Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

shew it: if we look upon the frame of the animals themselves, what a number of admirable contrivances in each of them do appear for the sustenance, for the safety, for the pleasure, for the propagation, for grace and ornament, for all imaginable convenience, suitable to the kind, and station of each! If we look about them, what variety and abundance of convenient provisions offer themselves even to a careless view, answerable to all their needs, and all their desires! Wholesome and pleasant food, to maintain their life, yea, to gratify all their senses; fit fhelter from offence, and safe refuge from dangers : all these things provided in fufficient plenty, and commodiously disposed, for such a vast number of creatures; not the least, most filly, weak, or contemptible creature, but we may see fome care hath been had for its nourishment and comfort: what wonderful instincts are they endued with, for procuring and distinguishing of their food, for guarding themselves and their young from danger! But for man especially a most liberal provision hath been made, to supply all his needs; to please all his appetites; to exercise, with profit and satisfaction, all his faculties; to content (I might say) his utmost curiosity b: all things about him do minister (or may do so, if he will use the natural powers and instruments given him) to his preservation, ease, and delight. The bowels of the earth yield him treasures of metals and minerals; quarries of stone and coal, ferviceable to him for various uses c. The vileft and commonest stones he treadeth upon are not unprofitable. The surface of the earth, what variety of delicate fruits, herbs and grains doth it afford, to nourish our bodies, and cheer our fpirits, and please our tastes, and remedy our diseases ! how many fragrant flowers, most beautiful and goodly in colour and shape, for the comfort of our smell and delight of our eyes ! Neither can our ears complain, since every wood hath a quire of natural musicians, to entertain them with their sprightful melody! Every wood did I say? yes too, the woods, adorned with stately trees, yield pleasant spectacles to our fight, shelter from offences of weather and fun, fuel for our fires, materials for our buildings, (our houses and shipping,) and other needful utensils. Even the barren mountains send us down fresh streams of water, so necessary for the support of our lives, so profitable for the fructification of our grounds, so commodious for conveyance and maintaining of intercourse among us. Even the wide seas themselves serve us many ways: they are commodious for our traffic and commerce: they supply the bottles of heaven with water to refresh the earth: they are inexhaustible cisterns, from whence our springsand rivers are derived: they yield stores of good fish, and other conveniences of life. The very rude and disorderly winds do us no little service, in brushing and cleansing the air for our health; in driving forward our ships; in scat

b Neque enim neceffitatibus tantummodo noftris provisum est, usque in delicias amamur. Sen, de Benef. iv. 5. Vide locum optimum.

• Ut omnis rerum naturæ pars tributum aliquod nobis conferret. Ibid.

tering and spreading about the clouds, those clouds which Pfal. Ixv. drop fatness upon our grounds. As for our subjects the

animals, it is not possible to reckon the manifold utilities we receive from them: how many ways they supply our needs, with pleasant food and convenient clothing; how they ease our labour; and how they promote even our sport and recreation. And are we not, not only very stupid, but very ungrateful, if we do not discern abundance of wisdom and goodness in the contrivance and ordering of all these things, so as thus to conspire for our

good? Is it not reasonable, that we devoutly cry out with Pfal.civ.24. the Psalmist; O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wif

dom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy

riches: fo is the wide and great sea, &c. To say this grace Psal. cxlv. with him; The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest 15, 16. them their meat in due season: thou openest thine hand, and

satisfiest the defre of every living thing : especially to say Pfal. viii. 4, farther; Lord, what is man, that thou art so mindful of

him ? and the son of man, that thou visitesi him? Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hasi put all things under his feet.

Can any man, endued with common sense, imagine that such a body as any of us doth bear about him, so neatly

6.

composed, fitted to so many purposes of action, furnished with so many goodly and proper organs; that eye, by which we reach the stars, and in a moment have, as it were, all the world present to us; that ear, by which we so subtly distinguish the differences of sound, are sensible of so various harmony, have conveyed unto our minds the words and thoughts each of other; that tongue, by which we so readily imitate those vast diversities of voice and tune, by which we communicate our minds with such ease and advantage; that hand, by which we perform fo many admirable works, and which serves instead of a thousand instruments and weapons unto us; to omit those inward fprings of motion, life, sense, imagination, memory, paffion, with so stupendous curiosity contrived : can any reasonable man, I say, conceive that so rare a piece, consisting of such parts, unexpressibly various, unconceivably curious, the want of any of which would discompose or destroy us; subservient to such excellent operations, incomparably surpalling all the works of the most exquisite art, that we could ever observe or conceive, be the produet of blind chance; arise from fortuitous jumblings of matter; be effected without exceeding great wisdom, without most deep counsel and design? d Might not the most excellent pieces of human artifice, the fairest structures, the finest pictures, the most useful engines, such as we are wont so much to admire and praise, much more easily happen to be without any skill or contrivance? e If we cannot allow these rude and gross imitations of nature to come of themselves, but will presently, so soon as we see them, acknowledge them the products of art, though we know not the artist, nor did see him work; how much more reasonable is it, that we believe the works of nature,

« Archimedem arbitrantur plus valuiffe in imitandis fphæræ conversionibus, quam naturam in efficiendis, &c. p. 86.

e Si ergo meliora sunt ea, quæ natura, quam illa quæ arte perfecta sunt nec ars efficit quicquam fine ratione, ne natura quidem rationis expers est habenda. Cic. de Nat. D. ii. p. 86. Quod fi mundum efficere poteft concursus atomorum, cur porticum, cur templum, cur domum, cur urbem non poteft, quæ sunt minus operosa, et multo quidem faciliora? 16. 89.

nim. ii.

