as it 
is sometimes, I believe, called, the vane. By the beards are 
meant what are fastened on each side of the stem, and what 
constitute the breadth of the feather — what we usually strip 
ofi'from one side or both, when we make a pen. The sepa- 
rate pieces, or laminse, of which the beard is composed, are 
called threads, sometimes filaments or rays. Now, the first 
thing wliich an attentive observer wiU remark is, how much 
stronger the beard of the feather shows itself to be when 
pressed in a direction perpendicular to its plane, than when 
rubbed, either up or down, in the line of the stem ; and he 
will soon discover the structure which occasions this differ- 
ence, namely, that the laminae whereof these beards are 
composed are flat, and placed with their flat sides towards 
each other ; by which means, while they easily bend for the 
approachhig of each other, as any one may perceive by 
drawing his finger ever so hghtly upwards, they are much 
harder to bend out of their plane, which is the direction in 
wliich they have to encounter the impulse and pressure oi 

* The quill part of a feather is composed of circular and .tngitu- 
diual fi?)res. In making a pen, you must scrape off the coat of circu- 
lar fibres, or the quill will split in a ragged, jagged manner, making 
what boys call caf's teeth. 


tlie air, and in which their strength is wanted and put to 
the trial. 

This is one particularity in the structure of a feather -, a 
second is still more extraordinary. Whoever examines a 
feather cannot help taking notice, that the threads or lami- 
nae of which we have been speaking, in their natural state 
li?tite — that their union is something more than the mere 
apposition of loose surfaces — that they are not parted asun- 
der without some degree of force — that nevertheless there is 
no glutinous cohesion between them — that therefore, by 
some mechanical means or other, they catch or clasp among 
themselves, thereby giving to the beard or vane its closeness 
and compactness of texture. Nor is this all : when two 
laminae which have been separated by accident or force are 
brought together again, they immediately reclasp ; the con- 
nection, whatever it was, is perfectly recovered, and the 
beard of the feather becomes as smooth and firm as if noth- 
ing had happened to it. Draw your finger down the feather, 
which is against the grain, and you break probably the 
junction of some of the contiguous threads ; draw your fin- 
ger up the feather, and you restore all things to their for- 
mer state. This is no common contrivance : and now foi 
the mechanism by which it is cfi^ected. The threads oi 
laminae above mentioned are interlaced Avith one another ; 
and the interlacing is performed by means of a vast number 
of fibres or teeth, which the laminae shoot forth on each 
side, and which hook and grapple together. A friend oi 
mine counted fifty of these fibres in one-twentieth of an inch. 
These fibres are crooked, but curved after a different man 
ner : for those which proceed from the thread on the side 
towards the extremity of the feather, are longer, more flex- 
ible, and bent downwards ; whereas those which proceed 
from the side towards the beginning or quill end of the 
feather, are shorter, firmer, and turn upwards, The pro- 
cess, then, which takes place is as follows : when 1 wo lam- 
inae are pressed together, so that these long fibres are forced 


far enough over the short ones, their crooked parts fall into 
the cavitymade by the crooked parts of the others ; just as 
the latch that is fastened to a door enters into the cavity of 
the catch fixed to the door-post, and there hooking itself, 
fastens the door ; for it is properly in this manner that one 
thread of a feather is fastened to the other. 

This admirable structure of the feather, which it is easy 
to see with the microscope, succeeds perfectly for the use to 
which nature has designed it ; which use was, not only that 
the laminsB might be united, but that when one thread or 
lamina has been separated from another by some external 
violence, it might be reclasped with sufficient facility and 

In the ostrich, this apparatus of crotchets and fibres, of 
hooks and teeth, is wanting ; and we see the consequence 
of the want. The filaments hang loose and separate from 
one another, forming only a kind of down ; which constitu- 
tion of the feathers, however it may fit them for the flowing 
honors of a lady's headdress, may be reckoned an imper- 
fection in the bird, inasmuch as wings composed of these 
feathers, although they may greatly assist it in running, do 
not serve for flight. 

But under the present division of our subject, our busi- 
ness ^dth feathers is as they are the covering of the bird. 
And herein a singular circumstance occurs. In the small 
order of birds which winter with us, from a snipe down- 
wards, let the external color of the feathers be what it will 
their Creator has universally given them a bed of Uaxk 
down next their bodies. Black, we know, is the warmest 
color ; and the purpose here is, to keep in the heat arising 
from the heart and circulation of the blood. It is further 
likewise remarkaHe, that this is not found in larger birds ; 
for which there is also a reason. Small birds are much 
more exposed to the cold than large ones, forasmuch as the)- 

* The above account is taken from Memoirs for a Natural History 
of Animals, by the E,oyal Academy of Paris, published in 1701, p. 219 


present, in proportion to their bulk, a much larger surface 
to the air. If a turkey were divided into a number of 
wrens — supposing the shape of the turkey and the wren to 
be similar — the surface of all the wrens would exceed the 
surface of the turkey in the proportion of the length, breadth, 
or of any homologous line, of a turkey to that of a wren, 
which would be, perhaps, a proportion of ten to one. It 
was necessary, therefore, that small birds should be more 
warmly clad than large ones ; and this seems to be the ex- 
pedient by which that exigency is provided for. 

II. In comparing different animals, I know no part of 
their structure which exhibits greater variety, or, in that 
variety, a nicer accommodation to their respective conven- 
iency than that which is seen in the different formations of 
their mouths. Whether the purpose be the reception of ali- 
ment merely, or the catching of prey, the picking up of seeds, 
the cropping of herbage, the extraction of juices, the suction 
of hquids, the breaking and grinding of food, the taste ol 
that food, together with the respiration of air, and in con- 
junction with it, the utterance of sound, these various offi- 
ces are assigned to this one part, and, in different species, 
provided for as they are wanted by its different constitution. 
In the human species, forasmuch as there are hands to con- 
vey the food to the mouth, the mouth is flat, and by reason 
of its flatness, fitted only for reception; whereas the pro- 
jecting jaws, the wide rictus, the pointed teeth of the dog 
and his affinities, enable them to apply their mouths to 
snatch a7id seize the objects of their pursuit. The full lips, 
the rough tongue, the corrugated cartilaginous palate, the 
broad cutting teeth of the ox, the deer, the horse, and the 
sheep, qualify this tribe for browsing upon their pasture : 
either gathering large mouthfuls at once, where the grass ih 
long, which is the case with the ox in particular, or biting 
close where it is short, which the horse and the sheep are able 
to do in a degree that one could hardly expect. The retir- 
ed under-jaw of the swine works in the ground, after the 


protruding snout, like a prong or ploughshare, has made its 
way to the roots upon which it feeds. A. conformation so 
happy was not the gift of chance. 

In birds, this organ assumes a new character — new both 
in substance and in form, but in both wonderfully adapted 
to the wants and uses of a distinct mode of existence, We 
have no longer the fleshy Hps, the teeth of enamelled bone ; 
but we have, in the place of these two parts, and to perform 
the office of both, a hard substance — of the same nature 
with that which composes the nails, claws, and hoofs of 
quadrupeds — cut out into proper shapes, and mechanically 
suited to the actions which are wanted. The sharp edge 
and tempered point of the sparrow's bill picks almost every 
kind of seed from its concealment in the plant ; and not only 
so, but hulls the grain, breaks and shatters the coats of the 
seed, in order to get at the kernel. The hooked beak of the 
haw^k tribe separates the flesh from the bones of the animals 
which it feeds upon, almost with the cleanness and precis- 
ion of a dissector's loiife. The butcher-bird transfixes its 
prey upon the spike of a thorn while it picks its bones. In 
Eome birds of this class we have the cross-hiW, that is, both 
the upper and lower bill hooked, and their tips crossing. 
The S]poo7i-hiVL enables the goose to graze, to collect its food 
from the bottom of pools, or to seek it amidst the soil or 
liquid substances wdth which it is mixed. The long taper- 
ing bill of the snipe and woodcock penetrate still deeper into 
moist earth, which is the bed in which the food of that 
species is lodged. This is exactly the instrument which 
the animal wanted. It did not w^ant strength in its bill, 
which was mconsistent with the slender form of the ani- 
mal's neck, as well as unnecessary for the kind of aliment 
upon which it subsists ; but it wanted length to reach its 

But the species of bill which belongs to the birds that 
uve by suctio7i, deserves to be described in its relation to that 
office. They are what naturahsts call serrated or dentat«»4 


bills ; the inside of tliem, towards the edge, being thickly 
set 'with parallel or concentric rows of short, strong, sharp- 
pointed prickles. These, though they should be called teeth, 
are not for the purpose of mastication, like the teeth of quad 
rupeds ; nor yet, as in fish, for the seizing and retaining ol 
their prey ; but for a quite diiierent use. They form a filter. 
The duck by means of them discusses the mud ; examining 
with great accuracy the puddle, the brake, every mixture 
wliich is likely to contaui her food. The operation is thus 
carried on : the liquid or semiliquid substances in which 
the animal has plunged her bill, she draws, by the action of 
her lungs, through the narrow interstices which lie between 
these teeth, catching, as the stream passes across her beak, 
whatever it may happen to bring along with it that proves 
agreeable to her choice, and easily dismissing all the rest. 
Now, suppose the purpose to have been, out of a mass of 
confused and heterogeneous substances, to separate for the 
use of the animal, or rather to enable the animal to separate 
for its own, those few particles which suited its taste and 
digestion ; what more artificial or more commodious instru- 
ment of selection could have been given to it, than this nat- 
ural filter ? It has beer, observed also — what must enable 
the bird to choose and distinguish with greater acuteness, as 
well probably as what greatly increases its luxury — that the 
bills of this species are furnished with large nerves, that 
they are covered with a skin, and that the nerves run down 
to the very extremity. In the curlew, woodcock, and snipe, 
there are three pairs of nerves, equal almost to the optic 
nerve in thickness, which pass first along the roof of the 
mouth, and then along the upper chap down to the point of 
the bill, long as the bill is. 

But t(5 return to the train of oui observations. The 
similitude between the bills of birds and the mouths of quad- 
rupeds is exactly such as, for the sake of the argument, 
might be wished for. It is near enough to show the contin- 
lation of the same plan ; it is remote enough to exclude the 


supposition of the difference being produced by action or use, 
A more prominent contour, or a wider gap, might be resolv* 
ed into the effect of continued efforts, on the part of the 
species, to thrust out the mouth or open it to the stretch. 
But by what course of action, or exercise, or endeavor, shall 
we get rid of the lips, the gums, the teeth, and acquire in 
the place of them pincers of horn? By what habit shall 
we so completely change, not only the shape of the part, but 
the substance of which it is composed ? The truth is, if wo 
had seen no other than the mouths of quadrupeds, we should 
have thought no other could have been formed : little could 
we have supposed that all the purposes of a mouth furnish- 
ed with hps and armed with teeth could be answered by an 
instrument which had none of these — could be supplied, and 
that with many additional advantages, by the hardness and 
sharpness and figure of the bills of birds. Every thing about 
the animal mouth is mechanical. The teeth of fish have 
their points turned backward, like the teeth of a wool or 
cotton card. The teeth of lobsters work one against another, 
Hke the sides of a pair of shears. In many insects, the mouth 
is converted into a pump or sucker, fitted at the end some- 
times with a wimble, sometimes with a forceps ; by which 
double provision, namely, of the tube and the penetratmg 
form of the pomt, the insect first bores through the integu- 
ments of its prey, and then extracts the juices. And what 
is most extraordinary of all, one sort of mouth, as the occa- 
sion requires, shall be changed into another sort. The cat- 
erpillar could not live without teeth ; in several species, the 
butterfly formed from it could not use them. The old teeth, 
therefore, are cast off with the exuviae of the grub ; a new 
and totally difierent apparatus assumes their place in tho 
fly. Amid these novelties of form, we sometimes forget that 
it is all the while the animal's mouth — that whether it be 
hps, or teeth, or bill, or beak, or shears, or pump, it is the 
same part diversified ; and it is also remarkable, that under 
all the varieties of configuration with which we are acquaii>*' 


ed, and which are very great, the organs of taste and smell- 
ing are situated near each other. 

III. To the mouth adjoins the gullet : in this part also, 
comparative anatomy discovers a difference of structure, 
adapted to the difierent necessities of the animal. In brutes, 
because the posture of their neck conduces little to the pas- 
sage of the ahment, the fibres of the gullet which act in this 
business run in two close spiral lines, crossing each other ; 
in men, these fibres run only a little obliquely from the 
upper end of the oesophagus to the stomach, into which, by 
a gentle contraction, they easily transmit the descending 
morsels : that is to say, for the more laborious deglutition of 
animals which thrust their food up instead of dow7i, and 
also through a longer passage, a proportionably more power- 
ful apparatus of muscles is provided — more powerful, not 
merely by the strength of the fibres, which might be attrib- 
uted to the greater exercise of their force, but in their collo- 
cation, which is a determinate circumstance, and must have 
been original. 

IV. The gullet leads to the intestines: here, likewise, 
as before, comparing quadrupeds with man, under a general 
similitude we meet with appropriate differences. The val- 
vulcB conniventeSy or, as they are by some called, the semi- 
lunar valves, found in the human intestine, are wanting in 
that of brutes. These are wrinkles or plates of the inner- 
most coat of the guts, the effect of which is to retard the 
progress of the food, through the alimentary canal. It is 
easy to understand how much more necessary such a provis- 
ion riiay be to the body of an animal of an erect posture, 
and in which, consequently, the weight of the food is added 
to the action of the intestine, than in that of a quadruped, in 
which the course of the food, from its entrance to its exit, is 
nearly horizontal ; but it is impossible to assign any cause 
except the final cause, for this distinction actually taking 
place. So far as depends upon the action of the part, this 
structure was more to be expected in a quadruped than in 


154 NATUilAL iHJiOLOar. 

a man. In truth, it must in both have been formed, not by 
action, but in direct opposition to action and to pressure ; 
but the opposition which would arise from pressure is greater 
in the upright trunk than in any other. That theory, there- 
fore, is pointedly contradicted by . the example before us 
The structure is found where its generation, according to 
the method by which the theorist would have it generated, 
is the most difficult ; but observe, it is found where its effect 
is most useful. 

The different length of the intestines in carnivorous and 
herbivorous animals has been noticed on a former occasion. 
The shortest, I believe, is that of some birds of j)rey, in which 
the intestinal canal is little more than a straight passage 
from the mouth to the vent. The longest is in the deer 
kind. The intestines of a Canadian stag, four feet high, 
measured ninety-six feet.^ The intestines of a sheep, un- 
ravelled, measured thirty times the length of the body. The 
intestines of a wild cat are only three tim^s the length of the 
body. Universally, where the substance upon which the 
animal feeds is of slow concoction, or yields its chyle with 
more difficulty, there the passage is circuitous and dilatory, 
that time and space may be allowed for the change and the 
absorjDtion which are necessary. Where the food is soon 
dissolved, or already half assimilated, an unnecessary or per' 
haps hurtful detention is avoided, by giving to it a shortei 
and a readier route. 

V. In comparing the hone?, of different animals, we are 
struck, in the bones of birds, with a i:)ropi'iety which could 
only proceed from the wisdom of an intelligent and design- 
ing Creator. In the bones of an animal which is to fly, the 
two qualities required are strength and lightness. AVherein, 
therefore, do the bones of birds — I speak of the cylindrical 
bones — differ in these respects from the bones of quadru- 
peds ? In three properties : first, their cavities are much 
larger in proportion to the weight of the bone, than in those 
^ Mem. Acad. Paris, 1701, p. 170. 


of quadrupeds ; secondly these cavities are empty ; thirdly, 
the shell is of a firmer texture than is the substance of other 
bones. It is easy to observe these particulars even in pick- 
ing the wing or leg of a chicken. Now, the weight being 
the same, the diameter, it is evident, will be greater in a 
hollow bone than in a solid one ; and with the diameter, as; 
every mathematician can prove, is increased, cceteris paribus, 
the strength of the cylinder, or its resistance to breaking. In 
a word, a bone of the sa7ne iveight would not have been so 
strong in any other form ; and to have made it heavier, 
would have incommoded the animal's flight. Yet this form 
could not be acquired by use, or the bone become hollow or 
tabular by exercise. What appetency could excavate a 
bone ? 

VI. The lungs also of birds, as compared with the lungs 
of quadrupeds, contain in them a provision distinguishingly 
calculated for this same purpose of levitation, namely, a 
communication — not found in other kinds of animals — be- 
tween the air-vessels of the. lungs and the cavities of the 
body ; so that, by the intromission of air from one to the 
other — at the will, as it should seem, of the animal — its 
body can be occasionally pufied out, and its tendency to 
descend in the air, or its specific gravity, made less. The 
bodies of birds are blown up from their lungs — which no 
other animal bodies are — and thus rendered buoyant. 

YII. All birds are oviparous. This likewise carries on 
the work of gestation with as little increase as possible of the 
weight of the body. A gravid uterus would have been a 
troublesome burden to a bird in its flight. The advantage 
in this respect of an oviparous procreation is, that while the 
whole brood are hatched together, the eggs are excluded 
singly, and at considerable intervals. Ten, fifteen, or twenty 
young birds may be produced in one cletch or covey, yet the 
parent bird have never been encumbered by the load of 
more than one full-grown Qgg at one time. 

VIII. A principal +opic of comparison betw^een animals, 


is in their imtrumenU of motion. These come before ua 
under three divisions — ^feet, wings, and fins. I desire any 
man to say which of the three is best fitted for its use ; or 
whether the same consummate art be not conspicuous in 
them all. The constitution of the elements in which the 
motion is to be performed is very difi^erent. The anima! 
action must necessarily follow that constitution. The Cre- 
ator, therefore, if we might so speak, had to prepare for dif- 
ferent situations, for different difficulties ; yet the pm-pose is 
accomplished not less successfully in one case than in the 
other ; and as between %oings and the corresponding limbs 
of quadrupeds, it is accomplished without deserting the gen- 
eral idea. The idea is modified, not deserted. Strip a wing 
of its feathers, and it bears no obscure resemblance to the 
fore-leg of a quadruped. The articulations at the shoulder 
and the cubitus are much alike ; and, what is a closer cir- 
cumstance, in both cases the upper part of the limb consists 
of a single bone, the lower part of two. 

But, fitted up with its furniiure of feathers and quills, it 
becomes a wonderful instrument, more artificial than its first 
appearance indicates, though that be very striking : at least, 
the use which the bird makes of its wings in flying is more 
complicated and more curious than is generally known 
One thing is certain, that if the flapping of the wings it 
flight were no more than the reciprocal motion of the same 
surface in opposite directions, either upwards and down 
wards, or estimated in any oblique line, the bird would lose 
as much by one motion as she gained by another. The sky- 
lark could never ascend by such an action as this; for, 
though the stroke upon the air by the underside of her wing 
would carry her up, the stroke from the upper side, when 
she raised her wing again, would bring her down. In order, 
therefore, to account for the advantage which the bird de- 
rives from her wing, it is necessary to suppose that the sur- 
face of the wing, measured upon the same plane, is contract- 
ed while the wing is drawn up, and let out to its ful) 


expansion when it descends upon the air for the purpose oi 
moving the body by the reaction of that element. Now, 
the form and structure of the wing, its external convexity, 
the disposition and particularly the overlapping of its larger 
feathers, the action of the muscles and joints of the pinions, 
are all adapted to this alternate adjustment of its shape and 
dimensions. Such a twist, for instance, or semirotary mo- 
tion, is given to the great feathers of the wing, that they 
strike the air with their flat side, but rise from the stroke 
slantwise. The turning of the oar in rowing, while the 
rower advances his hand for a new stroke, is a similar oper- 
ation to that of the feather, and takes its name from the 
resemblance, I believe that tliis faculty is not found in the 
great feathers of the tail. This is the place also for observ 
ing, that the pinions are so set upon the body as to bring 
down the wings not vertically, but in a direction obliquely 
tending towards the tail ; which motion, by virtue of the 
common resolution of forces, does two things at the same 
time — supports the body in the air, and carries it forward. 
The steerage of a bird in its flight is effected partly by the 
wings, but in a principal degree by the tail. And herein 
we meet with a circumstance not a little remarkable, Bird^ 
with long legs have short tails, and in their flight place 
their legs close to their bodies, at the same time stretching 
them out backwards as far as they can. In this position the 
legs extend beyond the rump, and become the rudder ; sup- 
plying that steerage which the tail could not. 

From the icings of birds, the transition is easy to the^?zs 
of fish. They are both, to their respective tribes, the instru- 
ments of their motion ; but, in the work which they have to 
do, there is a considerable difierence, founded in this circura- 

Fish, unlike birds, have very nearly the same specific 
gravity with the element in which they move. In the cas(j 
of fish, therefore, there is little or no weight to bear up ; 
what is wanted is only an impulse sufficient to carry the 


body tlirough a resisting medium, or to maintain the posture, 
or to support or restore the balance of the body, wliich is 
always the most unsteady where there is no weight to sink 
it. For these offices the fins are as large as necessary, 
though much smaller than wings, their action mechanical, 
their position and the muscles by which they are moved in 
the highest degree convenient. The followmg short account 
of some experiments upon fish, made for the purpose of ascer- 
taining the use of their fins, will he the best confirmation of 
what we assert. In most fish, besides the great fin, the tail, 
w^e find two pairs of fins upon the sides, two single fins upon 
the back, and one upon the belly, or rather between the 
belly and the tail. The halancing use of these organs is 
proved in this manner. Of the large-headed fish, if you cut 
off the pectoral fins, that is, the pair which lies close behind 
the gills, the head fpJls prone to the bottom ; if the right 
pectoral fin only be cut off', the fish leans to that side ; if the 
ventral fin on the same side be cut away, then it loses its 
equilibrium entirely ; if the dorsal and ventral fins be cut 
off', the fish reels to the right and left. When the fish dies, 
that is, when the fins cease to play, the belly turns upwards. 
The use of the same parts for motion is seen in the following 
observation upon them when put in action. The pectoral, 
and more particularly the ventral fins, serve to raise and 
dejoress the fish : when the fish desires to have a retrograde 
motion, a stroke forward with the pectoral fin eff^ectually 
produces it ; if the fish desires to turn either way, a f5ingle 
blow with the tail the opposite way sends it round at once ; 
if the tail strike both ways, the motion produced by the 
double lash is jn-ogressive, and enables the fish to dart for- 
ward with an astonishing velocity.* The result is not only 
in some cases the most rapid, but in all cases the most 
gentle, pliant, easy animal motion with which we are ac- 
quainted. However, when the tail is cut off', the fish loses 
all motion, and gives itself up to where the water impels it 
* Gold>mitli, History of Animated Nature, vol. 6, p. 154. 


The rest of the iins, therefore, so far as respects motion, seem 
to be merely subsidiary to this. In their mechanical use. 
the anal fin may be reckoned the keel ; the ventral fins, out- 
riggers ; the pectoral muscles, the oars : and if there be any 
similitude between these parts of a boat and a fish, observe, 
that it is not the resemblance of imitation, but the likeness 
which arises from applying similar mechanical means to tha 
same purpose. 

We have seen that the tail in the fish is the great instru- 
ment of motion. Now, in cetaceous or warm-blooded fish, 
which are obliged to rise every two or three minutes to the 
surface to take breath, the tail, unlike what it is in other 
fish, is horizontal ; its stroke, consequently, perpendicular to 
the horizon, which is the right direction for sending the fish 
to the top, or carrying it down to the bottom. 

E-egarding animals in their instruments of motion, we 
have only followed the comparison through the first great 
division of animals into beasts, birds, and fish. If it were 
our intention to pursue the consideration farther, I should 
take in that generic distinction among birds, the web-foot 
of water-fowL It is an instance which may be pointed out 
to a child. The utility of the web to water-fowl, the inutil- 
ity to land-fowl, are so obvious, that it seems impossible to 
notice the difference wdthout acknowledging the design. I 
am at a loss to know how those who deny the agency of an 
intelligent Creator dispose of this example. There is nothing 
in the action of swimming, as carried on by a bird upon the 
surface of the water, that should generate a membrane be- 
tween the toes. As to that membrane, it is an exercise of 
constant resistance. The only supposition I can think of is, 
that all birds have been originally water-fowl and web- 
footed ; that sparrows, hawks, hnnets, etc., which frequent 
the land, have, in process of time, and in the course of many 
generations, had this part worn aw^ay by treading upon 
hard ground. To such evasive assumptions must atheism 
always have recourse I And after all, it confesses that the 


structure of the feet of birds, in their original form, was 
critically adapted to their original destination I The web- 
feet of amphibious quadrupeds, seals, otters, etc., fall under 
the same observation. 

IX. The Jive senses are common to most large ani- 
mals ; nor have we much difference to remark in theii 
constitution, or much, however, which is referable to mech- 

The superior sagacity of animals which hunt their prey, 
and which, consequently, depend for their livelihood upon 
their nose, is well known in its use ; but not at all known in 
the organization which produces it. 

The external ears of beasts of prey, of lions, tigers, 
wolves, have their trumpet-part, or concavity, standing for- 
ward, to seize the sounds which are before them, namely, 
the sounds of the animals which they pursue or watch. 
The ears of animals of flight are turned backward, to give 
notice of the approach of their enemy from behind, whence 
he may steal upon them unseen. This is a critical dis- 
tinction, and is mechanical ; but it may be suggested, and 1 
think not without probability, that it is the effect of contin- 
ual habit. 

The eyes of animals which follow their prey by nighS 
as cats, owls, etc., possess a faculty not given to those ol 
other species, namely, of closing the pupil entirely. The 
final cause of which seems to be this : it was necessary for 
Buch animals to be able to descry objects Mdth very small 
degrees of light. This capacity depended upon the superior 
sensibility of the retina ; that is, upon its being affected by 
the most feeble impulses. But that tenderness of structure 
which rendered the membrane thus exquisitely sensible, ren- 
dered it also liable to be offended by the access of stronger 
degrees of light, The contractile range, therefore, of the 
pupil is increased in these animals, so as to enable them to 
close the aperture entirely, which includes the power of 
diminishing it in every degree ; Vv^hereby at all times such 


portions, and only such portions of light are admitted, as may 
be received without injury to the sense. 

There appears to be also in the figure, and in some 
properties of the pupil of the eye, an appropriate relation to 
the wants of different animals. In horses, oxen, goats, and 
sheep, the pupil of the eye is elliptical — the transverse axis 
being horizontal ; by which structure, although the eye be 
placed on the side of the head, the anterior elongation of the 
pupil catches the forward rays, or those which come from 
objects immediately in front of the animal's face. 




I BELiE\TE that all the instances which I shall collect 
under this title might, consistently enough with technical 
language, have been placed under the head of com'parative 
anatcymy. But there appears to me an impropriety in the 
use which that term has obtained ; it being, in some sort, 
absurd to call that a case of comparative anatomy in which 
there is nothing to " compa^re" — in which a conformation is 
found in one animal which hath nothing properly answering 
to it in another. Of this kind are the exami)les which 1 
have to propose in the present chapter ; and the reader will 
see that, though some of them be the strongest, perhaps, he 
will meet with under any division of our subject, they must 
necessarily be of an unconnected and miscellaneous nature. 
To dispose them, however, into some sort of order, we will 
notice, first, particularities of structure which belong to quad- 
rupeds, birds, and fish, as such, or to many of the kinds in- 
cluded in these classes of animals ; and then, such particu- 
larities as are confined to one or two species. 

I. Along each side of the neck of large quadrupeds runs 
a stiff robust cartilage, which butchers call the pax-wax. 
No person can carve the upper end of a crop of beef without 
driving liis knife against it. It is a tough, strong, tendinous 
substance, braced from the head to the middle of the back : 
its office is to assist in supporting the weight of the head. 
It is a mechanical provision, of which this is the undisputed 
use ; and it is sufficient, and not more than sufficient for the 
purpose which it has to execute. The head of an ox or a 
horse is a heavy weight, acting at the end of a long lever — 
consequently with a great purchase — and in a direction 
nearly perpendicular to the joints of the supporting neck. 
From such a force, so advantageously applied, the bones o1 


the neck would be in constant danger of dislocation, if they 
were not fortified by this strong tape. No such organ is 
found in the human subject, because, from the erect position 
of the head — the pressure of it acting nearly in the direction 
of the spine — the junction of the vertebra3 appears to be 
sufficiently secure without it. This cautionary expedient, 
therefore, is Umited to quadrupeds : the care of the Creator 
is seen where it is wanted. 

II. The oil with which birch preen their feathers, and 
the organ which supplies it, is a specific provision for the 
winged creation. On each side of the rump of birds is ob- 
served a small nipple, yielding upon pressure a butter-like 
substance, which the bird extracts by pinching the pap with 
its bill. With this oil or ointment, thus procured, the bird 
dresses his coat ; and repeats the action as often as its own 
sensations teach it that it is in any part wanted, or as the 
excretion may be sufficient for the expense. The gland, the 
pap, the nature and quality of the excreted substance, the 
manner of obtaining it from its lodgment in the body, the 
application of it when obtained, form collectively an evi- 
dence of intention which it is not easy to withstand. Noth- 
ing similar to it is found in unfeathered animals. What 
blind conatus of nature should produce it in birds ; should 
not produce it in beasts ? 

III. The air-bladder also of a fish affords a plain and 
direct instance, not only of contrivance, but strictly o-f that 
species of contrivance which we denominate mechanical. It 
is a philosophical apparatus in the body of an animal. The 
principle of the contrivance is clear ; the appHcation of the 
principle is also clear. The use of the organ to sustain, and, 
at wall, also to elevate the body of the fish in the water, is 
proved by observing what has been tried, that when the 
bladder is burst the fish grovels at the bottom ; and also, 
that flounders, soles, skates, which are without the air-blad- 
der, seldom rise in the water, and that with effort. TIk; 
manner in which the purpose is attained, and the, suitable- 


ness of the means to the end, are not difficult to be appre- 
hended. The rising and sinking of a fish in water, so far as 
it is independent of the stroke of the fins and tail, can only 
be regulated by the specific gravity of the body. When the 
bladder contained in the body of a fish is contracted, which 
the fish probably possesses a muscular power of doing, the 
bulk of the fish is contracted along with it ; whereby, since 
the absolute weight remains the same, the specific gravity, 
which is the sulking force, is increased, and the fish de- 
scends : on the contrarj^ when, in consequence of the relax- 
ation of the muscles, the elasticity of the enclosed and now 
compressed air restores the dimensions of the bladder, the 
tendency downwards becomes proportionably less than it was 
before, or is turned into a contrary tendency. These are 
known properties of bodies immersed in a fluid. The enam- 
elled figures, or little glass bubbles, in a jar of water, arn 
made to rise and fall by the same artifice. A diving-ma- 
chine might be made to ascend and descend upon the like 
principle ; namely, by introducing into the inside of it an air- 
vessel, which by its contraction would diminish, and by its 
distention enlarge the bulk of the machine itself, and thus 
render it specifically heavier or specifically lighter than the 
water which surrounds it. Suppose tliis to be done, and the 
artist to solicit a patent for his invention : the mspectors ol 
the model, whatever they might think of the use or value of 
the contrivance, could by no possibility entertain a question 
m their minds, whether it were a contrivance or not. No 
reason has ever been assigned, no reason can be assigned, 
why the conclusion is not as certain in the fish as it is in 
the machine — why the argument is not as firm in one case 
as the other. 

It would be very worthy of inquiry, if it were possible to 
discover, by what method an animal which lives constantly 
in water is able to supply a repositor}'- of air. The expedi- 
ent, whatever it be, forms part, and perhaps the most curi- 
ous part of the provision. Nothing similar to the air-bladdei 


IS found in land- animals ; and a life in the water has no 
natural tendency to produce a bag of air. Nothing can bo 
further from an acquired organization than this is. 

These examples mark the attention of the Creator to the 
three great kingdoms of his animal creation, and to their 
constitution as such. The example which stands next in 
point of generality, belonging to a large tribe of animals, or 
rather to various species of that tribe, is the poisonous tooth 
of serpents. 

I. The fa?ig of a vijoer'^ is a clear and curious example 
of mechanical contrivance. It is a perforated tooth, loose 
at the root ; in its quiet state lying down flat upon the jaw, 
but furnished with a muscle, which, with a jerk, and by the 
pluck as it were of a string, suddenly erects it. Under the 
tooth, close to its root, and communicating with the perfora- 
tion, lies a small bag containing the venom. When the 
fang is raised, the closing of the jaw presses its root against 
the bag underneath ; and the force of this compression sends 
out the fluid with a considerable impetus through the tube 
in the middle of the tooth. What more unequivocal or 
effectual apparatus could be devised for the double purpose 
of at once inflicting the wound and injecting the poison ? 
Yet, though lodged in the mouth, it is so constituted, as, in 
its inoffensive and quiescent state, not to mterfere with the 
animal's ordinary office of receiving its food. It has been 
observed also, that none of the harmless serpents, the black 
snake, the blind worm, etc., have these fangs, but teeth of an 
equal size : not movable as this is, but fixed into the jaw. 

II. In being the property of several difierent species, the 
preceding example is resembled by that which I shall next 
mention, which is the bag of the ojjossum.f This is a me- 
chanical contrivance, most properly so called. The simpli- 
city of the expedient renders the contrivance more obvious 
than many others, and by no means less certain. A false 
skin under the belly of the animal forms a pouch, into which 

* Plate IV., Fig. 2, and 3. t Plate IV., Fig. 4 


the young litter are received at their birth ; where thoy 
have an easy and constant access to the teats ; in which 
they are transported by the dam from place to place ; where 
they are at liberty to run in and out ; and where they find 
a refuge from surprise and danger. It is their cradle, their 
asylum, and the machine for their conveyance Can the 
use of this structure be doubted of? Nor is it a mere doub- 
ling of the skin ; but is a new organ, furnished with bones 
an'd muscles of its ow^n. Two bones are placed before the 
OS pubis, and joined to that bone as their base. These sup- 
port and give a fixture to the muscles which serve to open 
the bag. To these muscles there are antagonists, which 
serve in the same manner to shut it ; and this office they 
perform so exactly, that, in the living animal, the opening 
can scarcely be discerned, except when the sides are forcibly 
drawn asunder.*' Is there any action in this part of the 
animal, any process arismgfrora that action, by which these 
members could be formed ; any account to be given of the 
formation, except design ? 

Ill, As a particularity, yet appertaining to more species 
than one, and also as strictly mechanical, we may notice a 
circumstance in the structure of the claics of certain birds. 
The middle claw of the heron and cormorant is toothed and 
notched like a saw. These birds are great fishers, and these 
notches assist them in holding their sUppery prey. The use 
is evident ; but the structure such as cannot at all be ac- 
counted for by the effort of the animal, or the exercise of the 
part. Some other fishing birds have these notches in their 
bills; and for the same purpose. The gannet, or Soland 
goose,t has the side of its bill irregularly jagged, that it may 
hold its prey the faster. Nor can the structure in this, more 
than in the former case, arise from the manner of employing 
the part. The smooth surfaces, and soft flesh of fish, were 
less likely to notch the bills of birds, than the hard bodicis 
upon which many other species feed. 

* Goldsmith, Nat. Hist., vol. 4, p. 244. t Plate V.. Fig. ' 


We now come to particularities strictly so called, as be- 
mg limited to a single species of animal. Of these, I shall 
take one from a quadruped, and one from a bird. 

I. The stomach of the camel is well known to retain 
large quantities of water, and to retain it unchanged for a 
considerable length 'of time. This property qualifies it for 
living in the desert. Let us see, therefore, what is the 
internal organization upon which a faculty so rare and so 
beneficial depends. A number of distinct sacs or bags — in 
a dromedary thirty of these have been counted — are observed 
to lie between the membranes of the second stomach, and to 
open into the stomach near the top by small square aper- 
tures. Through these orifices, after the stomach is full, the 
annexed bags are filled from it : and the water so deposited 
is, in the first place, not liable to pass into the intestines ; in 
the second place, is kept separate from the solid aliment ; and 
in the third place, is out of the reach of the digestive action 
of the stomach, or of mixture with the gastric juice. It 
appears probable, or rather certain, that the animal, by the 
conformation of its muscles, possesses the power of squeezing 
back this water from the adjacent bags into the stomach, 
whenever thirst excites it to put this power in action. 

II. The tongue of the tcood^oecker is one of those singu- 
larities which nature presents us with when a singular 
purpose is to be answered. It is a particular instrument for 
a particular use ; and what, except design, ever produces 
such ? The woodpecker lives chiefly upon insects lodged in 
the bodies of decayed or decaying tree.s. For the purpose of 
boring into the wood, it is furnished with a bill straight, 
hard, angular, and sharp. When, by means of this piercer, 
it has reached the cells of the insects, then comes the office of 
its tongue ; which tongue is, first, of such a length that the 
bird can dart it out three or four inches from the bill — in 
this respect difi^ering greatly from every other species of bird ; 
in the second place, it is tipped with a stiff', sharp, bony 
thorn ; and, in the third place — which appears to me tht^ 


most remarkable property of all — this tip is dentated on bolt 
sides like the beard of an arrow or the barb of a hook * 
The description of the part declares its uses. The bird, 
having exposed the retreats of the insects by the assistance 
of its bill, with a motion inconceivably quick, launches out 
at them this long tongue, transfixes them upon the barbed 
needle at the end of it, and thus draws its prey within its 
mouth. If this be not mechanism, what is ? Should it bo 
Baid, that by continual endeavors to shoot out the tongue to 
the stretch, the woodpecker species may by degrees have 
lengthened the organ itself beyond that of other birds, what 
account can be given of its form, of its tip ? how, in partic- 
ular, did it get its barb, its dentation ? These barbs, in my 
opinion, wherever they occur, are decisive proofs of mechan- 
ical contrivance. 

III. I shall add one more example, for the sake of its 
novelty. It is always an agreeable discovery, when, having 
remarked in an animal an extraordinary structure, we come 
at length to find out an unexpected use for it. The follow- 
ing narrative furnishes an instance of this kind. The baby- 
roussa, or Indian hog, a species of Avild boar, found in the 
East Indies, has two bent teeth, more than half a yard long, 
growing upwards, and — ^which is the singularity — from the 
upper-jaw. These instruments are not wanted for ofTence , 
that service being provided for by two tusks issuing from the 
under-jaw, and resembling those of the common boar : nor 
does the animal use them for defence. They might seem, 
therefore, to be both a superfluity and an incumbrance. But 
observe the event : the animal sleeps standing ; and in order 
to support its head, hooks its upper tusks upon the branches 
of trees. 

* See Plate V., Fig. 2. 




I CAN hardly imagine to myself a more distinguishing 
'iiark, and consequently a more certain proof of design, than 
l)reparatio7i, that is, the providing of things beforehand, 
which are not to be used until a considerable time after- 
wards ; for this implies a contemplation of the future, whicli 
belongs only to intelligence. 

Of these iwos>ipective contrivances the bodies of animals 
furnish various examples. 

I. The human teeth afford an instance, not only of pro- 
spective contrivance, but of the completion of the contriv- 
ance being designedly suspended. They are formed within 
the gums, and there they stop ; the fact being, that their 
farther advance to maturity would not only be useless to the 
new-born animal, but extremely in its way ; as it is evident 
that the act of kicking, by which it is for some time to be 
nourished, will be performed with more ease both to the 
nurse and to the infant, while the inside of the mouth and 
edges of the gums are smooth and soft, than if set with hard- 
pointed bones. By the time they are w^anted the teeth are 
ready. They have been lodged within the gums for some 
months past, but detained as it were in their sockets, so 
long as their farther protrusion would interfere with the 
office to which the mouth is destined. Nature, namely, 
that intelhgence which was employed in creation, looked 
beyond the first year of the infant's life ; yet, while she was 
providing lor functions which were after that term to be- 
come necessary, was careful not to incommode those which 
(receded them. What renders it more probable that this 
is the effect of design, is, that the teeth are imperfect, while 
all other parts of the mouth are perfect. The lips are per- 
fect, the tongue is perfect ; the cheeks, the jaws, the palate, 
the pharynx, the larynx, are all perfect : the teeth alone are 

Nnt Thonl. 8 


not BO This is the fact with respect to the human mouth . 
the fact also is, that the parts ahove enumerated are called 
into use from the beginning ; whereas the teeth would be 
only so many obstacles and amioyances if they were thtre. 
When a contrary order is necessary, a contrary order pro- 
vails. In the worm of the beetle, as hatched from the egg, 
the teeth are the first things which arrive at perfection. 
The insect begins to gnaw as soon as it escapes from the 
shell, though its other parts be only gradually advancing to 
their maturity. 

What has been observed of the teeth, is true of the horns 
of animals ; and for the same reason. The horn of a calf or 
a lamb does not bud, or at least does not sprout to any con- 
siderable length, until the animal be capable of browsing 
upon its pasture, because such a substance upon the fore- 
head of the young animal would very much incommode the 
teat of the dam in the office of giving suck. 

But in the case of the teeth, of the human teeth at least, 
the prospective contrivance looks still further. A succession 
of crops is provided, and provided from the beginning — a sec- 
ond tier being originally formed beneath the first, which do 
not come into use till several years afterwards. And this 
double or supplementary provision meets a difficulty in the 
mechanism of the mouth, which would have appeared almost 
insurmountable. The expansion of the jaw — the conse- 
quence of the proportionable growth of the animal and of its 
skull — necessarily separates the teeth of the first set, how- 
ever compactly disposed, to a distance from one another, 
which would be very inconvenient. In due time, therefore, 
that is, when the jaw has attained a great part of its dimen- 
nions, a new set of teeth springs up — loosening and pushing 
uut the old ones before them — more exactly fitted to tha 
space which they are to cccupy, and rising also in such close 
ranks as to allow for any extension of line which the subse- 
quent enlargement of the head may occasion. 

II. It is not veiy easy to conceive a more evidently pro- 


spective contrivance than that which, in all viviparous ani- 
mals, is found in the ruilk of the female parent. At the 
moment the young animal enters the world there is its main- 
tenance ready for it. The particulars to be remarked in this 
economy are neither few nor slight. We have, first, the 
nutritious quality of the fluid, unlike, in this respect, every 
other excretion of the body ; and in which nature hitherto 
remains unimitated, neither cookery nor chemistry having 
been able to make milk out of grass : we have, secondly, the 
organ for its reception and retention : we have, thirdly, the 
excretory duct annexed to that organ ; and we have, lastly, 
the determination of the milk to the breast at the particular 
juncture when it is about to be wanted. We have all these 
properties in the subject before us ; and they are all indica- 
tions of design. The last circumstance is the strongest of 
any. If I had been to guess beforehand, I should have con- 
jectured, that at the time when there was an extraordinary 
demand for nourishment in one part of the system, there 
would be the least likelihood of a redundancy to supply 
another part. The advanced pregnancy of the female has no 
inteUigible tendency to fill the breasts with milk. The lac- 
teal system is a constant wonder ; and it adds to other causes 
of our admiration, that the number of the teats or paps in 
each species is found to bear a proportion to the number of 
the young. In the sow, the bitch, the rabbit, the cat, the 
rat, which have numerous litters, the paps are numerous, 
and are disposed along the whole length of the belly ; in the 
cow and mare, they are few. The most simple account of 
this is to refer it to a designing Creator. 

But in the argument before uSj we are entitled to con- 
sider not only animal bodies when framed, but the circum- 
stance under which they are framed ; and in this view ^f 
the subject, the constitution of many of their parts is most 
strictly prospective. 

III. The eye is of no use at the time when it is formed. 
It is an optical instrument made in a dungeon ; constructed 


for the refraction of light to a focus, and perfect for its pur* 
pose before a ray of light has had access to it ; geometrically 
adapted .to the properties and action of an element with 
which it has no communication. It is about indeed to enter 
into that communication; and this is precisely the thing 
which evidences intention. It is 2^ovicling for the future 
ill the closest sense which can be given to these terms ; for 
it is providing for a future change, not for the then sub- 
sisting condition of the animal, not for any gradual progress 
or advance in that same condition, but for a new state, 
the consequence of a great and sudden alteration which the 
animal is to undergo at its birth. Is it to be believed 
that the eye was formed, or which is the same thing, that 
the series of causes was fixed by which the eye is form- 
ed, without a view to this change ; without a prospect of 
that condition, in which its fabric, of no use at present, is 
about to be of the greatest ; without a consideration of 
the qualities of that element, hitherto entirely excluded, but 
with which it was hereafter to hold so intimate a rela- 
tion ? A young man makes a pair of spectacles for him- 
self against he grows old ; for which spectacles he has no 
want or use whatever at the time he makes them. Could 
this be done without knowing and considering the defect of 
vision to which advanced age is subject ? Would not the 
precise suitableness of the instrument to its purpose, of the 
remedy to the defect, of the convex lens to the flattened eye, 
establish the certainty of the conclusion, that the case after- 
wards to arise had been considered beforehand, speculated 
upon provided for ? all which are exclusively the acts of a 
reasoning mind. The eye formed in one state, for use only 
in another state, and in a difierent state, aflbrds a proof no 
less clear of destination to a future purpose ; and a proof pro- 
porlionably stronger, as the machinery is more complicated 
and the adaptation more exact. 

lY. What has been said of the eye, holds equally true ol 
the lungs. Composed of air-vessels, where there is no air ; 


elaborately constructed for the alternate admission and ex- 
pulsion of an elastic fluid, where no such fluid exists ; this 
great organ, with the whole apparatus belonging to it, lies 
collapsed in the foetal thorax ; yet in order, and in readiness 
for action, the first moment that the occasion requires iU 
service. This is having a machine locked up in store for 
future use, which incontestably proves that the case was 
expected to occur in which this use might be experienced ; 
but expectation is the proper act of intelligence. Consider- 
ing the state in which an animal exists before its birth, I 
should look for nothing less in its body than a system of 
lungs. It is like finding a pair of bellows in the bottom of 
the sea ; of no sort of use in the situation in which they are 
found ; formed for an action which was impossible to be ex- 
erted ; holding no relation or fitness to the element which 
surrounds them, but both to another element in another 

As part and parcel of the same plan, ought to be men- 
tioned, in speaking of the lungs, the provisionary contrivances 
of the foramen ovale and ductus arteriosus. In the fojtus, 
pipes are laid for the passage of the blood through the lungs ; 
but until the lungs be inflated by the inspiration of air, that 
passage is impervious, or in a great degree obstructed. What 
then is to be done ? What would an artist, what would a 
master do upon the occasion ? He would endeavor, most 
probably, to provide a tc'niporary passage, which might carry 
on the communication required, until the other was open. 
Now this is the thing which is actually done in the heart. 
Instead of the circuitous route through the lungs which the 
blood afterwards takes before it gets from one auricle of the 
heart to the other, a portion of the blood passes immediately 
from the right auricle to the left, through a hole placed in the 
partition which separates these cavities. This hole anat- 
omists call the foramen ovale. There is likewise another 
cross-cut, answering the same purpose, by what is called the 
ductus arteriosus, lying between the pulmonary artery and 


the aorta. But both, expedients are so strictly temporary, 
that after birth the one passage is closed, and the tube which 
forms the other shrivelled up into a ligament. If this be not 
contrivance, what is ? 

But, forasmuch as the action of the air upon the blood m 
the lungs appears to be necessary to the perfect concoction 
of that fluid, that is, to the life and health of the animal — 
otherwise the shortest route might still be the best — how 
comes it to pass that the fcstus lives and grows and thrives 
without it ? The answer is, that the blood of the foetus is 
the mother's ; that it has undergone that action in her habit ; 
that one pair of lungs serves for both. When the animals 
are separated, a new necessity arises ; and to meet this ne- 
cessity as soon as it occurs, an organization is prepared. It 
is ready for its purpose ; it only waits for the xtmosphere ; i\ 
•■^giup to play the moment the air is admitted to it. 




When several different parts contribute to one effect, or, 
which is the same thing, when an effect is produced by the 
joint action of different instruments, the fitness of such parts 
or instruments to one another for the purpose of producing, 
by their united action, the effect, is what I call relation; 
and wherever this is observed in the works of nature or of 
man, it appears to me to carry along with it decisive evi- 
dence of understanding, intention, art. In examining, for 
instance, the several parts of a ivatch, the spring, the barrel, 
the chain, the fusee, the balance, the wheels of various sizes, 
forms, and positions, what is it which would take an observ- 
er's attention as most plainly evincing a construction direct- 
ed by thought, deliberation, and contrivance ? It is the 
suitableness of these parts to one another : first, in the suc- 
cession and order in which they act ; and, secondly, with a 
view to the effect finally produced. Thus, referring the 
spring to the wheels, our observer sees in it that which orig- 
inates and upholds tlicir motion ; in the chain, that which 
transmits the motion to the fusee ; in the fusee, that which 
communicates it to the Mdieels ; in the conical figure of the 
fusee, if he refer to the spring, he sees that which corrects 
the inequality of its force. Referring the wheels to one an- 
other, he notices, first, their teeth, which would have been 
without use or meaning if there had been only one wheel, or 
if the wheels had had no connection between themselves, or 
common bearing upon some joint effect ; secondly, the cor- 
respondency of their position, so that the teeth of one Vv^hee] 
catch into the teeth of another ; thirdly, the proportion ob- 
served in the number of teeth in each wheel, which deter- 
mines the rate of going. Referring the balance to the rest 
of the works, he saw, when he came to understand its action, 


that which rendered their motions equable. Lastly, in look- 
ing upon the index and face of the watch, he saw the use 
and conclusion of the mechanism, namely, marking the suc- 
cession of minutes and hours ; but all depending upon the 
motions within, all upon the system of intermediate actions 
between the spring and the pointer. What thus struck his 
attention in the several parts of the watch, he might proba- 
bly designate by one general name of "relation;" and ob- 
serving with respect to all cases whatever, in v/hich the 
origin and formation of a thing could be ascertained by evi- 
dence, that these relations were found in things produced by 
art and design, and in no other things, he would rightly 
deem of them as characteristic of such productions To 
apply the reasoning here described to the works of nature. 

The animal economy is full, is made up of these rda- 

1. There are. first, what in one form or other belong to 
all animals, the parts and powers which successively act 
upon ihoii food. Comipare this action with the process of a 
manufactory. In men and quadrupeds the aliment is first 
broken and bruised by mechanical instruments of mastica- 
tion, namely, sharp spikes or hard knobs, pressing against 
or rubbing upon one another : thus ground and comminuted, 
it is carried by a pipe into the stomach, where it waits to 
undergo a great chemical action, which we call digestion ; 
when digested, it is delivered through an orifice, which opens 
and shuts, as there is occasion, into the first intestine ; there, 
after being mixed with certain proper ingredients, poured 
through a hole in the side of the vessel, it is further dissolv- 
ed ; in this state the milk, chyle, or part which is wanted, 
and which is suited for animal nourishment, is strained ofi 
by the mouths of very small tubes opening into the cavity of 
the intestines : thus freed from its grosser parts, the perco- 
lated fluid is carried by a long, winding, but traceable course, 
into the main stream of the old circulation, which conveys 
it in its progress to every part of the body. Now I say 


again, compare this with the process of a manufactory — with 
the making of cider, for example ; with the bruising of the 
apples in the mill, the squeezing of them when so bruised in 
the press, the fermentation in the vat, the bestowing of the 
liquor thus fermented in the hogsheads, the drawing off into 
bottles, the pouring out for use into the glass. Let any one 
show me any difference between these two eases as to the 
point of contrivance. That which is at present under our 
consideration, the "relation'' of the parts successively em- 
ployed, is not more clear in the last case than in the first. 
The aptness of the jaws and teeth to prepare the food for the 
stomach is, at least, as manifest as that of the cider-mill to 
crush the apples for the press. The concoction of the food 
in the stomach is as necessary for its future use, as the fer- 
mentation of the stum in the vat is to the perfection of the 
liquor. The disposal of the aliment afterwards, the actior 
and change which it undergoes, the route which it is made, 
to take, in order that, and until that, it arrives at its desti- 
nation, is more complex indeed and intricate, but, in the 
midst of complication and intricacy, as evident and certain 
as is the apparatus of cocks, pipes, tunnels, for transferring 
the cider from one vessel to another ; of barrels and bottles 
for preserving it till fit for use, or of cups and glasses for 
bringing it when wanted to the lip of the consumer. The 
character of the machinery is in both cases this — that one 
part answers to another part, and every part to the final 

This parallel between the alimentary o{)eration and some 
of the processes of art might be carried further into detail. 
Spallanzani has remarked^^ a circumstantial resemblance 
between the stomachs of gallinaceous fowls and the structure 
of corn-mills. While the two sides of the gizzard perform 
the ofiice of the mill-stones, the craw or crop supplies the 
place of the lioi^iper. 

When our fowls are abundantly supplied with meat, they 
* Disc. 1, sec. 54. 


soon fill their craw ; but it does not immediately pass thence 
into the gizzard : it always enters in very small quantities, 
in proportion to the progress of trituration ; in like manner 
as, in a mill, a receiver is fixed above the two large stones 
which serve for grinding the corn ; which receiver, although 
the corn be put into it in bushels, allows the grain to dribble 
only in small quantities into the central hole in the upper 

But we have not done with the alimentary history. 
There subsists a general relation between the external or- 
gans of an animal by which it procures its food, and the 
internal powers by which it digests it. Birds of prey, by 
their talons and beaks, are qualified to seize and devour 
many species both of other birds and of quadrupeds. The 
constitution of the stomach agrees exactly with the form of 
the members. The gastric juice of a bird of prey, of an owl, 
a falcon, or a kite, acts upon the animal fibre alone ; it will 
not act upon seeds or grasses at all. On the other hand, 
the conformation of the mouth of the sheep or the ox is 
suited for browsing upon herbage. Nothing about these 
animals is fitted for the pursuit of living prey. Accordingly 
it has been found, by experiments tried not many years ago, 
with perforated balls, that the gastric juice of ruminating 
animals, such as the sheep and the ox, speedily dissolves 
vegetables, but makes no impression upon animal bodies. 
This accordancy is still more particular. The gastric juice 
even of granivorous birds, will not act upon the grain while 
whole and entire. In performing the experiment of digest- 
ing with the gastric juice in vessels, the grain must be 
crushed and bruised before it be submitted to the menstru- 
um ; that is to say, must undergo by art, without the body, 
the preparatory action which the gizzard exerts upon it 
within the body, or no digestion will take place. So strict, 
in this case, is the relation between the ofllces assigned to 
the digestive organ — ^between the mechanical operation and 
the chemical process. 


II. The relation of the kidneys to the bladder, and of the 
dreters to both, that is, of the secreting organ to the vessel 
receiving the secreted liquor, and tlie pipe laid from one to 
the other for the purpose of conveying it from one to the 
other, is as manifest as it is among the different vessels em- 
ployed in a distillery, or in the communications between 
them. The animal structure, in this case, being simple, 
and the parts easily separated, it forms an instance of corre- 
lation which may be presented by dissection to every eye, or 
which indeed without dissection is capable of being appre- 
hended by every understanding. This correlation of instru- 
ments to one another fixes intention somewhere ; especially 
when every other solution is negatived by the conformation. 
If the bladder had been merely an expansion of the ureter, 
produced by retention of the fluid, there ought to have been 
a bladder for each ureter. One receptacle fed by two pipes 
issuing from different sides of the body, yet from both con- 
veying the same fluid, is not to be accounted for by any such 
supposition as this. 

III. Relation of parts to one another accompanies us 
throughout the whole animal economy. Can any relation 
be more simple, yet more convincing than this, that the eyes 
are so placed as to look in the direction iai which the legs 
move and the hands work ? It might have happened very 
difierently if it had been left to chance. There were at least 
three quarters of the compass out of four to have erred in. 
Any considerable alteration in the position of the eye or the 
figure of the joints would have disturbed the line and de- 
stroyed the alliance between the sense and the limbs. 

IV. But relation, perhaps, is never so striking as when 
it subsists, not between different parts of the same thing, but 
between difierent things. The relation between a lock and 
a key is more obvious than it is between different parts ol 
the lock. A bow was designed for an arrow, and an arrow 
for a bow ; and the design is more evident for their being 
separate implem.ents. 


Nor do the works of the Deity want this clearest species 
of relation. The sexes are manifestly made for each other 
They form the grand relation of animated nature : univer 
Bal, organic, mechanical ; subsisting, like the clearest rela- 
tions of art, in different individuals, unequivocal, inexplica- 
ble without design. 

So much so, that were every other proof of contrivance 
in nature duhious or obscure, this alone would be sufficient. 
The example is complete. Nothing is wanting to the argu- 
ment. I see no way whatever of getting over it. 

V. The teats of animals which give suck bear a relation 
to the mouth of the suckling progeny, particularly to the lips 
and tongue. Here also, as before, is a correspondency of 
parts ; which parts subsist in different individuals. 

These are general relations, or the relations of parts 
which are found either in all animals or in large classes and 
descriptions of animals. Partic^dar relations, or the rela- 
tions which subsist between the particular configuration of 
one or more parts of certain species of animals, and the par- 
ticular configuration of one or more other parts of the same 
animal — which is the sort of relation that is, perhaps, most 
striking — are such as the following : 

I. In the swan, the web-foot, the spoon-bill, the long 
neck, the thick down, the graminivorous stomach, bear all 
a relation to one another, inasmuch as they all concur in 
one design, that of supplying the occasions of an aquatic 
fowl floating upon the surface of shallow pools of water, and 
seeking its food at the bottom. Begin with any one of these 
particularities of structure, and observe how the rest follow 
it. The web-foot qualifies the bird for swimming ; the 
spoon-bill enables it to graze. But how is an animal float- 
ing upon the surface of pools of water to graze at the bot- 
tom, except by the mediation of a long neck ? A long neck 
accordingly is given to it. Again, a warm-blooded animal 
which was to pass its life upon water, required a defence 


agdinst the coldness of th^t element. Such a defence ia 
furnished to the swan in the muff in which its body is 
wrapped. But all tliis outward apparatus would have been 
in vain if the intestinal system had not been suited to the 
digestion of vegetable substances. I say suited to the diges- 
tion of vegetable substances, for it is well known that there 
are two intestinal systems found in birds : one with a mem- 
branous stomach and a gastric juice capable of dissolving 
animal substances alone ; the other with a crop and gizzard 
calculated for the moistening, bruising, and afterwards di- 
gesting of vegetable aliment. 

Or set off with any other distinctive part in the body of 
the swan ; for instance, with the long neck. The long neck 
without the web-foot would have been an encumbrance te 
the bird ; yet there is no necessary connection between j. 
long neck and a web-foot. In fact they do not usually go 
together. How happens it, therefore, that they meet only 
when a particular design demands the aid of both ? 

11. This mutual relation arising from a subserviency to 
a common purpose, is very observable also in the parts of a 
mole. The strong short legs of that animal, the palmated 
feet armed with sharp nails, the pig-like nose, the teeth, the 
velvet coat, the small external ear, the sagacious smell, the 
sunk protected eye, all conduce to the utilities or to the safe- 
ty of its under-ground life. It is a special purpose, specially 
consulted throughout. The form of the feet fixes the char- 
acter of the animal. They are so many shovels ; they deter- 
mine its action to that of rooting in the ground ; and every 
tiling about its body agrees with its destination. The cylin- 
drical figure of the mole, as well as the compactness of its 
form, arising from the terseness of its limbs, proportionably 
lessens its labor ; because, according to its bulk, it thereby 
requires the least possible quantity of earth to be removed 
for its progress. It has nearly the same structure of the face 
and jaws as a swine, and the same office for them. The 
nose is sharp, slender, tendinous, strong, with a pair of nerves 


going down to the end of it. The plush covering which, by 
tJie smoothness, closeness, and pohsh of the short piles that 
compose it, rejects the adhesion of almost every species of 
earth, defends the animal from cold and wet, and from the 
impediment which it would experience by the mould stick- 
ing to its body. From soils of all kinds* the little pioneer 
comes forth bright and clean. Inhabiting dirt, it is of all 
animals the neatest. 

But what I have always most admired in the mole is its 
eyes. This animal occasionally visiting the surface, and 
wanting, for its safety and direction, to be informed when it 
does so, or when it approaches it, a perception of light was 
necessary. I do not know that the clearness of sight depends 
at all upon the size of the organ. What is gained by the 
largeness or prominence of the globe of the eye, is width in 
the field of vision. Such a capacity would be of no use to 
an animal which was to seek its food in the dark. The 
mole did not want to look about it ; nor would a large ad- 
vanced eye have been easily defended from the annoyance 
to which the life of the animal must constantly expose it. 
How indeed was the mole, working its way under ground, 
to guard its eyes at all ? In order to meet this difficulty, 
the eyes are made scarcely larger than the head of a cork- 
ing-pin ; and these mmute globules are sunk so deeply in the 
skull, and lie so sheltered within the velvet of its covering, 
as that any contraction of what may be called the eye- 
brows, not only closes up the apertures which lead to the 
eyes, but presents a cushion, as it were, to any sharp or pro- 
truding substance which might push against them. This 
aperture, even in its ordinary state, is like a pin-hole in a 
piece of velvet, scarcely pervious to loose particles of earth. 

Observe, then, in tliis structure, that which we call rela- 
tion. There is no natural connection between a small sunk 
eye and a shovel palmated foot. Palmated feet might have 
been joined with goggle eyes; or small eyes might have 
been joined with feet of any other form What was it, 


therefore, which brought them together in the mole ? That 
which brought together the barrel, the chain, and the fusee 
in a watch — design ; and design in both cases inferred from 
the relation which the parts bear to one another in the pros- 
ecution of a common purpose. As has already been observ- 
ed, there are different ways of stating the relation, according 
as we set out from a different part. In the instance before 
us, we may either consider the shape of the feet, as quahfy- 
ing the animal for that mode of life and inhabitation to 
which the structure of its eyes confines it ; or we may con- 
sider the structure of the eye, as the only one which would 
have suited with the action to which the feet are adapted. 
The relation is manifest, whichever of the parts related we 
place first in the order of our consideration. In a word, the 
feet of the mole are made for digging ; the neck, nose, eyes, 
ears, and skin, are peculiarly adapted to an under-ground 
life ; and this is what I call relation. 




Compensation is a species of relation. It is relation 
when the defects of one part, or of one organ, are sup- 
plied by the structure of another part, or of another organ. 

I. The short unbending neck of the elephant^ is com- 
pensated by the length and flexibiHty of his proboscis. He 
could not have reached the ground without it ; or, if it be 
supposed that he might have fed upon the fruit, leaves, or 
branches of trees, how was he to drink ? Should it be asked, 
Why is the elephant's neck so short ? it may be ansv*^ered, 
that the weight of a head so heavy could not have been 
supported at the end of a longer lever. To a form, there- 
fore, in some respects necessary, but in some respects also 
madequate to the occasion of the animal, a supplement is 
added which exactly makes up the deficiency under which 
he labored. 

If it be suggested that this proboscis may have been 
produced, in a long course of generations, by the constant 
endeavor of the elephant to thrust out its nose — which is 
the general hypothesis by which it has lately been attempt- 
ed to account for the forms of animated nature — I would 
ask. How was the animal to subsist in the mean time, dur- 
ing the process, until this prolongation of snout were com- 
pleted ? What was to become of the individual while the 
species was perfecting ? 

Our business at present is, simply to point out the rela- 
tion which this organ bears to the pecuhar figure of the ani- 
mal to which it belongs. And herein all things correspond 
The necessity of the elephant's proboscis arises from the 
shortness of his neck ; the shortness of the neck is rendered 
necessary by the weight of the head. Were we to enter 
* Plate v., Fig. 4. 


Into an examination of the structure and anatomy of the 
proboscis itself, ^ve should see in it one of the most curious of 
all examples of animal mechanism. The disposition of the 
ringlets and fibres, for the purpose, first, of forming a long 
cartilaginous pipe ; secondly, of contracting and lengthening 
that pipe ; thirdly, of turning it in every direction at the will 
of the animal ; with the superaddition at the end of a fleshy 
production,^' of about the length and thickness of a finger, 
and performing the office of a finger, so as to pick up a straw 
from the ground : these properties of the same organ, taken 
V>gether, exhibit a specimen not only of design — which is 
attested by the advantage — ^but of consummate art, and as 
I may say, of elaborate preparation, in accomplishing that 

II. The hook in the wing of a bat is strictly a mechani- 
cal, and also a coTrtpemating contrivance. At the angle 
of its wing there is a bent claw, exactly in the form of a 
hook, by which the bat attaches itself to the sides of rocks, 
caves, and buildings, laymg hold of crevices, joinings, chinks, 
and roughnesses. It hooks itself by this claw ; remains sus- 
pended by this hold ; takes its flight from this position : 
which operations compensate for the decrepitude of its legs 
and feet. Without her hook the bat would be the most 
helpless of all animals. She can neither run upon her feet, 
nor raise herself from the ground. These inabilities are 
made up to her by the contrivance in her wing ; and in 
placing a claw on that part, the Creator has deviated from 
the analogy observed in winged animals. A singular de- 
fect required a singular substitute. 

III. The crane kind are tiO live and seek their food 
among the waters ; yet having no web-foot, are incapable 
of swimming. To make up for this deficiency, they are fur- 
nished with long legs for wading, or long bills for groping, 
or usually with both. This is compensation. But I think 
the true reflection upon the present instance is, how every 

* See Fig. 5. 


part of nature is tenanted by appropriate inhabitants. Not 
only is the surface of deep waters peopled by numerous tribes 
of birds that swim, but marshes and shallow pools are fur- 
nished with hardly less numerous tribes of birds that wade. 

IV. The common 2^0'f'i'ot has, in the structure of its beak, 
both an inconveniency and a compe7isation for it. When 1 
speak of an inconveniency, I have a view to a dilemma which 
frequently occurs in the works of nature, namely, that the 
peculiarity of structure by which an organ is made to an- 
swer one purpose, necessarily unfits it for some other pur- 
pose. This is the case before us. The upper bill of the 
parrot is so much hooked, and so much overlaps the lower, 
that if, as in other birds, the lower chap alone had motion, 
the bird could scarcely gape wide enough to receive its food ; 
yet this hook and overlapping of the bill could not be spared, 
for it forms the very instrument by which the bird climbs, 
to say nothing of the use which it makes of it in breaking 
nuts and the hard substances upon which it feeds. How, 
therefore, has nature provided for the opening of this occlud- 
ed mouth ? By making the upper chap movable, as well 
as the lower. In most birds, the upper chap is connected, 
and makes but one piece with the skull ; but in the parrot, 
the upper chap is joined to the bone of the head by a strong 
membrane placed on each side of it, which lifts and depresses 
it at pleasure. =^ 

y. The spider's web is a compensating contrivance. 
The spider lives upon flies, without wings to pursue them — 
a case, one would have thought, of great difficulty, yet pro- 
vided for, and provided for by a resource which no strata- 
gem, no effort of the animal, could have produced, had not 
both its external and internal structure been specificaUy 
adapted to the operation. 

VI. In many species of insects the eye is fixed, and con- 
sequently without the power of turning the pupil to the ob- 
ject This great defect is, however, perfectly compensated^ 
* Goldsmith's Nat. Hist., vol. 5, p. 274. 


and by a mechanism which Ave should not suspect. The 
eye is a multiplying-glass, with a lens looking in every 
direction and catching every object. By which means, 
although the orb of the eye be stationary, the field of vision 
is as ample as that of other animals, and is commanded on 
every side. When this lattice- work was first observed, the 
multiplicity and minuteness of the surfaces must have add- 
ed to the surprise of the discovery. Adams tells us that 
fourteen hundred of these reticulations have been counted 
in the two eyes of a drone-bee. 

In other cases, the compensation is efiected by the num- 
ber and position of the eyes themselves. The spider has 
eight eyes, mounted upon difierent parts of the head ; two 
in front, two in the top of the head, two on each side. These 
eyes are without motion, but by their situation suited to 
comprehend every view which the wants or safety of the 
animal rendered it necessary for it to take. 

VII. The iviemoirs for the Natural History of Animals, 
published by the French Academy, a. d. 1687, furnish us 
with some curious particulars in the eye of a chameleon. 
Instead of two eyelids, it is covered by an eyelid with a hole 
in it. This singular structure appears to be compensatory. 
and to answer to some other singularities in the shape of the 
animal. The neck of the chameleon is inflexible. To make 
up for this, the eye is so prominent as that more than half 
of the ball stands out of the head, by means of which extra- 
ordinary projection the pupil of the eye can be carried by the 
muscles in every direction, and is capable of being pointed 
towards every object. But th<n so unusual an exposure of 
the globe of the eye requires for its lubricity and defence a 
more than ordinary protection of eyelid, as well as a more 
than ordinary supply of moisture ; yet the motion of an eye- 
lid, formed according to the common construction, would be 
impeded, as it should seem, by the convexity of the organ. 
The aperture in the Ud meets tliis difficulty. It enables the 
animal to keep the principal part of the surface of the ey« 


under cover, and to preserve it in a due state of humidity 
without shutting out the light, or without performing every 
moment a nictitation which it is probable would be more 
laborious to this animal than to others. 

YIII. In another animal, and in another part of the ani- 
mal economy, the same memoirs describe a most remarkable 
substitution. The reader will remember what we have 
already observed concerning the intestinal canal — that its 
length, so many times exceeding that of the body, promotes 
the extraction of the chyle from the aliment, by giving room 
for the lacteal vessels to act upon it through a greater space. 
This long intestine, wherever it occurs, is, in other animals, 
disposed in the abdomen from side to side in returning folds. 
But in the animal now under our notice, the matter is man- 
aged otherwise. The same intention is mechanically effect 
uated, but by a mechanism of a different land. The animal 
of which I speak is an amphibious quadruped, which our 
authors call the alopecias, or sea-fox. The intestine is 
straight from, one end to the other ; but in this straight and 
consequently short intestine, is a winding, corkscrew, spiral 
passage, through which the food, not without several circmii- 
volutions, and in fact by a long route, is conducted to it.s 
exit. Here the shortness of the gut is comj)ensated by tho 
obliquity of the perforation. 

IX. But the works of the Deity are known by expedi- 
ents. Where we should look for absolute destitution, 
where we can reckon up nothing but wants, some con- 
trivance always comes in to supply the privation. A snail, 
without wings, feet, or thread, climbs up the stalks of plants 
by the sole aid of a viscid humor discharged from her skin. 
She adheres to the stems, leaves, and fruits of plants by 
means of a sticking-plaster. A mussel, which might seem 
by its helplessness to lie at the mercy of every wave that 
went over it, has the singular power of spinning strong ten- 
dinous threads, by which she moors her shell to rocks and 
timb-yrs. A cockle, on the contrary, by means of its stiii 


tongue, works for itself a shelter in the sand. The provis- 
ions of nature extend to cases the most desperate. A IcbUct 
has in its constitution a difficulty so great, that one could 
hardly conjecture beforehand how nature would dispose of it. 
In most animals, the skin grows with their growth. If, 
instead of a soft skin, there be a shell, still it admits of a 
gradual enlargement. If the shell, as in the tortoise, consist 
of several pieces, the accession of substance is made at the 
sutures. Bivalve shells grow bigger by receiving an accre- 
tion at their edge ; it is the same with spiral shells at their 
mouth. The simplicity of their form admits of this. But 
the lobster's shell being apphed to the limbs of the body, as 
well as to the body itself, alloAVS not of either of the modes 
of growth which are observed to take place in other shells. 
Its hardness resists expansion, and its complexity renders it 
incapable of increasing its size by addition of substance to its 
edge. How then was the growth of the lobster to be pro- 
vided for ? Was room to be made for it in the old shell, or 
was it to be successively fitted with new ones ? If a change 
of shell became necessary, how was the lobster to extricate 
himself from his present confinement ; how was he to uncase 
his buckler, or draw his legs out of his boots ? The process 
which fishermen have observed to take place is as follows : 
at certain seasons the shell of the lobster grows soft ; the 
animal swells its body ; the seams open, and the claws burst 
at the joints. When the shell has thus become loose upon 
the body, the animal makes a second effort, and by a trem- 
ulous, spasmodic motion casts it off'. In this state, the liber- 
ated but defenceless fish retires into holes in the rock. The_ 
released body now suddenly pushes its growth. In about 
eight and forty hours a fresh concretion of humor upon the 
surface, that is, a new shell, is formed, adapted in every part 
to the increased dimensions of the animal. This wonderful 
mutation is repeated every year. 

