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weight, at either side, the remaining part stood as before. Our venerable sovereign, who is known to have had a particular interest and pleasure in all works and discoveries of mechanic science or ingenuity, looked at it for a while steadfastly, and, as his manner was, with quick and broken expressions of praise and courteous approbation, in the form of answers to his own questions. At length, turning to the constructor, he said, “ But, Mr. Atwood, you have presumed the figure. You have put the arch first in this wooden skeleton. Can you build a bridge of the same wedges in any other figure ? A strait bridge, or with two lines touching at the apex? If not, is it not evident, that the bits of brass derive their continuance in the present position from the property of the arch, and not the arch from the property of the wedge? The objection was fatal, the justice of the remark not to be resisted ; and I have ever deemed it a forcible illustration of the Aristotelian axiom, with respect to all just reasoning, that the whole is of necessity prior to its parts ; nor can I conceive a more apt illustration of the scientific principles I have already laid down.
All method supposes a union of several things to a common end, either by disposition, as in the works of man; or by convergence, as in the operations and products of nature. That we acknowledge a method, even in the latter, results from the religious instinct which bids us“ find tongues in trees; books in the running streams; sermons in stones; and good (that is, some useful end answering to some good purpose) in every thing." In a selfconscious and thence reflecting being, no instinct can exist without engendering the belief of an object corresponding to it, either present or future, real or capable of being realized ; much less the instinct, in which humanity itself is grounded ;—that by which, in every act of conscious perception, we at once identify our being with that of the world without us, and yet place ourselves in contra-distinction to that world. Least of all can this mysterious pre-disposition exist without evolving a belief that the productive power,* which in nature acts as nature, is essentially one (that
* Obscure from too great compression. The sense is, that the productive power, or vis naturans, which in the sensible world, or natura naturata, is what we mean by the word, nature, when we speak of the same as an agent, is essentially onc, &c. In other words, idea and law are the subjective and objective poles of the same magnet, that is, of the same living and energizis, of one kind) with the intelligence, which is in the human mind above nature ; however disfigured this belief may become by accidental forms or accompaniments, and though like heat in the thawing of ice, it may appear only in its effects. So universally has this conviction leavened the very substance of all discourse, that there is no language on earth in which a man can abjure it as a prejudice, without employing terms and conjunctions that suppose its reality, with a feeling very different from that which accompanies a figurative or metaphorical use of words. In all aggregates of construction therefore, which we contemplate as wholes, whether as integral parts or as a system, we assume an intention, as the initiative, of which the end is the correlative.
Hence proceeds the introduction of final causes in the works of nature equally as in those of man. Hence their assumption, as constitutive and explanatory, by the mass of mankind; and the employment of the presumption, as an auxiliary and regulative principle, by the enlightened naturalist, whose office it is to seek, discover, and investigate the efficient causes. Without denying, that to resolve the efficient into the final may be the ultimate aim of philosophy, he, of good right, resists the substitution of the latter for the former, as premature, presumptuous, and preclusive of all science ; well aware, that those sciences have been most progressive, in which this confusion has been either precluded by the nature of the science itself, as in pure
mathematics, or avoided by the good sense of its cultivator.
Yet even he admits a teleological ground in physics and physiology; that is, the presumption of a something analogous to the casualty of the human will, by which, without assigning to nature, as nature, a conscious purpose, he may yet distinguish her agency from a blind and lifeless mechanism. Even he admits its use,
ing reason. What an idea is in the subject, that is, in the mind, is a law in the object, that is, in nature. But throughout these essays, the want of illustrative examples, and varied exposition is, I am conscious, the main defect, and it was occasioned by the haunting dread of being tedious. But O! the cold water that was thrown on me, chiefly from those from whom I ought to have received warmth and encouragement ! Who, do you expect, will read this,” &c.—But, vanity as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, and uttered with feelings the most unlike those of self-conceit, that it has been my mistake through life to be looking up to those whom I ought to have been looking at, nay (in some instanees) down upon.--June 23d,
and, in many instances, its necessity, as a regulative principle; as a ground of anticipation, for the guidance of his judgment and for the direction of his observation and experiment ;-- briefly in all that preparatory process, which the French language so happily expresses by s'orienter, to find out the east for one's self. When the naturalist contemplates the structure of a bird, for instance, the hollow cavity of the bones, the position of the wings for motion, and of the tail for steering its course, and the like, he knows indeed that there must be a correspondent mechanism, as the nexus effectivus ; but he knows, likewise, that thiş will no more explain the particular existence of the bird, than the principles of cohesion could inform him why of two buildings one is a palace and the other a church. Nay, it must not be overlooked, that the assumption of the nexus effectivus itself originates in the mind, as one of the laws under which alone it can reduce the manifold of the impression from without into unity, and thus contemplate it as one thing ; and could never (as hath been clearly proved by Mr. Hume) have been derived from outward experience, in which it is indeed presupposed as a necessary condition. Notio nexus causalis non oritur, sed supponitur, a sensibus. Between the purpose and the end the component parts are · included, and thence receive their position and character as means, that is, parts contemplated as parts. It is in this sense, that I will affirm that the parts, as means to an end, derive their position, and therein their qualities (or character)—nay, I dare add, their very existence, as particular things,—from the antecedent method, or self-organizing purpose ; upon which therefore I have dwelt so long.
