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everywhere occasional meetings, where the functions of agitation are faithfully discharged; there is a great intellectual corporation, the Catholic priesthood, left unconnected and unconciliated; there is in every parish a man of great influence, who has no motive to exercise it for the maintenance of the established order of things; there is a strong, but, we are convinced, an unfounded suspicion, in the minds of the great majority of the nation, that an undue preference is to be exercised in favour of one sect, and that the ancient ascendency is to be still maintained in its monopoly.

We have mentioned some of the evils incidental to the condition of Ireland, and which, it should be remembered, are the result of a long misgovernment ;-and it may be naturally asked, what remedies we propose for their removal. We have no specific. The disease which has got, by an injudicious treatment, into the constitution, can only yield to moral alteratives of a gradual and perhaps a slow operation. Occasional tentative measures of local and isolated improvement, will effect little, if any thing, for the general national amelioration; and nothing largely and permanently useful will be accomplished, except by a comprehensive system, to be applied, without irregularity or deviation, not only for the management of affairs, but the mitigation of passions.

Wide as that plan which embraces the welfare of millions must of necessity be, its outlines may be sketched in a short sentence. Adapt the institutions of Ireland to the character, the habits, the feelings, and, we will even add, the prejudices, of the Irish people. Are those institutions at this moment in that state of fortunate conformity? We might go through a variety of details, but there is a little word, (an epitome in itself,) which will save much expatiation. It is a word of small compass, but of ample meaning,-it drops in a single syllable from the tongue, but suggests a long train of thought to the mind. That cabalistic word, the Church, is one which must ere long be frequently heard in the House of Commons; and we may here set it down, as connected beyond every other, with those anomalies, whose continuance is incompatible with the happiness of Ireland. We would not touch the sacred foundations of the Establishment, but we would reduce its golden pinnacles, else they may fall in. To other topics, we do not think it necessary at present to advert. Ireland stands in need of no ordinary remedies; but it is better to submit to the incommodities, and even risks, by which they may be attended, than, by perseverance in a system which must be admitted to be unnatural, expose ourselves to the greater perils, of which the shadows may be found in the Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald.'

ART. VII.-Natural Theology; or, Essays on the Existence of Deity and of Providence, on the Immateriality of the Soul, and a Future State. By the Rev. Alexander Crombie, LL.D., F.R.S. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1829.

PALEY'S well-known and admirable work, though perfectly satisfactory and conclusive as far as it goes, is yet defective in this, that it does not attempt to disprove the atheistical doctrines of those whom the author opposed. His edifice, however stately and solid, is somewhat obscured by the rubbish which has been permitted to exist around it. To give complete satisfaction to a student of any system, it is not only essential that the doctrines advocated should be ably supported, but that every opposing doctrine should be shown to be untrue. The great merit of the work before us, consists in its containing an acute and satisfactory examination of the doctrines alluded to, combined with many forcible illustrations of the line of argument adopted by Paley; and in its presenting a comprehensive view of the whole province of Natural Theology.

In every philosophical discussion, it is of importance to ascertain the nature of the evidence of which the question is susceptible. Raymond Lully invented a machine, consisting of various concentric and movable circles, by means of which every question in physical and metaphysical science might, as he fancied, be satisfactorily solved. Nothing more was necessary than a little manual labour. We laugh at a conception so irrational and so ridiculous. Absurd, however, as is the notion of solving philosophical problems by mechanical inventions, it is scarcely less absurd to apply to any subject of disquisition a species of evidence of which it is incapable. We might as reasonably apply the laws of sound to explain the phenomena of sight; or, as Brown, in his refutation of Shaftesbury, says, take a candle to a sundial to see how the night passes. Dr Crombie, therefore, after unfolding the causes of atheism, and examining the absurd hypotheses which have been offered to explain the construction of the universe without the intervention of intelligence, has prefaced his argument with a view of the various kinds of evidence, and the subjects to which they are severally applicable; in order that the enquiry may be thus placed on its only proper and solid basis.

The question of Deity being a question of fact, and all metaphysical reasoning, in his sense of the term, being confined to the immutable relations of our abstract ideas, he contends, as a necessary consequence, that metaphysical evidence is wholly

foreign to the subject. His views upon this point will be understood by attending to his observations on the reasonings of Dr Clarke.

The proposition of the atheist is, that there is no first cause, but that the universe is an infinite succession of causes and effects. Clarke endeavoured to prove, by metaphysical arguments, that an infinite succession of causes and effects is impossible and absurd. He reasoned thus: If we consider the endless ' progression as one series of dependent beings, it is plain, 1st, that it has no cause of its existence ab extra, because the series 'contains within itself every thing that ever was; and, 2dly, that it has no cause of existence within itself, because not one individual of this series is self-existent or necessary. And 'where no part is necessary, the whole cannot be necessary. 6 Therefore, it is without any cause of its existence.'