11.

so much more fine and accurate, to proceed from the like cause, though invisible to us, and performing its workmanship by a secret hand ? I am sure, the most diligent contemplators of nature, and those of the most incredulous temper, and freest from any prejudice favourable to religion, have not been able to deny, that abundance of

counsel and wisdom discovers itself in the works of nature: 2 Phys.c.3. Aristotle (whom no man surely takes for superstitious or

partial to the interests of religion) hath a whole chapter

in his Physics to prove that nature works with design and De part. A- for an end : and otherwhere he affirms, ý qúous évexa Tūv ii. Távta noisi, Nature doeth all things for some end: yea

farther, M4AAoy 8 korì rò & Exa, xaì xa by ky Toi Ts 'H purus diy púrews xpyois, év Tois tõis Téxins: Tending to an end, and

endeavouring what is best, is more observable in the works De cælo, ii. of nature, than in those of art. This he speaketh in his Ouvir räv books De Partibus Animalium, the consideration of which xadão sixñ& extorted this confeffion from him: and if vature works so ως έτυχε γίostai, much for an end, there must be an understanding that Miró Tivos intends it, and orders fit means for attaining it. Galen is oveyouons. observed in some places of his writings to speak fomePlut.de placitis P. 16. what irreligiously, yet in his books De Usu Partium he Cujus (na. cannot forbear admiring the wisdom that shines forth in turæ) solertiam nulla the structure of our bodies, breaking forth sometimes into ars, nulla hymns of praise and thankfulness to him that made it. manus, ne-, mo opifex The like expressions hath Cardan, such another not overconfequi devout philosopher; and even our own countryman Mr. tando, Cic. Hobbs, how little a friend he otherwise seems to reli

Pigion, and how ready foever to deride those that by reason

endeavour to prove there is a God, yet being overcome

by the evidence of the thing, hath somewhere let fall De Homi- these words ; Itaque, faith he, ad sensus procedo : fatis ne, cap. 1. habens fi hujusmodi res attigero tantum, plenius autem

tractandas aliis reliquero, qui h machinas omnes tum generationis ium nutritionis fatis perspexerint, nec tamen eas a mente aliqua conditas, ordinatafque ad sua quasque officia viderint, iph profecto fine mente ese cenfendi funt.

Neither doth the force of this argument subsist here, but, as we intimated, the correspondence and relation of

de. N. D 83.

outward things to our needs, appetites, and capacities, doth mightily confirm it: if we had organş of nutrition, and nothing to feed them; senses, and nothing to prove or please them; hands and feet, without means or cause to use them, we might have some reason to think these things made causelessly and vainly: but it is, we see, altogether otherwise; all things are accommodated for us, so that we could not wish or /conceive better. Which to them, who will not perversely dote, cannot but argue, not a wisdom only, but an exceeding benignity, careful and tender of our good e.

Thus much the most common and obvious effects of nature here below, within us and about us, do signify to us: thus, as St. Paul preached, God hath not left himself oix de pépovunattested, doing good, sending us from heaven rains and to

e pnner. fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness: Act. iv. 17. nor do the heavens less declare the glory of God, and the firmament his handy-work": he that shall consider Quid poteft with what regularity and what constancy those vast effe tam a

pertum, bodies perform their rapid motions; what pleasure, com- tamque fort, and advantage their goodly light doth yield us; how per

um, cum necessary and profitable to us the viciffitudes of time and cælum fufrecourses of seasons are, which they make; how their potentias,

nei cæleftiaque infuences conduce to the general welfare and preservation contempla

ti fumus, of things even here below, cannot but wonder, and won- quam alidering adore that beneficent wisdom and power, that hath quod effe disposed and still preserves them in such order. Could præftantif

fimæ men

tis, quo hæc e Quis hunc hominem dixerit, qui cum tam certos coeli motus, tam ratos regantur? aftrorum ordines, tamque inter se connexa et apta viderit, neget in his ullam Cic. ij. de ineffe rationem, eaque cafu fieri dicat, quæ quanto confilio gerantur, nullo N. D. p. 53. confilio affequi poffumus? Cic. ii. De Nat. D. p. 90. Who will call him a man, &c. Quris úse moisi Tây Sydsxouiya To Biatışov• 'Asi te gde nasos, osaavn, και τα λουσα των άστρων την υπόγειον φοράν ενεχθέντα, όμοια μιν ανατέλλει τους χρώμασιν, ίσα δε τοις μεγίθεσι, και κατά τόπους και κατά χρόνους τους αυτούς. Plut. de Plac. Phil. i. 6.

f.An cum machinatione quadam moveri aliquid videmus, ut fphæram, ut foras, ut alia permulta, non dubitamus quin illa opera fint rationis ; cum autem impetum cæli admirabili cum celeritate moveri, vertique videamus, conftantiffime conficientem vicissitudines anniversarias cum fumma salute, et conservatione rerum omnium, dubitamus quin ea non folum ratione fiant, sed etiam excellenti quadam divinaque ratione? Cic. ii. de N. D. 90.

VOL. V.

« AnteriorContinuar »