If there be imputed defects without compensation, I 
should suspect that they Avere defects only in appearance. 


Thus, the body of the sloth has often been reproached for the 
slowness of its motions, which has been attributed to an im- 
perfection in the formation of its limbs. But it ought to be 
observed, that it is this slowness wliich alone suspends the 
voracity of the animal. He fasts during his migration ftom 
one tree to another ; and this fast may be necessary for the 
relief of his overcharged vessels, as well as to allow time for 
the concoction of the mass of coarse and hard food which 
he has taken into his stomach. The tardiness of his pace 
seems to have reference to the capacity of his organs, and to 
his propensities with respect to food ; that is. is calculated 
to counteract the effects of repletion. 

Or there may be cases in ^vhich a defect is artificial, and 
compensated by the very cause which produces it. Thus 
the sheep, in the domesticated state in w^hich we see it, is 
destitute of the ordinary raieans of defence or escape — is in- 
capable either of resistance or flight. But this is not so 
with the wild animal. The natural sheep is swift and 
active ; and if it lose these qualities Avhen it comes under 
the subjection of man, the loss is compensated by his protec- 
tion. Perhaps there is no species of quadruped whatevei 
which suffers so little as this does from the depredation ol 
animals of prey. 

For the sake of making our meaning better understood, 
we have considered this business of compensation under cer- 
tain 'particularities of constitution in which it appears to 
be most conspicuous. This view of the subject! necessarily 
limits the instances to single species of animals. But there 
are compensations, perhaps not less certain, which extend 
over large classes and to large portions of living nature. 

I. In quadrupeds, the deficiency of teeth is usually com- 
pensated by the faculty of rumination. The sheep, deer, 
and ox tribe are wdthout fore-teeth in the upper jaw. These 
ruminate. The horse and ass are furnished with teeth in 
the upper jaw, and do not ruminate. In the former class, 
the grass and hay descend uito the stomach nearly in the 


state in -which they are cropped from the pasture or gathered 
from the bundle. In the stomach they are softened by the 
gastric juice, which in these animals is unusually copious. 
Thus softened and rendered tender, they are returned a sec- 
ond time to the action of the mouth, where the grinding teeth 
complete at their leisure the trituration which is necessary, 
but which was before left imperfect : I say the trituration 
which is necessary, for it appears from experiments that the 
gastric fluid of sheep, for example, has no effect in digesting 
plants unless they have been previously masticated ; that it 
only produces a slight maceration, nearly as common water 
would do in a like degree of heat ; but that when once veg- 
etables are reduced to pieces by mastication, the fluid then 
exerts upon them its specific operation. Its first effect is 
to soften them, and to destroy their natm-al consistency ; it 
then goes on to dissolve them, not sparing even the toughest 
parts, such as the nerves of the leaves. =* 

I think it very probable that the gratification also of the 
animal is renewed and prolonged by this faculty. Sheep, 
deer, and oxen appear to be in a state of enjoyment while 
they are chewing the cud ; it is then, perhaps, that they 
best relish their food. 

II. In birds, the comi^cnmtion is still more striking. 
They have no teeth at all. What have they then to make 
up for this severe want ? I speak of granivorous and herbiv- 
orous birds, such as common fowls, turkeys, ducks, geese, 
pigeons, etc. ; for it is concerning these alone that the ques- 
tion need be asked. All these are furnished with a peculiar 
and most powerful muscle, called the gizzard ; the inner 
coat of which is fitted up with rough plaits, which, by a 
strong friction against one another, break and grind the hard 
aliment as effectually, and by the same mechanical action, 
as a coffee-mill would do. It has been proved by the mf)s{ 
correct experiments, that the gastric juice of these birds will 
not operate u])on the entire grain ; not even when ?oftened 
■^ Spallanzar ?'. disc. 3, .sec. 140. 


by water or macerated in the crop. Therefore, without a 
grinding machine within its body, without the trituration of 
the gizzard, a chicken would have starved upon a heap of 
corn. Yet, why should a bill and a gizzard go together ? 
"Why should a gizzard never be found where there are 

Nor does the gizzard belong to birds as such. A gizzard 
is not found in birds of prey ; theij- food requires not to be 
ground down in a mill. The compensatory contriva:^ce 
goes no further than the necessity. In both classes of birds, 
however, the digestive organ within the body bears a strict 
and mechanical relation to the external instruments for pro- 
curing food. The soft membranous stomach accompanies a 
hooked, notched beak ; short, muscular legs ; strong, sharp, 
crooked talons : the cartilaginous stomach attends that con- 
formation of bill and toes which restrains the bird to the 
picking of seeds or the cropping of plants. 

III. But to proceed with our compensations. A very 
numerous and comprehensive tribe of terrestrial animals are 
entirely without feet ; yet locomotive, and in a very consid- 
erable degree swift in their motion. How is the icant oj 
feet compensated ? It is done by the disposition of the mus- 
cles and fibres of the trunk. In consequence of the just col- 
location and by means of the joint action of longitudmal 
and annular fibres, that is to say, of strings and rings, the 
body and train of reptiles are capable of being reciprocally 
shortened and lengthened, drawn up and stretched out. The 
result of this action is a progressive, and in some cases a 
rapid movement of the whole body, in any direction to which 
the will of the animal determines it. The meanest creature 
is a collection of wonders. The play of the rings in an earih- 
ivorm, as it craw^ls, the undulatory motion propagated along 
the body, the beards or prickles with which the annuli are 
armed, and which the animal can either shut up close to its 
body, or let out to lay hold of the roughness of the surface 
upon which it creeps, and the power arising from all these, 


of changing its place and position, aflbrd, when compared 
with the provisions for motion in other animals, proofs ol 
i\ew and appropriate mechanism. Suppose that we had 
never seen an animal move upon the ground without feet, 
and that the problem was — muscular action, that is, recipio- 
cal contraction and relaxation being given — to describe how 
such an animal might be constructed capable of voluntarily 
changing place. Something, perhaps, like the organization 
of reptiles might have been hit upon by the ingenuity of an 
artist ; or might have been exhibited in an automaton, by 
the combination of springs, spiral wires, and ringlets ; but 
tc the solution of the problem would not be denied, surely, 
the praise of invention and of successful thought : least of all, 
could it ever be questioned whether intelligence had beon 
employed about it or not 




We have already considered relation, and under difierent 
Tiews ; but it was the relation of parts to parts, of the parts 
of an animal to other parts of the same animal, or of an- 
other individual of the same species. 

But the bodies of animals hold, in their constitution and 
properties, a close and important relation to natures alto- 
gether external to their own — to inanimate substances, and to 
the specific qualities of these ; for example, they hold a sti'ict 
relation to the elements by which they are surrounded. 

I. Can it be doubted whether the wings of birds bear 
a relation to air, and the fins of fiish to water ? They are 
instruments of motion, severally suited to the properties oi 
the medium in which the motion is to be performed ; which 
properties are diflerent. Was not this difference contempla- 
ted when the instruments were differently constituted ? 

II. The structure of the animal ear depends for its use, 
not simply upon being surrounded by a fluid, but upon the 
specific nature of that fluid. Every fluid would not serve : 
its particles must repel one another ; it must form an elastic 
medium : for it is by the successive pulses oisuch a medium 
that the undulations excited by the surrounding body are 
carried to the organ — that a communication is formed be- 
tween the object and the sense ; which must be done be- 
fore the internal machinery of the ear, subtile as it is, can 
act at all. 

III. The organs of voice and respiration are, no less than 
the ear, indebted, for the success of tlieir operation, to the 
peculiar qualities of the fluid in which the animal is im- 
mersed They, therefore, as well as the ear, are constituted 
upon the supposition of such a fljiid, that is, of a fluid with 
such particular properties, being always present. Ohauffv- 


the properties of the fluid, and the organ cannot act ; cliange 
ihe organ and the properties of the fluid would be lost. The 
structure, therefore, of our organs, and the properties of our 
atmosphere, are made for one another. Nor does it alter the 
relation, whether you allege the organ to be made for the 
element — which seems the most natural way of considerin«| 
it — or the element as prepared for the organ. 

IV. But there is another fluid with which we have to 
d( with properties of its own — with laws of acting, and of 
bemg acted upon, totally different from those of air and wa- 
ter : and that is light. To this new, this singular element — 
to qualities perfectly peculiar, perfectly distinct and remote 
from the qualities of any other substance with which we are 
acquainted — an organ is adapted, an instrument is correctly 
adjusted, not less peculiar among the parts of the body, not 
less singular ni its form and in the substance of which it is 
composed, not less remote from the materials, the model, and 
the analogy of any other part of the animal frame, than the 
element to which it relates is speciflc amidst the substances 
with which we converse. If this does not prove appropria- 
tion, I desire to know what would prove it. 

Yet the clement of light and the organ of vision, how- 
ever related in their office and use, have no connection what- 
ever in then* original. The action of rays of light upon tlie 
surfaces of animals has no tendency to breed eyes in their 
heads. The sun might shiiie for ever upon living bodies 
without the smallest approach towards producing the sense 
of sight. On the other hand also,. the animal eye does not 
generate or emit light. 

V. Throughout the universe there is a wonderful lyropor- 
lioning of one thing to another The size of animals, the 
liuman animal especially, when considered with respect to 
other animals, or to the plants ^^■hich grow around him, is 
such as a regard to his convenieney would have pointed out. 
A giant or a pigmy could not have milked goats, reaped com, 
nr mowed grass ; we may add, could not have rode a horse, 


trained a vine, shorn a sheep, with the same bodily ease as 
we do, if at all. A pigmy would have been lost among 
rushes, or carried ofi^ by birds of prey. 

It may be mentioned, likewise, that the model and the 
materials of the human body being what they are, a mucli 
greater bulk would have broken down by its own weight. 
The persons of men who much exceed the ordinary stature 
betray this tendency. 

YI. Again — and which includes a vast variety of par- 
ticulars, and those of the greatest importance — how close is 
the suitableness of the earth and sea to their several inhabi- 
tants, and of these inhabitants to the places of their appoint- 
ed residence I 

Take the earth as it is, and consider the correspondency 
of the powers of its inhabitants with the properties and con- 
dition of the soil which they tread. Take the inhabitants 
as they are, and consider the substances which the earth 
yields for their use. They can scratch its surface, and its 
surface supplies all which they want. This is the length of 
their faculties ; and such is the constitution of the globe, and 
their own, that this is sufficient for all their occasions. 

When we pass from the earth to the sea, from land to 
water, we pass through a great change ; but an adequate 
change accompanies us, of animal forms and functions, of ani- 
mal capacities and wants, so that correspondency remains. 
The earth in its nature is very different from the sea, and 
the sea from the earth, but one accords with its inhabitants 
,18 exactly as the other. 

VII. The last relation of this kind which I shall men- 
tion is that of sleep to 7iight, and it appears to me to be a 
relation which was expressly intended. Two points are 
manifest : first, that the animal frame requires sleep ; sec- 
ondly, that night brings with it a silence and a cessation ol 
activity, which allows of sleep being taken without interrup- 
tion and without loss. Animal existence is made up of ac- 
tion and slumber ; nature has provided a season for each 


All animal which stood net in need of rest, would alwayp 
live in daylight. An animal which, though made for ac- 
tion and delighting in action, must have its strength repair- 
ed by sleep, meets, by its constitution, the returns of day and 
night. In the human species, for instance, were t]:e bustle, 
the labor, the motion of life upheld by the constan. presence 
of light, sleep could not be enjoyed without being disturbed 
by noise, and without expense of that time which the eager- 
ness of private interest would not contentedly resign. It is 
happVj therefore, for this part of the creation — I r.san that 
it is conformable to the frame and wants of their constitu- 
tion, that nature, by the very disposition of her elements, 
has commanded, as it were, and imposed upon them, at 
moderate intervals, a general intermission of their toils, their 
occupations, and pursuits. 

But it is not for man, either solely or principally, that 
night is made. Inferior but less perverted natures taste its 
solace, and expect its return with greater exactness and ad- 
vantage than he does. I have often observed, and never 
observed but to admire, the satisfaction, no less than the 
regularity, with which the greatest part of the irrational 
world yield to this soft necessity, this grateful vicissitude: 
how comfortably the birds of the air, for example, address 
themselves to the repose of the evening ; with what alertness 
they resume the activity of the day. 

Nor does it disturb our argument to confess that certain 
species of animals are in motion during the night, and at 
rest in the day. With respect even to them, it is still true 
that there is a change of condition in the animal, and an 
external change corresponding with it. There is still the 
relation, though inverted. The fact is, that the repose oi 
itiur animals sets these at liberty, and invites them to theii 
food or their sport. 

If the relation of sleep to ?iight, and in some instances, 
its converse, be real, Ave cannot reflect without amazement 
upjn the extent to which it carries us. Day and night are 


things close to us ; the change apphes immediately to oui 
sensations : of all the phenomena of nature, it is the mo;-t 
obvious and the most familiar to our experience ; but, in its 
cause, it belongs to the great motions which are passing in 
the heavens. While the earth glides round her axle, she 
ministers to the alternate necessities of the animals dwelling 
upon her surface, at the same time that she obeys the influ- 
ence of those attractions which regulate the order of many 
thousand worlds. The -relation, therefore, of sleep to night 
is the relation of the inhabitants of the earth to the rotation 
of their globe ; probably it is more : it is a relation to thb 
system of which that globe is a part ; and still further, to 
the congregation of systems of which theirs is only one. If 
this account be true, it connects the meanest individual with 
the universe itself — a chicken roosting upon its perch, with 
the spheres revolving in the firmament. 

VIII. But if any one object to our representation, that 
the succession of day and night, or the rotation of the earth 
upon which it depends, is not resolvable into central attrac- 
tion, we will refer him to that which certainly is — to the 
change of the seasons. Now the constitution of animals 
susceptible of torpor bears a relation to winter, similar to 
that which sleep bears to night. Against not only the cold, 
but the want of food, which the approach of winter induces, 
the Preserver of the world has provided in many animals by 
migration, in many others by torpor. As one example out 
of a thousand, the bat, if it did not sleep through the win- 
ter, must have starved, as the moths and flying insects 
upon which it feeds disappear. But the transition from 
Eummer to winter carries us into the very midst of physical 
asJronomy; that is to say, into the midst of those laws 
which govern the solar system at least, and probably all thfi 
heavenly bodies. 




The order may not be very obvious by which I place 
instincti next to relations. But I consider them as a species 
of relation. They contribute, along with the animal organ- 
ization, to a joint effect, in which view they are related to 
that organization. In many cases, they refer from one ani- 
mal to another animal ; and when this is the case, become 
strictly relations in a second point of view. 

An INSTINCT is a propensity prior to experience and inde- 
pendent of instruction. We contend that it is by insti7ict 
that the sexes of animals seek each other ; that animals 
cherish their offspring ; that the young quadruped is directed 
to the teat of its dam ; that birds build their nests and brood 
with so much patience upon their eggs ; that insects which 
do not sit upon their eggs, deposit them in those particular 
situations in which the young when hatched find their ap- 
propriate food ; that it is instinct which carries the salmon, 
and some other fish, out of the sea into rivers, for the pur- 
pose of shedding their spav/n in fresh water, 

\Ye may select out of this catalogue the incubation of 
eggs. I entertain no doubt but that a couple of sparrows 
hatched in an oven, and kept separate from the rest of their 
species, would proceed as other sparrows do in every office 
which related to the production and preservation of their 
brood. Assuming this fact, the thing is inexplicable upon 
any other hypothesis than that of an instinct impressed upon 
the constitution of the animal. For, first, what should in- 
duce the female bird to prepare a nest before she lays her 
eggs ? It is in vain to suppose her to be possessed of the 
faculty of reasoning ; for no reasoning will reach the case. 
The fulness or distention which she might feel in a partic- 
ular part of the body, from the growth and solidity of the 
Qgg within her, could not possibly inform her that she was 


about to produce something which, when produced, was to 
be preserved and taken care of. Prior to experience, there 
was nothing to lead to this inference, or to this suspicion. 
The analogy was all against it ; for, in every other instance, 
what issued from the body was cast out and rejected. 

But, secondly, let us suppose the egg to be produced into 
day ; how should birds know that their eggs contain their 
young ? There is nothing either in the aspect or in the in- 
ternal composition of an egg which could lead even the most 
daring imagination to conjecture that it was hereafter to turn 
out from under its shell a living, perfect bird. The form of 
the egg bears not the rudiments of a resemblance to that of 
the bird. Inspecting its contents, we find still less reason, 
if possible, to look for the result which actually takes place. 
If we should go so far as, from the appearance of order and 
distinction in the disposition of the liquid substances which 
we noticed in the egg, to guess that it might be designed 
for the abode and nutriment of an animal — which would be 
a very bold hypothesis — we should expect a tadpole dabbhng 
in the slime, much rather than a dry, winged, feathered crea- 
ture, a compound of parts and properties impossible to be 
used in a state of confinement in the egg, and bearing no 
conceivable relation, either in quality or material, to nny 
thing observed in it. From the white of an egg, would any 
one look for the feather of a goldfinch ; or expect from a 
simple uniform mucilage the most complicated of all ma- 
chines, the most diversified of all collections of substances ? 
lYor would the process of incubation, for some time at least, 
lead us to suspect the event. Who that saw red streaks 
shooting in the fine membrane which divides the white from 
the yolk, would suppose that these were about to become 
bones and Hmbs? Who that espied two discolored points 
first making their appearance in the cicatrix, would have 
had the courage to predict that these points were to grow 
into the heart and head of a bird ? It is difficult to strip 
the mind of its experience. It is difficult to resuscitate sur 


prise when familiarity has once laid the sentiment asleep. 
But could we forget all that we know, and which our spar- 
rows never knew, about oviparous generation — could we 
divest ourselves of every information but what we derived 
from reasoning upon the appearances or quality discovered 
in the. objects presented to us, I am convinced that harle- 
quin coming out of an egg upon the stage is not more aston- 
ishing to a child, than the hatching of a chicken both would 
be, and ought to be, to a philosopher. 

But admit the sparrow by some means to know that 
within that egg was concealed the principle of a future bird ; 
from wdiat chemist was she to learn that icarmth was nec- 
essary to bring it to maturity, or that the degree of warmth 
imparted by the temperature of her own body w'as the de- 
gree required ? 

To suppose, therefore, that the female bird acts in tliis 
process from a sagacity and reason of her ow^i, is to suppose 
her to arrive at conclusions which there are no premises to 
justify. If our sparrow, sitting upon her eggs, expect young 
sparrow^s to come out of them, she forms, I will venture to 
say, a wdld and extravagant expectation, in opp ition to 
present appearances and to probability. She must have 
penetrated into the order of nature further than any facul 
ties of ours will carry us ; and it has been w^ell observed 
that this deep sagacity, if it be sagacity, subsists in conjunc 
tion with grea^ stupidity, even in relation to the same sub- 
ject. "A ch .mical operation," says Addison, " could not be 
followed wdilj greater art or diligence than is seen in hatch 
ing a chickfi' , yet is the process carried on without the 
least glimm' ring of thought or common-sense. The hen 
will mistake a piece of chalk for an egg — is insensible o{ 
the increaiif or diminution of their number — does not dis- 
tingaish between her own and those of another species — is 
fri/^htciicd when her supposititious breed of ducklings take 
ibe watoL'." 

Fnt il will be said, that what reason could not do for the 


bird, observation., or instruction, or tradition might. Now 
if' it be true tliat a couple of sparrows, brought up from the 
first in a state of separation from all other bh'ds, would build 
their nest, and brood upon their eggs, then there is an end 
of this solution. What can be the traditionary knowledge 
of a chicken hatched in an oven ? 

Of young birds taken in their nests, a few species breed 
when kept in cag3s ; and they which do so, build their nests 
nearly in the same manner as in the wild state, and sit upon 
their eggs. This is sufficient to prove an instmct, without 
having recourse to experiments upon birds hatched by artifi- 
cial heat, and deprived from their birth of all communica- 
tion with their species ; for we can hardly bring ourselves 
to believe that the parent bird informed her unfledged pupil 
of the history of her gestation, her timely preparation of a 
nest, her exclusion of the eggs, her long incubation, and of 
the joyful eruption at last of her expected ofispring ; all 
which the bird in the cage must have learnt in her infancy, 
if we resolve her conduct into institution. 

Unless we will rather suppose that she remembers her 
own escape from the e^g, had attentively observed the con- 
formation of the nest in which she was rmrtured, and had 
treasured up her remarks for future imitation ; which is not 
only extremely improbable — for who that sees a brood o/ 
callow birds in their nest can believe that they are taking a 
plan of their habitation ? — but leaves unaccounted for one 
principal part of the difficulty, " the preparation of the nest 
before the laying of the eg^.'' This she could not gain from 
observation in her infancy. 

It is remarkable also, that the hen sits upon eggs which 
she has laid without any communication with the male, 
and which are therefore necessarily unfruitful. That secret 
she is not let into. Yet if incubation had been a subject of 
instruction or of tradition, it should seem that this distinction 
would have formed part of the lesson ; whereas the instinct of 
nature is calculated for a state of nature — the exception here 


alluded to taking place chiefly, if not solely, among domesti- 
cated fowls, in which nature is forced out of her course. 

There is another case of oviparous economy, which i« 
still less likely to be the eflcct of education than it is even in 
birds, namely, that of Q7ioths and butterflies, which deposit 
their eggs in the precise substance, that of a cabbage for ex 
ample, from which, not the butterfly herself, but the caterpil- 
lar which is to issue from her egg, draws its appropriate fcod. 
The butterfly cannot taste the cabbage — cabbage is no food 
for her ; yet in the cabbage, not by chance, but studiously and 
electively, she lays her eggs. There are, among many other 
kinds, the willow-caterpillar and the cabbage-caterpillar ; but 
we never find upon a willow the caterpillar which eats the 
cabbage, nor the converse. This choice, as appears to me, 
cannot in the butterfly proceed from instruction. She had no 
teacher in her caterpillar state. She never knew her parent. 
I do not see, therefore, how knowledge acquired by experi- 
ence, if it ever were such, could be transmitted from one gen- 
eration to another. There is no opportunity either for instruc- 
tion or imitation. The parent race is gone before the new 
brood is hatched. And if it be original reasoning in the but- 
terfly, it is profound reasoning indeed. She must remember 
her caterpillar state, its tastes and habits, of which memory 
she shows no signs whatever. She must conclude from anal- 
ogy, for here her recollection cannot serve her, that the little 
round body which drops from her abdomen will at a future 
period produce a living creature, not like herself, but like the 
caterpillar which she remembers herself once to have been. 
Under the influence of these reflections, she goes about to 
make provision for an order of things which she concludes 
will some time or other take place. And it is to be observed, 
that not a few out of many, but that all butterflies argue 
thus ; all draw this conclusion ; all act upon it. 

But suppose the address, and the selection, and the plan, 
wliich we perceive in the preparations which many irra^ 
tional animals make for their young, to be traced to some 


probable origin, still there is left to be accounted for that 
which is the source and foundation of these phenomena, that 
which sets the whole at work, the aropyrj, the parental affec- 
tion, which I contend to be inexplicable upon any other 
hypothesis than that of instinct. 

For we shall hardly, I imagine, in brutes, refer their 
conduct towards their offspring to a sense of duty or of de- 
cency, a care of reputation, a compliance with public man- 
ners, with public laws, or with rules of life built upon a long 
experience of their utility. And all attempts to account for 
the parental affection from association, I think, fail. With 
what is it associated ? Most immediately with the throes 
of parturition, that is, with pain, and terror, and disease. 
The more remote, but not less strong association, that w^hich 
depends upon analogy, is all against it. Every thing else 
which proceeds from the body is cast away and rejected. 
In birds, is it the egg which the hen loves ; or is it the ex 
pectation which she cherishes of a future progeny, that keeps 
her upon her nest ? What cause has she to expect delight 
from her progeny ? Can any rational answer be given to 
the question, why, prior to experience, the brooding hen 
should look for pleasure from her chickens ? It does not, I 
think, appear that the cuckoo ever knows her young ; yet, in 
her way, she is as careful in making provision for them as anj 
other bird. She does not leave her egg in every hole. 

The salmon suffers no surmountable obstacle to oppose 
her progress up the stream of fresh rivers. And what does 
she do there ? She sheds a spawn, which she immediately 
quits in order to return to the sea ; and this issue of her body 
she never afterwards recognizes in any shape whatever. 
Where shall we find a motive for her efforts and her perse- 
verance ? Shall we seek it in argumentation, or in instinct ? 
The violet crab of Jamaica performs a fatiguing march of 
some months' continuance from the mountains to the sea- 
bide. When she reaches the coast, she casts her spawn into 
the open sea, and sets out upon her return home. 


Moths and butterflies, as has ah'eady been observed, seel- 
out for their eggs those precise situations and substances in 
which the oflspring caterpillar will find its appropriate food. 
That dear caterpillar the parent butterfly must never see. 
There are no experiments to prove that she would retain 
any knowledge of it, if she did. How shall we account for 
her conduct ? I do not mean for her art and judgment in 
selecting and securing a maintenance for her young, but for 
the impulse upon which she acts. What should induce her 
to exert any art, or judgment, or choice, about the matter ? 
The undisclosed grub, the animal which she is destined not 
to know, can hardly be the object of a particular afiection 
if we deny the influence of instinct. There is nothing there- 
fore left to her, but that of which her nature seems incapa- 
ble, an abstract anxiety for the general preservation of th(^ 
species — a kind of patriotism — a solicitude lest the butterfly 
race should cease from the creation. 

Lastly, the principle of association will not explain tht 
discontinuance of the afiection when the young animal is 
grown up. Association operating in its usual way, would 
rather produce a contrary effect. The object would become 
more necessary by habits of society ; whereas birds and 
beasts, after a certain time, banish their oflspring, disown 
their acquaintance, seem to have even no knowledge of the 
objects which so lately engrossed the attention of their minds, 
and occupied the industry and labor of their bodies. This 
change, in different animals, takes place at diflerent distan- 
ces of time from the birth ; but the time always corresponds 
with the ability of the young animal to maintain itself, never 
anticipates it. In the sparrow tribe, when it is perceived 
that the young broud can fly and shift for themselves, th( n 
the parents forsake them for ever ; and though they continue 
to live together, pay them no more attention than they do to 
other birds in the same flock. ^ I believe the same thing is 
true of all gregarious quadrupeds. 

* Goldsmith's Natural History, vol. iv., p. 244. 


In this part of the case, the variety of resources, expedi' 
ents, and materials which animals of the same species are 
said to have recourse to under different circumstances, and 
when differently supplied, makes nothing against the doc- 
trine of instincts. The thing which we want to account for 
is the propensity. The propensity being there, it is probable 
iiiough that it may put the animal upon different actions 
according to different exigencies. And this adaptation of 
resources may look like the effect of art and consideration 
rather than of instinct ; but still the propensity is instinctive. 
For instance, suppose what is related of the woodpecker to be 
true, that in Europe she deposits her eggs in cavities which 
she scoops out in the trunks of soft or decayed trees, and in 
which cavities the eggs lie concealed from the eye, and iu 
some sort safe from the hand of man ; but that in the forests 
of Guinea and the Brazils, which man seldom frequents, the 
same bird hangs her nest on the twigs of tall trees, thereby 
placing them out of the resich. o[ mo?ike?js and snakes; that 
is, that in each situation she prepares against the danger 
which she has most occasion to apprehend. Suppose, I say, 
this to be true, and to be alleged, on the part of the bird 
that builds these nests, as evidence of a reasoning and dis- 
tinguishing precaution; still the question returns, whence 
the propensity to build at all ? 

Nor does parental afiection accompany generation by any 
universal law of animal organization, if such a thing were 
intelligible. Some animals cherish their progeny with the 
most ardent fondness and the most assiduous attention ; others 
entirely neglect them ; and this distinction always meets the 
constitution of the young animal with respect to its wants 
and capacities. In many, the parental care extends to the 
young animal ; in others, as in all oviparous fish, it is con- 
fined to the Qg^, and even as to that, to the disposal of it in 
its proper element. Also, as there is generation Avithout 
parental affection, so is there parental instinct, or what ex- 
actly resembles it, without generation. In the bee trib(!, the 


grub is nurtureJ neither by the father nor the mother, but by 
the neutral bee. Probably the case is the same with ants. 

I am not ignorant of the theory which resolves instinct 
into sensation, which asserts that what appears to have a 
view and relation to the future, is the result only of the 
present disposition of the animal's body, and of pleasure or 
pain experienced at the time. Thus the incubation of eggs 
is accounted for by the pleasure which the bird is supposed 
to receive from the pressure of the smooth convex surface o( 
the shells against the abdomen, or by the relief which the 
mild temperature of the egg may aflbrd to the heat of the 
lower part of the body, which is observed at this time to be 
increased beyond its usual state. This present gratification 
is the only motive with the hen for sitting upon her nest ; 
the hatching of the chickens is, with respect to her, an acci- 
dental consequence. The affection of viviparous animals for 
their young is in like manner solved by the relief, and per- 
haps the pleasure, which they perceive from giving suck. 
The young animal's seeking, in so many instances, the teat 
of its dam, is explained from its sense of smell, which is 
attracted by the odor of milk. The salmon's urging its w^ay 
up the stream of fresh-water rivers, is attributed to some 
gratification or refreshment which, in this particular state of 
the fish's body, she receives from the change of element. 
Now of this theory it may be said, 

First, that of the cases which require solution, there are 
few^ to which it can be applied with tolerable probability ; 
that there are none to which it can be applied without 
strong objections, furnished by the circumstances of the case. 
The attention of the cow to its calf, and of the ewe to its 
Limb, appear to be prior to their sucking. The attraction 
of the calf or lamb to the teat of the dam, is not explained by 
lUinply referring it to the sense of smell. "VYhat made the scent 
of milk so agreeable to the lamb that it should follow it up 
with its nose, or seek with its mouth the place from wliich 
it proceeded ? No observation, no experience, no argument 


could teach the new-dropped animal that the substance from 
which the scent issued was the material of its food. It had 
never tasted milk before its birth. None of the animals 
which are not designed for that nourishment ever offer to 
Siuck, or to seek out any such food. What is the conclusion, 
but that the sugescent parts of animals are fitted for their 
use, and the knowledge of that use put into them ? 

We assert, secondly, that even as to the cases in which 
the hypothesis has the fairest claim to consideration, it does 
not at all lessen the force of the argument for intention and 
design. The doctrine of instinct is that of appetencies, 
superadded to the constitution of an animal, for the efiectu- 
ating of a purpose beneficial to the species. The above- 
stated solution would derive these appetencies from organi- 
zation ; but then this organization is not less specifically, 
not less precisely, and therefore not less evidently adapted 
to the same ends, than the appetencies themselves would be 
upon the old hypothesis. In this way of considering the 
subject, sensation supplies the place of foresight ; but this is 
the effect of contrivance on the part of the Creator. Let it 
be allowed, for example, that the hen is induced to brooJ 
upon her eggs by the enjoyment or relief which, in the heat 
ed state of her abdomen, she experiences from the pressun 
of round sm.ooth surfaces, or from the application of a tem 
perate warmth. Ho^v comes this extraordinary heat or 
itching, or call it what you will, which you suppose to be 
the cause of the bird's inclination, to be felt just at the time 
when the inclination itself is wanted ; when it talHes so 
exactly with the mternal constitution of the egg, and with 
the help which that constitution requires in order to bring 
it to maturity ? In my opinion, this solution, if it be accept- 
ed as to the fact, ought to increase, rather than otherwise, 
our admiration of the contrivance. A gardener lighting up 
his stoves just when he wants to force his fruit, and when 
his trees require the heat, gives not a more certain evidence 
of design. So again, when a male and female sparrow come 


together, they do not meet to confer upon ih^ expediency ol 
perpetuating their species. As an abstract proposition, they 
care not the vahie of a barley-corn whether the species bo 
perpetuated or not : they follow their sensations, and all 
those consequences ensue which the wisest counsels could 
have dictated, which the most solicitous care of futurity, 
which the most anxious concern for the sparrow- world could 
have produced. But how do these consequences ensue ? 
riie sensations, and the constitution upon which they de- 
pend, are as manifestly directed to the purpose which we 
see fulfilled by them ; and the train of intermediate effects 
as manifestly laid and planned with a view to that purpose ; 
tliat is to say, design is as completely evinced by the phe- 
nomena, as it would be even if we suppose the operations 
to begin or to be carried on from what some will allow to 
be alone properly called instincts, that is, from desires direct- 
ed to a future end, and having no accomplishment or grati- 
fication distinct from the attainment of that end. 

In a word, I should say to the patrons of this opinion, 
Be it so ; be it that those actions of animals which we refer 
to instinct are not gone about with any view to their conse- 
quences, but that they are attended in the animal with a 
present gratification, and are pursued for the sake of that 
gratification alone ; what does all this prove, but that the 
'prospectio7i, which must be somewhere, is not in the ani- 
mal, but in the Creator? 

In treating of the parental aHection in brutes, our busi- 
ness lies rather with the origin of the principle, than with 
the effects and expressions of it. Writers recount these with 
pleasure and admiration. The conduct of many kinds ol 
animals towards their young has escaped no observer, no 
iiistorian of nature. " How will they caress them," says 
Derham, " with their affectionate notes ; lull and quiet them 
with their tender parental voice ; put food into their mouths ; 
cherish and keep them warm ; teach them to pick, and eat, 
and gather food for themselves ; and, in a word, perform the 


part of so many nurses, deputed by the Sovereign Lord and 
Preserver of the world to help such young and shiftless crea- 
tures !" Neither ought it, under this head, to be forgotten, 
how much the instinct costs the animal which feels it ; how 
much a bird, for example, gives up by sitting upon her nest ; 
how repugnant it is to her organization, her habits, and he? 
pleasures. An animal, formed for liberty, submits to con- 
finement in the very season when every thing invites her 
abroad : what is more, an animal delighting in motion, 
made for motion, all whose motions are so easy, and so free, 
hardly a moment, at other times, at rest, is, for many hours 
of many days together, fixed to her nest as close as if her 
limbs were tied down by pins and wires. For my part, 1 
never see a bird in that situation but I recognize an invisi- 
ble hand detaining the contented prisoner from her fields and 
groves, for the purpose, as the event proves, the most worthy 
of the sacrifice, the most important, the most beneficial. 

But the loss of hberty is not the whole of what the 
procreant bird suffers. Harvey tells us that he has often 
found the female wasted to skin and bone by sitting upon 
her eggs. 


One observation more, and I will dismiss the subject. 
The 2J<^in'r^g of birds, and the non-2')airi7ig of beasts, forms 
a distinction between the two classes, which shows that the 
conjugal instinct is modified with a reference to utility found- 
ed on the condition of the offspring. In quadrupeds, the 
young animal draws its nutriment from the body of the dam. 
The male parent neither does, nor can contribute any part 
to its sustentation. In the winged race, the young bird is 
supplied by an importation of food, to procure and bring 
home which, in a sufficient quantity for the demand of a 
numerous brood, requires the industry of both parents. In 
this difference, we see a reason for the vagrant instinct of 
the quadruped, and for the faithful love of the feathered 




"We arc not writing a system of natural history , tln/re 
i'.iw we have not attended to the classes into which the sub' 
jects of that science are distributed. What we had to ob- 
serve concerning different species of animals, iell easily, lor 
the most part, within the divisions which the course of our 
argument led us to adopt. There remain, however, some 
remarks upon the insect tribe which could not properly be 
introduced under any of these heads ; and which therefore 
■H/e have collected into a chapter by themselves. 

The structure, and the use of the parts of insects, are 
less understood than that of quadrupeds and birds, not only 
by reason of their minuteness, or the minuteness of their 
parts — for that minuteness we can, in some measure, follow 
with glasses — ^but also by reason of the remoteness of their 
manners and modes of life from those of larger animals. 
For instance, insects, under all their varieties of form, are 
endowed Avith antennce, which is the name given to those 
long feelers that rise from each side of the head : but to 
what common use or want of the insect kind a provision so 
universal is subservient, has not yet been ascertained ; and 
it has not been ascertained, because it admits not of a clear, 
or very probable comparison with any organs Avhich we 
possess ourselves, or with the organs of animals which re- 
semble ourselves in their functions and faculties, or A'idth 
which we are better acquainted than we arc with insects. 
Wc want a ground of analogy. This difficulty stands in 
our way as to some particulars in the insect constitution 
which we might wish to be acquainted with. Nevertheless, 
there are many contrivances in the bodies of insects, neither 
dubious in their use, nor obscure in their structure, and most 
properly mechanical. These form parts of our argument. 

I. The elytra, or scaly wings of the genus of scaraboeus 


or beetle, furnish an example of this kind. The true wing 
of the animal is a light, transparent membrane, finer than 
the finest gauze, and not unlike it. It is also, when expand- 
ed, in proportion to the size of the animal, very large. In 
order to protect this delicate structure, and perhaps, also, to 
•preserve it in a due state of suppleness and humidity, a 
strong, hard case is given to it in the shape of the horny 
wing which we call the elytron. When the animal is at 
rest, the gauze wings lie folded up under this impenetrable 
shield. When the beetle prepares for flying, he raises the 
integument, and spreads out his thin membrane to the air.* 
And it cannot be observed without admiration, what a tissue 
of cordage, that is, of muscular tendons, must run in various 
and complicated, but determinate directions, along this fine 
surface, in order to enable the animal either to gather it up 
into a certain precise form, whenever it desires to place its 
wings under the shelter v\4iich nature has given to them, 
or to expand again their folds when wanted for action 

In some insects, the elytra cover the whole body; in oth 
ers, half; in others, only a small part of it ; but in all, they 
completely hide and cover the true wings. Also, 

Many or most of the beetle species lodge in holes in the 
earth, environed by hard, rough substances, and have fre- 
quently to squeeze their way through narrow passages ; in 
which situation, wings so tender, and so large, could scarce- 
ly have escaped injury, without both a firm covering to de- 
fend them, and the capacity of collecting themselves up un- 
der its protection. 

11. Another contrivance, equally mechanical and equally 
clear, is the aivl, or borer, fixed at the tails of various species 
of files ; and with which they pierce, in some cases, plants ; 
in others, wood ; in others, the skin and flesh of animals ; in 
others, the coat of the chrysalis of insects of a different species 
from their own ; and in others, even lime, mortar, and stone 
1 need not add, that having pierced tho substance, they do- 
* Plate V.. Ftg. 6. a, a, the elytra; t, 6, the true winsfs. 


posit their eggs in the hole. The descriptions whiuh natural- 
ists give of this organ are such as the following : It is a sharp- 
pointed instrument, which, in its niactivc state, lies concealed 
in the extremity of the abdomen, and which the animal 
draws out at pleasure, for the purpose of making a puncture 
in the leaves, stem, or bark of the particular plant which ia 
suited to the nourishment of its young. In a sheath, which 
divides and opens whenever the organ is used, there is in- 
closed a compact, solid, dentated stem, along which runs a 
guttej' or gi'oovc, by which groove, after the penetration is 
effected, the e^^, assisted in some cases by a peristaltic mo- 
tion, passes to its destined lodgement. In the OBstrus or 
gad-fly, the wimble draivs out like the pieces of a spy-glass : 
the last piece is armed with three hooks, and is able to bore 
through the hide of an ox. Can any thing more be neces- 
sary to display the mechanism, than to relate the fact ? 

III. The stings of insects, though for a different purpose, 
are, in their structure, not unlike the piercer. The sharp- 
ness to which the point in all of them is wrought ; the temper 
and firmness of the substance of which it is composed ; the 
strength of the muscles by which it is darted out, compared 
with the smallness and weakness of the insect, and with the 
soft and friable texture of the rest of the body, are properties 
of the sting to be noticed, and not a little to be admired. 
The sting of a hee will pierce through a goat-skin glove. It 
penetrates the human flesh more readily than the finest point 
of a needle. The action of the sting affords an example of 
the union of chemistry and mechanism, such as, if it be not 
a proof of contrivance, nothing is. First, as to the chemis- 
try, how highly concentrated m.ust be the venom, which, in 
so small a quantity, can produce such powerful effects I And 
ni the bee we may observe that this venom is made from 
honey, the only food of the insect, but the last material from 
which I should have expected that an exalted poison could, 
by any process or digestion whatsoever, have been prepared. 
In the next place, with respect to the mechanism, the stinj^ 


is not a simple, but a compound instrument. The visibk 
Bting,=^ though drawn to a point exquisitely sharp, is in strict 
ness only a sheath, for, near to the extremity, may be per- 
ceived by the microscope two minute orifices, from which 
orifices, in- the act of stinging, and, as it should seem, after 
the point of the main sting has buried itself in the flesh, are 
launched out two subtile rays, which may be called the true 
or proper stings, as being those through which the poison is 
infused into the puncture already made by the exterior sting. 
I have said that chemistry and mechanism are here united , 
by which observation I meant, that all this machinery would 
have been useless, telwn imbelle, if a supply of poison, intense 
in proportion to the smallness of the drop, had not been fur- 
nished to it by the chemical elaboration which was carried 
on in the insect's body ; aud that, on the other hand, the poi- 
son, the result of this process, could not have attained its effect, 
or reached its enemy, if, when it was collected at the extrem- 
ity of the abdomen, it had not found there a machinery fitted 
to conduct it to the situations in which it was to operate — 
namely, an awl to bore a hole, and a syringe to inject the 
fluid. Yet these attributes, though combined in their action, 
are independent in their origin. The venom does not breed 
the sting; nor does the sting concoct the venom. 

IV. TYiQ proboscis, with which many insects are endowed, 
comes next in order to be considered. It is a tube attached 
to the head of the animal. In the bee, it is composed of two 
pieces, connected by a joint ; for, if it were constantly extend- 
ed, it Avould be too much exposed to accidental injuries ; there- 
fore, in its indolent state, it is doubled up by means of the 
joint, and in that position lies secure under a scaly penthouse. 
In many species of the butterfly, the proboscis, when not in 
use, is coiled up like a watch-spring. In the same bee, the 
proboscis serves the office of the mouth, the insect having no 
other ; and how much better adapted it is than a month 

* Plate v., Fig. 7. A sting magnified; a. a, muscles that projoot 
it; 6, the tube; c, the sheath-, a, the true sting; e, the poison-basf. 


would be, for the colle?tmg of the proper nou rishment oi the 
animal, is sufficiently evident. The food of the bee is the 
nectar of flowers ; a drop of syrup, lodged deep in the bottom 
of the corollsB, in the recesses of the petals, or down the neck 
of a monopetalous glove. Into these cells the bee thrusts its 
long narrow pump, through the cavity of which it sucks up 
this precious fluid, inaccessible to every other approach. It 
is observable also, that the plant is not the worse for 
the bee does to it. The harmless plunderer rifles the sweets, 
but leaves the flower uninjured. The ringlets of which the 
proboscis of the bee is ccmposed, the muscles by which it is 
extended and contracted, form so many microscopical won- 
ders. The agility also with which it is moved can hardly 
fail to excite admiration. But it is enough for our purpose 
to observe in general, the suitableness of the structure to the 
use, of the means to the end, and especially the wisdom by 
which nature has departed from its most general analogy — 
for animals being furnished Avith mouths are such — when the 
purpose could be better answered by the deviation. 

In some insects, the proboscis, or tongue, or trunk is shut 
up in a sharp-pointed sheath ; which sheath being of a much 
firmer texture than the proboscis itself, as well as sharpened 
at the point, pierces the substance which contains the food, 
and then 02Je?7S within the luouncl, to allow the inclosed 
tube, through which the juice is extracted, to perform its 
office. Can any mechanism be plainer than tliis is, or sur- 
pass this ? 

V. The r/icta7?ior]}hosis of insects from grubs into moths 
and flies, is an astonishing process. A hairy caterpillar is 
transformed into a butterfly. Observe the change. We 
have four beautiful wings where there were none before ; a 
tubular proboscis in the place of a mouth with jaws and 
teeth ; six long legs instead of fourteen feet. In another cas-e 
we see a Avhite, smooth, soft worm tiu'ned into a black, hard, 
erustaceous beetle with gauze wings. These, as I said, are 
.istonishing processes, and must require, as it should seem, a 


proportionably artificial apparatus. The hypothesis which 
appears to me most probable is, that in the grub there exist 
at the same time three animals, one within another, all 
nourished by the same digestion, and by a communicating 
circulation, but in difierent stages of maturity. The latest 
discoveries made by naturalists seem to favor this supposi- 
tion. The insect already equipped with wings, is descrieJ 
under the membranes both of the worm and nymph. In 
some species, the proboscis, the antenna), the limbs, and wings 
of the fly, have been observed to be folded up within the 
body of the caterpillar, and with such nicety as to occupy a 
small space only under the two first wings. This being so, 
the outermost animal, which, besides its owqi proper charac- 
ter, serves as an integument to the other two, being the far- 
thest advanced, dies, as we suppc:-' and drops ofT first. The 
second, the pupa or chrysalis, then ofTer^: itself to observation. 
This also, in its turn, dies ; its dead and brittle husk falls to 
pieces, and makes way for the appearance of the fly or moth. 
Now if this be the case, or indeed AA'hatever explication be 
adopted, we have a prospective contrivance of the most curi- 
ous kind ; we have organizations three deep, yet a vascular 
system W'hich supplies nutrition, growth, and life, to all of 
them together. 

VI. Almost all insects are oviparous. Nature keeps 
lier butterflies, moths, and caterpillars locked up during the 
winter in their egg-state ; and w^e have to admire the vari- 
ous devices to which, if we may so speak, the same nature 
has resorted for the security of the egg. Many insects in- 
close their eggs in a silken web ; others cover them with a 
coat of hair torn from their own bodies ; some glue them 
together, and others, like the moth of the silk-worm, glue 
them to the leaves upon which they are deposited, that they 
may not be shaken ofi^ by the wind, or washed away by 
rain. Some, again, make incisions into leaves, and hide an 
Qgg in each incision ; while some envelope their eggs with 
a soft substance, which forms the first aliment of the young 


THimal ; and some, again, make a hole in tlje earth, and 
having stored it with a quantity of proper food, deposit their 
eggs in it. In all which we are to observe, that the expe- 
dient depends not so much upon the address of the animal, 
as upon the physical resources of his constitution. 

The art also with which the young insect is coiled up 
M the Q^^ presents, where it can be examined, a subject of 
great curiosity. The insect, furnished with all the mem- 
bers which it ought to have, is rolled up into a form which 
seems to contract it into the least possible space ; by which 
contraction, notwithstanding the smallness of the egg, it has 
room enough in its apartment, and to spare. This folding 
of the limbs appears to me to indicate a special direction ; 
for if it were merely the effect of compression, the colloca- 
tion of the parts would be more various than it is. In the 
same species, I believe, it is always the same. 

These observations belong to the whole insect tribe, or to 
a great part of them. Other observations are limited to fewer 
species, but not perhaps less important or satisfactory, 

I. The organization in the abdomen of the silk-worrii 
or sjndcr, whereby these insects form their thread, is as 
incontestably mechanical as a wire-drawer's mill. In the 
body of the silk-worm are two bags, remarkable for their 
form, position, and use. They wind round the intestine ; 
when drawn out they are ten inches in length, though the 
animal itself be only two. Within these bags is collected a 
glue ; and communicating wdth the bags are two paps or 
outlets, perforated like a grater by a number of small holes. 
The glue or gum being passed through these minute aper- 
tures, forms hairs of almost imperceptible fineness ; and these 
hairs, when joined, compose the silk which we wind cli 
h-om the cone in which the silk- worm has wrapped itscK 
up : in the spider, the web is formed from this thread, lu 
both cases, the extremity of the thread, by means of its 
adhesive quality, is first attached by the animal to some 
internal hold; and the end being now fkstened to a point, 

Nat. Theol. 10 


the insect, by; turning round its body, or by receding froia 
that point, driws out the thread through the holes above 
described, by an operation, as has been observed, exactly 
similar to the drawing of wire. The thread, like the wire, 
is formed by the hole through which it passes. In one re- 
spect there is a difference. The wire is the metal unal- 
tered, except in figure. In the animal process, the nature of 
ihe substance is somewhat changed as well as the form ; 
for as it exists wdthin the insect, it is a soft, clammy gum 
or glue. The thread acquires, it is probable, its firmness 
and tenacity from, the action of the air upon its surface in 
the moment of exposure ; and a thread so fine is almost all 
surface. This property, however, of the paste is part of the 

The mechanism itself consists of the bags or reservoirs 
into Avhich the glue is collected, and of the external holes 
communicating with these bags ; and the action of the ma- 
chine is seen in the forming of a thread, as wire is formed, 
by forcing the material already prepared through holes oi 
proper dimensions. The secretion is an act too subtile for 
our discernment, except as we perceive it by the produce. 
But one thing answers to another — the secretory glands to 
the quality and consistence required in the secreted sub- 
stance, the bag to its reception. The outlets and orifices 
are constructed not merely for relieving the reservoirs of 
their burden, but for manufacturing the contents into a form 
and texture of great external use, or rather, indeed, of future 
necessity to the life and functions of the insect. 

II. Bees, under one character or other, have furnished 
every naturalist with a set of observations. I shall in this 
place confine myself to one, and that is the relation which 
obtains between the wax and the honey. No person who 
has inspected a beehive can forbear remarking how com- 
modiously the honey is bestowed in the comb, and among 
other advantages, how efiectually the fermentation of the 
honey is prevented by distributing it into small cells. The 


fact is, that when the honey is separated from the comb and 
pvit into jars, it runs into fermentation with a much less 
degree of heat than what takes place in a hive. This may 
be rc'jkoned a nicety ; but independently of any nicety in 
thi matter, I would ask, what could the bee do with the 
iioney if it had not the wax ; how, at least, could it store 
it up for winter ? The wax, therefore, answers a purpose 
with respect to the honey, and the honey constitutes that 
purpose with respect to the wax. This is the relation be- 
tween them. But the two substances, though together of 
the greatest use, and without each other of little, come from 
a different origin. The bee finds the honey, but makes the 
wax. The honey is lodged in the nectaria of flowers, and 
probably undergoes little alteration — is merely collected ; 
whereas the wax is a ductile, tenacious paste, made out of a 
dry powder, not simply by kneading it with a liquid, but by 
a digestive process in the body of the bee. What account 
can be rendered of facts so circumstanced, but that the ani- 
mal being intended to feed upon honey, was by a peculiar 
external configuration enabled to procure it ? That, more- 
over, wanting the honey when it could not be procured at 
all, it was farther endued wdth the no less necessary faculty 
of constructing repositories for its preservation ? Whic-h 
faculty, it is evident, must depend primarily upon the capac- 
ity of providing suitable materials. Two distinct functions 
go to make up the ability. First, the power in the bee, 
with respect to wax, of loading the farina of flowers upon 
its thighs. Microscopic observers speak of the spoon-shaped 
appendages with which the thighs of bees are beset for this 
very purpose ; but inasmuch as the art and wdll of the bee 
may be supposed to be concerned in this operation, there is, 
•secondly, that which does not rest in art or will — a digestive 
faculty, which converts the loose powder into a stiff sub- 
stance. This is a just account of the honey and the honey* 
comb ; and this account, through every part, carries a cre- 
ative inteUijrence along with it. 


The sting also of the bee has this relation to the honey, 
that it is necessary for the protection of a treasure which 
invites so many robbers. 

III. Our business is with mechanism. In the pannrpa 
tribe of insects, there is a forceps in the tail of the male 
insect, with which he catches and holds the female. Are a 
pair of pincers more mechanical than this provision in its 
structure ; or is any structure more clear and certain in its 
design ? 

] \'. bt. Pierre tells us,^ that in a fly with six feet — I do 
not remember that he describes the species — the pair next 
the head and the pair next the tail have brushes at their 
extremities, with which the fly dresses, as there may be 
occasion, the anterior or the posterior part of its body ; but 
that the middle pair have no such brushes, the situation of 
these legs not admitting of the brushes, if they were there, 
being converted to the same use. This is a very exact 
mechanical distinction. 

V. If the reader, looking to our distributions of science, 
wish to contemplate the chemistry as well as the mechan- 
ism of nature, the insect creation will aflbrd him an exam- 
ple. I refer to the light in the tail of a glowicorm. Two 
points seem to be agreed upon by naturalists concerning it : 
first, that it is phosphoric ; secondly, that its use is to attract 
the male insect. The only thing to be inquired after is the 
singularity, if any such there be, in the natural history of 
this animal, which should render a provision of this kind 
more necessary for it than for other insects. That singu- 
larity seems to be the difference which subsists between the 
male and the female, which difference is greater than what 
we find in any other species of animal whatever. The glow- 
worm is a female cateiyillar, the male of which is a jiy, 
lively, comparatively small, dissimilar to the female in ap- 
pearance, probably also as distinguished from her in habits 
pursuits, and manners, as he is unlike in form and external 
* Vol. I., p. 342. 


constitution. Here then is the diversity of tlie case. The 
caterpillar cannot meet her companion hi the air. The 
winged rover disdains the ground. They might never there- 
fore be brought together, did not this radiant torch direct 
<,he volatile mate to his sedentary female. 

In this example we also see the resources of art antici- 
pated. One grand operation of chemistry is the making 
of phosphorus ; and it was thought an ingenious device to 
make phosphoric matches supply the place of lighted tapers. 
Now this very thing is done in the body of the glowworm. 
The phosphorus is not only made, but kmdled, and caused 
to emit a steady and genial beam, for the purpose Avhich is 
here stated, and which I believe to be the true one. 

VI. Nor is the last the only instance that entomology 
affords, in which our discoveries, or rather our projects, turn 
out to be imitations of nature. Some years ago a plan was 
suggested of producing propulsion by reaction in this way : 
by the force of a steam-engine, a stream of v/ater was to be 
shot out of the stern of a boat, the impulse of which stream 
upon the water in the river was to push the boat itself foj-- 
ward ; it is in truth the principle by which skyrockets 
ascend in the air. Of the use or practicability of the plan 
I am not speaking ; nor is it my concern to praise its inge- 
nuity ; but it is certainly a contrivance. Now, if natural- 
ists are to be believed, it is exactly the device which nature 
has made use of for the motion of some species of aquatic 
insects. The larva of the dragonfly, according to Adams, 
swims by ejecting water from its tail — ^is driven forward by 
the reaction of water in the pool upon the current issuing 
in a direction backward from its body. 

VII. Again, Europe has lately been surprised by the 
elevation of bodies in the air by means of a balloon. The 
discovery consisted in finding out a manageable substance, 
which was, bulk for bulk, lighter than air ; and the appli- 
cation of the discovery was to make a body composed of this 
substance bear up, along with its own weight, some heavier 


body wliicli was attached to it. This expedient, so new to 
us, proves to be no other than what the Author of nature has 
employed in the gossamer S'pider. We frequently see this 
spider's thread floating in the air, and extended from hedge 
to hedge, across a road or brook of four or five yards width. 
The animal which forms the thread has no wings where 
with to fly from one extremity to the other of this line, nor 
muscles to enable it to spring or dart to so great a distance ; 
yet its Creator has laid for it a path in the atmosphere, 
and after this manner. Though the animal itself be heavier 
than air, the thread which it spins from its bowels is spe- 
cifically lighter. This is its balloon. The spider, left to 
itself, would drop to the ground ; but being tied to its thread, 
both are supported. We have here a very peculiar provis- 
ion ; and to a contemplative eye it is a gratifying spectacle 
to see this insect M^affced on her thread, sustained by a levity 
not her own, and traversing regions which, if we examined 
only the body of the animal, might seem to have been ibr- 
bidden to its nature. 

I must now crave the reader's permission to introduce 
into this place, for want of a better, an observation or two 
upon the tribe of animals, whether belonging to land or 
water, which are covered by shells. 

I. The shells of syiaiU are a wonderful, a mechanical, 
and, if one might so speak concerning the works of nature, 
an original contrivance. Other animals have their proper 
retreats, their hybernacula also, or winter-quarters, but tho 
snail carries these about with him. He travels with his 
tent ; and this tent, though, as was necessary, both light and 
thin, is completely impervious either to moisture or air. 
The young snail comes out of its ^gg with the shell upon its 
back ; and the gradual enlargement which the shell receives, 
is derived from the slime excreted by the animal's skin. 
Now the aptness of this excretion to the purpose, its property 
of hardening into a shell, and the action, whatever it be, of 


the aniina'i, whereby it avails itself of its gift, and of the con- 
stitution of its glands — to say nothing of the work being 
commenced before the animal is born — are things which 
can, with no probability, be referred to any other cause 
than to express design ; and that not on the part of the ani- 
mal alone — in w^iich design, though it might build the house, 
it could not have supplied the material. The will of the 
animal could not determine the quality of the excretion. 
Add to which, that the shell of the snail, with its pillar and 
convolution, is a very artificial fabric ; while a snail, as it 
should seem, is the most numb and unprovided of all arti- 
ficers. In the midst of variety, there is likewise a regularity 
which could hardly be expected. In the same species of 
snail, the number of turns is usually, if not always, the same. 
The sealing up of the mouth of the shell by the snail, is also 
well calculated for its warmth and security ; but the cerate 
is not of the same substance with the shell. 

II. Much of what has been observed of snails belongs to 
shell-Jish and their sJiells, particularly to those of the uni- 
valve kind, with the addition of two remarks, one of which 
is upon the great strength and hardness of most of these 
shells. I do not know whether, the weight being giveii, art 
can produce so strong a case as are some of these shells ; 
which defensive strength suits well with the life of an ani- 
mal that has often to sustain the dangers of a stormy element 
and a rocky bottom, as well as the attacks of voracious fish. 
The other remark is upon the property, in the animal excre- 
tion, not only of congealing, but of congealing — or, as a builder 
would call it, setting — in water, and into a cretaceous sub- 
stance, firm and hard. This property is much more extra- 
ordinary, and, chemically speakmg, more specific, than that 
of hardening in the air, which may be reckoned a kind c 
exsiccation, like the drying of clay into bricks. 

Ill In the bivalve order of shell-fish, cockles, miscius, 
oysters, etc., what contrivance can be so simple or so clear 
AS the insertion, at the back, of a tough tendinous substance. 


that becomes at once the ligament which binds the two 
shells together, and the hijige upon which they open and 

IV. The shell of a lobster's tail, in its articulations and 
overlappings, represents the jointed part of a coat of mail ; 
or rather, which I believe to be the truth, a coat of mail is 
an imitation of a lobster's shell. The same end is to be 
answered by both ; the same properties, therefore, are re- 
quired in both, namely, hardness and flexibility — a covering 
which may guard the part without obstructing its motion 
For this double purpose, the art of man, expressly exercised 
upon the subject, has not been able to devise any thing bettei 
than what nature presents to his observation. Is not this 
therefore mechanism, which the mechanic, having a similar 
purpose in view, adopts ? Is the structure of a coat of mail 
to be referred to art ? Is the same structure of the lobster, 
conducing to the same use, to be referred to any thing less 
than art? 

Some who may acknowledge the imitation, and assent to 
the inference which we draw from it in the instance before 
us, may be disposed, possibly, to ask, why such imitations 
are not more frequent than they are, if it be true, as we 
allege, that the same principle of intelligence, design, and 
mechanical contrivance was exerted in the formation of nat- 
ural bodies as we employ in the making of the various instru- 
ments by which our purposes are served ? The answers to 
this question, are, first, that it seldom happens that precisely 
the same purpose, and no other, is pursued in any works 
which we compare of nature and of art ; secondly, that it 
still more seldom happens that we ca7i imitate nature, if we 
would. Our materials and our workmanship are equally 
deficient. Springs and wires, and cork and leather, produce 
a poor substitute for an arm or a hand. In the example 
which we have selected, I mean a lobster's shell compared 
with a coat of mail, these difficulties stand less in the way 
than m almost any other that qan be assigned ; and the con 


sequence is^ as we have seen, that art gladly borrows from 
nature her contrivance, and imitates it closely. 

But to return to insects. I think it is in this class of 
animals, above all others, especially when we take in the 
multitude of species which the microscope discovers, that we 
are struck with what Cicero has called " the insatiable vari- 
ety of nature." There are said by St. Pierre to be six thou- 
sand species of flies ; seven hundred and sixty butterflies ; 
each different from all the rest. The same writer tells us, 
from his own observation, that thirty-seven species of winged 
insects, with distinctions well expressed, visited a single 
strawberry-plant in the course of three weeks.* E.ay ob- 
served, within the compass of a mile or two of his own house, 
two hundred kinds of butterflies, nocturnal and diurnal. He 
likewise asserts, but I think without any grounds of exact 
computation, that the number of species of insects, reckoning 
all sorts of them, may not be short of ten thousand.! And 
in this vast variety of animal forms — for the observation is 
not confined to insects, though more applicable perhaps to 
them than to any other class — we arc sometimes led to take 
notice of the diflerent methods, or rather of the studiously 
diversified methods, by which one and the same purpose is 
attained. In the article of breathing, for example, which 
was to be provided for in some way or other, besides the ordi- 
nary varieties of lungs, gills, and breathing-holes — for insects 
in general respire, not by the mouth, but through holes in 
the sides — the nymphee of gnats have an apparatus to raise 
their hacks to the top of the water, and so take breath. The 
hydrocanthari do the like by thrusting their tails out of 
the water. $ The maggot of the eruca labra has a long tail, 
one part sheathed within another — but which it can draw 
out at pleasure — ^with a starry tuft at the end ; by which 
ttift, when expanded upon the surface, the insect both sup- 
ports itself in the water, and draws in the air which is neces- 
* Vol. ], p. 3. t Wisdom of God, p. 23. t Dcrliam. p. 7. 


sary. In the article of natural clothing, we have the skins 
of animals invested with scales, hair, feathers, mucus, froth, 
or itself turned into a shell or cru-st. In the no less neces- 
sary article of offence and defence, we have teeth, talons, 
beaks, horns, stings, prickles, with — the most singular expe- 
dient for the same purpose — the power of giving the electric 
shock, and, as is credibly related of some animals, of driving 
away their pursuers by an intolerable foBtor, or of blackening 
the water through which they are pursued. The considera 
tion of these appearances might induce us to believe that 
variety itself, distinct from eveiy other reason, was a motive 
in the mind of the Creator, or with the agents of his will. 

To this great variety in organized life the Deity has 
given, or perhaps there arises out of it, a corresponding vari- 
ety of animal apj^etitcs. For the final cause of this we have 
not far to seek. Did all animals covet the same element, 
retreat, or food, it is evident how much fewer could be sup- 
pUed and accommodated than what at present live conven- 
iently together, and find a plentiful subsistence. What one 
nature rejects, another delights in. Food which is nauseous 
to one tribe of animals becomes, by that very property Avhich 
makes it nauseous, an alluring dainty to another tribe. 
Carrion is a treat to dogs, ravens, vultures, fish. The ex- 
halations of corrupted substances attract flies by crowds 
Maggots revel in putrefaction. 




I THINK a designed and studied mechanism to l»e in gen- 
eral more evident in animals than in plants; and it is un- 
necessary to dwell upon a weaker argument where a stronger 
IS at hand. There are, however, a few observations upon 
the vegetable kingdom which lie so directly in our way, that 
it would be improper to pass by them without notice. 

The one great intention of nature in the structure of 
plants, seems to be the perfecting of the seed, and, what is 
part of the same intention, the preserving of it until it be 
lierfected. This mtention shows itself, in the first place, by 
the care which appears to be taken to protect and ripen, by 
every advantage which can be given to them of situation in 
the plant, those parts which most immediately contribute to 
fructification, namely, the antherse, the stamina, and the 
stigmata. These parts are usually lodged in the centre, the 
recesses, or the labyrinths of the flower ; during their tender 
and immature state, are shut up in the stalk, or sheltered in 
the bud ; as soon as they have acquired firmness of texture 
sufficient to bear exposure, and are ready to perform the 
important office which is assigned to them, they are disclosed 
to the light and air by the bursting of the stem or the expan- 
sion of the petals , after which they have, in many cases, 
by the very form of the flower during its blow, the light and 
warmth reflected upon them from the concave side of the 
cup. What is called also the sZeep of plants, is the leaves or 
petals disposing themselves in such a manner as to shelter 
the young stems, buds, or fruit. They turn up, or they fall 
down, according as this purpose renders cither change of 
position requisite. In the growth of corn, whenever the 
plant begins to shoot, the two upper leaves of the stalk join 
together, embrace the ear, and protect it till the pulp has 


acquired a certain degree of consistency. In some water- 
plants, the flowering and fecundation are carried on luithin 
the stem, which afterAvards opens to let loose the impregna- 
ted seed.^ The pea, or papilionaceous tribe, inclose the parts 
of fructiiication within a beautiful folding of the internal 
blossom, sometimes called, from its shape, the boat or keel — 
itself also protected under a penthouse formed by the exter- 
nal petals. This structure is very artificial ; and what adds 
to the value of it, though it may diminish the curiosity, very 
general. It has also this further advantage — and it is an 
advantage strictly mechanical — that all the blossoms turn 
their backs to the wind whenever the gale blows strong 
enough to endanger the delicate parts upon which the seed 
depends. I have observed this a hundred times in a field of 
peas in blossom. It is an aptitude which results from the 
figure of the flower, and, as we have said, is strictly mechan- 
ical, as much so as the turning of a w^eather-board or tin cap 
upon the top of a chimney. Of the poppy, and of many 
similar species of flowers, the head while it is growing hangs 
down, a rigid curvature in the upper part of the stem giving 
to it that position ; and in that position it is impenetrable 
by rain or moisture. AYhen the head has acquired its size 
and is ready to open, the stalk erects itself for the purpose, 
as it should seem, of presenting the flower, and with the 
flower the instruments of fructification, to the genial influ- 
ence of the sun's rays. This always struck me as a curious 
property, and specifically as w^ell as originally provided for 
in the constitution of the j^lant ; for if the stem be only bent 
by the weight of the head, how comes it "to slraighlen itsell 
when the head is the heaviest ? These instances show the 
attention of nature to this principal object, the safety and 
maturation of the parts upon which the seed depends. 

In trees, especially in those which are natives of coldei 
climates, this point is taken up earlier. Many of these 
trees — observe in particular the asli and the horsecliest- 
•* Philosophical Transactions, part 11., 1796, p. 502. 

PLANTS. 229 

nut — pro'luce the embryos of the leaves and flowers in one 
year, and bring them to perfection the following'. There is 
a winter, therefore, to be gotten over. Now, what we are 
to remark is, how nature has prepared for the trials and 
severities of that season. These tender embryos are in the 
first place wrapped up with a compactness which no art can 
imitate ; in which state they compose what we call the bud. 
This is not all. The bud itself is inclosed in scales, which 
scales are formed from the remains of past leaves and the 
rudiments of future ones. Neither is this the whole. In 
the coldest climates, a third preservative is added, by the 
bud having a coat of gum or resin, which being congealed, 
resists the strongest frosts. On the approach of warm 
weather, this gum is softened, and ceases to be a hinderance 
to the expansion of the leaves and flow^ers. All this care is 
part of that system of provisions which has for its object and 
consummation the production and perfecting of the seeds. 

The SEEDS themselves are packed up in a caj)sule, a 
\essel composed of coats which, compared with the rest of 
the flower, are strong and tough. From this vessel projects 
a tube, through which tube the farina, or some subtile fecun- 
dating effluvium that issues from it, is admitted to the seed 
And here also occurs a mechanical variety, accommodated tt 
the difTerent circumstances under wliich the same purpose 
is to be accomplished. In flowers which are erect, the pistil 
is shorter than the stamina ; and the pollen, shed from the 
antherte into the cup of the flower, is caught in its descent 
by the head of the pistil, called the stigma. But how is 
this managed when the flowers hang down, as does the 
crown-imperial, for instance, and in which position the 
farina, in its fall, would be carried from the stigma, and not 
towards it? The relative length of the parts is now invert- 
ed. The pistil in these flowers is usually longer, instead of 
shorter, than the stamina, that its protruding summit may 
receive the pollen as it irops to the ground. In some cases, 
as in the nigella, where the shafts of the pistils or styles ara 


disproportion ably long, they bend down their extremities 
upon the anthera3, that the necessary approximation may be 

But, to pursue this great work in its progress, the im- 
piegnation, to which all this machinery relates, being com- 
pleted, the other parts of the flower fade and drop ofl^ while 
the gravid seed-vessel, on the contrary, proceeds to increase 
its bulk, always to a great, and in some species — in the 
gourd, for example, and melon — to a surprising comparative 
size ; assuming in different plants an incalculable variety of 
forms, but all evidently conducing to the security of the 
seed. By virtue of this process, so necessary, but so diver- 
sified, we have the seed at length in stone-fruits and nuts 
encased in a strong shell, the shell itself inclosed in a pulp 
or husk, by which the seed within is or has been fed ; or 
more generally, as in grapes, oranges, and the numerous 
kinds of berries, plunged overhead in a glutinous syrup con- 
tained within a skin or bladder ; at other times, as in apples 
and pears, embedded in the heart of a firm, fleshy sub- 
stance, or, as in strawberries, pricked into the surface of a 
soft pulp. 

These and many more varieties exist in what we call 
fruits.^ In pulse and grain and grasses, in trees and shrubs 

* From the conformation of fruits alone, one might be led, even 
Avithout experience, to suppose that part of tliis provision was destined 
for the utilities of annuals. As limited to the plant, the provision 
itself seems to go beyond its object. The flesh of an apple, the pulp 
of an orange, the meat of a plum, the fatness of the olive, appear to 
be more than sufficient for the nourishing of the seed or kernel. The 
fcvent shows that this redundancy, if it be one, ministers to the sup- 
port and gratification of animal natures ; and when we observe a pro- 
vision to be more than sufficient for one purpose, yet wanted for an- 
other- purpose, it is not mifair to conclude that both purposes wt^re 
contemplated together. It favors this view of the subject to remark, 
that fruits are not, which they might have been, ready all together, 
but that they ripen in succession throughout a great part of the yeai : 
«ome in summer, some in autumn; that some require the slow matu- 
ration of the winter, and supply the spring; also, that the ^oliiesit 

PLANTS. 23) 

and flowers, the variety of the seed-vessels is incomputable 
We have the seeds, as in the pea tribe, regularly disposed in 
parchment pods, which, though soft and membranous, com- 
pletely exclude the wet, even in the heaviest rains ; the pod 
also, not seldom, as in the bean, lined with a fine down ; at 
other times, as in the senna, distended like a blown bladder ; 
or we have the seed enveloped in wool, as in the cotton- 
plant, lodged, as in pines, between the hard and compact 
scales of a cone, or barricaded, as in the artichoke and 
thistle, with spikes and prickles ; in mushrooms, placed 
under a penthouse ; in ferns, within slits in the back part 
of the leaf; or, which is the most general organization of 
all, we find them covered by strong, close tunicles, and at- 
tached to the stem according to an order appropriated to 
each plant, as is seen in the several kinds of grains and 
of grasses. 

