Obrazy na stronie


defending themselves or annoying others, or whose safety lies chiefly in their flight, are suspicious, fearful, and apprehensive of everything they hear or see; whilst others that are of assistance and use to man, have their natures softened with something mild and tractable, and by that means are qualified for a domestic life.

In this case the passions generally correspond with the make of the body. For example, we do not find the fury of the lion in so weak and defenceless an animal as a lamb: nor the meekness of a lamb in a creature so armed for battle as the lion. In the same manner, we find that particular animals have a more or less exquisite sharpness and sagacity in those particular senses which most turn to their advantage, and in which their safety and welfare is the most concerned.

Nor must we here omit that great variety of arms with which Providence has differently fortified the bodies of several kinds of animalssuch as claws, hoofs, horns, teeth, and tusks, a tail, a sting, or a trunk. It is likewise observed by naturalists, that it must be some hidden principle, distinct from what we call reason, which instructs animals in the use of these their arms, and teaches them to the best advantage ; because they naturally defend themselves with that part in which their strength lies, before the weapon be formed in it: as is remarkable in lambs, which, though they are bred within doors and never saw the actions of their own species, push at those who approach them with their foreheads, before the first budding of a horn appears.

But perhaps there is nothing in which the wisdom of Providence is more clearly seen than the fact that the most necessary and useful things are also the most generally diffused; while those, which are less useful to man, are more rare and solitary. Food, raiment, drink, and fuel, are spread everywhere. Gold, silver, and precious stones, wines, and spices, are found only in particular places. Wheat and grass, the most useful of all vegetables, grow in more soils and climates than any other. Water and air exist throughout the world; and are placed beyond the control of man. Could any one of our race command either of these elements, he would possess an absolute dominion over every inhabitant of our world. Animals useful for food, or other important purposes of man, are multiplied easily to any extent. Fish which furnish so considerable a part of human sustenance, multiply, in a sense, endlessly. Other animals of inferior use, are by various means limited to a very moderate increase. When we consider these things the language of the Psalmist is

very appropriate and expressive, “How manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all.”

THE ARRANGEMENTS MADE WITH RESPECT TO MANKIND, manifest in a striking manner the wisdom of Providence.

When we consider the various arrangements in connexion with the human frame, and the human species, we have abundant reason to admire the wisdom of Providence. Were we to enter into detail, reference might be made to the formation of the eye, the ear, the hand, and other distinct parts of the human body, which would afford numerous illustrations of this subject, but passing over minute particulars, we shall only allude to instances of a general nature,

The form and proportions of the human frame, and its different members, indicate the greatest wisdom. God has formed the human body according to the wisest rules, and has established the most exact proportion even in the minutest parts. To be convinced of this, we have only to compare the height of the body with its general bulk, and the size of the different members with one another, and we shall perceive the most admirable proportions. The human frame considered as a whole, or in its parts separately, is formed in the most exact proportions. Everything in it is regular, and arranged with the


greatest harmony, both with respect to its size, and figure; not one of the parts is greater or less than the connexions it has with the other parts, and the general utility of the machine required.

And the convenient situation of the members of the human body display wisdom. When we attentively consider the arrangement of the different members, we find that they are situated in the most convenient manner for their different

The eye, which watches over the whole body, occupies the most elevated place; it turns with ease in all directions, and can observe all that passes. The ears are also placed in a conspicuous situation, on each side of the head, and they are open day and night to communicate to the mind every impression that is made. As the food has to enter into the mouth before it arrives in the stomach, the organ of smell is placed immediately above, to preserve us from eating anything hurtful or injurious. As to the sense of touch, it has not its immediate seat in

any one particular place, but is distributed to every part of the body, that we may be sensible of pleasure and of pain, of those things that are injurious, and of those which are salutary. The arms which are the ministers which the mind employs to execute most of its desires, are situated near the breast, where the body has the greatest power, and without being too far distant from the inferior parts, they are placed in that manner which is most convenient for all kinds of exercise and labour, and for the defence of the head and other members. It is said of the physician Galen, that he gave the philosopher Epicurus a hundred years' time, to imagine a more convenient figure, or situation of any one member of the human body. We may indeed exclaim with Cowper,

How sweet to muse upon his skill, display'd-
Infinite skill !--in all that he has made,
To trace in Nature's most minute design,
The signature and stamp of Power Divine ;
Contrivance exquisite, express'd with ease,
Where unassisted sight no beauty sees ;
The shapely limb and lubricated joint,
Within the small dimensions of a point ;
Muscle and nerve miraculously spun,
His mighty work; who speaks and it is done :
The Invisible in things scarce seen reveal'd ;
To whom an atom is an ample field.

The equal number of the sexes, and the exact proportion between the number of births and deaths, show the wisdom of God's providential arrangements.

That God has not abandoned to blind chance the lives of men, and the preservation of the


« PoprzedniaDalej »