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Mr. Cogan's Examination of Mr. Hume's Objection to the Argument for the
Being of God Sir,
clearest analogies, I may safely infer NE of the inost plausible objec- that this connexion must be universal. being of a God is that which is sug- be found ; and the connexion between gested by Mr. Hume, namely, that we cause and effect is not more certain have no experience in the origin of than the connexion between an effect worlds, and therefore cannot safely which indicates contrivance, and an conclude, because ships, cities, &c. are intelligent or designing cause. We made by human art, that the universe gain our knowledge of both these conmust have had an intelligent Author. nexious in precisely the same manner, This objection I propose to consider. or rather they are virtually the same,
The universe exhibits in innumera- the latter being only a specific modifi'ble instances an adaptation of means cation of the former. But Mr. Hume to ends, or what, for the sake of bre- says, that all that we can pretend to vity, I shall sometimes call contrivance, know concerning, the connexion of not meaning thereby to assume the cause and effect is constant conjuncmatter in dispute. And this adapta- tion. That conjuction is all that we tion of means to ends seems to be as perceive is true; and a more harmless truly prospective as any thing which truth was never made known to the we call contrivance in the works of world For until some disciple of art. The eye appears to have been as Mr. Hume shall assign a better reason manifestly formed for seeing, as the for constant conjunction than that the telescope for assisting the vision of things thus conjoined are necessarily the eye. The universe, then, is justly connected, the human mind will go on comprehended in the general descrip- to reason from effect to cause, as it tion of works which indicate a fitness did before Mr. Hume's discovery saw of means to ends; and if I may not, the light. Could Mr. Hume's obserin the case of the universe, call this vation disjoin what we see to be confitness intentional, I must maintain joined, it would do something ; but that it is strictly analogous to the ef- the fact remains exactly as it was, and feets of intention in the works of art. where we see that an effect is, there As far as relates to the uppearance of we cannot help concluding that a cause design, the works of art have no ad- has been. And this is sufficient for vantage over the works of nature. all purposes of reasoning. And if any The question, then, is, why I should one shall choose to believe that cause not apply to the latter the reasoning and effect are always conjoined but which I apply without hesitation, and, never connected; for example, that, as it seems, without error to the though a ball, when struck by a crickformer. Is it not reasonable to main- et-bat, is invariably put in motion, tain, as a universal truth, that such yet, for any necessity that operates, it an adaptation of means to ends as was might invariably remain at rest; he never known to be fortuitous must be may, indeed, enjoy the satisfaction of referred to an intelligent Author ? not thinking with the vulgar, but asBut I have had no experience in the suredly he will not have the credit of origin of worlds. This is true ; nor is thinking with the wise. But Mr. Hume this experience needed. I have seen, farther observes, that “all reasoning in cases innumerable, the connexion from the relation of causes and effects between intellect in a designing cause, is founded on a certain instinct of our and the marks of contrivance in the nature, and may be fallacious and deworks which intellect has effected; and ceitful.” If this proposition is intended unless the human mind must be de- merely. to intimate a possibility that nied the privilege of reasoning from the the reasoning in questiou may be fal.