In which enumeration, what we have first to notice is, 
unity of purpose under variety of expedients. Nothing can 
be more single than the design, more diversified than the 
means. Pellicles, shells, pulps, pods, husks, skin, scales 
armed with thorns, are all employed in prosecuting the same 
intention. Secondly, we may observe, that in all these 

fruits grow in the hottest places. Cucumbers, pineapples, meloii:^, are 
the natural produce of warm climates, and contribute greatly, by their 
coolness, to the refreshment of the inhabitants of those countries. 

I will add to this note the following observation, communicated to 
rae by Mr. Brinldey. 

"The eatable part of the cherry or peach first serves the purpose; 
of perfecting the seed or kernel, by means of vessels passing through 
the stone, and which are very visible in a peach-stone. After the 
kernel is perfected, the stone becomes hard, and the vessels cease their 
functions ; but the substance surrounding the stone is not then thrown 
away as useless. That which was before only an instrvunent for per- 
fecting the kernel, now receives and retains to itself the whole of tho 
Bun's influence, and thereby becomes a grateful food to man. Also, 
what an evident mark of design is the stone protectmg the kernel 
The intervention of the stone prevents the second use from interfering 
with the first." 


cases tlie purpose is fulfilled within a just and limited de- 
gree. We can perceive, that if the seeds of plants were 
more strongly guarded than they are, their greater security 
would interfere with other uses. Many species of animals 
would suffer, and many perish, if they could not obtain ac- 
cess to them. The plant would overrun the soil, or the seed 
be .wasted for want of room to sow itself. It is sometimes 
as necessary to destroy particular species of plants, as it is 
at other times to encourage their growth. Here, as in many 
cases, a balance is to be maintained between opposite uses. 
The provisions for the preservation of seeds appear to be 
directed chiefly against the inconstancy of the elements, oi 
the sweeping destruction of inclement seasons. The depre- 
dation of animals and the injuries of accidental violence are 
allowed for in the abundance of the increase. The result is, 
that out of the many thousand different plants which cover 
the earth, not a single species, perhaps, has been lost since 
the creation. 

When nature has perfected her seeds, her next care is 
to disperse them. The seed cannot answer its purpose 
while it remains confined in the capsule. After the seeds 
therefore are ripened, the pericarpium opens to let them out ; 
and the opening is not like an accidental bursting, but for 
the most part, is according to a certain rule in each plant. 
What I have always thought very extraordinary, nuts and 
shells which we can hardly crack with our teeth, divide and 
make v/ay for the little tender sprout which proceeds from 
the kernel. Handling the nut, I could hardly conceive how 
the plantule was ever to get out of it. There are cases, it 
is said, in which the seed-vessel, by an elastic jerk at the 
moment of its explosion, casts the seeds to a distance. Wo 
all however know, that many seeds — those of most composite 
flowers, as of the thistle, dandelion, etc. — are endowed with 
what are not improperly called ivings ; that is, doAvny ap- 
pendages, by which they are enabled to float in the air, and 
are carried oftentimes by the wind to great distances from 

PLANTS. 233 

the plant which produces them. It is the swelling also of 
this downy tuft within the seed-vessel, that seems to over- 
come the resistance of its coats, and to open a passage for 
the seed to escape. 

But the amslitution of seeds is still more admirable than 
either their preservation or their dispersion. In the body 
oi the seed of every species of plant, or nearly of every one, 
provision is made for two grand purposes : first, for the 
safety of the genu; secondly, for the temporary support ol 
the future plant. The sprout, as folded up in the seed, is 
delicate and brittle beyond any other substance. It cannot 
be touched without being broken. Yet in beans, pease, 
grass-seeds, grain, fruits, it is so fenced on all sides, so shu( 
up and protected, that while the seed itself is rudely handled, 
tossed into sacks, shovelled into heaps, the sacred particle, 
the miniature plant, remains unhurt. It is wonderful how 
long many kinds of seeds, by the help of their integuments, 
and perhaps of their oils, stand out against decay. A grain 
of mustard-seed has been known to lie in the earth for a 
hundred years ; and as soon as it had acquired a favorable 
situation, to shoot as vigorously as if just gathered from the 
plant. Then as to the second point, the temporary support 
of the future plant, the matter stands thus. In grain and 
pulse, and kernels and pippins, the germ composes a very 
small part of the seed. The rest consists of a nutritious 
substance, from which the sprout draws its aliment for some 
considerable time after it is put forth, namely, until the 
fibres shot out from the other end of the seed are able to 
imbibe juices from the earth in a sufhcient quantity for its 
demand. It is owing to this constitution that we see seeds 
sprout, and the sprouts make a considerable progress with- 
out any earth at all. It is an economy also, in which we 
remark a close analogy between the seeds of plants and the 
eggs of animals. The same point is provided for in the 
same manner in both. In the e^g, the residence of the liv- 
ing principle, the cicatrix, forms a very minute part of tho 


contents. The white, and the white only, is expended in 
the formation of the chicken. The yolk, yery little altered 
or diminished, is wrapped up in the abdomen of the yonny 
bird when it quits the shell, and serves for its nourishment 
till it has learned to pick its own food. This perfectly 
resembles the first nutrition of a plant. In the plant, ag 
well as in the animal, the structure has every character ol 
contrivance belonging to it : in both, it breaks the transition 
from prepared to unprepared aliment ; in both, it is prospec- 
tive and compensatory. In animals which suck, this inter- 
mediate nourishment is supplied by a different source. 

In all subjects the most common observations are the 
best, when it is their truth and strength which have made 
them common. There are, of this sort, ttco concerning plants, 
which it falls wathin our plan to notice. The Jirst relates 
to what has already been touched upon, their germination. 
When a grain of corn is cast into the ground, this is the 
change which takes place. From one end of the grain 
issues a green sprout ; from the other, a number of white 
fibrous threads. How can this be explained ? Why not 
sprouts from both ends ; why not fibrous threads from both 
ends ? To what is the difierence to be referred, but to de- 
sign ; to the difierent uses which the parts are thereafter to 
serve — uses which discover themselves in the sequel of the 
process ? The sprout, or plumule, struggles into the air, 
and becomes the plant, of which from the first it contained 
the rudiments ; the fibres shoot into the earth, and thereby 
both fix the plant to the ground, and collect nourishment 
from the soil for its support. Now, what is not a httle 
remarkable, the parts issuing from the seed take their re- 
epectivc directions into whatever position the seed itself hap- 
pens to be cast. If the seed be thrown into the wrongest 
possible position, that is. if the ends point in the ground the 
reverse of wtat they ought to do, every thing nevertheless 
goes on right. The sprout, after being pushed down a little 
vvav. makes a bend, and turns upwards ; the fibres, on the 


ccutrary, after shooting at first upwards, turn dowu. Of 
this extraordinary vegetable fact, an account has lately 
been attempted to be given. " The plumule," it is said, " is 
stimulated by the air into action, and elongates itself when 
it is thus most excited ; the radicle is stimulated by moii^t- 
ure, and elongates itself when it is thus most excited. 
Whence one of these grows upward in quest of its adapted 
object, and the other downward."^' Were this account Det- 
ter verified by experiment than it is, it only shifts the con- 
trivance. It does not disprove the contrivance ; it only re- 
moves it a little further back. Who, "k) use our author's 
own language, ''adai^ted the objects?" Who gave such a 
quahty to these connate parts, as to be susceptible of differ- 
ent "stimulation ;' as to be "excited" each only by its own 
element, and precisely by that which the success of the veg- 
etation requires ? I say, " which the success of the vegeta 
tion requires," for the toil of the husbandman would haw 
been in vain, his laborious and expensive preparation of the 
ground in vain, if the event must, after all, depend upon the 
position in which the scattered seed was sown. Not one 
seed out of a hundred would fall in a right direction. 

Our second observation is upon a general property of 
climbing plants, which is strictly mechanical. In these 
plants, from each knot or joint, or as botanists call it, axilla, 
of the plant, issue, close to each other, two shoots, one bear- 
ing the flower and fruit, the other drawn out into a wire, 
a long, tapering, spiral tendril, that twists itself round any 
thing which lies within its reach. Considering that in this 
class two purposes are to be provided for, and together — 
fructification and support, the fruitage of the plant and the 
sustentation of the stalk — what means could be used mor«! 
ctTectual, or, as I have said, more mechanical, than what 
this structure presents to our eyes ? Why, or how, without 
a view to this double purpose, do two shoots, of such differ- 
ent and appropriate forms, spring from the same joint, from 
* Darwin's Phytologia, p. 144. 


contiguous points of the same stalk ? It never happens thus 
in robust plants, or in trees. " We see not," says Ray, "so 
much as one tree, or shrub, or herb, that has a firm and 
strong stem, and that is able to mount up and stand alone 
without assistance, y^r^izzs/ie^ icith these tendrils'^ Make 
only so simple a comparison as that between a pea and a 
bean. Why does the pea put forth tendrils, the bean not, 
but because the stalk of the pea cannot support itself, the 
stalk of the bean can? We may add also, as a circum- 
stance not to be overlooked, that, in the pea tribe, these 
clasps do not make their appearance till they are wanted — 
till the plant has grown to a height to stand in need of 

This word "support" suggests to us a reflection upon a 
property of grasses, of corn, and canes. The hollow stems 
of these classes of plants are set at certain intervals with 
joints. These joints are not found in the trunks of trees, or 
in the solid stallis of plants. There may be other uses of 
these joints ; but the fact is, and it appears to be at least 
one purpose designed by them, that they corroborate the 
stem, which by its length and hollo wness would otherwise 
be too liable to break or bend. 

Grasses are Nature's care. With these she clothes the 
earth ; with these she sustains its inhabitants. Cattle feed 
upon their leaves ; birds upon their smaller seeds ; men 
upon the larger; for few readers need be told that the 
plants which produce our bread-corn belong to this cla&s. 
In those tribes which are more generally considered as 
grasses, their extraordinary means and powers of preserva- 
tion and increase, their hardiness, their almost unconquer- 
able disposition to spread, their faculties of reviviscence, co- 
incide with the intention of nature concerning them. They 
thrive under a treatment by which other plants are destroy- 
ed. The more their leaves are consumed, the more their 
roots increase. The more they are trampled upon, the 
thicker they grow Many of the seemingly dry and dead 

PLANTS. 237 

leaves of grasses revive, and renew their verdure in the 
spring. In lofty mountains, where the summer heats are 
not sufficient to ripen the seeds, grasses abound which are 
viviparous, and consequently able to propagate themselves 
without seed. It is an observation, likewise, which has often 
been made, that herbivorous animals attach themselves to 
the leaves of grasses ; and if at liberty in their pastures to 
range and choose, leave untouched the straws which support 
the flowers. *= 

The GENERAL properties of vegetable nature, or proper- 
ties common to large portions of that kingdom, are almost 
all which the compass of our argument allows us to bring 
forward. It is impossible to follow plants into their several 
species. We may be allowed, however, to single out three 
or four of these species as worthy of a particular notice, 
either by some singular mechanism, or by some peculiar 
provision, or by both. 

I. In Dr. Darwin's Botanic Garden, vol. 1, p. 395, note, 
is the following account of the vallisneria, as it has been ob- 
served in the river Rhone. " They have roots at the bottom 
of the Rhone. The flowers of the female 'plant float on the 
surface of the water, and are furnished with an elastic sjnral 
stalk, which extends or contracts as the water rises or falls ; 
this rise or fall, from the torrents which flow into the river, 
often amounting to many feet in a few hours. The flowers 
of the male plant are produced under water ; and as soon 
as the fecundating farina is mature, they separate them- 
selves from the plant, rise to the surface, and are wafted by 
the air, or borne by the currents, to the female flowers." 
Our attention in this narrative will be directed to two 2:)ar- 
ticulars : first, to the mechanism, the " elastic spiral stalk," 
which lengthens or contracts itself according as the water 
rises or falls ; secondly, to the provision which is made for 
bringing the male flower, which is produced under water, 
to the female flower, which floats upon the surface. 

* Witliering's Botanical Arrangement, vol. I., p 2S, eilit. 2. 


II. My second example I take from Withering's Ar- 
rangement, vol. 2, p. 209, edit. 3. " The cusciita curopcca is 
a parasitical plant. The seed opens and puts forth a little 
spiral body, which does not seek the earth to take root, but 
climbs in a spiral direction, from right to left, up other 
plants, from which, by means of vessels, it draws its nour- 
ishment." The "little spiral body" proceeding from the 
seed, is to be compared with the fibres which seeds send out 
in ordinary cases ; and the comparison ought to regard both 
the form of the threads and the direction. They are straight, 
this is spiral. They shoot downwards, this points up- 
wards. In the rule and in the exception we equally per- 
ceive design. 

III. A better known parasitical plant is the evergreen 
shrub called the 'mistletoe. What we have to remark in 
it is a singular instance of compensation. No art has yet 
made these plants take root in the earth. Here, therefore, 
might seem to be a mortal defect in their constitution. Let 
us examine how this defect is made up to them. The seeds 
are endued with an adhesive quality so tenacious, that if 
they be rubbed upon the smooth bark of almost any tree, 
they will stick to it. And then what follows ? Roots, 
springing from these seeds, insinuate their fibres into the 
woody substance of the tree ; and the event is, that a mis- 
tletoe plant is produced next winter.* Of no other plant 
do the roots refuse to shoot in the ground — of no othei 
plant do the seeds possess this adhesive, generative quality, 
v/hen applied to the bark of trees. 

IV. Another instance of the compensatory system is in 
the autumnal crocus or meadow-safiron. colchicmn aulum- 
nale. I have pitied this poor plant a thousand times. Itb 
blossom rises out of the ground in the most forlorn condi- 
tion possible, without a sheath, a fence, a calyx, or even a 
leaf to protect it ; and that not in the spring, not to be visited 
by summer suns, but under all the disadvantages of the de- 

* Withering's Botan. Arr., vol. I., p. 20^, edit 2. 

1'i.ANTS. 239 

dining year. When we come, however, to look more closely 
into the structure of this plant, we find that, instead of its 
being neglected, nature has gone out of her course to pro- 
vide for its security, and to make up to it for all its defects. 
The seed-vessel, which in other plants is situated within the 
cup of the flower, or just beneath it, in this plant lies buried 
ten or twelve inches under ground, within the bulbous root. 
The tube of the flower, which is seldom more than a few 
tenths of an inch long, in this plant extends down to the 
root. The styles in all cases reach the seed-vessel ; but it 
is in this, by an elongation unknown to any other plant. 
All these singularities contribute to one end. " As this 
plant blossoms late in the year, and probably would not have 
time to ripen its seeds before the access of winter, which 
vYould destroy them, Providence has contrived its structure 
such, that this important office may be performed at a depth 
in the earth out of reach of the usual eflects of frost. "=^ That 
is to say, in the autumn nothing is done above ground but 
the business of impregnation ; which is an affair between 
Ihe antherae and the stigmata, and is probably soon over. 
The maturation of the impregnated seed, which in other 
plants proceeds within a capsule, exposed together with the 
rest of the flower to the open air, is here carried on, and 
during the whole winter, within the heart, as we may say, 
of the earth, that is, " out of the reach of the usual cffectJ^ 
of frost." But then a new difficulty presents itself Seeds, 
though perfected, are known not to vegetate at this depth 
in the earth. Our seeds, therefore, though so safely lodged, 
would, after all, be lost to the purpose for which all seeds 
are intended. Lest this should be the case, " a second ad- 
mirable provision is made to raise them above the surface 
when they are perfected, and to sow them at a proper dis- 
tance," namely, the germ grows up in the spring, upon a 
fruit-stalk, accompanied with leaves. The seeds noW; in 
common wif,h those of other plants, have the benefit of the 
* Withering's Botan. Arr., vol. I., p. '^(S0. 


summer, and are sown upon the surface. The order of 
vegetation externally is this : the plant produces its flowers 
in Septemher ; its leaves and fruits in the spring following. 

V. I give the account of the dio?icca inuscipula, an 
extraordinary American plant, as some late authors have 
related it ; but whether we be yet enough acquainted with 
the plant to bring every part of this account to the test of 
repeated and familiar observation, I am unable to say. " Its 
leaves are jointed, and furnished v/ith two rows of strong 
prickles ; their surfaces covered with a number of minute 
glands, which secrete a sweet liquor that allures the ap- 
proach of flies. When these parts are touched by the legs 
of flies, the two lobes of the leaf instantly spring up, the 
rows of prickles lock themselves fast together, and squeeze 
the unwary animal to death."^ Here, under a new model, 
we recognize the ancient plan of nature, namely, the rela- 
tion of parts and provisions to one another, to a common 
office, and to the utility of the organized body to which they 
belong. The attracting syrup, the rows of strong prickles, 
their position so as to interlock the joints of the leaves, and, 
what is more than the rest, that singular irritabihty of theii 
surfaces, by which they close at a touch, all bear a con- 
tributory part in producing an eflect, connected either with 
iLe defence or with the nutrition of the plant. 

♦ Smellie's Philosophy of Natural History, vol. I., p. 5. 




When we come to the elements we take leave of our 
mechanics, because w^e come to those things, of the organi- 
tation of which, if they be organized, we are confessedly 
ignorant. This ignorance is implied by their name. To 
say the truth, our investigations are stopped long before wc 
arrive at this point. But then it is for our comfort to find 
that a knowledge of the constitution of the elements is not 
necessary for us. For instance, as Addison has well observ- 
ed, " We know water sufficiently, when we know how to 
boil, how to freeze, how to evaporate, how to make it fresh 
how to make it run or spout out in what quantity and 
direction we please, without knowing what water is." The 
observation of this excellent waiter has more propriety in it 
now, than it had at the time it was made ; for the consti- 
tution and the constituent parts of water appear in some 
measure to have been lately discovered ; yet it does not, I 
think, appear that we can make any better or greater use 
of water since the discovery, than w^e did before it. 

We can never think of the elements without reflecting 
upon the number of distinct uses which are consolidated in 
the same substance. The air supplies the lungs, supports 
fire, conveys sound, reflects light, difluses smells, gives rain, 
wafts ships, bears up birds. 'E^ vftaroq ra navra : ivater, be- 
sides maintaining its own inhabitants, is the universal nour- 
isher of plants, and through them of terrestrial animals ; is 
the basis of their juices and fluids ; dilutes their food ; quench- 
Ds their thirst ; floats their burdens. Fire warms, dissolves, 
enlightens ; is the great promoter of vegetation and life, il 
not necessary to the support of both, 

We might enlarge, to almost any length v/e please, upon 
each of these uses ; but it appears to me sufficient to state 
t hem. The few remarks which I judge it necessary to add, are, 

Xnt. Theol. 1 1 


I. Air is essentially different from earth. There appears 
to be no necessity for an atmosphere's investing our globe, 
yet it does invest it ; and we see how many, how various, 
and how important are the purposes which it answers t*» 
every order of animated, not to say of organized beings, 
which are placed upon the terrestrial surface. I think that 
^very one of these uses will be understood upon the first 
mention of them, except it be that of rejlecting light, which 
may be explained thus : If I had the power of seeing only 
by means of rays coming directly from the sun, whenever I 
turned my back upon the luminary I should find myself in 
darkness. If I had the power of seeing by reflected light, 
yet by means only of light reflected from solid masses, these 
masses would shine indeed, and glisten, but it would be in 
the dark. The hemisphere, the sky, the world, could only 
be illuminated, as it is illuminated, by the light of the sun 
being from all sides, and in every direction, reflected to the 
eye by particles as numerous, as thickly scattered, and as 
widely diffused, as are those of the air. 

Another general quality of the atmosphere is the powei 
of evaporating fluids. The adjustment of this quality to oui 
use is seen in its action upon the sea. In the sea, water and 
salt are mixed together most intimately ; yet the atmosphere 
raises the water and leaves the salt. Pure and fresh as drops 
of rain descend, they are collected from brine. If evapora- 
tion be solution — ^which seems to be probable — then the air 
dissolves the water, and not the salt. Upon whatever it be 
founded, the distinction is critical : so much so, that when 
M'e attempt to imitate the process by art, we must regulate 
our distillation with great care and nicety, or, together with 
the water, we get the bitterness, or at least the distasteful- 
ness of the marine substance ; and, after all, it is owmg tc 
this original elective power in the air, that we can effect the 
separation which we wish, by any art or means whatever. 

By evaporation, water is carried up into the air ; by the 
converse of evaporation, it falls down upon the earth And 


how does it fall ? Not by the clouds behig all at once re- 
converted mto water, and descending like a sheet ; not in 
rushing down in columns from a spout ; but in moderate 
drops, as from a colander Our watering-pots are made to 
imitate showers of rain. Yet, a 'priori^ I should have thought 
either of the two former methods more likely to have taken 
place than the last. 

By respiration, flame, putrefaction, air is rendered unfit 
foi the support of animal life. By the constant operation of 
these corrupting principles, the whole atmosphere, if there 
were no restoring causes, would come at length to be de- 
prived of its necessary degree of purity. Some of these causes 
seem to have been discovered, and their efficacy ascertained 
by experiment ; and so far as the discovery has proceeded, it 
opens to us a beautiful and a wonderful economy. Vegeta- 
tion proves to be one of them. A sprig of mint, corked up 
with a small portion of foul air and placed in the light, renders 
it again capable of supporting light or flame. Here, there- 
fore, is a constant circulation of benefits maintained between 
the two great provinces of organized nature. The plant 
purifies what the animal has poisoned ; in return, the con- 
taminated air is more than ordinarily nutritious to the plant. 
Agitation with ivater turns out to be another of these resto- 
ratives. The foulest air, shaken in a bottle with water for a 
sufficient length of time, recovers a great degree of its purity. 
Here then, again, allowing for the scale upon which nature 
works, we see the salutary effects of storms and tempests. 
The yeasty waves which confound the heaven and the sea, 
are doing the very thing which was done in the bottle. 
Nothing can be of greater importance to the living creation, 
than the salubrity of their atmosphere. It ought to recon- 
cile us, therefore, to these agitations of the elements, of which 
we sometimes deplore the consequences, to know that tliey 
tend powerfully to restore to the air that purity Avhicli so 
many causes are constantly impairing. 

II. In water, what ought not a little to be admired, are 

244 natueal theology. 

those negative qualities which constitute its purity. Had 
it been vinous, or oleaginous, or acid — had the sea been filled, 
or the rivers flowed with wine or milk, fish, constituted as 
they are, must have died ; plants, constituted as they are, 
would have withered ; the lives of animals which feed upon 
plants must have perished. Its very insipidity, which is 
one of those negative qualities, renders it the best of all men- 
strua. Having no taste of its own, it becomes the sincere 
vehicle of every other. Had there been a taste in water, 
be it what it might, it %vould have infected every thing Ave 
ate or drank, with an importunate repetition of the same 

Another thing in tliis element not less to be admired, is 
the constant round which it travels ; and by which, Avith- 
-out suffering either adulteration or waste, it is continuall) 
offering itself to the wants of the habitable globe. From the 
sea are exhaled those vapors which form the clouds : these 
clouds descend in showers, which penetrating into the crevi- 
ces of the liills, supply springs ; which springs flow in little 
streams into the valleys, and there uniting, become rivers ; 
which rivers, in return, feed the ocean. So there is an inces- 
sant circulation of the same fluid ; and not one drop proba- 
bly more or less now than there was at the creation. A par- 
ticle of water takes its departure from the surface of the sea, 
in order to fulfil certain important offices to the earth ; and 
having executed the service which was assigned to it, returns 
to the bosom which it left. 

Some have thought that Ave have too much Avater upon 
the o-lobe, the sea occupying above three-quarters of its whole 
surface. But the expanse of ocean, immense as it is, may 
be no more than sufficient to fertilize the earth. Or, inde- 
j)endently of this reason, I knoAV not why the sea may not 
have as good a right to its place as the land. It may pro- 
portionably support as many inhabitants — minister to as large 
an ao-o-reo-ate of enjoyment. The land only affords a habita 
ble surface ; the sea is habitable to a great depth. 


III. 01' fire, we have said that it dissolves. The only 
idea probably which this term raised in the reader's mind, 
was that of fire melting metals, resins, and some other sub- 
stances, fluxing ores, running glass, and assisting us in many 
of our operations, chemical or cuhnary. Now these are only 
uses of an occasional kind, and give us a very imperfect no- 
tion of what fire does for us. The grand importance of this 
dissolving power, the great office indeed of fire in the econo- 
my of nature, is keeping things in a state of solution, that 
is to say, in a state of fluidity. Were it not for the presence 
of heat, or of a certain degree of it, all fluids would be frozen. 
The ocean itself would be a quarry of ice ; universal nature 
stifi' and dead. 

"We see, therefore, that the elements bear not only a strict 
relation to the constitution of organized bodies, but a relation 
to each other. Water could not perform its office to tho 
earth without air ; nor exist as water, without fire. 

TV. Of light, whether we regard it as of the same sub- 
stance with fire, or as a different substance, it is altogether 
superfluous to expatiate upon the use. No man disputes it. 
The observations, therefore, which I shall ofl^er, respect that 
little which we seem to know of its constitution. 

Light travels from the sun at the rate of twelve millions 
of miles in a minute. Urged by such a velocity, with what 
force must its particles drive against — I will not say the eye, 
the tenderest of animal substances — but every substance, 
animate or inanimate, which stands in its way I It might 
seem to be a force sufficient to shatter to atoms the hard- 
est bodies. 

How then is this efiect, the consequence of such prodig- 
ious velocity, guarded against ? By a proportionable mi- 
nuteness of the particles of which light is composed. It is 
impossible for the human mind to imagine to itself any thing 
so small * s a particle of light. But this extreme exility, 
though difficult to conceive, it is easy to prove. A drop of 
tallow, expended in the wick of a farthing candle shall send 


forth rays sufficient to fill a hemisphere of a mile diameter, 
and to fill it so full of these rays, that an aperture not larger 
than the pupil of an eye, wherever it be placed within the 
hemisphere, shall be sure to receive some of them. AVhat 
floods of light are continually poured from the sun, we can 
not estimate ; but the immensity of the sphere which is filled 
"vvith particles, even if it reached no further than the orbit of 
the earth, we can in some sort compute ; and we have rea- 
son to believe, that throughout this wliole region, the parti- 
cles of light lie, in latitude at least, near to one another. The 
spissitude of the sun's rays at the earth is such, that the 
number which falls upon a burning-glass of an inch diame- 
ter is sufficient, when concentrated, to set wood on fire. 

The tenuity and the velocity of particles of light, as 
ascertained by separate observations, may be said to be pro- 
portioned to each other ; both surpassing our utmost stretch 
of comprehension, but proportioned. And it is this propor- 
tion alone which converts a tremendous element mto a wel- 
come visitor. 

It has been observed to me by a learned friend, as hav- 
ing often struck his mind, that if light had been made by a 
common artist, it would have been of one uniform color ; 
whereas, by its present composition, we have that variety of 
colors which is of such infinite use to us for the distinguish- 
ing of objects — which adds so much to the beauty of the 
earth, and augments the stock of our hinocent pleasures. 

With which may be joined another reflection, namely, 
that considering light as compounded of rays of seven difier- 
ent colors — of which there can be no doubt, because it can 
be resolved into these rays by simply passing it through a 
prism — ^the constituent parts must be well mixed and blended 
together to produce a fluid so clear and colorless as a beara 
of light is, when received from the sun. 




My opinion of Astronomy has always been, that it is not 
die best medium through which to prove the agency of an 
intelligent Creator ; but that, this being proved, it shows, 
beyond all other sciences, the magnificence of his operations. 
The mind which is once convinced, it raises to sublimer 
views of the Deity than any other subject affords ; but it is 
not so well adapted as some other subjects are to the pur- 
pose of argument. We are destitute of the means of exam- 
ining the constitution of the heavenly bodies. The very 
simplicity of their appearance is against them. We see 
nothmg but bright points, luminous circles, or the phases of 
spheres reflecting the light which falls upon them. Now 
we deduce design from relation, aptitude, and correspond- 
ence of ^?<2?fs. Some degree, therefore, of comj^lexity is nec- 
essary to render a subject fit for this species of argument. 
But the heavenly bodies do not, except perhaps in the in- 
stance of Saturn's ring, present themselves to our observation 
as compounded of parts at all. This, which may be a per- 
fection in them, is a disadvantage to us as inquirers after 
their nature. They do not come within our mechanics. 

And what we say of their forms, is true of their motiofis. 
Their motions are carried on without any sensible interme- 
diate apparatus ; whereby we are cut off from one prin- 
cipal ground of argumentation — analogy. We have nothing 
wherewith to compare them — no invention, no discovery, no 
operation or resource of art, which, in this respect, resem- 
bles them. Even those things which are made to imitate 
and represent them, such as orreries, planetaria, celestial 

* For the articles of this chapter marked with an asterisk, I am 
indebted to some obliging communications received, through the hands 
of the Lord Bishop of Elphin, from the Rev. J. Brinkley, M. A., An 
draws Professor of Astronomy in the University of Dublin. 


glomes, etc., bear no affinity to them, in the cause and prin- 
ciple by which their motions are actuated. I can assign fbi 
this difference a reason of utihty, namely, a reason why,- 
though the action of terrestrial bodies upon each other be, in 
almost all cases, through the intervention of solid or fluid 
substances, yet central attraction does not operate in this 
manner. It was necessary that the intervals between the 
planetary orbs should be devoid of any inert matter, either 
fluid or solid, because such an intervening substance would, 
by its resistance, destroy those very motions which attrac- 
tion is employed to preserve. This may be a final cause o1 
the difference ; but still the difference destroys the analogy. 

Our ignorance, moreover, of the sensitive natures by 
which other planets are inhabited, necessarily keeps from us 
the knowledge of numberless utilities, relations, and subser- 
viences, which we perceive upon our own globe. 

After all, the real subject of admiration is, that we un- 
derstand so much of astronomy as we do. That an animal 
confined to the surface of one of the planets, bearing a less 
proportion to it than the smallest microscopic insect does to 
the plant it lives upon — that this little, busy, inquisitive 
3reature, by the use of senses which were given to it for its 
domestic necessities, and by means of the assistance of those 
senses which it has had the art to procure, should have been 
enabled to observe the whole system of worlds to which its 
own belongs and the changes of place of the immense globes 
which compose it, and with such accuracy as to mark out 
beforehand the situation in the heavens in which they will 
be found at any future point of time ; and that these bodies, 
after sailing through regions of void and trackless space, 
should arrive at the place where they were expected, not 
within a minute, but within a few seconds of a minute, of 
the time prefixed and predicted : all this is wonderful, 
whether Vv'^e refer our admiration to the constancy of the 
heavemy motions themselves, or to the perspicacity and pre- 
cision wdth which they have been noticed by mankind. 


N(>r is this the whole, nor indeed the chief part of what 
astronomy teaches. By bringing reason to bear upon obser- 
vation, the acutest reasoning upon the exactest observation, 
the astronomer has been able, out of the " mystic dance," 
and the confusion — for such it is — under which the motions 
of the heavenly bodies present themselves to the eye of a 
mere gazer upon the skies, to elicit their order and their real 

Our knowledge, therefore, of astronomy is admirable, 
though imperfect ; and, amid the confessed desiderata and 
desideranda which impede our investigation of the wisdom 
of the Deity in these the grandest of his works, there are to 
be found, in the phenomena, ascertained circumstances and 
law^s sufficient to indicate an intellectual agency in three of 
its principal operations, namely, in choosing, in determining, 
in regulating : in choosing, out of a boundless variety of sup- 
positions M^hich were equally possible, that which is bene- 
ficial ; in detcrmming what, left to itself, had a thousand 
chances against conveniency, for one in its favor ; in regu- 
lating subjects, as to quantity and degree, which, by their 
nature, were unlimited with respect to either. It will be 
our business to offer, under each of these heads, a few instan- 
ces, such as best admit of a popular explication. 

I. Among proofs of choice, one is, fixing the source ol 
light and heat in the centre of the system. The sun is 
ignited and luminous ; the planets, which move round him, 
are cold and dark. There seems to be no antecedent neces- 
sity for this order. The sun might have been an opaque 
mass ; some one, or two, or more, or any, or all the planets, 
globes of fjre. There is nothing in the nature of the heav- 
enly bodies which requires that those which are stationary 
should be on fire, that those which move should be cold ; 
for, in fact, comets are bodies on fire, or at least capable oi 
the most intense heat, yet revolve round a centre ; nor docs 
this order obtain between the primary planets and th^ir sec- 
ondaries, which are all opaque. When we consider, there- 


fore, that the sun is one ; that the planets going round it aic 
at least seven ; that it is indifferent to their nature which 
are luminous and which are opaque ; and also in what order, 
with respect to each other, these two kinds of bodies are dis 
posed, we may judge of the improbability of the present 
arrangement taking place by chance. 

If, by way of accounting for the state in which we find 
he solar system, it be alleged — and this is one among the 
guesses of those Avho reject an intelligent Creator — that the 
planets themselves are only cooled or cooling masses, and 
were once like the sun, many thousand times hotter than red 
hot iron ; then it follows, that the sun also himself must be 
in his progress towards growing cold, which puts an end to 
the possibility of his having existed as he is from eternity. 
This consequence arises out of the hypothesis with still more 
certainty, if we make a part of it what the philosophers who 
maintain it have usually taught, that the planets were orig- 
inally masses of matter, struck off in a state of fusion from 
the body of the sun by the percussion of a comet, or by a 
shock li-om some other cause with which we are not ac- 
quainted; for if these masses, partaking of the nature and 
substance of the sun's body, have in process of time lost their 
heat, that body itself, in time likewise, no matter in how 
much longer time, must lose its heat also, and therefore be 
mcapabie of an eternal duration in the state in which we 
see it, either for the time to come, or the time past. 

The preference of the present to any other mode of dis- 
tributing luminous and opaque bodies, I take to be evident. 
It requires more astronomy than I am able to lay before the 
reader to show, in its particulars, what would be the effect 
to the system, of a dark body at the centre and one of the 
planets being luminous ; but I think it manifest, without 
either plates or calculation, first, that supposing the neces- 
sary proportion of magnitude between the central and the 
revolving bodies to be preserved, the ignited planet would 
Qot be sufficient to illuminate and warm the rest of the sys- 


tern ; secondly, that its light and heat would bt; imparted to 
the other planets much more irregularly than light and heat 
are now received from the sun. 

{*) II. Another thing, in which a choice appears to be 
exercised, and in which, among the possibilities out of which 
the choice was to be made, the immber of those whicfi were 
wrong bore an infinite proportion to the number of those 
which were right, is in what geometricians call the axis of 
rotation. This matter I will endeavor to explain. The 
earth, it is well known, is not an exact globe, but an oblate 
spheroid, something like an orange. Now the axes of rota- 
tion, or the diameters upon which such a body may be made 
to turn round, are as many as can be drawn through its centre 
to opposite points upon its whole surface ; but of these axes 
none are iiermanent, except either its shortest diameter, that 
is, that which passes through the heart of the orange from 
the place where the stalk is inserted into it, and which is 
but one ; or its longest diameters, at right angles with the 
former, which must all terminate in the single circumference 
which goes round the thickest part of the orange. The 
shortest diameter is that upon which in fact the earth turns, 
and it is, as the reader sees, what it ought to be, a perma- 
nent axis ; whereas, had blind chance, had a casual impulse, 
had a stroke or push at random set the earth a spinning, 
the odds were infinite but that they had sent it round upon a 
wrong axis. And what would have been the consequence? 
The difference between a permanent axis and another axis 
is this : when a spheroid in a state of rotatory motion gets 
upon a permanent axis, it keeps there ; it remains steady 
and faithful to its position ; its poles preserve their direction 
with respect to the plane and to the centre of its orbit ; 
but while it turns upon an axis which is not permanent— 
and the number of those we have seen infinitely exceeds the 
number of the other — it is always liable to shift and vacil- 
late from or\Q axis to another, with a corresponding change 
in the inclination of its poles. Therefore, if a planet once 


set off revolving upon any other than its shortest, or one ot 
its longest axes, the poles on its surface would keep perpet- 
ually changing, and it never would attain a permanent axis 
of rotation. The effect of this unfixedness and instability 
would be, that the equatorial parts of the earth might bo- 
Dome the polar, or the polar the equatorial, to the utter 
destruction of plants and animals which are not capable of 
interchanging their situations, but are respectively adapted 
to their own. As to ourselves, instead of rejoicing in our 
temperate zone, and annually preparing for the moderate 
vicissitude, or rather the agreeable succession of seasons 
which we experience and expect, we might come to be lock- 
ed up in the ice and darkness of the arctic circle, with bodies 
neither inured to its rigors, nor provided with shelter or de- 
fence against them. Nor would it be much better if the 
trepidation of our pole, taking an opposite course, should 
place us under the heats of a vertical sun. But if it would 
fare so ill with the human inhabitant, who can live under 
greater varieties of latitude than any other animal, still more 
noxious would this translation of climate have proved to life 
in the rest of the creation, and most perhaps of all in 
plants. The habitable earth and its beautiful variety might 
have been destroyed by a simple mischance in the axis oi 

(*) III. All this, however, proceeds upon a supposition 
of the earth having been formed at first an oblate spheroid. 
There is another supposition ; and perhaps our limited infor- 
mation will not enable us to decide between them. The 
second supposition is, that the earth, being a mixed mass 
somewhat fluid, took, as it might do, its present form by the 
joint action of the nmtual gravitation of its parts and its 
rotatory motion. This, as Ave have said, is a point in the 
history of the earth which our observations are not sufficient 
to determine. For a very small depth below the surface, 
but extremely small — less, perhaps, than an eight-thousandth 
Dart, compared with the depth of the centre, we find vesti- 


ges of ancient lluidUy. But this fluidity must have gone 
down many hundred times further than we can penetrate, to 
enable the earth to take its present oblate form ; and whether 
any traces of this kind exist to that depth, we are ignorant. 
Calculations were made a few years ago, of the mean density 
of the earth, by comparing the force of its attraction with the 
force of attraction of a rock of granite^ the bulk of w^hich 
could be ascertained ; and the upshot of the calculation was, 
that the earth upon an average, through its whole sphere, 
has twice the density of granite, or above five times that ol 
water. Therefore it cannot be a hollow shell, as some have 
formerly supposed ; nor can its internal parts be occupied 
by central fire, or by water. The sohd parts must greatly 
exceed the fluid parts ; and the probability is, that it is a 
solid mass throughout, composed of substances more ponder- 
ous the deeper we go. Nevertheless, w^e may conceive the 
present face of the earth to have originated from the revolu- 
tion of a sphere covered by a surface of a compound mixture ; 
the fluid and solid parts separating, as the surface becomes 
quiescent. Here then comes in the moderating hand of the 
Creator. If the water had exceeded its present proportion, 
even but by a trifling quantity, compared with the whole 
globe, all the land would have been covered ; had there 
been much less than there is, there would not have been 
enough to fertilize the continent. Had the exsiccation been 
progressive, such as we may suppose to have been produced 
by an evaporating heat, how came it to stop at the point at 
which we see it ? Why did it not stop sooner ; why at all ? 
The mandate of the Deity will account for this ; nothing 
else wdll. 

IV. Of centripetal forces. " By virtue of the simphst 
law that can be imagined, namely, that a body conli7iue& in 
the state in w^hich it is, whether of motion or rest ; and, if 
in motion, goes on in the line in which it was proceeding, 
and wdth the same velocity, unless there be some cause for 
change : by virtue, I say, of this law, it comes to pass — what 


may appear to be a strange consequence — that cases arise 
in which attraction, incessantly drawing a body towards a 
centre, never brings, nor ever will bring, the body to that 
centre, but keep it in eternal circulation round it. If it 
were possible to fire off a cannon-ball with a velocity of hve 
miles in a second, and the resistance of the air could be taken 
away, the cannon-ball would for ever wheel round the earth 
instead of falling down upon it. This is the principle which 
sustains the heavenly motions. The Deity having appoint- 
ed this law to matter — than which, as we have said before, 
no law could be more simple — ^has turned it to a wonderful 
account in constructing planetary systems. 

The actuating cause in these systems, is an attraction 
which varies reciprocally as the square of the distance : that 
is, at double the distance it has a quarter of the force ; at half 
Ihe distance, four times the strength, and so on. Now, con- 
cerning this law of variation, we have three things to ob- 
serve : first, that attraction, for any thing we know about it, 
was just as capable of one laAV of variation as of another ; 
secondly, that out of an infinite number of possible laws, 
those which were admissible for the purpose of supporting 
the heavenly motions, lay within certain narrow limits; 
thirdly, that of the admissible laws, or those which come 
within the Umits prescribed, the law that actually prevails 
is the most beneficial. So far as these propositions can be 
made out, we may be said, I thmk, to prove choice and reg- 
ulatioii : choice, out of boundless variety ; and regulation 
of that which, by its own nature, was, in respect of the prop- 
erty regulated, indifferent and indefinite. 

I. First, then, attraction, for any thing we know about 
it, was originally indifferent to all laws of variation depend- 
ing upon change of distance, that is, just as susceptible of 
one law as of another. It might have been the same at all 
distances ; it might have increased as the distance increased ; 
or it might have diminished with the increase of the dis- 
tance, yet in ten thousand different proportions from the 


present , it might have followed no stated law at all. If 
attraction be what Cotes, with many other Newtonians, 
thought it to be, a primordial property of matter, not de- 
pendent upon or traceable to any other material cause ; 
then, by the very nature and definition of a primordial prop- 
erty, it stood indifferent to all laws. If it be the agency of 
something immaterial, then also, for any thing we know of 
it, it was indifferent to all laws. If the revolution of bodies 
round a centre depend upon vortices, neither are these lim- 
ited to one law more than another. 

There is, I know, an account given of attraction which 
should seem, in its very cause, to assign to it the law which 
we find it to observe ; and wliich, therefore, makes that law 
a law not of choice, but of necessity : and it is the account 
which ascribes attraction to an emanation from the attract- 
ing body. It is probable that the influence of such an em- 
anation will be proportioned to the spissitude of the rays of 
which it is composed ; which spissitude, supposing the rays 
to issue in right lines on all sides from a point, will be re- 
ciprocally as the square of the distance. The mathematics 
of this solution we do not call in question : the question with 
us is, whether there be any sufficient reason for believing 
that attraction is produced by an emanation. For my part, 
I am totally at a loss to comprehend how particles stream- 
'mgfr07?i a centre should draw a body toicards it. The im- 
pulse, if impulse it be, is all the other way. Nor shall we 
find less difficulty in conceiving a conflux of particles, in- 
cessantly flowing to a centre, and carrying down all bodies 
along with it, that centre also itself being in a state of rapid 
motion through absolute space ; for by what source is the 
stream fed, or what becomes of the accumulation ? Add 
to which, that it seems to imply a contrariety of properties, 
to suppose an ethereal fluid to act, but not to resist ; pow- 
erful enough to carry down bodies with great force towards 
a centre, yet, inconsistently with the nature of inert matter, 
powerless and perfectly yielding with respect to the motion? 


v/hich result from the projectile impulse. By calculations 
drawn from ancient notices of eclipses of the moon, we can 
prove that, if such a fluid exist at all, its resistance has 
had no sensible effect upon the moon's motion for two thou- 
sand five hundred years. The truth is, that except this one 
circumstance of the variation of the attracting force at differ- 
ent distances agreeing with the variation of the spissitude, 
there is no reason whatever to support the hypothesis of an 
emanation ; and there are, as it seems to me, almost insu 
perable reasons against it. 

(*) II. Our second proposition is, that while the possi 
ble laws of variation were infinite, the admissible laws, oi 
the laws compatible with the preservation of the system, lie 
within narrow limits. If the attracting force had varied 
according to any direct law of the distance, let it have been 
what it would, great destruction and confusion would havB 
taken place. The direct simple proportion of the distance 
would, it is true, have produced an ellipse ; but the per- 
turbing forces would have acted with so much advantage 
as to be continually changing the dimensions of the elhpse 
in a manner inconsistent with our terrestrial creation. For 
Instance, if the planet Saturn, so large and so remote, had 
attracted the earth, both in proportion to the quantity of 
matter contained in it, which it does, and also in any pro- 
portion to its distance, that is, if it had pulled the harder 
for being the further off, instead of the reverse of it, it would 
have dragged out of its course the globe which we inhabit, 
and have perplexed its motions to a degree incompatible 
with our security, our enjoyments, and probably our exist- 
ence. Of the inverse laws, if the centripetal force had 
changed as the cube of the distance, or in any higher pro- 
portion ; that is — for I speak to the unlearned — if, at double 
the distance, the attractive force had been diminished to an 
eighth part, or to less than that, the consequence would have 
been, that the planets, if they once began to approach the 
Eun, would have fallen into his body ; if they oviv.o. thoiigh 


by ever so little, increased their distance from the centre, 
would for ever have receded from it. The laws, therefore, 
of attraction, by which a system of revolving bodies couh' 
be upholden in their motions, lie within narrow limits, com- 
pared with the possible laws. I much underrate the re- 
striction, when I say that, in a scale of a mile, they are 
conhned to an inch. All direct ratios of the distance are 
excluded, on account of danger from perturbing forces; all 
reciprocal ratios, except what lie beneath the cube of the 
distance, by the demonstrable consequence, that every the 
least change of distance would, under the operation of such 
laws, have been fatal to the repose and order of the system. 
We do not know, that is, we seldom reflect, how interested 
we are in this matter. Small irregularities may be en- 
dured ; but changes within these limits being allowed for, 
the permanency of our ellipse is a question of life and death 
to our whole sensitive world. 

{*) III. That the subsisting law of attraction falls with- 
in the limits which utility requires, when these Umits bear 
so small a proportion to the range of possibilities upon which 
chance might equally have cast it, is not, with any appear- 
ance of reason, to be accounted for by any other cause than 
a regulation proceeding from a designing mind. But our 
next proposition carries the matter somewhat further. We 
say, in the third place, that out of the different laws which 
lie within the limits of admissible laws, the best is made 
choice of; that there are advantages in this particular law 
which cannot be demonstrated to belong to any other law : 
and concerning some of which, it can be demonstrated that 
they do not belong to any other. 

{*) 1 . While this law prevails between all particles of 
matter; the united attraction of a sphere composed of that 
matter observes the same law. This property of the law is 
necessary to render it applicable to a system composed of 
spheres, but it is a property which belongs to no other law 
of attraction that is admissible. The law of variation of 


the united attraction is in no other case the same as the law 
of attraction of each particle, one case excepted, and that 
is of the attraction varying directly as the distance ; the 
inconveniency of which law, in other respects, w^e have 
already noticed. 

We may follow this regulation somewhat further, and 
still more strikingly perceive that it proceeded from a de- 
signing mind. A law both admissible and convenient was 
requisite. In what way is the law of the attracting globes 
obtained ? Astronomical observations and terrestrial exper- 
iments shoM'' that the attraction of the globes of the system 
is made up of the attraction of their parts ; the attraction 
of each globe being compounded of the attractions of its 
parts. Now the admissible and convenient law which 
exists could not be obtained in a system of bodies gravitat- 
ing by the united gravitation of their parts, unless each 
particle of matter were attracted by a force varying by one 
particular law, namely, varying inversely as the square of 
the distance ; for, if the action of the particles be according 
to any other law whatever, the admissible and convenient 
law which is adopted could not be obtained. Here, then, 
are clearly shown regulation and design. A law both ad- 
missible and convenient was to be obtained ; the mode 
chosen for obtaining that law was by making each particle 
of matter act. After this choice was made, then further 
attention was to be given to each particle of matter, and 
one, and one only particular law of action to be assigned to 
it. No other law w^ould have answered the purpose in- 

{*) 2. All systems must be liable to jpertui'bations. 
And therefore, to guard against these perturbations, or 
rather to guard against their running to destructive lengths, 
is perhaps the strongest evidence of care and foresight that 
can be given. Now we are able to demonstrate of our law 
of attraction — what can be demonstrated of no other, and 
what qualifies the dangers which arise from, cross but una- 


voidable iiifl'iences — that the action of the parts of our 
system upon one another will not cause permanently in- 
creasing irregularities, but merely periodical or vibratory 
ones ; that is, they will come to a limit and then go back 
again. This we can demonstrate only of a system in which 
the following properties concur, namely, that the force shal] 
be inversely as the square of the distance ; the masses ol 
the revolving bodies small, compared with that of the body 
at the centre ; the orbits not much inclined to one another ; 
and their eccentricity little. In such a system the grand 
points are secure. The mean distances and periodic times, 
upon which depend our temperature and the regularity of 
our year, are constant. The eccentricities, it is true, will 
still vary ; but so slowly, and to so small an extent, as to 
produce no inconveniency from fluctuation of temperature 
and season. The same as to the obliquity of the planes of 
the orbits. For instance, the inclination of the ecliptic to 
the equator will never change above two degrees, out of 
ninety, and that will require many thousand years in per- 

It has been rightly also remarked, that if the great plan- 
ets Jupiter and Saturn had moved in lower spheres, their 
influences would have had much more effect as to disturb- 
ing the planetary motions than they now have. While they 
revolve at so great distances from the rest, they act almost 
equally on the sun and on the inferior planets ; which has 
nearly the same consequence as not acting at all upon 

If it be said, that the planets might have been sent round 
the sun in exLct circles, in which case, no change of dis- 
tance from the centre taking place, the law of variation ol 
the attracting power would have never come m question, 
one law would have served as well as another ; an answer 
to the scheme may be drawn from the consideration of these 
same perturbing forces. The system retaining in other re- 
spects its present constitution, though the planets had been 


at first sent round in exact circular orbits, they could not 
have kept them ; and if the law of attraction had not been 
what it is, or at least, if the prevailing law had transgressed 
the limits above assigned, every evagation would have been 
fatal : the planet once drawn, as drawn it necessarily must 
have been, out of its course, would have wandered in end- 
less error. 

(*) V. "What we have seen in the law of the centripetal 
force, namely, a choice guided by views of utility, and a 
choice of one law out of thousands which might equally 
have taken place, we see no less in the figures of the plan- 
etary orbits. It was not enough to fix the law of the cen 
tripetal force, though by the wisest choice ; for even under 
that law, it was still competent to the planets to have moved 
in paths possessing so great a degree of eccentricity as, in 
the course of every revolution, to be brought very near to 
the sun, and carried away to immense distances from him. 
The comets actually move in orbits of this sort ; and had 
the planets done so, instead of going round in orbits nearly 
circular, the change from one extremity of temperature to 
another must, in ours at least, have destroyed every animal 
and plant upon its surface. Now, the distance from the 
centre at which a planet sets cIT and the absolute force of at- 
traction at that distance being fixed, the figure of its orbit — 
it being a circle, or nearer to, or further off from a circle, 
namely, a rounder or a longer oval — depends upon two 
things, the velocity with which, and the direction in which the 
planet is projected. And these, in order to produce a right 
result, must be both brought within certain narrow limits. 
One, and only one velocity, united with one and only one 
direction, will produce a peifect circle. And the velocity 
must be near to this velocity, and the direction also near to 
this direction, to produce orbits such as the planetary orbits 
are, nearly circular ; that is, ellipses with small eccentrici- 
ties. The velocity and the direction must both be right. If 
the velocity be wrong, no direction will cure the error ; if 


ihe direction be in any considerable degree oblique, no veloc- 
ity will produce the orbit required. Take, for example, the 
attraction of gravity at the surface of the earth. The force 
of that attraction being what it is, out of all the degrees of 
velocity, swift and slow, with v/hich a ball might be shot 
ofi' none would answer the purpose of Mdiicli we are speak- 
ing but what was nearly that of five miles in a second. II 
it were less than that, the body would not get round at all, 
but would come to the ground ; if it were in any considera- 
ble degree more than that, the body would take one of those 
eccentric courses, those long ellipses, of which we have no- 
ticed the inconveniency. If the velocity reached the rate of 
seven miles in a second, or went beyond that, the ball would 
fly ofl' from the earth and never be heard of more. In like 
manner with respect to the direction : out of the innumer- 
able angles in wdiich the ball might be sent ofi^ — I mean 
angles formed with a line drawn to the centre — none would 
serve but what was nearly a right one. Out of the various 
directions in which the cannon might be pointed, upwards 
and downwards, every one would fail but what was exactly 
or nearly horizontal. The same thing holds true of the 
planets ; of our own among the rest. We are entitled there- 
fore to ask, and to urge the question, Why did the projectile 
velocity and projectile direction of the earth happen to be 
nearly those which would retain it in a circular form ? Why 
not one of the infinite number of velocities, one of the infi- 
nite number of directions, which would have made it ap- 
proach much nearer to, or recede much further from the 
sun ? 

The planets going round, all in the same direction, and 
all nearly in the same plane, afibrded to Bufibn a ground for 
asserting, that they had all been shivered from the sun by 
the same stroke of a comet, and by that stroke projected into 
their present orbits. Now, besides that this is to attribute 
to chance the fortunate concurrence of velocity and direction 
which we have been here noticing, the hypothesis, oa I ap 


prehend, is inconsistent with the physical laws by which the 
heavenly motions are governed. If the planets were struck 
off from the surface of the sun, they would return to the 
surface of the sun again. Nor will this difficulty be got rid 
of by supposing that the same violent blow which shattered 
the sun's surface, and separated large fragments from it, 
pushed the sun himself out of his place ; for the consequence 
of this would be, that the sun and system of shattered frag- 
ments would have a progressive motion, which indeed may 
possibly be the case with our system ; but then each frag- 
ment would, in every revolution, return to the surface of 
the sun again. The hypothesis is also contradicted by the 
vast difference which subsists between the diameters of the 
planetary orbits. The distance of Saturn from the sun, to 
say notliing of the Georgium Sidus, is nearly five-and-twenty 
times that of Mercury ; a disparity which it seems impossi- 
ble to reconcile with Buffon's scheme. Bodies starting from 
the same place, with whatever difference of direction or 
velocity they set off, could not have been found at these dif 
ferent distances from the centre, still retaining their nearly 
circular orbits. They must have been carried to their proper 
distances before they were projected. =^ 

To conclude — in astronomy, the great thing is to raise 
the imagination to the subject, and that oftentimes in oppo- 

* "If we suppose the matter of the system to be accumulated in 
the centre by its gravity, no mechanical principles, with the assistance 
of this power of gravity, could separate the vast mass into such parts 
as the sun and planets ; and after carrying them to their different 
distances, project them in their several directions, preserving still the 
quality of action and reaction, or the state of the centre of gravity of 
the system. Such an exquisite structure of things could only arise 
from the contrivance ani powerful influences of an intelligent, free, 
and most potent agent. The same powers, therefore, which at pres- 
ent govern the material universe, and conduct its various motions, are 
xcry different from those which were necessary to have produced it 
Irom nothing, or to have disposed it in the admirable form in which 
it now proceeds." — Maclaurin's Account of Newtonh Philosophy ^ p 
407, edit. 3. 


sition to the impression made upon the senses. An iUusion, 
for example, must be gotten over, arising from the diotance 
at which we view the heavenly bodies ; namely, the apparent 
sloivness of their motions. The moon shall take some hours 
in getting half a yard from a star which it touched. A 
motion so deliberate, we may think easily guided. But what 
is the fact ? The moon, in fact, is all this while diiving 
through the heavens at the rate of considerably more than 
two thousand miles in an hour ; which is more than double 
that with which a ball is shot off from the mouth of a can- 
non. Yet is this prodigious rapidity as much imder govern- 
ment as if the planet proceeded ever so slowly, or were con- 
ducted in its course inch by inch. It is also difficult to bring 
the imagination to conceive — what yet, to judge tolerably 
of the matter, it is necessary to conceive — how loos^, if we 
may so express it, the heavenly bodies are. Enormous 
globes held by nothing, confined by nothing, are turned into 
free and boundless space, each to seek its course by the vir- 
tue of an invisible principle ; but a principle, one, common, 
and the same in all, and ascertainable. To preserve such 
bodies from being lost, from running together in heaps, from 
hindering and distracting one another's motions, in a degree 
inconsistent with any continuing order ; that is, to cause them 
to form planetary systems — systems that, when formed, can 
be upheld ; and more especially, systems accommodated to 
the organized and sensitive natures which the planets sus- 
tain, as we know to be the case, where alone we can know 
what the case is, upon our earth : all this requires an io- 
teliigent interposition, because it can be demonstrated con- 
cerning it, that it requires an adjustment of force, distance, 
direction, and velocity, out of the reach of chance to have 
pro-iuced — an adjustment, in its view to utility, similar to 
that which we see in ten thousand subjects of nature which 
are nearer to us, but in power, and in the extent of space 
through which that power is exerted, stupendous. 

But many of the heavenly bodies, as the sun and fixed 


Stars, are stationary. Their rest must be the effect of an 
absence or of an equilibrium of attractions. Tt proves also, 
that a projectile impulse was originally given to some of tht 
heavenly bodies, and not to others. But further, if attrac- 
tion act at all distances, there can only be one quiescent 
centre of gravity in the universe ; and all bodies whatever 
must be approaching this centre, or revolving round it. Ac- 
cording to the first of these suppositions, if the duration of 
the world had been long enough to allow of it, all its parts, 
all the great bodies of which it is composed, must have been 
gathered together in a heap round this point. No changes, 
however, which have been observed, afford us the smallest 
•'eason for believing that either the one supposition or the 
other is true ; and then it will follow, that attraction itself 
is controlled or suspended by a superior agent — that there is 
a power above the highest of the powers of material nature — 
a will which restrains and circumscribes the operations of 
the most extensive.^ 

* It must here, however, be stated, that many astronomers deny 
that any of the heavenly bodies are absokitely stationary. Some of 
the brightest of the fixed stars have certainly small motions; and of 
the rest the distance is too great, and the intervals of our observation 
too short, to enable us to pronoimce with certainty that they may not 
iiave the same. The motions in the fixed stars which have been ob- 
served, are considered either as proper to each of them, or as com- 
pounded of the motion of our system and of motions proper to each 
Btar. By a comparison of these motions, a motion in our system is 
supposed to be discovered. By continuing this analogy to other and 
to all systems, it is possible to suppose that attraction is unliruited, 
and that the whole material universe is revolving round some fixed 
point within its containing sphere or space. 




Con TRiVj^NCE, if established, appears to me to prove 
every thing which we wish to prove. Among' other things, 
it pioves the 2^erso?ialiti/ of the Deity, as distinguished from 
what is sometimes caUed nature, sometimes called a princi- 
ple ; which terms, in the mouths of those who use them 
philosophically, seem to be intended to admil and to express 
m efficacy, but to exclude and to deny a personal agent. 
.Now, that which can contrive, which can design, must be 
I person. These capacities constitute personality, for they 
:mply consciousness and thought. They require that which 
lan perceive an end or purpose, as well as the power of 
providing means and directing them to their end,^ They 
require a centre in which perceptions unite, and from which 
volitions flow ; which is mind. The acts of a mind prove 
the existence of a mind ; and in whatever a mind resides, is 
a person. The seat of intellect is a person. We have no 
authority to limit the properties of mind to any particular 
corporeal form, or to any particular circumscription of space. 
These properties subsist, in created nature, under a great 
variety of sensible forms. Also, every animated being has 
its sensorium; that is, a certain portion of space, within 
which perception and volition are exerted. This sphere 
may be enlarged to an indefinite extent — may comprehend 
the imiverse ; and being so imagined, may serve to furnish 
us with as good a notion as we are capable of forming, of thf 
vmnensity of the divine nature, that is, of a Being, infinite; 
1 5 well in essence as in power, yet nevertheless a person. 

"No man hath seen God at any time." And this, 1 
believe, makes the great difficulty. Now, it is a difficulty 
which chiefly a.rises from our not duly estimating the state 

* Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, p. KOS, edit. 2. 

Hat Theol. 1 2 


of our faculties. The Deity, it is true, is the object of none 
of our senses ; but reflect what limited capacities anima,! 
senses are. Many animals seem to have but one sense, or 
perhaps tw^o at the most — touch and taste. Ought such an 
animal to conclude against the existence of odors, sounds, 
and colors ? To another species is given the sense of smell- 
rg. This is an advance in the knowledge of the powers 
and properties of nature ; but if this favored animal should 
infer from its superiority over the class last described, that 
it perceived every thing which w^as perceptible in nature, it 
is known to us, though perhaps not suspected by the animal 
itself, that it proceeded upon a false and presumptuous esti- 
mate of its faculties. To another is added the sense of hear- 
ing ; which lets in a class of sensations entirely unconceived 
by the animal before spoken of, not only distinct, but remote 
from any which it had ever experienced, and greatly supe- 
rior to them. Yet this last animal has no more ground for 
believing that its senses comprehend all things, and all prop- 
erties of things which exist, than might have been claimed 
by the tribes of animals beneath it ; for w^e know that it is 
still possible to possess another sense, that of sight, w^hich 
shall disclose to the percipient a new world. This fifth 
sense makes the animal what the human animal is ; but to 
infer that possibility stops here, that either this fifth sense 
is the last sense, or that the five comprehend all existence, 
is just as unwarrantable a conclusion as that which might 
have been made by any of the difierent species which pos- 
sessed fewer, or even by that, if such there be, which pos- 
sessed only one. The conclusion of the one-sense animal 
and the conclusion of the five-sense animal stand upon the 
same authority. There may be more and other senses than 
those which w^e have. There may be senses suited to the 
perception of the powders, properties, and substance of spirits. 
These may belong to higher orders of rational agents ; foi 
there is not the smallest reason for supposing that we are 
the highest, or that the scale of creation stops with us. 


The great energies of nature are known to us only by 
their efiects. The substances which produce them are aa 
much concealed from our senses as the divine essence itself. 
Gravitation, though constantly present, though constantly 
3xerting its influence, though everywhere around us, near 
u£, and within us — though diflused throughout all space, 
raid penetrating the texture of all bodies with which we are 
acquainted, depends, if upon a fluid, upon a fl.uid which, 
though both powerful and universal in its operation, is no 
object of sense to us ; if upon any other kind of substance or 
action, upon a substance and action from which ive receive 
no distinguishable impressions. Is it then to be wondered 
at, that it should in some measure be the same with the 
divine nature ? 

Of this, however, we are certain, that whatever the Dei- 
ty be, neither the universe, nor any part of it which we see, 
can be He. The universe itself is merely a collective name ; 
its parts are all which are real, or which are things. Now 
inert matter is out of the question ; and organized substances 
include marks of contrivance. But whatever includes marks 
of contrivance, whatever in its constitution testifies design, 
necessarily carries us to something beyond itself, to som<i 
other being, to a designer prior to and out of itself. No 
animal, for instance, can have contrived its own limbs and 
senses — can have been the author to itself of the design wath 
which they were constructed. That supposition involves 
all the absurdity of self-creation, that is, of acting without 
existing. Nothing can be God, Avhich is ordered by a wis- 
dom and a will which itself is void of — which is indebted 
for any of its properties to contrivance ah extra. The not 
having that in his nature which requires the exertion of an- 
other prior being — which property is sometimes called self- 
sulFiciency, and sometimes self-comprehension — appertains 
to the Deity, as his essential distinction, and removes his 
nature from that of all things w^iich we see : which consid- 
eration contains the answer to a quest'on that has sometimes 


been asked, namely, "Why, since some other thing must have 
existed from eternity, may not the present universe be that 
something ? The contrivance perceived in it proves that to 
be impossible. Nothing contrived can, in a strict and proper 
sense, be eternal, forasmuch as the contriver must have exist^ 
ej before the contrivance. 

Wherever we see marks of contrivance, we are led for its 
cause to an intelligent author. And this transition of the 
understanding is founded upon uniform experience. We see 
intelligence constantly contriving ; that is, we see intelligence 
constantly producing eiTects, marked and distinguished by 
certain properties — not certain particular properties, but by 
a kind and class of properties, such as relation to an end 
relation of parts to one another and to a common purpose. 
We see, wherever we are witnesses to the actual formation 
of things, nothing except intelligence producing effects so 
marked and distinguished. Furnished with this experience, 
we view the productions of nature. We observe them also 
marked and distinguished in the same manner. We wish 
to account for their origin. Our experience suggests a cause 
perfectly adequate to this account. No experience, no single 
instance or example, can be offered in favor of any other. 
In this cause, therefore, we ought to rest ; in this cause the 
common-sense of mankind has, in fact, rested, because it 
agrees with that which in all cases is the foundation of 
knowledge — the undeviating course of their experience. The 
reasoning is the same as that by which we conclude any 
ancient appearances to have been the effects of volcanoes or 
inundations, namely, because they resemble the effects which 
fire and water produce before our ej^es, and because we have 
aever known these effects to result from any other opera- 
tion. And this resemblance may subsist in so many circum- 
stances as not to leave us under the smallest doubt m form- 
ing our opinion. Men are not deceived by this reasoning ; 
for whenever it happens, as it sometimes does happen, that 
the truth comes to be known by direct information, it turns 


?ut to be what was expected. Iii like manner and upon 
the same foundation — which in truth is that of experience — 
we conclude that the works of nature proceed from intelli- 
gence and design ; because, in the properties of relation to a 
purpose, subserviency to a use, they resemble what intelli- 
gence and design are constantly producing, and what noth- 
ing except intelligence and design ever produce at all. Oi 
every argument which would raise a question as to the safety 
of this reasoning, it may be observed, that if such argument 
be listened to, it leads to the inference, not only that the 
present order of nature is insuflicient to prove the existence 
of an intelligent Creator, but that no imaginable order would 
be sufficient to prove it — that no contrivance, Avere it evei 
so mechanical, ever so precise, ever so clear, ever so perfect- 
ly like those which we ourselves employ, would support this 
conclusion : a doctrine to which I conceive no sound mind 
can assent. 

The force, however, of the reasoning is sometimes sunk 
by our taking up with mere names. We have already no- 
ticed,* and we must here notice again, the misapplication 
of the term "law," and the mistake concerning the idea 
which that term expresses in physics, whenever such idea is 
made to take the place of power, and still more of an intelli- 
gent power, and, as such, to be assigned for the cause of any 
thing, or of any property of any thing that exists. This is 
what we are secretly apt to do, when we speak of oi-ganized 
bodies — plants, for instance, or animals — owing their pro- 
duction, their form, their growth, their qualities, their beau- 
ty, their use, to any law or laws of nature ; and when we 
are contented to sit down with that ansvy-er to our inquiries 
concerning them. I say once more, that it is a perversion 
of language to assign any law as the efficient, operative cause 
of any thing. A law presupposes an agent, for it is only the 
mode according to which an agent proceeds ; it implies a 
power, for it is the order according to which that power acts. 
* Chap. I., sect. 7. 


Without tills agent, without this power, w^iich are both dis- 
tinct from itself, the " law" does nothing, is nothing. 

What has been said concerning " law," holds true of 
mechanism. Mechanism is not itself power. Mechanism 
without power can do nothing. Let a watch be contrived 
and constructed ever so ingeniously — be its parts ever sc 
many, ever so complicated, ever so finely wrought or arti- 
ficially put together, it cannot go without a weight or spring; 
that is, 'without a force independent of, and ulterior to its 
mechanism. The spring, acting at the centre, will produce 
dilTerent motions and different results, according to the va- 
riety of the intermediate mechanism. One and the self- 
same spring, acting in one and the same manner, namely, 
by simply expanding itself, may be the cause of a hundred 
different and all useful movements, if a hundred different 
and well-devised sets of wheels be placed between it and 
the final effect : for example, may point out the hour of the 
day, the day of the month, the age of the moon, the position 
of the planets, the cycle of the years, and many other ser- 
viceable notices ; and these movements may fulfil their pur- 
poses with more or less perfection, according as the mechan- 
ism is better or worse contrived, or better or worse executed, 
or in a better or worse state of repair ; but in all cases it is 
7iecessary tlmt iiie spring tict at the centre. The cour;LU of 
our reasoning upon such a subject would be this : by inspect- 
ing the watch, even when standing still, we get a proof of con- 
trivance, and of a contriving mind having been employed 
about it. In the form and obvious relation of its parts, we see 
enough to convince us of this. If we pull the works in pieces, 
for the purpose of a closer examination, we are still more fully 
convinced. But when we see the watch goijig, we see proof 
of another point, namely, that there is a power somewhere, ana 
somehow or other applied to it — a power in action ; that there 
is more in the subject than the mere wheels of the machine ; 
that there is a secret spring, or a gravitating plummet ; in a 
svord, that there is force- and energy as well as mechanism. 


So, then, the watch iu motion establishes to the observer 
two conclusions : one, that thought, contrivance, and design 
liave been employed in the forming, proportioning, and ar- 
ranging of its parts ; and that wlioever or wherever he be, 
or were, such a contriver there is, or was ; the other, that 
force or power, distinct from mechanism, is at this present 
time acting upon it. If I saw a hand-mill even at rest, J 
should see contrivance ; but if I saw it grinding, I should 
be assured that a hand was at the windlass, though in an- 
other room. It is the same in nature. In the works of na- 
ture we trace mechanism, and this alone proves contriv- 
ance ; but living, active, moving, productive nature proves 
also the exertion of a power at the centre ; for wherever 
the power resides may be tlenominated the centre. 

The intervention and disposition of what are called 
.^' S€CO?icl causes,'' fall under the same observation. This 
disposition is or is not mechanism, according as we can or 
can not trace it by our senses and means of examination. 
That is all the difference there is ; and it is a difference 
which respects our faculties, not the things themselves. 
Now, where the order of second causes is mechanical, what 
is here said of mechanism strictly applies to it. But it would 
be always mechanism — natural chemistry, for instance, 
would be mechanism — if our senses were acute enough to 
descry it. Neither mechanism, therefore, in the works of 
nature, nor the intervention of what are called second caus- 
es — for I think that they are the same thing — excuses the 
ne;*.essity of an agent distinct from both. 

If, in tracing these causes, it be said that we find certain 
general properties of matter which have nothing in them 
that bespeaks intelligence, I answer, that still the managing 
oi these properties, the pointing and directing them to the 
uses wdiich we see made of them, demands intelligence in 
the highest degree. For example, suppose animal secre- 
tions to be elective attractions, and that such and such at- 
tractions universallv belonsf to such and such substances — 


ill all wliich there is no intellect concerned ; still, the choice 
and collocation of these substances, the fixing upon right 
substances, and disposing them in right places, must be an 
act of intelligence. "What mischief would follow were there 
a single transposition of the secretory organs ; a single mis- 
take in arranging the glands wliich compose them I 

There may be many second causes, and many courses ol 
second causes, one behind another, between what we observe 
of nature and the Deity, but there must be intelligence 
somewhere — there must be more in nature than what we 
see ; and, among the things unseen, there must be an intel 
ligent, designing author. The philosopher beholds with 
astonishment the production of things around him. Uncon- 
scious particles of matter take tli^ir stations, and severally 
range themselves in an order, so as to become collectively 
plants or animals, that is, organized bodies, with parts bear- . 
ing strict and evident relation to one another, and to the 
utility of the whole ; and it should seem that these particles 
could not move in any other way than as they do, for they 
testify not the smallest sign of choice, or liberty, or discre- 
tion. There may be particular intelligent beings guiding 
these motions in each case ; or they may be the result of 
trains of mechanical dispositions, fixed beforehand by an 
intelligent appointment, and kept in action by a power at 
the centre. But, in either case, there must be intelligence. 

