« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Dans vos fêtes d'hiver, riches, heureux du monde,1
Tandis qu'un timbre^ d'or, sonnant dans vos demeures
Songez-vous qu'il est là sous le givre et la neige,
Ce père sons travail que la famine assiège?5
Et qu'il se dit tout bas Pour un seul que de biens!
A son large festin que d'ami* se' récrient!"
Ce riche est bien heureux, ses enfants lui sourient!
Rien que dans leurs jouets quo de pain pour les miens V
Et puis, à votre féte, il compare en son âme
Car Dieu mit* ces degrés aux fortunes humaines,
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
A I.Over op Lanqdagb: Thanks for your Greek trees. They are now generally held to be more curious than useful, because scarcely any verb forms every tense of every voice. The Hebrew points are rather an innovation than an adulteration, bavins; been introduced—according to the opinion of the best scholars—somewhere between the sixth or seventh and tenth or eleventh centuries of the Christian era. Certainly they are not found in ancient versions, nor do they appear to have been known to the old commentators, such as Jerome and others.
J. Cuthbsbtson: We are sorry to say ne cannot comply with your request.
Bookkbbfbr: To balance the account, you must put down the odd shillings and pence as discount allowed, or balance, or profit and loss, taking care to insert it in the account kept under either of these heads.
David W. Elder: We are obliged by your good opinion of the three "Educators."
Bbnj. Brook: To get the bearings recourse must be had to a compass.
A. L. B.: Boys are admitted to the Blue-Coat School by means of a presentation from a governor, which is not easy to get. There are a few girls in the institution. Application must be made to a governor.
J. W. t The absolute possessive pronouns are used when the substantive is not expressed bnt understood; as in the phrase, •* His brother and mine." where mine is equivalent to my brother. This is very different from the sentence, "This book is mine," which is equivalent to ** This is my book." Mine in this case is not the absolute possessive, and therefore the article must be omitted before mio in Spanish. Similar remarks apply to the other instances mentioned.
Jaubs Barlow Hall: The rule in the English lessons is right, and the instances to the contrary wrong, though they are not uncommon.
A Youth Of Fourtbsn: PracUco, under good tuition, or with good models, is the only way to improve your handwriting. Spirits of wine is used for spirit-lamps, and may be obtained of any chemist.
F. O. Boot: We have not yet treated of the subject named by our correspondent, but may perhaps touch upon it before we close our labours.
H. Drivbr: Thanks for the paper and accompanying communication, which the m«ny demands on our space prevent us from inserting. We are glad to witness our pupil's progress.
Now ready. In Two Volumes, bound in cloth, 6s. eacb.
Thia curious and interesting work contains the Travels and Discoveries of Herodotus, Pausaniu», and others* in Egypt, the East, &c.; the History of America, by Mart Howitt; the History of Greece, by J. «Ïodkin, Esq.; complete Chronological Tables, etc. etc.; with a profusion of curious and unique Engravings.
ON PHYSICS, OK NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.
[Continued from page 587.)
CHEMICAL EFFECTS OF THE GALVANIC FILE OR BATTERY.
Eiectrolyiii.—When successive discharges of electricity of high tension, as from a Ley Jen jar, are passed through certain compound gases, they are resolved into their elements or simpler compounds. Thus, the carbo-hydrogens are resolved into carbon and hydrogen; sulphuretted and phosphuretted hydrogen, chloro-hydric, iodo-hydric and ammoniacal gases, are respectively resolved into sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, iodine and nitrogen on the one side, and hydrogen on the other. Carbonic acid is partly resolved into oxygen and carbonic oxide. A few solids are similarly decomposed, as oxide of mercury, chloride of silver, and even caustic potassa.
When a constant current of low tension from a galvanic battery is passed through a compound liquid, which completes the circuit, then, if the liquid be a good conductor, it remains unaltered; if it be a non-conductor, it also remains unaltered, unless the current have a high tension; but if the liquid be an imperfect conductor, it is decomposed and resolved into it* elements or into simpler compounds. Gases being non-conductors, are not decomposed; solids mostly remain unchanged, because their particles are destitute of freedom of motion.
