Imatges de pÓgina
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head, rather on my morality than on my invention. These are they who say an author is guilty of falsehood, when he talks to the public of manuscripts which he never saw, or describes scenes of action or discourse in which he was never engaged. But these gentlemen would do well to consider, that there is not a fable or parable, which ever was made use of, that is not liable to this exception; since nothing, according to this notion, can be related innocently, which was not once matter of fact. Besides, I think the most ordinary reader may be able to discover, by my way of writing, what I deliver in these occurrences as truth, and what as fiction.

Since I am unawares engaged in answering the several objections which have been made against these my works, I must take notice that there are some who affirm a paper of this nature should always turn upon diverting subjects, and others who find fault with every one of them that hath not an immediate tendency to the advancement of religion or learning. I shall leave these gentlemen to dispute it out among themselves; since I see one half of my conduct patronised by each side. Were I serious on an improper subject, or trifling in a serious one, I should deservedly draw upon me the censure of my readers; or were I conscious of any thing in my writings that is not innocent at least, or that the greatest part of them were not sincerely designed to discountenance vice and ignorance, and support the interest of truth, wisdom, and virtue, I should be more severe upon myself than the public is disposed to be. In the mean while I desire my reader to consider every particular paper or discourse, as a distinct tract by itself, and independent of every thing that goes before or after it.

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I shall end this paper with the following letter, which was really sent me, as some others have been which I have published, and for which I must own myself indebted to their respective writers.

SIR, "I was this morning in a company of your well-wishers, when we read over, with great satisfaction, Tully's observations on action adapted to the British theatre: though, by the way, we were very sorry to find that you have disposed of another member of your club. Poor Sir Roger is dead, and the worthy clergyman dying; captain Sentry has taken possession of a good estate; Will Honeycomb has married a farmer's daughter; and the Templar withdraws himself into the business of his own profession. What will all this end in? We are afraid it portends no good to the public. Unless you very speedily fix a day for the election of new members, we are under apprehensions of losing the British Spectator. I hear of a party of ladies who intend to address you on this subject: and I question not, if you do not give us the slip very suddenly, that you will receive addresses from all parts of the kingdom to continue so useful a work. Pray deliver us out of this perplexity; and, among the multitude of your readers, you will particularly oblige

0.

Your most sincere friend and servant,

PHILO-SPEC.'

N° 543. SATURDAY, NOV. 22, 1712.

Facies non omnibus una,

Nec diversa tamen

OVID. Met. ii. 12.

Similar, though not the fame

THOSE who were skilful in anatomy, among the ancients, concluded, from the outward and inward make of an human body, that it was the work of a Being transcendently wise and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of admiring the conduct of Providence in the formation of a human body. Galen was converted by his dissections, and could not but own a Supreme Being upon a survey of this his handy-work. There were, indeed, many parts, of which the old anatomists did not know the certain use; but, as they saw the most of those which they examined were adapted with admirable art to their several functions, they did not question but those, whose uses they could not determine, were contrived with the same wisdom for respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern anatomists, we see new wonders in the human frame, and discern several important uses for those parts, which uses the ancients knew nothing of. In short, the body of man is such a subject as stands the utmost test of examination. Though it appears formed with the nicest wisdom, upon the most su

perficial survey of it, it still mends upon the search, and produces our surprise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here said of an human body may be applied to the body of every animal which has been the subject of anatomical observations.

The body of an animal is an object adequate to our senses. It is a particular system of Providence that lies in a narrow compass. The eye is able to command it, and by successive inquiries can search into all its parts. Could the body of the whole earth, or indeed the whole universe, be thus submitted to the examination of our senses, were it not too big and disproportioned for our inquiries, too unwieldy for the management of the eye and hand, there is no question but it would appear to us as curious and well-contrived a frame as that of the human body. We should see the same concatenation and subserviency, the same necessity and usefulness, the same beauty and harmony, in all and every of its parts, as what we discover in the body of every single animal.

The more extended our reason is, and the more able to grapple with immense objects, the greater still are those discoveries which it makes of wisdom and providence in the works of the creation. A sir Isaac Newton, who stands up as the miracle of the present age, can look through a whole planetary system; consider it in its weight, number and measure; and draw from it as many demonstrations of infinite power and wisdom, as a more confined understanding is able to deduce from the system of an human body.

But to return to our speculations on anatomy, I shall here consider the fabric and texture of the bodies of animals in one particular view: which, in my opinion, shows the hand of a thinking and all

wise Being in their formation, with the evidence of a thousand demonstrations. I think we may lay this down as an incontested principle, that chance never acts in a perpetual uniformity and consistence with itself. If one should always fling the same number with ten thousand dice, or see every throw just five times less, or five times more in number, than the throw which immediately preceded it, who would not imagine there is some invisible power which directs the cast? This is the proceeding which we find in the operations of nature. Every kind of animal is diversified by different magnitudes, each of which gives rise to a different species. Let a man trace the dog or lion kind, and he will observe how many of the works of nature are published, if I may use the expression, in a variety of editions. If we look into the reptile world, or into those different kinds of animals that fill the element of water, we meet with the same repetition among several species, that difvery little from one another, but in size and bulk. You find the same creature that is drawn at large copied out in several proportions and ending in miniature. It would be tedious to produce instances of this regular conduct in Providence, as it would be superfluous to those who are versed in the natural history of animals. The magnificent harmony of the universe is such that we may observe innumerable divisions running upon the same ground. I might also extend this speculation to the dead parts of nature, in which we may find matter disposed into many similar systems, as well in our survey of stars and planets as of stones, vegetables, and other sublunary parts of the creation. In a word, Providence has shown the richness of its goodness and wisdom, not onl in the production of many original species, but in the multiplicity of

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