The minds of most men are fond of what they call a 
frinciple, and of the appearance of simplicity, in accounting 
for phenomena. Yet this principle, this simplicity, resides 
merely in the name ; which name, after all, comprises per- 
haps under it a diversified, multifarious, or progressive oper- 
ation, distinguishable into parts. The power in organized 
bodies, of producing bodies like themselves, is one of theso 
principles. Give a philosopher this, and he can get on. 
But he does not reflect what this mode of production, this 
principle — if such he choose to call it — requires ; how much 
it presupposes ; what an apparatus of instruments, some of 


wliich are strictly mechanical, is necessary to its succesy ; 
what a train it includes of operations and changes one suc- 
ceeding another, one related to another, one ministering to 
another ; all advancing by intermediate, and frequently by 
sensible steps, to their ultimate result. Yet, because the 
whole of this complicated action is wrapped up in a single 
term, generation, we are to set it dow^i as an elementary 
principle ; and to suppose, that when we have resolved the 
things which we see into this principle, we have sufficiently 
accounted for their origin, without the necessity of a design- 
ing, intelligent Creator. The truth is, generation is not a 
principle, but a inoce^s,. V/e might as well call the casting 
of metals a principle ; we might, so far as appears to me, as 
well call spinning and weaving principles ; and then, refer- 
ring the texture of cloths, the fabric of muslins and calicoes, 
the patterns of diapers and damasks, to these, as principles, 
pretend to dispense with intention, thought, and contrivance 
on the part of the artist ; or to dispense, indeed, with the 
necessity of any artist at all, either in the manufacturing of 
the article, or in the fabrication of the machinery by which 
the manufacture was carried on. 

And, after all, how, or in what sense is it true, that ani- 
mals produce their like ? A butterfly with a proboscis 
instead of a mouth, with four wings and six legs, produces a 
hairy caterpillar with jaws and teeth, and fourteen feet. A 
frog produces a tadpole. A black beetle with gauze wings 
and a crusty covering, produces a white, smooth, soft worm ; 
an ephemeron fly, a cod-bait maggot. These, by a progress 
through different stages of life and action and enjoyment — ■ 
and, in each state, provided with implements and organs 
appropriated to the temporary nature which they bear — 
arrive at last at the form and fashion of the parent animal. 
But all this is process, not principle ; and proves, moreover, 
that the property of animated bodies of producing their like 
bolongs to them, not as a primordial property, not by any 
blind necessity in the nature of things, but as the efTeci of 


eooiiom?, wisdom, and design ; because the property it&eli 
assumes diA^ersities, and submits to deviations dictated by 
intelligible utilities, and serving distinct purposes of animal 

The opinion which would consider " generation " as a 
'princiiile in nature, and which would assign this principle 
as the cause, or endeavor to satisfy our minds with such a 
cause of the existence of organized bodies, is confuted, in my 
judgment, not only by every mark of contrivance discover- 
able in those bodies, for which it gives us no contriver, offers 
no account whatever, but also by the further consideration, 
that things generated possess a clear relation to things not 
generated. If it were merely one part of a generated body 
bearing a relation to another part of the same body, as the 
mouth of an animal to the throat, the throat to the stomach, 
the stomach to the intestines, those to the recruiting of the 
blood, and, by means of the blood, to the nourishment of the 
whole frame ; or if it were only one generated body bearing 
a relation to another generated body, as the sexes of the 
same species to each other, animals of prey to their prey, 
herbivorous and granivorous animals to the plants or seeds 
upon which they feed, it might be contended that the whole 
of this correspondency was attributable to generation, the 
common origin from which these substances proceeded. But 
what shall we say to agreements which exist between things 
generated and things not generated? Can it be doubted, 
was it ever doubted, but that the hmgs of animals bear a 
relation to the air, as a permanently elastic fluid ? They 
act in it and by it ; they cannot act without it. Now, if 
generation produced the animal, it did not produce the air ; 
yet their properties correspond. The eye is made for light, 
and light for the eye. The eye would be of no use without 
light, and light perhaps of little without eyes ; yet one is 
produced by generation, the other not. The ear depends 
upon undidations of air. Here are two sets of motions : 
first, of the pulses of the air ; secondly, of the drum, bones, 


and nerves of the ear — sets of motions bearing an evident 
reference to each other ; yet the one, and the apparatus for 
the one, produced by the intervention of generation ; the 
other altogether independent of it. 

If it be said that the air, the light, the elements, the 
u-orld itself is generated, I answer, that I do not compre- 
hend the proposition. If the term mean any thing similar 
to what it means when applied to plants or animals, the 
proposition is certainly without proof, and I think draws 
as near to absurdity as any proposition can do which docs 
not include a contradiction in its terms. I am at a loss to 
conceive how the formation of the world can be compared 
to the generation of an animal. If the term generation 
signify something quite difierent from what it signifies on 
ordinary occasions, it may, by the same latitude, signify any 
thing. In which case, a word or phrase taken from the 
language of Otaheite would convey as much theory concern- 
ing the origin of the universe, as it does to talk of its being 

"VYe know a cause — intelligence — adequate to the appear- 
ances which we wish to account for ; we have this cause 
continually producing similar appearances ; yet, rejecting 
this cause, the sufficiency of which we know, and the action 
of which is constantly before our eyes, we are invited to 
resort to suppositions destitute of a single fact for their sup- 
port, and coilfirmed by no analogy with which we are 
acquainted. Were it necessary to inquire into the motives, 
of men's opinions, I mean their motives separate from their 
arguments, I should almost suspect, that because the proof 
of a Deity drawn from the constitution of nature is not only 
popular, but vulgar — which may arise from the cogency oi 
the proof, and be indeed its highest recommendation — and 
because it is a species almost Oii 'puerility to take up with it ; 
for these reasons, minds Avhich are habitually in search of 
invention and originality, feel a resistless inclination to strike 
off into other solutions and other expositions. The truth is. 


tliat many miiids are not so indisposed to any thing winch 
can be offered to them, as they are to the jlatness of being 
content with common reasons, and, what is most to be 
lamented, minds conscious of superiority are the most liable 
to this repugnancy. 

The " suppositions " here alluded to, all agree in one 
character : they all endeavor to dispense with the necessity 
in nature of a particular, personal intelligence ; that is to 
say, with the exertion of an intending, contriving mind, in 
the structure and formation of the organized constitutions 
which the world contains. They would resolve all produc- 
tions mto unconscious energies, of a like kind, in that respect, 
with attraction, magnetism, electricity, etc., without any 
thing further. 

In this, the old system of atheism and the new agree. 
And I much doubt v/hether the new schemes have advance(? 
any thing upon the old, or done more than changed the terms 
of the nomenclature. For instance, I could never see tht 
difference between the antiquated system of atoms, and 
Buffon's organic molecules. This philosopher, having made 
a planet by knocking off from the sun a piece of melted glass, 
in consequence of the stroke of a' comet, and having set it 
in motion by the same stroke, both round its own axis and 
the sun, finds his next difficulty to be, how to bring plants 
and animals upon it. In order to solve this difficulty, we 
are to suppose the universe replenished with- particles en- 
dowed with life, but without organization or senses of theii 
own ; and endowed also with a tendency to marshal them- 
selves into organized forms. The concourse of these par- 
ticles, by virtue of this tendency, but without intelligence, 
will, or direction — for I do not find that any of these quali- 
ties are ascribed to them — has produced the living forms 
which we now see. 

Very few of the conjectures which philosophers hazard 
upon these subjects have more of pretension in them, than 
the challenging you to show the direct impossibility of the 


hypothesis. In the present example., there seemed to be a 
positive objection to the whole scheme upon the very face of 
it ; which W'as, that if the case w^ere as here represented, 
new combinations ought to be perpetually taking place ; new 
plants and animals, or organized bodies which were neither, 
ought to be starting up before our eyes every day. For this, 
however, our philosopher has an answer. While so many 
forms of plants and animals are already in existence, and 
consequently so many " internal moulds," as he calls them, 
are prepared and at hand, the organic particles run into 
these moulds, and are employed in supplying an accession of 
substance to them, as well for their growth as for their prop- 
agation. By which means things keep their ancient course. 
But, says the same philosopher, should any general loss oi 
destruction of the present constitution of organized bodie? 
take place, the particles, for want of " moulds " into which 
they might enter, would run into different combinations, and 
replenish the waste with new species of organized substances. 

Is there any history to countenance this notion ? Is it 
known that any destruction has been so repaired ; any desert 
thus repeopled ? 

So far as I remember, the only natural appearance men- 
tioned by our author, by way of fact whereon to build his 
hypothesis, is the formation of tuorms in the intestines ol 
animals, which is here ascribed to the coalition of supera- 
bundant organic particles floating about in the first passages ; 
and which have combined themselves into these simple ani- 
mal forms for want of internal moulds, or of vacancies in 
those moulds, into which they might be received. The 
thing referred to is rather a species of facts, than a single 
fact ; as some other cases may, with equal reason, be includ- 
ed under it. But to make it a fact at all, or in any sort 
applicable to the question, we must begin with asserting an 
equivocal generation, contrary to analogy, and without neces- 
sity : contrary to an analogy which accompanies us to the 
very limits of our knowledge or inquiries ; for wherever. 


either in plants or animals, we are able to examine the sub- 
ject, we find procreation from a parent form : without neces- 
sity, for I apprehend that it is seldom difficult to suggest 
methods by which the eggs, or spawn, or yet invisible rudi- 
ments of these vermin may have obtained a passage into the 
cavities in which they are found.^ Add to this, that their 
constancy to their species, which I believe is as regular in 
these as in the other vermes, decides the question against 
our philosopher, if in truth any question remained v pon the 

Lastly, these wonder-working instruments, these " inter- 
nal moulds," what are they after all ; Avhat, when examin- 
ed, but a name without signification ; unintelligible, if not 
self-contiddictory ; at the best, differing in nothing from the 
" essential forms " of the Greek philosophy ? One iihort 
sentence of Buffon's work exhibits his scheme as follows : 
" When this nutritious and prolific matter, which is diffused 
throughout all nature, passes through the internal mould of 
an animal or vegetable, and finds a proper matrix or recep- 
tacle, it gives rise to an animal or vegetable of the same 
species." Does any reader annex a meaning to the expres- 
sion " internal mould," in this sentence ? Ought it then to 
be said, that though we have little notion of an internal 
mould, we have not much more of a designing mind ? The 
very contrary of this assertion is the truth. "When we ^peak 
of an artificer or an architect, we talk of what is compre- 
hensible to our understanding and familiar to our experience. 
We use no other terms than what refer us for their meaning 
to our consciousness and observation — what express the con- 
stant objects of both ; whereas names like that we have 
mentioned refer us to nothing, excite no idea ; they convey a 
sound to the ear, but I think do no more. 

* I trust I may be excused for not citing, as another fact Tviuch la 
to confirm the hypothesis, a grave assertion of this 'write'-, that the 
branches of trees upon •■vhich the stag feeds break out again in his 
h-^rns. SuchjTarfs merit no discussion. 


Another system wliich has lately been brought forward, 
and with much ingenuity, is that o^ appetencies. The prin- 
ciple and the short account of the theory is this. Pieces ot 
soft, ductile matter, being endued with propensities or ap- 
petencies for particular actions, would, by continual endeav- 
ors, carried on through a long series of generations, work 
themselves gradually into suitable forms ; and at length 
acquire, though perhaps by obscure and almost impercepti- 
ble improvements, an organization fitted to the action which 
their respective propensities led them to exert. A piece 
of animated matter, for example, that vvas endued with a 
propensity to Jly, though ever so shapeless, though no other 
we will suppose than a round ball to begin with, would, in 
a course of ages, if not in a million of years, perhaps in 
a hundred millions of years — for our theorists, having eter- 
nity to dispose of, are never sparing in time — acquire icings. 
The same tendency to locomotion in an aquatic animal, or 
rather in an animated lump, which might happen to be 
surrounded by water, would end in the production of Jins; 
in a living substance confined to the solid earth, would put 
out legs and feet ; or, if it took a diflerent turn, would break 
the body into ringlets, and conclude by crawling upon the 

Although I have introduced the mention of this theory 
into this place, I am unwilling to give to it the name of an 
athcisti: scheme, for two reasons : first, because, so far as I 
am abie to undei stand it, the original propensities and the 
numberless varieties of them — so difTerent, in this respect, 
from the laws of mechanical nature, which are few and 
simple — are, in the plan itself attributed to the ordination 
and appointment of an intelligent and designing Creator; 
secondly, because, likewise, that large postulatum, which is 
all along assumed and presupposed, the faculty in living 
bodies of producing other bodies organized like themselves, 
seems to be referred to the same cause ; at least, is not at- 
tempted to be accoimted for by any other. In oik; impor- 


taut respect, however, the theory before us coincides with 
atheistic systems, namely, in that, in the formation of plants 
and animals, in the structure and use of their parts, it does 
away final causes. Instead of the parts of a plant or ani- 
mal, or the particular structure of the parts, having been 
intended for the action or the use to which we see them 
applied, according to this theory they have themselves 
grown out of that action, sprung from that use. The theory, 
therefore, dispenses with that which we insist upon, the 
necessity, in each particular case, of an intelligent, design- 
ing mind, for the contriving and determining of the forms 
which organized bodies bear. Give our philosopher these 
appetencies ; give him a portion of living irritable matter — 
a nerve, or the clipping of a nerve — to work upon ; give also 
to his incipient or progressive forms the power, in every 
stage of their alteration, of propagating their like ; and, il 
he is to be believed, he could replenish the world with all 
the vegetable and animal productions which we at present 
see in it. 

The scheme under consideration is open to the same ob- 
jection with other conjectures of a similar tendency, namely, 
a total defect of evidence. No changes like those which the 
theory requires, have ever been observed. All the changes 
in Ovid's Metamorphoses might have been effected by these 
appetencies, if the theory were true ; yet not an example, 
nor the pretence of an example, is offered of a single change 
being known to have taken place. Nor is the order of gen- 
eration obedient to the principle upon which this theory is 
built. The mammas* of the male have not vanished by 
inusitation ; ncc curtoruni, iier multa scecida, Judceorum 
jjropagini deest prceputiu?7i. It is easy to say, and it has 

^ I confess myself totally at a loss to guess at the reas >n, either 
filial or efficient, for this part of the animal frame ; unless there be 
some foundation for an opinion, of which I draw the hint from a paper 
of Mr. Ererard Home, Phil. Transact. 1799, pt. 2, namely, that thf 
mammae of the foetus may be formed before the sex is determined. 


L-een said, lluit the alterative process is too slow to be per- 
ceived ; that it has been carried on through tracts of im- 
measurable time ; and that the present order of things is the 
result of a gradation of which no human records can trace 
the steps. It is easy to say this ; and yet it is still true, that 
the hypothesis remams destitute of evidence. 

The analogies which have been alleged are of the fol- 
lowing kind. The hunch of a camel is said to be no other 
than the eflect of carrying burdens ; a service in which the 
species has been employed from the most ancient times of 
the M^orld. The first race, by the daily loading of the back, 
would probably find a small grumous tumor to be formed in 
the flesh of that part. The next progeny would bring this 
tumor into the world with them. The life to which they 
were destined would increase it. The cause which first gen- 
erated the tubercle being continued, it would go on, through 
every succession, to augment its size, till it attained the 
form and the bulk under which it now appears. This may 
serve for one instance : another, and that also of the passive 
sort, is taken from certain species of birds. Birds of the 
crane kind, as the crane itself, the heron, bittern, stork, have, 
in general, their thighs bare of feathers. This privation is 
accounted for from the habit of wading in water, and from 
the effect of that element to check the growth of feathers 
upon these parts ; in consequence of which, the health and 
vegetation of the feathers declined through each generation 
of the animal ; the tender down, exposed to cold and wet- 
ness, becam.e weak, and thin, and rare, till the deterioration 
ended in the result which we see, of absolute nakedness. I 
will mention a third instance, because it is drawn from an 
active habit, as the two last were from passive habits ; and 
that is the i^uch of the pelican. The description which 
naturalists give of this organ is as follows : " From the lower 
edges of the under chap hangs a bag, reaching from the whole 
length of the bill to the neck, which is said to be capable 
of containing fifteen quarts of water. This bag the bird has 


a power of wrinkling up into the hollow of the under chap 
When the bag is empty, it is not seen ; but when the bird 
has fished with success, it is incredible to what an extent it 
is often dilated. The first thing the pelican does in fishing, 
is to fill the bag ; and then it returns to digest its burden at 
leisure. The bird preys upon the large fishes, and hides 
them by dozens in its pouch. When the bill is opened to 
its wddest extent, a person may run his head into the bird s 
mouth, and conceal it in this monstrous pouch, thus adapt- 
ed for very singular purposes. "=^ Now this extraordinary 
conformation is nothing more, say our philosophers, than the 
result of habit — not of the habit or eflbrt of a single pelican, 
or of a single race of pelicans, but of a habit perpetuated 
through a long series of generations. The pelican soon found 
the conveniency of reserving in its mouth, when its appetite 
w^as glutted, the remainder of its prey, w^iich is fish. The 
fulness produced by this attempt of course stretched the 
skin which lies between the under chaps, as being the most 
yielding part of the mouth. Every distention increased the 
cavity. The original bird, and many generations which 
succeeded him, might find difficulty enough in making the 
pouch answer this purpose ; but future pelicans, entering 
upon life with a pouch derived from their progenitors, of 
considerable capacity, would more readily accelerate its ad- 
vance to perfection, by frequently pressing dowai the sack 
with the weight of fish which it might now be made to 

These, or of this kind, are the analogies relied upon. 
Now, in the first place, the instances themselves are unau- 
thenticated by testimony ; and in theory, to say the least of 
them, open to great objections. Who ever read of camels 
without bunches, or with bunches less than those with which 
they are at present usually formed ? A bunch not unlike 
the camel's is found between the shoulders of the buffalo, 
of the origin of wdiich it is impossible to give the account 
* Goldsmith, vol. 6, p. .'^2. 


hero given. In the second example, wliy should the appli- 
cation of water, which appears to promote and thicken the 
growth of feathers upon the bodies and breasts of geese and 
swans, and other water-fowls, have divested of this covering 
the thighs of cranes ? The third instance, which appears 
lo me as plausible as any that can be produced, has this 
against it, that it is a singularity restricted to the species ; 
whereas, if it had its commencement in the cause and man- 
ner which have been assigned, the like conformation might 
be expected to take place in other birds which feed upon 
fish. How comes it to pass, that the pelican alone was the 
inventress, and her descendants the only inheritors of this 
curious resource ? 

But it is the less necessary to controvert the instances 
themselves, as it is a straining of analogy beyond all limits 
of reason and credibility, to assert that birds and beasts 
and fish, with all their variety and complexity of organ 
ization, have been brought into their forms, and distin 
guished into their several kinds and natures, by the same 
process — even if that process could be demonstrated, or 
had it ever been actually noticed — as might seem to serve 
for the gradual generation of a camel's bunch or a pelican's 

The solution, when applied to the works of nature gen- 
erally, is contradicted by many of the phenomena, and to- 
tally inadequate to others. The ligaments or strictures by 
which the tendons are tied down at the angles of the joints, 
could by no possibility be formed by the motion or exercise 
of the tendons themselves, by an appetency exciting these 
parts into action, or by any tendency arising therefrom. 
The tendency is all the other way — the conatiis in constant 
opposition to them. Length of time does not help the case 
at all, but the reverse. The valves also in the bloodvessels 
could never be formed in the manner Vvdiich our theorist 
proposes. The blood, in its right and natural course, hag 
no tendency to form them. "When obstructed or refluent, il 


has the contrary. These parts could not grow out of theii 
use, though they had eternity to grow m. 

The senses of animals appear to me altogether incapable 
of receiving the explanation of their origin which this theory 
affords. Including under the word "sense" the organ and 
the perception, we have no account of either. How will 
our philosopher get at vision, or make an eye ? How should 
the blind animal affect sight, of which blind animals we 
know have neither conception nor desire ? Affecting it, by 
what operation of its will, by what endeavor to see, could it 
so determine the fluids of its body as to inchoate the fo-rma 
tion of an eye ? Or suppose the eye formed, would the per 
ception follow ? The same of the other senses. And this 
objection holds its force, ascribe what you will to the hand 
of time, to the power of habit, to changes too slow to be 
observed by man, or brought within any comparison which 
he is able to make of past things with the present : concede 
what you please to these arbitrary and unattested supposi- 
tions, how wdll they help you ? Here is no inception. No 
laws, no course, no powers of nature which prevail at pres- 
ent, nor any analogous to these, would give commencement 
to a new sense. And it is in vain to inquire how that might 
proceed which could never begin. 

I think the senses to be the most inconsistent with the 
hypothesis before us, of any part of the animal frame. But 
other parts are sufficiently so. The solution does not apply 
to the parts of animals which have little in them of motion. 
If we could suppose joints and muscles to be gradually form- 
ed by action and exercise, w^hat action or exercise could 
form a skull, and fill it with brains ? No effort of the ani- 
mal could determine the clothing of its skin. What conatuh 
could give prickles to the porcupine or hedgehog, or to the 
sheep its fleece ? 

In the last place, what do these appetencies mean when 
applied to plants ? I am not able to give a signification to 
the terra which can be transferred from animals to plants ; 


or which is common to both. Yet a no less successful or- 
ganization is found in plants, than what obtains in animals. 
A solution is wanted for one as well as the other. 

Upon the whole, after all the schemes and struggles of 
a reluctant philosophy, the necessary resort is to a Deity. 
The marks of design are too strong to be gotten over. Design 
must have had a designer. That designer must have been 
a person. That person is God, 




It is an immense conclusion, that there is a God — a per- 
ceiving, inteUigent, designing Being, at the head of creation, 
and from whose will it proceeded. The attributes of such 
a Being, suppose his reality to be proved, must be adequate 
to the magnitude, extent, and multiplicity of his operations ; 
which are not only vast beyond comparison with those per- 
formed by any other power, but so far as respects our con- 
ceptions of them, infinite, because they are unlimited on all 

Yet the contemplation of a nature so exalted, however 
surely we arrive at the proof of its existence, overwhelms 
our faculties. The mind feels its powers sink under the sub- 
ject. One consequence of which is, that from painful abstrac- 
tion the thoughts seek relief in sensible images ; whence 
may be deduced the ancient and almost universal propen- 
sity to idolatrous substitutions. They are the resources of a 
laboring imagination. False religions usually fall in with 
the natural propensity ; true religions, or such as have de- 
rived themselves from the true, resist it. 

It is one of the advantages of the revelations which Ave 
acknowledge, that while they reject idolatry with its many 
pernicious accompaniments, they introduce the Deity to hu- 
man apprehension under an idea more personal, more deter- 
minate, more within its compass, than the theology of nature 
can do. And this they do by representing him exclusively 
under the relation in which he stands to ourselves ; and for 
the most part, under some precise character, resulting from 
that relation or from the history of his providences ; which 
method suits the span of our intellects much better than the 
universality which enters into the idea of God, as deduced 
from the views of nature. AYhen, therefore, these repre 


sentations are well founded in point of authority — for all 
depends upon that — they afford a condescension to the state 
cf our faculties, of which they who have most reflected on 
Ihe subject will be the first to acknowledge the want and 
the value. 

Nevertheless, if We be careful to imitate the documents 
of our religion by conrming our explanations to what con- 
cerns ourselves, and do not aflect more precision in our ideas 
than the subject allows of, the several terms Avhich are em- 
ployed to denote the attributes of the Deity may be made, 
even in natural religion, to bear a sense consistent with truth 
and reason, and not surpassing our comprehension. 

These terms are, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, 
eternity, self-existence, necessary existence, spirituality. 

"Omnipotence," "omniscience," "infinite" power, "in- 
finite" knowledge, are superlatives, expressing our concep- 
tion of these attributes in the strongest and most elevated 
terms which language supplies. We ascribe power to the 
Deity under the name of "omnipotence," the strict and cor- 
rect conclusion being, that a power which could create such 
a world as this is, must be, beyond all comparison, greatei 
than any which we experience in ourselves, than any which 
we observe in other visible agents ; greater also than any 
which we can want, for our individual protection and pves- 
orvation, in the Being upon whom we depend. It is a 
power likewise, to which we are not authorized, by our ob- 
sirvation or knowledge, to assign any limits of space or 

Very much of the same sort of remark is applicable to 
the term " omniscience," infinite knowledge, or infinite wis- 
dom. In strictness of language, there is a diflerence between 
knowledge and wisdom ; wisdom always supposing action, 
and action directed by it. With respect to the first, namely. 
knoic'Iedge, the Creator must know intimately the constitu- 
tion and pro])erties of the things which he created ; which 
seems also to imply a foreknowledge of their action upon 


one another, and of their changes ; at least, so far as the 
same result from trains of physical and necessary causes. 
His omniscience also, as far as respects things present, is de- 
ducible from his nature, as an intelligent being, joined with 
the extent, or rather the universality of his operations. 
Where he acts, he is ; and where he is, he perceives. The 
icisclor)i of the Deity, as testified in the works cf creation 
surpasses all idea we have of M'isdom drawn from the high 
est intellectual operations of the highest class of intelligent 
beings with whom we are acquainted; and, which is of the 
chief importance to us, Avhatever be its compass or extent, 
which it is evidently impossible that we should be able to 
determine, it must be adequate to the conduct of that order 
of things under which we live. And this is enough. It is 
of very inferior consequence by what terms we express our 
notion, or rather our admiration of this attribute. The 
terms which the piety and the usage of language have ren- 
dered habitual to us, may be as proper as any other. We 
can trace this attribute much beyond what is necessary for 
any conclusion to which we have occasion to apply it. The 
degree of knowledge and power requisite for the formation 
of created nature cannot, with respect to us, be distinguished 
from infinite. 

The divine "omnipresence" stands, in natural theology, 
upon this foundation : in every part and place of the uni- 
verse with which we are acquainted, we perceive the exer- 
tion of a power which we beheve, mediately or immediately, 
to proceed from the Deity. For instance, in what part or 
point of space that has ever been explored, do we not dis- 
cover attraction ? In what regions do we not find light ? 
In what accessible portion of our globe do we not meet with 
gravity, magnetism, electricity, together with the properties 
also and powers of organized substances, of vegetable or oi 
animated nature ? Nay, further, we may ask, What king- 
dom is there of nature, what corner of space, in which there 
is any thing that can be examined by us, where we do not 


fall upon contrivance and design ? The only reflection per- 
haps, which arises in our minds from this view of the world 
around us, is, that the laws of nature everywhere prevail ; 
that they are uniform and universal. But what do you 
mean by the laws of nature, or by any law ? Effects are 
produced by power, not by laws. A law cannot execute 
itself. A law refers us to an agent. Now, an agency so 
general as that we cannot discover its absence, or assign the 
place in which some effect of its continued energy is not 
found, may, in popular language at least, and perhaps with- 
out much deviation from philosophical strictness, be calle<J 
universal ; and with not quite the same, but with no incon- 
siderable propriety, the person or being in whom that power 
resides, or from whom it is derived, may be taken to be om- 
niprese7it. He who upholds all things by his power, may 
be said to be everywhere present. 

This is called a virtual presence. There is also what 
metaphysicians denominate an essential ubiquity, and which 
idea the language of Scripture seems to favor ; but the for- 
mer, I think, goes as far as natural theology carries us. 

"Eternity" is a negative idea, clothed with a positive 
name. It supposes, in that to which it is applied, a present 
existence, and is the negation of a beginning or an end of 
that existence. As applied to the Deity, it has not been 
controverted by those who acknowledge a Deity at all. Most 
assuredly, there never was a time in v/hich nothing existed, 
because that condition must have continued. The universal 
blank must have remained ; nothing could rise up out of it ; 
nothing could ever have existed since ; nothing could exist 
now. In strictness, however, we have no concern with du- 
ration prior to that of the visible world. Upon this article, 
therefore, of theology, it is sufficient to know that the con- 
triver necessarily existed before the contrivance. 

"Self-existence" is another negative idea, namely, the 
negation of a preceding cause, as of a progenitor, a m.akei, 
an author, a creator. 

Nat. Theol. 13 


"Necessary existence" means demonstrable existence. 

"Spirituality" expresses an idea made up of a negative 
part and of a positive part. The negative part consists in 
the exclusion of some of the known properties of matter, 
especially of sohdity, of the vis inertice, and of gravitation. 
The positive part comprises perception, thought, will, power, 
action; by which last term is meant, the origination of 
motion, the quality, perhaps, in which resides the essential 
superiority of spirit over matter, " which caimot move, un- 
less it be moved ; and cannot but move, when impelled by 
another."* I apprehend that there can be no difficulty in 
applying to the Deity both parts of this idea. 

* Bishop Wilkins' Principles of Natural Religion, p. 106. 




Of the "unity of the Deity," the proof is, the wnfoy^n* 
ity of plan observable in the universe. The universe itself 
is a system ; each part either depending upon other parts, oi 
being connected with other parts by some common law o. 
motion, or by the presence of some common substance. One 
principle of gravitation causes a stone to drop towards the 
earth, and the moon to wheel round it. One law of attrac- 
tion carries all the difierent planets about the sun. Thi? 
philosophers demonstrate. There are also other points o 
agreement among them, which may be considered as marks 
of the identity of their origin and of their intelligent Author 
In all are found the conveniency and stability derived from 
gravitation. They all experience vicissitudes of days and 
nights, and changes of season. They all, at least Jupiter 
Mars, and Yenus, have the same advantages from their at 
mosphere as we have. In all the planets, the axes of rota- 
tion are permanent. Nothing is more probable than that 
the same attracting influence, acting according to the samv 
rule, reaches to the fixed stars ; but if this be only probable, 
another thing is certain, namely, that the same element of 
light does. The light from a fixed star affects our eyes in 
the same manner, is refracted and reflected according to the 
same laws, as the light of a candle. The velocity of the 
light of the fixed stars is also the same as the velocity of the 
light of the sun, reflected from the satellites of Jupiter. The 
heat of the sun in kind differs nothing from the heat of a 
coal fire. 

In our own globe the case is clearer. New countries 
are continually discovered, but the old laws of nature are 
always found in them; new plants perhaps, or animals, but 
always in company with plants and anim.als which we 


already know, and always possessing many of the same 
genera] properties. We never get among such original, oi 
totally different modes of existence, as to indicate that we 
are come into the province of a different Creator, or under 
the direction of a different will. In truth, the same order 
of things attends us wherever we go. The elements act 
upon one another, electricity operates, the tides rise and fall, 
the magnetic needle elects its position in one region of the 
earth and sea as well as in another. One atmosphere in- 
vests all parts of the globe, and coimects all ; one sun illu- 
minates, one moon exerts its specific attraction upon all parts. 
If there be a variety in natural effects, as, for example, in 
the tides of different seas, that very variety is the result of 
the same cause acting under different circumstances. In 
many cases this is proved ; in all, is probable. 

The inspection and comparison of living foi-ms add to 
this argument examples without number. Of all large ter- 
restrial animals, the structure is very much alike ; their 
senses nearly the same ; their natural functions and passions 
nearly the same ; their viscera nearly the same, both in 
substance, shape, and office ; digestion, nutrition, circulation, 
secretion go on in a similar manner in all ; the great circu- 
lating fluid is the same, for I think no difference has been 
discovered in the properties of blood, from whatever animal 
it be drawn. The experiment of transfusion proves that thp 
blood of one animal will serve for another. The skeletoni 
also of the larger terrestrial animals show particular vane 
ties, but still under a great general affinity. The resem- 
blance is somewhat less, yet sufficiently evident, between 
quadrupeds and birds. They are all alike in five respects, 
for one in which they difler. 

In fish, which belong to anothei department as it weie 
of nature, the points of comparison become fewer. But Ave 
never lose sight of our analogy : for example, we still meet 
with a stomach, a liver, a spine ; with bile and blood ; A\dth 
teeth ; with eyes — which eyes are only slightly varied froni 


our own, and which variation, in truth, demonstrates, not an 
interruption, but a continuance of the same exquisite plan ; 
for it is the adaptation of the organ to the element, namely, 
to the different refraction of light passing into the eye out of 
1 denser medium. The provinces, also, themselves of water 
and ea.'th, are connected by the species of animals which 
ir.habit both ; and also by a large tribe of aquatic animals, 
which closely resemble the terrestrial in their internal struc- 
ture : I mean the cetaceous tribe, M^iich have hot blood, 
respiring lungs, bowels, and other essential parts, like those 
of land-animals. This similitude surely bespeaks the same 
creation and the same Creator. 

Insects and sliell-jish appear to me to difier from other 
classes of animals the most widely of any. Yet even here, 
besides many points of particular resemblance, there exists 
a general relation of a peculiar kind. It is the relation of 
inversion — the law of contrariety : namely, that whereas, 
in other animals, the bones, to which the muscles are at- 
tached, lie williiii the body, in insects and shell-fish they lie 
on the outside of it. The shell of a lobster performs to the 
animal the office of a hone, by furnishing to the tendons that 
fixed basis or immovable fulcrum, without which, mechani- 
cally, they could not act. The crust of an insect is its shell, 
and answers the like purpose. The shell also of an oyster 
stands in the place of a bone ; the bases of the muscles be- 
ing fixed to it in the same manner as, in other animals, 
they are fixed to the bones. All which, under wonderful 
varieties indeed, and adaptations of form, confesses an imi- 
tation, a remembrance, a carrying on of the same plan. 

The observations here made are equally applicable to 
plants ; bui, I think, unnecessary to be pursued. It is a very 
striking circumstance, and also sufficient to prove all which 
we contend for, that, in this part likewise of organized na- 
ture, we perceive a continuation of the sexual system. 

Certain however it is, that the whole argument for the 
divine unity goes no further than -to a unity of counsel. 


It may likewise be acknowledged, that no argument? 
whicK we are in possession of exclude the ministry of subor- 
dinate agents. If such there be, they act under a presiding, 
a controlling will, because they act according to certain 
general restrictions, by certain common rules, and, as it 
should seem, upon a general plan ; but still such agents, and 
different ranks and classes and degrees of them, may be 




The pi3of of the divine goocbiess rests uptii two proposi- 
tions ; each, as we contend, capable of being made out by 
observations drawn from the appearances of nature. 

The first is, "that in a vast pluraUty of instances in 
which contrivance is perceived, the design of the contriv- 
ance is boieficial.'' 

The second, " that the Deity has superadded j^Zeaswre to 
animal sensations beyond what was necessary for any other 
purpose, or when the purpose, so far as it was necessar}'', 
might have been effected by the operation of pain." 

First, "in a vast plurality of instances in which con- 
trivance is perceived, the design of the contrivance is ben- 
eficial .'' 

No productions of nature display contrivance so mani- 
festly as the parts of animals ; and the parts of animals have 
all of them, I believe, a real, and with very few exceptions, 
all of them a known and intelligible subserviency to the use 
of the animal. Now, when the multitude of animals is con- 
sidered, the number of parts in each, their figure and fitness, 
the faculties depending upon them, the variety of species, 
the complexity of structure, the success, in so many cases, 
and felicity of the result, we can never reflect without the 
profoundest adoration, upon the character of that Being from 
whom all these things have proceeded ; we cannot help 
acknov/ledging what an exertion of benevolence creation 
was — of a benevolence how minute in its care, how vast in 
il s comprehension I 

When we appeal to the parts and faculties of animals, 
and to the limbs and senses of animals in particular, we 
state, I conceive, the proper medium of proof for the conclu- 
sion which we wish to establish. I will not say that the 
insensible parts of nature are made solely for the sensitive 


parts ; but this I say, that when we consider tlie benevv> 
ience of the Deity, we can only consider it in relation to 
sensitive being. Without this reference, or referred to any 
thing else, the attribute has no object, the term has no 
meaning. Dead matter is nothing. The parts, therefore, 
especially the limbs and senses of animals, although they 
constitute, in mass and quantity, a small portion of the ma- 
terial creation, yet, since they alone are instruments of per 
ception, they compose what may be called the whole of 
visible nature, estimated with a view to the disposition of its 
author. Consequently, it is in these that we are to seek his 
character. It is by these that we are to prove that the world 
was made with a benevolent design. 

Nor is the design abortive. It is a happy world after all. 
The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence. 
In a spring noon, or a summer evening, on whichever side 
I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my 
view. "The insect youth are on the^wing." Swarms of 
new-born Jlies are trying their pinions in the air. Their 
sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activ- 
ity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, 
testify their joy, and the exultation which they feel in their 
lately discovered faculties. A bee among the flower? in 
spring, is one of the most cheerful objects that can be k.ked 
upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment ; so busy, and so 
pleased : yet it is only a specimen of insect life with wdiich, 
by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen 
to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. 
The ivhole-icmged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally 
intent upon their proper employments, and, under eveiy va- 
riety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, 
by the offices which the Author of their nature has assigned 
to them. But the atmosphere is not the only scene of enjoy- 
ment for the insect race. Plants are covered with aphides 
greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should 
seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that 


this is a state of gratincation. What else should fix Lhem 
EG close to the operation, and so long ? Other species are 
running about, with an alacrity in their motions which 
carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches ot 
ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and 
sprightly natures. If we look to what the waters produce, 
shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of 
lakes, and of the sea itself These are so happy that they 
know not what to do with themselves Their attitudes, 
their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it, 
which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention 
and amusement, all conduce to show their excess of spirits, 
and are simply the efTects of that excess. Walking by the 
sea-side in a calm evening, upon a sandy shore, and with an 
ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a 
dark cloud, or rather a very thick mist, hanging over the edge 
of the water, to the height perhaps of half a yard, and of 
the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast 
as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the 
water. When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to 
be nothing else than so much space filled with young shrimps 
in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin 
of the water, or from the w^et sand. If any motion of a mute 
animal could express delight, it was this ; if they had meant 
to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done 
it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what I have no doubt 
of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive 
enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and 
pleasure have we here before our view ! 

The young of all animals appear to me to receive pleas- 
ure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily facul- 
ties, without reference to any end to be attained, or any use 
to be answered by the exertion. A child, without knowing 
any thing of the use of language, is in a high degree delight- 
ed with being able to speak. Xts incessant repetition of a few 
articulate sounds, or. perhaps of the single word which it 


has learnt to pronounce, proves this pomt clearly. Nor 113 
it less pleased with its first successful endea.vors to walk, or 
rather to run — which precedes walking — although entirel}'' 
ignorant of the importance of the attainment to its future 
life, and even without applying it to any present purpose, 
A child is delighted with speaking, without having any thing 
to say, and with walking, without knowing where to go. 
And, prior to both these, I am disposed to believe that the 
waldng hours of infancy are agreeably taken up with the 
exercise of vision, or perhaps, more properly speaking, with 
learning to see. 

But it is not for youth alone that the great Parent ol 
creation has provided. Happiness is found with the purring 
3at, no less than with the playful kitten — in the arm-chaii 
of dozing age, as well as in either the sprightliness of the 
dance, or the animation of. the chase. To novelty, to acute- 
ness of sensation, to hope, to ardor of pursuit, succeeds what 
is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all, 
" perception of ease." Herein is the exact difference between 
the young and the old. The young are not happy but when 
enjoying pleasure ; the old are happy when free from pain. 
And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power 
which they respectively possess. The vigor of youth was to 
be stimulated to action by impatience of rest ; while, to the 
imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive grati- 
fications. In one important respect, the advantage is with 
the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attain- 
able than a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, 
which can enjoy ease, is preferable to that which can taste 
only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes ren- 
ders old-age a condition of great comfort ; especially when 
riding at its anchor after a busy or tempestuous life. It is 
well described by Rousseau, to be the interval of repose and 
enjoyment between the hurry and the end of life. How fax 
the same cause extends to other animal natures, cannot be 
judged of with certainty. The appearance of satisfaction 


witli which most animals, as their activity subsides seek 
and enjoy rest, affords reason to beUeve that this source of 
gratification is appointed to advanced life, under all, or most 
of its various forms. In the species with which we are best 
acquainted, namely, our own, I am far, even as an observer 
of human life, from thinking that youth is its happiest sea- 
son, much less the only happy one : as a Christian, I am 
willing to believe that there is a great deal of truth in the 
following representation given by a very pious writer as well 
as excellent man :* " To the intelligent and virtuous, old-age 
presents a scene of tranquil enjoyments, of obedient appetite, 
of well-regulated affections, of maturity in knowledge, and 
of calm preparation for immortality. In this serene and 
dignified state, placed as it were on the confines of two worlds, 
the mind of a good man reviews what is past with the com- 
placency of an approving conscience ; and looks forw^ard 
with humble confidence in the mercy of God, and wdth de- 
vout aspirations towards his eternal and ever-increasing 

What is seen in different stages of the same life, is still 
more exemplified in the lives of different animals. Animal 
enjoyments are infinitely diver si jiecl. The modes of life to 
wdiich the organization of different animals respectively de- 
termines them, are not only of various, but of opposite kinds. 
Yet each is happy in its owai. For instance, animals of prey 
live much alone ; animals of a milder constitution, in society. 
Yet the herring which lives in shoals, and the sheep which 
lives in flocks, are not more happy in a crowd, or more con- 
tented among their companions, than is the pike or the lion 
\\\i\\ the deep solitudes of the pool or the forest. 

But it will be said, that the mstances which we have 
here brought forw^ard, whether of vivacity or repose, or ol 
apparent enjoyment derived from either, are picked and favor- 
able instances. "We answer, first, that they are instances, 
nevertheless, which comprise large provinces of sensitive 
* Father's Listructions ; by Dr. Percival. of Manchester, p 317 


existence ; that every case which we have described is tiie 
case of minions. At this moment, in every given moment 
of time, how many myriads of animals are eating their food, 
gratifying their appetites, ruminating in their holes, accom- 
plishing their wishes, pursuing their pleasures, taking their 
pastimes I In each individual, how many things must go 
right for it to be at ease, yet how large a proportion out oi 
every species is so in every assignable instant. Secondly, 
we contend, in the terms of our original proposition, that 
throughout the whole of life, as it is diffused in nature, and 
as far as we are acquainted with it, looking to the average 
of sensations, the plurality and the preponderancy is in favoi 
of happiness by a vast excess. In our own species, in which 
perhaps the assertion may be more questionable than any 
other, the prepoUeiicy of good over evil, of health, for exam- 
ple, and ease, over pain and distress, is evinced by the very 
notice which calamities excite. What inquiries does the 
sickness of our friends produce ; what conversation, their mis- 
fortunes. This shows that the common course of things is 
in favor of happiness ; that happiness is the rule, misery the 
exception. Were the order reversed, our attention would be 
called to examples of health and competency, instead of dis- 
ease and want. 

One great cause of our insensibility to the goodness of 
the Creator, is the very extensivoiess of his bounty. We 
prize but little what we share only in common with the rest, 
or with the generality of our species. When we hear of 
blessings we think forthwith of successes, of prosperous for- 
tunes, of honors, riches, preferments, that is, of those advan- 
tages and superiorities over others which we happen either 
to possess, or to be in pursuit of, or to covet. The common 
benefits of our nature entirely escape us. Yet these are the 
great things. These constitute Avhat most properly ought 
to be accounted blessings of Providence — what alone, if we 
might so speak, are worthy of its care. Nightly rest and 
daily bread, the ordinary use of our limbs and senses and 

CtOODness of the deity. 301 

understandings, arc gifts which admit of no comparisoii witlj 
any other. Yet because almost every man we meet with 
possesses these, we leave them out of our enumeration. 
They raise no sentiment, they move no gratitude. Now, 
harein is our judgment perverted by our selfishness. A bless- 
ing ought in truth to be the more satisfactory^ the bounty at 
least of the donor is rendered more conspicuous, by its very 
diffusion, its commonness, its cheapness — by its falling to the 
lot, and forming the happiness of the great bulk and body oi 
our species, as well as of ourselves. Nay, even when we 
do not possess it, it ought to be matter of thankfulness that 
others do. But we have a different Avay of thinking. We 
court distinction. That is not the w^orst : we see nothing 
but what has distinction to recommend it. This neces- 
sarily contracts our views of the Creator's beneficence within 
a narrow compass, and most unjustly. It is in those things 
which are so common as to be no distinction, that the ampli- 
tude of the divine benignity is perceived. 

But pain, no doubt, and privations exist in numerous 
instances and to a great degree, which collectively would be 
very great, if they were compared with any other thing than 
with the mass of animal fruition. For the application, there- 
lore, of our proposition to that mixed state of things which 
these exceptions induce, two rules are necessary, and both, I 
think, just and fair rules. One is, that we regard those 
effects alone w^iich are accompanied with proofs of inten- 
tion ; the other, that when we cannot resolve all appear- 
ances into benevolence of design, w^e make the few give 
place to the many, the little to the great — that we take our 
judgment from a large and decided preponderancy, if there 
be one. 

I crave leave to transcribe into this place what I have 
Eaid upon this subject in my Moral Philosophy. 

•* When God created the human species, either ho washed 
their happiness, or he wished their misery, or he was indij' 
ferent and unconcerned about either. 


" 11 lie had wished our misery, he might have mads sure 
of his purpose, by forming our senses to be so many sores 
and pains to us, as they are now instruments of gratification 
and enjoyment ; or by placing us amid objects so ill-suited 
to our perceptions as to have continually offended us, instead 
of ministering to our refreshment and delight. He might 
have made, for example, every thing we tasted, bitter ; 
every thing Vv'^e saw, loathsome ; every thing we touched, a 
sting ; every smell, a stench ; and every sound, a discord. 

" If he had been indifferent about our happiness or mis- 
ery, we must impute to our good fortune — as all design by 
this supposition is excluded — both the capacity of our senses 
to receive pleasure, and the supply of external objects fitted 
to produce it. 

"But either of these, and still more, both of them, being 
too much to be attributed to accident, nothing remains but 
the first supposition, that God, when he created the human 
species, wished their happiness, and made for them the 
provision which he has made, vAth. that view and for that 

" The same argument may be proposed in difierent 
terms, thus : contrivance proves design ; and the predominant 
tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the 
designer. The world abounds with contrivances ; and all 
the contrivances which we are acquainted with are directed 
to beneficial purposes. Evil, no doubt, exists, but is never, 
that we can perceive, the object of contrivance. Teeth are 
contrived to eat, not to ache ; their aching nov/ and then is 
incidental to the contrivance, perhaps inseparable from it : 
or even, if you will, let it be called a defect in the contriv- 
ance ; but it is not the object of it. This is a distinction 
which well deserves to be attended to. In describing imple- 
ments of husbandry, you would hardly say of the sickle, that 
it is made to cut the reaper's hand ; though from the con- 
struction of the instrument, and the manner of using it, this 
mischii^f often follows. But if you had occasion to describe 


insiruiiients of torture, or execution, this engine, you would 
gay, is to extend the sinews, this to dislocate the joints, this 
to break the bones, this to scorch the soles of the feet. Here, 
pain and misery are the very objects of the contrivance. 
Now nothing- of this sort is to be found in the works of na- 
ture. We never discover a train of contrivance to bring 
about an evil purpose. No anatomist ever discovered a sys- 
tem of organization calculated to produce pain and disease ; 
or, in explaining the parts of the human body, ever said, this 
IS to irritate, this to inflame, this duct is to convey the gravel 
to the kidneys, this gland to secrete the humor which forms 
the gout : if by chance he come at a part of which he knows 
not the use, the most he can say is, that it is useless ; no 
one ever suspects that it is put there to incommode, to annoy, 
or to torment." 

The TWO CASES which appear to me to have the most 
difficulty in them, as forming the most of the appearance ot 
exception to the representation here given, are those of vcn- 
omovs animals, and of animals iweyin^ upon one another. 
These properties of animala, w^herever they are found, must. 
I think, be referred to design, because there is in all cases 
of the first, and in most cases of the second, an express and 
distinct organization provided for the producing of them. 
Under the first head, the fangs of vipers, the stings of wasps 
and scorpions, are as clearly intended for their purpose, as 
any animal structure is for any purpose the most incontest- 
ably beneficial. And the same thing must, under the second 
head, be acknowledged of the talons and beaks of birds, of 
the tusks, teeth, and claws of beasts of prey — of the shark's 
mouth, of the spider's web, and of numberless weapons of 
offence belonging to different tribes of voracious insects. We 
cannot, tlierefore, avoid the difficulty by saying that the 
cfiect -was not intended. The only question open to us is, 
whether it be ultimately evil. From the confessed and felt 
imperfection of our kno\yledge, we ought to presume that 
there may be consequences of this economy which are hidden 


from us : from the benevolence which pervades the general 
designs of nature, we ought also to presume that these con- 
sequences, if they could enter into our calculation, would 
turn the balance on the favorable side. Both these I con^ 
tend to be reasonable presumptions. Not reasonable pre- 
sumptions if these two cases were the only cases which 
nature presented to our observation ; but reasonable pre- 
sumptions, under the reflection, that the cases in question 
are combined with a multitude of intentions, all proceeding 
from the same author, and all, except these, directed to ends 
of undisputed utility. Of the vindications, however, of this 
economy, which we are able to assign, such as most exten- 
uate the difficulty, are the following. 

With respect to venomous bites and stings, it may be ob 

1. That, the animal itself being regarded, the faculty 
complained of is good : being conducive, in all cases, to the 
defence of the animal ; in some cases, to the subduing of its 
prey ; and in some, probably, to the killing of it, when 
caught, by a mortal wound, inflicted in the passage to the 
stomach, which may be no less merciful to the victim than 
salutary to the devourer. In the viper, for instance, the 
poisonous fang may do that which, in other animals of prey, 
is done by the crush of the teeth. Frogs and mice might bo 
swallowed alive without it. 

2. But it will be said, that this provision, when it comes 
to the case of bites, deadly even to human bodies, and to 
those of large quadrupeds, is greatly overdone; that it might 
have fulfilled its use, and yet have been much less deleteri- 
ous than it is. Now I believe the case of bites which pro- 
duce death in large animals — of stings I think there are 
none — to be very few. The experiments of the Abbe Fon- 
tana, which were numerous, go strongly to the proof cf this 
point. He found that it required the action of five exasper- 
ated vipers to kill a dog of a moderate size ; but that to the 
killing of a mouse or a frog, a single bite was sufficient; 


wliicli agrees with the use \\4iich we assign to the faculty. 
The abbe seemed to be of opinion, that the bite even of the 
rattlesnake would not usually be mortal ; allowing, however, 
that in certain particularly unfortunate cases, as when the 
puncture had touched some very tender part, pricked a prin- 
cipal nerve, for instance, or, as it is said, some more consider- 
able lymphatic vessel, death might speedily ensue. 

3. It has been, I think, very justly remarked concerning 
serpents, that while only a lew species possess the venomous 
property, that property guards the whole tribe. The most 
innocuous snake is avoided with as much care as a viper. 
Now the terror with which large animals regard this class 
of reptiles is its protection ; and this terror is founded on the 
formidable revenge which a few of the number, compared 
with the whole, are capable of taking. The species of ser- 
pents described by Linnaeus, amount to two hundred and 
eighteen, of which tliirty-two only are poisonous. 

4. It seems to me, that animal constitutions are pro- 
vided not only for each element, but for each state of the 
elements, that is, for every climate, and for every tempera- 
ture ; and that part of the mischief complained of, arises 
from animals — the human animal most especially — occupy- 
ing situations upon the earth which do not belong to them, 
nor were ever intended for their habitation. The folly and 
wickedness of mankind, and necessities proceeding from these 
causes, have driven multitudes of the species to seek a refuge 
among burning sands, while countries blessed with hospit- 
able skies, and with the most fertile soils, remain almost 
without a human tenant. We invade the territories of wild 
beasts and venomous reptiles, and then complaii* that we 
are infested by their bites and stings. Some accounts oi 
Africa place this observation in a strong point of view. 
'• The deserts," says Adamson, " are entirely barren, except 
where they are found to produce serpents ; and in such quan- 
tities, that some extensive plains are almost entirely covered 
with them." These are the natures appropriated to the sit- 


uatioii. Let them enjoy their existence ; let them have theit 
country. Surface enough will be left to man, though his 
numbers were increased a hundred-fold, and left to him 
where he might live exempt from these annoyances. 

The SECOND CASE, namely, that of animals devouring 
one another, furnishes a consideration of much larger extent. 
To judge whether, as a general provision, this can be deem- 
ed an evil, even so far as we understand its consequences, 
which, probably, is a partial understanding, the following 
reflections are fit to be attended to. 

1. Immortality upon this earth is out of the question. 
Without death there could be no generation, no sexes, no 
parental relation, that is, as things are constituted, no ani- 
mal happiness. The particular duration of life assigned to 
different animals can form no part of the objection ; be- 
cause, whatever that duration be, wdiile it remains finite 
and limited, it may always be asked why it is no longer. 
The natural age of different animals varies from a single 
day to a century of years No account can be given of this ; 
nor could any be given, whatever other proportion of life 
had obtained among them. 

The term then of life in different animals being the same 
as it is, the question is, what mode of taking it away is the 
best even for the animal itself? 

Now, according to the established order of nature — 
which we must suppose to prevail, or w^e cannot reason at 
all upon the subject — the three methods by which life is 
usually put an end to, are acute diseases, decay, and vio- 
lence. The simple and natural life of h'utes is not often 
visited by acute distempers ; nor could it be deemed an im- 
provement of their lot if they were. Let it be considered, 
therefore, in what a condition of suff^ering and misery a brute 
animal is placed which is left to perish by decay. In hu- 
man sickness or infirmity, there is the assistance of man's 
rational fellow-creatures, if not to alleviate his pains, at least 
to minister to his necessities, and to supply the pla^'-e of his 


own activity. A brute, in his wild and natural state, does 
every thing for himself. When his strength, therefore, Oi' 
his speed, or his limbs, or his senses fail him, he is .ielivered 
over either to absolute famine or to the protracted wretch- 
edness of a hfe slowly wasted by the scarcity of food. Ts it 
then to see the world filled with drooping, superannuated, 
half-starved, helple««i '»x\d unhelped animals, that you would 
alter the present system of pursuit and prey ? 

2. Which system is also to them the spring of motion 
and activity on both sides. The pursuit of its prey forms 
the employment, and appears to constitute the pleasure of 
a considerable part of the animal creation. The using of 
the means of defence, or flight, or precaution, forms also th<» 
business of another part. And even of this latter tribe, we 
have no reason to suppose that their happiness is much 
molested by their fears. Their danger exists continually ; 
and in some cases they seem to be so far sensible of it as to 
provide, in the best manner they can, against it ; but it is 
only when the attack is actually made upon them that they 
appear to suffer from it. To contemplate the insecurity of 
their condition with anxiety and dread, requires a degree of 
reflection which, happily for themselves, they do not pos- 
sess. A hare, notwithstanding the number of its dangers 
and its enemies, is as playful an animal as any other. • 

3. But, to do justice to the question, the system of ani- 
mal destruction ought always to be considered in strict con- 
nection with another property of animal nature, namely, 
superfecundity . They are countervailing qualities. One 
subsists by the correction of the other. In treating, there- 
fore, of the subject under this view — which is, I believe, the 
true one — our business will be, first, to point out the advan- 
tages which are gained by the powers in nature of a super- 
abundant multiplication ; and then to show that these ad- 
vantages are so many reasons for appointing that system "of 
national hostilities which we are endeavoring to account 


In almost all cases, nature produces her supplies with 
profusion. A single codfish spawns, in one season, a greater 
number of eggs than all the inhabitants of England amount 
to. A thousand other instances of prolific generation might 
be stated, which, though not equal to this, would carry on 
the increase of the species with a rapidity Mhich outruns 
calculation, and to an immeasurable extent. The advan- 
tages of such a constitution are two : first, that it tends to 
keep the world always full ; while, secondly, it allows the 
proportion between the several species of animals to be dif- 
ferently modified, as different purposes require,* or as difier- 
ent situations may afford for them room and food. Where 
this vast fecundity meets with a vacancy fitted to receive 
the species, there it operates with its whole efiect — there it 
pours in its numbers and replenishes the waste. We com- 
plain of what we call the exorbitant multiplication of some 
troublesome insects ; not reflecting that large portions of 
nature might be left void without it. If the accounts of 
travellers may be depended upon, immense tracts of forest 
in North America would be nearly lost to sensitive existence, 
if it were not for gnats. " In the thinly inhabited regions 
of America, in which the waters stagnate and the climate 
is warm, the whole air is filled with crowds of these in- 
sect*." Thus it is, that where we looked for sohtude and 
death-like silence, we meet with animation, activity, enjoy- 
ment — with a busy, a happy, and a peopled world. Again, 
hosts of 7nice are reckoned among the plagues of the north- 
east part of Europe ; whereas vast plains in Siberia, as we 
learn from good authority, would be lifeless without them. 
The Caspian deserts are converted by their presence into 
crowds of warrens. Between the Volga and the Yaik, and 
in the country of Hyrcania, the ground, says Pallas, is in 
many places covered with httle hills, raised by the earth 
cast out in forming the burrows. Do we so envy these 
blissful abodes, as to pronounce the fecundity by which they 
are supplied with inhabitants to be an evil ; a subject of 


complaint, and not of praise ? Further, by virtue of this 
Bime superfecundity, what wo term destruction becomes 
almost instantly the parent of life. What we call blights oftentimes legions of animated beings, claiming their 
])ortion in the bounty of nature. What corrupts the pro« 
duce of the earth to us, prepares it for them. And it is by 
means of their rapid multiplication that they take posses- 
sion of their pasture ; a slow propagation would not meet 
the opportunity. 

But in conjunction with the occasional use of this fruit- 
fulness, we observe, also, that it allows the proportion be- 
tween the several species of animals to be differently modi- 
fied, as diffx3rent purposes of utility may require. When the 
forests of America come to be cleared, and the swamps 
drained, our gnats will give place to other inhabitants. If 
the population of Europe should spread to the north and the 
east, the mice will retire before the husbandman and the 
shepherd, and yield their station to herds and flocks. In 
what concerns the human species, it may be a part of the 
scheme of Providence, that the earth should be inhabited 
by a shifting, or perhaps a circulating population. In this 
economy, it is possible that there may be the following ad- 
vantages. When old countries are become exceedingly cor 
rupt, simpler modes of life, purer morals, and better institu 
tions, may rise up in new ones, while fresh soils reward the 
cultivator with more plentiful returns. Thus the different 
portions of the globe come into use in succession, as the res- 
idence of man ; and, in liis absence, entertain other guests, 
which, by their sudden multiplication, fill the chasm. In 
domesticated animals, we find the effect of their fecundity 
to be, that we can always command numbers ; we can 
always have as many of any particular species as wo 
please, or as we can support. Nor do we complain of its 
excels ; it being much more easy to regulate abundance 
than to supply scarcity. 

But then i\\\^nq-)erfecu7iditij^ though of great occasional 


use and importance, exceeds the ordinary capacity of uatUT<' 
to receive or support its progeny. All superabundance sup- 
poses destruction, or must destroy itself. Perhaps there is 
no species of terrestrial animals whatever which would not 
overrun the earth, if it were permitted to multiply in per- 
fect safety ; or of fish, which would not fill the ocean : at 
least, if any single species were left to their natural increase 
without disturbance or restraint, the food of other species 
would be exhausted by their maintenance. It is necessary, 
therefore, that the effects of such prolific faculties be cur- 
tailed. In conjunction with other checks and limits, all 
subservient to the same purpose, are the thiiuiings which 
take place among animals by their action upon one another. 
In some instances, we ourselves experience, very directly, 
the use of these hostilities. One species of insect rids us of 
another species, or reduces their ranks. A third species, 
perhaps, keeps the second within bounds ; and birds or liz- 
ards are a fence against the inordinate increase by which even 
these last might infest us. In other, more numerous, and 
possibly more important instances, this disposition of things, 
although less necessary or useful to us, and of course less 
observed by us, may be necessary and useful to certain other 
species ; or even for the preventing of the loss of certain 
species from the universe — a misfortune wliich seems to be 
studiously guarded against. Though there may be the ap- 
pearance of failure in some of the details of nature's works, 
in her great purposes there never are. Her species never 
fail. The provision which was originally made for continu- 
ing the replenishment of the world, has proved itself to be 
effectual through a long succession of ages. 

What further shows that the system of destruction 
among annuals holds an express relation to the system ol 
fecundity, that they are parts indeed of one compensatory 
scheme, is, that in each species the fecundity bears a pro- 
portion to the smallness of the animal, to the weakness, to 
the shortness of its natural term of life, and to thfi dangers 


and enemies by which it is surrounded. An elephant pro- 
duces but one calf; a butterfly lays six hundred eggs. Birds 
of prey seldom produce more than two eggs ; the sparrow 
tribe and the duck tribe frequently sit upon a dozen. In 
the rivers, we meet with a thousand minnows for one pike , 
in the sea, a million of henings for a single shark. Com- 
pensation obtains throughout. Defencelessness and devasta- 
tion are repaired by fecundity. 

We have dwelt the longer on these considerations, be- 
cause the subject to which they apply, namely, that of ani- 
mals devouring one another, forms the chief, if not the 
only instance, in the works of the Deity, of an economy, 
stamped by marks of design, in which the character of util- 
ity can be called in question. The case of venomous ani- 
mals is of much inferior consequence to the case of prey, 
and, in some degree, is also mcluded under it. To both 
cases it is probable that many more reasons belong than 
those of which we arc in possession. 

Our FIRST PROPOSITION, and that which we have hith- 
erto been defending, was, " that in a vast plurality of in- 
stances, in which contrivance is perceived, the dcsig?i of the 
contrivance is beneficial ^ 

Our SECOND PROPOSITION is, " that the Deity has added 
"pleasure to animal sensations beyond what was necessary 
for any other purpose, or when the purpose, so far as it was 
necessary, might have been eflected by the operation of 

This proposition may be thus explained. The capaci- 
ties which, according to the established course of nature, 
are necessary to the support or preservation of an animal, 
however manifestly they may be the result of an organiza- 
tion contrived for the purpose, can only be deemed an act 
or a part of the same will' as that which decreed the exist- 
ence of the animal itself, because, whether the creation 
proceeded from a benevolent or a malevolent being, these 
capacities must have been given, if the animal existed at 


all. Animal properties, therefore, whicli fall under this de- 
scription, do not strictly prove the goodness of God : they 
may prove the existence of the Deity ; they may prove a 
high degree of povv^er and intelligence : but they do not 
prove his goodness ; forasmuch as they must have been 
found in any creation which was capable of continuance, 
although it is possible to suppose that such a creation might 
have been produced by a being whose views rested upon 

But there is a class of properties which may be said to 
be superadded from an intention expressly directed to hap- 
piness — an intention to give, a happy existence distinct from 
the general intention of providing the means of existence ; 
and that is, of capacities for pleasure in cases wherein, so 
far as the conservation of the individual or of the species is 
concerned, they were not wanted, or wherein the purpose 
might have been secured by the operation of pain. The 
provision which is made of a variety of objects not necessary 
to Hfe, and ministering only to our pleasures, and the prop- 
erties given to the necessaries of life themselves, by which 
they contribute to pleasure as well as preservation, show a 
further design than that of giving existence.^ 

A single instance will make all this clear. Assuming 
the necessity^ of food for the support of animal life, it is requi- 
site that the animal be provided with organs fitted for the 
procuring, receiving, and digesting of its food. It may also 
be necessary, that the animal be impelled by its sensations 
to exert its organs. But the pain of hunger would do all 
this. Why add pleasure to the act of eating ; sweetness 
and relish to food ? Why a new and appropriate sense for 
the perception of the pleasure ? Why should the juice of a 
peach applied to the palate, affect the part so differently 

* See tliis topic considered in Dr. Ealguy's Treatise upon the Di- 
vine Benevolence. TMs excellent author first, I think, proposed it 
Rnd nearly in the terms in which it is here stated. Some other obser 
»^ations also under this head are taken from that treatise. 


from what it docs when rubbed upon the palm of the hand ? 
This is a constitution which, so far as appears to me, can be 
resolved into nothing but the pure benevolence of the Crea- 
tor. Eating is necessary, but the pleasure attending it if- 
not necessary ; and that this pleasure depends not only up( n 
our being in possession of the sense of taste, which is differ- 
ent from every other, but upon a particular state of the 
organ in which it resides, a felicitous adaptation of the organ 
to the object, will be confessed by any one who may happen 
to have experienced that vitiation of taste which frequently 
occurs in fevers, when every taste is irregular, and every 
one bad. 

In mentioning the gratifications of the palate, it may be 
said that we have made choice of a trifling example. I am 
not of that opinion. They afford a share of enjoyment to 
man ; but to brutes I believe that they are of very great 
importance. A horse at liberty passes a great part of his 
waking hours in eating. To the ox, the sheep, the deer, and 
other ruminating animals, the pleasure is doubled. Their 
whole time almost is divided between browsing upon their 
pasture and chewing their cud. Whatever the pleasure be, 
it is spread over a large portion of their existence. If there 
be animals, such as the lupous fish, which swallow their 
prey whole and at once, without any time, as it should seem, 
for either drawing out or relishing the taste in the mouth, 
is it an improbable conjecture, that the seat of taste with 
them is in the stomach ; or at least, that a sense of pleasure, 
whether it be taste or not, accompanies the dissohition of 
the food in that receptacle, which dissolution in general is 
carried on very slowly ? If this opinion be right, they are 
more than repaid for the defect of palate. The feast laste 
as long as the digestion. 

In seeking for argument, we need not stay to insist upon 
the comparative importance of our exam^ple ; for the ob- 
servation holds equally of all, or of three at least of the 
other senses. The necessary purposes of hearing might havo 

Nat. T'acol. 14 


been answered without harmony ; of smell, without fra- 
grance ; of vision, without beauty. Now, " if the Deity had 
been indifierent about our happiness or misery, Ave must im- 
pute to our good fortune — as all des-ign by this supposition 
is excluded — ^both the capacity of our senses to receive pleas- 
ure, and the supply of external objects fitted to excite it." 
I allege these as tivo felicities, for they are dilTerent things, 
yet both necessary : the sense being fo-rmed, the objects 
which were applied to it might not have suited it ; the ob- 
jects being fixed, the sense might not have agreed with 
them. A coincidence is here required which no accident 
can account for. There are three possible suppositions upon 
the subject, and no more. The first, that the sense, by its 
original constitution, w^as made to suit the object; the sec- 
ond, that the object, by its original constitution, was made 
to suit the sense ; the third, that the sense is so constituted 
as to be able, either universally or within certain limits, by 
habit and familiarity, to render every object pleasant. Which- 
ever of these suppositions we adopt, the efiect evinces on the 
part of the Author of nature a studious benevolence. If the 
pleasures which we derive from any of our senses depend 
upon an original congruity between the sense and the prop- 
erties perceived by it, we know by experience that the ad- 
justment demanded, with respect to the qualities which were 
conferred upon the objects that surround us, not only choice 
and selection, out of a boundless variety of possible qualities 
vith which these objects might have been endued, but a 
'proiiortioning also of degree, because an excess or defect of 
intensity spoils the perception as much almost as an error 
in. the kind and nature of the quality. Likewise the degree 
of dulness or acuteness in the sense itself is no arbitrary 
:hing, but in order to preserve the congruity here spoken of, 
requires to be in an exact or near correspondency with ths 
strength of the impression. The dulness of the senses forms 
the complaint of old-age. Persons in fevers, and I believe 
in most maniacal cases, experience great torment from theij 


preternatural acuteness. An increased, no less than an im- 
paired sensibility, induces a state of disease and suffering. 

The doctrine of a specific congruity between animal 
senses and their objects, is strongly favored by what is ob- 
served of insects in the election of their food. Some of these 
will feed upon one kind of plant or animal, and upon no 
other ; some caterpillars upon the cabbage alone, some upon 
the black currant alone. The species of caterpillar which 
eacs the vine, will starve upon the alder ; nor will that 
which we find upon fennel touch the rose-bush. Some in- 
sects confine themselves to two or three kinds of plants or 
animals. Some, again, show so strong a preference, as to 
afford reason to believe, that though they may be driven by 
hunger to others, they are led by the pleasure of taste to a 
few particular plants alone ; and all this, as it should seem, 
independently of habit or imitation. 

But should we accept the third hypothesis, and even 
carry it so far as to ascribe every thing which concerns the 
question to habit — as in certain species, the human species 
most particularly, there is reason to attribute something — 
we have then before us an ^animal capacity, not less perhaps 
to be admired than the native congruities which the othei 
scheme adopts. It cannot be shown to result from anj 
fixed necessity in nature, that what is frequently applied t( 
the senses should of course become agreeable to them. It 
is, so far as it subsists, a power of accommodation provided 
in these senses by the Author of their structure, and forms 
a part of their perfection. 

In whichever way we regard the senses, they appear to 
be specific gifts, ministering not only to preservation, but to 
pleasure. But what we usually call the senses, are probably 
themselves far from being the only vehicles of enjoyment, or 
the whole of our constitution which is calculated for the 
same purpose. We have many internal sensations of the 
most agreeable kind, hardly referable to any of the five 
senses. Some physiologists have held that all secretion is 


pleasurable ; and that the complacency which in health, 
without any external assignable object to excite it, we derive 
from life itself, is the effect of our secretions going on well 
within us. All this may be true ; but if true, what reason 
can be assigned for it, except the will of the Creator ? It 
may reasonably be asked, Why is any thing a pleasure ? and 
I know no answer which can be returned to the question 
but that which refers it to appointment. 

We can give no account whatever of our pleasures in 
the simple and original perception ; and even when physical 
sensations are assumed, we can seldom account for them in 
the secondary and complicated shapes in which they take 
the name of diversions. I never yet met with a sportsman 
who could tell me in what the sport consisted — who could 
resolve it into its principle, and state that principle. I 
have been a great follower of fishing myself, and in its 
cheerful solitude have passed some of the happiest hours 
of a sufficiently happy life ; but to this moment T could 
never trace out the source of the pleasure which it afford- 
ed me. 

The " quantum in rebus inane I" whether applied to oui 
amusements or to our graver pursuits, to which, in truth, it 
sometimes equally belongs, is always an unjust complaint 
*f trifles engage, and if trifles make us happy, the true reflec 
tion suggested by the experiment is upon the tendency ot 
nature to gratification and enjoyment ; which is, in other 
words, the goodness of its Author towards his sensitive cre- 

national natures also, as such, exhibit qualities which 
help to confirm the truth of our position. The degree of 
understanding found in mankind is usually much greater 
than what is necessary for mere preservation. The pleas- 
ure Df choosing for themselves, and of prosecuting the object 
of their choice, should seem to be an original source of en- 
joyment. The pleasures received from things great, beauti- 
ful, or new. from imitation or from the liberal arts, are in 


some measure not only superadded, but unmixed guitifica- 
tions, having no pains to balance them.* 

I do not know whether our attachment to loro^perty be 
not something more than the mere dictate of reason, or even 
than the mere effect of association. Property communicates 
a charm to whatever is the object of it. It is the first of 
our abstract ideas ; it cleaves to us the closest and the lon- 
gest. It endears to the child its plaything, to the peasant 
his cottage, to the landholder his estate. It supplies the 
place of prospect and scenery. Instead of coveting the beauty 
of distant situations, it teaches every man to fmd it in his 
own. It gives boldness and grandeur to plains and fens, 
tinge and coloring to clays and fallows. 