That this series has no cause of its existence ab extra, is evident, because nothing exterior to it exists. Is it equally clear, that because no one term of the series is self-existent, the series cannot exist? Is self-existence in any of the terms necessary to the being of such series? If so, by what argument is this demonstrated? Though there is no self-existent term, is not every term necessarily existent as necessarily resulting from the term preceding? And let us travel backward through myriads of terms, we shall be still as remote from a limit, or a beginning, as when we set out. An opponent may admit, that there is no self-existence in respect to form, in any of the terms; nay, he will deny that there can be any; but he denies, at the same time, that the series is impossible, because this self-existence is excluded; and he may call on the theist to disprove its possibility by any argument which does not proceed on a petito principii.

It will not escape the observation of the attentive reader, that Dr Clarke speaks of the series, as a whole, and on this conception, chiefly, his argument hinges. But is this allowable? Does not the term whole imply limits? And can that have any boundary, which is acknowledged to be infinite? Will the adversary admit, that an infinite series, of which all the terms are of equal magnitude, can be considered, as a whole? A mathematical series, decreasing ad infinitum, may be regarded as a whole,being equal to a definite quantity; each descending term of the series approaching nearer to pure nihility than the preceding

* The atheist maintains the eternity of matter. The argument, therefore, refers to a series of changes and forms.

term; but in a series of equal magnitude, this comprehension under one whole is inadmissible. Eternity cannot be compassed. There is another view of this argument. Self-existence may be considered in two lights: 1st, in respect to matter; and, 2dly, in respect to form. The atheist, as has been already remarked, admits that there is no self-existence in respect to form. He allows that no animal, no vegetable, no plant, no system, could have come into existence per se, but that they derive their formal being from pre-existing causes; and he contends that this succession of forms, has extended backwards through the immeasurable ages of eternity. But he maintains that the elements of matter are self-existent; and that the selfexistence of matter is a sufficient foundation for an infinite succession of formal existents. If it be contended, that every one of the terms is dependent, and therefore the whole dependent; it is answered as before, first, that an infinite series of equal magnitudes cannot be comprehended under a whole; and next, that what may be predicated of every individual term of such a series, may not be predicable of the series itself. Man, as an individual, is mortal; but there is no absurdity, it may be maintained, in supposing that the race is immortal. Each generation, itself preceded by numberless other generations, produces, before it becomes extinct, another generation; and thus the species may be continued through eternity. Every term of the series is an effect, and therefore dependent on a preceding cause, and yet the series may not be caused. from a present cause may arise an infinitude of effects ad post, so there may have been an infinity of causes ab ante, preceding the present effect. Each term must be an effect; and each term had for its cause an antecedent term. 'Accordingly,' says Dr Clarke, to the supposition of an infinite succession of dependent beings, there is nothing in the universe necessary, or self-existing. And if so, it was originally equally impossi'ble that from eternity there should nothing have existed. Then what determined the existence, rather than the non'existence, of the universe? Nothing-which is absurd.'

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Now, it may be asked, with what propriety does Dr Clarke suppose any origin or beginning, when by the hypothesis of the adversary, there was no beginning? The latter will not permit him to presume an origin; and he will ask, what he means when he speaks of a thing, as originally possible from 'eternity.' Does not this notion involve a palpable contradiction? How is an origin reconcilable with eternity—that, which can have neither beginning nor end? If, in order to escape from this absurdity, it should be said, that the term origin

is intended to refer to a period prior to the world's existence; the adversary will reply, that to assume that there was a time. when the world, either in its chaotic, or digested form, did not exist, is to beg the question. The atheist denies that there ever was such a time; and maintains, that matter being selfexistent, nothing was necessary to determine its existence.

The argument is instituted to prove, that a series of causes and effects, infinite ab ante, is impossible; and sets out with assuming, that the series had a beginning, or that there was a time, when it did not exist. This is surely a palpable instance of reasoning in a circle.


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An infinite chain,' says Paley, can no more support itself, 'than a finite chain.' 'An opponent,' says Dr Crombie, would 'assent to this proposition, but might he not deny, that the 'cases are analogous? A chain cannot support itself, because 'it is acted upon by a power exterior to itself; it obeys the law of gravitation. But there is no external power, by which the supposed infinite chain of causes and effects can be moved or disturbed. The very notion, that it requires support, implies the absurdity of an effect without a cause. The analogy is clearly false, and the argument inconclusive.' Dismissing, then, all such arguments, which, as Cudworth observes, beget more of doubtful disputation and scepticism, than of clear conviction and satisfaction; the question may be rested on the moral and physical phenomena of nature:-the eternity of the world is irreconcilable with facts. We have, in the motions of the heavenly bodies, sufficient evidence, that our system is not framed for an eternal duration. Whether we assume that the planetary motions are ascribable to the impulse of particles filling all space, or to an ethereal fluid, or to any other material medium, it is undeniable that these motions must suffer a gradual retardation; and the destruction of the system inevitably follows. It is acknowledged by La Place, that light alone, if there were no other fluid, must, by reason of its continual resistance, together with the gradual but incessant diminution of the solar mass, whence this fluid is perpetually issuing, in time destroy the planetary arrangements. And, in utter inconsistency with his own sceptical hypothesis, he states, that a reform, which implies a reformer, will, at some period or other, be necessary in our system. Now, if it thus appears that our system must come to a termination, it necessarily follows that it had a beginning. For, as a system which has been from eternity, must, in its essence and construction, be everlasting, so, a system which must come to an end, must have had a commencement. If there be causes now in operation

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