Jacious, it amounts to no more than ence cannot reach to a novel' case, this, that this reasoning does not rise unless I máy venture to call ju the to absolute or mathematical demon- axiom, that similar effects must be stration. But if it is intended to imply referred to similar causes, I must draw that all reasoning from the relation of my conclusion with diffidence and hecauses and effects probably is falla- sitation. But, as Mr. Hume observes, cious, it inay be satisfactorily replied, I have no experience of the origin of that it does not follow because a thing worlds. And if I had, what would he possibly may be, that, therefore, it pro- its precise value? “All reasoning from
bably is. Moreover, if the observation the relation of causes and effects may were to be thus interpreted, it would be fallacious and deceitful.” But the imply, that the contrary conclusions argument from experience, which Mr. to those which mankind have hitherto Humne says is wanting, would rest upon drawn from the relation of cause and the presimption, that similar effects effect would be more likely to be just; proceed froin similar causes, in which an extravagance to which no sober- presumption Mr. Hume ought to have minded man can assent for a moment. maintained that in all cases there may In innumerable instances we rest with be no force. Indeed, if all reasoning as much confidenee upon reasonings from the relation of causes and effects drawn from this source as upon the may be fallacious and deceitful, were evidence of the senses or upon mathe- a world constructed before my eyes, matical proof. And this, however it the possibility of doubt, as to its oricomes to pass, we cannot help doing. gin, would not be precluded! In opBut to spend another moment upon position, however, to these extravaMr. Hume's proposition : were the gancies of scepticism, I maintain that reasoning from the relation of causes experience affords a sufficiently certain and effects founded upon instinct, this, ground of reasoning, and I farther 'I conceive, would be a presumption maintain, that the experience which that it would not be fallacious. It is, we have had of the connexion between however, founded on no such thing. contrivance and a contriver, abundantly It is founded on experience, on which justifies the conclusion, that the uniMr. Hume can place sufficient depen, verse must have had a designing cause. dence when it suits his purpose. And To reject this conclusion is to set aside, the same experience which has taught without necessity,* one of the strongus to believe that every effect must have a cause, has also taught us to look for a designing cause where there . I said without necessity, because no is an indication of contrivance in the difficulty attending the hypothesis of Theeffect. And hence we infer thus muchism can possibly be greater thau the with sufficient certainty, that if the difficulty of conceiving that such an adapuniverse is an effect at all, it must be tation of means to ends, as is equivalent referred to an intelligent cause. But, to contrivance, should exist without the it seems, our experience does not reach operation of intelligence. Indeed, no far enough to justify the conclusion, human mind than those of contrivance
ideas are more closely associated in the that the universe, because it exhibits and a contriver. In contemplating the an adaptation of means to ends, must works of art, as connected with intellihave had an intelligent Author. We gence, we not only recognize the general want the only experience which the relation of cause and effect, but are, case demands, an experience in the moreover, led to acknowledge that the origin of worlds. Were this principle work effected corresponds to an archecarried to its full extent, it would type in the mind of the artist. And hence follow, that when I see a work of art, we seem satisfactorily to infer, that every which is altogether new to me, I must thing which indicates contrivance answers not confidently conclude that it had a to a certain model which previously exmaker. I know, indeed, that men
isted in the mind of some intelligent exist, and though all reasoning from with all their various and exquisite adap
agent. And shall the works of nature, the relation of causes and effects may tation of means to ends, be regarded as be fallacious, I think I know that the answering to no model, as corresponding human intellect is adequate to the pro- 'to no archetype ? There is one point of duction of those effects which we call difference, it is true, between the works the works of art. But as my experi- of nature aud the works of art, which is, est associations of the human mind, From the view which has been now and to reason upon a principle, if a taken of Mr. Hume's objection to the principle it can be called, which would being of a God, it appears that the subvert the foundation of all reasoning. reasoning which ascribes the universe If similar effects are not to be referred to an intelligent Author, rests upon to similar causes, all ratiocination is at precisely the same foundation as that an end. It is in vain to urge tha: there which attributes what is denominated is a difference between the works of an effect to that which is denominated nature and the works of art. As far a cause. Contrivance is the thing to as respects the adaptation of ineans to be accounted for, and that reasoning, ends, and on this alone the argument founded on experience, which has led rests, there is no difference, except us to conceive that every effect must that this adaptation, in the former, is have a cause, has led us to demand an far more curious and exquisite than in intelligent cause for every effect which the latter. Were any one still to say indicates such an adaptation of means that the experience of which I have to ends, as could not, in our apprebeen speaking is no certain guide in a hension, be the result of chance or case to which it does not itself extend, accident. And against this reasoning I should think it sufficient to reply, I do not see what can be urged, except that it is the only guide which we have, that it does not amount to such a and that it is absurd to relinquish this demonstration as would exclude all guide in order to wander in a field of possibility of doubt. If the argument vain conjecture, without a ray of pro- does not amount to the highest probability to direct us. One thing we bability, I do not know what probability know, which is, that intellect can ad- is. And Mr. Hume's reasonings only just means to ends, and produce effects shew that this probability is not absowhich indicate contrivance ; but that lute and incontrovertible proof. That any thing else can produce these effects, this may appear more clearly, I will we not only do not know, but have deduce from Mr. Hume's observations not even the slightest reason to believe. the only conclusions which would be Bat men sometimes argue as if it were formidable to the hypothesis of Theism, the perfection of human wisdom to and leave the reader to judge whether follow the weaker probability instead these conclusions are legitimate. Beof the stronger, or to set probability tween cause and effect we perceive altogether at defiance, because it falls only conjunction; therefore the proshort of strict and matheniatical de- bability is, that cause and effect are monstration.*