All these considerations come in aid of our seco7id propo- 
sition. The reader will now bear in mind what our two 
propositions were. They were, firstly, that in a vast plu- 
rality of instances in which contrivance is perceived, the de- 
sign of the contrivance is beneficial ; secondly, that the Deity 
has added pleasure to animal sensations beyond what was 
necessary for any other purpose, or when the purpose, so far 
as it was necessary, might have been eiTected by the opera,- 
tion of pain. 

While these propositions can be maintained, we are au- 
thorized to ascribe to the Deity the character of benevolence ; 
and what is benevolence at all, must in him be ijijinite be- 
nevolence, by reason of the infinite, that is to say, the incal- 
culably great number of objects upon which it is exercised. 

Of the ORIGIN OF EVIL, no universal solution has been 
discovered ; I mean, no solution which reaches to all cases 
of complaint. The most comprehensive is that which arises 
from the consideration o{ general rules. We may, I ihiuk, 
without much difficulty, be brought to admit the four fol- 
lowing points : first, that important advantages may accrue 
to the universe froni the order of nature proceeding accord- 
* Balgiiy on the Divine Benevolence. 


ing to general laws ; secondly, that general laws, however 
well set and constituted, often thwart and cross one another; 
thirdly, that from these thwartings and crossings, frequent 
particular inconveniences will arise ; and fourthly, that it 
ao-rees with our observations to suppose that some degree of 
these inconveniences takes place in the works of nature. 
These points may be allowed ; and it may also be asserted, 
that the general laws with which we are acquainted are 
directed to beneficial ends. On the other hand, with many 
of these laAVS we are not acquainted at all, or we are totally 
unable to trace them in their branches and in their opera- 
tion ; the effect of which ignorance is, that they cannot be 
of importance to us as measures by which to regulate our 
conduct. The conservation of them may be of importance 
in other respects, or to other beings, but we are uninformed 
of their value or use ; uninformed, consequently, when and 
how far they may or may not be suspended, or their efiects 
turned aside by a presiding and benevolent will, without 
incurring greater evils than those which would be avoided. 
The consideration, therefore, of general laws, although it 
may concern the question of the origin of evil very nearly, 
which I think it does, rests in views disproportionate to our 
faculties, and in a knowledge which we do not possess. It 
serves rather to account for the obscurity of the subject, 1 l:an 
to supply us with distinct answers to our difficulties. How- 
ever, while we assent to the above-stated propositions as 
principles, whatever uncertainty we may find in the appli- 
cation, we lay a ground for believing that cases of apparent 
evil, for which ive can suggest no particular reason, are gov- 
erned by reasons which are more general, which lie deeper 
in the order of second causes, and which on that account 
are removed to a greater distance from us 

The doctrine oi iiii'pcrfections, or, as it is called, of evils 
of imperfection, furnishes an account, founded, like the for- 
mer, in views of universal nature. The doctrine is briefly 
this : it is probable that creation may be better replenished 


by sensitive beings of differeut sorts, than by sensitive beings 
all of one sort. It is likewise probable, that it may be bet- 
ter replenished by diilerent orders of beings rising one above; 
another in gradation, than by beings possessed of equal de- 
grees of perfection. Now, a gradation of such beings implies 
a gradation of imperfections. ' No class can justly complain 
of the imperfections which belong to its place in the scale, 
unless it were allowable for it to complain that a scale of 
being w^as appointed in nature ; for which appointment there 
appear to be reasons of wisdom and goodness. 

In like manner, finitencss, or what is resolvable into 
finiteness, in inanimate subjects, can never be a just subject 
of complaint ; because if it were ever so, it would be always 
so : we mean, that we can never reasonably demand that 
things should be larger tfr more, when the same demand 
might be made, whatever the quantity or number was. 

And to me it seems that the sense of mankind has so far 
acquiesced in these reasons, as that w^e seldom complain of 
evils of this class, when we clearly perceive them to be such. 
What I have to add, therefore, is, that we ought not to 
complain of some other evils which stand upon the same 
foot of vindication as evils of confessed imperfection. We 
never complain that the globe of our earth is too small, nor 
should we complain if it were even much smaller. But 
where is the difierence to us, between a less globe, and part 
of the present being uninhabitable ? The inhabitants of an 
island may be apt enough to murmur at the sterility of some 
parts of it, against its rocks, or sands, or swamps ; but no 
one tloinks himself authorized to murmur, simply because 
the island is not larger than it is. Yet these are the same 

The above are the two metaphysical answers which have 
been given to this great question. They are not the worse 
for being metaphysical, provided they be founded — which I 
think they are — in right reasoning ; but they are of a nature 
too wide to be brought under our survey, and it is often dif 


ficult to apply them in the detail. Our speculations, there- 
fore, are perhaps better employed when they confine them- 
selves within a narrower circle. 

The observations Avhich follow are of this more limited, 
but more determinate kind. 

Of bodily paiii, the principal observation, no doubt, is 
that w^hich we have already made and already dwelt upon, 
namely, " that it is seldom the object of contrivance ; that 
when it is so, the contrivance rests ultimately in good." 

To which, however, may be added, that the annexing ol 
pain to the means of destruction is a salutary provision ; 
inasmuch as it teaches vigilance and caution : both gives 
notice of danger, and excites those endeavors which may be 
necessary to preservation. The evil consequence which 
sometimes arises from the want of that timely intimation of 
danger which pain gives, is known to the mhabitants of cold 
countries by the example of frost-bitten limbs. I have con- 
versed with patients who had lost toes and fingers by this 
cause. They have in general told me, that they were totally 
unconscious of any local uneasiness at the time. Some I 
have heard declare, that while they were about their em- 
ployment, neither their situation nor the state of the air was 
unpleasant. They felt no pain, they suspected no mischief, 
till, by the application of warmth, they discovered, too late, 
the fatal injury which some of their extremities had suffered 
I say that this shows the use of pain, and that we stand in 
need of such a monitor, I believe also, that the use extends 
farther than we suppose, or can now trace ; that to disa- 
greeable sensations we and all animals owe, or have owed, 
many habits of action which are salutary, but which are be- 
come so familiar as not easily to be referred to their origin. 

Pain also itself is not without its alleviations. It may 
be violent and frequent, but it is seldom both violent and 
long-continued ; and its pauses and intermissions beccmo 
positive pleasures. It has the power of shedding a satisfac- 
tion over intervals of ease, which I believe few enjoyments 


exceed. A man resting from a fit of the stone or gout is, 
for the time, in possession of feelings which undisturbetl 
health cannot impart. They may be dearly bought, but 
still they are to be set against the price. And indeed it 
depends upon the duration and urgency of the pain, whether 
they be dearly bought or not. I am far from being sure 
that a man is not a gainer by suffering a moderate interrup- 
tion of bodily ease for a couple of hours out of the four and 
tAventy. Two very common observations favor this opinion : 
one is, that remissions of pain call forth, from those who 
experience them, stronger expressions of satisfaction and of 
gratitude towards both the author and the instruments of 
their rehef, than are excited by advantages of any other 
kind ; the second is, that the spirits of sick men do not sink 
in proportion to the acuteness of their sufferings, but rather 
appear to be roused and supported, not by pain, but by the 
high degree of comfort which they derive from its cessation, 
or even its subsidency, whenever that occurs; and which 
they taste with a relish that diffuses some portion of mental 
complacency over the whole of that mixed state of sensa- 
tions in which disease has placed them. 

In connection with bodily pain may be considered bodily 
disease, whether painful or not. Few diseases are fatal. I 
have before me the account of a dispensary in the neighbor- 
hood, which states six years' experience as follows : 

Admitted, . G,420 

Cured, 5,476 

Dead, 234 

And this I suppose nearly to agree with what other similar 
institutions exhibit. Now, in all these cases, some disordei 
must have been felt, or the patients would not have applied 
for a remedy ; yet we see how large a proportion of the mal- 
adies which were brought forward, have either yielded to 
proper treatment, or, what is more probable, ceased of their 
own accord. We owe these frequent recoveries, and, where 


recovery does not take place, this patience of the human 
constitution under many of the distempers by which it is 
visited, to two benefactions of our nature. One is, that she 
works within certain limits, allows of a certain latitude 
within which health may be preserved, and within the con- 
fines of vv^hich it only sufiers a graduated diminution. Dif- 
ferent quantities of food, diilerent degrees of exercise, differ- 
ent portions of sleep, different states of the atmosphere, aro 
compatible with the j)ossession of health. So likewise it is 
with the secretions and excretions, with many internal func- 
tions of the body, and with the state, probably, of most of its 
internal organs. They may vary considerably, not only with- 
out destroying life, but without occasioning any high degree 
of inconveniency. The other property of our nature, to which 
we are still more beholden, is its constant endeavor to restore 
itself, when disordered, to its regular course. The fluids of 
the body appear to possess a power of separating and expel- 
ling any noxious substance which may have mixed itself with 
them. This they do, in eruptive fevers, by a kind of despu- 
mation, as Sydenham calls it, analogous in some measure to 
the intestine action by which fermenting liquors work the 
yeast to the surface. The solids, on their part, when their 
action is obstructed, not only resume that action as soon as 
the obstruction is removed, but they struggle with the imped- 
ment. They take an action as near to the true one as the 
difficulty and the disorganization with which they have to 
contend will allow of. 

Of mortal diseases, the great use is to reconcile us to 
death. The horror of death proves the value of life. But 
it is in the power of disease to abate, or even extinguish this 
horror ; which it does in a Avonderful manner, and often- 
times by a mild and imperceptible gradation. Every man 
who has been placed in a situation to observe it, is surprised 
with the change which has been wrought in himself, when 
he compares the view which he entertains of death upon a 
sick-bed, with 1he heart-sinking dismay with which he should 


some time ago have met it in health. There is no slinih- 
tude between the sensations of a man led to execution and 
the calm expiring of a patient at the close of his disease. 
Death to him is only the last of a long train of changes ; in 
his progress through which, it is possible that he may expe- 
rience no shocks or sudden transitions. 

Deatlb itself, as a mode of removal and of succession, ia 
so connected with the whole order of our animal world, that 
almost every thing in that world must be changed, to be 
able to do without it. It may seem likewise impossible to 
separate the fear of death from the enjoyment of life, or the 
perception of that fear from rational natures. Brutes are in 
a great measure delivered from all anxiety on this account 
by the inferiority of their faculties ; or rather, they seem to 
be armed with the apprehension of death just sufficiently to 
put them upon the means of preservation, and no further. 
But would a human being wish to purchase this immunity 
at the expense of those mental poM^ers which enable him to 
look forward to the future ? 

Death implies separation; and the loss of those whom 
we love must necessarily, so far as we can conceive, be ac- 
com.panied with pain. To the brute creation, nature seems 
to have stepped in with some secret provision for their relief, 
under the rupture of their attachments. In their instincts 
towards their ofispring, and of their offspring to them, I 
have often been surprised to observe how ardently they love 
and how soon they forget. The pertinacity of human sor- 
row — upon which time also at length lays its softening 
hand — is probably, therefore, in some manner connected 
with the qualities of our rational or moral nature. One 
thing however is clear, namely, that it is better that we 
should possess aflections, the sources of so many virtues and 
60 many joys, although they be exposed to the incidents of 
life as well as the interruptions of mortality, than, by the 
want of them, be reduced to a stale of selfishness apathy, and 


Of otlier external evils — still confining ourselves to what 
are called physical or natural evils — a considerable part come 
within the scope of the following observation : the great 
principle of human satisfaction is engagement. It is a most 
just distinction, which the late Mr, Tucker has dwelt upon 
so largely in his works, between pleasures in which we ai«? 
passive and pleasures in which w^e are active. And I be 
lieve every attentive observer of human life will assent to 
his position, that however grateful the sensations may occa- 
sionally be in which we are passive, it is not these, but the 
latter class of our pleasures, which constitute satisfaction — 
which supply that regular stream of moderate and miscella- 
neous enjoyments in which happiness, as distinguished from 
voluptuousness, consists. Now for rational occupation, which 
is, in other w^ords, the very material of contented existence, 
there w^ould be no place left, if either the things wdth 
which we had to do were absolutely impracticable to our 
endeavors, or if they were too obedient to our uses. A world 
furnished with advantages on one side, and beset with diffi- 
culties, wants, and inconveniences on the other, is the propei 
abode of free, rational, and active natures, being the fittest 
to stimulate and exercise their faculties. The very refrac- 
toriness of the objects they have to deal with, contributes to 
this purpose. A w^orld in w^hich notliing depended upon 
ourselves, however it might have suited an imaginary race 
of beings, would not have suited mankind. Their skill, pru- 
dence, industry — their various arts and their best attain- 
ments, from the application of which they draw, if not their 
highest, their most permanent gratifications, would be insig- 
nificant, if things could be either moulded by our vol! Lions, 
or, of Lheir own accord, conformed themselves to our views 
and wishes. Now it is in this refractoriness that we discern 
the seed and principle oi physical evil, as far as it arises from 
that which is external to us. 

Civil evils, or the evils of civil lue, arc much more easily 
disposed of than physical evils ; because they are, in truth, 


oi much less magnitude, and also because they result, by a 
kind of necessity, not only from the constitution of our nature, 
but from a part of that constitution which no one would 
wish to see altered. The case is this : mankind will in 
every country breed 2ip to a certain point of distress. That 
point may be different in difierent countries or ages, accord- 
ing to the established usages of life in each. It will also 
shift upon the scale, so as to admit of a greater or less num- 
ber of inhabitants, according as the quantity of provision, 
v»'hich is either produced in the country, or supplied to it 
from other countries, may happen to vary. But there must 
always be such a pouit, and the species will always breed 
up to it. The order of generation proceeds by something 
like a geometrical progression. The increase of provision, 
under circumstances even the most advantageous, can only 
assume the form of an arithmetic series. Whence it follows 
that the population will always overtake the provision, will 
pass beyond the line of plenty, and will continue to increase 
till checked by the difficulty of procuring subsistence.^ Such 
difficulty, therefore, along with its attendant circumstances, 
must be found in every old country ; and these circumstan- 
ces constitute what we call pov'erty, which necessarily im- 
poses labor, servitude, restramt. 

It seems impossible to people a country with inhabitants 
who shall be all easy in circumstances. For suppose the 
tiling to be done, there would be such marrying and giving 
in marriage among them, as would in a few years change 
the face of aflairs entirely ; that is, as Avould increase the 
consumption of those articles which supplied the natural or 
habitual wants of the country to such a degree of scarcity, 
as must leave the greatest part of the inhabitants unable to 
procure them without toilsome endeavors ; or, out of the dif- 
ferent kinds of these articles, to procure any kind except that 
v-hich was most easily produced. And this, in fact, de- 

* See a statement of this subject in a late treatise upon popula- 


scribes the condition of the mass of the community in all 
countries : a condition unavoidably, as it should seem, result- 
ing from the provision which is made in the human, in com- 
mon with all animal constitutions, for the perpetuity and 
multiplication of the species. 

It need not however rlishearten any endeavors for the 
public service, to know that population naturally treads 
upon the heels of improvement. If the condition of a people 
be meliorated, the consequence will be, either that the mean 
happiness will be increased, or a greater number partake of 
it ; or, which is most likely to happen, that both eflects will 
take place together. There may be Hmits fixed by nature 
to both, but they are hmits not yet attained, nor even ap- 
proached, in any country of the world. 

And when we speak of limits at all, we have respect 
only to provisions for animal wants. There are sources, 
and means, and auxiliaries, and augmentations of human 
happiness, communicable without restriction of numbers ; 
as capable of being possessed by a thousand persons as by 
one. Such are those which flow from a mild, contrasted 
with a tyrannic government, Avhether civil or domestic ; 
those which spring from religion ; those which grow out of 
a sense of security ; those which depend upon habits of vir- 
tue, sobriety, moderation, order; those, lastly, which are 
found in the possession of well-directed tastes and desires, 
compared with the dominion of tormenting, pernicious, con- 
tradictory, unsatisfied, and unsatisfiable passions. 

The clistiTictions of civil life are apt enough to be regard- 
ed as evils by those who sit under them ; but, in my opin- 
ion, with very little reason. 

In the first place, the advantages which the higher con- 
ditions of life are supposed to confer, bear no proportion in 
value to the advantages which are bestowed by nature. The 
gifts of nature always surpass the gifts of fortune. How 
much, for example, is activity better than attendance ; beau- 
ty than dress ; appetite, digestion, and tranrpiil bowels, than 


all the studies of cookery, or than the most costly conipila- 
lion of forced or far-fetched dainties I 

Nature has a strong tendency to equalization. Habit, 
the instrument of nature, is a great leveller ; the familiarity 
which it induces taking off the edge both of our pleasures 
and ou; sufferings. Indulgences whixjh are habitual, keep 
us in ease, and cannot be carried much further. So that 
with respect to the gratifications of which the senses are 
capable, the difference is by no means proportionable to the 
apparatus. Nay, so far as superfluity generates fastidious- 
ness, the difference is on the wrong side. 

It is not necessary to contend, that the advantages de- 
rived from wealth are none — under due regulations they are 
certainly considerable — but that they are not greater than 
they ought to be. Money is the sweetener of human toil ; 
the substitute for coercion ; the reconciler of labor with lib- 
erty. It is, moreover, the stimulant of enterprise in all proj- 
ects and undertakings, as well as of diligence in the most 
beneficial arts and employments. Now, did alffuence, when 
possessed, contribute nothing to happiness, or nothing be- 
yond the mere supply of necessaries, and the secret should 
come to be discovered, we might be in danger of losing great 
part of the uses which are at present derived to us through 
this important medium. Not only would the tranquillity of 
social life be put in peril by the want of a motive to attach 
men to their private concerns ; but the satisfaction which 
all men receive from success in their respective occupations, 
which collectively constitutes the great mass of human com.- 
tbrt, would be done away in its very principle. 

With respect to statio72, as it is distinguished from riches, 
whether it confer authority over others, or be invested with 
honors which apply solely to sentiment and imagination, the 
truth is, that wdiat is gained by rising through the ranks oi 
life, is not more than sufficient to draw forth the exertions 
of those who are engaged in the pursuits which lead to ad 
vancement, and which, in general, are such as ought to be 


encouraged. Distiiictioiis of this sort are subjects niucn 
more of competition than of enjoyment ; and in that compe- 
tition their use consists. It is not, as has been rightly ob- 
served, by what the lord mayor feels in his coach, but by 
what the apprentice feels who gazes at him, that the public 
is served. 

As we approach the summits of human greatness, the 
comparison of good and evil, with respect to personal com- 
fort, becomes still more problematical ; even allowing to am- 
bition all its pleasures. The poet asks, " What is grandeur, 
what is povv'er?" The philosopher answers, "Constraint 
and plague : et in maxim qit que fortun minim m li- 
cere.'' One very common error misleads the opinion of man- 
kind on this head ; namely, that, universally, authority is 
pleasant, submission painful. In the general course of hu- 
man affairs, the very reverse of this is nearer the truth. 
Command is anxiety, obedience ease. 

Artificial distinctions sometimes promote real equality. 
Whether they be hereditary, or be the homage paid to office, 
or the respect attached by public opinion to particular pro- 
fessions, they serve to confront that grand and unavoidable 
distinction which arises from property, and which is most 
overbearing where there is no other. It" is of the nature of 
property, not only to be irregularly distributed, but to run 
into large masses. Pubhc laws should be so constructed as 
to favor its diffusion as much as they can. But all that can 
be done by laws, consistently with that degree of government 
of his property which ought to be left to the subject, will 
not be sufficient to counteract this tendency. There must 
always, therefore, be the difference between rich and poor ; 
and this difference will be the more grinding when no pre- 
tension is allowed to be set up against it. 

So that the evils, if evils they must be called, which 
spring either from the necessary subordinations of civil life, 
or from the distinctions which have naturally, though not 
necessarily, grown up in most societies, so long as they aro 

aooDNi!:ss of the deity. 329 

nnacconipanied by privileges injurious or oppressive to the 
rest of the community, are such as may, even by the most 
depressed ranks, be endured with very Uttle prejudice to 
their comfort. 

The mischiefs of which mankind are the occasion to one 
another, by their private wickednesses and cruelties ; by 
tyrannical exercises of power ; by rebelhons against just au- 
thority ; by wars ; by national jealousies and competitions 
operating to the destruction of third countries ; or by other 
instances of misconduct either in individuals or societies, are 
all to be resolved into the character of man as a/ree agent. 
Free agency, in its very essence, contains liability to abuse. 
Yet, if you deprive man of his free agency, you subvert his 
nature. You may have order from him and regularity, as 
you may from the tides or the trade-winds, but you put an 
end to his moral character, to virtue, to merit, to accounta- 
bleness, to the use indeed of reason. To which must be 
added the observation, that even the bad qualities of mankind 
have an origin in their good ones. The case is this : human 
passions are either necessary to human welfare, or capable of 
being made, and, in a great majority of instances, in fact arc 
made, conducive to its happiness. These passions are strong 
and general ; and perhaps would not answer their purpose 
unless they were so. But strength and generality, when it 
is expedient that particular circumstances should be respeot 
ed, become, if left to themselves, excess and misdirection : 
from which excess and misdirection, the vices of mankind, 
the causes, no doubt, of much misery, appear to spring. 
This account, while it shows us the principle of vice, shows 
us, at the same time, the province of reason and of self-gcv 
eriiment ; the want also of every support which can be pro- 
cured to either from the aids of religion ; and it shows tiiis, 
without having recourse to any native, gratuitous malignity 
in the human constitution. Mr. Hume, in his posthumous 
dialogues, asserts, indeed, oi idleness, or aversion to labor—- 
wliich he states to lie at the root of a considerable part of 


the evils which mankind suffer — tliat it is sniiply and mere 
ly bad. But how does he distinguish idleness from the love 
of ease ? Or is he sure that the love of ease in individuals is 
not the chief foundation of social tranquillity ? It will be 
found, I believe, to be true, that in every community there 
is a large class of its members whose idleness is the best 
quahty about them, being the corrective of other bad ones, 
If it were possible, in every instance, to give a right deter- 
mination to industry, we could never have too much of it. 
But this is not possible, if men are to be free. And without 
this, nothing would be so dangerous as an incessant, univer- 
sal, indefatigable activity. In the civil world, as well as in 
the material, it is the vis inertias which keeps things in 
their places. 

Natural Theology has ever been pressed with this ques- 
tion : Why, under the regency of a supreme and benevolent 
Will, should there be in the world so much as there is of the 
appearance of chance ? 

The question in its whole compass lies beyond our reach ; 
but there are not wanting, as in the origin of evil, answers 
which seem to have considerable weight in particular cases, 
and also to embrace a considerable number of cases. 

I. There must be chance in the midst of design ; by 
which we mean, that events which are not designed, neces- 
sarily arise from the pursuit of events which are designed. 
One man travelling to York, meets another man travelling 
to London. Their meeting is by chance, is accidental, and 
so would be called and reckoned, though the journeys which 
produced the meeting were, both of them, undertaken with 
design and from deliberation. The meeting, though acci- 
dental, was nevertheless hypothetical! y necessary — which is 
the onlj' sort of necessity that is intelligible — for if the two 
journeys were commenced at the time, pursued in the direc- 
tion, and with the speed in which and with which they 
were in fact begun and performed, the meeting could not l)e 


avoiutMl. There was not, therefore, the less necessity in it 
for its being by chance. Again, the rencounter might bo 
most unfortunate, though the errand upon which each party 
Bet out upon his journey were the most innocent or the most 
laudable. The by-eiiect may be unfavorable, without im- 
peachment of the proper purpose, for the sake of which the 
train, from the operation of which these consequences en- 
sued, was put in motion. Although no cause acts without 
a good purpose, accidental consequences, hke these, may be 
either good or bad. 

II. The appeara7ice of chance will always bear a pro- 
portion to the ignorance of the observer. The cast of a die 
as regularly follows the law& of motion, as the going of a 
watch ; yet, because we can trace the operation of those 
laws through the works and movements of the watch, and 
cannot trace them in the shaking or throwing of the die — 
though the laws be the same, and prevail equally in both 
cases — we call the turning up of the number of the die 
chance, the pointing of the index of the watch machinery, 
order, or by some name which excludes chance. It is the 
same in those events which depend upon the will of a free 
and rational agent. The verdict of a jury, the sentence of 
a judge, the resolution of an assembly, the issue of a contest- 
ed election, will have more or less the appearance of chance, 
might be more or less the subject of a wager, according as 
we were less or more acquainted with the reasons which 
influenced the deUberation. The difierence resides in the in- 
formation of the observer, and not in the thing itself; which, 
in all the cases proposed, proceeds from intelhgence, from 
mind, from counsel, from design. 

Now, when this one cause of iW appearance of chance, 
namely, the ignorance of the observer, comes to be applied 
to the operations of the Deity, it is easy to foresee how fruit- 
ful it must prove of difficulties and of seeming confusion. It 
is only to think of the Deity, to perceive what variety of 
objects, what distance of time, what extent of space and ao 


tion, his ccunsels may, or rather must, comprehend. Can 
it be wondered at, that, of the purposes which dwell in such 
a mind as this, so small a part should be known to us ? It 
is only necessary, therefore, to bear in our thought, that in 
proportion to the inadequateness of our information, will be 
the quantity in the world of apparent chance. 

III. In a great variety of cases, and of cases compre- 
hending numerous subdivisions, it appears, for many reasons, 
to be better that events rise up by chance, or, more properly 
speaking. Math the appearance of chance, than according to 
any observable rule whatever. This is not seldom the case, 
even in human arrangements. Each person's place and 
precedency, ui a public meeting, may be determined by lot. 
Work and labor may be allotted. Tasks and burdens may 
be allotted : 

Operumque laborem 

Partibus osquabat justis, aut sorte trahebat. 

Military service and station may be allotted. The distribu- 
tion of provision may be made by lot, as it is in a sailor's 
mess ; in some cases also, the distribution of favors may be 
made by lot. In all these cases it seems to be acknow- 
ledged, that there are advantages in permitting events to 
chance, superior to those which would or could arise from 
regulation. In all these cases also, though events rise up 
in the way of chance, it is by appointment that they do 

In other events, and such as are independent of human 
will, the reasons for this preference of uncertainty to rule 
appear to be still stronger. For example, it seems to be 
expedient that the period of human life should be unccr- 
tahi. Did mortality foW^w any fixed rule, it would produce 
a security in those that were at a distance from it, which 
would lead to the greatest disorders ; and a horror in those 
who approached it, similar to that which a condemned pris- 
oner feels on the night before his execution. But, that 
death be uncertain, the young must sometimes die as wel> 


tt? the old. Also, were deaths never sudden, they who are 
in health would be too confident of life. The strong aud 
the active, who want most to be warned and checked, would 
live without apprehension or restraint. On the other hand, 
were sudden deaths very frequent, the sense of constant 
jeopardy would interfere too much with the degree of east? 
and enjoyment intended for us ; and human life be too pre- 
carious for the business and interests which belong to it. 
There could not be dependence either upon our own lives, 
or the lives of those with whom we were connected, suffi- 
cient to carry on the regular offices of human society. The 
manner, therefore, in which death is made to occur, con- 
duces to the purposes of admonition, without overthrowing 
the necessary stability of human aflairs. 

Disease being the forerunner of death, there is the same 
reason for its attacks coming upon us under the appearance 
of chance, as there is for uncertainty in the time of death 

The scaso?is are a mixture of regularity and chance. 
They are regular enough to authorize expectation, while 
their being, in a considerable degree, irregular, induces, on 
the part of the cultivators of the soil, a necessity for personal 
'»ttendance, for activity, vigilance, precaution. It is this 
necessity which creates farmers ; which divides the profit of 
the soil between the owner and the occupier ; which by 
requiring expedients, by increasing employment, and by re- 
warding expenditure, promotes agricultural arts and agri- 
cultural life — of all modes of life the best, being the most 
conducive to health, to virtue, to enjoyment. I believe it 
to be found in fact, that where the soil is the most fruitful, 
and the seasons the most constant, there the condition of the 
cultivators of the earth is the most depressed. Uncertainty, 
therefore, has its use even to those who sometimes complain 
of it the most. Seasons of scarcity themselves are not with- 
out their advantages. They call forth new exertions ; they 
set contrivance and ingenuity at work , they give birth to 


improvements in agriculture and economy ; they promote 
investigation ai:d management of public resources 

Again, there are strong intelligible reasons why there 
should exist in human society great disparity of icealth and 
station ; not only as these things are acquired in different 
degrees, but at the first setting out of life. In order, for 
instance, to answer the various demands of civil life, there 
ought to be among the members of every civil society a 
diversity of education, which can only belong to an original 
diversity of circumstances. As this sort of disparity, w hich 
ought to take place from the beginning of life, must, ex hy- 
pothesis be previous to the merit or demerit of the persons 
upon whom it falls, can it be better disposed of than by 
chance ? Parentage is that sort of chance ; yet it is the 
commanding circumstance which, in general, fixes each 
man's place in civil life, along with every thing Avhich ap- 
pertains to its distinctions. It may be the result of a bene- 
ficial rule, that the fortunes or honors of the father devolve 
upon the son ; and, as it should seem, of a still more neces- 
sary rule, that the low or laborious condition of the parent 
be communicated to his family ; but with respect to the 
successor himself, it is the drawing of a ticket in a lottery. 
Inequalities, therefore, of fortune, at least the greatest part 
of them, namely, those which attend us from our birth and 
depend upon our birth, may be left as they are left, to 
chance, without any just cause for questioning the regency 
of a supreme Disposer of events. 

But not only the donation, when by the necessity of the 
case they must be gifts, but eveA the acquirahility of civil 
advantages, ought perhaps, in a considerable degree, to lie 
at the mercy of chance. Some would have all the virtuous 
rich, or at least removed from the evils of poverty ; without 
perceiving, I suppose, the consequence, that all the poor 
must be wicked. And how such a society could be kept in 
subjection to government has not been shown ; for the poor, 
that is, they who seek their subsistence }>y constant mai.ual 


labor, must still loirn the mass of the community ; other 
wise the necessary labor of life could not be carried on — the 
work could not be done which the wants of mankind in a 
state of civilization, and still more in a state of refinement, 
require to be done. 

It appears to be also true, that the exigencies of social 
life call not only for an original diversity of external circum- 
stances, but for a mixture of different faculties, tastes, and 
tempers. Activity and contemplation, restlessness and quiet, 
courage and timidity, ambition and contentedness, not to 
?ay even indolence and dulness, are all wanted in the world, 
all conduce to the well going on of human affairs ; just as 
the rudder, the sails, and the ballast of a ship all perform 
their part in the navigation. Now, since these characters 
require for their foundation different original talents, different 
dispositions, perhaps also different bodily constitutions ; and 
since, likewise, it is apparently expedient that they be pro- 
miscuously scattered among the different classes of society ; 
can the distribution of talents, dispositions, and the consti- 
tutions upon which they depend, be better made than by 
chance ? 

The opi^osites of apparent chance are constancy and sen- 
sible interposition ; every degree oi secret direction being con- 
sistent with it. Now, of constancy, or of fixed and known 
rules, we have seen in some cases the inapplicability ; and 
inconveniences which we do not see, might attend their ap- 
plication in other cases. 

Of sensible interposition we may be permitted to remark, 
that a providence, always and certainly distinguishable, 
would be neither more nor less than miracles rendered fre- 
quent and common. It is difficult to judge of the state into 
which this would throw us. It is enough to say, that it 
would cast us upon a quite different dispensation from that 
under which we live. It would be a total and radical 
change. And the change would deeply affect, or perhaps 
subvert, the whole conduct of human affairs. I can readily 


believe that, other circumstances being adapted to it, such 
a state might be better than our present state. It may be 
the state of other beings — it may be ours hereafter ; but 
the questi-on with which we are now concerned is, how far 
it would be consistent wdth our condition, supposmg it in 
other respects to remain as it is ? And in this question 
there seem to be reasons of great moment on the negative 
side. For instance, so long as bodily labor continues on so 
many accounts to be necessary for the bulk of mankind, 
any dependency upon supernatural aid, by unfixing those 
motives which promote exertion, or by relaxing those habits 
which engender patient industry, might introduce negli- 
gence, inactivity, and disorder, into the most useful occupa- 
tions of human life ; and thereby deteriorate the condition 
of human life itself. 

As moral agents, we should experience a still greater 
alt(iration ; of which more will be said under the next 

Although, therefore, the Deity, who possesses the power 
of winding and turning, as he pleases, the course of causes 
which issue from himself, do in fact interpose to alter or 
intercept efiects w^iich, without such interposition, would 
have taken place : yet it is by no means incredible that his 
providence, which always rests upon final good, may have 
made a reserve with respect to the manifestation of his in- 
terference, a part of the very plan Avhich he has appointed 
for our terrestrial existence, and a part conformable with, 
or in some sort required by, other parts of the same plan. 
It is at any rate evident, that a large and ample province 
/emains for the exercise of providence without its being 
iiaturally perceptible by us ; because obscurity, when appUed 
to the interruption of laws, bears a necessary proportion to 
ihe imperfection of our knowledge when applied to the laws 
themselves, or rather to the efiects which these laws, under 
their various and incalculable combinations, would of their 
own accord produce. And if it be said that the doctriive of 


divine Providence; by reason of the ambiguity under which 
its exertions present themselves, can be atte'^ded with no 
practical influence upon our conduct — that, although we 
oclieve ever so firmly that there is a Providence, we must 
prepare and provide and act as if there were none, I an- 
iwei that this is admitted ; and that we further allege, that 
^0 to prepare, and so to provide, is consistent with the mcst. 
perfect assurance of the reality of a Providence ; and no'' 
only so, but that it is probably one advantage of the pres 
ent state of our information, that our provisions and prepa- 
rations are not disturbed by it. Or if it be still asked, Oi 
what use at all, then, is the doctrine, if it neither alter our 
measures nor regulate our conduct ? I answer again, that 
it is of the greatest use, but that it is a doctrine of senti- 
ment and piety, not — immediately at least — of action or 
conduct ; that it applies to the consolation of men's minds, 
to their devotions, to the excitement of gratitude, the sup- 
port of patience, the keeping alive and the strengthening of 
every motive for endeavoring to please our Maker ; and that 
these are great uses. 

Of ALL VIEWS under which human life has ever been 
considered, the most reasonable, in my judgment, is that 
which regards it as a state of iirohatmn. If the course of 
the world was separated from the contrivances of nature, I 
do not know that it would be necessary to look for any other 
account of it than what, if it may be called an account, is 
contained in the answer, that events rise up by chance. 
But since the contrivances of nature decidedly evince in- 
tention; and since the course of the world and the contriv- 
ances of nature have the same author, we are, by the force 
)f this connection, led to believe that the appearance under 
.vliich events take place is reconcilable v/ith the supposition 
of design on the part of the Deity, it is enough that they 
be reconcilable with this supposition ; and it is undoubtedly 
true that they may be reconcilable, though we cannot rec- 
oncile them. The mind, however, which contemplates the 

Nat. Theol. 15 


works of nature, and in those works sees so mucli of means 
directed to ends, of beneficial effects "brought about by wise 
expedients, of concerted trains of causes terminating in the 
happiest results ; so much, in a word, of counsel, intention, 
and benevolence : a mind, I say, drawn into the habit oi 
thought which these observations excite, can hardly turn its 
view to the condition of our own species without endeavor- 
ing to suggest to itself some purpose, some design, for which 
the state in which we are placed is fitted, and which it is 
made to serve. Now we assert the most probable supposi- 
tion to be, that it is a state of moral probation ; and that 
many things in it suit with this hypothesis which suit no 
other. It is not a state of unmixed happiness, or of happi- 
ness simply ; it is not a state of designed misery, or of mis- 
ery simply ; it is not a state of retribution ; it is not a state 
of punishment. It suits with none of these suppositions. It 
accords much better with the idea of its being a condition 
calculated for the production, exercise, and improvement of 
moral qualities, with a view to a future state, in which these 
qualities, after being so produced, exercised, and improved, 
may, by a new and more favorable constitution of things, 
receive their reward, or become their own. If it be said, 
that this is to enter upon a religious rather than a philo- 
sophical consideration, I answer, that the name of rehgion 
ought to form no objection, if it shall turn out to be the case 
that the more religious our views are, the more probability 
they contain. The degree of beneficence, of benevolent in- 
tention, and of power; exercised in the construction of sensi- 
tive beings, goes strongly in favor, not only of a creative 
but of a continuing care, that is, of a ruling Providence. 
I'he degree of chance which appears to prevail in the world 
rfMjujres to be reconciled with this hypothesis. Now it is 
one thing to maintain the doctrine of Providence along with 
that of a future state, and another thing without it. In my 
opinion, the two doctrines must stand or fall together. Foi 
although more of this apparent chance may perhaps, upon 


other principles, be accounted for tlian is generally supposed, 
yet a future state alone rectifies all disorders ; and if it can 
be shown that the appearance of disorder is consistent with 
the uses of life as a lyrciiaratory state, or that in some re- 
spects it promotes these uses, then, so far as this hypothe- 
sis may be accepted, the ground of the difficulty is done 

In the wide scale of human condition, there is not per* 
haps one of its manifold diversities which does not bear 
upon the design here suggested. Virtue is infinitely various. 
There is no situation in which a rational being is placed, 
from that of the best-instructed Christian down to the con- 
dition of the rudest barbarian, which affords not' room for 
moral agency, for the acquisition, exercise, and display of 
voluntary qualities, good and bad. Health and sickness, 
enjoyment and suffering, riches and poverty, knowledge and 
ignorance, power and subjection, liberty and bondage, civil- 
ization and barbarity, have all their offices and duties, all 
serve for \hQ formation of character ; for when we speak of 
a state of trial, it must be remembered that characters are 
not only tried or proved or detected, but that they are gen- 
erated also and formed by circumstances. The best dispo- 
sitions may subsist under the most depressed, the most afflict- 
ed fortunes. A West Indian slave, who, amid his wrongs, 
retains his benevolence, I for my part look upon as among 
the foremost of human candidates for the rewards of virtue. 
The kind master of such a slave, that is, he who, in the 
exercise of an inordinate authority, postpones in any degree 
his own interest to his slave's comfort, is likewise a merito- 
rious character ; but still he is inferior to his slave. All, 
however, which I contend for, is, that these destinies, oppo- 
gite as they may be in every other view, are both trials, and 
equally such. The observation may be applied to every 
other condition ; to the Avhole range of the scale, not except- 
ing even its lowest extremity. Savages appear to us all 
alike ; but it is owinjr to the distance at which we view 


savage life, that we perceive in it no discrimination of char- 
acter, I make no doubt but that moral qualities both good 
and bad are called into action as much, and that they subsist 
m as great variety in these inartificial societies, as they are or 
do in polished life. Certain at least it is, that the good and 
ill treatment which each individual meets with, depends more 
upon the choice and voluntary conduct of those about him, 
than it does, or ought to do, under regular civil institutions 
and the coercion of j)ublic laws. So again, to turn our eyes 
to the other end of the scale, namely, that part of it which 
Ls occupied by mankind enjoying the benefits of learning, 
together with the lights of revelation, there also the advan 
tage is all along probationary. Christianity itself — I mean, 
the revelation of Christianity — is not only a blessing but a 
trial. It is one of the diversified means by which the char- 
acter is exercised ; and they Avho require of Christianity, 
that the revelation cf it should be universal, may possibly 
be found to require that one species of probation should be 
adopted, if not to the exclusion of others, at least to the nar- 
rovv'ing of that variety which the wisdom of the Deity has 
appointed to this part of his moral economy.^ 

NoAV, if this supposition be well founded, that is, if it be 
true that our ultimate or our most permanent happiness will 
depend, not upon the temporary condition into which we 
are cast, but upon our behavior in it, then is it a much more 
fit subject of chance than we usually allow or apprehend it 
to be, in what manner the variety of external circumstances 
which subsist in the human world is distributed among the 
individuals of the species. "This life being a state of pro- 

■* The reader will observe that I speak of the revelation of Clij-is- 
tiauity as distinct rrom Christianity itself. The dispensation may 
already be universal. That part of mankind which never heard of 
ChPvISt's name, may nevertheless be redeemed; that is, be placed in a 
better condition, with respect to their future state, by his intervention ; 
may be the objects of his benignity and intercession, as well as of the 
piopitiatory virtue of his passion. But this is not "natural theo^-c;.,' ' 
therefore I will not dwell longer upon i*^. 


batioii, it is immaterial," says Rousseau, " what kind of 
trials we experience in it, provided they produce their 
effects." Of two agents who stand indifferent to the moral 
Governor of the universe, one may be exercised by riches, 
the other by poverty. The treatment of these two shall 
appear to be very opposite, while in truth it is the same : 
for though, in many respects, there be great disparity be- 
tween the conditions assigned, in one main article there may 
be none, namely, in that they are alike trials — have both 
their duties and temptations, not less arduous or less dan- 
gerous in one case than the other ; so that if the final award 
follow the character, the original distribution of the circum- 
stances under which that character is formed, may be de- 
fended upon principles not only of justice, but of equality. 
What hinders, therefore, but that mankind may draw lots 
for their condition ? They take their portion of faculties 
and opportunities, as any unknown cause or concourse of 
causes, or as causes acting for other purposes, may happen 
to set them out ; but the event is governed by that which 
depends upon themselves — the application of what they have 
received. In dividing the talents, no rule was observed — 
none was necessary ; in rewarding the use of them, that of 
the most correct justice. The chief diilerence at last appears 
to be, that the right use of more talents, that is, of a greater 
trust, will be more highly rewarded than the right use of 
fewer talents, that is, of a less trust. And since, for other 
purposes, it is expedient that there be an inequality of con- 
credited talents here, as well probably as an inequality of 
conditions hereafter, though all remuneratory ; can any rule 
adapted to that inequality be more agreeable, even to oiu 
apprehensions of distributive justice, than this is? 

We have said that the appearance of casuahy wliich 
attends the occurrences and events of life, not only does not 
interfere with its uses as a state of probation, but that it 
promotes these uses. 

Passu'e virtues — of all virtues the severest and the most 


sublime, and of all, perhaps, the most acceptable to the 
Deity — would, it is evident, be excluded from a constitution 
in which happiness and misery regularly followed virtue and 
vice. Patience and composure under distress, affliction, and 
pain ; a steadfast keeping up of our confidence in God, and 
of our reliance upon his final goodness, at the time when 
every thing present is adverse and discouraging, and — what 
is no less difficult to retain — a cordial desire for the happi- 
ness of others, even when we are deprived of our own — these, 
dispositions, which constitute perhaps the perfection of oui 
moral nature, would not have found their proper office and 
object in a state of avovred retribution ; and in which, con- 
sequently, endurance of evil would be only submission to 

Again, one man's sufferings may be another man's trial. 
The family of a sick parent is a school of fihal piety. The 
dharities of domestic life, and not only these, but all the 
social virtues, are called out by distress. But then misery, 
to be the proper object of mitigation, or of that benevolence 
which endeavors to relieve, must be really or apparently 
casual. It is upon such sufferings alone that benevolence 
can operate. For were there no evils in the world but what 
were punishments properly and intelligibly such, benevolence 
would only stand in the way of justice. Such evils, consist- 
ently with the administration of moral government, could 
not be prevented or alleviated ; that is to say, could not be 
remitted in whole or in part, except by the au-thority which 
inflicted them, or by an appellate or superior authority. 
This consideration which is founded in our most acknow- 
ledged apprehensions of the nature of penal justice, maypos- 
sess its weight in the divine counsels. Virtue perhaps is 
the greatest of all ends. In human beings, relative virtues 
form a large part of the whole. Now, relative virtue pre- 
supposes not only the existence of evil, without which it 
could have no object, no material to work upon, but that 
^vils be apparently, at least, misfortunes ; that is, the effectg 


of ajjpareiit chance. It may be in pursuance, thereibre, and 
in furtherance of the same scheme of probation, that the 
evils of life are made so to present themselves. 

I have already observed, that when we let in religious 
considerations, we often let in light upon the difficulties of 
nature. So, in the fact now to be accounted for, the degree 
of happiness which we usually enjoy in this life may be bet- 
ter suited to a state of trial and probation than a greater 
degree would be. The truth is, we are rather too much de- 
lighted with the world than too little. Imperfect, broken, 
and precarious as our pleasures are, they are more than 
sufficient to attach us to the eager pursuit of them. A re- 
gard to a future state can hardly keep its place as it is. If 
we were designed therefore to be influenced by that regard, 
might not a more indulgent system, a higher or more unin- 
terrupted state of gratification, have interfered v/ith the de- 
sign ? At least, it seems expedient that mankind should be 
susceptible of this influence, when presented to them ; that 
the condition of the w^orld should not be such as to exclude 
its operation, or even to weaken it more than it does. In a 
religious view, however we may complain of them in every 
other, privation, disappointment, and satiety are not without 
the most salutary tendencies. 




In all cases wherein the miud feels itself in danger of 
being confounded by variety, it is sure to rest upon a ftw 
strong points, or perhaps upon a single instance. Among a 
multitude of proofs, it is one that does the business. If we 
observe in any argument that hardly two minds fix upon 
the same instance, the diversity of choice shows the strength 
of the argument, because it shows the rmmber and competi- 
tion of the examples. There is no subject in which the 
tendency to dwell upon select or single topics is so usual, 
because there is no subject of which, in its full extent, the 
latitude is so great, as that of natural history applied to the 
proof of an intelligent Creator. For my part, I take my 
stand in human anatomy ; and the examples of mechanism 
I should be apt to draw out from the copious catalogue 
which it supplies, are the pivot upon which the head turns, 
the ligaments within the socket of the hip-joint, the pulley 
or trochlear muscles of the eye, the epiglottis, the bandages 
which tie down the tendons of the wrist and instep, the slit 
or perforated muscles at the hands and feet, the knitti.;g of 
the intestines to the mesentery, the course of the chyle into 
the blood, and the constitution of the sexes as extended 
throughout the whole of the animal creation. To these in- 
stances the reader's memory will go back, as they are sever 
ally set forth in their places : there is not one of the number 
which I do not think decisive — not one which is not strictly 
mechanical ; nor have I read or heard of any solution of 
these appearances, which in the smallest degree shakes the 
conclusion that we build upon them. 

But of the greatest part of those who, either in this book 
or any other, read arguments to prove the existence of a 
God, it will be said, that they leave off only where thev 


oegan ; that they were never ignorant of this great truth, 
never Joubted of it ; that it does not therefore appear what 
is gained by researches from which no new opinion is learned, 
and upon the subject of which no proofs were wanted. Now, 
I answer, that by inves,ti gallon, the following points are 
always gained in favor of doctrines even the most generally 
acknowledged, supposing them to be true, namely, stability 
and impression. Occasions will arise to try the firmness of 
our most habitual opinions. And upon these occasions it is 
a matter of incalculable use to feel our foundation, to find a 
support in argument for what we had taken up upon au- 
thority. In the present case, the arguments upon which 
the conclusion rests are exactly such as a truth of universal 
concern ought to rest upon. " They are sufficiently open to 
the views and capacities of the unlearned, at the same thno 
that they acquire nev/ strength and lustre from the dis- 
coveries of the learned." If they had been altogether ab- 
struse and recondite, they would not have found their way 
to the understandings of the mass of mankind ; if they had 
been merely popular, they might have wanted solidity. 

But, secondly, what is gained by research in the stabil- 
ity of our conclusion, is also gained from it in iiwpression. 
Physicians tell us, that there is a great deal of difference 
between taking a medicine, and the medicine getting into 
the constitution ; a difierence not unlike which, obtains with 
respect to those great moral propositions which ought to form 
the directing principles of human conduct. It is one thing 
to assent to a proposition of this sort ; another, and a very 
different thing, to have properly imbibed its influence. I 
take the case to be this : perhaps almost every man living 
has a particular train of thought, into which his mind glides 
and falls, w^hen at leisure from the impressions and ideas that 
occasionally excite it : perhaps, also, the train of thought 
here spoken of, more than any other thing, determines the 
character. It is of the utmost consequence, therefore, that 
tins property of our constitution be w^ell regulated. Now it 


is by frequent or continued meditation upon a subject, by 
placing a subject in different points of view, by induction oi 
particulars, by variety of examples, by applying principles to 
the solution of phenomena, by dwelling upon proofs and con- 
sequences, that mental exercise is drawn into any particular 
channel. It is by these means, at least, that we have any 
power over it. The train of spontaneous thought, and the 
choice of that train, may be directed to different ends, and 
may appear to be more or less judiciously fixed, according to 
the purpose in respect of .which we consider it ; but, in a 
moral vieiv, I shall not, I believe, be contradicted when I 
say, that if one train of thinking be more desirable than 
another, it is that which regards the phenomena of nature 
with a constant reference to a supreme intelligent Author, 
To have made this the ruling, the habitual sentiment of our 
minds, is to have laid the foundation of every thing which 
is religious. The world thenceforth becomes a temple, and 
life itself one continued act of adoration. The change is no 
less than this : that whereas formerly God was seldom in 
our thoughts, w^e can now scarcely look upon any thing with- 
out perceiving its relation to him. Every organized natural 
body, in the provisions vvliich it contains for its sustentation 
and propagation, testifies a care, on the part of the Creator, 
expressly directed to these purposes. We are on all sides 
surrounded by such bodies : examined in their parts, won- 
derfully curious : compared with one another, no less won- 
derfully diversified. So that the mind, as well as the eye, 
may either expatiate in variety and multitude, or fix itself 
down to the investigation of particular divisions of the 
science. And in either case it will rise up from its occupa- 
tion, possessed by the subject in a very different manner, 
and with a very different degree of influence, from what a 
mere assent to any verbal proposition which can be formed 
concerning the existence of the Deity — at least that merely 
complying assent with which those about us are satisfied, 
and with which we are too apt to satisfy ourselves — will o; 


can produce upon the thoughts. ' More especially may this 
difference be perceived in the degree of admiration and of 
awe with which the Divinity is regarded, when represented 
to the understanding by its own remarks, its own reflections, 
and its own reasonings, compared Avith what is excited by 
any language that can be used by others. The works of 
nature want only to be contemplated. When contemplated, 
they have every thing in them which can astonish by their 
greatness ; for, of the vast scale of operation through which 
our discoveries carry us, at one end we see an inteUigent 
Power arranging planetary systems, fixing, for instance, the 
trajectory of Saturn, or constructing a ring of two hundred 
thousand miles diameter, to surround his body, and be sus- 
pended like a magnificent arch over the heads of his inhabi- 
tants ; and, at the other, bending a hooked tooth, concerting 
and providing an appropriate mechanism for the clasping 
and reclasping of the filaments of the feather of the hum- 
ming-bird. We have proof, not only of both these works 
proceeding from an inteUigent agent, but of their proceeding 
from the same agent : for, in the first place, we can trace 
an identity of plan, a connection of system, from Saturn to 
cur own globe ; and when arrived upon our globe, we can, 
in the second place, pursue the connection through all the 
organized, especially the animated bodies which it supports. 
We can observe marks of a common relation, as well to one 
another as to the elements of which their habitation is com- 
posed. Therefore one mind has planned, or at least has 
prescribed a general plan for all these productions. One 
Being has been concerned in all. 

Under this stupendous Being we live. Our happiness, 
our existence, is in his hand. All we expect must come 
from him. Nor ought we to feel our situation insecure. In 
every nature, and in every portion of nature which we can 
descry, we find attention bestowed upon even the minutest 
parts. The hinges in the wings of an carivig, and the joints 
of Its antennae, are as highly wrought a? if the Creator had 


had nothing else to finish.' We see no signs of diminution 
of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distraction of thought 
by variety. We have no reason to fear, therefore, our being 
forgotten, or overlooked, or neglected. 

The existence and character of the Deity is, in every 
view, the most interesting of all human speculations. In 
none, however, is it more so, than as it facilitates the belief 
of the fundamental articles of revelation. It is a step to 
have it proved, that there must be something in the world 
more than what we see. It is a further step to know, that 
among the invisible things of nature, there must be an 
intelligent mind concerned in its production, order, and sup- 
port. These points being assured to us by natural theology, 
we may well leave to revelation the disclosure of many 
particulars which our researches cannot reach respecting 
either the nature of this Being as the original cause of all 
things, or his character and designs as a moral governor ; 
and not only so, but the more full confirmation of other par- 
ticulars, of which, though they do not lie altogether beyond 
our reasonings and our probabilities, the certainty is by no 
means equal to the importance. The true theist will be the 
first to listen to any credible communication of divine know- 
ledge Nothing which he has learnt from natural theology 
will diminish his desire of further instruction, or his disposition 
to receive it with humility and thankfulness. He wishes for 
light ; he rejoices in light. His inward veneration of this 
great Being will incline him to attend with the utmost seri- 
ousness, not only to all that can be discovered concerning 
him by researches into nature, but to all that is taught by a 
revelation which gives reasonable proof of having proceeded 
from him. 

But, above every other article of revealed religion, does 
the anterior belief of a Deity bear Avith the strongest forco 
upon that grand point Avhich gives indeed interest and im 
portance to all the rest — the resurrection of the human dead. 
The thing might appear hopeless, did we not see a power n\ 


work adequate to the effect, a power under the guidance of 
an intelligent will, and a power penetrating the inmost re- 
cesses of all substance. I am far from justifying the opinion 
of those who "thought it a thing incredible that God should 
raise the dead ;" but I admit that it is first necessary to be 
persuaded that there is a God to do so. This being thor- 
oughly settled in our minds, there seems to be nothing in this 
process — concealed as \ve confess it to be — which need to shock 
our belief They who have taken up the opinion that the 
acts of the human mind depend upon organizatw?i, that the 
mind itself indeed consists in organization, are supposed to 
find a greater difhculty than others do in admitting a tran- 
sition by death to a new state of sentient existence, because 
the old organization is apparently, dissolved But I do not 
see that any impracticability need be apprehended even by 
these ; or that the change, even upon their hypothesis, is far 
removed from the analogy of some other operations which 
we know with certainty that the Deity is carrying on. In 
the ordinary derivation of plants and animals from one an- 
other, a particle, in many cases minuter than all assignable, 
all conceivable dimension — an aura, an effluvium, an infin- 
itesimal — determines the organization of a future body ; does 
no less than fix whether that which is about to be pro 
duced shall be a vegetable, a merely sentient, or a rationa' 
being — an oak, a frog, or a philosopher ; makes all these 
diflerences; gives to the future body its qualities, and nature, 
and species. And this particle, from M'hich springs and by 
which is determined a whole future nature, itself proceeds 
from and owes its constitution to a prior body ; neverthe- 
less, which is seen in plants most decisively, the incepted 
organization, though formed within and through and by s 
preceding organization, is not corrupted by its corruption, oi 
destroyed by its dissolution ; but, on the contrary, is some- 
times extricated and developed by those very causes — sur- 
vives and comes into action, when the purpose for which i\ 
was prepared requires its use. Now an economy which na- 


ture has adopted, when the purpose was to transfer an organ- 
ization from one individual to another, may have something 
analogous to it when the purpose is to transmit an organiza- 
tion from one state of being to another state : and they who 
found thought in organization may see something in this 
analogy applicable to their difficulties ; for, whatever can 
transmit a similarity of organization will answer their pur- 
pose, because, according even to their own theory, it may 
be the vehicle of consciousness, and because consciousne.'ss 
carries identity and individuality along with it through all 
changes of form or of visible qualities. In the most general 
case, that, as we have said, of the derivation of plants and 
animals from one another, the latent organization is either 
itself similar to the old organization, or has the power of 
communicating to new matter the old organic form. But it 
is not restricted to this rule. There are other cases, espe* 
cially in the progress of insect life, in which the dormant 
organization does not much resemble that which incloses it, 
and still less suits with the situation in which the inclosing 
body is placed, but suits with a different situation to which 
it is destined. In the larva of the libellula, which lives con- 
stantly, and has still long to live, under water, are descried 
the wings of a fly, which two years afterAvards is to mount 
into the air. Is there nothing in this analogy ? It serves 
at least to show, that even in the observable course of nature, 
organizations are formed one beneath another ; and, among 
a thousand other instances, it shows completely that the 
Deity can mould and fashion the parts of material nature so 
as to fullil any purpose whatever which he is pleased to 

They who refer the operations of mind to a substance 
totally and essentially different from matter — as most cer- 
tainly these operations, though aflected by material causes, 
hold very little affinity to any properties of matter with 
which we are acquainted — adopt perhaps a juster reasoning 
and a better philosophy ; and by these the considerations 


above suggested are not wanted, at least in the same degree 
But to such as fnid, which some persons do find, an insuper- 
able difficulty in shaking off an adherence to those analogies 
which the corporeal world is continually suggesting to their 
thoughts — to such, I say, every consideration will be a reliel 
which manifests the extent of that intelligent power which 
is acting in nature, the fruitfulness of its resources, the va- 
riety and aptness and success of its means ; most especially, 
every consideration which tends to show that, in the trans- 
lation of a conscious existence, there is not, even. in their 
own way of regarding it, any thing greatly beyond or totally 
unlike what takes place in such parts — probably small 
parts — of the order of nature as are accessible to our obser- 

Again, if there be those who think that the contracted- 
ness and debility of the human faculties in our present state 
seem ill to accord with the high destinies which the expec- 
tations of rehgion point out to us ; I would only ask them, 
whether any one who saw a child two hours after its birth, 
could suppose that it would ever come to understand flux- 
ions ;^^ or who then shall say, what further amplification of 
intellectual powers, what accession of knowledge, what ad- 
vance and improvement, the rational faculty, be its constitu- 
tion what it will, may not admit of when placed amidst new 
objects, and endov/ed with a sensorium adapted, as it un- 
doubtedly will be, and as our present senses are, to the per- 
ception of those substances, and of those properties of thingS; 
with which our concern may lie. 

Upon the whole, in every thing which respects txiis 
awful, but, as we trust, glorious change, we have a wise 
and powerful Being — the author in nature of infinitely vari- 
ous expedients for infinitely various ends — upon whom to 
rely for the choice and appointment of means adequate to 
the execution of any plan which his goodness or his justice 
may have formed for the moral and accountable part of his 
* See Search's Light of Nature, jidssitn. 


terrestrial creation- That great office rests with Jmn: be 
it ours to hope and to prepare, under a firm and settled per- 
suasion, that, living and dyinsr, we are his ; that life is passed 
in his constant presence, and that death resigns us to \\ii 
merciful disposal. 

EOUM paulinj:^ 











The Epistle to Tims, 189 

The Epistle to Philemon, ■ 195 

The Subscriptions of the Epistles, 200 

The Concluflion • ,...., ij04 




The volume of Christian Scriptures contains thirteen 
letters purporting to be written by Saint Paul ; it contains 
also a book which, among other things, professes to deliver 
the history, or rather memoirs of the history of this same 
person. By assuming the genuineness of the letters, w^ 
may prove the substantial truth of the history ; or, by as 
Buming the truth of the history, we may argue strongly in 
support of the genuineness of the letters. But I assume, 
neither one nor the other. The reader is at liberty to sup- 
pose these writings to have been lately discovered in the 
library of the Escurial, and to come to our hands destitute 
of any extrinsic or collateral evidence whatever ; and the 
argument I am about to offer is calculated to show, that a 
comparison of the different writings would, even under these 
circumstances, aflbrd good reason to believe the persons and 
transactions to have been real, the letters authentic, and the 
narration in the main to be true. 

Agreement or conformity between letters bearing the 
name of an ancient author, and a received history of that 
author's life, does not necessarily establish the credit of 
either ; because, 

1. The history may, like Middleton's Life of Cicero, or 
Jortin's Life of Erasmus, have been wholly, or in part, com 
piled froni the letters ; in which case it is manifest that th^ 


history adds nothing to the evidence already afforded by the 
letters : or, 

2. The letters may have been fabricated out of the his- 
tory ; a species of imposture which is certainly practicable, 
and which, without any accession of proof or authority, 
would necessarily produce the appearance of consistency and 
agreement : or, 

3. The history and letters may have been founded upon 
some authority common to both ; as upon reports and tradi- 
tions which prevailed in the age in which they were com- 
posed, or upon some ancient record now lost, which both 
writers consulted : in v/hich case also, the letters, without 
being genuine, may exliibit marks of conformity with the 
history ; and the history, without being true, may agree 
with the letters. 

AgTcement, therefore, or conformity, is only to be relied 
upon so far as we can exclude these several suppositions. 
Now the point to be noticed is, that in the three cases 
above enumerated, conformity must be the effect of clesig7i. 
Where the history is compiled from the letters, which is the 
first case, the design and composition of the work are in 
general so confessed, or made so evident by comparison, as 
to leave us in no danger of confounding the production with 
original history, or of mistaking it for an independent au- 
thority. The agreement, it is probable, will be close and 
uniform, and will easily be perceived to result from the 
intention of the author, and from the plan and conluct oi 
his work. Where the letters are fabricated from the history., 
which is the second case, it is always for the purpose of im- 
posing a forgery upon the public ; and in order to give color 
and probability to the fraud, names, places, and circum- 
stances, found in the history, may be studiously introduced 
into the letters, as well as a general consistency be endeav- 
ored to be maintained. But here it is manifest, that what- 
ever congruity appears is the consequence of meditation, 
artifice, and design. The third case is that wherein tho 


history and the letters, without any direct privity or com 
munication with each other, derive their materials from the 
same source ; and, by reason of their common original, fur- 
nish instances of accordance and correspondency. This is a 
situation in which we must allow it to be possible for an- 
cient writings to be placed ; and it is a situation in which 
it is more difficult to distinguish spurious from genuine writ- 
ings, than in either of the cases described in the preceding 
suppositions ; inasmuch as the congruities observable are so 
far accidental, as that they are not produced by the imme- 
diate transplanting of names and circumstances out of one 
writing into the other. But although, with respect to each 
other, the agreement in these writings be mediate and sec- 
ondary, yet is it not properly or absolutely undesigned ; be- 
cause with respect to the common original from which the 
information of the writer proceeds, it is studied and facti- 
tious. The case of which we treat must, as to the letters, 
be a case of forgery : and when the writer who is personat- 
ing another sits down to his composition — whether we have 
the history with which we now compare the letters, or some 
other record before him, or whether we have only loose tra- 
dition and reports to go by — he must adapt his imposture, 
as well as he can, to what he finds in these accounts ; and 
his adaptations will be the result of counsel, scheme, and 
industry : art mjist be employed ; and vestiges will appear 
of management and design. Add to this, that, in most of 
the following examples, the circumstances in which the co- 
incidence is remarked are of too particular and domestic a 
nature to have floated down upon the stream of general 

Of the three cases which we have stated, the diflerence 
between the first and the two others is, that in the first the 
design may be fair and honest; in the others it must be ac 
companied with the consciousness of fraud ; but in all there 
is design. In examining, therefore, the agreement between 
ancient writings, the character of truth and originality is 


undesignedness : and this test applies to every supposition ; 
for whether we suppose the history to be true, but the letters 
spurious ; or. the letters to be genuine, but the history false ; 
or, lastly, falsehood to belong to both — the history to be a 
fable, and the letters fictitious — the same inference will re- 
sul t : that either there will be no agreement between them, 
or the agreement will be the effect of design. Nor will it 
elude the principle of this rule, to suppose the same person 
to have been the author of all the letters, or even the author 
both of the letters and the history ; for no less design is nee 
essary to produce coincidence between different parts of a 
man's own writings, especially when they are made to take 
the different forms of a history and of original letters, than 
to adjust them to the circumstances found in any other 

With respect to those writings of the New Testament 
which are to be the subject of our present consideration, ] 
think that, as to the authenticity of the epistles, this argu 
ment, where it is sufficiently sustained by instances, is near- 
ly conclusive ; for I cannot assign a supposition of forgery, 
in which coincidences of the kind we inquire after are likely 
to appear. As to the history, it extends to these points : it 
proves the general reality of the circumstances ; it proves 
the historian's knowledge of these circumstances. In the 
present instance, it confirms his pretensions of having been 
a contemporary, and in the latter part of his history a com- 
panion of St. Paul. In a word, it establishes the substantial 
truth of the narration ; and substantial truth is that which, 
in every historical inquiry, ought to be the first thing sought 
after and ascertained : it must be the groundwork of every 
other observation. 

The reader then will please to remember Uiis word U7i- 
desig7iedness, as denoting that upon which the construction 
and validity of our argument chiefly depend. 

As to the proofs of undesignedness, I shall in this place 
say httle ; for I had rather the reader's persuasion shouli 

ExroyiTiON OF the argument. 9 

arise from the instances themselves, and the separate re- 
marks with which they may be accompanied, than from any 
previous formulary or description of argument. In a great 
plurality of examples, I trust he will be perfectly convinced 
that no design or contrivance whatever has been exercised ; 
and if some of the coincidences alleged appear to be minute, 
circuitous, or oblique, let him reflect that this very indirect- 
ness and subtilty is that which gives force and propriety to 
the example. Broad, obvious, and exphcit agreements prove 
little, because it may be suggested that the insertion of such 
is the ordinary expedient of every forgery ; and though they 
may occur, and probably will occur in genuine writings, yet 
;t cannot be proved that they are peculiar to these. Thus 
A^hat St. Paul declares in chapter eleven of first Corinthians, 
concerning the institution of the Lord's supper, " For I have 
received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. 
That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was be- 
trayed, took bread ; and when he had given thanks, he 
brake it, and said. Take, eat ; this is my body, which is 
broken for you : this do in remembrance of me;" though it 
be in close and verbal conformity with the account of the 
same transaction preserved by St. Luke, is yet a conformity 
of which no us.e can be made in our argument ; for if it 
should be objected that this was a mere recital from the 
gospel, borrowed by the author of the epistle, for the pur- 
pose of setting off his composition by an appearance of agree- 
ment with the received account of the Lord's supper, I 
should not know how to repel the insinuation. In like man- 
ner, the description which St. Paul gives of himself in his 
epistle to the Philippians, 3:5, " Circumcised the eighth 
day a£ the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a lie 
brew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 
concerning zeal, persecuting the church ; touching the right- 
eousness which is in the law, blameless" — is made up of 
particulars so plainly delivered concerning him in the Acta 
of the Apostles, the epistle to the Romans, and the epistle 



to the Galatians, that I cannot deny but that it would h* 
easy for an impostor who was fabricating a letter in the 
name of St. Paul, to collect these articles into one view. 
This, therefore, is a conformity which we do not adduce. 

"^But when I read in the Acts of the Apostles, that when 
" Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, behold, a certain disciple 
was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman 
which ivas a Jcicess f and when, in an epistle addressed to 
Timothy, I find him reminded of his " having known the 
holy Scriptures /ro??^ a child,''' which implies that he must, 
on one side or both, have been brought up by Jewish par- 
ents ; I conceive that I remark a coincidence which shows, 
by its very obliquity, that scheme was not employed in its 
formation. In like manner, if a coincidence depend upon a 

«*^omparison of dates, or rather of circumstances from which 
the dates are gathered, the more intricate that comparison 
shall be, the more numerous the intermediate steps through 
which the conclusion is deduced, in a word, the more cir- 
cuitous the investigation is, the better ; because the agree- 
ment Vv'hich finally results is thereby further removed from 
the suspicion of contrivance, affectation, or design. And it 
should be remembered, concerning these coincidences, tliat 
it is one thing to be minute, and another to be precarious ; 
one tiling to be unobserved, and another to be obscure ; one 
thing to be circuitous or oblique, and another to be forced, 
dubious, or fanciful. And this distinction ought always to 
be retained in our thoughts. 

The very particularity of St. Paul's epistles ; the perpet 
ual recurrence of names of persons and places ; the frequent 
allusions to the incidents of his private life, and the circum- 
stances of his condition and history ; and the connection and 
parallelism of these with the same circumstances in the Acts 
of the Apostles, so as to enable us, for the most part, to con- 
front them one with another ; as well as the relation which 
subsists between the circumstances, as mentioned or referred 
to in the different epistles, afford no inconsiderable proof oi 


the genuineness of the writings, and the reality of the trana- 
actions. For as no advertency is sufficient to guard against 
slips and contradictions, when circumstances arc multipHed, 
and when they are hable to be detected by contemporary 
accounts equally circumstantial, an impostor, I should ex- 
pect, would either have avoided particulars entirely, content- 
*ng himself with doctrinal discussions, moral precepts, and 
general reflections ;^ or if, for the sake of imitating St. Paul's 
style, he should have thought it necessary to intersperse his 
composition with names and circumstances, he would have 
placed them out of the reach of comparison with the history. 
And I am confirmed in this opinion by the inspection of two 
attempts to counterfeit St. Paul's epistles, which have come 
down to us; and the only attempts, of which we have any 
knowledge, that are at all deserving of regard. One of these 
is an epistle to the Laodiceans, extant in Latin, and preserv- 
ed by Fabricius in his collection of apocryphal scriptures. 
The other purports to be an epistle of St. Paul to the Corin- 
thians, in answer to an epistle from the Corinthians to him. 
This was translated by Scroderus from a copy in the Arme- 
nian language, which had been sent to W. Whiston, and 
was afterwards, from a more perfect copy procured at Aleppo, 
published by his sons, as an appendix to their edition oi 
Moses Chorenensis. No Greek copy exists of either : they 
are not only not supported by ancient testimony, but they 

* This, however, must not be misunderstood. A person writing 
to his friends, and upon a subject in which tlie transactions of his own 
life were concerned, would probably be led in the course of his letter, 
especially if it were a long one, to refer to passages found in his his- 
tory. A person addressing an epistle to the public at large, or under 
the form of an epistle delivering a discourse upon some speculative 
argument, would not, it is probable, meet with an occasion of allud- 
ing to the circumstances of his life at all: he might, or he might notj 
th5 chance on either side is nearly equal. This is the situation of the 
catholic epistles. Although, therefore, the presence of these allusions 
and agreements be a valuable accession to the arguments by which 
the authenticity of a letter is maintamed, yet the want of them cer 
tairJy foiins no positive objection. 


are negatived and excluded, as they have never found ad- 
mission into any catalogue of apostolical writings acknow- 
ledged by, or known to the early ages of Christianity. In 
the first of these I found, as I expected, a total evitation of 
circumstances. It is simply a collection of sentences from 
the canonical epistles, strung together with very little skill. 
The second, which is a more versute and specious forgery, 
is introduced with a list of names of persons who WTote to 
St. Paul from Corinth ; and is preceded by an account suffi- 
ciently particular of the manner in which the epistle was 
sent from Corinth to St. Paul, and the answer returned. 
But they are names which no one ever heard of; and the 
account it is impossible to combine with any thing found in 
the Acts, or in the other epistles. It is not necessar}^ for me 
to point out the internal marks of spuriousness and impos- 
ture which these compositions betray ; but it was necessary 
to observe, that they do not afford those coincidences which 
w^e propose as proofs of authenticity in the epistles which we 

Having explained the general scheme and formation oi 
the argument, I may be permitted to subjoin a brief account 
of the manner of conducting it. 