The wires or conductors from the two poles of the battery, which terminate in the liquid without contact with each other, are termed by Faraday, the Electrode!; that conveying the positive current being the anode, tincode, or oxode; and that conveying the negative current, the kathode, platinode, chlorode, or hydrogode. Such decomposition is termed electrolysis, and the decomposable liquid an electrolyte. The electro-negative body appearing at the anode, is termed un anion; the electro-positive bo !y issuing at the kathode, is a tation; and the two together are termed iom. The vessel in which electrolysis is performed, is termed the decompoting ceil.
The phenomena of decomposition are different, according to the nature of the substances decomposed, appearing as gas, as oxygen and hydrogen from water; in solid form, as silver fiom cyanide of silver; dissolved in the liquid, as potassa and sulphuric acid from sulphate of potassa; combined with the electrode, as fluorine from fluoride; or combining with parts of 'he liquid, to form secondary products.
0 dy sucn binary compounds are electrolytes as consist of one equivalent of each clement, as water, tne hydracids and simple metallic oxides; while sulphuric acid, sulphurous acid, and boracic acid, and the chlorides of phosphorus, sulphur, carbon, antimony, etc., although liquid, are not decomposable. A few are exceptions to this rule. It is probable that all the elements are ions. The anions are oxygen, cfijonne, bromine, iodine, fluorine, and probably sulphur; the kations are hydrogen, the alkaline metals, ammonium, manganese, antimony, bismuth, zinc, cadmium, tin, lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, mercury, silver, gold and platinum. In ternary compounds, salts and the acids are anions, or electro-negative, and the bases kations or nlectro-positive.
The Voltameter—Decomposition of Wain.—The quantity of electricity entering an electrolyte, is in direct proportion to the ions evolved, so that the amount of the last may be employed to determine the quantity of electricity. By inserting an inverted and graduated tube filled with acidulated water in the circuit, the measured volume of oxy hydrogen gas, generated in a given time, may serve to determine the amount of electricity. Such an apparatus is termed a voltameter, because it is employed to measure the intensity of powerful currents, just as the galvanometer serves to measure that of feeble currents. Its use is founded upon the above principle discovered by Faraday, that in electro-chemical decompositions, the quantity in weight of the resolved elements is directly proportional to the quantity of electricity which passes through the current. Consequently, the volume of gases obtained may be employed to measure the chemical intensity of the current.
We have already remarked, that -.he chemical effects of the TOt. T.
pile or galvanic battery depend more upon the number than the size of the couples, because, in chemical decompositions, the action of the current being exerted upon substances of feeble conductibility, it is necessary to increase the tension, and consequently the number of the couples.
The first decomposition effected by the galvanic pile or battery was that of water in 1800, by two English philosophers, Carlisle and Nicholson, with a column pile. Four or five Bunsen couples are sufficient to decompose water rapidly; but it must contain a salt or an acid in solution, because in its pure state it is much harder to decompose. Faraday says, that with a battery of 40 couples, water acidulated with sulphuric acid gives fifteen times as much hydrogen as when pure. It is also found, that a zinc copper couple excited by water, with copper electrodes, gives a stronger current through diluted sulphuric acid, than one excited by diluted sulphuric acid through water. The electrolyte is more rapidly decomposed when hot than when cold; and by heating the kathode the current is increased, which may perhaps be owing to the freer escape of gas. Water continues to decompose even under a pressure ISO times that of the atmosphere. The nature of the electrode, as well as the chemical nature of the electrolyte, influences the facility of decomposition, and it does so by adding its own attraction for the ion, which it developes from the electrolyte.