I am aware that it is with our cognitions as with our children. There is a period in which the method of nature is working for them ; a period of aimless activity and unregulated accumulation, during which it is enough if we can preserve them in health and out of harm's way. Again, there is a period of orderliness, of circumspection, of discipline, in which we purify, separate, define, select, arrange, and settle the nomenclature of communication. There is also a period of dawning and twilight, a period of anticipation, affording trials of strength. And all these, both in the growth of the sciences and in the mind of a rightly-educated individual, will precede the attainment of a scientific method. But, notwithstanding this, unless the importance of the latter be felt
and acknowledged, unless its attainment be looked forward to and from the very beginning prepared for, there is little hope and small chance that any education will be conducted aright; or will ever prove in reality worth the name.
Much labor, much wealth may have been expended, yet the final result will too probably warrant the sarcasm of the Scythian traveller : Væ! quantum nihili ! and draw from a wise man the earnest recommendation of a full draught from Lethe, as the first and indispensable preparative for the waters of the true Heli
Alas! how many examples are now present to my memory, of young men the most anxiously and expensively be-schoolmastered, be-tutored, be-lectured, any thing but educated ; who have received arms and ammunition, instead of skill, strength, and courage ; varnished rather than polished ; perilously overcivilized, and most pitiably uncultivated! And all from inattention to the method dictated by nature herself, to the simple truth, that as the forms in all organized existence, so must all true and living knowledge proceed from within ; that it may be trained, supported, fed, excited, but can never be infused, or impressed.
Look back on the history of the sciences. Review the method in which providence has brought the more favored portion of mankind to their present state. Lord Bacon has justly remarked, antiquitas sæculi juventus mundi*-antiquity of time is the youth of the world and of science. In the childhood of the human race, its education commenced with the cultivation of the moral sense ; the object proposed being such as the mind only could apprehend, and the principle of obedience being placed in the will. The appeal in both was made to the inward man. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. The solution of phænomena can never be derived from phænomena. Upon this ground the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews (c. xi.) is not less philosophical than'eloquent. The aim, the method throughout was, in the first place, to awaken, to cultivate, and to mature the truly human in human nature, in and through itself, or as independently as possible of the notices derived from sense, and of the motives that had reference to the sensations; till the time should arrive when the senses themselves might be allowed to present
* Advancement of Learning, B. i.-Ed.
symbols and attestations of truths, learnt previously from deeper and inner sources. Thus the first period of the education of our race was evidently assigned to the cultivation of humanity itself, or of that in man, which of all known embodied creatures he alone possesses, the pure reason, as designed to regulate the will. And by what method was this done? First, by the excitement of the idea of their Creator as a spirit, of an idea which they were strictly forbidden to realize to themselves under any image ; and secondly, by the injunction of obedience to the will of a supersensual Being. Nor did the method stop here. For, unless we are equally to contradict Moses and the New Testament, in compliment to the paradox of a Warburton, the rewards of their obedience were placed at a distance. For the time present they equally with us were to endure, as seeing him who is invisible. Their bodies they were taught to consider as fleshly tents, which as pilgrims they were bound to pitch wherever the invisible Director of their route should appoint, however barren or thorny the spot might appear. Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been,* says the aged Israel. But that life was but his pilgrimage, and he trusted in the promises.
Thus were the very first lessons in the divine school assigned to the cultivation of the reason and of the will ; or rather of both as united in faith. The common and ultimate object of the will and of the reason was purely spiritual, and to be present in the mind of the disciple-μόνον εν ιδέα, μηδαμή ειδωλικώς, that is, in the idea alone, and never as an image or imagination. The means too, by which the idea was to be excited, as well as the symbols by which it was to be communicated, were to be, as far as possible, intellectual.
Those, on the contrary, who wilfully chose a mode opposite to this method, who determined to shape their convictions and deduce their knowledge from without, by exclusive observation of outward and sensible things as the only realities, became, it appears, rapidly civilized. They built cities, invented musical instruments, were artificers in brass and in iron, and refined on the means of sensual gratification, and the conveniencies of courtly intercourse. They became the great masters of the agreeable, which fraternized readily with cruelty and rapacity ; these being, indeed, but alternate moods of the same sensual selfishness.
* Gen. xlvii. 9.