« PreviousContinue »
BOOK less to question, whether men be not before they find
some conveniencies for their particular uses; but the question here is, whether, when a thing is so formed as to serve only for such a use, it be not reasonable to conclude that it was made on purpose for that use ? But saith Lucretius,
Nil ideo quoniam natum 'st in corpore, ut uti 832.
Possemus, sed, quod natum 'st, id procreat usum. Nothing is made in the body that we might use it, but when it is made, we find out the use of it. As though it had been possible for mankind to have found such an use of the eye, unless it had been purposely made for it. The act of seeing is, no doubt, subsequent to the making of the eye; for we cannot see without eyes; but if we could make no other use of eyes but to see with, is not this a plain evidence they were made for us to that end? This is not like a use we make of things which we alter the fashion of for our conveniencies. For we do not make our own eyes; they are very early formed in the body, and therefore were within the primary intention of nature; and as soon as we come into the world, we do not deliberate whether we should use eyes or not, for we presently see with them. And how can the eye being made teach us the use of it, when we presently make use of our eyes without any previous deliberation? We may hinder the use of them if we please, by blinding ourselves ; but we cannot turn them to any other use. If Lucretius, in the extravagancy of his imagination, might fancy the use was arbitrary, then men might have heard with their eyes, or have seen with their ears, or have tasted with their noses, or smelt with their tongues : but this I suppose none can think that he meant. What was it then ? that men could not use them till they were made? We grant it. But doth it follow
thence, that they were not made designedly for such a chap. use? How can we judge of that, but by examining the several parts ? And if they were fitted for such a use and no other, we have reason to conclude they were so intended. Now what could the muscles, and tunicles, and several humours of the eye be made for, but for sight? How came that cavity to be formed in the forehead in which the eyes are placed ? What motion of the particles of matter made two such hollow places in the skull? How came one not to be sufficient? How come the eyelids to be so placed ? Could they be designed for any other use? How come the glands to be fixed in the corners of the eyes, and with the lymphatic vessels belonging to them ? Could they have served for other uses? How comes the optic nerve to be continued to the three tunicles of the eyes; and that which partakes most of the substance of the brain to be the chief organ of sight, as fittest to transmit the images to the brain? What was the crystalline humour designed for, but to receive the impressions of outward objects? How comes the optic nerve to be so inserted into the eye, not directly behind, but on one side, but only for the more entire transmitting the images received by the eye ? Can now any one think that the eye could be ever made for any other use but for sight? And we do not therefore use it, because we find it ready prepared; but it was therefore so prepared, that we might use it to such a purpose. And as to his general saying, That nothing in the body is made for use, but that the use follows the making of it, let us apply it to other animals, and it will appear ridiculous. What could any man answer seriously to one that should say, that four-footed animals had not feet given them to go with; but that finding so many feet, they did go with them ? And so for the wings of birds, and the fins of
Borrich. Hermet. Act. Dan. l. ij. Obs. 127.
BOOK fishes; and the particular shapes of some animals for
their particular use : as the long neck of the swan, for going deeper in the water for his food; will any one say, that the swan, finding his neck so long, used it for that purpose? Or that shell-fish, finding their hard shells ready made as a defence against the rocks, crept into them for that end? Whereas all the muscles they move by are covered over with a hard bony substance; and so they are the necessary parts belonging to them. What can be said to the thick horny substance of an eagle's eye, which makes it bear the strongest beams of the sun? Was this only used for that purpose, but not intended by nature? Whence came that outward covering of the eye, not only in eagles, but in other greater birds, which they can draw over it as they please, and is so strong a defence against light, that anatomists tell us, by the help of it put to their open eyes,
they could look on the sun without trouble, as BorriSap. p. 259. chius informs us? Steno, upon the observation of the
wonderful mechanism of the eye both in mankind, and beasts, and birds, saith, That if a man first understands mechanics, and then curiously examines the fabric of animals, he must either put off his reason, or he must admire the wisdom and contrivance of Providence. And he understood the frame of these things far beyond what either Lucretius or Epicurus did.
And so for the ear; that was made, saith Lucretius, long before any sound was heard.
Multoque creatæ sunt prius aures, 838.
Quam sonus est auditus. No doubt of it. For how should we hear without ears ? But can any man imagine they could be made for any other use but to hear with ? How came they to be placed in the head, and not in any other part of the body? Were there any formed before with ears in other
parts, which did not do so well? In other cases they CHAP. say, Nature was put to try divers experiments, because the imperfect animals could not subsist. But this cannot hold here; for mankind might have lived without ears in other places, but the head is certainly the best for sounds being received and transmitted to the brain. How comes the outward part of the ear to be so framed as it is, but for the better gathering and more distinct conveyance of the sounds, as appears by the confused noise which those have who have lost that part? What made the inward passage so winding, and such an exquisite membrane at the end of it, and a cord behind it, but for the advantage of the sound ? How come the three cavities behind; the first with little bones of an extraordinary figure, whereof one triangular, the better to give passage to the air; the second called the labyrinth, and the third with spiral windings and an internal air, and all particularly serving the purpose of hearing, by the sound passing from one to another? Whence came all these subtle and intricate passages, if our bodies were made by chance ? And yet, if any of them be not in their due order, our sense of hearing is prejudiced; which shews that this contrivance was necessary in order to it. And which is again observable, the greater discoveries have been made in these matters, the more reason we have to admire the contrivance of them. As in this sense of hearing, the latest discoveries about the small bones of the first cavity, called the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup, and another in the joining the two last, acquaint us with more than what the ancients knew ; since there are two things remarkable about them. 1. That they do move each other; the drum moves the hammer, the hammer the anvil, that the stirrup, which opens the passage into the second cavity. 2. That
BOOK these bones are as big in an infant as in grown per
Now how comes this to pass in a way of mechanism ? How come these bones not to increase as the other parts of the body do, since the most solid of them, the hammer and anvil, as well as the stirrup, have manifest pores in them to receive nourishment? But not only these, but the other small bones in the inner cavities, the semicircular passages and the cochlea only receive a greater firmness and hardness by age. These things I can only mention, and refer the reader to Mr. Du Verney and others, who have treated most exactly of them.
The frame of the mouth as it is, is necessary for respiration, and nourishment, and speech. For respiration, the mouth opened affords a passage to the air, and there are inward vessels fitted to convey it to the lungs ; and without breathing it is impossible to live. But how came the two different passages for the air and food? How came the valve to secure the passage to the lungs from such things which may prejudice it, and pass the other way? As to nourishment, the mouth not only takes in the food, but the teeth are conveniently placed for the preparing it for its farther passage and alteration in the stomach, in order to nutrition; for which end there are vessels prepared with wonderful variety and contrivance. How come those channels into those hard bones in the mouth, which we call teeth, by which an artery, a vein, and a nerve spread themselves in branches to each particular tooth? How come the figures of them to vary according to their use, and to have stronger roots where the work is harder? And because speech is one of the peculiar excellencies of mankind, there is an instrument framed on purpose for it in the mouth, (which serves for tasting likewise ;) and without this, all the communication of