We now proceed to a description of the voltameter represented in fig. 436, merely premising that various forms of the
apparatus may be employed, according to the nature of the' electrolyte and the ions. That which we have selected for illustration is employed for decomposing water and collecting the oxygen and hydrogen which are set free. It is composed of a conical glass vessel cemented to a wooden stand. From the bottom of this vessel rise two platinum wires A and n, connected with two copper adjusting screws fastened to the sides of the apparatus, and intended to receive the electrodes of the pile. After having filled the vessel with water slightly acidulated, fill two test tubes, o and H, with acidulated water, close them with the fingers, and invert them in the vessel over the platinum wires, thus establishing the current. The water immediately begins to be decomposed into oxygen and hydrogen, which escape in bubbles in the tubes. It will be observed that the positive tube contains oxygen, and the negative hydrogen. It will also be found that the volume of the hydrogen is double that of the oxygen, the relative quantities being measured by the eye, or by having the tubes graduated. This experiment, therefore, gives both the qualitative and the quantitative analysis of water.
For mixed gases or for a single gas, one tube is employed, in which one or both electrodes terminate without contact. Instead of the above arrangement, a single decomposing cell may be employed, divided by a porous diaphragm, on either side of which an electrode terminates, and allows of a separation of the ions. For the decomposition of a salt, as sulphate of soda, three cups or watch-glasses, a, b and e, may be em. ployed, the three being connected by moistened asbestos fibres; b containing the solution of salt, a a solution of turmeric, and c a solution of litmus; the kathode terminates in a, and the anode in c. By passing a current through, the browning of the turmeric and reddening of the litmus show the passage of the alkali to the kathode a, and of the acid to the anode c~,
Decomposition of Metallic Oxide* and Acids.—Electric currents exert the same action upon metallic oxides aa upon water. They decompose them all, the oxygen going to the positive and the metal to the negative pole. It was by the aid of very powerful currents that Davy first decomposed potassa and soda, and referred them to the class of metallic oxides. Up to that time oxides had resisted the action of all chemical agents, and this is still the case with some, such as baryta, strontia and lime, which it has not been possible to decompose without the aid of the galvanic battery.
Oxacids are decomposed as well as oxides, and the oxygen always goes to the positive, and the base to the negative pole. Hydracids are also decomposed, but their base goes to the positive, the hydrogen to the negative pole.
In general, binary compounds are acted upon in a similar manner by the battery, one of the elements going to the positive, and the other to the negative pole. In decompositions thus effected by the battery, elementary bodies which go to the positive pole have received the name of electro-negative bodies, because they are regarded as naturally charged with negative electricity, and those which go to the negative pole have been called eteetro-positive, for a similar reason. Oxygen in all its combinations is constantly electro-negative, and potassium electro-positive. Other elementary bodies are sometimes electro-positive and sometimes electro-negative, according to the body with which they are combined. Sulphur, for example, which is electro-positive with oxygen, is electronegative with hydrogen.
The following examples may illustrate variations in the decompositions. Diluted acids in general facilitate, as we have stated, the decomposition of water without being themselves decomposed. Diluted sulphurous acid gives oxygen and sulphuric acid at the positive pole, and hydrogen and sulphur at the negative pole. Strong nitric acid gives oxygen at the positive, and nitric oxide at the negative pole. Strong muriatic acid gives chlorine at the positive, and hydrogen at the negative pole; but if the anode consists of iron, copper, silver, etc., a chloride is formed and remains in solution, except chloride of silver.
Slightly moistened potassa and soda yield to a strong current oxygen at the anode, and hydrogen with potassium or sodium at the kathode; the metal hangs in drops on the platinum wire and burns. Hydrates of baryta, strontia, lime and magnesia are not decomposed, unless the kathode is dipped in mercury, when an amalgam of their metal is produced.
Solutions of alkaline chlorides, with the kathode dipped in mercury, give an amalgam at this pole and chlorine at the anode. A solution of proto-chloride of iron gives black magnetic iron at the kathode. Solutions of fluorides give at the anode fluorine, which unites with it, even if platinum be used. Sal-ammoniac solution yields chlorine at the anode, and hydrogen and ammonia at the kathode. If mercury be used at the kathode, it swells up, forming the ammoniacal amalgam.