I have disposed the several instances of agreement under 
separate numbers ; as well to mark more sensibly the divis- 
ions of the subject, as for another purpose, namely, that the 
reader may thereby be reminded that the instances are in 
dependent of one another. I have advanced nothing which 
[ did not think probable ; but the degree of probability by 
which different instances are supported, is undoubtedly very 
different. If the reader, therefore, meets wdth a number 
which contains an instance that appears to him unsatisfac- 
tory, or founded in mistake, he will dismiss that numbei 
from the argument, but without prejudice to any other. He 
will have occasion also to observe, that the coincidences dis- 
coverable in some epistles are much fewer and weaker than 
what are supplied by others. But he will add to his obser- 


vat ion this important circumstance, that whatever ascer- 
tains the original of one epistle, in some measure establisheg 
the authority of the rest. For, whether these epistles be 
genuine or spurious, every thing about them indicates that 
they come from the same hand. The diction, which it is 
extremely difficult to imitate, preserves its resemblance and 
peculiarity throughout all the epistles. Numerous expres- 
sions and singularities of style, foun^d in no other part of the 
New Testament, are repeated in different epistles ; and oc- 
cur in their respective places, without the smallest appear- 
ance of force or art. An involved argumentation, frequent 
obscurities, especially in the order and transition of thought, 
piety, vehemence, aflection, bursts of rapture, and of unpar- 
alleled sublimity, are properties, all or most of them, dis- 
cernible in every letter of the collection. But although 
these epistles bear strong marks of proceeding from the same 
hand, I think it is still more certain that they were originally 
separate publications. They form no continued story ; they 
compose no regular correspondence ; they comprise not the 
transactions of any particular period ; they carry on no con- 
nection of argument ; they depend not upon one another ; 
except in one or two instances, they refer not to one another. 
I will further undertake to say, that no study or care has 
been employed to produce or preserve an appearance of con- 
sistency among them. All which observations show that 
they were not intended by the person, whoever he was, that 
wrote them, to come forth or be read together — that they 
appeared at first separa*;^ly, and have been collected since. 

The proper purpose of the following work is to bring 
together, from the Acts of the Apostles, and from the differ- 
ent epistles, such passages as furnish examples of undesigned 
coincidence ; but I have so far enlarged upon this phiu, as 
to take into it some circumst£\nces found in the epictlcs, 
which contributed strength t<* the CD.icluslou, though not 
strictly objects of comparison. 

It appeared also a part of ths sanrie plan Iq nx^v^n^ ♦he 


difficMillios which presented themselves in the course of oui 

I do not know that the subject has been proposed or con- 
sidered in this view before. Ludovicus Capellus, bishop 
Pearson, Dr. Benson, and Dr. Lardner, have each given a 
continued history of St. Paul's life, made up from the Acts 
of the Apostles and the epistles joined together. But this, 
it is manifest, is a different undertaking from the present, 
and directed to a different purpose. 

If what is here offered shall add one thread to that com- 
plication of probabilities by which the Christian history is 
attested, the reader's attention wdll be repaid by the supremo 
importance of the subject, and my design will be fully an* 




1. The first passage 1 shall produce from this epistle, 
and upon which a good deal of observation will be founded, 
is the following : 

" But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the 
saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia 
to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are 
at Jerusalem." Rom. 15 : 25, 26. 

In this quotation three distinct circumstances are stated : 
a contribution in Macedonia for the relief of the Christians 
of Jerusalem, a contribution in Achaia for the same purpose, 
and an intended journey of St. Paul to Jerusalem. These 
circumstances are stated as taking place at the same time, 
and that to be the time v/hen the epistle Avas written. Now 
let us inquire whether we can find these circumstances else- 
where ; and whether, if we do find them, they meet together 
in respect of date. Turn to the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 
20, ver. 2, 3, and you read the following account : "When 
he had gone over those parts," namely, Macedonia, "and 
had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 
and there abode three months. And when the Jews laid 
wait for him, as he ivas about to sail into Syria, he pro- 
posed to return through Macedonia." From this passage, 
compared with the account of St. Paul's travels given before, 
and from the sequel of the chapter, it appears that upon St. 
Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece, his intention 
was, when he should leave the country, to proceed from 
Achaia directly by sea to Syria ; but that to avoid the Jews, 
who were lying in wait to intercept him in his route, he so 
far changed his purpose as to go back through Macedonia, 
embark at Philippi, and pursue his voyage from thence tow- 
ards Jerusalem. Here therefore is a journey to Jerusalem, 

16 HOR^ PAULIN.^. 

but not a syllable of any contribution. And as St. Paul had 
taken several journeys to Jerusalem before, and one also im- 
mediately after his first visit into the peninsula of Greece, 
Acts 18 : 21, it cannot from hence be collected in Avhich oi 
these visits the epistle was written, or with certainty that 
it was written in either. The silence of the historian who 
professes to have been with St. Paul at the time, chap. 20, 
ver, 6, concerning any contribution, might lead us to look 
out for some different journey, or might induce us perhaps 
to question the consistency of the two records, did not a very 
accidental reference in another part of the same history 
afford us sufficient ground to believe that this silence was 
omission. When St. Paul made his reply before Felix to 
the accusations of TertuUus, he alleged, as was natural, that 
neither the errand which brought him to Jerusalem, nor his 
conduct while he remained there, merited the calumnies 
with which the Jews had aspersed him : " Now after many 
years," that is, of absence, " I came to bring alms to my 
nation, and offerings. Whereupon certain Jews from Asia 
found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor 
with tumult ; who ought to have been here before thee, and 
object, if they had aught against me." Acts 24 : 17-19. 
This mention of alms and offerings certainly brings the nar- 
rative in the Acts nearer to an accordancy with the epistle ; 
yet no one, I am persuaded, vdll suspect that this clause 
was put into St, Paul's defence, either to supply the omission* 
in the preceding narrative, or with any view to such ac 

After all, nothing is yet said or hinted concerning the 
place of the contribution — nothing concerning Macedonia 
and Achaia, Turn therefore to the first epistle to the Corin- 
thians, chap, 16, ver. 1-4, and you have St. Paul deliver- 
ing the following directions : " Concerning the collection for 
the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, 
even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every 
one of you lay by him in store, as God h«ith prospered him. 


that iKere be no gatherings when I come. And when 1 
come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them 
will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And 
if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me." In 
this passage we find a contribution carrying on at Corinth, 
the capital of Achaia, for the Christians of Jerusalem ; we 
find also a hint given of the possibility of St. Paul going up 
to Jerusalem himself, after he had paid his visit into Achaia ; 
but this is spoken of rather as a possibility than as any set- 
tled intention ; for his first thought was, "Whomsoever you 
shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your 
liberality unto Jerusalem ;" and in the sixth verse he adds, 
" That ye may bring me on my journey ivliitliersoever I go." 
This epistle purports to be written after St. Paul had been 
at Corinth ; for it refers throughout to what he had done 
and said among them while he was there. The expression, 
therefore, "when I come," must relate to a second visit, 
against which visit the contribution spoken of was desired 
to be in readiness. 

But though the contribution in Achaia be expressly men- 
tioned, nothing is here said concerning any contribution in 
Macedonia. Turn therefore, in the third place, to the second 
epistle to the Corinthians, chap. 8, ver. 1-4, and you will 
discover the particular which remains to be sought for : 
" Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God 
bestowed on the churches of Maccdojiia ; how that in a 
great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their 
deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 
For to their power 1 bear record, yea, and beyond theii 
power, they were willing of themselves ; praying us with 
much entreaty, that we would receive the gift, and take 
upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." 
To which add, chap. 9, ver. 2, "I know the forwardness ol 
your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, 
that Achaia was ready a year ago." In this epistle we find 
St. Paul advanced as far as Macedonia, upon that scco/ul 
1 r.* 


visit to Corinth which he promised in his former 2pistle ,' 
we find also, in the passages now quoted from it, that a 
contribution was going on in Macedonia at the same time 
with, or soon however following, the contribution which was 
made in Achaia ; but for whom the contribution was made 
does not appear in this epistle at all : that information must 
be supplied from the first epistle. 

Here therefore, at length, but fetched from three different 
writings, we have obtained the several circumstances we 
inquired after, and which the epistle to the E-omans brings 
together, namely, a contribution in Achaia for the Christians 
of Jerusalem, a contribution in Macedonia for the same, and 
an approaching journey of St. Paul to Jerusalem. We have 
these circumstances — each by some hint in the passage in 
which it is mentioned, or by the date of the writing in which 
the passage occurs — fixed to a particular time ; and we have 
that time turning out, upon examination, to be in all the 
sa??ie, namely, towards the close of St. Paul's second visit 
to the peninsula of G reece. This is an instance of conform- 
ity beyond the possibility, I will venture to say, of random 
\^Titing to produce ; I also assert, that it is in the highest 
degree improbable that it should have been the effect of 
contrivance and design. The imputation of desigoi amounts 
to this : that the forger of the epistle to the Uomans inserted 
in it the passage upon which our observations are founded, 
for the purpose of giving color to his forgery by the appear- 
ance of conformity with other writings which v/ere then 
extant. I reply, in the first place, that if he did this to 
countenance his forgery, he did it for the purpose of an argu- 
ment which would not strike one reader in ten thousand. 
Coincidences so circuitous as this answer not the ends of 
forgery ; are seldom, I believe, attempted by it. In the 
second place, I observe that he must have had the Acts of 
the Apostles and the two epistles to the Corinthians before 
him at the time. In the Acts of the Apostles — I mean that 
part of the Acts which relates to this period — he would have 


found the journey to Jerusalem but nothing about the con- 
tribution. In the first epistle to the Corinthians, he Mould 
hive found a contribution going on in Achaia for the Chris- 
tians of Jerusalem, and a distant hint of the possibility of 
the journey, but nothing concerning a contribution m Mace 
donia. In the second epistle to the Corinthians, he would 
have found a contribution in Macedonia accompanying that 
in Achaia, but no intimation for whom either was intended 
and not a word about the journey. It was only by a closf 
and attentive collation of the three writings, that he could 
have picked out the circumstances which he has united in 
his epistle, and by a still more nice examination, that ho 
could have determined them to belong to the same period 
In the third place, I remark, what diminishes very much tlie 
suspicion of fraud, how aptly and connectedly the mention 
of the circumstances in question, namely, the journey to 
Jerusalem and the occasion of that journey, arises from the 
context: "Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, 1 will 
come to you ; for I trust to see you in my journey and 
to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first 1 be 
somewhat filled with your company. But noiu I go unto 
Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it Jiath pleased 
them of Macedonia and AcJmia to make a certain contri 
hutioQifor the iioor saints luhich are at Jerusalem It hath 
pleased them verily, and their debtors they are ; for if the 
Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, 
their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things 
When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to 
them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain " Is the 
passage in italics like a passage foisted in for an extraneous 
purpose? Does it not arise from what goes before, by a 
junction as easy as any example of writing upon real busi 
ncss can furnish ? Could any thing be more natural than 
that St. Paul, in writing to the Romans, should speak of the 
time when, he hoped to visit them; should mention tha 
business which then detained him ; and that he purposed 

5-/0 HORiE PAULJxN^ifi. 

to set forward upon nis journey to them when that business 
was completed ? 

II. By means of the quotation which formed the subject 
of the preceding number, we collect that the epistle to the 
Romans w^as written at the conclusion of St. Paul's second 
visit to the peninsula of Greece ; but this we collect, not 
from the epistle itself, nor from any thing declared concern- 
ing the time and place in any part of the epistle, but from a 
comparison of circumstances referred to in the epistle, wdth 
the order of events recorded in the Acts, and wdth references 
to the same circumstances, though for quite different pur- 
poses, in the two epistles to the Corinthians. Now, w^ould 
the author of a forgery who sought to gain credit to a spuri- 
ous letter by congruities depending upon the time and place 
in which the letter was supposed to be WTitten, have left 
that time and place to be made out in a manner so obscure 
and indirect as this is ? If, therefore, coincidences of circum- 
stances can be pointed out in this epistle depending upon its 
date, or the place where it was written, wdiile that date and 
place are only ascertained by other circumstances, such coin- 
cidences may fairly be stated as iindedgned. Under this 
head I adduce. 

Chap. 16 : 21-23 : " Timotheus my workfellow', and Lu- 
cms, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. ] 
Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord 
Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you 
and Gluartus, a brother." With this passage I compare Acts 
20 : 4 : "And there accompanied him into Asia, Sopater of 
Berea ; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus ; 
and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus 
ind Trophimus." The epistle to the Romans, w^e have 
seen, was written just before St. Paul's departure from 
Greece, after his second visit to that peninsula ; the persons 
rnsntioned in the quotation from the Acts are those who 
accompanied him in that departure. Of seven whoso names 
are joined in the salutation of the churcb of Rome, tliree 


naiiiv^ly, Sosijjater, Gains, and Timothy, are proved by this 
passage in the Acts to have been with St. Panl at the time 
And th-3 is perhaps as much coincidence as could be expect- 
ed from reahty, though less, I am apt to think, than would 
have been produced by design. Four are mentioned in the 
Acts who are not joined in the salutation ; and it is in the 
nature of the case probable that there should be many at- 
tending St. Paul in Greece who knew nothing of the con- 
verts at Rome, nor were known by them. In like manner, 
several are joined in the salutation who are not mentioned 
in the passage referred to in the Acts. This also was to be 
expected. The occasion of mentioning them in the Acts 
was their proceeding with St. Paul upon his journey. Bnt 
we may be sure that there were many eminent Christians 
with St. Paul in Greece, besides those who accompanied 
him into Asia.* 

But if any one shall still contend that a forger of the 
epistle, with the Acts of the Apostles before him, and hav- 
ing settled this scheme of writing a letter as from St. Paul 

* Of these, Jason is one, whose presence upon this occasion is very 
naturally accounted for. Jason was an inhabitant of Thessalonica, in 
Macedonia, and entertained St. Paul in his house upon his first visit 
to that country. Acts 17 : 7. St. Paul, upon this his second visit, 
passed through M-acedonia, on his way to Greece, and from the situa- 
uon of Thessalonica, most likely through, that city. It appears, from 
various instances in the Acts, to have been the practice of many con- 
verts to attend St. Paul from place to place. It is therefore highly 
probable — I mean, that it is highly consistent with the account in the 
history — that Jason, according to that account a zealous disciple, the 
inhabitant of a city at no great distance from Greece, and through 
which, as it should seem, St. Paul had lately passed, should have a^^- 
companied St. Paul into Greece, and have been with him there at this 
tin.e. Lucius is another name in the epistle. A very slight altera- 
tion would convert Aovkloc into AovKug, Lucius into Luke, which would 
produce an additional coincidence ; for if Luke was the author of the 
history, he was with St. Paul at the time; inasmuch as, describing 
the voyage whivih took place soon after the wi'iting of this epistle, the 
historian uses the first person, " We sailed away from Pliilippi." Act? 


upon his second visit into Greece, would easily think of tlie 
expedient of putting in the names of those persons who ap- 
peared to be with St. Paul, at the time as an obvious recom- 
mendation of the imposture, I then repeat my observations, 
first, that he would have made the catalogue more complete ; 
and secondly, that with this contrivance in his thoughts, it 
was certainly his business, in order to avail himself of the 
artifice, to have stated in the body of the epistle that Paul 
was in Greece when he wrote it, and that he was there upon 
his second visit ; neither of which he has done, either directly, 
or even so as to be discoverable by any circumstance found 
in the narrative delivered in the Acts. 

Under the same head, namely, of coincidences depend- 
ing upon date, I cite from the epistle, chap. 16 : 3, the fol- 
lowing salutation : " Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers 
in Christ Jesus ; who have for my life laid down their own 
necks : unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the 
churches of the Gentiles." It appears from the Acts of the 
Apostles, that Priscilla and Aquila had originally been in- 
habitants of E-ome; for we read. Acts 18 : 2, that Paul 
" found a certain Jew, named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately 
come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, (because that 
Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome.'') 
They were connected, therefore, with the place to which 
the salutations are sent. That is one coincidence ; another 
is the following : St. Paul became acquainted with these 
persons at Corinth, during his first visit into Greece. They 
accompanied him. upon his return into Asia ; Avere settled 
for some time at Ephesus, Acts 18 : 19-26 ; and appear to 
have been with St. Paul when he wrote from that place his 
first epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 16 : 19; not long 
after the writing of which epistle St. Paul went from Eph- 
esus into Macedonia, and, " after he had gone over those 
parts," proceeded from thence upon his second visit into 
Greece ; during which visit, or rather at the conclusion of it, 
the epistle to the Horaans, as has been shown, was written 


We have therefore the time of St. Paul's residence at Eph* 
esus after he had written to the Corinthians, the time taken 
up hy his progress through Macedonia — which is indefinite, 
and was probably considerable — and his three months' abode 
in Greece ; we have the sum of those three periods allowed 
for Aquila and Priscilla going back to Rome, so as to bt 
there when the epistle before us was written. Now, what 
this quotation leads us to observe is, the danger of scatter- 
ing names and circumstances in writings like the present, 
how implicated they often are with dates and places, and 
that nothing but truth can preserve consistency. Had the 
notes of time in the epistle to the Romans fixed the writing 
of it to any date prior to St. Paul's first residence at Cor- 
inth, the salutation of Aquila and Priscilla would have con- 
tiiadicted the history, because it would have been prior to 
his acquaintance with these persons. If the notes of time 
had fixed it to any period during that residence at Corinth, 
during his journey to Jerusalem when he first returned out 
of Greece, during his stay at Antioch, whither he went down 
to Jerusalem, or during his second progress through the 
lesser Asia, upon which he proceeded from Antioch, an 
equal contradiction would have been incurred ; because, 
from Acts 18 : 2—18, 19-2G, it appears that during all this 
time Aquila and Priscilla were either along with St. Paul, 
or were abiding at Ephesus. Lastly, had the notes of time 
iw this epistle, which we have seen to be perfectly incidental, 
compared with the notes of time in the first epistle to the 
Corinthians, which are equally incidental, fixed this epistle 
to be either contemporary with that or prior to it, a similar 
contradiction would have ensued ; because, first, when the 
epistle to the Corinthians was written, Aquila and Priscilla 
were along with St. Paul, as they joined in the salutation 
of that church, 1 Cor. 16 : 19 ; and because, secondly, the 
history does not allow us to suppose that between the time 
of their becoming acquainted with St. Paul and the time of 
St. Paul's writing to the Corinthians, Aquila and Priscilla 

24 nOR^ PAULINiE. 

could have gone to Rome, so as to have been saluted in an 
epistle to that city ; and then come back to St. Paul at 
Ephesus, so as to be joined with him in saluting the church 
of Corinth. As it is, all things are consistent. The epistle 
to the Eomans is posterior even to the second epistle to the 
Corinthians ; because it speaks of a contribution in Achaia 
being completed, which the second epistle to the Corinthi- 
ans, chap. 8, is only sr'liciting. It is sufficiently, therefore, 
posterior to the first epistle to the Corinthians to allow time 
in the interval for Aquila and Priscilla's return from Ephe- 
sus to Rome. 

Before we dismiss these tv/o persons, we may take notice 
of the terms of commendation in w^hich St. Paul describes 
them, and of the agreement of that encomium with the 
history. " My helpers in Christ Jesus ; who have for my 
life laid down their own necks : unto whom not only I give 
thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles." In the 
eighteenth chapter of the Acts, we are informed that Aquila 
and Priscilla were Jews ; that St. Paul first met with them 
at Corinth ; that for some time he abode in the same house 
with them ; that St. Paul's contention at Corinth was with 
the unbelieving Jews, who at first " opposed and blasphem- 
ed," and afterwards " with one accord raised an insurrec- 
tion" against him; that Aquila and Priscilla adhered, we 
may conclude, to St. Paul throughout this whole contest ; 
for, when he left the city, they went with him. Acts 18:18. 
Under these circumstances, it is highly probable that they 
should be involved in the dangers and persecutions which 
St. Paul underwent from the Jews, being themselves Jews ; 
and, by adhering to St. Paul in this dispute, deserters, aa 
they would be accounted, of the Jewish cause. Further, as 
they, though Jews, were assisting to St. Paul in preaching 
to the Gentiles at Corinth, they had taken a decided part 
ni the great controversy of that day, the admission of the 
Gentiles to a parity of religious situation with the Jews. Foi 
this conduct alone, if there was no other reason .ney may 


seem to have bjen entitled to " thanks from the churches ol 
the (Tciitiles." They were Jews taking pan with Gentiles 
Yet is all this so indirectly intimated, or rather so much ci 
it left to inference, in the account given in the Acts, that I 
do not think it probable that a forger either could or would 
have drawn his representation from thence ; and still les? 
probable do I think it, that without having seen the Acts, 
he could, by mere accident, and without truth for his guide, 
have delivered a representation so conformable to the cir- 
cumstances there recorded. 

The two congruities last adduced depended upon tht 
time ; the two following regard the place of the epistle. 

1, Chap. IC : 23 : " Erastus the chamberlain of the 
city salutoth you." Of what city ? We have seen, that is, 
we have mferred from circumstances found in the epistle, 
compared with circumstances found in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles, and m the two epistles to the Corinthians, that our 
epistle was WTittcn during St. Paul's second visit to the 
peninsula of Greece. Again, as St. Paul, in his epistle to 
the church of Corinth, 1 Cor. 16 : 3, speaks of a collection 
going on in that city, and of his desire that it might be ready 
against he came thither ; and as in this epistle he speaks of 
that collection being ready, it follows that the epistle was 
written either while he was at Corinth, or after he had been 
there. Thirdly, since St. Paul speaks in this epistle of his 
journey to Jerusalem, as about instantly to take place ; and 
as we learn, Acts 20 : 3, that his design and attempt was 
to sail upon that journey immediately from Greece, properly 
so called, that is, as distinguished from Macedonia, it is prob- 
able that he was in this country when he wrote the epistle, 
in which he speaks of himself as upon the eve of setting out. 
If in Greece, he was most likely at Corinth ; for the two 
epistles to the Corinthians show that the principal end of 
liis coming into Greece was to visit that city, where he had 
founded a church. Certainly w^e know no place in Greece 
in which his presence was so probable ; at least, the placing 


of him at Corinth satisfies every circumstance. Now, that 
Erastus was an inhabitant of Corinth, or had some connec- 
tion with Corinth, is rendered a fair subject of presumption, 
by that which is accidentally said of him in the second epis- 
tle to Timothy, cha]3. 4 : 20 : " Erastus abode at Corinth''' 
St, Paul complains of his solitude, and is telling Timothy 
what was become of his companions. " Erastus abode at 
Corinth ; but Trophimus have I left at Miletus sick." Eras- 
tus was one of those who had attended St. Paul in his trav- 
els, Acts 19 : 22 ; and when those travels had upon some 
occasion brought our apostle and his train to Corinth, Eras- 
tus stayed there, for no reason so probable as that it was his 
home. I allow that this coincidence is not so precise as 
some others, yet I think it too clear to be produced by acci- 
dent ; for of the many places which this same epistle has 
assigned to different persons, and the innumerable others 
which it might have mentioned, how came it to fix upon 
Corinth for Erastus ? And as far as it is a coincidence, it is 
certainly undesigned on the part of the author of the epistle 
to the Romans : because he has not told us of what city 
Erastus was the chamberlain ; or, which is the same thing, 
from what city the epistle was written, the setting forth of 
which was absolutely necessary to the display of the coinci- 
dence, if any such display had been thought of: nor could 
the author of the epistle to Timothy leave Erastus at Cor- 
inth, from any thing he might have read in the epistle to the 
Romans, because Corinth is nowhere in that epistle men- 
tioned either by name or description. 

2. Chap. 16 : 1—3 : "I com.mend unto you Phebe our 
sister, which, is a servant of the church which is at Cen- 
chrea : that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, 
and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need 
of you ; for she hath been a succorer of many, and of my- 
self also." Cenchrea adjoined to Corinth ; St. Paul, there- 
fore, at the time of writing the letter, was in the neighbor- 
hood of the woman whom, he thus rocomm.ends. But fur- 


ther, that St. Paul had before this been at Cenchrea itself, 
appears from the eighteenth chapter of the Acts ; and ap- 
pears by a circumstance as incidental and as unlike design 
as any that can be imagined. " Paul after this tarried there," 
namely, at Corinth, "yet a good while, and then took his 
leave of his brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with 
him Priscilla and Aquila, having shorn his head hi Cen- 
chrea': for he had a vow.*' Acts 18 : 18. The shaving of 
the head denoted the expiration of the Nazaritic vow. The 
historian, therefore, by the mention of this circumstance, vir- 
tually tells us that St. Paul's vow was expired before he set 
forward upon his voyage, havijig deferred probably his de- 
parture until he should be released from the restrictions 
under which his vow laid him. Shall we say that the 
author of the Acts of the Apostles feigned this anecdote of 
St. Paul at Cenchrea, because he had read in the epistle to 
the Romans that ** Phebe, a servant of the church of Cen- 
chrea, had been a succorer of many, and of him also ?" Or 
shall we say that the author of the epistle to the Romans, 
out of his own imagination, created Phebe " a servant oj 
the church of Ce7ich7'ea" hecsiuse he read in the Acts of the 
Apostles that Paul had " shorn his head" in that place ? 

III. Chap. 1 : 13 : "Now I would not have you igno- 
rant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, 
(but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among 
you also, even as among other Gentiles." Again, 15 : 23-28, 
" But now having no more place in these parts, and having 
a great desire these many years," TroAAa oftentimes, "to come 
unto you ; w^hensoever I take my journey into Spain I will 
come to you : for I trust to see you in my journey, and to 
be brought on my way thitherward by you. But now I go 
up unto Jerusalem, to minister unto the saints. When, 
therefore, I have performed this, and have sealed to them 
this fruit, I will come by you into Spain." 

With these passages compare Acts 19:21: " After these 
things were ended," namely, at Ephesus, " Paul purposed 

^8 HOR^ PAULlNiE. 

in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and 
A.chaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying. After I have been there. 
I must also see Rome." 

Let it be observed, that our epistle purports to have been 
written at the conclusion of St. Paul's second journey into 
Greece ; that the quotation from the Acts contains words 
said to have been spoken by St. Paul at Ephesus, some time 
before he set forward upon that journey. Now I contend 
that it is impossible that two independent fictions should 
have attributed to St. Paul the same purpose ; especially a 
purpose so specific and particular as this, which was not 
merely a general design of visiting Rome after he had passed 
through Macedonia and Achaia, and after he had performed 
a voyage from those countries to Jerusalem. The conform- 
ity between the history and the epistle is perfect. In the 
first quotation from the epistle, we find that a design of vis- 
iting Rome had long dwelt in the apostle's mind : in the 
quotation from the Acts, we find that design expressed a 
considerable time before the epistle was written. In the 
history we find that the plan which St. Paul had formed 
was, to pass through Macedonia and Achaia, after that to 
go to Jerusalem, and when he had finished his visit there 
to sail for Rome. "When the epistle was written he had 
executed so much of his plan as to have passed through 
Macedonia and Achaia, and was preparing to pursue the 
remainder of it, by speedily setting out towards Jerusalem ; 
and in this point of his travels he tells his friends at Rome, 
that when he had completed the business Vv^hich carried 
him to Jerusalem, he would come to them. Secondly, I say 
that the very inspection of the passages will satisfy us that 
they were not made up from one another. 

" Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I \vil come 
to you ; for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be 
brought on my way thHherward by you. But now I go up 
unto Jerusalem, to minister unto the saints. When, there- 
fore, I have performed this, and have sealed to them thi# 


fruit; 1 will come by you into Spain." Tliis fiom the 

''Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through 
Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying. After 1 
have been there, I must also see Rome." This from the 

If the passage in the epistle was taken from that in the 
Acts, why was Spain put in ? If the passage in the Acts 
was taken from that in the epistle, why was Spain left out ? 
If the two passages were unknown to each other, nothing 
can account for their conformity but truth. Whether we 
suppose the history and the epistle to be alike fictitious, oi 
the history to be true but the letter spurious, or the letter 
to be genuine but the history a fable, the meeting with thi? 
circumstance in both, if neither borrowed it from the other, 
is, upon all these suppositions, equally inexplicable. 

IV. The following quotation I offer for the purpose oi 
pointing out a geographical comcidence, of so much impor- 
tance, that Dr. Lardner considered it as a confirmation oi 
the whole history of St. Paul's travels : 

Chap. 15:19: "So that from Jerusalem, and round 
about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the go.spel oi 

I do not think that these words necessarily import that 
St. Paul had penetrated into Illyricum, or preached the gos- 
pel in that province ; but rather that he had come to the 
confines of Illyricum, {iJi£xpi rov WivpLKov^) and that these con- 
fines were the external boundary of his travels. St. Paul 
considers Jerusalem as the centre, and is here viewing the 
jircumference to which his travels extended. The ibnn of 
expression in the original conveys this idea : a-Ko 'lepovaa?.^fi 
xal Kv.'i^o) fiExpi Tov 'WjvpLKov. Illyricum was the part of this 
circle which he mentions in an epistle to the Romans, be- 
cause it lay in a direction from Jerusalem towards that city, 
md poL-ited out to the Roman readers the nearest place to 
them to which his travels from Jerusalem had brought hirn 


The name of Illyncum nowhere occurs in the Av.ts of tho 
Apostles ; no suspicion, therefore, can be received, that the 
mention of it was borrowed from thence. Yet I think it 
appears from these same Acts, that St. Paul, before the 
time when he wrote his epistle to the Romans, had reached 
the confines of Illyricum ; or, however, that he might have 
done so, in perfect consistency with the account there deliv 
ered. Illyricum adjoins upon Macedonia ; measuring from 
Jerusalem towards Home, it lies close behind it. If, there- 
fore, St. Paul traversed the whole country of Macedonia, the 
route would necessarily bring him to the confines of Illyri- 
cum, and these confines would be described as the extremity 
of his journey. Now the account of St. Paul's second visit 
to the peninsula of Greece is contained in these words : "He 
departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone 
over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he 
came into Greece." Acts 20 : 2. This account allows, or 
rather leads us to suppose, that St. Paul, in going over Mac- 
edonia {6ieMuv Tu idpn EKEiva,) had passed so far to the west 
as to come into those parts of the country which v>^ere con- 
tiguous to Illyricum, if he did not enter into Illyricum itself 
The history, therefore, and the epistles so far agree, and the 
agreement is much strengthened by a coincidence of ti??ic. 
At the time the epistle was written, St. Paul might say, in 
conformity with the history, that he had " come into Illyri- 
cum :" much before that time, he could not have said so ; 
for, upon his former journey to Macedonia, his route is laid 
down from the time of his landing at Philippi to his sailing 
from Corinth. "We trace him from Philippi to Amphipohs 
and Apollonia ; from thence to Thessalonica ; from Thessa- 
Lonica to Berea ; from Berea to Athens ; and from Athens 
to Corinth : which track confines him to the eastern side of 
the peninsula, and therefore keeps him all the while at a 
considerable distance from Illyricum. Upon his second visit 
to Macedonia, the history, we have seen, leave? him at lib 
erty. It must have been, therefore, upon that second visiU 


if at all, that he approached Illyricum; and this visit, we 
hnow, almost immediately preceded the writing of the epis- 
tle. It was natural that the apostle should refer to a jour- 
ney which was fresh in his thoughts. 

V. Chap. 15: 30: "Now I beseech you, brethren, foi 
the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of tha Spirit, 
that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for 
ine, that I may be delivered from them that do not believe 
in Judea." With this compare Acts 20 : 22, 23 : 

" And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jeru- 
jialem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there, 
save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, 
that bonds and afflictions abide me." 

Let it be remarked, that it is the same journey to Jeru- 
salem which is spoken of in these two passages ; that the 
epistle was written immediately before St. Paul set forward 
upon this journey from Achaia ; that the words in the Acts 
were uttered by him when he had proceeded in that journey 
as far as Miletus, in Lesser Asia. This being remembered, 
1 observe that the two passages, without any resemblance 
between them that could induce as to suspect that they were 
borrowed from one another, rej^resent the state of St. Paul's 
mind, with respect to the event of the journey, in terms of 
substantial agreement. They both express his sense of dan- 
ger in the approaching visit to Jerusalem ; they both express 
the doubt which dwelt upon his thoughts concerning what 
might there befall him. AVhen, in his epistle, he entreats 
the Roman Christians, " for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, 
and for the love of the Spirit," to strive together with him 
in their prayers to God for him, that he might " be delivered 
from them that do not believe in Judea," he sutficiently 
confesses his fears. In the Acts of the Apostles, we see in 
him the same apprehensions, and the same uncertLun*:y : " I 
go bound ni the spirit unto Jerusalem, ?iot knowing the 
things that shall befall me there." The only diflerence is 
that in the histoiy his thoughts are more inclined to despond 


ency than in the epistle. In the epistle, he retains his hopo 
*' that he should come unto them with joy by the will of 
God :" in the history^ his mind yields to the reflection, "that 
the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city that bonds and 
afflictions awaited him." Now, that his fears should be 
greater, and his hopes less., in this stage of his journey than 
when he wrote his epistle, that is, when he first set out upon 
it, is no other alteration than might well be expected ; since 
those prophetic intimations to which he refers, when he says, 
" the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city," had probably 
been received by him in the course of his journey, and were 
probably similar to what we know he received in the re 
maining part of it at Tyre, chap. 21:4; and afterwards 
from Agabus at Cesarea. Chap. 21 : 11. 

VI. There is another strong remark arising from the same 
passage in the epistle ; to make which understood, it will be 
necessary to state the passage over again, and somewhat 
more at length : 

"I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's 
sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive togethei 
with ine in your prayers to God for me, that I may be de- 
livered from them that do not believe in Judea — that I may 
come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with 
you be refreshed." 

I desire the reader to call to mind that part of St. Paul's 
history which took place after his arrival at Jerusalem, and 
which employs the last seven chapters of the Acts ; and I 
build upon it this observation — that supposing the epistle to 
the Romans to have been a forgery, and the author of the 
forgery to have had the Acts of the Apostles before him, and 
to have there seen that St, Paul, in fact, Avas not delivered 
from the unbelieving Jews, but on the contrary, that he was 
taken into custody at Jerusalem, and brought to Rome a 
prisoner — it is next to impossible that he should have made 
St. Paul express expectations so contrary to what he saw had 
been the event ; and utter prayers, with apparent hopes of 


success, which he must have known were frustrated in the 

Thi? single consideration convinces me, that no concert 
or confederacy whatever subsisted between the episth^ and 
the Acts of the Apostles ; and that whatever coincidences 
have been or can be pointed out between them are unso 
phisticated, and are the result of truth and reality. 

It also convinces me that the epistle was written nol 
only m St. Paul's lifetimxC, but before he arrived at Jerusa 
lem ; for the important events relating to him which took 
place after his arrival at that city, must have been knowr 
to the Christian community soon after they happened : they 
form the most public part of his history. But had they been 
known to the author of the epistle — in other words, had they 
then taken place, the passage which we have quoted from 
the epistle would not have been found there. 

VII. I now proceed to state the conformity which exists 
between the argument of this epistle and the history of ita 
reputed author. It is enough for this purpose to observe, 
that the object of the epistle, that is, of the argumentative 
part of it, was to place the Gentile convert upon a parity oi 
situation with the Jewish, in respect of his reHgious condi- 
tion, and his rank in the divine favor The epistle supports 
this point by a variety of arguments ; such as, that no man 
of either description was justified by the works of the law— 
for this plain reason, that no man had performed them; 
that it became therefore necessary to appoint another me- 
dium or condition of justification, in which new medium the 
Jewish peculiarity was merged and lost ; that Abraham's 
o\M justification was anterior to the law, and independent 
of it ; that the Jewish converts were to consider the law i s 
fiow dead, and themselves as married to another ; that wh tt 
the law in truth could not do, in that it was weak through 
the flesh, God had done by sending his Son ; that God had 
rt^jected the unbeHeving Jews, and had substituted in their 
place a society of believers in Christ, collected indiflerentlj 

Hora- Faul. 1 7 


from Jews and Gentiles. Soon alter the writing of this 
epistle, St. Paul, agreeably to the intention intimated in the 
epistle itself, took his journey to Jerusalem. The day after 
he arrived there, he was introduced to the church. What 
passed at this interview is thus related, Acts 21 : 19-21 : 
" When he had saluted them, he declared particularly what 
things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his minis- 
try. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and 
said unto him. Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of 
Jews there are which believe : and they are all zealous of 
the law : and they arc informed of thee, that thou teachest 
all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, 
saymg, that they ought not to circumcise their children, 
neither to walk after the customs." St. Paul disclaimed 
the charge ; but there must have been something to have 
led to it. Now it is only to suppose that St. Paul openly 
professed the principles which the epistle contains ; that, in 
the course of his ministry, he had uttered the sentiments 
which he is here made to write, and the matter is ac- 
counted for. Concerning the accusation which public rumor 
had brought against him to Jerusalem, I will not say that it 
was just ; but I will say, that if he was the author of the 
epistle before us, and if his preaching was consistent with his 
writing, it was extremely natural ; for though it be not a 
necessary, surely it is an easy inference, that if the Gentile 
convert who did not obsei-ve the law of Moses, held as ad- 
vantageous a situation in his religious interests as the Jewish 
convert who did, there could be no strong reason for observ- 
ing that law at all. The remonstrance therefore of the 
chur:h of Jerusalem, and the report which occasioned it, 
were founded in no very violent misconstruction of the apos- 
tle's doctrine. His reception at Jerusalem was exactly what 
I should have expected the author of this epistle to have 
met with. I am entitled therefore to argue, that a separate 
narrative of effects experienced by St. Paul, similar to what 
a person might be expected to experience who held the doc 


tnnes advanced in this epistle, forms a proof that he did hold 
these doctrines ; and that the epistle bearing his name, in 
which such doctrines are laid down, actuallyproeeeded from 

VIII. This number is supplemental to the former. I 
propose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of 
the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical circum- 
stances under which the epistle was written ; which yet are 
free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would 
not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist to con- 

1. The epistle to the Galatians relates to the same 
general question as the epistle to the Romans. St. Paul 
had founded the church of Galatia : at Rome he had never 
been. Observe now a difference in his manner of treating 
of the same subject, corresponding with this difference in 
his situation. In the epistle to the Galatians, he puts the 
point in a great measure upon authority : "I marvel that 
ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the 
grace of Christ unto another gospel." Gal. 1:6, "I certify 
you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is 
not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither 
was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." 
Chap. 1:11, 12. "I am afraid of you, lest I have be- 
stowed upon you labor in vain." 4 : 11. "I desire to be 
present with you now, .... for I stand in doubt of you." 
4 : 20. *' Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be cir- 
cumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." 5:2. " This 
persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you." 5 : 8. 
This is the style in which he accosts the Galatians. In the 
epistle to the converts of Rome, where his authority was 
uot established; nor his person known, he puts the same 
j^Dirts entirely upon argument The perusal of the epistle 
will prove this to the satisfaction of every reader ; and as 
the observation relates to the whole contents of the epistle, 
I forbear adducing separate extracts. 1 repeat, therefore. 


that we have pointed out a distinction in the two epistles, 
suited to tlie relation in whi:;li the author stood to his differ- 
ent correspondents. 

Another adaptation, and somewhat of the same kind, is 
the following : 

2. The Jews, we know, were very numerous at Rome, 
and probahly formed a principal part among the new con- 
\'-erts ; so much so, that the Christians seem to have been 
known at Eome rather as a denomination of Jews than as 
any thing else. In an epistle consequently to the E-oman 
believers, the point to be endeavored after by St. Paul, was 
to reconcile the Jeivish converts to the opinion that the Gen- 
tiles were admitted by God to a parity of religious situation 
with themselves, and that without their being bound by the 
law of Moses. The Gentile converts would probably accede 
to this opinion very readily. In this epistle, therefore, though 
directed to the Roman church in general, it is in truth a 
Jew writing to Jews. Accordingly you will take notice, that' 
as often as his argument leads him to say any thing deroga- 
tory from the Jewish institution, he constantly follows it by 
a softening clause. Having, chap. 2 : 28, 29, pronounced, 
not much perhaps to the satisfaction of the native Jews, 
that "he is not a Jew which is one outwardly ; neither is 
that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh ;" he adds 
immediately, *' What advantage then hath the Jew, or what 
profit is there of circumcision ? Much every icayT Hav- 
ing in the third chapter, ver. 28, brought his argument to 
this formal conclusion, " that a man is justified by faith with- 
out the deeds of the law," he presently subjoins, verse 31, 
•* D:- we then make void the law through faith? God for- 
bid. Yea, we establish the laivT In the seventh chapter, 
when in the sixth verse he had advanced the bold assertion, 
that "now we are delivered from the law, that being dead 
wherein we were held ;" in the very next verse he comes 
in with this healing question, " What shall we say then ? 
[a the law sin? C 3d forbid. Nav, I had net known sin. 


but by the law." Having in the follownig wori?- msiiiaatcd, 
or rather more than insinuated, the mefficacy of the Jewish 
law, S : 3, " For what the law could Rot do, in that it was 
weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the 
flesh ;" after a digression indeed, but that sort of a digres- 
sion which he could never resist, a rapturous contemplation 
of his Christian hope, and Vv^hich occupies the latter part of 
this chapter ; we find him in the next, as if sensible that he 
had said something which would give offence, returning to 
his Jewish brethren in terms of the warmest aflection and 
respect : " I say the truth in Christ Jesus, I lie not, my con- 
science also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I 
have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, Foi 
1 could wish that myself were accursed from Christ /o/- my 
brethren, my according to the Jlesli : ivho are Ja- 
raelites ; to 'whom pertainetli the adojption, and the glory, 
and the covenants, and the givijig of the laiv, and the ser- 
vice of God, and the loromises ; whose are the fatlicrs, and 
of whom, as concerjiing thejlesh, Christ came." When, in 
the thirty-first and thirty-second verses of this ninth chapter, 
he represented to the Jews the error of even the best of theii 
nation, by telling them that " Israel, which followed after 
the law of righteousness, had not attained to the law ol 
righteousness, . . . because they sought it not by faith, but 
as it were by the works of the law ; for they stumbled at 
that stumbling-stone," he takes care to annex to this decla- 
ration these conciliating expressions : " Brethren, my heart's 
desire and -prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be 
saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal oj 
God, but not according to knowledge." Lastly, having, 
chap. 10 : 20, 21, by the apphcation of a passage in Isaiah, 
insinuated the most ungrateful of all propositions to a Jew- 
ish ear, the rejection of the Jewish nation as God's peculiar 
people ; he hastens, as it were, to quahfy the inteUigence oi 
their fall by this interesting expostulation : " I say, ther* 


hath God cast away his people," that is, wholly and entire- 
ly? " God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed 
of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast 
away his people which he foreknew f' and follows this 
thought, throughout the whole of the eleventh chapter, in a 
series of reflections calculated to soothe the Jewish converts, 
as well as to procure from their Gentile brethren respect to 
the Jewish institution. Wow all this is perfectly natural 
(n a real St. Paul writing to real converts, it is what anxi- 
ety to bring them over to his persuasion would naturally 
produce ; but there is an earnestness and a personality, if I 
may so call it, in the manner, which a cold forgery, I appre- 
hend, would neither have conceived nor supported. 




I. Before we proceed to compare this epistle with tho 
history, or with any other epistle, we will employ one num- 
ber in stating certain remarks applicable to our argument, 
which arise from a perusal of the epistle itself. 

By an expression in the first verse of the seventh chap- 
ter, "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto 
me," it appears that this letter to the Corinthians was writ- 
ten by St. Paul in answer to one which he had received 
from them ; and that the seventh, and some of the follow- 
ing chapters, are taken up in resolving certain doubts, and 
regulating certain points of order, concerning which the Co- 
rinthians had in their letter consulted him. This alone is 
a circumstance considerably in favor of the authenticity of 
the epistle ; for it must have been a far-fetched contrivance 
in a forgery, first to have feigned the receipt of a letter from 
the church of Corinth, which letter does not appear, and 
then to have drawn up a fictitious answer to it, relative to 
a great variety of doubts and inquiries, purely economical 
and domestic ; and which, though likely enough to have 
occurred to an infant society, in a situation, and under an 
institution so novel as that of a Christian church then was, 
it must have very much exercised the author's invention, 
and could have answered no imaginable purpose of forgery, 
to introduce the mention of at all. Particulars of the kind 
we refer to are such as the following : the rule of duty and 
prudence relative to entering into marriage, as applicable to 
virgins, to widows , the case of husbands married to uncoi' 
verted wives, of wives having unconverted husbands ; that 
case where the unconverted party chooses to separate. wher« 
he chooses to continue the union ; .he efiect which their 
conversion produced upon their prior state, of circumcision, 
of slavery ; the eating of things oflered to idols, as it was in 


itself^ as others were a fleeted by it ; the joining in : dohilrous 
sacrifices '; the decorum to be observed in their religious as- 
semblies, the order of speaking, the silence of women ; the 
covering or uncovering of the head, as it became men, as it 
became women. These subjects, wdth their several subdi- 
visions, are so particular, minute, and numerous, that though 
they be exactly agreeable to the circumstances of the per- 
sons to whom the letter was w^'itten, nothing, I believe, but 
the existence and reality of those circumstances could have 
suggested to the writer's thoughts. 

But this is not the only nor the principal observation 
upon the correspondence between the church of Corinth and 
their apostle, which I wish to point out. It appears, I think, 
in this correspondence, that although the Corinthians had 
written to St. Paul, requesting his answer and his directions 
m the several points above enumerated, yet that they had 
not said one syllable about the enormities and disorders 
which had crept in among them, and in the blame of which 
they all shared ; but that St Paul's information concerning 
the irregularities then prevailing at Corinth had come round 
to him from other quarters. The quarrels and disputes ex- 
cited by their contentious adherence to their difierent teach 
ers, and by their placing of them in competition with one 
another, were not mentioned in their letter, but communis 
cated to St. Paul by more private intelhgence : " It hath 
been declared unto me of you, my brethren, hj them ivhich 
are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among 
you. Now this I say, that ever}^ one of you saith, I am of 
Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ." 
1 : 11, 12. The incestuous marriage "of a man with his 
father's wife," which St. Paul reprehends with so much 
severity in the fifth chapter of our epistle, and which was 
not the crime of an individual only, but a crime in which 
the whole church, by tolerating and conniving at it, had 
rendered themselves partakers, did not come to St. Paul's 
knowledge by the lette?, but by a rumor which had reached 


his ears : '' It is rejjortcd commonly that there is fornication 
among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named 
among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 
And ye are pufled up, and have not rather mourned, that 
he that hath done this deed might be taken away from 
among you." 5:1,2. Their going to law before the judica- 
ture of the countiy, rather than arbitrate and adjust their 
disputes among themselves, which St. Paul animadverts 
upon with his usual plainness, was not intimated to him in 
the letter^ because he tells them his opinion of this conduct 
before he comes to the contents of the letter. Their litig- 
iousness is censured by St. Paul in the sixth chapter of his 
epistle, and it is only at the beginning of the seventh chap- 
ter that he proceeds upon the articles which he fomid in 
their letter ; and he proceeds upon them with this preface : 
" Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me," 
7:1, which introduction he would not have used if he had 
been already discussing any of the subjects concerning which 
they had written. Their irregularities in celebrating the 
Lord's supper, and the utter perversion of the institution 
which ensued, were not in the letter, as is evident from the 
terms in which St. Paul mentions the notice he had received 
of it : " Now in this that I declare unto you, I praise you 
not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the 
worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, 
/ hear that there be divisions among you ; and I ijartly be- 
lieve it." Now that the Corinthians should, in their own 
letter, exhibit the fair side of their conduct to the apostle, 
and conceal from him the faults of their behavior, was ex- 
tremely natural, and extremely p-'obable ; but it was a dis- 
tinction which would not, I think, have easily occurred to 
the author of a forgery ; and much less likely is it, that i\ 
should have entered into his thoughts to make the distinc- 
tion appear in the way in which it does appear, namely, 
not by the ciiglnal letter, not by any express observation 
upon it in the answer, but distantly by marks perceivable in 


the manner, or in the order in which St. Paul takes notice 
of their faults. 

II. Our epistle purports to have been written after St 
Paul had already been at Corinth: "I, brethren, ivhen 1 
cams to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wis 
dom," 2:1: and in many other places to the same effect. 
It purport.* also to have been written upon the eve of an- 
other visit to that church : " I will come to you shortly, il 
the Lord will," 4:19; and again, " I will come unto you, 
when I shall pass through Macedonia." IG : 5. Now the 
history relates that St. Paul did in fact visit Corinth twice; 
once as recorded at length in the eighteenth, and a second 
time as mentioned briefly in the twentieth chapter of the 
Acts. The same history also informs us. Acts 20:1, that 
it was from Ephesus St. Paul proceeded upon his second 
journey into Greece. Therefore, as the epistle purports to 
have been written a short time preceding that journey ; and 
as St. Paul, the history tells us, had resided more than two 
years at Ephesus before he set out upon it, it follows that it 
must have been from Ephesus, to be consistent with the 
history, that the epistle was written ; and every note of 
place in the epistle agrees with this supposition. " If, after 
the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Epheuis, 
what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not ?" 15 : 32. I 
allow that the apostle might say this, wherever he was ; 
but it was more natural and more to the purpose to say it, 
if he was at Ephesus at the time, and in the midst of those 
conflicts to which the expression relates. " The churches 
of Asia salute you." 16:19. Asia, throughout the Acts of 
the Apostles, and the epistles of St. Paul, does not mean the 
whole of Asia Minor or Anatolia, nor even the whole of the 
proconsular Asia, but a district in the anterior part of that 
country, called Lydian Asia, divided from the rest much as 
Portugal is from Spain, and of which district hphesus was 
the capital. " Aquila and Priscilla salute you." 16 : 19. 
A.qui]a and Priscilla were at Ejohcsus during the period 


within which this epistle was written. Acts 18:13, 26, 
" I will tarry at Bphesus until Pentecost." 16:8. This, 1 
apprehend, is in terms almost asserting that he was at Eph- 
esus at the time of writing the epistle. " A great and effect- 
ual door is opened unto me." 16:9. How well this decla- 
ration corresponded with the state of things at Ephesus, 
and the progress of the gospel in these parts, we learn from 
the reflection with which the historian concludes the ac- 
count of certain transactions which passed there : "So 
mightily grew the word of God and prevailed," Acts 19 , 20, 
as well as from the complaint of Demetrius, " that not alone 
at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath 
persuaded and turned away much people." 19 : 26. "And 
there are many adversaries," says the epistle, 16 : 9. Look 
into the history of this period : " When divers were hard- 
ened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before 
the multitude, he departed Irom them and separated the 
disciples." The conformity, therefore, upon this head of 
comparison is circumstantial and perfect. If any one think 
that this is a conformity so obvious, that any forger of toler- 
able caution and sagacity would have taken care to preserve 
it, I must desire such a one to read the epistle for himself; 
and when he has done so, to declare whether he has dis- 
covered one mark of art or design ; whether the notes ol 
time and 'place appear to him to be inserted with any refer- 
ence to each other, wdth any view of their being compared 
with each other, or for the purpose of establishing a visible 
agreement wdth the history, in respect of them. 

III. Chap. 4 : 17-19 : " For this cause I have sent 
you Timotheus, who is my beloved son and faithful in the 
Lord, who shall bring you mto remembrance of my ways 
which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 
Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you 
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will." 

With this I compare Acts 19:21, 22: "After these 
things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had 


passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem ; 
saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So 
he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto 
him, Timotheus and Erastus." 

Though it be not said, it appears I think with sufficient 
certainty, I mean from the history independently of the 
epistle, that Timothy was sent upon this occasion into 
Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city, as well as 
into Macedonia ; for the sending of Timothy and Erastus is, 
in the passage where it is mentioned, plainly connected with 
St. Paul's own journey : he se7it them before him. As he 
therefore purposed to go into Achaia himself, it is highly 
probable that they were to go thither also. Nevertheless, 
they are said only to have been sent into Macedonia, be- 
cause Macedonia was in truth the country to which they 
went immediately from Ephesus ; being directed, as w^e sup- 
pose, to proceed afterwards from thence into Achaia, IJ 
this be so, the narrative agrees with the epistle ; and the 
agreement is attended w^ith very little appearance of design, 
One thing at least concerning it is certain ; that if this pas- 
sage of St. Paul's history had been taken from his letter, it 
would have sent Timothy to Corinth by name, or expressly 
however into Achaia. 

But there is another circumstance in these two passages 
much less obvious, in which an agreement holds without 
any room for suspicion that it was produced by design. We 
have observed that the sending of Timothy into the penin- 
sula of Greece was connected in the narrative with St. 
Paul's own journey thither ; it is stated as the effect of the 
same resolution. Paul purposed to go into Macedonia ; "so 
he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto 
him, Timotheus and Erastus." Now in the epistle also vou 
remark, that when the apostle mentions his having sent 
Timothy unto them, in the very next sentence he speaks of 
his own visit : " For this cause have I sent unto you Timo- 
theus, who is my beloved son," etc. " Now some are puffed 


up. US though I would not come to you. But I will come 
unto you shortly if the Lord will " Timothy's journey, Ave 
see, is mentioned in the history and in the epistle, in close 
connection with St. Paul's own. Here is the same order oi 
thought and intention ; yet conveyed under such diversity 
of circumstance and expression, and the mention of them ia 
the epistle so allied to the occasion which introduces it, 
namely, the insinuation of his adversaries that he would 
come to Corinth no more, that I am persuaded no attentive 
reader will believe that these passages were written in con- 
cert with one another, or will doubt but that the agreement 
is unsought and uncontrived. 

But, in the Acts, Erastus accompanied Timothy in this 
journey, of whom no mention is made in the epistle. From 
what has been said in our observations upon the epistle to 
the Romans, it appears probable that Erastus was a Co- 
rinthian. If so, though he accompanied Timothy to Corinth, 
he was only returning home, and Timothy was the messen- 
ger charged with St. Paul's orders. At any rate, this dis- 
crepancy shows that the passages were not taken from one 

IV. Chap. 16 : 10, 11 : "Now if Timotheus come, see 
that he may be with you without fear ; for he worketh the 
work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore de- 
spise him : but conduct him forth in peace, that he may 
come unto me ; for I look for him with the brethren." 

From the passage considered in the preceding number, it 
appears that Timothy was sent to Corinth, either Avith the 
epistle, or before it : " For this cause have I sent unto you 
Timotheus." From the passage now quoted, we infer that 
Timothy was not sent ^cith the epistle ; for had he been the 
bearer of the letter, or accompanied it, would St. Paul in 
that letter have said, •' If Timothy come ?" Nor is the 
sequel consistent with the supposition of his carrying the 
letter ; for if Timothy were with the apostle Avhen he wrote 
the letter, could h? say, as he does, " I look for him wdth the 

•16 liOH^ PAULlNiE. 

brethren?" I conclude, therefore, that Timothy had lefl 
St. Paul to proceed upon his journey before the letter was 
written. Further, the passage before us seems to imply that 
Timothy was not expected by St. Paul to arrive at Corinth 
till after they had received the letter. He gives them direc- 
lions in the letter how to treat him when he should arrive " 
*' If he come," act towards him so and so. Lastly, the whole 
form of expression is most naturally applicable to the sup- 
position of Timothy's coming to Corinth, not directly from 
St. Paul, but from some other quarter ; and that his instruc- 
tions had been, when he should reach Corinth, to return. 
Now, how stands this matter in the history ? Turn to the 
nineteenth chapter and twenty-first verse of the Acts, and 
you will find that Timothy did not, when sent from Ephe- 
sus, where he left St. Paul and where the present epistle 
was written, proceed by a straight course to Corinth, but 
that he Mcnt round through Macedonia. This clears up 
every thing ; for, although Timothy was sent forth upon his 
journey before the letter was written, yet he might not reach 
Corinth till after the letter arrived there ; and he would 
come to Corinth, when he did come, not directly from St. 
Paul at Ephesus, but from some part of Macedonia. Here, 
therefore, is a circumstantial and critical agreement, and 
unquestionably without design; for neither of the two pas- 
sages in the epistle mentions Timothy's journey into Mace- 
donia at all, though nothing but a circuit of that kind 
can explain and reconcile the expressions which the writer 

Y. Chap. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you 
saith, I am of Paul ; and I of Apollos ; and I of Cephas ; 
and I of Christ." 

Also, chap. 3:6: "I. have planted, Apollos watered; 
but God gave the increase." 

This expression, " I have planted, Apollos watered," im- 
ports two things : first, that Paul had been at Corinth be- 
fore Apollos ; secondly, that Apollos had been at Oorintb 


after Paul, but before the writing of this epistle. This im- 
plied account of the several events, and of the order in 
which they took place, corresponds exactly with the liistory. 
St. Paul, after his first visit into Greece, returned from Cor- 
inth into Syria by the way of Ephesus ; and dropping his 
companions Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, he proceeded 
forwards to Jerusalem; from Jerusalem he descended to 
Antioch; and from thence made a progress through some of 
the upper or northern provinces of the Lesser Asia, Acts 
18 : 19, 23 ; during which progress, and consequently in the 
interval between St. Paul's first and second visit to Corinth, 
and consequently also before the writing of this epistle, 
which was at Ephesus, two years at least after the apostle's 
return from his progress, we hear of Apollos, and we hear 
of him at Corinth. While St. Paul was engaged, as has 
been said, in Phrygia and Galatia, Apollos came down to 
Ephesus ; and being, in St. Paul's absence, instructed by 
Aquila and Priscilla, and having obtained letters of recom- 
mendation from the church at Ephesus, he passed over to 
Achaia ; and when he was there, we read that he " helped 
them much which had believed through grace : for he 
mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly." Acts 
18 : 27, 28. To have brought Apollos into Achaia, of which 
Corinth was the capital city, as well as the principal Chris- 
tian church, and to have shown that he preached the gospel 
in that country, would have been sufficient for our purpose. 
But the history happens also to mention Corinth by name, 
as the place in which Apollos, after his arrival in Achaia. 
fixed his residence ; for, proceeding with the account of St. 
Paul's travels, it tells us, that while Apollos was at Cor- 
inth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came 
down to Ephesus. Chap. 19 : 1. What is said, therefore, 
of Apolbs in the epistle, coincides exactly, and especially in 
the point of chronology, with what is delivered concerning 
him in the history. The only question now is, whether the 
allusions were made with a regard to this coincidence. Now 


ihe occasions and purposes for which the name of Apollos is. 
introduced in the Acts and in the epistles are so independent 
and so remote, that it is impossible to discover the smallest 
reference from one to the other. Apollos is mentioned in 
the Acts, in immediate connection with the history of Aquila 
and Priscilla, and for the very singular circumstance of his 
" knowing only the baptism of John." In the epistle, where 
none of these circumstances are taken notice of, his name 
first occurs for the purpose of reproving the contentious 
spirit of the Corinthians ; and it occurs only in conjunction 
with that of some others : " Every one of you saith, I am 
of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ/' 
The second passage in which Apollos appears, " I have 
planted, Apollos watered," fixes, as we have observed, the 
order of time among three distinct events ; but it fixes this, 
I will venture to pronounce, without the writer perceivinc» 
that he was doing any such thing. The sentence fixes this 
order in exact conformity with the history ; but it is itseli 
introduced solely for the sake of the reflection v/hich fol- 
lows : " Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he 
that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase." 

VI. Chap. 4: 11, 12 : "Even unto this present hour 
we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, 
and have no certain dweUing-place ; and labor, workino- 
with our own hands." 

We are expressly told in the history, that at Corinth St. 
Paul labored with his own hands : " He found Aquila and 
Priscilla ; and because he was of the same craft, he abode 
with them, and wrought ; for by their occupation they were 
tent-makers." But in the text before us, he is made to 
say, that he labored "even tmto this j^resent hour,'' that is, 
to the time of writing the epistle at Ephesus. Now, in the 
narration of St. Paul's transactions at Ephesus, delivered in 
the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, nothing is said of his 
working with his own hands ; but in the twentieth chapter 
we read, that upon his return from Greece, he sent for th*' 


elders of the church of Ephcsus to meet him at Mlktus, 
and in th'? discourse which he there addressed to thorn, 
amidst some other reflections which he calls to their remem- 
brance, we find the following: "I have coveted no man's 
silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, tl at 
these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to 
them that were with me." The reader will not forget to 
remark, that though St. Paul be now at Miletus, it is to the 
ciders of the church of Ephesus he is speaking, when he 
says, " Ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered 
unto my necessities ;" and that the whole discourse relates 
to his conduct during his last preceding residence at Ephe- 
sus. That manual labor, therefore, which he had exercised 
at Corinth, he continued at Ephesus ; and not only so, but con- 
tinued it during that particular residence at Ephesus, near 
the conclusion of which this epistle was written ; so that he 
might with the strictest truth say, at the time of writing 
the epistle, " Eve?i unto this prese?it Jiour we labor, work- 
ing with our own hands." The correspondency is suflicient. 
Then, as to the undesignedness of it : it is manifest, to my 
judgment, that if the history in this article had been taken 
from the epistle, this circumstance, if it appeared at all, 
would have appeared in its place, that is, in the direct ac- 
count of St. Paul's transactions at Ephesus. The corre- 
spondency would not have been eflected, as it is, by a kind 
of reflected stroke, that is, by a reference in a subsequent 
speech to what in the narrative was omitted. Nor is it 
likely, on the other hand, that a circumstance which is not 
extant in the history of St. Paul at Ephesus, should have 
been made the subject of a factitious allusion in an epistle 
purporting to be written by him from that place ; not to men- 
tion that the allusion itself, especially as to time, is too obliquo 
dnd general to answer any purpose of forgery whatever. 

YII. Chap. 9 : 20 : "And unto the Jews I became as a 
Jew, that I might gain the Jews ; to them that are undei 
the law, as under the law." 



We have the disposition here described exemplified in 
two instances which the history records ; one, Acts 16:3: 
" Him," Timothy, " would Paul have to go forth with him : 
and took and circumcised him, because of the Jeivs ivhich 
were in those quarters; for they knew all that his father 
was a Greek." This was before the writing of the epistle 
The other, Acts 21 : 23, 26, and after the writing of the 
epistle: "Do therefore this that we say to thee : "VVe have 
four men which have a vow on them : them take, and pu- 
rify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that 
they may shave their heads : and all may know that those 
things whereof they were informed concerning thee, are 
nothing ; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and 
keepest the law. Then Paul took the men, and the next 
(\2ij purifying himself ivith them, entered into the templet 
Nor does this concurrence between the character and the 
instances look like the result of contrivance. St. Paul in 
the epistle describes, or is made to describe his own accom- 
modating conduct towards Jews and towards Gentiles, 
towards the weak and over-scrupulous, towards men, indeed, 
of every variety of character : "To them that are without 
law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but 
under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are 
without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might 
gain the weak : I am made all things to all men, that 1 
might by all means save some." This is the sequel of the 
text which stands at the head of the present number. Tak- 
ing, therefore, the whole passage together, the apostle's con- 
descension to the Jews is mentioned only as a part of his 
general disposition towards all. It is not probable that this 
character should have been made up from the instances in 
the Acts, which relate solely to his dealings with the Jews. 
It is not probable that a sophist should take his hint from 
those instances, and then extend it so much beyond them ; 
and it is still more incredible that the two instances in the 
Acts, circumstantially related and interwoven with the nis- 


lory, should have been fabricated in order to suit the char 
acter which St. Paul gives of himself in the epistle. 

VIII. Chap. 1 : 14-17 : " I thank God that I baptized 
none of you but Crispus and Gains, lest any should say ^.hat 
I baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the 
household of Stephanas ; besides, I know not whether I 
baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but 
to preach the gospel." 

It may be expected that those whom the apostle bap- 
tized with his own hands were converts distinguished from 
the rest by some circumstance either of eminence or of con- 
nection with him. Accordingly, of the three names here 
mentioned, Crispus, we find from Acts 18:8, was a " chief 
ruler" of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth, who "believed 
on the Lord with all his house." Gains, it appears from 
Rom. 16 : 26, was St. Paul's host at Corinth, and the host, 
he tells us, " of the whole church." The household of Steph- 
anas, we read in the sixteenth chapter of this epistle, 
were " the first-fruits of Achaia." Here, therefore, is the 
propriety we expected ; and it is a proof of reality not to be 
contemned ; for their names appearing in the several places 
in which they occur, with a mark of distinction belonging 
to each, could hardly be the efiect of chance, without an) 
truth to direct it : and, on the other hand, to suppose that 
they w^ere picked out from these passages, and brought to 
gether in the text before us, in order to display a conformity 
of names, is both improbable in itself, and is rendered more 
feo by the purpose for which they are introduced. They 
come in to assist St. Paul's exculpation of himself against 
the possible charge of having assumed the character of the 
founder of a separate religion, and with no other visible; or, 
as I think, imaginable design.*" 

-^ Chap. 1:1: "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ 
through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church 
of God which is at Corinth." The only account we have of any por- 
8or who bore the name of Sosthenes, is found in the eighteenth chapte/ 


IX. Chap. 16 : 11 : "Now, if Timotheus como, let no 
man despise him." Why desjnse him ? This charge is not 
given concerning any other messenger whom St. Paul sent ; 
and, in the different epistles, many such messengers are 
mentioned. Turn to 1 Timothy, chap. 4:12, and you wil3 
of the Acts. AVhen the Jews at Corinth had brought Paul before 
Gallio, and Gallio had dismissed their complaint as unworthy of his 
interference, and had driven them from the judgment-seat, "then all 
the Greeks," says the historian, " took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the 
tjynagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat." The Sosthenes 
here spoken of was a Corinthian ; and, if he was a Christian, and with 
St. Paul when he wrote this epistle, was likely enough to be joined 
with him in the salutation of the Corinthian church. But here occurfi 
a difficulty. If Sosthenes was a Christian at the time of this uproar, 
why should the Greeks beat him ? The assault upon the Christians 
was made by the Jcivs. It was the Jews who had brought Paul before 
the magistrate. If it had been the Jews also who had beaten Sosthe- 
nes, I should not have doubted but that he had been a favorer of St. 
Paul, and the same person who is joined with him in the epistle. Let 
us see, therefore, whether there be not some error in our present text. 
The Alexandrian manuscript gives navre^ alone, without ol "WJirjVEg^ 
and it is followed in this reading by the Coptic version, by the Arabian 
version, published by Erpenius, by the Vulgate, and by Bede's Latin 
version. The Greek manuscripts, again, as well as Chrysostom, give 
oi 'lotifJaiOi, in the place of ol '''E.TJ'.rjvEg. A great plurality of manu- 
scripts authorize the reading which is retained in our copies. In this 
variety it appears to me extremely pi'obable that the historian origi- 
nally wrote TTUvref alone, and that ol "^Xkrjveg and ol 'lavdaloL have been 
respectively added as explanatory of what the word navreg was sup- 
posed to mean. The satitence, without the addition of either name, 
would run very perspicuously thus : " mt (mrfKaatv avTOvq (ztto toxi 
BfffiaTog- eTrt?Mfi6fievoi de ttuvtec 'Zucdevrjv rbv upxtavvayoyov, Itvktov 
e/nrpoGT^tv Tov (S7j[j.aT0c,^' — "and he drove them away from the judgment- 
seat ; and they all," namely, the crowd of Jews whom the judge had bid 
begone, " took Sosthenes, and beat him before the judgment-seat." It 
is certain, that as the whole body of the people were Greeks, the ap- 
plication of all to them was unusual and hard. If I were describing 
an insurrection at Paris, I might say all the Jews, all the Protestants, 
or all the English, acted so and so ; but I should scarcely say all the 
French, when the whole mass of the community were of that descrip- 
tion. As what is here offered is founded upon a various readmg, and 
that in opposition to the greater part of the manuscripts that- ^ro 
extant, I have not given it a place in the text. 


tiiid that Timothy was a young man, younger probably than 
those who were usually employed in the Christian mission ; 
and that St. Paul, apprehending lest he should, on that 
accovmt, be exposed to contempt, urges upon him the cau- 
tion which is there inserted, " Let no man despise thy 

X. Chap. 16 : ] : "Now, concerning the collection for 
th3 saints, as I have given orders to the churches of G ala- 
lia, even so do ye." 

The churches of Galatia and Phrygia were the last 
churches which St. Paul had visited before the writing of 
this epistle. He M^as now at Ephesus, and he came thither 
immediately from visiting these churches : "He went over 
all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthen 
ing all the disciples. And it came to pass that, while Apol- 
los was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper 
coasts," namely, the above-named countries, called the upper 
coasts as being the northern part of Asia Minor, " came to 
Ephesus." Acts 18 : 23 ; 19 : 1. These therefore, probably, 
were the last churches at which he left directions for their 
public conduct during his absence. Although two years 
intervened between his journey to Ephesus and his writing 
this epistle, yet it does not appear that during that time he 
visited any other church. That he had not been silent, 
when he was in Galatia, upon this subject of contribution 
for the poor, is further made out from a hint which he lets 
fall in his epistle to that church : " Only they," namely, the 
other apostles, " would that we should remember the poor; 
the same which I also was forward to do." 

XL Chap. 4:18: " Now some are pulled up, as though 
I would not come unto you." 

Why should they suppose that h(i would not come? 
Turn to the first chapter of the second epistle to the Corin 
thians, and you will find that he had already disappointed 
them: "I was minded to come unto you before, that ye 
mio-ht have a second benefit ; and to pass by you into Mao- 


edonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and 
of you to be brought on my way toward Judea. When 1 
therefore was thus minded, did I use lightntss ? Or the 
things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, 
that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay ? But, 
as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay." 
It appears from this quotation that he had not only intended, 
but that he had promised them a visit before ; for, other- 
wise, why should he apologize for the change of his purpose, 
or express so much anxiety lest this change should be im- 
puted to any culpable fickleness in his temper ; and lest ho 
should thereby seem to them as one whose word was not, 
in any sort, to be depended upon ? Besides which, the terms 
made use of plainly refer to a promise, *' Our ivord toward 
you was not yea and nay." St. Paul, therefore, had signi- 
fied an intention which he had not been able to execute ; 
and this seeming breach of his word, and the delay of hia 
visit had, with some who were evil affected towards him, 
given birth to a suggestion that he would come no more to 

XII. C.iap. 5 : 7, 8 : " For even Christ our passover ig 
sacrificed for us : therefore let us keep the feast, not with 
old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wicked- 
ness ; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and 

Dr. Benson tells us, that from this passage, compared 
with chap. 1G:8, it has been conjectured that this epistle 
was written about the time of the Jewish passover ; and to 
me the conjecture appears to be very well founded. The 
passage to which Dr. Benson refers us is this : " I will tarry 
at Ephesus until Pentecost." With this passage he ought 
to have joined another in the same context : " and it may 
be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you ;" for from 
the two passages laid together, it follows that the epistle 
was written before Pentecost, yet after winter, which neces- 
sarily determines the date to the part of the year within 


which the passover falls. It was written before Pentecost, 
because he says, " I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost." 
It was written after winter, because he tells them, " It may 
be that I may abide, yea, and winter with you." The 
winter which the apostle purposed to pass at Corinth was 
undoubtedly tlie winter next ensuing to the date of the epis- 
tle ; yet it was a winter subsequent to the ensuing Pente- 
cost, because he did not intend to set forwards upon his 
journey till after that feast. The words, " let us keep the 
feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice 
and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity 
and truth," look very like words suggested by the season , 
at least, they have, upon that supposition, a force and sig- 
mficancy which do not belong to them upon any other ; and 
it is not a little remarkable, that the hints casually r'roppt^d 
in the epistle, concerning particular parts of the yeai should 
coincide with this supposition. 




