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It is obviously much more difficult, in the absence of plates, to describe the inner ear, than it is to describe the eye; and therefore we have very slightly, and with many omissions, just touched upon the subject, and only now add, that as a drum cannot sound unless there be a hole into the body of it, that the air within may communicate with the air without; so we find the internal ear has an admission for air through the medium of a channel communicating from the back of the mouth; and hence it is that if both ears be closed, we may still hear the ticking of a watch by placing it between our teeth, or in the mouth; and thus when we hear indistinctly, we involuntarily open the mouth. After all, how exceedingly little is known on the subject! The nerves of hearing, of smelling, and sight, have no difference of structure, discernible to the eye of the most experienced anatomist. We know not how one of them conveys its sensations, or how one of its impressions is understood, or how the recollection of any impression is effected; and no wonder, for "who by searching can find out the Almighty?"
1. He that formed the eye and planted the ear must be a Being of infinite power. Power is that which overcomes difficulty; and the highest degree of it is that which accomplishes things impossible to created beings, and whatever does not involve contradiction. God made the world out of chaos, and chaos he made out of nothing. He made the materials of all his works, as well as the works themselves. A human artist, however ingenious, can do nothing without the materials of his workmanship : these must be furnished to his hand; and when fur
nished, he can do little or nothing without a design, or an original which he may copy. Spectacles and all optical instruments are, after all, only clumsy imitations of the eye; and the wonder is, that thousands of years should have passed away, before it was imagined to take a copy of an original, so near and so convenient for imitation. And when the discovery was made, it was by the merest accident. It is said a boy took up two glasses, one concave and the other convex; and trying to look through them both at once, he found to his surprise the church steeple was brought close to his eye. The matter was told to Gallileo, who improved on the hint. The power of God appears not only in making the materials of the human eye and ear out of nothing, but also in adapting the light and the air to these organs. Without such media of communication, the two large and valuable faculties of sight and hearing had been lost to man. But God said, "Let there be light; and there was light;" and in the moment that this first-born of his works appeared, it was fitted for its every purpose, and its every purpose had been foreseen by the eternal mind. Lastly, it was provided by infinite power that light and sound should not only have each an appropriate organ for their communications; but that the organ should, in a way that laughs at human wisdom to discover, be the channel of conveyance to the mind: and thus the spirit of man, which is wholly immaterial, holds intercourse with the things that are seen and heard. How this is done we may not ask; for who can follow the Creator into his inner sanctuary where he hideth himself behind the elements which he hath formed?
2. We next argue the wisdom of God from the construction of the eye and ear.
We have entirely failed in our object, if, in the course of describing these organs, we have not led the reader to admire the provisions of infinite wisdom, one by one, as we advanced in the inquiry; and if in the spot where Science blushed that she could tell no more, we did not leave the reader acknowledging that "His ways are a great deep." "Dark with excessive bright his skirts appear."
We shall only in this place invite attention to a single remark. There is only one original, and therefore only one who can originate. The eye itself, we have said, suggested the construction of lenses to assist its weakness, and its accidental defects. If human contrivance had originated such lenses without a reference to the eye, the wonder had been that God should have given such an understanding to his creature; but as matters are, man has only shown an imitative faculty; faculties of comparison and inference. The ear is of much more mysterious structure than the eye; it is but little understood; and what is remarkable in this case is, that while we have abundance of help for assisting vision, we have few and very inadequate aids for surmounting defects of hearing.
The idea of the organs of sight and hearing, of their media and their uses, is one which, before all creation of matter in union with mind, not even an angel could have entertained. When man makes an instrument he works with nature's tools, on nature's materials, and after nature's models. But God spake into being what never could have been anticipated or preconceived. The wisdom of man consists in combining and exhibiting images, "enveloping ordinary thought with an atmosphere of imagination," as in poetry; or in following out inferences, as in argument; in tracing the
operations of nature, as in science; or in acquiring and studying the forms and meaning of utterances, as in literature. The most brilliant conception of man fills us with wonder that we never thought of it ourselves. But the wisdom of God is too high for us; we cannot attain unto it. His works are such as we never could have imagined, and cannot even now understand: and his words are revelation; for we never could have discovered his truths.
3. The Creator is a being of infinite goodness. I shall introduce what may occur on this subject with a quotation from Paley, which he himself thought so excellent, as to introduce it, with great propriety, into both his Moral Philosophy and Natural Theology. "When God created the human species, either he wished their happiness, or he wished their misery, or he was indifferent and unconcerned about either. If he had wished our misery, he might have made sure of his purpose by forming our senses to be so many sores and pains to us,, as they are now instruments of gratification and enjoyment: or by placing us amidst objects so ill suited to our perceptions as to have continually offended us, instead of ministering to our refreshment and delight. He might have made, for example, every thing we tasted bitter : every thing we saw loathsome; every thing we touched a sting; every smell a stench; and every sound a discord. If he had been indifferent about our happiness or misery, we must impute to our good fortune (as all design by this supposition is excluded) both the capacity of our senses to receive pleasure, and the supply of external objects to produce it. But either of these, and still more both of them, being too much to be attributed to accident, nothing remains but the first supposition, that God, when he created the human species, wished
their happiness, and made for them the provision which he has made with that view, and for that purpose."
The quotation with equal elegance of expression and cogency of argument establishes the conclusion, that the pleasure which belongs to the sensations of sight and hearing is an argument of the goodness of God. But the same conclusion may moreover be founded on the fact, that independent of the useful information we continually derive from light and sound, they are the means of very considerable gratification. Light has a peculiar effect upon the animal spirits, as is evidently the fact in children, who invariably turn their eyes toward a candle or the window. "Light is pleasant to the eyes, and it is a goodly thing to see the sun." Cloudy weather throws a gloom upon all created objects; our spirits become languid, and, unless fully and actively employed, we are ready to contemplate every subject and every object in its most unfavourable aspect. When a clear sky and a bright sun succeed to a continuance of such weather, a glow of animation appears in every countenance, our hopes and our joys have experienced a resurrection from death to life. With what pleasure do we watch the lengthening out of the days! What a constant theme of conversation is this fact! Every one tells another what every one knows already, -the days are longer than they were. The party does not affect to convey information, but to invite his friend to join him in his expressions of joy and hope. Scripture itself hath taught us to associate the very idea of happiness with light: it tells us of the inheritance of saints, that it is "in light ;" and of God himself, that he "dwelleth in light to which no man can approach," and which is full of glory. Then again the material and the organ, the direction and the measure, of the faculty