The alkaline sulphates, phosphates, and borates in solution, generally yield alkali and hydrogen at the cathode, acid and oxygen at the anode. Salts of the metals proper are usually resolved into oxygen and acid at the anode, and reduced metal at the kathode; but if the current be very strong, hydrogen i at the kathode. If the electrodes consist of the
Decomposition of Salts.—Ternary salts in a state of solution are all decomposed by the galvanic battery, and then exhibit effects which vary with the chemical affinities and the force of the currents. If the acid and the base are stable, they are simply separated, and then the acid always goes to the positive and the oxide to the negative pole, which is the case with the sulphates, carbonates, phosphates of metals of the first two divisions. If the acid is not stable to any great degree, it is decomposed, and its oxygen alone goes to the positive pole. With a feeble oxide, the metal, being reduced, alone goes to the negative pole, while the acid and the oxygen of the oxide go to the positive pole; which is observable in the salts of lead, copper, silver, and in general in the salts of the three last divisions. When the acid and the oxide are both completely reduced, their oxygen appears entirely at the positive, and the bases at the negative pole.
The decomposition of salts is demonstrated with a bent glass tube, fig. 437, into which is poured a solution of sulphate of
same metal as the base of the electrolyte, the anode is dissolved by the oxygen and acid there evolved, and an equivalent quantity deposited on the kathode. Salts of manganese, lead and silver yield hyper-oxides at the anode. In these cases there is little or no evolution of gas.
Grove says, some decompositions are effected with the feeblmt currents, as iodide of potassium; while acidulated water apparently requires a current of much higher tension for decomposition. According to Jacobs, feeble currents pass through water without effecting electrolysis. Water will not conduct the electric current without decomposition. We learn from Faraday, that a single couple decomposing iodide of potassium, does not decompose water, unless nitric be added to the sulphuric acid of the couple, whereby the tension is increased. According to Matteucci, a couple of zinc and copper of about a yard square, with sulphuric acid alone, without nitric acid, decomposes nitrate of silver, so that the decomposition depends wholly on the quantity of electricity.
potassa or soda, coloured blue with syrup of violets, dipped two plates of platinum into the branches of the tube, connect them with the electrodes of the battery. In the course of a few minutes—if three or four Bunsen couples are employed —the positive branch A will be seen to assume a red colour, and the negative branch B to become green, which shows that the acid of the salt is transferred to the positive pole, and the base to the negative pole, for syrup of violet is known to have the property of turning red under the action of acids, and green under that of bases.
The decomposition of salts by the battery has been applied to important purposes in the garvano-plastic art, gilding and silvering, operations which we shall describe when we come to speak of the applications of the battery.
NoHlfs Rings.—In decomposing salts with the battery, Nobili obtained coloured rings of extremely brilliant tints upon metallic plates. As these rings result from very thin metallic layers deposited on the plates, their colouring is explained by the theory of Newton's coloured rings, to which we called attention when treating of Optics. To obtain them, put at the bottom of a solution of acetate of lead or sulphate of copper, a metallic plate connected with the negative pole of a feeble battery. Then close the current with a platinum wire which is connected with the positive pole, and dips into the solution perpendicularly to the plate, so as to approach very near to it. There will then be deposited opposite the point rings of a very bright colour, varying with the salt in solution and the nature of the plates.
The Lead Tree.—On plunging into a saline solution a metal more capable of oxidation than that of the salt, the metal of this latter is precipitated by that which is plunged into the solution, and is deposited slowly upon it, while the submerged metal is substituted—equivalent for equivalent—for the metal of the salt. Th i 5 precipitation of one metal by another is attributed partly to chemical affinities, and partly to the electro-chemical action of a current, which would seem to be owing to the contact between the precipitating and precipitated metals; or perhaps it ought rather to be attributed to the action of the acid contained in the solution, for it has been ascertained that the solution must be slightly acid. The excess of free acid then acts upon the precipitating metal, and determines the current which decomposes the salt.
A remarkable effect of the precipitation of one metal by another is the lead tree, or Saturn's tree, as the French call iu This name is given to a series of brilliant ramifications obtained by putting zinc in solutions of acetate of lead. For this purpose, fill a glass jar or bottle with a very clear solution of this salt, then close the jar or bottle with a cork, to which is attached a piece of zinc in contact with some brass wires which dip into the solution and spread out in it. The vessel being then hermetically sealed, should be left to itself. In the course of a few days bright spangles of crystallised lead are deposited upon the brass wires, and present the appearance of branches, whence the phenomenon bears the names mentioned above. The reason for calling it Saturn's tree is, that the ancient alchemists gave the name of Saturn to lead. The metallic deposit produced by mercury in nitrate of silver has received the name of Diana's tree.