not connected! All our reasonings from the relation of causes and effects
may be fallacious; therefore the prothat the latter are put together by the bability is, that they are fallacious ! application of mechanical powers, whereas We have no experience in the origin the former are many of them evidently of worlds; therefore it is probable that produced by the action of certain laws, the universe, which shews throughout which are called the laws of nature. But this circumstance of difference by no
an adaptation of means to ends, is not means counterbalances the circunstances the work of an intelligent Author ! of resemblance, and, therefore, does not avail to set aside the analogy. And what are the laws of nature but a certain mode principle as far as it will go, and to act of operation? Does the law in any case upon it. I need not point out what condesign and anticipate the effect? It may sequences would follow. But shall that not be altogether foreign to the argument evidence, upon which mankind do not to observe farther, that the laws of nature, scruple to act in ordinary concerns, be together with all real existences, must considered as unsatisfactory only in con. be, in themselves considered, the objects cerns of the highest importance ? The of knowledge. And yet from the hypo- practice of demanding absolute demon. thesis of the Atheist, it will follow that stration where it is not to be had, and no being exists by whom these laws are where it is not needed, has done much understood.
mischief. It has given rise to an unrea• If any one should say that probability sonable scepticism on the one hand, and is not a reasonable ground of confidence, to an absurd appeal to common sense on I should only desire him to carry this the other.
If these are just conclusions, Mr. the strict unity of God than our Lord's Hume's reasonings carry with them answer to the Scribe, respecting the more weight than has been hitherto first commandment of all, Mark xii. attributed to them. But, in spite of 29, Κυριος ο Θεος ημων Κυριος εις εςι, yet Mr. Hume's subtleties, mankind will the opinions of learned men hy no continue to reason with confidence
means agree as to the just translation from the relation of cause and effect. of these important words, and I must They will also assume to themselves confess myself not quite satisfied with the privilege of generalizing their ideas, any comments I have been able to and from similarity in different effects consult. I am, therefore, induced to will infer similarity in their causes. offer, with diffidence, to your readers And unless it shall be shewn by some the observations which have occurred solid argument, that an organized uni- to me upon it. The rendering of our verse is not an effect, they will think authorized Version is, “ The Lord our that they cannot err in ascribing it to God is one Lord.” The Improved än intelligent though invisible Cause.
Version, after Vitringa, Dr. Campbell But it may, perhaps, be said, that we and others, translates thus : may as well rest in a self-existent uni- Lord is our God : the Lord is one." verse as ascend beyond it to a self-exis. A difference, the discussion of which tent God. Were the universe a mass has chiefly occupied commentators on of matter, without any indication of de- the passage, yet it may, perhaps, be a sign, it might, for any thing that I am question of still greater interest, and able to allege, be self-existent. But the which involves in it the other, what marks of design, which it every where is the most suitable translation of the exhibits, stamps upon it the character word èıç in this connexion. Our Lord of an effect which could be produced answers the Scribe in a quotation from only by a designing cause. Between a
Deut. vi. 4, and in relating the disharmonized universe and the idea of course, the Evangelist Mark,
according self-existence there is a repugnance, to the general custom of the New-Tesa repugnance founded on the experi- tament writers, employs the exact ence which we have had of the con- words of the Alexandrian Greek Vernexion between contrivance and a con- sion, which may be considered as havtriver, between effects which indicate ing been, from its universal use, in a an adaptation of means to ends, and manner, an authorized version of their an intelligent agent by whom this Scriptures, among all the Jews who adaptation was devised. But between spoke the Greek language at that pethe notion of intelligence and self- riod. The precise words spoken by existence there is no repugnance, and, Jesus himself, we cannot know: it is for any thing that either experience or not unlikely they were taken from a reason suggests to the contrary, intel- Targum, somewhat resembling the lect may exist uncreated. Something later Chaldee one, which we now posuncreated there must be ; but as ana- sess; but however this inay be, Mark logy forbids us to suppose that this has done what is commonly done something is an organized system, amongst us in translating religious which seems to testify the operation books, he has copied the texts of Scripof an intelligent contriver ; it conse- ture in the translation generally known quently leads us to conclude that this and valued by his readers. something is that incomprehensible As our best chance for obtaining Being whom we call God. I will con- satisfaction respecting the real meaning clude with the sentiment of the poet, of the words under our consideration, in which even an Atheist will not re
we will revert to the original Hebrew of fuse to join,
Deuteronomy, of which they are the And if a God there is, that God how
' ); great !
