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all somewhat out of the centre of the body's gravity,* but in such as swim, more than in others, for the better rowing their bodies through the waters, or to help them in that and diving too.
One October evening, a hundred years ago, the master of Giggleswick school was musing in his quiet study-more quiet than usual, for he had just deposited at Cambridge the hope of his house, his first-born William. The silence was broken by his remarking to a youth, his only boarder, “My son is now gone to college. He'll turn out a great man—very great indeed—I'm certain of it ; for he has by far the clearest head I ever met with in my life.” The clear head was attached to a very clumsy body. On his first journey to Cambridge he dropped from his pony so often, that at first his father was afraid of his breaking his neck; but after a time he became such a proficient in falling, that when the old gentleman heard a thump on the road behind him, he would only turn aside his head and say, "Get up, lad, and take care of thy money." And, as is often the case with clear heads and clumsy bodies, he was profoundly indolent. At college, the undergraduates were allowed to omit attendance at chapel twice a-week, and he used to exhaust his privilege on Sunday and Monday mornings, lying in bed till late in the day; and after he got up, most of his time was spent in useless company. At last, and at the commencement of his third year, after leaving a party late at night, he was awakened at five in the morning by one of his companions, who stood at his bed-side and said solemnly, “Paley, I have been thinking what a fool you are. I could do
* In birds that frequent not the waters, the wings are in the centre of gravity, when the bird lies along, as in flying ; but when it stands or walks, the erection of the body throws the centre of gravity upon the thighs and feet.
nothing, probably, were I to try, and I can afford the life I lead; you could do everything, and you cannot afford it. I have had no sleep during the whole night, on account of these reflections, and am now come solemnly to inform you that, if you persist in your indolence, I must renounce your society." He was so struck with the visit and the visitor, that he lay in bed most of the day revolving the matter. He formed his plan. He ordered his bed-maker to prepare his fire every night, and he himself rose and lighted it at four every morning. The whole day he devoted to study, except the hours required for chapel and hall, till nine at night, when he went to a neighbouring coffee-house and regaled himself on a glass of milk-punch and a mutton chop. As the result of these exertions, his friendly monitor was rewarded by seeing his protégé come out senior wrangler, and his father lived to find his prophecy fulfilled. He lived to see his son a dignitary of the Church, and celebrated throughout Europe as the author of “Horæ Paulinæ,” and “ A View of the Evidences of Christianity.”
For his success he was mainly indebted to his “clear head.” He looked direct into the heart of things, and had a wonderful faculty of extricating the main point from its accessories or its encumbrances, and in plain, unadorned language, he presented to other minds what he saw so vividly. As an investigator of truth, it was his advantage to have little emotion or passion, and he had just imagination enough to suggest every possible alternative in the course of the inquiry, without that seductive fancy which might have carried him from the path of a severe and self-denying demonstration. In the days of his boyhood he had witnessed at York the trial of Eugene Aram
a man who,” he used to say, “ got himself hanged by his own cleverness;" but whilst, in common with most Englishmen, he felt that innocence does not need to be ingenious, his mind was greatly excited by that trial, and thenceforward the laws of evidence and probability so absorbed his thoughts, that he would have made a first-rate judge or pleader. But as theology was his profession, he gave to its supremely urgent questions the results of his experience and the powers of his sturdy and straightforward understanding. His first essay was a contribution to the Christian evidence, as acute as it was novel; and, especially now that the “undesigned coincidences” betwixt Paul the epistoliser and Luke the historian have been followed up by similar latent but exquisite harmonies between the different evangelists, as also between different Old Testament writers,* the mutual but uncollusive agreements of the sacred penmen give token of a truthfulness which no honest mind is able to gainsay, and to unlearned readers the proof is peculiarly acceptable, as lying within the four corners of the Book, and needing to be supplemented by no extrinsic or scientific evidence.