Transferences produced by currents. —In chemical decompositions effected by the galvanic battery, there is not only a separation of the elements, but a transference of some to the positive and others to the negative pole, as we have already intimated. This phenomenon was demonstrated by Sir Humphrey Davy by many experiments. We will content ourselves with noticing the two following:
1. Having poured a solution of sulphate of soda into two capsules connected together by means of an amianthus or hornblende match moistened with the same solution, plunge the positive electrode, or anode, in one of the capsules, and the negative electrode, or kathode, in the other. The salt is then decomposed, and at the close of a few hours all the sulphuric acid will be found in the first capsule and all the soda in the second.
2. Take three glasses A, B, C, fig. 438, the first containing
a solution of sulphate of soda, the second diluted syrup of violet, and the third pure water. Connect them together by means of moistened amianthus matches, and then pass the current from c to A, for example. The sulphate in the glass A is then decomposed, and soon the soda remains alone in this glass, which is negative, while all the acid is transferred to the glass c, which is positive. If, on the contrary, the current goes from A to c, it is the soda which goes to c, while all the acid remains in the glass A. But in both cases a remarkable phenomenon presents itself, inasmuch as the tint of the violet in the glass B, is neither made red nor green by the passage of the acid or the base through it. This singular circumstance has not yet been satisfactorily explained.
Orotthitss's Hypothesis on Electro-chemical Decompositions.— Grotthuss has propounded the following theory with regard to electro-chemical decompositions effected by the galvanic battery. Starting with the hypothesis, that in every binary compound, or substance behaving as such, one of the elements is electro-positive and the other electro-negative, according to what has been before stated, this philosopher holds, that under the influence of the contrary electricities of the electrodes of the pile, a series of successive decompositions and recompositions is produced in the liquid into which they are plunged, so that only the elements of the extreme molecules do not recombine, and these being free, go to the poles. Water, for example, being formed of one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen, and the first gas being electro-negative and the second electro-positive, when this liquid is traversed by a sufficiently powerful current, the molecule a in contact with the positive pole, settles in the position indicated in fig. 439, that is to say, the oxygen is attracted and the hydrogen repelled. The oxygen of this molecule then going to the positive electrode, the hydrogen which is set at liberty immediately unites with the oxygen of the molecule b, then the hydrogen of this with the oxygen of the molecule c, and so on,
Law of Chemical Decompositions by Vie Galvanic Battery.—Our illustrious countryman, Faraday, was the first to make known the following remarkable law of decompositions by the galvanic battery. When the same current acts successively upon a series of solutions, the weights of the elements resolved are in the same ratio as their chemical equivalents. The experiments which led him to the discovery of this law, were made with voltameters connected together by platinum wires and traversed by the same current. It was thus found that with saline solutions of different metals, the quantities of metal deposited on the negative wires in the voltameters, were respectively proportional to the equivalents of these metals.
The quantity of a body decomposed, says Faraday, is equivalent to the quantity of the body which, by its chemical action, produces the galvanic current; or rather, it approaches so closely to this proportion, that the variation may be attributed to imperfection of the apparatus. For every 9 pints (= 1 equiv.) of water decomposed in the voltameter, a little more than 32 2 pints (— 1 equiv.) of zinc are dissolved in each cell of the battery.
Electric Polarity. —This name is applied to a peculiar property acquired by plates of platinum which have served to transmit the current through a decomposable liquid. This property, which was pointed out by M. De la Rive, consists in this, that when they are taken from the solution and plunged in pure water, they give rise to a current of a contrary direction to that which they have served to transmit, as is proved by bringing them into contact with the ends of the wire of a galvanometer. The secondary current thus developed is more intense in proportion to the length of time during which the action of the first current has been continued.