where the substantive verb being E. COGAN.
omitted, it must be determined by the
sense whether the words make one
Exeter, clause or two, which seems to me Sir,
January 8, 1822. to depend entirely on the question, WHERE is no text more commonly whether yox, one, is immediately
both the Common Translation and that is an evil, an only evil,” nnx. In of the Improved Version equally con- Zech. xiv. 9, our Common Version is, nect it with Jehovah, of which' name
The Lord shall be king over all the the Greek Kupos, is the representative, earth, they are both almost equally objec- In that day there shall be one Lord, tionable. Jehovah, the proper and and his name one. peculiar name of the God of Israel, But as the intention plainly is to being an appellative, and from its na- prophesy of the authority of Jehovah ture denoting one object, would not being acknowledged, and his name have the attribute of singleness ascrib- adored, to the exclusion of other gods, ed to it, which supposes the possibility it will certainly be a great improveof its including more than one. It
ment to render 708 as in the above would be just as rational to say, examples : “ George our king is one George,” as
And Jehovah shall be king over all the if any one could need to be informed
earth ; of his unity. The only supposition on In that day shall Jehovah be alone : which the language of the Common i.e. as king or God. Translation or Improved Version could
And his name shall be the only one: be justified is, that it was intended di
c. which shall be reverenced and horectly to contradict the doctrine of the
noured. Trinity, which will be embraced neither by its advocates nor by those who that the translation I have adopted is
If it be allowed, as I think it must, believe it to have been first devised in a
justifiable from the original words, later age. There is no other passage of Scripture in which unity is predi: difficulty with the ancient versions. I
we shall not, I apprehend, find much cated of the name Jehovah, except believe they all meant to convey the Zech. xiv. 9, in which I conceive the translation to be incorrect.
same sense. The Targum of Onkelos Dr. Geddes has, I think, translated and the Samaritan Version are liable the words of Moses more successfully to exactly
the same remarks as the than his predecessors—“ The Lord, original. The other translations insert the Lord only is our God ;" where, which it has been inferred, that they
the substantive verb at the end, from though for the sake of clearness and took the whole to be one clause. The conciseness, the one is changed into the adverb only, the quality of unity
Latin unus, the Greek dus, (vide belongs to the word "God, which is Schleusner in verb.) and the Syr. press equally applicable to false as to the may all signify “only" or "one alone.” true God. The meaning is, “ Jehovah “ The Lord our God, the Lord is the is our God, Jehovah is the only God." one, or the only,” sc. God, is a just The Hebrew Lexicons, 'to which I have translation of the Greek words, and access, do not indeed give to the word that this was our Lord's meaning may 718, the sense of only or alone; but appear, probable, from the echoing there can be little doubt of its allowa- reply of the Scribe,“ Well, Master, bleness, as it is but a different appli- thou hast said the truth; for there is cation of the same idea, which is often one God; and there is no other but expressed by the same word, not only he.” The argument also drawn from in the kindred languages but in many the words, for the exclusive love of others, besides which there occur to Jehovah, is plainly directed against the me some instances in justification of worship of many gods. it. Job xxiï. 13: 9783 4171, “ But On the whole, there is a material he is the only one,” i.e. the Supreme difference between the propositions, God (vide Dathe in loc.); or, perhaps, “ There is one God," and
” “ God is " though he be alone, who can hinder one." The former is opposed to the him?" Song of Solomon vi. 9: “ This opinions and practices of Pagans, and my dove, my most excellent is alone,” is a simple and important truth-the nin, unrivalled in beauty-above all latter must appear a mere truism, the queen's concubines and virgins unless in reference to the doctrine of spoken of in the preceding verse. "She the Trinity, which all who disbelieve it is the only one (nn) of her mother, hold to have arisen much too late to the most beloved of her parent.” be directly contradicted in Scripture ; (Dathe in loc.) Ezech. vii. 5: "There but, as in the text under our conside