I. I WILL not say that it is impossible, having seen the 
iifst epistle to the Corinthians, to construct a second with 
ostensible allusions to the first ; or that it is impossible that 
both should be fabricated, so as to carry on an order and 
continuation of story, by successive references to the samt 
events. But I say that this, in either case, must be the 
effect of craft and design. "VYhereas, whoever examines the 
allusions to the former epistle which he finds in this, while 
he will acknowledge them to be such as would rise sponta- 
neously to the hand of the writer, from the very subject of 
the correspondence and the situation of the corresponding 
parties, supposing these to be real, will see no particle of 
reason to suspect, either that the clauses containing these 
allusions were insertions for the purpose, or that the several 
transactions of the Corinthian church were feigned, in order 
to form a train of narrative, or to support the appearance of 
connection between the two epistles. 

1. In the first epistle, St. Paul announces his intention 
of passing through Macedonia, in his way to Corinth : " I 
will come to you when I shall pass through Macedonia." 
In the second epistle, we find him arrived in Macedonia, and 
about to pursue his journey to Corinth. But observe the 
manner in which this is made to appear : "I know the for- 
wardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of 
Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago ; and your zeal 
hath provoked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, 
lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; 
that, as I said, ye may be ready ; lest haply if they of Mace- 
donia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we 
say not, ye) be ashamed in this same confident boasting." 
Chap. 9 : 2—4. St. Paul's being in Macedonia at the time 


of writing the epistle is, iii this passage, hiferred only from 
liis saying tliat he had boasted to the Macedonians of the 
alacrity of his Achaian converts ; and the fear which he ex- 
presses lest, if any of the Macedonian Christians should comc; 
with him unto Achaia, they should find his boasting unwar- 
ranted by the event. The business of the contribution is tht 
Bole cause of mentioning Macedonia at all. Will it be in- 
sinuated that this passage was framed merely to state that 
St. Paul was now in Macedonia ; and, by that statement, to 
produce an apparent agreement with the purpose of visiting 
Macedonia, notified in the first epistle ? Or will it be thought 
probable, that if a sophist had meant to place St. Paul in 
Macedonia, for the sake of giving countenance to his forgery, 
he would have done it in so oblique a manner as through 
i5he medium of a contribution ? The same thing may be 
observed of another text in the epistle, in which the name 
jf Macedonia occurs : " Furthermore, when I came to Troas 
<o preach the gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the 
Lord, I had -no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus, 
my brother ; but taking my leave of them, I went from 
thence into Macedonia." I mean, that it may be observed 
of this passage also, that there is a reason for mentioning 
Macedonia entirely distinct from the purpose of showing St. 
Paul to be there. Indeed, if the passage before us show 
that point at all, it shows it so obscurely that Grotius, though 
he did not doubt that Paul was now in Macedonia, refers 
this text to a different journey. Is this the hand of a forger, 
meditating to establish a false conformity ? The text, how- 
ever, in Avhich it is most strongly imphcd that St. Paul 
wrote the present epistle from Macedonia, is found in the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth verses of the seventh chapter : " 1 
Sja filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our 
tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our 
flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side : v/ith- 
oat were fightings, wdthin were fears. Nevertheless God, comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us ty 

n rr P»ul. 1 8 



the coming of Titus." Yet even here, I think, no one will 

contend that St. Paul's coming to Macedonia, or being in 
Macedonia, was the principal thing intended to be told ; or 
that the telling of it, indeed, was any part of the intention 
with which the text was written ; or that the mention even 
of the name of Macedonia was not purely incidental, in the 
description of those tumultuous sorrows with which the 
writer's mind had been lately agitated, and from which he 
was relieved by the coming of Titus. The first five verses 
of the eighth chapter, which commend the liberality of the 
Macedonian churches, do not, in my opinion, by themselves, 
prove St. Paul to have been at Macedonia at the time of 
writing the epistle. 

2. In the first epistle, St. Paul denounces a severe cen 
sure against an incestuous marriage which had taken place 
among the Corinthian converts, with the connivance, not to 
say with the approbation, of the church ; and enjoins the 
church to purge itself of this scandal by expelling the offender 
from its society : "It is reported commonly that there is for- 
nication among you, and such fornication as is not so much 
as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his 
father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather 
mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken 
away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but 
present in spirit, have judged already as though I were pres- 
ent, concerning him that hath so done this deed, in the name 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, 
and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to 
deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, 
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." 
1 Cor. 5 : 1-5. In the second epistle, we find this sentence 
executed, and the offender to be so affected with the punish- 
ment that St. Paul now intercedes for his restoration : " Suf- 
ficient to such a man is this punishment, w^hich was inflioted 
of many. So that contrariwise, ye ought rather to forgive 
him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be 


swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech 
you that ye would confirm your love toM^ard him." 2 Cor. 
2 : 6-8. Is this whole business feigned, for the sake of car 
rying on a continuation of story through the two epistles ? 
The church also, no less than the offender, was brought by 
St. Paul's reproof to a deep sense of the impropriety of their 
conduct. Their penitence, and their respect to his authority, 
were, as might be expected, exceeding grateful to St. Paul : 
" We were comforted not by Titus' coming only, but by the 
consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he 
told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent 
mind toward me ; so that I rejoiced the more. For though 
I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I 
did repent : for I perceive that the same epistle hath made 
you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, 
not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to re- 
pentance : for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, 
that ye might receive damage by us in nothing." Chap. 
7 : 7-9. That this passage is to be referred to the incestu- 
ous marriage, is proved by the twelfth verse of the same 
chapter : " Though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his 
cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suf 
fered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God 
might appear unto you." There were, it is true, various 
topics of blame noticed in the first epistle ; but there were 
none, except this of the incestuous marriage, which could 
be called a transaction between private parties, or of which 
it could be said that one particular person had " done the 
wrong," and another particular person "had suffered it." 
Could all this be without foundation ; or could it be put in 
the second epistle merely to furnish an obscure sequel to 
what had been said about an incestuous marriage in the 
first ? 

3. In the sixteenth chapter of the first epistle, a col- 
lection for the saints is recommended to be set forward at 
Corinth : " Now concerning the collection for the saints, ag 


I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do 
ye." Chap. 16 : 1. In the ninth chapter of the secoml 
epistle such a collection is spoken of, as in readiness to b(5 
received : "As touching the ministering to the saints, it is 
superfluous for me to write to you : for I know the forward- 
ness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Mac- 
edonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago ; and your zeal 
hath provoked very many." Chap. 9:1,2. This is such 
a continuation of the transaction as might be expected ; or 
possibly it will be said, as might easily be counterfeited : 
but there is a circumstance of nicety in the agreement be- 
tween the two epistles, which I am convinced the author of 
a forgery would not have hit upon, or which, if he had hit 
upon it, he would have set forth M'ith more clearness. The 
second epistle speaks of the Corinthians as having begun 
this eleemosynary business a year before: "This is expedi 
ent for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also 
to be forward a year ago." Chap. 8 : 10. " I boast of you 
to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago." 
Chap. 9 : 2. From these texts, it is evident that something 
had been done in the business a year before. It appears, 
however, from other texts in the epistle, that the contribu- 
tion was not yet collected or paid ; for brethren were sent 
from St. Paul to Corinth, " to make up their bounty." 
Chap. 9 : 5. They are urged to "perform the doing of it," 
chap. 8:11; and every man was exhorted to give as he 
purposed in his heart. Chap. 9:7. The contribution, 
therefore, as represented in our present epistle, was in read- 
iness, yet not received from the contributors; was begiin. 
was forw^ard long before, yet not hitherto collected. Now 
this representation agrees with one, and only with one sup- 
position, namely, that every man had laid by in store, haf 
already provided the fund from which he was afterwards to 
contribute — the very case which the first epistle authorizes 
us to suppose to have existed ; for in that epistle St. Paul 
had charged the Corinthians, " Upon the first day of thn 


week, let every one of you lay by in store as God hath pros 
pered him."* 1 Cor. IG : 2, 

* The following observations will satisfy us concerning the purity 
of our apostle's conduct m the suspicious business of a pecuniary con- 
tribution : 

1. He disclaims the having received any inspired authority foi th.3 
directions which he is giving : "I speak not by commandment, but by 
occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of 
your love." 2 Cor. 8 : 8. Who that had a sinister purpose to answer 
hy the recommending of subscriptions, would thus distinguish, and 
thus lower the credit of his own recommendation ?* 

2. Although he asserts the general right of Christian-ministers to 
a mamtenance from their ministry, yet he protests against the making 
use of this right in his own person : "Even so hath the Lord ordained 
that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I 
have used none of these things : neither have I written these things 
that it should be so done unto me : for it were better for me to die, 
than that any man should make my glorying," that is, my profession? 
of disinterestedness, "void." 1 Cor. 9: 14, 15. 

3. He repeatedly proposes that there should be associates with 
himself in the management of the public bounty ; not colleagues of 
his o'VATi appointment, but persons elected for that purpose by the con- 
tributors themselves: "And v/hen I cq^ne, whomsoever ye shall ap- 
prove by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto 
Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me." 
1 Cor. 16 : 3, 4. And in the second epistle, what is here proposed 
we find actually done, and done for the very purpose of guarding his 
character against any imputation that might be brought upon it, in 
the discharge of a pecuniary trust : "And we have sent with him the 
brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches ; 
and not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel 
with us with this grace," gift, "which is administered by us to the 
glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind : avoiding 
this, that no man should blame us in this abimdance which is admin- 

* This remark seems to rest on an evident misinterpretation. The mean- 
ing of St. Paul is not to disclaim a divine warrant for the advice he offers, buJ 
to state emphatically that it is advice, and not a command, and that he would 
have the offering to be free and spontaneous. The delicacy of thought and 
feeling in the passage is greatly obscured, if we lose sight of the true nit-aning 
of the expression. Some duties are plain and absolute, and these he enforces 
with apostolic authority; others are indirect, and have' no value, unless as the 
free utterance of Christian love. In this case the apostle, under the teaching 
pf the same Spirit, disclaims the exercise of authority, and simply pleads witb 
them as a Christian brother. — Ed. 


II In comparing the second epistle to the Corinthians 
with the Acts of the Apostles, we are soon brought to ob- 
serve, not only that there exists no vestige either of the epistle 
having been taken from the history, or the history from the 
epistle ; but also that there appears in the contents of the 
epistle; positive evidence that neither w^as borrowed from 
the other. Titus, who bears a conspicuous part in the 
epistle, is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles at all. 
St. Paul's sufferings enumerated, chap. 11 : 24, "Of the 
Jews five times received I forty stripes save one, thrice was 
I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered ship- 
wreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep," cannot 
be made out from his history as delivered in the Acts ; nor 
would this account have been given by a writer who either 
drew his knowledge of St Paul from that history, or who 
was careful to preserve a conformity with it. The account 
in the epistle of St. Paul's escape from Damascus, though 
agreeing in the main fact with the account of the same 
transaction in the Acts, is related with such difference of 
circumstance, as renders if utterly improbable that one should 
be derived from the other. The two accounts placed by the 
side of each other, stand as follows : 

2 Cor. 11:32, 33: "InDamas- Acts9:23-25: "And after ^l; at 

cus the governor under Aretas the many days were fulfilled, the J cws 

king kept the city of the Damas- took counsel to kill him. But their 

cenes with a garrison, desirous to laying wait was known of Saul, 

apprehend me : and through a And they watched the gates day 

window in a basket was I let dcwn and night to kill him. Then the 

by the v/all, and escaped his disciples took him by night, and let 

hands." him down by the wall in a basket." 

Now, if we be satisfied in general concerning these twc 
ancient writings, that the one was not known to the writcn 
of the other, or not consulted by him, then the accordanc^t 

istered by us : providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the 
L(rd, but also in the sight of men;" that is, not resting in the con- 
sciousness of our own integrity, but in such a subject, careful alsr 
approve our integrity to the public judgment. 2 Cor. 8 : 18-iJ. 


which may be pointed out between them will admit of no 
solution so probable, as the attributing of them to truth and 
reality, as to their common foundation. 

III. The opening of this epistle exhibits a connection 
with th« history which alone would satisfy my mind that 
the episile was written by St. Paul, and by St. Paul in the 
situation in which the history places him. Let it be remem- 
bered, that in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts St. Paul 
is represented as driven away from Ephesus, or as leaving 
however Ephesus, in consequence of an uproar in that city 
excited by some interested adversaries of the new reUgion. 
The account of the tumult is as follows : '' When they heard 
these sayings," namely, Demetrius' complaint of the danger 
to be apprehended from St. Paul's ministry to the established 
worship of the Ephesian goddess, " they were full of wrath, 
and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 
And the whole city was filled with confusion : and having 
caught Gains and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's 
companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the 
theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the 
people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the 
chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him desiring 
him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. 
Some therefore cried one thing, and some another ; for the 
assembly was confused, and the more part knew not where- 
fore they were come together. And they drew Alexander 
out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And 
Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made 
his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he 
was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours 
cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And after tb^. 
uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and 
embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia." 
When he was arrived in Macedonia, he wrote the secoiw^ 
epistle to the Corinthians, which is now before us ; and he 
begins his epistle in this wise : " Blessed be God, even the 


Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Fathai of mercies, anr. 
the God of all comfort ; Avho comforteth us in all our tiibu- 
lation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in 
any trouble by the corrifort wherewith we ourselves are com- 
forted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in U2, 
so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whethei 
we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation., which 
is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we 
also suffer ; or whether we be comforted, it is for your con- 
solation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, 
knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall 
ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, 
have you ignorant of our trouble ivliich came to us i?i Asia, 
that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, inso- 
much that we despaired even of life : but we had the sen- 
tence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in our- 
selves, but in God which raiseth the dead : who delivered 
us from so great a death, and doth deliver : in whom we 
trust that he will yet deliver us." Nothing could be more 
expressive of the circumstances in which the history describes 
St. Paul to have been at the time when the epistle purports 
to be written ; or rather, nothing could be more expressive 
of the sensations arising from these circumstances, than this 
passage. It is the calm recollection of a mind emerged from 
the confusion of instant danger. It is that devotion and so- 
lemnity of thought which follows a recent deliverance. There 
is just enough of particularity in the passage to show that it 
is to be referred to the tumult at Ephesus : "We would not, 
brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble v/hich came to us 
in Asia." And there is nothing more ; no mention of Ds- 
metrius, of the seizure of St. Paul's friends, of the interfer- 
ence of the town-clerk, of the occasion or nature of the ;Un- 
ger which St. Paul had escaped, or even of the city Avhere 
it happened ; in a word, no recital from which a suspicion 
could be conceived, either that the author of the epistle had 
made use of the narrative in the Acts, or, on the ^ther hand 


that he had sketched the outline, which the narrative in the 
Acts only filled up. That the forger of an epistle, under 
the name of St. Paul, should borrow circumstances from a 
history of St. Paul then extant, or that the author of a his- 
tory of St. Paul should gather materials from letters bearing 
St. Paul's name, may be credited ; but I cannot believe that 
any forger whatever should fall upon an expedient so refined 
as to exhibit sentiments adapted to a situation, and to leave 
his readers to seek out that situation from the history ; still 
less that the author of a history should go about to frame 
facts and circumstances fitted to supply the sentiments which 
he found in the letter. It may be said, perhaps, that it does 
not appear from the history that any danger threatened St, 
Paul's life in the uproar at Ephesus, so imminent as that 
from which in the epistle he represents himself to have been 
delivered. This matter, it is true, is not stated by the his- 
torian in form ; but the personal danger of the apostle, we 
cannot doubt, must have been extreme, wdien the "whole 
city was filled with confusion ;" when the populace had 
"seized his companions;" when, in the distraction of his 
mind, he insisted upon " coming forth among them ;" when 
the Christians who were about him would not sufier him ; 
when " his friends, certain of the chief of Asia, sent unto 
him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into 
the theatre ;" when, lastly, he was obliged to quit imme- 
diately the place and the country, " and when the tumult 
was ceased, to depart into Macedonia." All which particu- 
lars are found in the narration, and justify St. Paul's own 
account, " that he was pressed out of measure, above strength, 
insomuch that he despaired even of life ; that he had the 
sentence of death in himself;" that is, that he looked upon 
himself as a man condemned to die. 

IV. It has already been remarked, that St. Paul's origi- 
nal intention was to have visited Corinth on his way to 
Macedonia : " I was minded to come unto you before, .... 
and to pass by you into Macedonia." 2 Cor. 1 : 15. 16. It 


has also been remarked that he changed his intention, and 
ultimately resolved upon going through Macedonia Jirst. 
Now, upon this head there exists a circumstance of corre- 
spondency between our epistle and the history, which is not 
very obvious to the reader's observation, but which, when 
observed, will be found, I think, close and exact. Which 
circumstance is tliis : that though the change of St. Paul's 
intention be expressly mentioned only in the second epistle, 
yet it appears, both from the history and from this second 
epistle, that the change had taken place before the writing 
of the first epistle ; that it appears however from neither, 
otherwise than by an inference, unnoticed perhaps by al- 
most every one who does not sit down professedly to the 

First, then, how does this point appear from the history ? 
In the nineteenth chapter of the Acts and the twenty-first 
verse, we are told, that " Paul purposed in the spirit, when 
he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Je 
rusalem. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that min- 
istered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus ; but he himself 
stayed in Asia for a season." A short time after this, and 
evidently in pursuance of the same intention, we find, chap. 
20 : 1, 2, that " Paul departed from Ephesus for to go into 
Macedonia ; and that, when he had gone over those parts, 
he came into Greece." The resolution therefore of passing 
first through Macedonia, and from thence into Greece, was 
form.ed by St. Paul previously to the sending away of Tim- 
othy. The order in which the two countries are mentioned 
shows the direction of his intended route, " when he had 
passed through Macedonia and Achaia." Timothy and 
Erastus, who were to precede him in his progress, were sent 
by him from Ephesus into Macedonia. He himself a short 
tine afterwards, and, as has been observed, evidently in con- 
tinuation and pursuance of the same design, " departed for 
to go into Macedonia." If he had ever, therefore, enter- 
tained a different plan of his journey, which is not hinted 


•ji the history, he must have changed that plan before this 
time. But, from the seventeenth verse of the fourth chap- 
ter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, we discover that 
Timothy had been sent away from Ephesus before that epis- 
tle was written : "■ For this cause have I sent unto you Ti 
motheus, who is my beloved son." The change therefore 
of St. Paul's resolution, which was prior to the sending 
away of Timothy, was necessarily prior to the writing of 
the first epistle to the Corinthians. 

Thus stands the order of dates, as collected from the his- 
tory, compared with the first epistle. Now let us inquire, 
secondly, how this matter is represented in the epistle before 
us. In the sixteenth verse of the first chapter of this epistle, 
St. Paul speaks of the intention which he had once enter- 
tained of visiting Achaia in his way to Macedon : " In this 
confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye 
might have a second benefit : and to pass by you into Mac- 
edonia." After protesting, in the seventeenth verse, against 
any evil construction that might be put upon his laying 
aside of this intention, in the twenty-third verse he discloses 
the cause of it : " Moreover I call God for a record upon my 
soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth." 
And then he proceeds as follows : " But I determined this 
with myself, that I would not come again to you in heavi- 
ness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh 
me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me ? A?id 
I ivrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should 
have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice ; having 
confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For 
out of much affliction and anguish of heart I ivrote unti 
you tvith many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but 
that ye might know the love which I have more abundant- 
ly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not 
grieved me, but in part, that I may not overcharge you all. 
Sufficient to suck a man is this punishment, which was in- 
flicted of many." In this quotation, let the reader first di 


rcct his attention to the clause marked by Italics, " ami 1 
wrote this same unto you," and let him consider, whether, 
from the context and from the structure of the whole pas- 
sage, it he not evident that this writing was alter St. Paul 
had " determined with himself that he would not come 
3.gain to them in heaviness ;" wdiether, indeed, it was 
not in consequence of this determination, or at least with 
this determination upon his mind. And, in the next place, 
et him consider whether the sentence, "I determined this 
with myself, that I would not come again to you in heavi- 
ness," do not plainly refer to that postponing of his visit to 
which he had alluded in the verse but one before, when he 
said, " I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare 
you, I came not as yet unto Corinth ;" and whether this be 
not the visit of which he speaks in the sixteenth verse, 
wherein he informs the Corinthians, " that he had been 
minded to pass by them into Macedonia," but that, for rea- 
sons which argued no levity or fickleness in his disposition, 
he had been compelled to change his purpose. If this be 
so, then it follows that the writing here mentioned wag 
posterior to the change of his intention. The only question 
therefore, that remains, will be, whether this writing relate 
to the letter which we now have under the title of the first 
epistle to the Corinthians, or to some other letter not ex- 
tant. And upon this question I think Mi. Locke's obser- 
vation decisive ; namely, that the second clause marked in 
the quotation by italics, " I wrote unto you with many 
tears," and the first clause so marked, " I wrote this same 
unto you," belong to one writing, whatever that was ; and 
that the second clause goes on to advert to a circumstance 
which is found in our present first epistle to the Corinthi- 
iiis, namely, the case and punishment of the incestuous 
person. Upon the whole, then, we see that it is capable 
of being inferred from St, Paul's own words, in the long ex- 
tract which we have quoted, that the first epistle to the Co- 
rinthians was written after St. Paul had determined to post 


[)one his journey to Corinth ; in other words, that the- change 
of his purpose with respect to the course of his journey, 
though expressly mentioned only in the second epistle, had 
taken place before the writing of the first — the point which 
we made out to be implied in the history, by the order o{ 
the events there recorded, and the allusions to those events 
in the first epistle. Now this is a species of congruity to 
be relied upon more than any other. It is not an agree- 
ment between two accounts of the same transaction, or be- 
tween different statements of the same fact, for the fact is 
not stated : nothing that can be called an account is given ; 
but it is the junction of two conclusions, deduced from in- 
dependent sources, and deducible only by investigation and 

This point, namely, the change of the route being prior 
to the writing of the first epistle, also falls in with, and ac- 
counts for, the manner in which he speaks in that epistle ot 
his journey. His first intention had been, as he declares, 
to " pass by them into Macedonia :" that intention having 
been previously given up, he writes, in his first epistle, 
" that he would not see them now by the way," that is, as 
he must have done upon his first plan ; but " that he trust- 
ed to tarry awhile with them, and possibly to abide, yea. 
and winter with them." 1 Cor. 16 : 5, 6. It also accounts 
for a singularity in the text referred to, which must strike 
every reader : "I will come to you when I pass through 
Macedonia ; for I do pass through Macedonia." The sup- 
plemental sentence, "for I do pass through Macedonia," 
imports that there had been some previous communication 
upon the subject of the journey ; and also that there had 
been some vacillation and indecisiveness in the apostle's 
plan ; both which we now perceive to have been the case. 
The sentence is as much as to say, " This is what I at last 
resolve upon." The expression, drav lAaKsSovcav disMo, is am- 
biguous ; it may denote either " when I pass," or " wnen 1 
shall have passed,, through Macedonia :" the considerations 

;0 HOE.^ PAULIN.^:. 

offered above fix it to the latter sense. Lastly, the point we 
have endeavored to make out confirms, or rather, indeed, is 
necessary to the support of a conjecture which forms the 
subject of a number in our observations upon the first epis- 
tle, that the insinuation of certain of the church of Corinth, 
that he w^ould come no more among them, was founded on 
gome previous disappointment of their expectations. 

V. But if St. Paul had changed his purpose before the 
writing of the first epistle, why did he defer explaining him- 
self to the Corinthians, concerning the reason of that change, 
until he wrote the second ? This is a very fair question ; 
and we are able, I think, to return to it a satisfactory an- 
swer. The real cause, and the cause at length assigned by 
St. Paul for postponing his visit to Corinth, and not travel- 
ling by the route wliich he had at first designed, was the 
disorderly state of the Corinthian church at the time, and 
the painful severities which he should have found himself 
obliged to exercise, if he had come among them during the 
existence of these irregularities. He was willing therefore 
to try, before he came in person, what a letter of authorita- 
tive objurgation would do among them, and to leave time 
for the operation of the experiment. That was his scheme 
in writing the first epistle. But it was not for him. to ac- 
quaint them with the scheme. After the epistle had pro- 
duced its effect — and to the utmost extent, as it should seem, 
of the apostle's hopes — when he had wrought in them a deep 
sense of their fault, and an almost passionate solicitude to 
restore themselves to the approbation of their teacher ; when 
Titus, chap. 7:6, 7, 11, had brought him intelligence "of 
their earnest desire, their mourning, their fervent mind tow- 
ards him, of their sorrow and their penitence ; what careful- 
ness, what clearing of themselves, what indignation, what 
fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what revenge," his 
letter and the general concern occasioned by it had excited 
among them, he then opens himself fully upon the subject 
The affectionate mind of the apostle is touched by this return 


of zeal and duty. He tells them that he did not visit them 
at the time proposed, lest their meeting should have been 
attended with mutual grief; and with grief to him imbit 
tered by the reflection, that he was giving pain to those from 
whom alone he could receive comfort : " I determined this 
with myself, that I would not come again to you in heavi' 
ness For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh 
me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me ?" chap. 
2:1, 2 : that he had written his former epistle to warn 
them beforehand of their fault, "lest, when he came, he 
should have sorrow from them of whom he ought to re- 
joice," chap. 2:3: that he had the further view, though 
perhaps unperceived by them, of making an experiment of 
their fidelity, *' to know the proof of them, whether they 
are obedient in all things," chap. 2:9. This full discovery 
of his motive came very naturally from the apostle, after he 
had seen the success of his measures, but would no-t have 
been a seasonable communication before. The whole com- 
poses a train of sentiment and of conduct resulting from real 
eituation, and from real circumstance, and as remote as pos- 
sible from fiction or imposture. 

yi. Chap. 11:9: "When I was present with you, and 
wanted, I was chargeable to no man ; for that which was 
lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia 
supplied." The principal fact set forth in this passage, the 
arrival at Corinth of brethren from Macedonia during St. 
Paul's first residence in that city, is explicitly recorded. Acts 
18 : 1, 5 : "After these things Paul departed from Athens, 
and came to Corinth. And when Silas and Timotheus Avere 
come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and 
testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ." 

VII. The above quotation from the Acts proves that 
Silas and Timotheus were assistants to St. Paul in preach- 
ing the gospel at Corinth. "With which correspond the 
words of the epistle, chap. 1 : 19 : "For the Son of God, 
Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by 


me and Siivauus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay ; bal 
in him was yea." I do admit that the correspondency, 
considered by itself, is too direct and obvious ; and that an 
impostor with the history before him might, and probably 
would, produce agreements of the same kind. But let it be 
remembered, that this reference is found in a writing whi; h, 
from many discrepancies, and especially from those noted 
No. II., we may conclude, was not composed by any one 
who had consalted, and who pursued the history. Some 
observation also arises upon the variation of the name. We 
read Silas in the Acts, Silvanus in the epistle. The simili- 
tude of these two names, if they were the names of different 
persons, is greater than could easily have proceeded from 
accident ; I mean, that it is not probable that two persons 
placed in situations so much alike, should bear names so 
nearly resembling each other. ^ On the other hand, the 
difference of the name in the two passages negatives the 
supposition of the passages, or the account contained in them, 
being transcribed either from the other. 

VIII. Chap. 2:12, 13: "When I came to Troas to 
preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me ol 
the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not 
Titus my brother ; hut taking my leave of them, I went 
from thence into Macedonia." 

To establish a conformity between this passage and the 
history, nothing more is necessary to be presumed, than that 
St. Paul proceeded from Ephesus to Macedonia, upon the 
same course by which he came back from Macedonia to 
Ephesus, or rather to Miletus, in the neighborhood of Ephe- 
sus ; in other words, that in his journey to the peninsula of 
Greece, he w^ent and returned the same way. St. Paul is 
now in Macedonia, where he had lately arrived from Ephe 
sus. Our quotation imports that in his journey he had stop- 
ped at Troas. Of this the history says nothing, leaving us 

* That Ihcy were the same persons is farther confiimed by 1 The 39 
1:1, compared with Acts 17 : 10. 


only the short account, that " Paul departed from Ephesus. 
for to go into Macedoiiid." But the history says, that in his 
return from Macedonia to Ephesus, " Paul sailed from Phi- 
lippi to Troas ; and that, when the disci])lcs came together 
on the first day of the week to hreak bread, Paul preached 
unto them all night ; that from Troas he went by land to 
Asaos ; from Assos, taking ship and coasting along the front 
of Asia Minor, he came by Mitylene to Miletus," "Which 
account proves, first, that Troas lay in the way by which 
St Paul passed between Ephesus and Macedonia ; second- 
ly, that he had disciples there. In one journey between 
these two places, the epistle, and in another 'journey be- 
tweeji the same places, the history makes him stop at this 
city. Of the first journey he is made to say, " that a door 
was in that city opened unto me of the Lord ;" in the sec- 
ond, we hnd disciples there collected around him, and the 
apostle exercising his ministry with what was, even in him, 
more than ordinary zeal and labor. The epistle, therefore, 
is in this instance confirmed, if not by the terms, at least by 
the probability of the history ; a species of confirmation by 
no means to be despised, because, as far as it reaches, it is 
evidently uncontrived. 

Grotius, I know, refers the arrival at Troas, to which the 
epistle alludes, to a different period, but I think very im- 
probably ; for nothing appears to me more certain, than that 
the meeting with Titus, which St. Paul expected at Troas, 
was the same meeting which took place in Macedonia, 
namely, upon Titus's coming out of Greece. In the quota- 
tion before us, he tells the Corinthians, ""When I came to 
Troas, .... I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not 
Titus my brother ; but, taking my leave of them, I went 
from thence into Macedonia." Then in the seventh chapter 
he writes, " "When Vv^e were come into Macedonia, our flesh 
had no rest, but we were troubled on every side ; without 
were fightings, v/ithin were fears. Nevertheless God, that 
comforteth then: that are cast down^ comforted us by the 


coming of Titus." These two passages plainly relate to the 
same journey of Titus, in meeting with whom St. Paul had 
been disappointed at Troas, and rejoiced in Macedonia. And 
among other reasons which fix the former passage to the 
coming of Titus out of Greece, is the consideration, that it 
was nothing to the Corinthians that St. Paul did not meet 
with Titus at Troas, were it not that he was to bring intel- 
ligence from Corinth. The mention of the disappointment 
in this place, upon any other supposition, is irrelative. 

IX. Chap. 11 : 24, 25 : " Of the Jews five times receiv- 
ed I forty stripes save one, thrice was I beaten with rods, 
once was I fetoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and 
a day I have been in the deep." 

These particulars cannot be extracted out of the Acts of 
the Apostles, which proves, as has been already observed, 
that the epistle was not framed from the history ; yet they 
are consistent with it, which, considering how numerically 
circumstantial the account is, is more than could happen to 
arbitrary and independent fictions. When I say that these 
particulars are consistent with the history, I mean, first, 
that there is no article in the enumeration which is contra- 
dicted by the history; secondly, that the history, though 
silent with respect to many of the facts here enumerated, 
has left space for the existence of these facts, consistent with 
the fidelity of its own narration. 

First, no contradiction is discoverable between the epistle 
and the history. When St. Paul says, thrice was I beaten 
with rods, although the history record only mie beating with 
rods, namely, at Philippi, Acts 16 : 22, yet there is no con- 
tradiction. It is only the omission in one book of what is 
related in another. But had the history contained accounts 
oi four beatings with rods, at the time of writing this epis- 
tle, in which St. Paul says that he had only suffered three, 
there would have been a contradiction properly so called. 
The same observation applies generally to the other parts of 
the enumeration concerning which the history is silent . h^i 


theie is one clause in the quotation particularly deserving of 
remark, because, Avhen confronted with the history, it fur- 
nishes the nearest approach to a contradiction, without a 
contradiction being actually incurred, of any I remember to 
have met with : " Once," says St. Paul, " was I stoned." 
Does the history relate that St. Paul, prior to the writing of 
this epistle, had been stoned more than once ? The history 
mentions distinctly one occasion upon which St. Paul was 
stoned, namely, at Lystra in Lycaonia : '• There came thith- 
er certam Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded 
the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the 
city, supposing he had been dead." Acts 14:19. And it 
mentions also another occasion in which "an assault was 
made, both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their 
rulers, to use them despitefully and to stone them ; but they 
weie aware of it," the history proceeds to tell us, " and fled 
into Lystra and Derbe." This happened at Iconium, prior 
to the date of the epistle. Now, had the assault been com- 
pleted — had the history related that a stone was thrown, as 
it relates that preparations were made both by Jews and 
Gentiles to stone Paul and his companions ; or even had the 
account of this transaction stopped, without going on to in- 
form us that Paul and his companions were " aware of their 
danger and fled," a contradiction b^t^veen the history and 
the epistle would have ensued. Truth^is necessarily con- 
sistent ; but it is scarcely possible that mdependent accounts, 
ttot having truth, to guide them, should thus advance to the 
very brink of contradiction without falling into it. 

Secondly, I say, that if the Acts of the Apostles be silent 
concerning many of the instances enumerated ia the epistle, 
this silence may be accounted for from the plan and fabric 
of the history. The date of the epistle synchronize? with 
the beginning of the twentieth chapter of the Acts. The 
part, therefore, of the history which precedes the twentieth 
chapter, is the only part in which can be found any notice 
of the persecutions to which St. Paul refers. Now it do-^s 


not appear that tlie author of the history was with St. PauJ 
until his departure from Troas, on his way to Macedonia, as 
related chap. 16 : 10 ; or rather indeed the contrary appears. 
It is in this point of the history that the language changes. 
In the seventh and eighth verses of this chapter the third 
person is used : " After theij were come to Mysia, they as- 
sayed to go into Bithynia ; but the Spirit suffered them not. 
And thei/ passing by Mysia came to Troas :" and the third 
person is in hke manner constantly used throughout the fore- 
going part of the history. In the tenth verse of this chap- 
ter, the first person comes in : " After Paul had seen the 
vision, immediately ice endeavored to go into Macedonia, 
assuredly gathering that the Lord had called its for to preach 
the gospel unto them." Now, from this time to the writing 
of the epistle, the history occupies four chapters ; yet it is in 
these, if in any, that a regular or continued account of the 
apostle's life is to be expected ; for how succinctly his histo- 
ry is delivered in the preceding part of the book, that is to 
say, from the time of his conversion to the time when the 
historian joined him at Troas, except the particulars of his 
conversion itself, w^hich are related circumstantially, may be 
understood from the following observations : 

The history of a period of sixteen years is comprised in 
less than three chapters ; and of these, a m.aterial part is 
taken up with discourses. After his conversion he continu- 
ed in the neighborhood of Damascus, according to the histo- 
ry, for a certain considerable, though mdefinite length of 
time — according to his own words, Gal. 1 : 18, for three 
years ; of which no other account is given than this short 
one, that " straightv/ay he preached Christ in the syna- 
gogues, that he is the Son of God ; that all that heard him 
were amazed, and said, Is not this he that destroyed them 
which called on this name in Jerusalem ? that he increased 
the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt 
at Damascus ; and that after many days were fulfillod, the 
Jews took counsel to kill him." From Damascus lie pro 


cceded to Jerusalem ; and of his residence there nothing 
more particular is recorded, than that " he was with ths 
apostles, coming in and going out ; that he spake boldly in 
the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Gre- 
cians, who went about to kill him." From Jerusalem, the 
history sends him to his native city of Tarsus. Acts 9: 30. It 
Beems probable, from the order and disposition of the history, 
that St. Paul's stay at Tarsus was of some continuance ; fol 
we hear nothing of him until, after a long apparent interval, 
and much interjacent narrative, Barnabas, desirous of Paul's 
assistance upon the enlargement of the Christian mission, 
*' went to Tarsus for to seek him." Chap. 1 1 : 25. We cannot 
doubt but that the new apostle had been busied in his minis- 
try ; yet of what he did, or what he suffered, during this pe- 
riod, which may include three or four years, the history pro- 
fesses not to deliver any information. As Tarsus was situated 
upon the sea-coast, and as, though Tarsus was his home, 
yet it is probable he visited from thence many other places, 
for the purpose of prea-ching the gospel, it is not unlikely, 
that in the course of three or four years he might undertake 
many short voyages to neighboring countries, in the naviga- 
ting of which we may be allowed to suppose that some ol 
those disasters and shipwrecks befell him to which he refers 
in the quotation before us, " thrice I sufiered shipwreck, a 
night and a day I have been in the deep." This last clause 
I am inclined to interpret of his being obliged to take an 
open boat, upon the loss of the ship, and his continuing out 
at sea in that dangerous situation, a night and a day. St. 
Paul is here recounting his sufferings, not relating miracles. 
From Tarsus, Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch, and there 
he remained a year ; but of the transactions of that year no 
other description is given than what is contained in the last 
four verses of the eleventh chapter. After a more solemn 
dedication to the ministry, Barnabas and Paul proceeded 
from Antioch to Cilicia, and from thence they sailed to Cy- 
prus, of which voyage no particulars are mentioned. Upon 


their return from C}-prus, they made a progress togethei 
through the Lesser Asia ; and though two remarkable 
speeches be preserved, and a few incidents in the course oi 
their travels circumstantially related, yet is the account of this 
progress, upon the whole, given professedly wdth conciseness : 
lor instance, at Iconium, it is said that they abode a long time, 
Acts 14:3; yet of this long abode, except concerning the 
manner in which they were driven away, no memoir is in- 
serted in the history. The whole is wrapped up in one short 
summary, "They spake boldly in the Lord, which gave tes- 
timony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and 
wonders to be done by their hands." Having completed 
their progress, the two apostles returned to Antioch, " and 
there they abode a long time with the disciples." Here we 
have another large portion of time passed over in silence. 
To this succeeded a journey to Jerusalem, upon a dispute 
which then much agitated the Christian church, concerning 
the obligation of the law of Moses When the object of that 
journey was completed, Paul proposed to Barnabas to go again 
and visit their brethren in every city where they had preach- 
ed the word of the Lord. The execution of this plan carried 
our apostle through Syria, Gilicia, and many provinces of 
the Lesser Asia ; yet is the account of the whole journey 
dispatched in four verses of the sixteenth chapter. 

If the Acts of the Apostles had undertaken to exhibit 
regular annals of St. Paul's ministry, or even any continued 
account of his life, from his conversion at Damascus to his 
imprisonment at Eome, I should have thought the omission 
of the circumstances referred to in our epistle a matter oi 
reasonable objection. But when it appears from the histo- 
Ty itself, that large portions of St Paul's life were either 
passed over in silence, or only slightly touched upon, and 
that nothing more than certain detached incidents and dis 
courses is related ; when we observe, also, that the author 
of the history did not join our apostle's society till a few years 
before the writing of the epistle, at least that there is no 


jiroof in the history that he did so : in comparing the hlsto- 
ly with the epistle, we shall not be surprised by the discov- 
ry of omissions : we shall ascribe it to truth that there is no 

•X. Chap. 3:1: " Do we begin again to commend our* 
selves ; or need we, as some others, letters oi' commendation 
from you?" 

"As some others." Turn to Acts 18 : 27, and you will 
find that a short time before the writing of this epistle, Apol- 
los had gone to Corinth with letters of commendation from 
the Ephesian Christians ; " and when Apollos was disposed 
to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disci- 
ples to receive him." Here the words of the epistle bear 
the appearance of alluding to some specific instance, and the 
history supplies that instance ; it supplies at least an in- 
stance as apposite as possible to the terms which the apostle 
uses, and to the date and direction of the epistle in which 
they are found. The letter which Apollos carried from 
Ephesus was precisely the letter of commendation which 
St. Paul meant ; and it was to Achaia, of which Corinth 
was the capital, and indeed to Corinth itself, Acts 19:1, 
that Apollos carried it ; and it was about two years before 
the writing of this epistle. If St. Paul's words be rather 
thought to refer to some general usage which then obtained 
among the Christian churches, the case of Apollos exempli- 
fies that usage ; and afibrds that species of confirmation to 
the epistle which arises from seeing the manners of the age, 
in which it purports to be written, faithfully preserved. 

XI. Chap. 13:1: " This is the third time I am coming 
1^ you :" TOLTOV TO no epxouxu. 

Do not these words import that the writer had been at 
Corinth twice before ? Yet if they import this, they overset 
every congruity we have been endeavoring to establish. The 
Acts of the Apostles record only two journeys of St. Paul to 
Corinth. Yfe have all along supposed, what eveiy mark of 
time except this expression indicates, that this epistle was 

50 . IIOE.^ PAULINiE. 

written betM^een the first and second of these journeys. I. 
St. Paul had been already twice at Corinth, this supposition 
must be given up ; and every argument or observation 
which depends upon it falls to the ground. Again, the Acts 
of the Apostles not only record no more than two journeys 
cf St. Paul to Corinth, but do not allow us to suppose that 
more than two such journeys could be made or intended by 
him within the period which the history comprises ; for from 
his first journey into Greece to his first imprisonment at 
Rome, with which the history concludes, the apostle's time 
is accounted for. If therefore the epistle was written after 
the second journey to Corinth, and upon the view and expec- 
tation of a third, it must have been written after his first 
imprisonment at Rome, that is, after the time to w^hich the 
history extends. When I first read over this epistle with the 
particular view of comparing it with the history, which I 
chose to do without consulting any commentary whatever, 1 
own that I felt myself confounded by this text. It appeared 
to contradict the opinion, which I had been led by a great 
varietv of circumstances to form, concerning the date and 
occasion of the epistle. At length, however, it occurred to 
my thoughts to inquire, whether the passage did necessarily 
imply that St. Paul had been at Corinth twice ; or whether, 
when he says, " this is the third time I am coming to you," 
he might mean only that this was the third time that he was 
ready, that he v»'as prepared, that he intended to set out on 
his journey to Corinth. I recollected that he had once be- 
fore this purposed to visit Corinth, and had been disappoint- 
ed in this purpose ; which disappointment forms the subject 
of much apoiogy and protestation, in the first and second 
chapters of the epistle. Noav, if the journey in which he 
had been disappointed was reckoned by him one of the tim'^s 
in which " he was coming to them," then the present would 
be the third time, that is, of his being ready and prepared to 
come ; although he had been actually at Corinth only opci 
before. This conjecture being taken up, a further exaniina 


Kon of the passage and the epistle produced proofs wliich 
placed it beyond doubt. "This is the third time I am com- 
ing to you :" in the verse following these words, he adds '* 1 
told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the 
second time ; and being absent now I write to them which 
Keretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come 
again, I will not spare." In this verse the apostle is declar- 
ing beforehand what he would do in his intended visit : his 
expression, therefore, " as if I were present a second time," 
relates to that visit. But, if his future visit Avould only 
make him present among them a second time, it follows that 
he had been already there but once. Again, in the fifteentii 
verse of the first chapter, he tells them, " In this confidence 
I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have 
a second benefit." Why a second, and not a third benefit ? 
why Sd'Tepav, and not TptT7]v ,v'"pn', if the rphov Epxofiai, in the 
fifteenth chapter, meant a third visit ? for, though the visit 
in the first chapter be that visit in which he was disappoint- 
ed, yet, as it is evident from the epistle that he had never 
been at Corinth from the time of the disappointment to the 
time of writing the epistle, it follows, that if it were only a 
second visit in which he was disappointed then, it could only 
be a second visit which he proposed now. But the text 
>hich I think is decisive of the question, if any question 
remain upon the subject, is the fourteenth verse of the 
twelfth chapter, " Behold, the third time I am ready to come 
to you :' 'Idov rphov iroifiog t^" tMelv. It is very clear that 
the Tpirov hoi^og l;i;cj kMelv of the twelfth chapter, and the 
rpirov tovto lixoiJ-o.!- of the thirteenth chapter, are equivalent 
expressions, were intended to convey the same meaning, and 
lo relate to the same journey. The comparison of these 
[hrases gives us St. Paul's own explanation of his own 
words ; and it is that very explanation which we are con- 
tendmg for, namely, that rpirav rov-o epxofiai does not mean 
that he was coinmg a third time, but that this was the third 
tirnc he was is. readiness to come, rpiroi' holuuc .'vwr. I dc 

Honr- Paul. 19 * 


not apprehend, that after this it can he necessary to call to 
our aid the reading of the Alexandrian manuscript, which 
gives troiiiug ex(o cMelv in the thirteenth chapter as well as in 
the twelfth; or of the Syriac and Coptic versions, which fol- 
low that reading ; because I allow that this reading, besides 
not being sufficiently supported by ancient copies, is probably 
paraphrastical, and has been inserted for the purpose of ex- 
pressing more unequivocally the sense which the shortei 
expression rphov tovto epxofiai was supposed to carry. Upon 
the whole, the matter is sufficiently certain : nor do I pro- 
pose it as a new interpretation of the text which contains the 
difficulty, for the same was given by Grotius long ago ; but 
I thought it the clearest way of explaining the subject, to 
describe the manner in which the difficulty, the solution, 
and the proofs of that solution successively presented them- 
selves to my inquiries. Now, in historical researches, a rec- 
onciled inconsistency becomes a positive argument. First, 
because an impostor generally guards against the appear- 
ance of inconsistency ; and secondly, because, when apparent 
inconsistencies are found, it is seldom that any thing but truth 
renders them capable of reconciliation. The existence of the 
difficulty proves the want or absence of that caution which 
usually accompanies the consciousness of fraud ; and the solu- 
tion proves, that it is not the collusion of fortuitous proposi- 
tions which we have to deal with, but that a thread of truth 
winds through the whole, which preserves every circum- 
stance in its place. 

XII. Chap. 10 : 14—16 : "We are come as far as to you 
also in preaching the gospel of Christ : not boasting of tilings 
without our measure, that is, of other men's labors ; but 
having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be 
enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly to preach 
the gospel in the regions beyond you." 

This quotation aflbrds an indirect, and therefore unsus- 
picious, but at the same time a distinct and indubitable 
recognition of the truth and exactness of the history I con- 


Elder it to be implied by tlie words of the quotation, that 
Corinth was the extremity of St. Paul's travels hitherto. 
He expresses to the Corinthians his hope, that in some future 
visit he might " preach the gospel to the regions beyond 
them ;" which imports that he had not hitherto proceeded 
" beyond them," but that Corinth was as yet the furthest 
mini or boundary of his travels. Now, how is St. Pauls 
drst journey into Europe, which was the only one he had 
taken before the writing of the epistle, traced out in the 
history ? Sailing from Asia, he landed at Philippi ; from 
Pliilippi, traversing the eastern coast of the peninsula, he 
passed through Amphipolis and Appollonia to Thessalonica ; 
from thence through Berea to Athens, and from Athens to 
Corinth, ivhere he stojjped ; and from whence, after a resi- 
dence of a year and a half, he sailed back into Syria. So 
that Corinth was the l-ast place which he visited in the 
peninsula ; was the place from which he returned into Asia, 
and was, as such, the boundary and limit of his progress. 
He could not have said the same thing, namely, " I ho])e 
hereafter to visit the regions beyond you," in an epistle to 
the Philippians, or in an epistle to the Thessalonians, inas- 
much as he must be deemed to have already visited the 
regions beyond them, having proceeded from those cities to 
other parts of Greece. But from Corinth he returned hoixie •• 
every part therefore beyond that city might properly be i lid 
as it is said in the passage before us, to be unvisited. Yet 
is this propriety the spontaneous effect of truth, and prod ced 
without meditation or design. 




I. The argument of this epistle in some measure proves 
its antiquity. It will hardly be doubted, but that it was writ 
tnn while the dispute concerning the circumcision of G entile 
converts was fresh in men's minds ; for, even supposing it to 
have been a forgery, the only credible motive that can be 
assigned for the forgery, was to bring the name and author- 
ity of the apostle into this controversy. No design could be 
so insipid, or so unlikely to enter into the thoughts of any 
man, as to produce an epistle written earnestly and pointedly 
upon one side of a controversy, when the controversy itself 
was dead, and the question no longer interesting to any 
description of readers whatever, Now the controversy con- 
cerning the circumcision of the Gentile Christians was of 
such a nature, that, if it arose at all, it must have arisen in 
the beginning of Christianity. As Judea was the scene of 
the Christian history — as the Author and preachers of Chris- 
tianity were Jews — as the religion itself acknowledged and 
was founded upon the Jewish religion, in contradistinction 
from every other religion then professed among mankind, it 
was not to be wondered at, that some of its teachers should 
carry it out in the world rather as a sect and modification of 
Judaism, than as a separate original revelation ; or that they 
should invite their proselytes to those observances in which 
they lived themselves. This was likely to happen; but if 
it did not happen at first — if, while the religion was in the 
hands of Jewish teachers, no such claim was advanced, no 
euch condition was attemj)ted to be imposed, it is not prob- 
able that the doctrine would be started, much less that it 
should prevail in any future period, I likewise think, that 
those pretensions of Judaism were much more likely to be 
insisted upon while the Jews continued a nation, than aftei 


their iall and dispersion— while Jerusalem and the tempki 
stood, than after the destruction brought upon them by the 
Roman arms, the fatal cessation of the sacrifice and the 
priesthood, the humiliating loss of their country, and, witL 
it, of the great rites and symbols of their institution. It 
should seem, therefore, from the nature of the subject and 
the situation of the parties, that this controversy was carried 
on in the interval between the preaching of Christianity to 
the Gentiles and the invasion of Titus ; and that our present 
epistle, M^hich was undoubtedly intended to bear a part in 
this controversy, must be referred to the same period. 

But, again, the epistle supposes that certain designing 
adherents of the Jewish law had crept into the churches of 
Galatia, and had been endeavoring, and but too successfully, 
to persuade the Galatic converts that they had been taught 
the new religion imperfectly and at second hand — that the 
founder of their church himself possessed only an inferior and 
deputed commission, the seat of truth and authority being 
in the apostles and elders of Jerusalem ; moreover, that 
whatever he might profess among them, he had himself, at 
other times and in other places, given way to the doctrine of 
circumcision. The epistle is unintelligible without suppos- 
ing all this. Keferring therefore to this, as to what had 
actually passed, we find St. Paul treating so unjust an 
attempt to undermine his credit, and to introduce among his 
converts a doctrine which he had uniformly reprobated, in 
terms of great asperity and indignation. And in order to 
refute the suspicions which had been raised concerning the 
fidelity of his teaching, as well as to assert the independency 
and divine original of his mission, we find him appealing to 
the history of his conversion, to his conduct under .t, to the 
manner in which he had conferred with the apostles when 
he met with them at Jerusalem : alleging, that so far was 
his doctrine from being derived from them, or they from exer- 
cising any superiority over him, that they had simply assent- 
ed to what he had already preached among the Gentiles, and 

t'6 RORJE PAULlNili. 

whicli preaching was communicated not by them to him, 
but by himself to them ; that he had maintained the liberty 
of the Gentile church by opposing-, upon one occasion, an 
apostle to the face, when the timidity of his behavior seemed 
to endanger it ; that from the first, that all along, that to 
that hour he had constantly resisted the claims of Judaism : 
and that the persecutions which he daily underwent, at the 
hands or by the instigation of the Jews, and of which he 
bore in his person the marks and scars, might have been 
avoided by him, if he had consented to employ his labors in 
bringing, through the medium of Christianity, converts ovei 
to the Jewish institution, for then " would the offence of the 
cross have ceased." Now an impostor who had forged the 
epistle for the purpose of producing St. Paul's authority in 
the dispute, which, as has been observed, is the only cred 
ible motive that can be assigned for the forgery, might hav( 
made the apostle deliver his opinion upon the subject in 
strong and decisive terms, or might have put his name to a 
train of reasoning and argumentation upon that side of the 
question which the impostor was intended to recommend. 
I can allow the possibility of such a scheme as that ; but for 
a writer, with this purpose in view, to feign a series of trans- 
actions supposed to have passed among the Christiai"!.- of 
Galatia, and then to counterfeit expressions of anger and 
resentment excited by these transactions ; to make the apos- 
tle travel back into his own history, and into a recital of 
various passages of his life, some indeed directly, but others 
obliquely, and others even obscurely bearing upon the pomt 
in question ; in a word, to substitute narrative for argument, 
expostulation and complaint for dogmatic positions and con- 
troversial reasoning, in a writing properly controversial, and 
of which the aim and design was to support one side of a 
much agitated question — is a method so intricate, and so 
unlike the methods pursued by all other impostors, as tc 
require very flagrant proofs of imposition to induce us to be 
lieve it to be one. 


II. In this number I shall endeavor to prove, 

1. That the epistle to the Galatians and the Acts of the 
Apostles were written without any communication vfith 
each other. 

2. That the epistle, though written without any com- 
munication with the history by recital, implication, or refei*- 
ence, bears testimony to many of the facts contauied in it. 

1. The epistle and the Acts of the Apostles were written 
without any communication with each other. 

To judge of this point, we must examine those passages 
in each which describe the same transaction ; for if the 
author of either writing derived his information from the 
account which he had seen in the other, when he came to 
speak of the same transaction, he would follow that account. 
The history of St. Paul at Damascus, as read in the Acts, 
and as referred to by the epistle, forms an instance of this 
sort. According to the Acts, Paul, after his conversion, was 
certain days with the " disciples which w^ere at Damascus. 
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that 
he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, 
and said. Is not this he that destroyed them which called on 
his name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that 
he might bring them bound unto the chief priests ? But 
Saul increased the more in strength, confounding the Jews 
w^hich dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is veiy Christ, 
And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took 
counsel to kill him. But their laying w^ait was known to 
Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill 
him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him 
down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come 
to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples." 
Chap. 9 : 19-2G. 

According to the epistle, "When it pleased God, who 
separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by 
his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him 
among the heathen ; immediately I conferred not with flesh 


and blood : neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which 
were apostles before me ; but I went into Arabia, and re- 
turned again unto Damascus. Then after three years ] 
went up to Jerusalem." 

Besides the diiierence observable in the terms and gen- 
eral complexion of these two accounts, " the journey into 
Arabia" mentioned in the epistle and omitted in the history, 
affords full proof that there existed no correspondence be- 
tween these writers. If the narrative in the Acts had been 
made up from the epistle, it is impossible that this journey 
should have been passed over in silence ; if the epistle had 
been composed out of what the author had read of St. Paul's 
history in the Acts, it is unaccountable that it should have 
been inserted.^ 

The journey to Jerusalem related in the second chapter 
of the epistle — "then fourteen years after, I went up again 
to Jerusalem" — supplies another example of the same kind. 
Either this was the journey described in the fifteenth chap- 
ter of the Acts, when Paul and Barnabas were sent from 
Antioch to Jerusalem to consult the apostles and elders upon 
the question of the Gentile converts, or it was some journey 
of which the history does not take notice. If the first opin 
ion be followed, the discrepancy in the two accounts is so 
considerable, that it is not without difficulty they can be 
adapted to the same transaction ; so that upon this supposi- 
tion, there is no place for suspecting that the writers were 
guided or assisted by each other. If the latter opinion be 
preferred, we have then a journey to Jerusalem, and a con- 
ference with the principal members of the church there, cir- 

* N. B. The Acts of the Apostles simply inform us that St. Paul 
left Damascus In order to go to Jerusalem, " after many days were 
fulfilled." If any doubt whether the words "many days" could be 
m';ended to express a period which included a terra of three years, he 
will find a complete instance of the same phrase used with the same 
latitude in the fii-st book of Kings, chap. 11 :38, 39 : "And Shimei 
dwelt in Jerusalem many days. And it came to pass at the en 3 of 
three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away." 


^umstantially related in the epistle, and entirely omitted in 
the Acts ; and we are at liberty to repeat the observation 
which we before made, that the omission of so material a 
fact in the history is inexplicable, if the historian had read 
the epistle; and that the insertion of it in the epistle, ii 
the writer derived his information from the history, is not 
less so. 

St. Peter's visit to Antioch, during which the dispute 
arose between him and St. Paul, is not mentioned in the 

If v.-e connect with these instances the general observa- 
tion that no scrutiny can discover the smallest trace of tran- 
scription or imitation, either in things or words, we shall be 
fully satisfied in this part of our case ; namely, that the two 
records, be the facts contained in them true or false, come 
to our hands from independent sources. 

Secondly, I say that the epistle thus proved to have 
been written without any communication with the history, 
bears testimony to a great variety of particulars contained 
in the history. 

1. St. Paul, in the early part of his life, had addicted 
himself to the study of the Jewish religion, and was distin- 
guished by his zeal for the institution, and for the traditions 
wdiich had been incorporated with it. Upon this part of his 
character the history makes St. Paul speak thus : "I am 
verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city ol 
Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, 
and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of 
the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this 
day." Acts 22 : 3. 

The epistle is as follows : " I profited in the Jews' relig- 
ion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more 
exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers." Chap. 
1 :14. 

2. St. Paul, before his conversion, had been a fierce per- 
secutor of the new sect. "As for Saul, he made havoc of 


90 HOE,^ PACJLI]:i.E. 

the churclij entering into every house, and haJing men and 
women, committed them to prison." Acts 8:3. 

This is the history of St. Paul, as deUvered in the Acts ; 
in the recital of his own history in the epistle, "Ye have 
heard," says he, " of my conversation in time past in the 
Tews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the 
.jhurch of God." Chap. 1 : 13. 

3. St. Paul was miraculously converted on his way to 
Damascus. "And as he journeyed, he came near Damas- 
cus : and suddenly there shined round about him a light 
from heaven ; and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice 
saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? 
And he said. Who art thou, Lord ? And the Lord said, I 
am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to 
kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished, 
said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Acts 9 : 3-6. 
With these compare the epistle, chap. 1 : 15-17 : "When 
it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb 
and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I 
might preach him among the heathen ; immediately I con- 
ferred not with flesh and blood : neither went I up to Jeru- 
salem to them that were apostles before me : but I went 
into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." 

In this quotation from the epistle, I desire it to be re- 
marked how incidentally it appears that the affair passed at 
Damascus. In what may be called the direct part of the 
account, no mention is made of the place of his conversion 
at all ; a casual expression at the end, and an expression 
brought in for a different purpose, alone fixes it to have 
been at Damascus : " I returned again unto Damascus." 
Nothing can be more like simplicity and undesignedness 
than this is. It also draws the agreement between the two 
quotations somewhat closer, to observe, that they both state 
St. Paul to have preached the gospel immediately upon his 
call: "And straightway he preached Christ in tho syna- 
gogues, that he is the Son of God." Acts 9 : 20. 'When 


it pleased God .... to reveal his Son in me, that 1 might 
preaoh him among the heathen ; immediately I conferred 
not with flesh and blood." Galatians I : 15. 

4. The course of the apostle's travels after his conver- 
sion was this : he went from Damascus to Jerusalem, and 
from Jerusalem into Syria and Cilicia. At Damascus, "the 
disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall 
in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he 
assayed to join himself to the disciples." Acts 9 : 25, 26. 
Afterwards, "when the brethren knew" the conspiracy 
formed against him at Jerusalem, "they brought him down 
to Cesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus," a city in Cilicia. 
Ver. 30. In the epistle, St. Paul gives the following briel 
account of his proceedings within the same period : " After 
three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode 
with him fifteen days. Afterwards I came into the regions 
of Syria and Cilicia." The history had told us that Paul 
passed from Cesarea to Tarsus : if he took his journey by 
land, it would carry him through Syria into Cilicia ; and he 
would come, after his visit at Jerusalem, " into the regions 
of Syria and Cilicia," in the very order in which he men- 
tions them in the epistle. This supposition of his going 
from Cesarea to Tarsus b?j land, clears up also another 
point. It accounts for what St. Paul says in the same place 
concerning the churches of Judea : "Afterwards I came into 
the regions of Syria and Cilicia ; and was unknown by face 
unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ : but they 
had heard only. That he which persecuted us in times past, 
now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And 
thoy glorified God in me." Upon which passage I observe, 
first, that what is here said of the churches of Judea, is 
spoken in connection with his journey into the regions of 
Syria and Cilicia. Secondly, that the passage itself has 
little significancy, and that the connection is inexplicable, 
unless St. Paul went through Judea — though probably by a 
hasty journey — at the time that he came into the region* oJ 


Syria and Cilicia.^ Suppose him to have passed by land 
trom Cesarea to Tarsus, all this, as has been observed, 
would he precisely true. 

5. Barnabas was with St. Paul at Antioch. " Then de- 
parted Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul : and when he 
had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came 
to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with 
the church." Acts 11 : 25, 2G. Again, and upon another 
occasion, Paul and Barnabas " sailed to Antioch ," and there 
they continued a "long time with the disciples." Chap. 
14 : 26. 

Now, what says the epistle? "When Peter was come 
to Antioch, I withstood him^ to the face, because he was to 
be blamed. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with 
him ; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with 
their dissimulation." Chap. 2 : 11, 13. 

6. The stated residence of the apostles was at Jerusalem. 
" At that time there was a great persecution against the 
church which was at Jerusalem ; and they were all scat 
tered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, 
except the apostles." Acts 8 : 1. "They," the Christians 
at Antioch, " determined that Paul and Barnabas, and cer- 
tain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto thf 
apostles and elders about this question." Acts 15:2. With 
these accounts agrees the declaration in the epistle: "JSTei- 
ther went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles 
before me," chap. 1:17; for this declaration implies, or 
rather assumes it to be known, that Jerusalem was the 
pi ice where the apostles were to be met with. 

7. There were at Jerusalem two apostles, or at the least, 
two eminent members of the church, of the name of James. 

* Dr. Doddridge thought that the Cesarea here mentioned was not 
the celebrated city of that name upon the Mediterranean sea, but Ces- 
area Pliilippi, near tho borders of Syria, M^hich lies in a much more 
direct line from Jerusalem to Tarsus than the other. The objection 
to this, Dr. Benson remarks, is, that Cesarea, without any addition, 
usually ■d^enotes Cesarea Palestine. 


This is directly iiifeiTed from the Acts of the ipostlcs, which, 
in the second verse of the tAvelfth chapter, relates the death 
of James the brother of John ; and yet, if. the fifteenth 
chapter, and in a subsequent part of the history, records a 
speech delivered by James in the assembly of the apostles 
and elders. It is also strongly implied by the form of ex- 
pression used in the epistle: "Other apostles' saw I none, 
save James the Lord's brother f' that is, to distinguish him 
from James the brother of John. 

To us who have been long conversant in the Christian 
history as contained in the Acts of the Apostles, these points 
are obvious and familiar ; nor do we readily apprehend any 
greater difficulty in making them appear in a letter purport- 
ing to have been written by St. Paul, than there is in intro- 
ducing them into a modern sermon. But to judge correctly 
of the argument before us, we must discharge this know- 
ledge from our thoughts. Yfe must propose to ourselves the 
situation of an author who sat down to the writing of the 
epistle without having seen the history, and then the con 
currences we have deduced will be deemed of importance. 
They will at least be taken for separate confirmations of the 
several facts, and not only of these particular facts, but of 
the general truth of the history. 

For what is the rule wdth respect to corroborative testi- 
mony which prevails in courts of justice, and which prevails 
only because experience has proved that it is a useful guide 
to truth ? A principal witness in a cause delivers his ac- 
count ; his narrative, in certain parts of it, is confirmed by 
witnesses who are called afterwards. The credit derived 
from their testimony belongs not only to the particular cir- 
cumstances in which the auxiliary witnesses agree with the 
principal Mdtness, but in some measure to the whole oi his 
evidence ; because it is improbable that accident or fiction 
should draw a line which touched upon truth in so many 

In like manner, if tvro records be produced manifestly 

1)4 HOltiE fAULlJNii:. 

independent, that is, manifestly written without any partici- 
pation of intelligence, an agreement between them, even in 
few and slight circumstances — especially if from the different 
nature and design of the writings, few points only of agree- 
ment, and those incidental, could be expected to occui— 
would add a sensible weight to the authority o^ both 'zi 
every part of their contents. 

The same rule is applicable to history, with at least at' 
much reason as any other species of evidence. 

III. But although the references to various particulars 
m the epistle, compared with the direct account of the same 
particulars in the history, afford a considerable proof of the 
truth not only of these particulars, but of the narrative which 
contains them, yet they do not show, it will be said, that 
the epistle was written by St. Paul ; for admitting what 
seems to have been proved, that the writer, whoever he was, 
had no recourse to the Acts of the Apostles ; yet many of 
the facts referred to, such as St. Paul's miraculous conver- 
sion, his change from a virulent persecutor to an indefati- 
gable preacher, his labors among the Gentiles, and his zeal 
for the liberties of the Gentile church, were so notorious as 
to occur readily to the mind of any Christian who should 
choose to personate his character and counterfeit his name ; 
it was only to write what every body knew. Now, I think 
that this supposition — namely, that the epistle was com- 
posed upon general information and the general publicity of 
the facts alluded to, and that the author did no more than 
weave into his work what the common fame of the Christian 
church had reported to his ears — is repelled by the particular- 
ity of the recitals and references. This particularity is ob- 
servable in the following instances ; in perusing which, I de- 
sire the reader to reflect, whether they exliibit the language 
of a man who had nothing but general reputation to proceed 
upon, or of a man actually speaking of himself and of his own 
history, and consequently of things concerning which he pos 
Bessed a clear, int/mate, and circumstantial knowledge. 


1. The history, in giving an account of St. Paul after his 
L-onversion, relates, "that after many days," efiecting, by 
the assistance of the disciples, his escape from Dama&aus, 
"he proceeded to Jerusalem." Acts 9:25. The epistle, 
spealdng of the same period, makes St. Paul say that " ho 
went into Arabia," that he returned again to Damascus, 
and that after three years he went up to Jerusalem. Chap. 
1 : 17, 18. 

2. The history relates, that when Saul was come from 
Damascus, he was with the disciples " coming in and going 
out." Acts 9 : 28. The epistle, describing the same jour- 
ney, tells us, that he " went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, 
and abode with him fifteen days." Chap. 1:18. 

3. The history relates that when Paul was come to Jeru- 
salem, " Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apos' 
ties." Acts 9:27. The epistle, that he saw Peter; but 
other of the apostles saw he " none, save James the Lord's 
brother." Chap. 1 : 19. 

Now this is as it should be. The histoiian delivers his 
account in general terms, as of facts at which he was not 
present. The person who is the subject of that account, 
when he comes to speak of these facts himself, particularizes 
time, names, and circumstances. 

4. The hke notation of places, persons, and dates, is 
met with in the account of St. Paul's journey to Jerusalem, 
given in the second chapter of the epistle. It was fourteen 
years after his conversion ; it was in company with Bar- 
nabas and Titus ; it was then that he met with James, 
Cephas, and John; it was then also that it was agreed 
among them that they should go to the circumcision, and he 
unto the Gentiles. 

5. The dispute with Peter, which occupies the sequel of 
the second chapter, is marked with the same particularity. 
[t was at Antioch ; it was after certain came from James ; 
it was while Barnabas was there, who was carried away by 
their dissimulation. These exam.ples negative the inainua' 

96 R0R.5I PAULl^^.E. 

tion, that the epistle presents nothing: hut indefinite aUasions 
to puhUc facts, 

IV. Chap. 4 : 11-16 : " I am afraid of you, lest I have 
bestowed upon you labor in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, 
be as I am ; for I am as ye are : ye have not injured me it 
all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached 
the gospel unto you at the first. And my temfAation ivliich 
was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected ; but received 
me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where ig 
then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, 
if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own 
eyes, and have given them unto me. Am I therefore be 
come your enemy because I tell you the truth ?" 

With this passage compare 2 Cor. 12:1—9: " It is not 
expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions 
and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above 
fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell ; or 
whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth ;j 
such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew 
such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I can- 
not tell : God knoweth ;) how that he was caught up into 
paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not laAv- 
ful for a man to utter. Of such a one will I glory : yet oi 
myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For, thougl' 
I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool : for I will say 
the truth : but now I forbear, lest any man should think ot 
me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth 
of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through 
the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a 
thorn in thejlesh, the 7nessenger of Sata7i to buffet me, lest 
1 should be exalted above measure. For this thing I b;'- 
songht the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And 
he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee ; for my 
strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly there- 
fore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power ol 
Christ may rest upon me." 


There can be no doubt but that " the temptation which 
was m the flesh," mentioned in the ep.'stle to the Galatians^ 
and " the thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to bullet 
him," mentioned in the epistJe to the Corinthians, were in. 
tended to denote the same thing. Either therefore it was, 
what we pretend it to have been, the same person in both, 
alluding, as the occasion led him, to some bodily infirmity 
under which he labored — that is, we are reading the real 
letters of a real apostle ; or it was, that a sophist who had 
seen the circumstance in one epistle, contrived, for the sake 
of correspondency, to bring it into another ; or, lastly, it wa? 
a circumstance in St. Paul's personal condition, supposed tc 
be well known to those into whose hands the epistle was 
likely to fall, and for that reason introduced into a Avriting 
designed to bear his name. I have extracted the quotations 
at length, in order to enable the reader to judge accurately 
of the manner in which the mention of this particular comes 
in, in each ; because that judgment, I think, will acquit the 
author of the epistle of the charge of having studiously insert- 
ed it, either with a view of producing an apparent agreement 
between them, or for any other purpose whatever. 

The context, by which the circumstance before us is 
introduced, is in the two places totally difiercnt, and without 
any mark of imitation ; yet in both places does the circum- 
stance rise aptly and naturally out of the context, and that 
context from the train of thought carried on in the epistle. 

The epistle to the Galatians, from the beginning to the 
end, runs in a strain of angry complaint of their defection 
from the apostle, and from the principles which he had 
taught them. It was very natural to contrast with this 
conduct, the zeal with which they had once received him ; 
and it was not less so to mention, as a proof of their former 
disposition towards him, the indulgence which, while he was 
among them, they had shown to his infirmity : " My temp 
tation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected ; 
but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus, 


Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?" that is^ the 
benedictions which you bestowed upon me ; " for I bear you 
record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked 
out your own eyes, and have given them to me." 

In the two epistles to the Corinthians, especially in th? 
second, we have the apostle contending with certain teache •§ 
in Corinth, who had formed a party in that church against 
him. To vindicate his personal authority, as well as the 
dignity and credit of his ministry among them, he takes occa- ■ 
sion — but not without apologizing repeatedly for the folly, 
that is, for the indecorum, of pronouncing his own panegyr- 
ic=^ — to meet his adversaries in their boastings: "Where- 
insoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are 
they Hebrews ? so am I. Are they Israelites ? so am I. 
Are they the seed of Abraham ? so am I. Are they the 
ministers of Christ ? (I speak as a fool,) I am more ; in labors 
more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more 
frequent, in deaths oft." Being led to the subject, he goes 
on, as was natural, to recount his trials and dangers, his 
incessant cares and labors in the Christian mission. From 
the proofs which he had given of his zeal and activity in the 
service of Christ, he passes — and that with the same view 
of establishing his claim to be considered as " not a whit 
behind the very chiefest of the apostles" — to the visions and 
revelations which from time to time had been vouchsafed to 
him. And then, by a close and easy connection, comes in 
the mention of his infirmity : " Lest I should be exalted," 
says he, " above m.easure through the abundance of the rev- 
elations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the 
messenger of Satan, to buffet me." 