M. Becquerel has explained the polarity acquired by metals, by showing that it arises from the fact, that, in the decomposition of salts, a layer of acid attaches to the plate which plays the part of a positive electrode, and a layer of the base to that which acts as a negative pole ; for it is sufficient to plunge two plates of platinum, the one into an acid, and the other into an alkaline solution, in order that the plates may acquire polarity.
Plates of platinum which have served for the decomposition of pure water, thus acquire electric polarity without our being able to attribute it to the effect of an acid or a base; but M. Matteucci has shown that it arises from the oxygen and the hydrogen which adhere to each plate respectively.
LESSONS IN MORAL SCIENCE.—No. X.
THE AUTHOR OF OUR BEING CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO MORAL SCIENCE.
It has already been intimated, that the very existence of conscience seems to indicate, that man has a Superior to whom he is amenable for his conduct. The feeling of moral obligation which accompanies every perception of right and wrong, seems to imply that man is under law; for what is moral obligation but a moral law? And if we are under a law there must be a lawgiver, a moral governor, who has incorporated the elements of his law into our very constitution. This argument for the existence of God is solid, and independent of all other arguments: and it goes further than arguments derived from the evidences of design, which abound in the world around us; for these prove no more than that the Author of our being is intelligent, but this argument proves that he is a moral Being, and exercises a moral government over us. The atheist, when
he feels, as he must, remorse for some great crime, can scarcely help believing that there is a God who is displeased with his wicked conduct, and who will punish him hereafter; for the keen anguish of remorse seems to point to a punishment which is future. Hence it is, that when atheists come into those circumstances which have a tendency to awaken the conscience, they for the time become believers in the existence of God. Thus in a storm at sea, even the most confirmed /itheist has been found calling upon God for deliverance; and when death is suddenly presented to them, they often find that their atheistical theories cannot withstand the power of an awakened conscience. Certainly the existence of an accusing conscience cannot in any way be so well accounted for, as by the supposition that man is the creature of a Being who intended to form him in such a manner, that he should have a control over his actions, and who has left an indelible proof of his authority in the mind of every man.
But omitting to press this argument further at present, let us attend to some of the other evidences of the existence of a God. No one can contend, that there is anything absurd in the idea of an eternal, all-powerful, intelligent First Cause, from whom all things have received their being. No one can doubt, that the supposition of the existence of such a Being seems to account for the phenomena of nature; and it is equally certain, that they cannot be rationally accounted for on any other hypothesis.
To deny that in animals and vegetables there are evident marks of design,would be as unreasonable as to deny that anything exists. Thus the eye was formed to see, the ear to hear, the mouth to masticate our food, the stomach to digest it, the various internal organs to separate the particles suited for nutrition from the mass, and by a wonderful and inexplicable process to convert or assimilate these particles into the various forms and organs which constitute the human body. For any man to affirm, that in all these contrivances and operations there is no evidence of design, is certainly to contradict the intimate conviction of his own reason. It may on many accounts be expedient and highly profitable to accumulate arguments from design, as manifested in the rational, animal, vegetable and mineral world; but for mere argument and demonstration these details are unnecessary. A man cist away on a desolate shore would be as certain that some rational beings had been there, if he found one watch, or one quadrant, as if he should see a thousand of such like or other works of art strewed along the shore. His mind is soon satisfied with the force of this evidence, as observed in a few particulars, and the conviction of the truth, that these things are the effect of a designing cause, is as perfect as it can be by the contemplation of ever so many instances. It may, we think, be taken for granted, and even atheists will admit, that we cannot conceive of any works, or contrivances, which would more clearly evince design than those which are found in the human and other animal bodies. Though it is said that some ancient atheists attributed every thing to chance, yet it seems unnecessary to take up much time in combating such a theory. Atheists no longer resort to this very absurd notion. As then design manifest in any effect, leads necessarily to the conclusion, that intelligence exists in the cause, there is no escape from the conclusion, that the cause of the existence of animals and vegetables is a wise and powerful Being, but by oncof the following suppositions. 1. That every thing in which design is manifest has existed from eternity; or, 2. That there are in the material universe causes possessing power and intelligence to produce these effects, but no one great intelligent person j or, 3. That there has existed from eternity a succession of these organised beings, producing one another in a continued series; so that while the individuals in the series perish, the succession is eternal.