The labours of Lardner and other investigators had accumulated a mass of historical and documentary confirmations of the Christian revelation absolutely overwhelming ; but their very amount was in some degree fatal to their efficacy. Few had patience to plod through successive tomes of Latin and Greek quotations; and so slowly did the cumbrous masses converge to a conclusion, that a disappointed, not to say distrustful, feeling was left on the mind of many a reader. Like the launch of a “Leviathan,” it was weary work to watch the slow pressing of the hydraulic rams.
With his engineering eye, Paley struck out a more excellent way. Laying down as fulcrums the first principles which should be equal to any pressure, by way of levers he selected a few of the most rilliant and decisive facts, and in a few moments the gallant vessel was afloat.
To some it may be interesting to know the mature conviction of this cool and cautious investigator. Towards the close
* In the works of J. J. Blunt, Birks, &c.
PALEY'S NATURAL THEOLOGY.
of life, and when Christianity was becoming more and more an affair of serious personal urgency, he remarked to an intimate friend, “ There can be no deceit in this matter. I have examined it with all the attention of which I am capable, and if there had been a cheat in it, I think I must have found it out.”
From his earliest boyhood, Paley had a mechanical turn. He delighted in observing the operations of skilled artizans; and in all the contrivances by which difficulties were overcome, and beautiful results were arrived at, his curious mind found a pleasing excitement. It is still among the traditions of Sunderland how eagerly he watched day by day the erection of the iron bridge over the Wear; and Lord Landsdowne still remembers how the invalid rector bestirred himself to explain to his visitor the various ingenuities of this engineering masterpiece. For this mechanical instinct he found a worthy outlet in the work which closed his useful labours, “ Natural Theology : or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, collected from the Appearances of Nature.”
Paley was born at Peterborough, August 30, 1743; and died at Bishopwearmouth, May 25, 1805. His “Horæ Paulinæ ” appeared in 1790 ; the “Evidences” in 1794; the “Natural Theology" in 1802. It is from this last work that the extracts immediately following are taken.
I can hardly imagine to myself a more distinguishing mark, and, consequently, a more certain proof of design, than preparation, i.e. the providing of things beforehand, which are not to be used until a considerable time afterwards: for this implies a contemplation of the future, which belongs only to intelligence.
Of these prospective contrivances, the bodies of animals furnish various examples.
I. The human teeth afford an instance, not only of prospective contrivance, but of the completion of the contrivance being designedly suspended. They are formed within the gums, and there they stop; the fact being that their further advance to maturity would not only be useless to the newborn animal, but extremely in its way; as it is evident that the art of sucking, by which it is for some time to be nourished, will be performed with more ease both to the nurse and to the infant, whilst the inside of the mouth, and edges of the gums, are smooth and soft, than if set with hard-pointed bones. By the time they are wanted, the teeth are ready. They have been lodged within the gums for some months past, but detained, as it were, in their sockets, so long as their further protrusion would interfere with the office to which the mouth is destined. Nature, namely, that intelligence which was employed in creation, looked beyond the first year of the infant's life; yet, whilst she was providing for functions which were after that term to become necessary, was careful not to incommode those which preceded them. What renders it more probable that this is the effect of design, is, that the teeth are imperfect, whilst all other parts of the mouth are perfect. The lips are perfect, the tongue is perfect; the cheeks, the jaws, the palate, the pharynx, the larynx, are all perfect: the teeth alone are not so.
This is the fact with respect to the human mouth : the fact also is, that the parts above enumerated, are called into use from the beginning; whereas the teeth would be only so many obstacles and annoyances, if they were there.
When a contrary order is necessary, a contrary order prevails. In the worm of the beetle, as hatched from the egg, the teeth are the first things which arrive at perfection. The insect begins to gnaw as soon as it escapes from the shell, though its other parts be only gradually advancing to their maturity. III. The
eye is of no use, at the time when it is formed. It is an optical instrument made in a dungeon; constructed