Thus then, in both epistles, the notice of his infirmity is 

* " Would to God you would bear with me a little iu my foii f : 
&nd indeed bear with me." Chap. 11:1. 

'■'That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were 
foolishly, in this confidence of boasting." Chap. 11 : 17. 

"I ara become a fool in gloryin^g; ye have compelled me." Chap 


suited to the place in which it is found. In the epistle to 
the Corinthians, the train of thought draws up to the cir- 
cumstance by a regular approximation. In this epistle, it is 
suirgestcd by the subject and occasion of the epistio itself. 
Which observation we offer as an argument to prove that it 
is not, in either epistle, a circumstance industriously brought 
forward for the sake of procuring credit to an imposture. 

A reader will be taught to perceive the force of this argu- 
ment, who shall attempt to introduce a given circumstance 
into the body of a writing. To do this without abruptness, 
or without betraying marks of design in the transition, 
requires, he will find, more art than ne expected to be neces- 
sary, certainly more than any one can believe to have been 
exercised in the composition of these epistles. 

V. Chap. 4 : 29 : " But as then he that was born after 
the flesh persecuted him that v/as born after the Spirit, even 
50 it is now." 

Chap. 5:11: " And I, brethren, if I yet preach circum- 
cision, why do I yet suffer persecution ? then is the oflence 
Df the cross ceased." 

Chap. 6:17: " From henceforth, let no man trouble 
me ; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." 

From these several texts, it is apparent that the perse- 
cutions which our apostle had undergone, were from the 
hands or by the instigation of the Jews ; that it was not for 
preaching Christianity in opposition to heathenism, but it 
was for preaching it as distinct from Judaism, that he had 
brought upon himself the sufferings which had attended his 
ministry. And this representation perfectly coincides with 
that w^hich results from the detail of St. Paul's history, as 
delivertd in the Acts. At Antioch, in Pisidia, the " word A 
the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the 
Jeivs stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the 
chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul 
and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." Acts 
13 : 49, 5C. Not long after, at Iconium, " a great multitude 


both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But tb<» 
unbelieving Jeius stirred up the Gentiles, and made th«i^ 
minds evil-affected against the brethren." Chap. 14 : 1, :' 
At Lystra " there came certain Jews from Antioch and Ice 
nium, who persuaded the people, and having stoinjsd Paul 
drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.* 
Chap. 14 : 19. The same enmity, and from the same quar 
ter, our apostle experienced in Greece. At Thessalonica, 
" some of them," the Jews, " believed, and consorted with 
Paul and Silas ; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude. 
and of the chief" women not a few. But the Jews which 
believed not, moved wdth envy, took unto them certain lewd 
fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and se^ 
all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason^ 
and sought to bring them out to the people." Chap. 17:4,5 
Their persecutors follow them to Berea : " When the Jeiv5 
of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was 
preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stir- 
red up the people." Chap. 17 : 13. And lastly at Corinth, 
when Gallio was deputy of Achaia, "the Jews, made insur- 
rection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to 
the judgment-seat." I think it does not appear that our 
apostle was ever set upon by the Gentiles, unless they were 
first stirred up by the Jews, except in two instances ; in 
both which the persons who began the assault were imme- 
diately interested in his expulsion from the place. Once 
this happened at Philippi, after the cure of the Pythoness : 
'' When her masters saw that the hope of their gains was 
gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the 
market-place, unto the rulers." Chap. 16 : 19. And a sec- 
ond time at Ephesus, at the instance of Demetrius, a silver- 
smith, which made silver shrines for Diana ; who called 
together " workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye 
know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moi cover ye 
Bee and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost through- 
out ail Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away 


mucii peopio, saying that they be no gods, which are made 
\v:th hands ; so that not only this our craft is in danger to 
Of 3 set at naught, but also that the temple of the great god 
dess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should 
be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth." 

VI. I observe an agreement in a somewhat peculiar rule 
of Christian conduct, as laid down in this epistle, and as ex- 
emplified in the second epistle to the Corinthians. It is not 
the repetition of the same general precept, which would 
have been a coincidence of little value ; but it is the general 
precept in one place, and the application of that precept to 
an actual occurrence in the other. In the sixth chapter 
and first verse of this epistle, our apostle gives the folloAV- 
ing direction : " Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, 
ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of 
meekness." In 2 Cor. 2 : 6—8, he writes thus : " Sufiicient 
to such a man" — the incestuous person mentioned in the 
first epistle — " is this punishment, which was inflicted of 
many. So that contrariwise, ye ought rather to iorgbie him 
and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be SM'al- 
iowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech 
you that ye would confirm your love toward him." I have 
little doubt but that it was the same mind Avhich dictated 
these two passages. 

VII. Our epistle goes further than any of St. Paul's epis- 
tles ; for it avows in direct terms the supersession of the 
Jewish law, as an instrument of salvation, even to the Jews 
themselves. Not only were the Gentiles exempt from this 
authority, but even the Jews were no longer to place any 
dependency upon it, or consider themselves as subject to it 
on a religious account. " Before faith came, we were kept 
under the law, shut up unto the faith which should after- 
waiJs be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmas- 
ter to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by 
faith. But after that faith is come, ice are no longer under 
a schoohnaster.''' Chap. 3 : 23-25. This was undoubtedly 


spoken of Jews and to Jews In like manner, chip. 4 : 1—5 : 
'• Now. I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth 
nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all ; but is 
under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the 
father. Even so we, when we were children, were in Dond- 
age under the elements of the world : but when the fulness 
of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, 
made under the law, to redeem them tliat tvere uncle)' the 
laiv, that we might receive the adoption of sons," These 
passages are nothing short of a declaration, that the obliga- 
tion of the Jewish law, considered as a religious dispensa- 
tion, the effects of which were to take place in another life, 
had ceased with respect even to the Jews themselves. What 
then should be the conduct of a Jew — ^for such St. Paul 
was — who preached this doctrine ? To be consistent with 
himself, either he would no longer comply, in his own per- 
son, with the directions of the law ; or, if he did comply, it 
would be for some other reason than any confidence which 
he placed in its efficacy, as a religious institution. Now so 
it happens, that whenever St. Paul's compliance with the 
Jewish law is mentioned in the history, it is mentioned in 
connection with circumstances which point out the motive 
from which it proceeded ; and this motive appears to have 
been always exoteric, namely, a love of order and tranquil- 
lity, or an unwillingness to give unnecessary ofience. Thus, 
Acts 16:3: " Him," Timothy, " would Paul have to go forth 
with him ; and took and circumcised him, because of the, 
Jews, ivhich icere in those quarters T Again, Acts 21 : 26, 
when Paul consented to exhibit an example of public com- 
pliance with a Jewish rite by purifying himself in the tem- 
ple, it is plainly intimated that he did this to satisfy " many 
thousands of Jews who believed, and who were all zealous 
of the law." So far the instances related in one book cor 
respond with the doctrine delivered in another. 

VIII. Chap. 1:18: " Then after three years I went uj- 
to Jerusalem +o see Peter, and abode with him fifte^'n days " 


The shortness of St. Paul's stay at Jerusalem is what I 
desire the reader to remark. The direct account of the same 
journey in the Acts, chap. 9 : 28, determines nothing con- 
cerning the time of his continuance there: "And he was 
with them," the apostles, " coming in and going out at Jerusa- 
lem And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
and disputed against the Grecians ; but they went about to 
slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought 
him down to Cesarea." Or rather this account, taken by 
itself, would lead a reader to suppose that St. Paul's abode 
at Jerusalem had been longer than fifteen days. But turn 
to the twenty-second chapter of the Acts, and you will find 
a reference to this visit to Jerusalem, which plainly indi- 
cates that Paul's continuance in that city had been of short 
duration : " And it came to pass, that, when I M^as come 
again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I 
was in a trance ; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, 
and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem ; for they will not re- 
ceive thy testimony concerning me." Here we have the 
general terms of one text so explained by a distant text in 
the same book, as to bring an indeterminate expression into 
a close conformity with a specification delivered in another 
book : a species of consistency not, I think, usually found in 
fabulous relations. 

IX. Chap. 6:11: "Ye see how large a letter I have 
written unto you with mine own hand." 

These words imply that he did not always write with 
his own hand ; which is consonant to what we find intima- 
ted in some other of the epistles. The epistle to the Ro- 
mans was written by Tertius : " I Tertius, who wrote this 
epistle, salute you in the Lord." Chap. 16 : 22. The first 
epistle to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Colossians, and 
the second epistle to the Thessalonians, have all, near the 
conclusion, this clause, "the salutation of me, Paul, with 
mine own hand;" which must be understood, and is uni- 
versally understood to import, that the rest of the epittie 


was written by another hand. I do not thmk it improbable 
that an impostor, who had remarked this subscription in 
some other epistle, should invent the same in a forgery ; 
but that is not done here. The author of this epistle does 
not imitate the manner of giving St. Paul's signature ; he 
only bids the Galatians observe how large a letter he had 
written to them with his own hand. He does not say th'S 
was different from his ordinary usage ; this is left to impli- 
cation. Now, to suppose that this was an artifice to procure 
credit to an imposture, is to suppose that the author of the 
forgery, because he knew that others of St. Paul's were not 
written by himself, therefore made the apostle say that this 
was ; which seems an odd turn to give to the circumstance, 
and to be given for a purpose which would more naturally 
and more directly have been answered by subjoining the 
salutation or signature in the form in which it is found in 
other epistles. =^ 

X. An exact conformity appears in the manner in which 
a certain apostle or eminent Christian whose name was 
James, is spoken of in the epistle and in the history. Both 
writings refer to a situation of his at Jerusalem, somewhat 
different from that of the other apostles ; a kind of eminence 
or presidency in the church there, or at least a more fixed 
md stationary residence. Chap. 2 : 11, 12. " When Peter 
was at Antioch, .... before that certain came from James, 
he did eat with the Gentiles." This text plainly attributes 
a kind of preeminency to James ; and, as we hear of him 
twice in the same epistle, dwelling at Jerusalem, chap. 
1:19, and 2:9, we must apply it to the situation which he 
held in that church. In the Acts of the Apostles, divers 

* The words irTjliKOig ypaftfiaoiv may probably be meant to describe 
the character in which he wrote, and not the length of the letter. But 
this will not alter the truth of our observation. I think, however, 
that a? St. Paul by the mention of his own hand designed to express 
to the Galatians the great concern which he felt for them, the words, 
whatever they signify, belong to the whole of the epistle j and not, aa 
G-rotius, after St. Jerome, interprets it, to the few verses which foUow 


intimations occur, conveying the same idea of James' situ* 
ation. When Peter was miraculously delivered from prison, 
and had surprised his friends by his appearance among them, 
after declaring unto them how the Lord had brought him 
out of prison, " Go show," says he, " these things unto 
James and to the brethren." Acts 12 : 17. Here James is 
manifestly spoken of in terms of distinction. He appears 
again with like distinction in the twenty-first chapter and 
the seventeenth and eighteenth verses : " And when we.' 
Paul and his company, " were come to Jerusalem, .... the 
day following Paul went in with us unto James ; and all 
the elders were present." In the debate which took place 
upon the business of the Gentile converts in the council at 
Jerusalem, this same person seems to have taken the lead. 
It was he who closed the debate, and proposed the resolu- 
tion in which the council ultimately concurred: "Where- 
fore my sentence is, that we trouble not them which from 
among the Gentiles are turned to God." 

Upon the whole, that there exists a conformity in the 
expressions used concerning James, throughout the history, 
and in the epistle, is unquestionable. But admitting this 
conformity, and admitting also the undesignedness of it, 
what does it prove ? It proves that the circumstance itsell 
is founded in truth ; that is, that James was a real person, 
who held a situation of eminence in a real society of Chris- 
tians at Jerusalem. It confirms also those parts of the nar- 
rative which are connected with this circumstance. Sup- 
pose, for instance, the truth of the account of Peter's escape 
from prison was to be tried upon the testimony of a witness 
who, among other things, made Peter, after his deliverance, 
say, " Go show these things unto James, and to the breth- 
ren ;" would it not be material, in such a trial, to make out 
by other independent proofs, or ])y a comparison of proofs, 
drawn from independent sources, that there was actually at 
that time living at Jerusalem such a person as James ; 
that this person held such a situation in the society among 

Horse P»uL 20 ^ 

106 liORiE PAULINA. 

whom these things were transacted, as to ren lei the TCord* 
which Peter is said to have used concerning him, j roper and 
natural for him to have used ? If this would be pertinent 
in. the discussion of oral testimony, it is still more so in 
appreciating the credit of remote history. 

It must not be dissembled that the comparison of our 
epistle with the history presents some difficulties, or to say 
the least, some questions of considerable magnitude. It may 
be doubted, in the first place, to what journey the words 
wliich open the second chapter of the epistle, " then, four- 
teen years afterwards, I went to Jerusalem," relate. That 
which best corresponds with the date, and that to which 
most mterpreters apply the passage, is the journey of Paul 
and Barnabas to Jerusalem, when they went thither from 
Antioch, upon the business of the Gentile converts ; and 
which journey produced the famous council and decree 
recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. To me this opin- 
ion appears to be encumbered with strong objections. In 
the epistle, Paul tells us that he "went up by revelation." 
Chap. 2:2. In the Acts, we read that he was sent by the 
church of Antioch. After no small dissension and disputa- 
tion, " they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain 
other of them, should go up to the apostles and elders about 
this question." Acts 15 : 2. This is not very reconcilable. 
In the epistle St. Paul writes, that when he came to Jeru- 
salem, " he communicated that gospel which he preached 
among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of 
reputation." Chap. 2 : 2. If by "that gospel" he meant 
the immunity of the Gentile Christians from the Jewish 
law — and I know not what else it can mean — it is not easy 
to conceive how he should communicate that privately 
which was the object of his public message. But a yet 
greater difficulty remains, namely, that in the account which 
the epistle gives of what passed upon this visit it Jerusa- 
lem, no notice is taken of the delibeiation and dec ee which 
are recorded in the Acts, and which, accordino^ to that hiy 


Eory, formed the business for the sake of which the journey 
was undertaken. The mention of the council and of its 
determination, while the apostle was relating- his proceed- 
ings at Jerusalem, could hardly have been avoided, if in 
truth the narrative belong to the same journey. To me it 
appears more probable that Paul and Barnabas had taken 
some journey to Jerusalem, the mention of which is omitted 
in the Acts. Prior to the apostolic decree, we read that 
" Paul and Barnabas abode at Antioch a long time with the 
disciples." Acts 14 : 28. -Is it unlikely, that during this 
long abode, they might go up to Jerusalem and return to 
Antioch ? Or would the omission of such a journey be un- 
suitable to the general brevity with which these memoirs 
are written, especially of those parts of St. Paul's history 
which took place before the historian joined them? 

But again, the first account we find in the Acts of the 
Apostles of St. Paul's visiting Galatia, is in the sixteenth 
chapter and the sixth verse : " Now when they had gone 
through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, .... they assay- 
ed to go into Bithynia." The progress here recorded was 
subsequent to the apostolic decree ; therefore that decree 
must have been extant when our epistle was written. Now, 
as the professed design of the epistle was to establish the 
exemption of the Gentile converts from the law of Moses, 
and as the decree pronounced and confirmed that exemption, 
it may seem extraordinary that no notice whatever is taken 
of that determination, nor any appeal made to its authority. 
Much, however, of the weight of this objection, which ap- 
plies also to some other of St. Paul's epistles, is removed by 
the following reflections. 

1. It was not St. Paul's manner, nor agreeable to it, to 
resort or defer much to the authority of the other apostles, 
especially while he was insisting, as he does strenuous. y 
throughout this epistle insist, upon his own original inspira 
tion. He who could speak of the very chiefest of the apos 
tJes in such terms as the following — " of those who s-eraed 

108 HOE..^ PAULINA. 

to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were it maketh no matter 
to me, God accepteth no man's person,) for they who seemed 
to he somewhat in conference added nothing to me" — he, 1 
say, was not hkely to support himself by their decision. 

2. The epistle argues the point upon principle ; and il 
is not perhaps more to be wondered at, that in such an argu- 
ment St. Paul should not cite the apostolic decree, than it 
would be that in a discourse designed to prove the moral 
and religious duty of observing the Sabbath, the \AT:iter 
should not quote the thirteenth -canon. 

3. The decree did not go the length of the position 
maintained in the epistle ; the decree only declares that the 
apostles and elders at Jerusalem did not impose the obser- 
vance of the Mosaic law upon the Gentile converts, as a 
condition of their being admitted into the Christian church. 
Our epistle argues that the Mosaic institution itself was at 
an end, as to all effects upon a future state, even with re- 
spect to the Jews themselves. 

4. They whose error St. Paul combated were not per 
sons who submitted to the Jewish law because it was im 
posed by the authority, or because it was made part of the 
law of the Christian church ; but they were persons who, 
having already become Christians, afterwards voluntarily 
took upon themselves the observance of the Mosaic code, 
under a notion of attaining thereby to a greater perfection. 
This, I think, is precisely the opinion which St. Paul opposes 
in this epistle. Many of his expressions apply exactly to it : 
" Are ye so foolish ? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now 
made perfect by the flesh?" Chap. 3 : 3. "Tell me, ye 
that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law V 
Chap. 4 : 21. "How turn ye again to the weak and bog* 
gaily elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage ?'' 
Chap. 4:9. It cannot be thought extraordinary that St. 
Paul should resist this opinion with earnestness ; for it both 
changed the character of the Christian dispensation, and 
derogated expressly from the completeness of that rcdemjr 


tion which Jesus Christ had wrought for them that believed 
in him. But it w^as to no purpose' to allege to such persoiir 
the decision at Jerusalem, for that only showed that they 
were not bound to these observances by any law of the 
Christian church ; they did not pretend to be so bound ; 
nevertheless, they imagined that there was an efficacy in 
these observances, a merit, a recommendation to favor, and 
a ground of acceptance with God for those who comphed 
wdtli them. This was a situation of thought to which the 
tenor of the decree did not apply. Accordingly, St. Paul's 
address to the Galatians, which is throughout adapted to 
this situation, runs in a strain widely different from the lan- 
guage of the decree : " Christ is become of no efiect unto 
you, whosoever of you are justified by the law," chap. 5:4; 
that is, whosoever places his dependence upon any merit he 
may apprehend there is in legal observances. The decree 
had said nothing like this ; therefore it would have been 
useless to produce the decree in an argument of which this 
was the burden. In like manner as in contending with 
an anchorite, who should insist upon the superior holiness 
of a recluse, ascetic life, and the value of such mortifications 
in the sight of God, it would be to no purpose to prove that 
the laws of the church did not require these vows, or even 
10 prove that the laws of the church expressly left every 
Christian to liis liberty. This would avail little towards 
abating his estimation of their merit, or towards settling 
the point in controversy.* 

* Mr. Locke's solution of this difficulty is by no means satisfactory. 
"St. Paul," he says, "did not remind the Galatians of the apostolic 
decree, because they already had it." hi the first place, it does not 
appear with any certainty that they had it ; in the second place, ii 
they had it, this was rather a reason than otherwise for referring tJiein 
to it. The passage in the Acts from which Mr. Locke concludes that 
the Galatic churches were in possession of the decree, is the fourth 
rerse of the sixteenth chapter: "And as they," Paul and Timothy, 
'went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, 
<that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusa 


Another difficulty arises from the account of Peter's con 
duct towards the Gentile converts at Antioch, as given in 
the epistle, in the latter part of the second chapter ; which 
conduct, it is said, is consistent neither with the revelation 

lem." In my opinion, this delivery of the decree was confined to the 
chui-ches to which St. Paul came, in pursuance of the plan upon which 
he set out, " of visiting the brethren in every city where he had preach- 
ed the word of the Lord;" the history of which progress, and of all 
that pertained to it, is closed in 4he fifth verse, when the history in- 
forms us that " so were the churches established in the faith, and in- 
creased in number daily." Then the history proceeds upon a new 
section of the narrative, by telling us that "when they had gone 
throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they assayed to go into 
Bithynia." The decree itself is directed to "the brethren which are 
of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia;" that is, to church*^« 
already founded, and in which this question had been stirred. And 
I think the observation of the noble author of the Miscellanea Sacra 
is not only ingenious but highly probable, namely, that there is ha this? 
place a dislocation of the text, and that the fourth and fifth verses of 
the sixteenth chapter ought to follow the last verse of the fifteenth, so 
as to make the entire passage run thus : " And they went through 
Syria and Cilicia," to the Christians of which country the decree was 
addressed, "confirming the churches; and as they went through the 
cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained 
of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem ; and so were the 
churches established in the faith, and mcreased in number daily.'' 
And then the sixteenth chapter takes up a new and unbroken para- 
graph : "Then came he to Derbe and Lystra," etc. When St. Paul 
came, as he did into Galatia, to preach the gospel, for the first time, 
in a new place, it is not probable that he would make mention of the 
decree, or rather letter, of the church of Jerusalem, which presupposed 
Christianity to be known, and which related to certain doubts that 
had risen in some established Christian communities. 

The second reason which Mr. Locke assigns for the omission of tlie 
decree, namely, that "St. Paul's sole object in the epistle was to 
acquit himself of the imputation that had been charged upon him of 
istually preaching circumcision," does not appear to me to be strictly 
brue. It was not the sole object. The epistle is written in general 
opposition to the Judaizing inclination wluch he found to prevail 
among his converts. The avowal of his own doctrine, and of his 
steadfast adherence to that doctrine, formed a necessary pari- of the 
iosira of his letter, but was not the whole of it. 


communicated to him upon the conversion of Cornelius, nor 
with the part he took in the debate at Jerusalem. But, ir. 
order to understand either the difficulty or the solution, it 
will be necessary to state and explain the passage itself. 
" When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the 
face, because he was to be blamed. For, before that cer- 
tain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles : but 
when they were come, he withdrew, and separated himself, 
fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the 
other Jews dissembled likewise with him ; insomuch that 
Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according 
to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, 
If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, 
and not as do the Jews, w^hy compellest thou the Gentiles 
to live as do the Jews ?" Now the question that produced 
the dispute to which these words relate, was not whether 
the Gentiles were capable of being admitted into the Chris- 
tian covenant ; that had been fully settled : nor was it 
whether it should be accounted essential to the profession oi 
Christianity that they should conform themselves to the law 
of Moses ; that was the question at Jerusalem : but it was, 
whether, upon the Gentiles becoming Christians, the Jews 
might henceforth eat and drink with them, as with their 
Dwn brethren. Upon this point St. Peter betrayed some in- 
constancy ; and so he might, agreeably enough to his history. 
He might consider the vision at Joppa as a direction for the 
occasion, rather than as universally abolishing the distinc- 
tion between Jew and Gentile ; I do not mean with respect 
to final acceptance with God, but as to the manner of their 
living together in society : at least, he might not have com- 
prehended this point with such clearness and certainty, as 
to stand out upon it against the fear of bringing upon him- 
self the censure and complaint of his brethren in the church 
of Jerusalem, who still adhered to their ancient prejudices. 
But Peter, it is said, compelled the Gentiles — I6vdai^s(v. "Why 


eompellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ?" Ho"W 
did he do that ? The only way in which Peter appears to 
have connpelled the Gentiles to comply with the Jewish 
institution, was by withdrawing himself from their society 
By which he may be understood to have made this declara- 
tion : " liYe do not deny your right to be considered as 
Christians ; we do not deny your title in the promises of the 
gospel, even without compliance with our law ; but if you 
would have us Jews live with you as we do with one 
another, that is, if you would in all respects be treated by 
us as Jews, you must live as such yourselves." This, I 
think, was the compulsion which St. Peter's conduct im- 
posed upon the Gentiles, and for which St. Paul reproved 

As to the part which the historian ascribes to St. Petei 
in the debate at Jerusalem, besides that it was a different 
question which was there agitated from that which pro- 
duced the dispute at Antioch, there is nothing to hinder us 
from supposing that the dispute at Antioch was prior to the 
consultation at Jerusalem ; or that Peter, in consequence ol 
this rebuke, might have afterwards maintained firmer 




I. This epistle, and the epistle to the Colossians, appear 
to have been transmitted to their respective churches by the 
same messenger : " But that ye also may know my afiairs, 
and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful min- 
ister m the Lord, shall make known to you all things ; whom 
I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might 
know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts." 
Ephes. 6 : 21, 22. This text, if it do not expressly declare, 
clearly I think intimates, that the letter was sent by Tychi- 
cus. The words made use of by him in the epistle to the 
Colossians are very similar to these, and afford the same 
implication that Tychicus, in conjunction with Onesimus, 
was the bearer of the letter to that church : " All my state 
shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, 
and a faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord ; 
whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he 
might know your estate, and comfort your hearts ; with 
Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. 
They shall make known unto you all things which are done 
here." Col. 4 : 7-9. Both epistles represent the writer as 
under imprisonment for the gospel ; and both treat of the 
same general subject. The epistle therefore to the Ephe- 
sians, and the epistle to the Colossians, import to be two 
letters written by the same person, at or nearly at the same 
time, and upon the same subject, and to have been sent by 
the same messenger. Now every thing in the sentiments, 
order, and diction of the two WTitings, corresponds with what 
might be expected from this circumstance of identity or cog- 
nation in their original. The leading doctrine of both epis- 
tles is the union of Jews and Gentiles under the Christian 
dispensation ; and that doctrine in both is established by the 

114 HORiE PAULlWiE. 

same arguments, or more properly speaking, illustrated by 
the same similitudes :^ " one head," "one body," " one new 
man," "one temple," are in both epistles the figures under 
which the society of believers in Christ, and their common 
relation to him as such, are represented.! The ancient, and, 
as had been thought, the indelible distinction between Jew 
and Gentile, in both epistles, is declared to be " now abol- 
ished by his cross." Besides this consent in the general tenor 
of the two epistles, and in the run also and warmth ol 
thought with which they are composed, we may naturally 
expect, in letters produced under the circumstances in which 
these appear to have been written, a closer resemblance of 
style and diction, than between other letters of the same 
person but of distant dates, or between letters adapted to dif- 
ferent occasions. In particular, we may look for many of 
the same expressions, and sometimes for whole sentences 
being alike ; since such expressions and sentences would be 
repeated in the second letter — whichever that was — as yel 
fresh in the author's mind from the writing of the first. This 
repetition occurs in the following examples :$ 

* St. Paul, I am apt to believe, has been sometimes accused oJ 
inconclusive reasoning, by our mistaking that for reasoning which \va? 
only intended for illustration. He is not to be read as a man whose 
own persuasion of the truth of what he taught always or solely de- 
pended upon the views mider which he represents it in his writings 
Taking for granted the certainty of his doctrine, as resting upon the 
revelation that had been imparted to him, he exhibits it frequently tc 
the conception of his readers under images and allegories, in which 
if an analogy may be perceived, or even sometimes a poetic resctn 
blance be found, it is all perhaps that is required. 

Ephes. 1 : 22 1 ( Colos. 1 : 18. 

t Compare \ 4 : 15 > with } 2:19. 

2:15 ) ( 3:10,11. 

Ephes. 2 : 14, 15 ) C Colos. 2 : 14. 

Also { 2:16 > with J 1 : 18-21. 

2:20 ) ( 2:7. 

I When verbal comparisons are relied upon, it becomes necessary 
to state the original; but that the English reader may be interrupted 
M little as may be, I shall in general do this in the notes. 


Ephes. 1:7: "In whom we have redemption through 
his blood, thd forgiveness of sins."* 

Colos. 1 : 14 : "In jvhom we have redemption through 
his blood, the forgiveness of sins. "f 

Besides the sameness of the words, it is further remark- 
able that the sentence is in both places preceded by the 
same introductory idea. In the epistle to the Ephesians, it 
is the ''Beloved,'' 7^yaiv7]fi£v<p ; in that to the Colossians, it is 
" his dear Son" vlov njg aycnzTjc avTov, " in whom we have 
redemption." The sentence appears to have been suggested 
to the mind of the writer by the idea which had accompa- 
nied it before. 

Ephes. 1:10: " All things in Christ, both which are in 
heaven and which are on earth ; even in him."t 

Colos. 1 : 20 : " All things by him, whether they be 
things in earth, or things in heaven." § 

This quotation is the more observable, because the con- 
necting of things in earth with things in heaven is a very 
singular sentiment, and found nowhere else but in these two 
epistles. The words also are introduced by describing the 
union which Christ had efiected, and they are followed by 
telling the Gentile churches that they were incorporated 
into it. 

Ephes. 3:2: " The dispensation of the grace of God, 
which is given me to you-ward."ll 

Colos. 1 : 25 : " The dispensation of God, which is given 
to me for you."^ 

Of these sentences it may likew^ise be observed, that the 

^ Eplies. 1:7: 'Ev cj exoiiev ttjv uizoAvrpuaLv 6ta rov ai/j.a~og avrov, 
T^v 'afeoLV rC)v ■KapaTTTUfuiTCJv. 

t Colos. 1 : 14 : 'Ev u exofiev ttjv uTToTivrpuatv dia rov aifiaroc; avTOv, 
r^v 'a<(>eacv tuiv dftaprubv. However, it must be observed, that ia this 
latter text many cojnes have not Siu rov ctfiarog avTOv. 

t Ephes. 1:10: Ta re ev Tolg ovpavolg kui ra kirl r?/g y;}f, h avro). 

^ Colos. 1 : 20 : Ai' avrov eIte tu etzI rrjc y^r, dvE ra iv rolg ovpavolg. 

II Ephes. 3 ; 2 : Trjv o'lKovofLtav x^pi-~^^ "^ov Qeov Ti/i dcrdharjr fiot €i( 

^ Colos. 1 : 25 : T^v oiKovo/iiav tuv Qeov, t7)v doT^itaav /aoi eig vfiug 


accompanying ideas are similar. In both places, they are 
immediately preceded by the mention of his present suffer- 
ings ; in both places, they are immediately followed by the 
mention of the mystery which was the great subject of his 

Ephes. 5:19: "In psalms and hymns and spiritual 
songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the 

Colos. 3:16: "In psalms and hymns and spiritual 
songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."! 

Ephes. 6 : 22 : " Wliom I have sent unto you for the 
game purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he 
might comfort your hearts. "$ 

Colos. 4:8: " Whom I have sent unto you for the same 
purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your 

In these examples, we do not perceive a cento of phrases 
gathered from one composition, and strung together in the 
other, but the occasional occurrence of the same expression 
to a mind a second time revolving the same ideas. 

2. Whoever writes two letters, or two discourses, nearly 
upon the same subject, and at no great distance of time, but 
without any express recollection of what he had written 
before, will find himself repeating some sentences in the 
very order of the words in which he had already used them ; 
but he will more frequently find himself employing some 
principal terms, with the order inadvertently changed, or 
with the order disturbed by the intermixture of other words 
and phrases expressive of ideas rising up at the time ; or in 

* Ephes. 5:19: "i^alfiolg kui vfivoig, Kai udaig TTvevfiarucaig "adovre; 
<ui rpa?2ovT£g kv ry Kapdia v/iuv tu Kvptu. 

t Colos. 3:16: "J'c/l^oif kui viivolc kui tjdalg livev/xantiaig, h x^tpLU 
gdovTcc £v Ty Kapdca vficJv rw Kvpiu. 

t Ephes. 6 : 22 : 'Ov iTzenipa npbg v/idg elg av-h rovro^ Iva yvcbre rci 
TFpt Tjfiuv, Kai irapaKokicri rag KapSlag vfzCJv. 

§ Colos. 4:8: 'Ov iirefXTpa Tzpog vfidg elg avrb tovto, Iva yvuTE rfi 
repl vficJv, KUI TzanaKaMari rag Kapdlac viu.v. 


many instances repeating not single words, nor yet whole 
sentences, but parts and fragments of sentences. Of all these 
varieties the examination of our two epistles will furnish 
plain examples ; and. I should rely upon this class of instan- 
ces more than upon the last, because, although an impostor 
might transcribe into a forgery entire sentences and phrases, 
yet the dislocation of words, the partial recollection of phrases 
and sentences, the intermixture of new terms and new ideas 
with terms and ideas before used, which will appear in the 
examples that follow, and which are the natural properties 
of writings produced under the circumstances in which these 
epistles are represented to have been composed — would not, 
I think, have occurred to the invention of a forger ; nor, il 
they had occurred, would they have been so easily executed. 
This studied variation was a refinement in forgery which 1 
beheve did not exist ; or, if we can suppose it to have been 
practised in the instances adduced below, why, it may be 
asked, was not the same art exercised upon those which wo 
have collected in the preceding class ? 

Ephes. 1 : 19 to 2 : 5 : "To us-ward who believe, accord- 
ing to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought 
in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, (and set hiiri 
at his ovv'n right hand in the heavenly places, far above all 
principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every 
name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that 
which is to come. And hath put all thmgs under his feet, 
and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 
which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in aU.) 
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses 
and sins ; (wherein m times past ye walked according to the 
course of this world, according to the prince of the power of 
tlie air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of diso- 
bedience : among whom also we all had our conversation in 
times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires oi 
the flesh and of the mind : and were by nature the children 
of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, foi 


his great love wherewith he loved us,) even when we were 
(lead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ."^ 

Colos. 2 : 12, 13 : " Through the faith of the operation 
of God, who hath raised him from the dead : and you, being 
dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath 
he quickened together with him."t 

Out of the long quotation from the Ephesians take away 
the parentheses, and you have left a sentence almost in terms 
the same as the short quotation from the Colossians. The 
resemblance is more visible in the original than in our trans- 
lation ; for what is rendered in one place, "the working," 
and in another the "operation," is the same Greek term 
evepyeia: m one place it is, rovg TriaTevovrac Kara ttjv kvipyeLav\ in 
the other, 6La ttjc morecjc Tijg kvepyeiag. Here, therefore, we have 
the same sentiment, and nearly in the same word^s ; but, in 
the Ephesians, twice broken or interrupted by incidental 
thoughts, which St. Paul, as his manner was, enlarges upon 
by the way,$ and then returns to the thread of his discourse. 
It is interrupted the first time by a view which breaks in 
Upon his mind of the exaltation of Christ ; and the second 
time by a description of heathen depravity. I have only to 
remark that Griesbach, in his very accurate edition, gives 
the parentheses very nearly in the same manner in which 
they are here placed ; and that without any respect to the 
comparison which we are proposing. 

Ephes. 4 : 2-4 : " With all lowliness and meekness, with 
long-suffering, forbearing one another in love ; endeavoring 
to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There 

* Eplies. 1 : 19, 20; 2 : 1, 5 : Tovf TTiorevovTag Kara ri)v evepyeiav 
TOV Kparovg rfjg Icrxiog airov, 7]v evf/pyTjacv tv tu Xplaru, kyeipag avTov e\ 
vsKpcJv, Kui EKa-&La£V kv de^ia avrov kv Tolg eTrovpavloig — Koi vfiug ovtuc 
VEKpovg rdig TiapairTtop-aGt kui ralg cfiapnatg — kui ovrag Vfiug veKpovg toi( 
ircpaTTTu/xaai, ovve^cjOTcoiTjce rw Xplaro). 

t Colos. 2 : 12, 13 : Aiu rfjg Tnoricjg TTJg bvepyhag tov Qeov tov h/ei- 
navTog uvtov ek tuv veKpuv. KtU vfiag vEKpovg bvrag kv Tolg wapaTTTuficm 
%ai Ty uKpofivoTLa rrjg aapKog Vfiiiv, cwe^uoTroiTjoe cvv avTu, . 

J Vide Locke in loc. 


js one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope 
fif your calling."^ 

Colos. 3 : 12—15 : *' Put on therefore, as the elect of God, 
holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of 
mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and 
forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against 
any ; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above 
all these things put on charity, v^hich is the bond of perfect- 
ness ; and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the 
which also ye are called in one body."t 

In these two quotations, the words raTTEcvo(ppocvvi], Tzpaorv,^. 
izaicpo-dvfica, uvsxofiEvot uHtjIov, occur exactly in the same order: 
ayd^rrj is also found in both, but in a different connection 
cvvdeafiog tt/C Elp7]vrjg answers to cvv6£C^oq tijq reTieioTrjTog : EK?J/d7]Te 
ev ivl cufian to iv ccjfia Kadug kul tK7a]-Q-)]Te ev fzca klTcidL : yet is this 
similitude found in the midst of sentences otherwise very 

Ephes. 4:16: " From whom the whole body fitly joined 
together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, 
according to the effectual working in the measure of every 
part, maketh increase of the body."$ 

Colos. 2 : 19 : "From which all the body by joints and 
bands having nourishment ministered and knit together, iii- 
creaseth with the increase of God."§ 

* Ephes. 4 : 2-4 : Meru TzdGrjg Ta'7:eLvo^poavvi]g kul 7rpa6T7]Tog, /zert) 
uaKpo-dviuag, dvexdfievoi oKTJrfKZiV hv dyuTTij' aT:ov6d(,ovTeg Ti]pdv ttjv ivo- 
T7]Ta Tov TTvevtiaTog ev tu GvvdeGfKf) rrjg elpf^vrjg. "Ev GC)(J.a kul ev Trvevfia, 
KuSdg KUL eKlTjdrjre Iv fiid i?i7zi.6t rJjg /c/lf/aecjf viiCjv. 

t Colos. 3 : 12-15 : ^Evdvcac^e ovv c'lf kK?.eKTol tov Oeov, uytoi Kui 
T/yaTiTJiievoi, a'n7.dyxva oLKTipfxcJv, xpv<^~OTr]Ta^ ra'KeLvo<ppoavvr]v. -npadrijra^ 
unKpodviiiav uvexofi^vot u7J<.7]lcjv, /cad a'^piC'V^^' eavTolg, edv rig izpog riva 
hXV (lOii^Tjv Ka^dg kui u Xpcorbg exapiaaro vfuv, ovtu icui vfielg- em ttuoi 
Se TOVTOLg T7jv dydmiv^ ^rig earl cvvdeaiiog rf/g Te7i,EL6rTjTog- kul tj Elpijvj] tov 
Qef/b (3paf3£VETO) ev Tcug Kapdimg vjiuv, elg tjv kul £^^t£ ev evl gu^qtl. 

X Ephes. 4:16: 'E^ ov ttuv to ao)fj,a, avvapfioXoyovfievov kui gvii/Si- 
Ba^div^-ov did ndGTjg d(pT/g TTJg emxopvyt-ag kut' ivepyEiav ev iiirpcj evb{ 

ixaGTOV flEpOVg, Tr/V UV^TjGLV tov GUflUTOg TZOlELTai. 

§ Colos. 2:19: 'E^ ov ttuv to Gufxa^ did tCjv dcpcJv kul GvvdiGfiuv 
iTrLXoprjydviiE^'ov kul GV[i[3L8aC6fi£vov, aifa t^v av^tjcLV tov Gcou. 


In these quotations are read e^ ov irav rb aufia avfil3tl3a^6fii vov 
ill both places, kmxoprjyoviievov answering to kmxoprjyiag, dia tuv 
d<^uv to 6ui Tzdavc a0W, av^ei lijv av^ijaiv to nocelTac tijv av^atv : and 
yet the sentences are considerably diversified in other parts. 

Ephes. 4:32: " And be kind one to another, tender- 
hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sako 
hath forgiven you."* 

Colos. 3:13: " Forbearing one another, and forgiving 
one another, if any man have a quarrel against any : even 
as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."t 

Here we have " forgiving one another, even as God for 
Christ's sake," kv XpiarC), " hath forgiven you," in the first 
quotation, substantially repeated in the second. But in the 
second the sentence is broken by the interposition of a new 
clause, " if any man have a quarrel against any ;" and the 
latter part is a little varied : instead of " God in Christ," it 
is " Christ hath forgiven you." 

Ephes. 4 : 22-24 : " That ye put ofi^ concerning the for- 
mer conversation the old man, which is corrupt according 
to the deceitful lusts ; and be renewed in the spirit of your 
mind ; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness."! 

Colos. 3:9, 10 : " Seeing that ye have put off the old 
man with his deeds ; and have put on the new man, which 
is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that cre- 
ated him."^ 

* E plies. 4 : 32 : Tcvsa^e ds hg a/lA^/louf ^PV^toi, evG7r?iayxvoi., x^^Pf-- 
0fj.EVOL iavTolg, Ka^&dg km 6 Qebg hv XpcuTG) exaplaaro vjuv. 

t Colos. 3 : 13 : 'Avexoftsvoi uXXtjTmv, kul x(ipi^ofj.Evoi iavToIg, lav rtg 
Tzpog TLva Ixv [t-oii^riv Ka-&dg Kut 6 Xpiarbg kxapiaaTO vfxiv, ovru kul vfielg. 

t Ephes. 4 : 22-24 : ^AnoTdia^at vfidg /ccra r^v rrpoTEpav dvacrpo^^v 
fbv TTaXaibv av&puTTOv tov (p^etpofxevov kutu Tug £7n-&vfilag rrjg uTTaTTjg' 
avav£Ovc-&aL 6e rcj TrvivfiOTL tov vobg vficjv, kul tvdvaacr&at rdv Koivbv 
avdpwKOV^ rbv Kara Qebv Kna^ivTa kv diKaioavvy Kdc oowttjtl TTJg aA?/- 

§ Colos. 3:9, 10 : ^ATrsKdvadftevoL rbv iraXaibv "avdpu-KOv aiiv rati 
TTpci^Edtv dvTov' Kac evdvodftevot rbv viov, tov dvaKacvcvuevov eig sTi-yiXi^iP 
•£17 ' elKova TOV KTcaavTog dvTov. 


111 these quotations, " putting ofT the old man, and put 
ting on the new," appears in both. The idea is furthei ex- 
•plained by calhng it a renewal : in the one, " renewed in the 
spirit of your mind ;" in the other, " renewed in knowledge." 
In both, the new man is said to be formed according to the 
same model : in the one, he is after God " created in right- 
eousness and true holiness ;" in the other, he is renewed 
" after the image of him that created him." In a word, it 
is the same person writing upon a kindred subject, with the 
terms and ideas which he had before employed still floating 
in his memory.*' 

Ephes. 5 : 6-8 : " Because of these ildngs cometh the 
ivrath of God iifon the children of disobedience. Be not 
ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometime 
iarkness, but now are ye light in the Lord : walk as children 
jf light."! 

Colos. 3 : 6-8 : " For ivhich things' sake the ivrath of 
God cometh on the children of disobedience : in the which 
ye also walked some time when ye lived in them. But now 
ye also put off all these. "$ 

These verses afibrd a specimen of that i^artial resem- 
blance which is only to be met with when no imitation is 
designed, when no studied recollection is employed, but 
when the mind, exercised upon the same subject, is left to 
the spontaneous return of such terms and phrases as, having 
been used before, may happen to present themselves again. 

* In these comparisons we often perceive the reason why the 
writer, though expressing the same idea, uses a different term ; namely, 
because the term before used is employed in the sentence under a dif- 
ferent form : thus, in the quotations under our eye, the new man is 
Kaivoq 'av^poTZog in the Ephesians, and tov viov in the Colossians; but 
then it is because tov Kacvbv is used in the next word, uvaKawov^ <a>. 

t Ephes. 5 : 6-S : Aici Tavra yap epxerai 7] bpyfj tov Qeov Ittl tov^ 
vhvg T?/g uTTeidelag. M?} ovv yivEcrQe (n)fi(j£Toxoi uvtuv. 'Hrc yap ttotf 
JKOTog, vvv 6a (pCjg h Kvpicj* ug TtKva (poTug TieptTTarelTS. 

t Colos. 3 : 6-8 : At.' a epx^rai rj upyf] tov Qeov eirl TOvg vlovg rf/c 
U7:ei^eiag' kv olg kul v{j.elg ■KepLeTraTrjaaTs ttot€, ote k^fjTE hv aiiTolg. Nvvi 
iVe d-Tod^ea^e kul v/xeig tu Truvra. 



The sentiment of both passages is throughout alike : hali 
of that sentiment, the denunciation of God's wrath, is ex- 
pressed in identical words; the other half, namely, the 
admonition to quit their former conversation, in words en- 
tirely different. 

Ephes. 5:15, 16 : " See then that ye walk circumspsot- 
ly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time."* 

Colos. 4:5: " Walk in wisdom toward them that aie 
without, redeeming the time."t 

This is another example of that mixture which we re- 
marked of sameness and variety in the language of one writer. 
" Hedeeming the time," ^ayopaCofievoc rov Kacpdv, is a literal 
repetition. " Walk not as fools, but as wise," TZEpmaTelre //^ 
cjf aao^ot, d/l/l' wf co(l)ot, answers exactly in sense, and nearly in 
terms, to " walk in wisdom," Iv GO(l>ia Trspnraretre. mptnaTdTe 
uKpt(3ioc is a very different phrase, but is intended to convey 
precisely the same idea as neptTTa-dre Trpbg rovg e^u. 'AKptlSug is 
not w^ell rendered " circumspectly." It means what in mod- 
ern speech we should call " correctly ;" and when we advise 
a person to behave "correctly," our advice is ahvays given 
with a reference " to the opinion of others," Trpbg Tovg efw. 
" Walk correctly, redeeming the time," that is, suiting your- 
selves to the difficulty and ticklishness of the times in which 
we live, " because the days are evil." 

Ephes. 6 : 19, 20 : "And" praying "for me, that utter- 
ance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth 
boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which 
I am an ambassador in bonds : that therein I may speak 
boldly, as I ought to speak."! 

Colos. 4:3,4. " Withal praying also for us, that God 

* Ephes. 5 : L'), 16: BMireTe ovv irug uKpi[3ug irspLrraTelre • {irj wf 
'aaof^QL, a?>,/l' dg oocpol^ k^aynoa^oiievoL tov Kaipov. 

t Colos. 4:5: ''Ev ao(pla TTEpnraTelTe Trpof Tovg e^io. tov Kaipbv i^ayo- 

t Ephes. 6 : 19, 20: Kut VTzep efiov^ Iva [zot 6o&ity loyog h uvol^ei 
TOV GTO/iaror fiov iv Tra^pTjata, yvuplaai rb [ivaT7]pL0v rov EvayysMov, viric 
oi irptaBEVu kv uXvoel^ ''va iv avru 110^^7] aiu(70), ug 6d ^e TiaTvrjcai. 


would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery 
of Christ, for which I am also in bonds : that I may make it 
manifest, as 1 ought to speak."* 

In these quotations, the phrase, " as I ought to speak," 
fjf (5a {le laki]aai^ the words "utterance," Ibyoq^ a "mystery," 
fwoT^fMv, "open," uvol^^) and Iv uvoi^a, are the same, "To 
make known the mystery of the gospel," jvupioac to iivaTi/pLov, 
answers to " make it manifest," ha (pavepuao) uvto; " for which 
I am an ambassador in bonds," virep ov TrpEajSEvo) Iv ulvcet, to 
"for which I am also in bonds," 61 b kul S^dsfiac 

Ephes. 5 : 22-33 ; 6 : 1-9 : " Wives, submit yourselves 
unto your own husbands, as U7ito the Lord. For the hus- 
band is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head ol 
the church : and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore 
as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to 
their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your 
ivives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave him- 
self for it ; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the 
washing of water by the word, that he might present it to 
himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or 
any such thing ; but that it should be holy and without 
blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own 
bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself For no 
man ever yet hated his own flesh ; but nourisheth and chcr- 
isheth it, even as the Lord the church : for we are members 
of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause 
shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined 
unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is 
a great mystery : but I speak concerning Christ and the 
church. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so 
love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she 
reverence her husband. Children, obey yowr 'parents in 
the Lord : for this is right. Honor thy father and mother 

* Colos. 4 : 3, 4 : Ilpo(yevxofj,evoi ufia Kai irspl f)ficJv^ iva 6 Qebg uvot^ 
rjiuv -^vpav rov ?i6yov, Xa'kvoai to /jvaTT/ptov tov XptoTov, dt' 6 kui dstkjm;. 
Iva <t>aveouau avTo, wf 6a ue ?M?{,7iGau 


(which is the first commandment with promise,) that it may 
be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth 
A7id ye fathers,, iirovohe not your children to ivraJi : but 
bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 
Servants, be ohedlent to them that are your tnasters accord^ 
ing to the flesh, ivith fear and trembling, in singleness oj 
your heart, as unto Christ : not with eye-service, as men- 
lyleasers ; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of 
God from the heart ; with good ivill doing service, as to 
the Lord, and not to men : knowing that ivhatsoever good 
thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, 
whether he be bond or free. And, j^e masters, do the same 
things unto them, forbearing threatening : knoiving that 
your Master also is in heaven ; neither is there respect of 
persons with him."* 

Colos. 3 : 18 :t "Wives, submit yourselves unto your 

* Ephes. 5 : 22 : ki yvvalKsg, Tolg Idcoig uvdpaai,v VTCoraaaead^e, wf 
T(j Kvpio). 

t Colos. 3 : 18 : A.I yvvalKsg, vnoruaGea-Qe role; Idloic; uvSpuciv, wc 
avTjKev kv Kvpc(fj. 

Ephes. 5 : 25 : 01 'avdpcg, uya-ure tu^ yvvaiKag eavruv. 

Colos. 3:19: 01 'avdpe^, a) a-dre Tug yvvalKag. 

Ephes. 6:1: Td re/cva, vTraKovere Tolg yovii^Gtv i'ficJv kv Kvptu- rovro 
yap koTL dlKaiov. 

Colos. 3 : 20 : Td rinva, VTzaKOvere rolg yuvevatv Kara navra' rovro 
yap kanv evapearov ru Kvpcu. 

Ephes. 6:4: Kut ol Tvartpeg, (ii/ Trapopyi^ere ra reKva v(j,C)V. 

Colos. 3 : 21 : 01 narepsg, fi^ iped^l^erE^ ra rsKva i'liuv. 

Ephes, 6 : 5-8 : 0/ dov?iOt, VTraKOvere rolg Kvplocg Kara capaa //erd 
(j>6(Sov Kat rpo/iov, Iv hnTibrriri rijg Kapdiag vficJv, ug ru 'KptarCi • iiij nar* 
b^daT^nodovTieiav, cjg av&poTzdpecKOi, a72,' ug 6ov2x)c rov Xpiarov, Trocovvrsi 
rb di2.i]fca rod Qeov sk ipvxvg' fJ^^^' svvoiag 6ov?.£Vovreg [cjg] ru Kvplu^ Ka: 
ovK dv&p6)7roLg' eldoreg on b edv n tKaarog rcoujari dya-&bv, rovro KOfimrai 
napa rov Kvplov, elre dovlog, elre fkev&epog. 

Colos. 3 : 22 : 01 6ov7iOL, vrraKovere Kara rrdvra rolg Kara adpKa Ktpt- 
Qig, iiTj kv b(p^a?i(io6ovA£Latg, ug dv&poTrapEGKOi, a}\}J kv 6.Ti:%br7jrL Kapdiag^ 
po'^oi^evoL rov Qebv kul ttHv b^rc kav TTOU/re, £/c tpvxvg kpyd^eade, uc r^i 
Knpffd, Kal OVK avd^puTTotg- elbbreg ore utto Kvplov d-iro7^7pl>£G^e r^v civia 
irjdomv rrjg KTojpovoiiiag' roj yap Kvplu XptGru) dovXevere. 

* izapopyi^erE, lectio non spernenda. Griesbach. 


own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord Husbands, love your 
wives, and be not bitter against them Children, obey your 
parents in all things ; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be 
discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters 
according tc the flesh : not wdth eye-service, as men-pleas- 
ers ; but in singleness of heart, fearing God : and whatsoever 
ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men : 
knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the 
inheritance ; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that 
doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath 
done ; and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give un- 
to your servants that which is just and equal ; knowing that 
ye also have a Master in heaven." 

The passages marked by italics in the quotation from the 
Ephesians, bear a strict resemblance, not only in significa- 
tion, but in terms, to the quotation from the Colossians. 
Both the words and the order of the words are, in many 
clauses, a duplicate of one another. In the epistle to ihi 
Colossians, these passages are laid together ; in that to the 
Ephesians, they are divided by intermediate matter, espec- 
ially by a long digressive allusion to the mysterious union 
between Christ and his church ; which possessing, as Mr. 
Locke has well observed, the mind of the apostle, from being 
an incidental thought, grows up into the principal subject. 
The affinity between these two passages in signification, in 
terms, and in the order of the words, is closer than can be point- 
ed out between any parts of any two epistles in the volume. 

If the reader would see how the same subject is treated 
by a difierent hand, and how distinguishable it is from the 
production of the same pen, let him turn to the second and 
third chapters of the first epistle of St. Peter. The duties 
of &3rvants, of wives, and of husbands, are enlarged upon in 
that epistle, as they are in the epistle to the Ephesians ; but 
the subjects both occur in a difierent order, and the train oi 
sentiment subjoined to each is totally unlike. 


3. In two letters issuing from the same person, nearly at 
the same time, and upon the same general occasion, we maj 
expect to trace the influence of association in the order in 
which the topics follow one another. Certain ideas univer- 
sally or usually suggest others. Here the order is what we 
call natural, and from such an order nothing can be con- 
cluded. But when the order is arbitrary, yet alike, the 
concurrence indicates the effect of that principle by which 
ideas which have been once joined commonly revisit the 
thoughts together. The epistles under consideration furnish 
the two following remarkable instances of this species of 
agreement : 

Ephes. 4 : 24, 25 : '* And that ye put on the new man. 
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with 
his neighbor : for we are members one of another."* 

Colos. 3 : 9, 10 : " Lie not one to another, seeing that yc 
have put off the old man with his deeds ; and have put on 
the new man, which is renewed in knowledge."! 

The vice of " lying," or a correction of that vice, does not 
seem to bear any nearer relation to the " putting on the new 
man," than a reformation in any other article of morals. 
Yet these two ideas, we see, stand in both epistles in imm*^- 
diate connection. 

Ephes. 5:20, 21, 22: "Giving thanks always for all 
things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; submitting yourselves one to another in the feaj 
of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands 
as unto the Lord "$ 

* Ephes. 4 : 24, 25 : Kac hdvaao^at. tov kglvov "av&pcoTrov, rbr <aTd 
Qsbv KTca^evra ev diKaioovvy kui baLorrjTL ryg a?^7]^iiag' deb uTiodtiievoL ri 
\pEv6og, TualelTE akrj^tiav EKaarog fieTu tov TT?^'r]aiov avTOv • on kcuhv 0AJI7 

t Colos. 3:9, 10 : M^ tpevdea^e elg uIXtjTmvq^ uTtsKdvaa^evoL rev ta- 
XaiJbv 'av&po)7zov, cvv ToXg Troa^eatv uvtov, koi hivGcifievoc rbv viov. rdv 
avaKaivoi'uevov elg emyvucLV. 

t Ephes. 5 : 20, 21, 22 : EvxapiaroiivTeg iravTon virhp ttuvtov, kx 


Colos. 3 : 17, 18 : "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed. 
do all ill the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God 
and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your 
own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."* 

In both these passages, submission follows giving of 
thanks, without any similitude in the ideas which should 
account for the transition. 

It is not necessary to pursue the comparison between the 
two epistles further. The argument which results from it 
stands thus. No two other epistles contain a circumstance 
which indicates that they were written at the same, or near- 
ly at the same time. No two other epistles exhibit so many 
marks of correspondency and resemblance. If the original 
which we ascribe to these two epistles be the true one, that 
is, if they were both really written by St. Paul, and both 
sent to their respective destination by the same messenger. 
the similitude is in all points what should be expected to 
take place. If they were forgeries, then the mention of 
Tychicus in both epistles, and in a manner which shows that 
he either carried or accompanied both epistles, was inserted 
for the purpose of accounting for their similitude ; or else 
the structure of the epistles was designedly adapted to the 
circumstance ; or lastly, the conformity between the con- 
tents of the forgeries, and what is thus directly intimated 
concerning their date, was only a happy accident. Not one 
of these three suppositions will gain credit with a reader 
who peruses the epistles with attention, and who reviews 
the several examples we have pointed out, and the observa- 
tions with which they were accompanied. 

II. There is such a thing as a peculiar word or phrase 
cleaving, as it were, to the memory of a writer or speaker, 
ivoiiaTL rov Kvplov ?)fj.cJv ^Itjgov XpiGTOv, tu Qeu kol Tzarpi, VTroTaoaSfievoi 
xX?iJjh)LC £v <p6(3u Qeoi: Al yvvcuKtc, -^olg idioig uvdpuacv VTTLiTuacEa&e, 
6f Tu Kvplc) 

* Colos 3 : 17, 18 : Kuc irav b,Tc uv 7roi/}-e, h 7.6yio^ rj Iv IpyCfi, ncvT^ 
•V ovoftart Kvpiov ^hjaov, ei'xapLCTOvvTEC r<p Qeu Kci 'Karpl 6C avrov. Ai 
•tTOi/cff, vnoTaaaeade rolq iSioig uvt^puaLV^ ug avijKn' ev Kvpuj. 


and presenting itself to his utterance at every turn. "When 
we observe this, we call it a cant word or a ca?it phrase. 
It is a natural effect of habit ; and would appear more fre- 
quently than it does, had not the rules of good writing taught 
the ear to be offended with the iteration of the same sound, 
and oftentimes caused us to reject, on that account, the word 
which offered itself first to our recollection. With a writer 
who, like St. Paul, either knew not these rules, or disregard- 
ed them, such words wdll not be avoided. The truth is, an 
example of this kind runs through several of his epistles, and 
in the epistle before us abou7ids ; and that is in the word 
riches, Tr^oCrof, used metaphorically as an augmentative ol 
the idea to which it happens to be subjoined. Thus, "the 
riches of his glory," "his riches in glory," ''riches of the 
glory of his inheritance," ''riches of the glory of this myste- 
ry," Rom. 9 : 23 ; Ephes. 3:16; Phil. 4:19; Ephes. 1:18; 
Colos. 1 : 27 : "riches of his grace," twice in the Ephe- 
sians, 1 : 7, and 2:7; " riches of the full assurance of un- 
derstanding," Colos. 2:2; "riches of his goodness," Rom. 
2:4; " riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God," Rom. 
11:33; " riches of Christ," Ephes. 3 : 8. In a like sense, 
the adjective, Rom. 10 : 12, "rich unto all that call upon 
him ;" Ephes. 2:4, " 7'ich in mercy ;" 1 Tim. 6 : 18, "rich 
in good works." Also the adverb, Colos. 3 : 16, "let the 
w^ord of Christ dwell in you richly.'' This figurative use oi 
the w^ord, though so familiar to St Paul, does not occur in 
any part of the New Testament, except once in the epistle 
of St. James, 2:5: " Hath not God chosen the poor of this 
world rich in faith?" where it is manifestly suggested by 
ihe antithesis. I propose the frequent, yet seemingly un- 
affected use of this phrase, in the epistle before us, as one 
internal mark of its genuineness. 

III. There is another singularity in St. Paul's style, 
which, wherever it is found, may be deemed a badge of au' 
thenticity ; because, if it were noticed, it would not, I think, 
be imitated, hiasmuch as it almost always produces embar- 


rassment and interruption in the reasoning. This singulari- 
ty is a species of digression which may properly, I think, be 
denominated going off at a word, it is turning aside from 
the subject upon the occurrence of some particular word, 
forsaking the train of thought then in hand, and entering 
npon a parenthetic sentence in which that word is the pre- 
vailing term. I shall lay before the reader some example.? 
of this collected from the other epistles, and then propose 
two examples of it which are found in the epistle to the 
Ephesians. In 2 Cor. 2 : 14-17, at the word savor : "Now 
thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in 
Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by 
us in every place. (For we are unto God a sweet savor ol 
Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish : to 
the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the 
other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for 
these things ?) For we are not as many which corrupt the 
word of God : but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight 
of God speak we in Christ." Again, 2 Cor. 3 : 1-3, at the 
word epistle: "Need we, as some others, ejnstles of com- 
mendation to you, or of commendation from you ? (Ye are 
our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all 
men : forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the 
epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but 
with the Spirit of the living God : not in tables of stone, but 
in the fleshly tables of the heart.") The position of the 
words in the original, shows more strongly than in the trans- 
lation, that it was the occurrence of the Avord kmaTolrj which 
gave birth to the sentence that follows : 2 Cor. 3:1. E/ 
M^ XPV^ofJ'SV, ug TLveg, crvGTanKcJv emaroXuv npog vfiui; ?} e^ v(icJv avcra- 
ri-cuv; rj entaroTirj r^fiuv vnetg lore, eyysypa^idvrj kv ralg Kap&kug i/fj-cov. 
] t yuaKOfih-r} kul uvaytvuaKOfievT] vtto iravruv uv&pQiTuv • cpavspovfievoL Cn i 
iore E7naT0?i?j Xpiarov 6uiK0vr]-&elaa v^' r/fiuv, ey/Eypa/i[XEvr} ov /.liT^vi, 
aX^a TTVEvmri Qeov ^uvTog' ovk ev Tzka^l Ic^tvatg, uKK ev irla^l Kapdia^ 

Again, 2 Cor. 3 : 12, etc., at the word veil • •' Seeing 

Ilora- Paul. 21 


then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of 
speech : and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, 
that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the 
end of that which is abolished : hut their minds were bUnd- 
ed ; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken 
away in the reading of the Old Testament, which veil is 
done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses 
iS read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it 
shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. (Now 
the Lord is that Spirit ; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is liberty.) But we all Avith open face beholding as in 
a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same 
image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of Lhe Loid. 
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received 
mercy, we faint not." 

Who sees not that this whole allegory of the veil arisej* 
entirely out of the occurrence of the word, in telling us that 
" Moses put a veil over his face," and that it drev/ the 
apostle away from the proper subject of his discourse, the 
dignity of the office in which he w^as engaged ? which sub- 
ject he fetches up again almrost in the words with which he 
had left it : " therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we 
have received mercy, we faint not." The sentence which 
he had before been going on with, and in which he had 
been interrupted by the veil, was, " Seeing then that we 
have such hope, we use great plainness of speech." 

Li the epistle to the Ephesians, the reader will remark 
two instances in which the same habit of composition obtains : 
he will recognize the same pen. One he will find, chap. 
4 : 8-1 1, at the word ascended : " Wherefore he saith. When 
be ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave 
gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that 
he also descended first unto the lower parts of the earth ? 
H3 that descended is the same also that ascended up fax 
above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he 
gave some, apostles," etc. 


The ether appears, chap. 5 : 12-15, at the v^ord light: 
•• For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are 
done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved, 
are made manifest by the light: (for whatsoever doth make 
manifest is light. Wherefore he saith. Awake, thou that 
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee 
light.) See then that ye walk circumspectly." 

IV. Although it does not appear to have ever been dis- 
puted that the epistle before us was written by St. Paul, 
yet it is well known that a doubt has long been entertained 
concerning the persons to whom it was addressed. The 
question is founded partly on some ambiguity in the external 
evidence. Marcion, a heretic of the second century, as 
quoted by Tertullian, a father in the beginning of the third, 
calls it the epistle to the Laodiceans. From what we know 
of Marcion, his judgment is little to be rehed upon; nor is 
it perfectly clear that Marcion was rightly understood by 
Tertulhan. If, however, Marcion be brought to prove thai 
some copies in his time gave h AaoSiKeca in the superscription 
his testimony, if it be truly interpreted, is not diminished b) 
his heresy ; for, as Grotius observes, " cu?' in cd re menti 
retiir nihil erat caused.''' The name kv 'E^eatj, in the firs' 
\rerse, upon which word singly depends the proof that th« 
epistle was written to the Ephesians, is not read in all tht 
manuscripts now extant. I admit, however, that the exter- 
nal evidence preponderates with a manifest excess on the 
side of the received reading. The objection, therefore, prin- 
cipally arises from the contents of the epistle itself, which, 
in many respects, militate with the supposition that it was 
written to the church at Ephesus. According to the his- 
tory, St. Paul had passed two whole years at Ephesus. 
A.cts 19:10. And in this point, namely, of St. Paul having 
preached for a considerable length of time at Ephesus, the 
history is confirmed by the two epistles to the Corinthians, 
and by the two epistles to Timothy. "I will tarry at 
Ephesus until Pentecost ". 1 Cor. 16 ; 8. " We would not 


have you ignorant of our trouble which can.e to us in Asia.'* 
2 Cor. 1:8. " As I beso^aght thee to abide still at E2')hesuSj 
when I went into Macedonia." 1 Tim. 1:3. " And in 
how many tnings he ministered to me at Ephesus, thou 
knowest very well." 2 Tim. 1:18. I adduce these testi- 
monies, because, had it been a competition of credit between 
the history and the epistle, I should have thought myself 
boi<nd to have preferred the epistle. Now, eveiy epistle 
which St. Paul wrote to churches which he himself had 
founded, or which he had visited, abounds with references 
md appeals to what had passed during the time that he 
was present among them ; whereas there is not a text, in 
the epistle to the Ephesians, from which we can collect that 
he had ever been at Ephesus at all. The two epistles to 
the Corinthians, the epistle to the Galatians, the epistle to 
the Philippians, and the two epistles to the Thessalonians 
are of this class ; and they are full of allusions to the apos- 
tle's history, his reception, and his conduct while among 
them : the total want of which, in the epistle before us, is 
very difficult to account for, if it was in truth written to the 
church of Ephesus, in which city he had resided for so long 
a time. This is the first and strongest objection. But fur- 
ther, the epistle to the Colossians was addressed to a church 
in wliich St. Paul had never been. This we infer from the 
first verse of the second chapter : " For I would that ye knew 
wdiat great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, 
and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh." 
There could be no propriety in thus joining the Colossians 
and Lao.iiceans wdth those "who had not seen his face in 
the flesh," if they did not also belong to the same descrip- 
lion.* Now, his address to the Colossians, whom he had 
aot visited, is precisely the same as his address to the Chris- 
dans to whom he wrote in the epistle which we are now 
considering : •' We give thanks to God and the Father of our 

-* Dr. Lardner contends against the validity of this oonclusion; 
but I think without success. Laupntse, vol. 14, p. 47.3, edit. 1757. 


Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, sbice ive heard 
of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have 
to all the saints." Col. 1:3. Thus he speaks to the Ephe 
sians, in the epistle before us, as follows : " Wherefore I also, 
after I licard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto 
all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making men- 
tion of you in my prayers." Chap. 1:15. The terms of 
thi;i address are observable. The words " having heard of 
your faith and love," are the very words, we see, which he 
uses towards strangers ; and it is not probable that he should 
employ the same in accosting a church in which he had long 
exercised his ministry, and whose "faith and love" he must 
have personally known. *= The epistle to the Romans was 
written before St. Paul had been at Rome ; and his address 
to them runs in the same strain with that just now quoted : 
" I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your 
faith is spoke7i of throughout the whole world." Rom. 1 : 8. 
Let us now see what was the form in which our apostle was 
accustomed to introduce his epistles, when he wrote to those 
with whom he was already acquainted. To the Corinthi- 
ans it was this : " I thank my God always on your behalf, 
for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ." 
1 Cor. 1:4. To the Philippians : " I thank my God upor 
every remembrance of you." Phil. 1:3. To the Tliessa- 
lonians : •' We give thanks to God always for you all, making 
mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceas- 
ing your work of faith, and labor of love." 1 Thess. 1 : 3, 
To Timothy : " I thank God, whom I serve from my fore- 

* Mr. Locke endeavors to avoid this difficulty, by explaining 
*■'■ their faith, of which St. Paul had hea.rd," to mean the steadfastnc;5F 
of their persuasion that they were called into the kingdom of Gol, 
without subjection to the Mosaic institution. But this interpretation 
ieems to me extremely hard • for in the manner in which faith is here 
jcined with love, in the expression " your faith and love," it could not 
mean to denote any particular tenet which distinguished one set oi 
Christians from others : forasmuch as the expression describes the gen- 
oraJ virtues of the Christian profession. Vide Locke in loc. 

i.34 HOR^ PAU LUS^:. 

fathers with pure conscieiice, that without ceasing I havt> 
remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day." 2 Tim 
1:3. In these quotations, it is usually his remembrance, 
jind never his hearing of them, which he makes the subject 
of his thankfulness to God. 

As great difficulties stand in the way of supposing the 
epistle before us to have been written to the churcli oi 
Ephesus, so I think it probable that it is actually the epistle 
to the Laodiceans referred to in. the fourth chapter of the 
epistle to the Colossians. The text which contains that ref- 
erence is this : " When this epistle is read among you, cause 
that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and 
that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea." Ver. 16. 
The " epistle /rom Laodicea," was an epistle sent by St. Paul 
to that church, and by them transmitted to Colosse The 
two churches were mutually to communicate the epistles 
they had received. This is the way in which the direction 
is explained by the greater part of commentators, and is the 
most probable sense that can be given to it. It is also prob- 
able that the epistle alluded to was an epistle which had 
been received by the church of Laodicea lately. It appears 
then, with a considerable degree of evidence, that there exist- 
ed an epistle of St. Paul's nearly of the same date with the 
epistle to the Colossians, and an epistle directed to a churca — 
for such the church of Laodicea was — in wdiich St. Paul 
had never been. What has been observed concerning the 
epistle before us, shows that it answers perfectly to that 

Nor does the mistake seem very difficult to account for. 
Whoever inspects the map of Asia Minor will see, that a 
person proceeding from E-ome to Laodicea would probably 
land at Ephesus, as the nearest frequented seaport in that 
direction. Might not Tychicus then, in passing through 
Ephesus, communicate to the Christians of that place the 
letter with wdiich he was charged ? And might not copies 
of that letter be multiplied and preserved a1^ Eohesus ? 


Might not some of the copies drop the words of designation 
h* Ty AaocWeta* which it was of no consequence to an Ephe- 
sian to letain ? Might not copies of the letter come out 
into the Christian church at large from Ephesus; and might 
not this give occasion to a beUef that the letter was written 
to that church ? And lastly, might not this beUef produce 
the error which we suppose to have crept into the in- 
scription ? 

V. As our epistle purports to have been written during 
St. Paul's imprisonment at Rome, which lies beyond the 
period to which the Acts of the Apostles brings up his his- 
tory ; and as we have seen and acknowledged that the epis- 
tle contains no reference to any transaction at Ephesus 
during the apostle's residence in that city, we cannot expect 
that it should supply many marks of agreement with the 
narrative. One coincidence however occurs, and a coinci- 
dence of that minute and less obvious kind, which, as has 
been repeatedly observed, is most to be relied upon. 

Chap. 6 : 19, 20, we read, praying " for me, that I may 
open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the 
gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds." " I/t 
bo7ids" ev akvccL, in a chain. In the twenty-eighth chapter 

* And it is remarkable that there seem to have been some ancient 
copies without the words of designation, either the words in Ephesus^ 
or the words in Laodicca. St. Basil, a writer of the fourth century, 
speaking of the present epistle, has this very singular passage : "And 
writing to the Ephesians, as truly united to him who is through know- 
ledge, he," Paul, "calleth them in a peculiar sense such who are / say- 
ing to the saints who are and^^^ or even, " the faithful in Christ Jesus ; for 
so those before us have transmitted it, and we have found it m ancient 
copies." Dr. Mill interprets — and, notwithstanding some obj,*