The first supposition is too extravagant, we should think, to have any advocates. Indeed, as it relates to the bodies of animals and vegetables, we have a certain demonstration, that their organisation has a beginning. And if every thing was from eternity, every thing would be immutablo and imperishable; but we see every kind of organised bodies tending quickly to destruction. Our souls also had a beginning, for their gradual increase and development is a matter of daily observation. We have no remembrance of an eternal existence, nor any consciousness of independence which must be an
attendant of an eternal being. We ere conscious that we cannot cease to be, nor control our own destiny. Nothing is mors certain in the mind of all thinking men, than that we who now live are creatures of yesterday. But it is unnecessary to refute an error which perhaps no one is so unreasonable as to hold.
Let us then consider that atheistical, or rather pantheistical scheme, which attributes all the appearances of design in the world to the world itself; that is, to certain causes existing in. the world which produce beings of various species, not by creation out of nothing, which they hold to be impossible, but by an evolution or development of principles contained in the world itself. According to this theory, the world is God, and all things are parts of this one being.
This theory would avoid the name of atheism, which ha» ever been odious ; but it retains the virus of the poison of atheism under another name. It admits a cause, or rather multitude of causes, capable of producing these marks of design; but denies that this cause, considered as one or many, is a person. The question necessary to be determined is, What is necessary to constitute a person? Here we have intelligence in the cause, in the highest conceivable degree. But the structure of the body of man is not mere intelligence; there is an adaptation of means to an end. This supposes the exercise of choice or selection, which is obviously an exercise of will. Every instance of contrivance therefore evinces the exercise of an intellect and will; and that being in which properties are found, we are accustomed to denominate s
It would be difficult to find a better definition of a person. But we need not dispute about the name; when there is manifest evidence of wise contrivance in the effect, there must be an intelligent cause to produce such an effect. Where, we ask, is that cause i Is it in the individual which exhibits these signs of design • That would be to make the same thing cause and effect. Is there then for each individual in which wise contrivance appears a particular cause; or is nature or the world to be considered one general cause, operating in a multitude of ways? To suppose a particular cause for every one of these effects, would be to multiply deities beyond the wildest mythology of the heathen; for these causes being intelligent beings, possessing a wisdom beyond our conception, each is properly considered a separate deity. But even this supposition comes utterly short of furnishing a satisfactory account of the phenomena of the universe; for the admirable contrivances in the natural world consist very often in the adaptation of things which are entirely distinct to each other, as of the light to the eye, the air to the ear and to the lungs, the food to the stomachs of the various species of animals, etc. The same adaptation is equally obvious in the vegetable world. That cause, therefore, which produced the eye must have produced the light; and the cause of the curiously-contrived apparatus of hearing must have formed the air; and the author of the stomach must have adapted it to various kinds of food, etc. The hypothesis of an infinite number of separate intelligent causes cannot be maintained. All these effects must be attributed to one cause, and that cause must be infinitely wise and powerful, to give existence to so many wonderful works.
If, then, there is one cause of all these different species of beings, which could not exist without wise contrivance, that cause must be powerful, intelligent and benevolent; but power, wisdom and intelligence can exist only in some being, and that being which possesses them must be a person. The pantheist will allege, that these attributes belong to the universe itself, and therefore there is no need to suppose any being to exist separate from, and independent of, the world. All these phenomena arising, are only the developments of this one substance, in which the attributes before mentioned have their seat.
Before we receive such an opinion, let us inquire what constitutes the universe, as far as our knowledge can extend. We become acquainted with the world without us by our senses. Trusting to the information of these inlets of knowledge, we find that the universe consists, as far as known to the senses, of peculiar objects combined together in various ways. These material things, though subject to peculiar laws, appear entirely destitute of intelligence. In this all men agree. The light, the air, the water, the rocks, the earth, the metals, etc., are not capable of thought. Indeed every material thing with which we are acquainted consists of an