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Physiologist. The Notes attached to the Lectures will be found to contain references to such as have appeared most indispensable to a knowledge of the subject.
The author esteems it necessary to add, that the following Discourses appear before the Public in the exact form in which they were delivered; a circumstance which may explain the frequency of recapitulation in certain instances. It was found expedient, in consequence of many and unavoidable interruptions in their succession, to resort to this mode of obviating the effects of an imperfect recollection on the general argument. He has chosen rather to hazard the censure, however liberally bestowed, of prolixness of detail, than present his Readers with a mutilated transcript.
The references also inserted in the context may appear to many to be unnecessarily multiplied. For this he pleads the nature of his subject, differing so materially from the purely theological. The considerations it involved at every step demanded a frequency of research proportioned to their number
and importance, which appears in the latter case to most advantage, when incorporated with the language and sentiments of the writer.
[POSTSCRIPT]. Since writing the notice which precedes this, the articles in the Westminster Review for October, and in the British for November, 1825, have appeared; containing remarks on the Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies, a treatise published in the year 1822 by Mr. Granville Penn, and succeeded in the following year by a Supplement, chiefly purporting to be an answer to Professor Buckland's Reliquiæ Diluviana, which advanced facts and arguments at variance with the Diluvian hypothesis of the former writer.
As the first-mentioned Review has treated at considerable length of the principles of the research which has employed the author of the following lectures, he cannot omit the present opportunity of subjoining a few reflections on the article in question; as also of stating, that Mr. Penn's work did not reach him until he had made considerable progress in the prosecution of his original plan. He holds it necessary however to add, that had even the appearance of the treatises referred to preceded the time of its completion, he should by no means regard a subsequent publication on the same subject as uncalled for.
As he professes but little interest in the mode resorted to of conducting this physico-theological warfare, in which unhappily the acrimony of the polemic has been united with the self-sufficiency of the philosopher, he
proceeds at once to a brief view of such passages of the article referred to, as have appeared to him more immediately connected with his own line of argument.
The first which occurs deserving of notice, is that in p. 460. "It has never been held derogatory to Almighty power, that it operates, in creating as in preserving, by means of intermediate agents, or secondary
The Scriptural doctrine to which the writer of this sentence alludes, is one which involves much intricate discussion, in the manner in which it has been usually presented. It is the first principle of the Mosaic Physics, and is that in truth, which all physics must ultimately terminate in, unless opposed to the plain light of common sense. Indemonstrable by actual experiment, of which it were easy to assign the reason, it yet is one which connects the metaphysical theory of causation with the sciences which admit of that species of proof; and appeals to our first perceptions for its reality, as an originative principle, not less than to the revelation which expressly announces it.
As the several details connected with this subject occupy a principal share of attention in the following course, it is unnecessary to enlarge much at present on the grounds of its evidence. The remarks already offered tend to this; that creation being regarded as a principle, antecedent to all modes of finite existence, and consequently unsusceptible of positive demonstration, it becomes necessary to distinguish carefully between the exercise-the efficacy-of the power, and their transmission through the phænomena of being, already due to their first direction. The absence of any thing, which may be termed a course of nature, during
the former, and its commencement of existence during the latter, is a sufficient mark of distinction.
Now, what we ordinarily understand by "secondary causes," are those which accompany this course of nature; qualities impressed upon, yet separable from, matter; the notion of duration is therefore, in the order of our thoughts, connected with them; to different eras of which it becomes necessary to refer the operations of the efficient and the instrumental causes.
We cannot therefore subscribe to the doctrine abovementioned, or hold, that the exercise of the latter is even compatible with a right notion of creative power. No analogy can be traced between it and the preserving power, sufficient to authorise our concluding, from the manner of acting in the latter, as to that which took place in the former; the truth is, as one of the Fathers of the Church has determined it-none subsists; Ts Toy πολυαρμόνιον τουτονὶ κόσμον ἐξαρχῆς ἔπλαττεν ὁ θεὸς, θαύματα ἐπὶ θαύμασιν εἰργάσατο, οὐ νόμῳ φύσεως δουλεύων, ἀλλ ̓ ἐξουσία δυνάμεως TÁVTA TEXTαIVÓLEVOS (*). When therefore the absence of a just analogy conspires with the natural order of our perceptions, to discountenance the doctrine referred to, we may safely regard it as either vaguely expressed, or erroneously conceived.
Again, it is observed-" Bacon condemns those who 'seek for natural philosophy in the first chapter of Genesis,' and who thus presumptuously form what he calls a 'malesana admixtio' of reason and philosophy." Ibid.
We admit, that these expressions, as alleged by the Reviewer, are no slight discouragements to the authors of such a work as the following purports to be. But let us examine more minutely.
(*). S. Chrysostom. Serm. in 2 Cor. xii. (Opp. Vol. vi. 340 A).
The sentence referred to occurs in the 65th Aphorism of the 1st book of the Novum Organum, in which the errors of that sect of philosophers are exposed, who corrupt the object of their research by the admixture of Theology and Superstition. "Huic vanitati" (says Bacon) "nonnulli ex modernis summa levitate ita indulserunt, ut in primo capitulo Geneseos, et in libro Job, et aliis Scripturis sacris, Philosophiam naturalem fundare conati sint; inter viva quærentes mortua. Tantoque magis hæc vanitas inhibenda venit, et coercenda, quia ex Divinorum et Humanorum malesana admistione, non solum educitur Philosophia phantastica, sed etiam Religio hæretica." The "vanitas" referred to is explained in a foregoing sentence; "invenitur hoc genus mali-introducendo formas abstractas, et causas finales, et causas primas; omittendo sæpissime medias," etc.
We perceive here that the reprehensions of the illustrious author are directed against those who found Natural Philosophy-who seek for its first principles exclusively-in Scripture; and who, failing in this their illjudged speculation, endanger the convictions of others as to the truth of those statements, whose genuine import they so entirely misconceive. The author of Moses' Principia, and his followers, who have endeavoured to erect on the announcements of Revelation doctrines at variance with the known results of Experiment, are answerable for the consequences of this misguided zeal; not so those, who, by tracing a congruity between a part of the Sacred records almost exclusively devoted to the relation of a series of Physical arrangements, and the existing results of those arrangements, Natural phænomena, conceive that they mingle philosophy with religion with no disparagement to the interests of the latter.