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human frame, can be no reasonable argument in favour of materialism; nor the gradual ascent, from the living movements of a plant, through the several motions of zoophytes, molluscæ, insects, fishes, birds, and beasts, up to man, any argument of the human mind being composed of the same essence in its higher powers, with the inferior propensities of animated nature. And, in the whole chain of our reasoning, we have found it necessary to suppose an active energy operating in every particle of matter, organic and inorganic, according to its laws an energy so efficient and intelligent as to entitle it to no other appellation than that of divine-to no lower origin than that of omnipotence.




Ir may not be irrelevant in this place to notice what different conclusions may be drawn from the same facts. Since most of the preceding observations have been written, I have had the curiosity to examine some of the reasonings of the respectable writer whose name is at the head of this Chapter: and a few remarks have occurred to me on reading a passage in his third Lecture, which seem to be intimately connected with this subject. The passage to which I refer so much resembles the view I have taken, that it would seem to have been written purposely for my argument.

This author had, just before, been endeavouring to prove, that "the same kind of facts, the same reasoning, the same sort of evidence altogether, which show digestion to be the function of the alimentary canal, motion (that) of the muscles, the various secretions of

their respective glands, prove that sensation, perception, memory, judgment, reasoning, thought, in a word, all the manifestations called mental or intellectual, are the animal functions of their appropriate organic apparatus, the central organ of the nervous system: i. e. the brain."

The author does not merely state the analogy of the two cases, or two classes of effects; which might, possibly, in a qualified sense at least, have been admitted; but he goes farther, and maintains that a material organization does actually produce the phe· nomena in question;-not only those of the bodily system, but the highest operations of mind. We cannot read the following sentence without being convinced that the writer wholly identifies himself with the materialists. "The immaterialists will not concede the obvious corallary of all these admissions -that the mind of man is merely that more perfect exhibition of mental phenomena, which the more complete developement of the brain would lead us to expect, and still perplex us with the gratuitous difficulty of their immaterial hypothesis."

The author discards a vital principle. He discards an immaterial principle. He also discards a material but very subtle and invisible agent, superadded to the obvious structure of the body, to enable it to exhibit vital phenomena :-each of which notions has been warmly maintained by others. I leave the reader to

* See 4th Lecture.

judge of the substitute he offers.

"The primary or

elementary animal structures are endued with vital properties; their combinations compose the animal organs, in which, by means of the vital properties of the component elementary structures, the animal functions are carried on. The state of the animal, in which the continuance of these processes is evidenced by obvious external signs, is called life." Again, he lays a charge against "those who think it impossible that the living organic structures should have vital properties without some extrinsic aid; that they require no such assistance for the equally wonderful affinities of chemistry, for gravity, elasticity, or the other properties of matter."* a mistake; for, on the contrary, it will appear as necessary to suppose it in the latter cases as in those of life.

This I conclude to be

Now, I am persuaded that the author, in thus arguing for the possibility of matter refining itself or being refined into thought, and for its unaided efficiency for all the subordinate operations in which it is physically concerned, lays himself open to the charge of an assumption, or petitio principii, which, consistently with the acknowledgment he afterwards makes, and if he had followed strictly the rules of inductive reasoning, he could scarcely have been warranted in advancing.

The passage to which I first referred, with the

* See 3d Lecture.


acknowledgment contained in it, follows this question, "Shall I be told that thought is inconsistent with matter; that we cannot conceive how medullary substance can perceive, remember, judge, reason? I acknowledge that we are entirely ignorant how the parts of the brain accomplish these 'purposes as we are how the liver secretes bile, how the muscles contract, or how any other living purpose is effected :— as we are how heavy bodies are attracted to the earth, how iron is drawn to the magnet, or how two salts decompose each other. Experience is in all these cases our sole, if not sufficient instructress; and the constant conjunction of phenomena, as exhibited in her lessons, is the sole ground for affirming a necessary connexion between them. If we go beyond this, and come to inquire the manner how, the mechanism by which these things are effected, we shall find every thing around us equally mysterious, equally incomprehensible :-from the stone, which falls to the earth, to the comet traversing the heavens :-from the thread attracted by amber or sealing-wax, to the revolutions of planets in their orbits :-from the formation of a maggot in putrid flesh, or a mite in cheese, to the production of a Newton or a Franklin."*

He acknowledges that "every thing is equally mysterious and equally incomprehensible." Yet, amidst all this darkness, he undertakes to clear up the difficulty by deciding that a peculiar conforma

* See Lectures, &c. p. 105.

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